Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Friday, March 31, 2017

Rehab Boys

Sherman and Dick

My best friend died at 10:30 Wednesday night. Sherman's daughter phoned today to give me the news. He died at home surrounded by his two girls. It is how he wanted it to happen.

Someone at rehab asked me about him last week. I replied, "I think he is tired and ready to die. At 93-years old, he has the right to make that decision." He was ready to die yet it was so hard for me to hear that.

After I hung up the phone, I burst into tears. Michael was on his way home to take me to the ED at my university hospital and I could barely talked when I phoned to tell him the news. I will deeply miss Sherman. So many times I would forget that we were not contemporaries. There were more than 30-years separating us. All of our conversations and laughs. I will never forget him.

My two rehab boys. Sherman and Dick or, as they would argue, Dick and Sherman. Within a year, both are gone. My life has lost lots of brilliant colors with these two now absent. I absolutely expect to be greeted by them both as I cross into the hereafter.

At Sherman's 90th birthday dinner, his daughter took a photo of me with my two boys. I can't tell you how that photos has helped today and how much I will cherish it forever.

Services will be at graveside. I will be there. I promised him.

UPDATE: The report from the ED doctors was that they felt I have a virus and need to rest for a week to recover completely.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

To Go or Not To Go

Last evening, my phone lit up with a message from Kathy. It was her husband giving me the bad news and the funeral information. I think that was very kind of him and I replied that I would be at her funeral on Saturday if I wasn't in the hospital.

I still felt pretty miserable all day yesterday. It began with a very early Safeway spree before we met with the local doctor at 9:30AM. She looked at my knee, did a very intensive examination, discovered that the fluid was not in the joint and that my knee was very stable. Nothing wrong with it and the fluid should eventually be absorbed. That was the good news!

The bad news came when she offered to listen to my lungs. Yes, please. She heard the usual loud crackles in the left one but the right one had the wet sounds of pneumonia. Dr. K. wants me in her ED if I do not feel better by today.

And that's the decision of the day. It is the exhaustion that is overwhelming. If I feel that, I will get my lungs up to the ED. In the meantime, I am going to shower and prepare for a possible trip to the hospital.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Antibiotics On Board

Dr. K. replied to my email yesterday morning. She told me to begin the doxycycline that I already had in the house and, if I was not better by Thursday, I was to go to her Emergency Department.

After receiving that message, I promptly fell asleep for two hours! I can't seem to stay awake. There was not a lot of food in the house and I was not hungry so I fear more weight loss. This morning, Michael is going with me to the local doctor to have a look at my knee but I am also interested to being weighed to see the amount of weight I have loss and if I have a fever. My thermometer reads normal but...

After we see the doctor, we are going over the pass to buy some groceries. We need the basics. I will bet that the rest of this sunny and glorious day will find me asleep or very still. I am not feeling better this morning. In fact, I have coughed more this morning than all day yesterday. Not a good sign.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


It all went downhill yesterday. I wasn't feeling great. I wasn't sleeping great. I was coughing really well! All not good.

Mom's shot in her eye was quick and easy. Afterward, we returned some shoes she bought and found others for her to wear to my niece's wedding. Lunch was from the low calorie menu at Cheesecake Factory where we fell in love with a 3-month old baby. He was adorable, sat in his little seat and was totally engaged with dad, smiled at his mom and never complained. Clearly, they have taken him out a lot!

I had a tiny appetizer of 230 calories and even the server noted that I might need something with it as it was a very small portion. It turned out to be perfect and I was able to eat it all. Mom, on the other hand, ate THREE lettuce wrapped chicken tacos with gusto! It was a joy to watch!

By the time I got home, Michael told me I looked pasty, I was coughing, I was feeling exhausted and just not well. Time to write to Dr. K. who wasn't in but will be working today. I have a feeling she will prescribe drugs but she just might want me to go to their ER. We will see.

The coughing is so much better when I am upright so I slept propped up in the corner of the couch all night. I actually slept pretty well but I already feel I could quickly fall back to sleep this morning.

I cancelled rehab class today and will be canceling the Irish Fiddling rehearsal tonight.

Rest, sleep, try to eat. These are today's goals!

Monday, March 27, 2017

My Zen Place

The sun never came out yesterday but I did spend almost four hours working in the gardens. So much more to do! Weeds everywhere! The flowers in the front were in full bloom in the sunshine when I took these photos Saturday afternoon. They are striking in person and I noticed people on their walks would pause for a few minutes to drink it all in. 

Even the little camellias were so happy and in bloom.

I am still not feeling well. The cough seems better but when I see the local doctor to look at my knee on Wednesday, I will ask her to listen to my lungs. What worries me is that I am not sleeping well, something I remember when I had the serious pneumonia a few years ago. There was so much more coughing then but I am growing concerned.

It is going to be glorious today while we make our way down the Peninsula for mom's eye doctor appointment. We tend to talk non-stop as we will have not seen each other since Friday! So much to share!

Sunday, March 26, 2017


The Formula 1 season has begun! Australia! We watched the exciting race this morning with Ferrari taking the flag. Baseball season will also begin soon. We have missed them both!

Maybe I haven't beaten this cold after all. I did NOTHING yesterday, except make some Eggs a Different Way for Michael's next few breakfasts. That's it. He even took me out to dinner. I really am struggling with my appetite as it is just not there. Food is not fun when you have to force it down.

Last night, I kept waking up with wheezing and a short, dry, hacking cough. It reminded me of pneumonia. This morning, I had a stuffy nose and still do not feel great. If the coughing gets worse or more consistent, I will have to head to my university hospital's ER for advice. The last time, they could not verify pneumonia as the disease was so prevalent throughout my lungs, hiding the pneumonia.

We will see how I do today.

The bed sheets need washing so I will try to do that today. I also need to deal with some paperwork and make dinner tonight. If I can do all of that, it will have been a successful day!

But for right now, I think I will settle in here on the couch for a morning nap. Good plan!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fought Cold

I really was fighting Michael's cold with Aprodine, Coldcalm and sleep the past few days. It seems to have worked as I have no symptoms this morning, though I will continue the Coldcalm throughout the day. It was a rare night last night as I slept through without waking. I was exhausted.

There were two new people in my rehab class today. One was an older gentleman who was charming and still so very active. He won't be in class for two weeks as he is going on a cruise. The other was a younger man with a child still in high school and one in college. He had a more rare diagnosis and we talked about the differences he has felt after just the first eight weeks of education and exercise before joining our class. He said he needed a nap and a day to recover after each class. That brought back so many memories as I had the same issues when I first began rehab. I shared that with him then told him how I was able to build an active life using daily exercise for over a decade. He got the message.

I think I just made two more friends!

So, I am struggling to recover from all the performance, I am really exhausted and having so much respect for Mick Jagger or any other older performer who has to do it night after night. Then, I got a message from Leslie, the founding fiddler of our group, who was performing at an open mic event at the English Pub. Really? What was funny was that got the message on my phone just as I was getting ready to climb into bed! Ah, to be young!

Today, Mom and I will be at Lowe's looking for a glider for her patio and then a nice lunch somewhere. But, my plans for the weekend? Nothing. Naps. Maybe I will wash and iron the sheets. Maybe Michael will take me to breakfast on Sunday. There are no plans except to try to get caught up on sleep and recharge my batteries!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sleep, Eat...

Put a fork in me, I am done! I walked though a fog of exhaustion yesterday, actually went to the rehab class because of Jeannie depending on me and arrived on time to the Irish Fiddling gig at the brewery. It was such a better crowd on a Tuesday night than when we usually play on a Friday night. Not as loud. It was a thoughtful and attentive audience. The sound was pretty good. In fact, this was my favorite venue of the three St. Patrick's Day gigs. We played well and the audience was with us.

I fought to stay focused, got home and promptly passed out. My body is actually screaming at me this morning. Stop! Rest! Sleep! Eat! I am taking the entire day off. The only reason to leave the house is to buy lunch at the organic market, which will make me get dressed. No orchestra rehearsal tonight. I just can't.

Michael is still recovering from his bad cold but his energy has returned. He is still blowing his nose a lot but not coughing anymore. That is a good sign. I think I dodged that bullet.

Sleep, Eat, Pray that I don't get sick from wearing myself out. That is the plan for today!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pulmonary Rehab

I finally slept last night and feel so much better this morning. We have a big night ahead as my Irish Fiddling group will be playing the brewery just north of us. Another late night for me! Good thing I can sleep in Wednesday morning.

Mom and I did a vitamin run at Costco yesterday then I had my pancakes, or I should say, pancake. My little mom ate two and I could not finish one! They were fantastic but I was kind of sick afterward as my poor body was not used to so many carbs and sugar from the maple syrup!

Rehab class today! I am looking forward to a good workout. When I first began pulmonary rehab, I could only do two activities of daily living in a day. Showering and making dinner. Food shopping and paying bills. As I grew stronger, I was able to add one more activity of daily living to each day. What a difference that made to me at the time. I began to grow less dependent on Michael.

The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was taking a shower. It just wore me out so I tried to only shower twice a week. As I kept getting stronger and adding activities, showering was still the most difficult activity until finally I didn't even think about it. Just did it. I no longer was aware how many activities I could do as I did as I wished. It had been that way for years until last year when I really couldn't do what I wanted to do anymore. The disease was progressing. I was having to be mindful of my energy levels. I still could do what I wanted but maybe within two or three days instead of just one day.

At the moment, my energy levels are so much better than anytime last year. I still push myself when I can. If I push myself today, maybe tomorrow will be a bit easier. This mantra has been mine since the first day of pulmonary rehab. I have also found that the more I do, the more I can do.

So, get up and get moving. You will feel so much better.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Food Lust

I still am not rested. It was a busy, rough day yesterday and I crawled into bed at 7PM thinking I would pass out for the night. But, no! Michael fell asleep in the living room, I woke up around 11PM because his side of the bed was empty, I wondered out to see if he was okay and heard snoring. Tiptoeing back to bed, I guess I made enough noise to rouse him and soon we were together in our bed for the first time in over a week! He soon fell back to sleep. I stared at the ceiling.

Finally, around 1AM, I wondered out to the living room and watched the most horribly boring TV trying to have it lull me to sleep. Nothing. Around 3AM, I fell to sleep for just a couple of hours.

I'm up. I'm having coffee. I have a busy day ahead of me. And, another gig tomorrow night. I must get some sleep tonight. Mom and I will be together then I have to finish grocery shopping on my way home.

Michael is better but is still blowing his nose and just a bit of coughing. His energy is returning but I noticed that he was short of breath when doing some tough tasks. His lungs are still not happy.

Food. With my diet, I never weigh myself. I look how far my watch slides up my arm and feel how my clothing fits. This past week, we were busy. I had rehearsals, two gigs, gardening, rehab class and probably not enough food for all the activity. My skinny jeans, which I wore yesterday, were loose. I think I lost about three pounds. Around noon yesterday was an opportunity to eat something for lunch that was not normally on my diet. Pizza! Donuts! Potato chips! Pancakes sounded so good. Just one. With syrup.

By the time we were back on the coastside from food shopping, it was too late. Lunch was being served. No pancakes for me! We went with food lust in our hearts but ended up not doing much damage. There is a fantastic place in the pro shop of the Ritz, which serves great food for a very reasonable price. Lots of guys in their golf gear wandered about while we watched the 18th golf link with the ocean behind it. Pretty sweet place. I had a simple, seared hot dog on a toasted bun while Michael had a huge Harris Ranch hamburger with everything including an over easy egg on top. He had lost some weight since being sick and felt he could handle it. We both passed on dinner as we were still too full from lunch!

I have a feeling Mom and I will be having pancakes for lunch at the very cool Train Depot Cafe today then, back in the diet saddle again!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Two Gigs and Lots of Jigs!

I am tired but it has been a blast. We played back to back gigs in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Friday night's crowd was a lot older than I had anticipated and there were small kids eating their corned beef and cabbage on long shared tables. Everyone seemed very happy though, as the night wore on, some were VERY happy, if you know what I mean.

The room was hard, musically. It needed amplification which made our Irish music not as pure sounding, in my opinion. We were separated as there was a tiny stage where half of us stood while the violins were at least three feet lower than us in front of the stage. It didn't allow for a lot of interaction, which is such a part of our performances.

Mom and I had a large lunch earlier so I thought that would do it. I had to be at the venue at 4PM and we began to play at 5PM. By the end of our two-hour gig, I had a screaming headache from dehydration and I was weak with hunger. Stupid.

Saturday, I tried to sleep in a bit but was awake at my usual time. I was really feeling the night before. But, I needed to cut the grass and do other things around the house and never got a nap into the schedule. I even made a killer dinner to eat before our 6:30PM gig at the Wine and Cheese shop. I loved the venue as it had wooden floors and no microphones, except for the singer. My string bass just vibrated with happiness and rang throughout the space. We had lots of people then not so many then lots of people. It was a fun gig.

By the end, I was totally spent. Tied. Exhausted. My picking finger had a lovely blood blister from playing two days in a row. No recovery time!

This morning, I feel like I slept well but I will probably need a nap after we go over the pass for groceries. It was so satisfying to play in front of such large crowds, especially on Saturday night, and we still are facing yet another gig this Tuesday at the brewery just north of us.

I laughed as I was getting ready to play. Other people worry about their outfits and hair but I deal with this: eye drops had to be adjusted for time, inhalers taken to help breath the next few hours, nose spray to stop any drippy nose, evening pills taken a bit early. I am just so grateful that I can still play, without supplemental oxygen at this point. I need oxygen to haul everything in and to get set up but as long as I just stand and play, I am okay. But, I know one day soon, I will need oxygen just to play as the disease progresses. Grateful that I am even able to still play.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Gigging and Jigging

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We are wearing the green today! I have a large green t-shirt that I will be wearing that says, "Let the shenanigans begin!" when we play at the British pub this evening and at the wine and cheese store tomorrow night. Busy few days!

Michael was still pretty sick so I had to go alone to the Ambulatory Patient Advisory Board meeting at my university hospital yesterday late afternoon. Traffic was not horrible but magic happened. As I drove up the hill, a disability spot suddenly opened up RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DOOR where we were meeting. No long walk. No parking fees. A very rare event!

I was in charge of a project to write a paper with helpful hints about the huge campuses for people who will have their very first clinic appointment. It will be included in the batch of paperwork from the clinic. I wrote it, sent drafts to the subcommittee, re-wrote it and Draft #3 made the finals. With a few suggestions at the meeting added, I am going to send the finished document to the head of the group who will introduce it to the clinics. It was a huge hit and I got very positive comments about its tone. Made me smile!

We then tackled another difficult letter issue and all agreed about its next steps. What made all this marvelous was that during the last meeting, the head of all the clinics was an invited guest. He loved us so much that he asked to be a regular. He was there, nodding his head a lot and really liking our positive tone, even when we disagreed with something.

Mom has an appointment here in town this morning, we'll have a bit of lunch then I hope to get home early as I have to be at the venue for set up at 4:00. It should be fun though Michael won't be able to join us as he still is blowing and coughing. He is looking forward to a nice bowl of soup!

Get out there today and do a jig or two!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Almost Cried

An amazing thing happened last night. I pulled into the disability parking spot at the community center where the orchestra rehearses. It looked into the new skateboard park the city recently completed and, since it was still light with daylight savings time, there were kids in the park on their boards. I sat in the car and watched a few minutes as they defied gravity. There is no way that I could ever do any of their stunts, even as a kid. It was fun to watch.

I got out of the car, pulled the driver's seat all the way forward and flipped the back of the seat fully forward to make room to get my bass out of the car. After strapping on my oxygen backpack, I pulled out the large black music stand then shifted the bass to slowly pull it out of the car onto its little wheel for easy transport. With the bass on my left shoulder and my right hand holding my music stand, I walked to the closest door, which was very close to the skateboarders. LOCKED! Nuts!

So, I began to make the long walk to the front of the community center. That was when I heard a voice say, "May I help you?" I turned around and there was a young skateboarder, with his board in his hands, wet with sweat. I smiled and said, "I have been doing this a long time so I've got it but I really want to thank you. You are amazing. You totally made my day." He then hugged me. Almost made me cry.

What I wish I had said was for him to tell his mom that she was raising a good man. Just when you think the younger generation is into their technologies and their own self interest, I was reminded that the majority of young people are wonderful, caring humans. I had a warm glow all night.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lots of Music

It was a long, very useful rehearsal last night and I feel ready for the big, boozy blast featuring my Irish Fiddling group in an English Pub on Friday night. Since we are playing from 5-7, we don't think the crowd will be as drunk as later in the evening. Thank goodness! That is my only worry. I just don't want people throwing things or being totally out of control. The group played the venue last year and said it was very loud and packed but there were lots of families with kids having dinner and fun. Kids? I am beginning to feel a little better about this.

A much more advanced group that is highly respected will be playing after us. One of the members of my group gave me a heads up that this group is going to ask me to join them. I laughed and replied, "Michael would divorce me!" He worries that I am doing too much already with our Irish Fiddling group and the orchestra. It will be nice to be asked Thank you.

Michael is sick. This cold is nasty. He slept in the bed and is going nowhere today. I slept on the couch and didn't move all night. I will have to take the paperwork to the tax people all alone today then I am going to try to beat the rains by cutting the grass. There is a tough orchestra rehearsal tonight so I have a long day ahead of me. I am grateful that I have the energy to pull it all off!

Speaking of energy, I added an additional treadmill to my rehab class yesterday. It was only eight minutes but it was the first time since I tore tendons in my hip that I have worked out a second time on the treadmill. I am not stiff or sore this morning so I am going to begin to add more time.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


We are in full cold lock down mode. Michael walked in the door yesterday afternoon complaining about his sinuses. He always blames the pollen counts and other allergies but I have learned through the years, it is the start of a cold. Oh no! Not a cold! Allergies. I gave him my Aprodine last night and he was just as bad this morning. He just admitted that it was probably a cold.

Now the work begins. The Clorox wipes are everywhere. He is banned from the kitchen. I will be sleeping on the couch so he won't breathe on me at night. Television clickers will be cleaned constantly. Door handles and our hands will be washed constantly. I will try my hardest not to get it.

Tonight is the final rehearsal before all the Irish Fiddling gigs beginning St. Patrick's Day. It is going to be a lot of fun but taxing. There will be no down-time to recover. But this morning, I will be car pooling with Jeannie to the rehab class. It was so beautiful yesterday and it is going to be as gorgeous today. Shorts! In March! Love it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sunny California

It was so beautiful on our way home from grocery shopping that we stopped along the coast to look at the ocean. It was calm, blue and the tide was in. After getting home, I made lunch then spent a couple of hours culling my seafood and meat recipes to send off to April and Valarie. I so hope that they use some of them as they are quick and very healthful.

William phoned late in the afternoon. We never know exactly where he is or what he is doing work wise. Apparently, he had been home for a couple of weeks working on a project but getting ready to leave town for another quick tour. It was so good to hear his voice.

Today is going to be hot! Reading about the blizzard in the northeast, I feel a bit guilty enjoying the 70+ degree weather. Ah, California! Mom and I will be together all day with really no plans.

My breathing was horrible yesterday and I didn't use my inhaler until later in the evening. Dumb. I felt so much better and slept great.

The Irish Fiddlers will be playing in an English Pub on St. Patrick's Day and then again on Saturday night in the local Wine & Cheese Shop. The following Tuesday, we will be playing in a brew pub. So much fun. Along with this Tuesday's rehearsal and Wednesday's orchestra rehearsal, my fingers will be sore!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Into the Car

We are playing a game this morning called "Beat the Tourists!" No time to ponder or to be lazy. No. We have to run over the pass to buy groceries for the week and be back before the hoards of tourists make the road impassable. Coffee? Done. Breakfast? Not yet but soon. Dressed? Next on the list.

Yesterday was magical as I got everything done on my list. I washed all the dirty rain spots off all the windows, planted my window boxes in the front, phoned Christien, did my annual hour-long Brain Study test, emailed Lois to keep in touch after her husband's death, ran to Safeway in the morning to avoid the entire coastside and sent about fifty recipes to April and Valarie, two of Michael's nieces. That took a lot of effort and time!

I slept well but am shocked at how late we are now, thanks to daylight savings time! Time to hit the road!

It is going to be glorious here today so I hope to get Michael out for a walk along the coast. That would be wonderful. William is going to phone us around 3PM. We have a lot of catching up to do!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Shorts Weather

I wore shorts yesterday. Shorts! In March! The weather is to return to normal on Tuesday but that means this weekend will be crazy here on the coastside. My plans are to wash the windows, work in the gardens and send some of my recipes to Valarie and April, two of William's cousins. One has food sensitivity issues and the other has a cystic issue that make losing weight nearly impossible. One asked for recipes on Facebook and the other said, "Me, too!" That should take some time.

Everyone's saturation numbers were off in rehab class yesterday because it was warm in the gym. Usually, it is cold, some people complain but we all can breathe a lot better in the cool environment. Since it was unusually warm outside, the thermostat was not set for the warm weather and the gym was very warm. They even sent Richard home after becoming dehydrated. My numbers were okay but I was dripping after I completed the workout.

We came home to a clean house and tried to keep it spotless in anticipation of mom's visit today. She doesn't come often but she loves to just wander through the house and gardens. We don't have a large house but it feels huge compared to her apartment. After our appointments today, we are going to dinner before driving her home. It will be a fun day together. She and Michael don't have a lot of opportunity to just chat so I try to be quieter to let them enjoy each other.

And is fun news, the dress I bought for the weddings arrived in the mail yesterday. Michael loved it but I thought was a bit tight. I think I am going to see if I can lose a couple of pounds or if I need to see if the seams have enough to let it out just a bit. I am afraid that if I eat at the weddings, I will break the zipper! It was tight mid-back.

Enjoy your Friday. Get out and move and remember to eat well.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pots - Done

What a great day! We were up and out early. I drove into town for my dentist appointment while Michael walked in! He wanted the exercise and it was a beautiful day. We met afterward, went to our very famous local nursery and BOOM. Nothing. No plants. No rocks for the pots. So, we drove to the other nursery and, as I was walking through the plants trying to get ideas, I stumbled across some Bird of Paradise in the small gallon containers. No trimming. No mess. Interesting looking against the fence. Perfect! We then hit the hardware store for small rocks and bought some lunch on the way home.

After the pots were filled and planted, we did the entire yard. Well, not the weeding or small detail stuff but the big work was done! We sat out in back with our ice water and chatted while I would run in and out to check on Michael's breakfast for the next few days - Shrimp Stuffed Eggs. Done. After a bit, I changed clothes once again and went to the orchestra rehearsal.

Mozart. Marriage of Figaro overture. HARD. I was not looking forward to it but magic happened. It was only the second time I had played it and it really began to come together. I think there is hope!

Today, the housekeepers are coming so I must just hang around town until 11:00 when I will pick Jeannie up for rehab class. I feel like I have lost another pound or two. Side note: my dress for the weddings has been shipped and I so hope it fits!

Mom phoned yesterday. She fell at Macy's on Tuesday. The wonderful security guy made her not get up until he checked her out then he escorted her around the store to return one shirt and find something else. He made sure she was okay. She said her bottom took the brunt of the fall. But, she then got into her car and it wouldn't start. Finally, she got it going. When she got home, she found out she lost her keys to the apartment. By the end of the day, the keys were found in the car, she realized that she had her foot on the gas and not the break when trying to start her car and she was not even bruised. Michael and I will be talking with her Friday night to ask that if she ever falls, especially away from home, PLEASE phone Michael ASAP. He is usually just minutes away. She should not have tried to drive as she was still shaken from the fall. She doesn't want to be a burden and really doesn't recognize that she is 88-years old.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Say AHHHH! I have a dentist appointment for a good cleaning early this morning! I love the feeling of totally clean teeth until the first meal afterward. Michael is going to walk into town while I am in the chair, we will meet there then drive to the nursery to buy the plants, dirt and rocks for the bottom of the pots for the side yard. Fun!

No rain today so the gardens should get a good workout as well. Then, after leftovers for dinner, I have an orchestra rehearsal tonight. A fun, good day ahead.

It felt fantastic to workout in the rehab class yesterday. I phoned Sherman before the class and we were able to chat a bit. He really is never coming back but I still want to stay in touch with him. I deeply miss him in my life.

I felt a little tickle in my throat that is usually a sign of a cold coming on. I also just learned that the husband of one of the Irish Fiddlers is really sick and I had been played with her last Friday. So, before bedtime last night, I took the two over-the-counter drugs that make up my old Aprodine and I feel great this morning. No tickle. No sinus dripping. If I feel anything as the day continues, I will begin a several day treatment of Coldcalm. That should knock it down. Hopefully!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Mom and I were laughing about something over lunch when I was overcome with a sense of gratefulness that we were together. Laughing. Happy. Enjoying each other. It is such a blessing that she is active and healthy and that we can have this time of our lives together. I often think of my grandmother who was also very close to her mother and, in fact, they died just months apart. They had been just as close.

So much of me hopes that she doesn't have to bury me. That is just too much pain for a parent to have to endure. When I was given the bad diagnosis, one of two things that drove me to fight it: my mom losing a child and my son losing his mother too soon. You might think that Michael would be first but I always knew that he will be devastated when I die but he would carry on. Having given him my full consent that he marry again, I really don't think he will. I predict that he and William will spend a lot of time together but I really see him moving closer to British Don, where ever he lands. Michael is one strong person who has lots of friends but is still so independent. I know that, with time, he will be fine.

I guess the five deaths so far this years makes me ponder my own. It can happen so quickly. Maybe that was the reason I felt special joy for the time I was spending with my mom yesterday. A reminder that life is growing shorter and to grab these special moments.

Monday, March 6, 2017

iPhone 6S

What a day! It even included a bit of hail! We drove to the city yesterday for a nice cup of coffee and a late lunch with British Don. He leaves next Sunday to meet his new grandson in Nashville. I bought a little baby bib at the local surf shop to take with him so his daughter will be reminded of her early childhood here in our little town. He was so looking forward to the trip. But, the real reason for our meeting was to pass along my new iPhone 6S. Holy cow. What a difference from my iPhone 4. He searched online for a refurbished one and it is spotless, the battery holds longterm and we got it for a really good price.

After coffee, we went to our favorite French cafe and had a lovely lunch. Michael didn't split his choice again so I ate less than half of mine then he enjoyed the rest for dinner last night. I was too full for dinner. From there, we spent over an hour at the AT&T store transferring all my old phone info into my new phone. Fortunately, I had my computer with me so it went smoothly.

I have a new/old phone! Exciting!

This morning, Mom and I are heading to the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto in search of a dress to wear to the two upcoming weddings this summer. It should be fun. Looking for a cute dress for a good price.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lunch and a Phone

The rain beat me yesterday. It began before I was able to work in the yards. Nuts! Last night, the storm was so large was that it woke us both twice! I spent the day first with a morning nap - a surprise to me, too! - then I finished the preparations for our taxes. I organized all the paperwork from this year and began my 2017 files. After about four hours of having to focus on details, I was done! It was fun to turn my attention to making some great fish tacos for dinner.

British Don has been searching for a "refurbished" iPhone 6 for me to replace my iPhone 4. He found a beautiful rose gold one, totally checked it out and it is now ready for us to pick it up. We will be making the exchange today at a late lunch in the city.

The past several weeks after  I kicked up my exercise, I have been sleeping so well. Since I had doctors and mom on Thursday and Friday, I couldn't exercise so I was planning to get a good workout in the garden yesterday. The rain arriving early put the kibosh on that! So, last night, I slept until midnight then I just couldn't sleep. My body wanted to move! Why didn't you exercise? I had worked on paperwork and not on my thighs! Finally, around 2AM, I moved to the living room couch and finally fell asleep. Twice, the rain hitting the windows near my head woke me up but I soon drifted back to sleep. Morning came early when I heard Michael moving around at the back of the house. Time to get up! 6:15AM! Hopefully, getting out into the world will help with sleep tonight!

My little Irish Fiddling group was part of a silent auction for the local grade school last night. We offered music for two hours, ten people bid on us and we were finally sold for $340.00. So great for the school.

I think I may need a little nap again this morning but I am so looking forward to being with British Don and Michael this afternoon. And, I will get my new/refurbished iPhone. What a day!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fiddling Around

It is going to be a race to beat the rains this morning. The grass needs cutting and I want to do a very quick cleanup of the gardens. It will be a push. By 9AM, I will be out there mowing. (I don't like to go out too early on the weekend as some people like to sleep in!) Hope I can beat the rains.

We had a nice audience at the gig in the organic market last evening. They paired us with a wine tasting that welcomed the customers as they walked through the doors. I was first to arrive and there was a couple of tourists from Russia and one of our few homeless guys sitting at the tables having some dinner. They were chatting, I told them about the music and when it was going to begin and the tourists had a question, "Do you mean that there will be free live music and free wine?" I nodded. "This is an amazing country!" Since they were sitting at small tables behind us, we referred to them as our backstage pass audience.

When the homeless guy left after over an hour of music, he put $5.00 in our tip jar. I looked him in the eyes and asked, "Are you sure?" He smiled at me and said, "Absolutely." We each vowed to give him $5.00 when we bump into him at his spot outside of Safeway with his "tip" jar.

We played well and even tried out several of the new pieces, which went better than expected. All the practice and focus is towards St. Patrick's Day and a big gig at the local English restaurant/pub. We are playing in the local Wine and Cheese store the following day. My fingers are going to sore!

In medical news, I haven't heard from the doctor regarding my liver Fibroscan nor from the nutritionist regarding the question of probiotics. While in his office on Thursday, he mentioned that there might be a conflict between my azathioprine (Imuran) and the specific probiotic. Since he is the only person who really sees me as a whole person and not just a specific organ, I trust him. He was going to do some research and let me know if I should continue with it or not. Will pass it along if I hear anything.

I always assume no news is good news.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Two Appointments in Two Days

I am sick of driving and sick of traffic. The two trips into the city for doctor's appointments in two days was enough, thank you very much!

Wednesday, it was Liver Clinic morning for a Fibroscan at noon. No food for three hours beforehand and I remember the scan I had two years ago took about thirty minutes. I arrived 45-minutes early, they took me right in, I had the sonogram of my liver and it took a total of 10-minutes. Done before my appointment time! I am considered stable so I don't expect to hear from the doctor unless something is very wrong. We will talk about the results of this test during our next phone appointment.

Thursday, I left the house at 5:45AM for the 7:45AM appointment with the nutritionist. I always allow two hours to get to that area deep into the city. I was also concerned about possible commute traffic that early. In the past, I have needed every minute of the two hours but yesterday, I flew into the city, all the side streets were clear, I found street parking and made the entire trip in 45-minutes. I was really early. Nothing was opened. I sat in the car then sat in the lobby of the building as the elevator would not allow me onto the 5th floor until 7:30AM. It was cold. It was cold in my car. It was cold in the lobby. I was very happy to finally arrive in the office where it was warm.

I had not seen the nutritionist since AUGUST! I couldn't believe it. Through a few misunderstandings, I thought he had left the practice. Finally, I figured it out and made this appointment. I told him my story and made him promise never to leave me! He promised! So, there I was. I had not stepped on a scale since August. There were the holidays and the vacation to Palm Springs and a visit with William since the last weigh-in. I was nervous. I felt I was going to be 2-3 pounds heavy. I stepped on the scale. I was a pound less than the last weigh-in and weighed less than I have weighed since 1989. Wow. Deep relief!

Next week, I am going wedding dress shopping. We have two weddings this summer and I am going to buy a nice, summer dress.

Mom and I are together today. No plans but expecting fun.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Here is the site with slides of the recent Webinar presented by the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. It is filled with interesting information so if you have HP, check it out HERE

The daily exercise continues to bring more energy to my life and I still feel fantastic. In the rehab class yesterday, I nailed the workout and my numbers were higher than usual. Wonderful. The new car pool situation went very smoothly.

At the class, Ron suddenly appeared by my side. We had not seen him in several weeks. He was the man who had lung transplants just over a year ago and had answered so many of my questions. As we are Facebook buddies, I thought he was out in the world having fun but was surprised that he had been really sick. Trying to fight something, he was given antibiotics and it thew off all the other drugs. The rejection drug was one of them and it took time to get it all back into balance again. He is a small man and mentioned that he lost over 10 pounds, not something he can afford. It was so good to see him and look forward to him restarting the class next week.

Today, I am having a Fibroscan of my liver. It is a rather new, simple test using sound waves, that gives a very clear condition of a liver instead of just a bit of it in a biopsy. It takes 10 minutes in the clinic. Painless. Since losing weight and taking Lipitor to combat cholesterol from twelve-years of prednisone, my liver seems to be happy. It had been swollen and sore. Not good!

Michael and I are meeting afterward for some food shopping then I have an orchestra rehearsal tonight.

Everyday I can drive myself, run my life and play music is a gift. As the disease continues forward, I am mindful that all of this could stop soon. I so appreciate every moment.