Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Grandson, Jonathan

One of my other grandsons, 14 year old Jonathan, asked me to write a blog entry about him since I had written about James. So this is my entry. Obviously we love all our grandchildren and Jonathan is no exception.

We have a special bond with him too. When he wasn't quite three years old, he spent the summer with us while his mom finished college. She and his father separated and were divorced only a few months after Jonathan was born, so Cindy was a single mom at that time. That is another sad story in its own right. We enrolled him in daycare and I drove him there every morning and picked him up many nights when his nanny didn't.

One of the main memories I have of that time is how smart he was. I bought a Sesame Street program for the computer and that first afternoon he sat on my lap and watched me work the program for a couple of hours, moving the mouse around to play the game. He was fascinated. He didn't want to stop playing when it was time for supper, but I promised him we would come back after supper. I shut down the program completely and we went to eat.

As soon as we finished eating, he started begging to go back to the computer room. I told him we would after Nanny and I finished talking. This was always our time to decompress from the day's activities as we shared what our day was like and what happened at our jobs. Suddenly I realized he wasn't there and it was way too quiet. I went into the computer room and couldn't believe my eyes! Somehow he had opened the program and was sitting in the computer chair and he was playing the game using the mouse! He wasn't just moving the mouse around, he was actually playing the game and making all the right moves to play the game. I quickly got Cheryl and we stood behind him for about five minutes and just watched in awe. I have no idea how he even got the program open or how he knew how to open it. As far as we know, that was his first, but definitely not last time on the computer.

Well, next week he graduates from 8th grade and next school year he will be a high school freshman. That is so hard to believe as it seems like yesterday he was just a toddler. He is still quite smart. He does particularly well in Language Arts class and he reads on a college level according to achievement tests. His only difficulty is math, but he is passing. He wants to be a pilot and will be enrolled in a special program called Physics through Aviation.

Jonathan likes wearing his hair very long, but today he got it cut short. He looks so different, but tonight he said he is getting used to it and likes it (he didn't at first).

Before: During:He could use your prayers has he has been having some difficulty lately in a few areas. He is also in big trouble with his dad (step dad, but they have a true father/son relationship and Jonathan legally changed his last name to match). Earlier this week he didn't completely follow directions and put a large dent and hole in the side panel of his dad's pickup truck. Jonathan was driving the truck with an attached flatbed trailer in their field, which he has done many times. He was doing this as he was told to go dump a load of rocks. However instead of just going straight like he was supposed to, he tried backing up and really blew it, but kept going. The trailer jackknifed and punched the hole in the truck. Ouch! Hopefully a few years, or decades, from now they will laugh about it.

He really is a good kid. Puberty is just not being kind with his emotions. Remember those days?

Can you tell he takes after his grandpa?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Memorial Day – Is this just an excuse for another three day weekend? Is it just another holiday moved to a Monday to make it more convenient? Seems like it is only another “special” weekend for sales events as flyers are delivered to my mailbox and “Special Memorial Day Blowout” ads flood my inbox. It is time off work so folks can head to the beach, the golf course, or the backyard BBQ pit. But is that all it’s for?
In 1971, Congress moved Memorial Day from the designated day of May 30, to the last Monday in May. That would be fine if people really remembered what the holiday signifies, but I am afraid that for the majority it is just another three day weekend. At the store today, the check-out clerk asked if we had plans for Monday. I simply said, “I plan to sleep in, how about you?” She replied, “I have to work in the morning, but I will get off early and then head home and get some sleep.” When she asked me, I wish I had added, “I also plan to spend some of the time reflecting on the meaning of the day and remembering the sacrifices of men and women throughout our nation’s history who ensured our freedom.” But I didn’t.

When I was a child, every Memorial Day my folks took all of us kids to visit the local cemeteries and put fresh flowers and/or flags on the graves of our relatives. They also called it Decoration Day. We always walked around and found markers of those who died in war. It was a special day of remembrance back then. When I was a little boy, it was only a few short years since the end of WWII. I was born just three days before the first atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 and six days before the second one was dropped on August 9, 1945. Then, just five years later, we were in the Korean War. The pain was still raw.
I hope all of you who are reading this take some time to remember all the men and women who paid and are paying even today, the ultimate price while in the service of their country. We should also remember the soldiers of our allied countries who bravely fought and died. We owe each of these men and women so much for the freedoms we have today. I pray for the families they have left behind. For this Memorial Day, like each Memorial Day, the flag in front of our home flies at half mast until noon, as prescribed by the proper flag etiquette for the day.
No matter how we may lean politically, we must never forget the sacrifice so many men and woman paid in answering the call to serve and for honoring their commitment to our country. Each left behind someone who loved them – mother, father, husband, wife, son, daughter, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousins, fiancĂ©e, boyfriend, girlfriend, classmates, or comrades in arms. Friday I attended a Memorial Day service put on by my grandson’s school, Hopewell Middle School. It was an excellent program of remembrance. The High School Junior ROTC color guard posted the colors and a former Hopewell student sang our national anthem as beautifully sung as I have ever heard it and it brought tears to my eyes. A young lady beautifully played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, accompanied by one of the teachers on the keyboard. There was a slide show tribute to our men and women in uniform dating back to the beginning of our country. They then recognized all veterans present and made a very special presentation to the parents of four fallen soldiers – three gold star mothers and one father. It was a moving experience. Then the students presented each veteran present with a personally made card of thanks and brought each of us a drink and piece of cake. I was pleased to see the school recognize the importance of the holiday and teaching their students to honor and respect what those who have gone before them have done.
Here are two special poems and a few powerful photos that capture the meaning of the day.

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought ... how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilot's planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No ... Freedom is not Free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,And felt a sudden chill;
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend;
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands ...
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington ...
No ... Freedom is not Free!
Author unknown

***************************************************************************Mary McHugh mourns her slain fiancé, Sgt. James Regan, a US Army Ranger killed in Iraq, at Arlington National Cemetery May 27, 2007.

If you Google "James John Regan," you will be able to read much about this young man.

This photograph by John Moore (Getty Images) won 1st place for Feature Photos in the 2007 Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar Contest.


Choking back tears, 8-year old Christian Golczynski accepted the flag from his father's casket. Photographer Aaron Thompson described this moment as "the most emotionally moving event I may have ever witnessed and may ever witness in my life." (The Daily News Journal)
When asked about his dad by ABC News' Chris Cuomo, Christian said, "He was a hero. He helped our country."
Read the story behind this picture here:


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

- Taps -

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quantity or Quality of Life! Which Would You Choose?

If you had a choice of quality of life or quantity of life, which would you choose? Suppose you had a chance to extend your life five, ten or even more years, would you do it? But wait. Before you say yes to the possibility of those extra years, you must consider what it is you have to do and the various possible outcomes and consequences of taking that chance. In this scenario you have to have a bone marrow transplant, or as it is being more commonly referred to now, a stem cell transplant. Here are three possible outcomes:

First, there is a relatively high chance you will die within the first couple of months.

Second, if you don’t die, you might fight years of battles with problems that could include painful sores, stomach or intestinal problems such as severe intestinal inflammation, mucosal sloughing, severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, skin sores and rashes, or a host of other possible issues.

Third, after a rough year or maybe two, things return to normal and you start feeling really well and enjoying life – and then you relapse again.

Would you still take the chance?

I have said for a long time, much to the chagrin of my wife, that I choose quality. That is the choice that drove me to my first treatment decision and my choice of the chemotherapy drugs I had for eight rounds. BUT, quality is what I say right now. What about when my health deteriorates to the point I am told there is nothing more they can do for me except attempt a stem cell transplant or die. Will I still say the same thing? If and when that time arrives there will be very little quantity left and quality will have disappeared.

However, what if I am not at that point? Suppose I have only deteriorated to the point of having to take more rounds of chemo, like I am getting close to right now. Then at the end of that treatment cycle, I go into remission, or close to remission and the doc says now is the best time to do the transplant because I am still relatively strong. I would have to undergo very heavy duty chemo to totally wipe out my bone marrow and then get the transplant. What would I do when that choice is presented to me? My doctor at MD Anderson already said that when I start the next treatment he will probably refer me to the transplant doctors to start the process. So this isn’t just pie in the sky speculation.

I have been thinking about this for some time now, particularly because several people I have come to know are agonizing over this very decision of whether or not to go for a transplant. Stacie wrote on her blog, “I have referred to myself as the ‘Self-Confessed Transplant Wimp.’ Just the mention of a stem cell transplant sends shivers up my spine.” Well, I feel the same way and for most of the same reasons as Stacie states. We both have seen way too many people die soon after attempting the transplant. And these were strong, relatively healthy (for those in our situation), and some even young, people. They all had great attitudes going into it. But they didn’t make it. I have also seen some who did make it but continue to have many, many problems due to Graft Versus Host Disease. Basically the body fights itself. One fellow had a transplant six years ago and he still has constant problems with very little quality of life. I have stopped reading his blog regularly because it was so very depressing. Not that he was whining at all, but as he documented the facts of the assaults on his body, I couldn’t help but cringe. He doesn’t post much now, either. But, I still pray for him.

Lest I sound completely negative, there are also those who enjoy successful transplants. Those are the folks who have come out the other side with very few problems. One person I know isn’t a year out and has had no problem of any consequence. However this person still has stated the idea that it could all make a turn for the worse at any moment is an ever present thought.

Theresa Brown, RN, wrote a blog post on the NY Times website that several other bloggers have referred to. She is an oncology nurse and works in a transplant ward. Her post is titled, "When Cancer Treatment Might Kill You." She tells the story of a young man with a 2 year-old son who underwent a stem cell transplant and his body is being assaulted by Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD). It is well worth the read as it tells about working with transplant patients from a nurse’s perspective.

At one point she writes:

“The good news was we had cured his cancer.
He was disease free — a small miracle — if only he could survive the transplant. If only. But people do survive: the 50 percent who make it through the first year keep on going, knowing that GVHD can strike at any time, hoping for the best."

When the time comes to take the chance, will I make that choice? I don’t know. It will take a lot of prayer and serious thought and discussions with my family.

But I don't want to think about that anymore right now. I need to get ready to go to our new lake cabin in NY in a few weeks. Excuse me while I go put my head back in the sand.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are You Having Trouble With My Blog? Is There a Malfunction?

I can see that something strange has been happening in the last couple of days when someone from Indianapolis, Indiana, tried coming to my blog. Today, from 10:48:02 until 10:54:05, about 84 pages opened up for this person from Indiana. Most were only a second or two apart. It happened to this person yesterday, too, and between yesterday and today, this person had 121 entries to pages. Either this person is a speed reader or something is wrong. Something similar happened several weeks ago when my daughter went to read my blog from her iPhone. She said a bunch of pages kept opening in rapid fire and about 50 opened before she could get it shut down. She didn't remember exactly what she did that might have triggered that. Since there is no identifying information that my counter collects, I can't contact the person in Indiana to see what happened.

If you are the person in Indiana or if you have had similar trouble, please let me know in the comments section, or send me an email to: jtw890 @ aol . com (Of course the email address is without spaces. I did it that way so the automatic email collectors wouldn't get it and start spamming me.) If I can get some details, I will get in touch with the Blogger administration folks to see if we can get it fixed. I sure don't want folks getting upset when they are trying to come here for information.

However, if you really are a speed reader and just can't get enough of my fabulous writing, I need to know that too, because even old, fat, bald guys need their ego stroked sometimes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Way to Go James! Thank You, Hopewell Middle School Teachers!

(Note: There is nothing about my leukemia or lymphoma in this entry)
Many folks reading this know that one of our grandsons, Jimmy…oops, JAMES (he is 14 now), came to live with us two school years ago. This move was taken out of frustration with the school district he was attending. He is bi-polar and that school was not working well for him at all. Instead of handling discipline internally, they had the on campus police officer handing out disturbing-the-peace tickets and then the child had to appear in municipal court. Even if the judge threw it out, which he did with James, court costs still had to be paid. He got two such tickets the last month he attended school there. He received one for hollering and slamming his books down on the desk when he was angry and another for slamming the door to his class when he stormed out angry. Both actions certainly warranted disciplinary action, but not the way the school handled it. Those were just the last straw in a long string of things of the school not working with him properly. His mom tried to transfer him to a different school even closer to their home and that principal accepted him but the principal of the school he was in wouldn’t release him. During the summer she appealed to the district, but two days before school was to start, they turned down the appeal for the same reason. We agreed to have him move here with us and she withdrew him from school there and had legal paperwork drawn up for us to become his legal guardians for the school.

The first year he was here things went very well…for the first half of the school year. He even joined the football team. He practiced hard, but didn’t get to play in a single game, which was very disappointing to him. Then over Christmas and into January he had a huge growth spurt and his medications went out of balance and he started having major problems with his anger and his attitude. He would be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; calm and polite and then something would set him off and he would go into rage. He wouldn’t even remember most of what he said or did during those times and it was often very bad. He was losing his temper often both at school and at home. His psychiatrist kept adjusting and adding and subtracting medications, but nothing was working. He was suspended multiple times for fighting, cussing teachers, and various other misbehavior. The school really was trying to work with him and I can’t fault them at all. The assistant principal and I became well acquainted and I hated to get the phone calls from her because I knew James was in trouble again. He was even suspended the last full week of school. Somehow he managed to pass, but it was such a horribly stressful time on all of us. We just didn’t see how we could do it another school year but we were also very afraid he was heading down a path straight into the criminal justice system. His doctor continued adjusting medications and his mom searched and searched for a Boy’s Ranch or some residential program that would take him. She couldn’t find anything because of his diagnosis and history of violence – the fights he had been in. One medical-type program would take him, but it was only for 90 days and it was going to cost over $25,000!

But then we noticed over the summer that he was calming down and not having the anger outbursts. Cheryl and I talked and prayed about it a great deal. We decided we would try for one more year. We drew up a contract for him that listed out all of our responsibilities and what we expected of his behavior. We told him that if he didn’t live up to this agreement he would have to move back home and back to the school he so intensely disliked. He agreed.

This school year has been fantastic! Every meeting I have had with his teachers they have praised him for his behavior, how hard he tries, how polite he is and how he is one of the students they can send on errands because they know they can trust him to go do it and come right back. One teacher said she had read his file and knew of his reputation and was hesitant to have him in her classroom. She said she thought maybe they had the files mixed up because the boy she saw was nothing like the kid she read about.

Last fall he again joined the football team, practiced hard and played on the defensive line in every game for every defensive play. He is now close to six feet and weighs over 200 pounds. James has also worked hard on his academics, especially his reading. Texas has state exams students must pass at certain years in the spring in order to move on to the next grade. This year he had to pass the reading exam and math exam to move into high school. We figured he would pass math, but we were concerned for the reading, even though he would get three tries, including one last try over the summer. At the beginning of the year, he tested at a third grade reading level. He was in remedial reading with a super teacher, Ms. Lisa Smith, who taught him various strategies to use when reading to increase his comprehension. Last month was the reading TAKS test. He came home all excited because he was sure he did well and thought he might have even gotten to the “commended” level on the test. We were hopeful, but also afraid he was going to be hugely disappointed. Actually, Cheryl was more confident than I as she had been working closely with him with reading (I help more with math). She would read his books ahead of him, have him read a couple of chapters and then she would quiz him about what he read. She could see that his comprehension was rapidly improving. A few days after the exam, I had a progress meeting with his teachers and relayed what he said after taking the exam. They were also concerned he was going to be disappointed and wanted me to stress to him that he still had two more chances to pass the test. About a week after that, James called from school. The test results had come in. He had only missed three questions! He was one away from the “Commended” level. We were all so excited. His teachers were excited and I think perhaps shocked. He kept saying he knew he did well and he used all his strategies he had been taught, even though he didn’t have to. He taught me not to doubt him.

We have seen him work hard on his behavior here at home, too. Things that would set him off last year, we see him stop and think things through. A couple of times we have seen him be quiet and just simply withdraw from the situation so he can calm himself. For the entire year there was only one time he became angry here at home and it was one morning with me. He didn’t go into any rage, but did leave angry – like any normal 8th grade student might. That night when he came home he apologized to me.

So why am I telling you all this? Obviously we are very proud of him. Last week we got a letter in the mail that informed us he was going to be getting an award on Friday night, at a ceremony before the school dance. He had already asked if he could go to the dance and we had given him permission. When we asked him what kind of award, he said he had no idea. When he asked his teachers, they told him he had to wait and find out. We were excited but also a little skeptical. We thought it might just be a certificate that all kids would get. James even said he wanted to get a suit to wear. I had a jacket and shirt that fit him and we bought him a pair of matching pants, new tie and dress shoes. We were hoping he wasn’t going to be disappointed.

When we got there we were handed a program and it had a list of honorees. We could tell it was not every student, but the program was “Academic Achievement Awards.” Hmm, we still couldn’t figure it out because we know James’ grades aren’t that high. He is passing, but certainly not all A’s, or even close. As the program progressed they announced what the next awards were and then we pretty much knew that was how he was being honored. He received the “Rock Star/Shooting Star” award. It was for the most improved male student! His team of teachers had voted for him for this award. I thought I would pop my buttons with pride. How wonderful for his teachers to recognize the great effort he has been putting forth this year. I doubt they will read this, but I would like to recognize the team of teachers he had this year who worked so well together to help him.

Reading Title 1 – Lisa Smith
Mathematics – Rose Holly (also his advisory teacher who helped keep him organized)
Language Arts – Heather Byrd
US History – Elizabeth Tagge-Quigg
Science – Debra Manganaro And two teachers not part of the organized team, but who also helped him:
BCIS (computers) – Matthew Perez
Boys Athletics – Joshua Barnes

Also a big thank you to his counselor, Mike Mohr and mentors Steven Gradney and Jami Evans. Mr. Gradney wasn’t even assigned to him and yet he went out of his way to help and encourage James. A very special thank you to assistant principal Cynthia Ottmers, who is the kindest lady I ever met who can hand out sanctions to the kids and have them understand she is really doing them a favor! She really cares for her kids. There are many others who played a role in James’ success including last year’s teachers, the office staff, the school nurse and the attendance lady, Tonie Moya and some I have probably inadvertently omitted. All of these folks are under the very capable leadership of their principal, Mr. Anthony Watson. Thank you, thank you, thank you all!

Of course, James is coming back to live with us again next year as he begins High School. I have to have someone to mow my lawn. Congratulations James, for your great effort and your accomplishments this year.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

(Note: There is nothing about my leukemia or lymphoma in this entry)

There are several special mothers in my life, but four are particularly close to me – my own Mom, my wife, and both my daughters.

I wanted to write something special to honor the mother of my children who taught the girls, through example, how to be great mothers in their own right. And I wanted to honor my own mother who is 94 and just moved into a nursing home this year. I had the brilliant idea of writing an original poem. I figured nine or ten stanzas would be pretty good. I would write one for each of them. Umm, not such a brilliant idea. I now remember why I hated writing poetry back in high school, almost 50 years ago. I can’t do it! After many false starts, here is the miserable result before I finally gave up:

You are the Mother of my children
Who now have children of their own.
So now you are a grandma
From the seeds of which we’ve sown.

You showed them how to do it
How to love without condition.
And now they show that kind of love
To their own with such tradition.

Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue
Mom you are so great
And that is why I love you!

Umm, can you tell it was late by the time I got to the second one?

However, my feeble attempts did cause me to think about both of these wonderful women and how much they mean to me. I wish I knew how to put those thoughts into meaningful poetry. I decided to see if there was anyplace on the web I could go for inspiration. I figured I couldn’t directly copy something without permission, but perhaps it would get some of my own creative juices flowing. What I found was a site with poetry that actually encouraged you to cut and paste and put into cards for your mom. So here are a couple of the poems I found meaningful.

This first two are for both my wife and my mom:

"Happy Mother's Day"

“Happy Mother’s Day” means more
Than have a happy day.
Within those words lie lots of things
We never get to say.
It means I love you first of all,
Then thanks for all you do.
It means you mean a lot to me,
And that I honor you.

But most of all, I guess it means
That I am thinking of
Your happiness on this, your day,
With pleasure and with love

By Kay Hunt


No Love like a Mother's Love

There is no love, like a mother's love,
no stronger bond on earth...
like the precious bond that comes from God,
to a mother, when she gives birth.

A mother's love is forever strong,
never changing for all time...
and when her children need her most,
a mother's love will shine.

God bless these special mothers,
God bless them every one...
for all the tears and heartache,
and for the special work they've done.

When her days on earth are over,
a mother's love lives on...
through many generations,
with God's blessings on each one.

Be thankful for our mothers,
for they love with a higher love...
from the power God has given,
and the strength from up above.

By Jill Lemming

This last one is especially for my Mom and for all Military Moms who may read these words. They are special ladies. Although I returned home safe, many sons and daughters have not. When I joined the Air Force, my Mom cried. When I first went overseas, my Mom cried. Each time after when I left to go overseas, Mom cried. I didn’t understand. That is I didn’t understand until our oldest daughter first moved away to a different state to join her military husband and then I understood just a little. However, when my youngest daughter called me from Dallas and told me she was taking her physical and was enlisting in the Army, I truly understood.


This year on Mother's Day
We should think of offspring lost
And Mothers of all those Troops
Who paid the ultimate cost.

They've watched Sons and Daughters
Sent off to a foreign land
To fight wars and give their all
In some conflicts so ill planned.

But no matter what the reasons
They've always stepped up to the line
To give their lives for Freedoms
Enjoyed by all of yours and mine.

We must Honor all those Mothers
Of all those who have Served
And Sacrifices that they made
With our, "Thanks!", so well deserved.

It takes a very Special Lady
To let Her Child go off to War
Or just to join the Military
With the pride and fear and more.

There's too many Gold Star Mothers
And if you might know of one
Please send Her a special wish
To praise Her Daughter or Son.

Military Moms are the Greatest
With a strength beyond compare
Who hope and pray their loved one
Comes Home safe, from over there.

So, let's keep them in our thoughts
And hope their prayers come true
All those Moms and all those Troops
Who stand Strong and Proud, and True.

By: Del "Abe" Jones

God bless you Cheryl and Mom and Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you both for being terrific mothers! Happy Mother’s Day to all moms reading this. You have the most important job in the world.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thanks A Lot, Carly!

Well, I read Carly’s Blog (Just Carly) and she tagged me. Apparently this is a game a bunch of blog-writing ladies play. They make up lists of things, tag each other and then the tagged lady must complete the list on her blog. Since I am home all day, I think Carly has made me an honorary blog-writing lady. She actually tagged me twice before. Once last November but I pretended I didn’t see it and I have felt guilty ever since. Is that a sin? Is it a lie if I didn’t actually tell her I didn’t see it? The other time was back in October and I really didn’t see that. I did a search of “John” on her blog and found it. So no guilt and no sin involved in that one. But now I have seen all three. In fact, I was going to ignore them again, but I might be awake all night worrying. Carly goes to my church, even though I have not met her yet, and she makes nice comments on this blog. Perhaps I have subconsciously avoided meeting her because I am feeling so guilty for not completing the tag lists. Guilt may negatively affect one’s immune system. I don’t know that for sure, but I can’t take anymore chances. So, Carly, here are my answers from the latest tag and also from the two tags last year. I am doing this so I can sleep at night.

8 Things I Look Forward To
1. All our grandchildren graduating from college – the last one in 21 more years.
2. Our grandchildren all having good jobs they are happy doing.
3. Growing older…and older and older.
4. Leaving on vacation June 22 to our cabin in NY.
5. My wife’s retirement so we can spend all summer together at our cabin in NY.
6. This school year to be over.
7. A certain situation to be resolved in a good way.
8. Heaven – but I am willing to wait

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Got my grandson up, made him breakfast and got him off to school.
2. Watched Ellen.
3. Took a nap.
4. Read Blogs, email, visited CLLForum and CLLCfriends sites.
5. Took a nap.
6. Watched TV.
7. Took a nap.
8. Fixed dinner then took a…never mind. (How sad)

8 Things I Wish I Could Do
1. Not need a nap.
2. Write entertaining Blog entries – always.
3. Go on a cruise to Alaska.
4. Go to Hawaii.
5. Ensure everyone I know makes it to heaven.
6. Ensure my wife, kids and grand kids are always healthy and happy.
7. Cure all cancer.
8. Have to call the doctor after four hours. (Think about it.)

8 Shows I Watch
1. Ellen
2. The Mentalist
3. Criminal Minds
6. CSI Miami
7. CSI Crime Scene Investigation
8. House

8 Bloggers I Tagged
If you're reading this......TAG!

From when I was tagged last November:

8 Shows I Love to Watch:

1. Flashpoint
2. Law and Order
3. Law and Order: Criminal Intent
4. Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit
5. Lie to Me
6. Bones
7. Southland
8. Numbers

8 Restaurants I Love:
1. Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant
2. Texas Roadhouse
3. Logan’s Roadhouse
4. La Margarita
5. Fuddruckers
6. Cracker Barrel
7. Luby’s
8. Little Red Wagon Hamburgers

8 Things That Happened Today:
1. Got my grandson up, fixed him breakfast, got him off to school.
2. Watched Ellen.
3. Took a nap.
4. Read email, Blogs, visited CLLForum, CLLCFriends sites
5. Went out and edged the lawn – aha, fooled ya, didn’t I?
6. Sat in the chair and caught my breath and cooled down and caught my breath -- for an hour.
7. Got a shower
8. Wrote about 8 stupid things I did today and yesterday and all the crime shows I watch and the restaurants and my hopes and my…Oh, wait, you know all that, don’t you? …and then took a nap.

8 Things I am looking forward to:
1. – 8. See above from the other list

8 Things On My Wish List:
1. My grandson to learn how to edge the lawn
2. A flat screen LCD HDTV
3. This laptop to stop acting wonky
4. A new desktop computer
5. Delay more chemo for another year
6. Not to have to do too many repairs on our cabin in NY
7. Spend many retirement years with Cheryl
8. Finally, I wish I would have to call the doctor after four hours

8 People I tag to do this on their blog:
I’m not spreading the guilt this time

From when I was tagged last October:

Carly tagged me to blog about my hubby's favorite things. so here goes...
Umm, umm, umm, I was in the military. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

OH, OH, I just read the rules of this tagging business:
The rules are:
1. Mention the person(s) that tagged you. (I was tagged by Carly)
2. Complete the lists of 8's.
3. Tag 8 other bloggers.
4. Tell them they have been tagged.

Look at rule #4. Carly didn’t tell me! I bet she tagged a different John. John Smith, or John Doe or John McCain. Good grief. I probably wasn’t Tagged!!!!! All those months of feeling guilty for nothing. Well, after all this work I am posting it anyway. And I won't need to avoid Carly at church.

Monday, May 04, 2009

More Good News -- Doing the Happy Dance

I had my oncology appointment this morning. My IgG levels really held this time and were 826! The point of IVIg infusions are to get the level to 700 or above. From 723 to 1865 is considered the normal range at my lab. For over a year, I had to have this infusion every four weeks. Then my levels started holding longer, except for one time, and lately I have been going six weeks. This is amazing that they are this high after six weeks. Therefore, my scheduled infusion for today was canceled! HOORAY!

I have a love/hate relation with IVIg. I love it because it boosts my immune system and keeps most infections away. I went from having at least one new infection a month to only having a couple in a year and a half. I love it because it makes me think of all the wonderful people who took time out of their busy lives to donate blood - it takes 8,000 to 10,000 donors to make enough for ONE treatment. How humbling is that? I hate it because it gives me headaches for days after, although they are not as severe and as often as they were when I first started. I hate it because it is so expensive -- not for me, but for my insurance company. I hate it because it is often in short supply and I wonder if I am taking it away from someone who may need it more than I do. I also hate it because powerful steroids are administered along with it. They keep me awake that entire night, make me gain weight, and make me feel weird for several days -- weirder than my normal weird that is.

Maybe love/hate is too strong a term. How about dislove it? OK, dislike! I really do have a love/dislike relationship with IVIg. No, no... like/dislike that's it. OK, I'll stop now. It just didn't seem right this was a short post.