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AC replaced and Bandit news

I am happy to report that the landlord has replaced the central AC unit and the air compressor outside. Our light bill went down by 45.00 this month. We have the thermostat set on 74 and we are loving it. Speaking of air conditioning, it has been 82 F in my office at work since December when I was forced to move to a different office to make accomodations for a new regional HR person who has yet to show up. I was usually freezing in my old office and would have to put a hoody on. My new office, not so much…. We found out last week that the AC on the roof for our section of the floor is DOA. No wonder we are not getting any air. They are replacing it next Friday just in time for a hot summer that we will probably experience here in SC. We had a very moderate winter (what a joke that was) so we are probably in for a sizzler.

So, yes, I am thankful that we will be nice and cool this summer. After all, fat people hate summer time with all the heat and humidity. I am certainly built for winter and not summer. Speaking of fat people, I have managed to reduce the digits on the scale by 11 pounds. I am still seeing a cardiologist who has managed to use medication to lower my BP. For the first 3 months of this year it was way too high and I was very miserable. My family doctor was prescribing BP meds but they were not doing the job. My next appointment will be on May 12th and hopefully the results of all the tests he has run will give him a clue as to why my BP has been so high. He did say he knows it is not an issue with my kidneys. He said that I could have a thyroid problem that could be causing it. Losing some pounds will go a long way towards reducing the hypertension.

At Coastal Community Church our pastor has been working on a series called the real “F” word. One of those F words is forgiveness. We are called to forgive one another and not hold grudges. People who are the closest to you tend to hurt you the most. They know you better than anyone and they know what buttons to push if we let them. Not only are we supposed to forgive people who spitfully use us or are hateful but we should also forgive people for being human. After all, we are all human and are subject to making stupid mistakes that could hurt someone else.

Oh, did I tell you about Bandit? Bandit is the newest furbaby in our family.

He is so cute. He is a mixture of terrier and chow so he is sort of a Heinz 57 dog. I am hoping that he will be smaller than Willow, our lab. Katy is working with training him to do his business on either the puppy pads in the condo or better yet to go outside to do it. He is only 10 weeks old so he is a bit young yet. I think that we are seeing some small steps towards improvement in that area. Our cat misty loves to roll around and play fight with him and Willow loves to play tug of war with him. We have to remind her to be gentle though since she is 20 times his size right now.

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God’s Not Dead He is surely alive !!

We watched God’s Not Dead He is Surely Alive 2 on Pureflix today.  All I can say is WOW.  Very powerful and compelling movie about a teacher who is pulled into a court room and put on trial for sharing the words of Christ in her history class.  Watch it and share it with the people in the community that God has placed you in on this earth.  You will be glad you did.

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Wheat Belly

I went to visit a cardiologist today after several months of suffering through extremely high blood pressure and generally feeling like crap. It is painfully obvious to me that the primary contributor to my high BP is being morbidly obese.

The cardiologist told me that part of his plan for me is weight management and he told me to buy the book called Wheat Belly.
I am going to buy the book and the cook book and try to educate myself on this diet plan. We will need to learn how to shop differently when we go to the grocery store as well. If we do not have the junk in the house I wont be tempted to eat it.

I have an ultrasound of my belly this Thursday morning which means nothing by mouth from 9 pm Wednesday night until 9 am Thursday morning. Gosh, that should be fun. I will have to suck it up butter cup and just do it. The doctor said if my renal arteries or thyroid were having a problem that could drive my blood pressure up as well so he wants to rule those out.

The doctor is going to call the cardiologist that did my stress test two years ago and use that if possible. They are also going to do an echocardiogram of my heart as well. He looked at the EKG from the ER yesterday and said he did not see anything in those or the chest xray that would indicate cardiac issues.

The doctor is also putting me on Norvast (sp) to help lower my BP. His goal for me is to get it down to 150/90 for now. He told me to stay active but not to push myself at the gym until he has a clearer picture of my cardiac situation.

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Moving towards those golden years

I love the line in the movie Forrest Gump that says. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. Sitting here at the Hollingsworth Cancer Center and waiting on Katy tells me that our chocolate for today is a bit bittersweet. As Katy walks through the process of trying to beat this thing called cancer we both have hope. We have hope that the chom treatments will heal her or at very least slow down any forward progress it might try to make in her body. We fully realize that despite our best efforts and those of medical technology there are no garuntees. I have heard of people who have gone through chemo and radiation and went into remission for many years. I have also hear of people who went into remission to have the cancer come back with a vengenace and they lost the battle.

Katy and I heard of a family friend who lost her battle with cancer this month. Peggy had stage four breast cancer and it spread to her lungs. Katy was able to do a video chat with Peggy back on the 2nd of February and they had reconnected back on 2016 after several years of no communications. That reminds me of the fact that it is very important that we stay connected to our loved ones. Even if the people are family members and we are not that close or maybe they are not our most favorite person. Life is precious and it does not last forever.

Making memories means that we have to move outside of ourselves and share our lives with others. Our future legacy depends on our doing that. As I get older I find myself appreciating peace and quiet and staying to myself. Large crowds of people with lots of noise and activity is not my cup of tea any more. I want to slow down and appreciate life on my own terms.

Over the last couple of years I have been fighting the obesity monster and along with that high blood pressure. As time has progressed it has become increasingly difficult for me to get exercise and I have struggled with eating better. Education is the key and having the motivation to get off my butt and move away from the computer chair is very important to weight loss. I know what to do but have struggled with implementing those changes in my life. I will be going to a cardiologist today so that they can scold me for being so obese and tell me what I already know. Hopefully they can help me manage my blood pressure levels and I can get back to the gym even if it is in small doses. Something has to be better than nothing. I am determined to not give up or give in. I have a lot to live for and I want Katy and I to enjoy our golden years for several years to come.

Wait just a moment…. When ARE the golden years? Maybe we are just looking down the road and see it right on the horizon? We are both in our mid and upper 50’s so maybe we are just middle aged? Only time will tell.

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living in the moment

So, the year 2016 sucked in ways we would have never dreamed of. Who knew that Katy would have to have five surgeries and endure two different rehabs? Three of the surgeries were for a brain tumor and then the discovery of ovarian cancer.

Starting in March of 2016 Katy’s balance got worse and worse and that led to her getting an MRI and discovering that the tumor they had found in 2010 had gotten bigger and required surgery. Fast forward to 2017 and the surgeries are over, rehab is done and Katy is now 70 lbs lighter. Now Katy is facing chemotherapy thanks to the doctors finding a tumor on her right ovary. The tumor is gone, the historectomy has happened and now there are 3 chemo treatments to be had. Two are done and we have one left to go. By the 30th of January 2017 Katy will have had her last chemo treatment. The doctors feel confident that the cancer is gone and she has nothing more to worry about.

In 2015 we started the long and painful process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Katy was not able to work and so we engaged in the mountains of paperwork in hopes of Katy getting disability benefits started. When Katy was no longer able to work and bring funds into the household budget it threw our finances into a tailspin. We survived somehow but it certainly was not fun. We had to learn how to do without a lot of things that we had gotten accustomed to. At the end of September of 2016 Katy was approved for her disability benefits. She received a back payment check which was nice and enabled us to get caught up on our bills and do a couple of other things for each other.

Katy has decided that even if she does get to the point where she can work again she will not be going back to being a special education teacher. Doing that sort of thing is just way too stressful on her now. Katy loves working with ED kids but the severe and moderate kids as well as the baggage that their parents bring to the table is just too much for her to handle.

For now, we are enjoying the fact that Katy has endured the surgeries, rehab and is on the road to recovery. There for a while I was wondering if she was going to make it through 2016 and make it into the new year. We had several scares with the surgeries but we are thankful that she made it through ok.

We have been blessed to have our friends and family members who have supported us the best they could. Our church family was very supportive through it all. I am not sure if we could have done it without the love and support they showed us.

When your loved one goes through something like this you are reminded of your mortality. You are reminded of how precious each moment of life really is. You are reminded of what is important and those things that are really not that important. When you have your health and faith you have everything. Money is important and we do love to have our stuff but when it comes down to it those things are very temporal and insignificant.

Living in the moment is something that we both have to learn how to do. Slowing down and appreciating life more. Focusing on what is important and giving up worrying about those things we have no control over. We cannot cling to those things of the past and we have little to no control over what happens in the future. We have to trust in God to take care of those details. We have faith that God is more than capable of bringing us through the storms of life. We look forward to what the future holds for us.

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Hell has frozen over

Yes, that is right. You read that correctly. It is 29 F in Charleston South Carolina and I can see ice outside of my front door. Hell has certainly frozen over. In the upstate of South Carolina and other geographical locations west and northwest of our location have seen snow. That is ok, we can enjoy this brief winter wonderland today because in less than 7 days it will be 70 degrees again and everything will thaw out. That is what it means to live in the south. If you do not like the weather today, just be patient, it is sure to change and get warmer. How cold is it where you live and what do you do to celebrate it? If you are like us you just throw another log on the fire and wrap up in a blanket and get a cup of coffee and wait it out.

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Merry Christmas

Christmas is almost upon us once again. It seems as if we just finished celebrating it not too long ago. 2016 really zoomed past my family and I and we are hoping for a much better year in 2017. I hope that each of you have a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New year in 2017. Please reach out to friends and family and share the love and Christmas spirit with them. Lets remember that this time of year is tough on a lot of people who have lost loved ones or may be going through a personal struggle of their own.

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Surgery Update Monday August 15th

Katy was taken to surgery around 12:15 pm and was there until around 6:15 pm. The surgery was supposed to last 90 minues but they took their time and did some extra work that they had not anticipated.

Katy is in recovery and will be going to 9 east. They had to remove the ear canal tube that runs between the ear and the back of her nose. The ENT surgeon said it was at a weird angle for some reason and that contributed to the leak.

Katy had no hopes for the hearing in that ear to ever return, so that is why they did it. ENT surgeon said that Katy’s continued leak occurs in less than 5 % of patients. They will keep her for a few days to make sure the leak is stopped and the headaches are gone.

In other news, the ENT surgeon said that he heard the pathology report shows low grade for cancer. At very least she will have to have her female organs removed. The ENT surgeon did not want to speculate about chemotherapy. He is going to give the GI doctors my cell phone number but they may or may not call me.

I am hopeful that Katy will come back home by Thursday or Friday and her headaches will be gone.

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Exploding water bottles

My day started out by runnng errands before going downtown to MUSC to visit with my wife at the hospital. I picked up a prescription at the Kmart pharmacy and then dropped off some books at the Charleston County Library. My next stop was the Sunoco gas station on University blvd. I love to get their freshly made breakfast sandwiches. The fountain drinks all tasted bad so I opted to go to the cooler and get a bottled drink instead. Once I arrived at the cooler I decided against the cherry coke and decided to get a bottle of water. I do not like the Nestle brand of water so I saw a Schepps Cherry water. How could I go wrong? Water with some cherry flavoring.

I purchased my items and off to the parking lot I went. I got settled in, put on my seat belt and then proceeded to open up my bottle of water for a drink. Much to my surprise the water bottle started to spew all over me and the inside of the car. I managed to crank down the bottle cap while spewing forth some verbal carnage of my own. Yes, that is how my day started out. I guess I am lucky that it was not a cherry coke because that could have been much messier to clean up. I had no idea that the bottle contents were carbonated and under pressure. I should know better than to open a bottle in the vehicle since this is not the first time ths has happened to me. Ok, so I am a slow learner.

I managed to make it to MUSC without any further mishaps. I used to park at the older garage across from the childrens hospital entrance but thanks to it being closed I now park at the Rutledge Tower garage which is much nicer and roomier to drive in. I park on the south tower side and walk across the 2nd floor connector which is air conditioned. There are signs that show the path I take as the wellness walk path so that is a good thing.


Katy has been in the hospital this time since Sunday July 31st. April of 2016 is when this brain tumor nightmare journey began. Since then she has had multiple surgeries to seal what appears to be a persistant cerebral spinal fluid leak. This last week they went in and installed a shunt that is supposed to help drain any excessive spinal fluid into a drain tube in her chest Last week they went in to put in the shunt and while looking around in her abdomen with a camera they found that she had a canteloupe sized tumor on her right ovary. Initially they thought her colon was dead but when they opened her up they realized they were looking at a tumor instead. Two weeks later the tumor is out and the shunt has been installed. Unfortunately the shunt has not stopped her nose from leaking cerebral spinal fluid and her headaches are still there. They are going to go back in tomorrow and try to fix the leak again. This will be the 3rd brain surgery so hopefully the 3rd time is the charm.

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Surgery 2016

For those of you that did not know. Katy had a brain tumor removed at the end of April. Then she had a 2nd surgery to plug a spinal fluid leak. Now she is back in the hospital to have a shunt installed. They found a cantaloupe sized tumor on her right ovary. Waiting on pathology report to come back, hoping it is negative for cancer.They are going to put the shunt in sometime in the next 3 to 4 days. Katy is in constant pain in her head and at the incision site where they pulled the ovarian tumor out. On top of all of that I now need a car. Katy is in MUSC room 919 on 9 East. Please say a prayer for her. 

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