Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John's Latest Health Update

This should be the last update until late October.

John had an appointment yesterday with his oncologist, Dr. Sunita Nasta at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  It was a good appointment, once we got into the exam room to talk to her.

John thought he needed to be there by 10:30 for labs, but he really wasn't scheduled until 11:30.  That was fine.  He got his blood drawn, then we went to eat at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop, which is attached to the hospital.  Great little place!  There are several across the country.  I had a lot of meals there when John was HUP for his transplant 2 years ago.  I enjoyed the roast beef with provolone sandwich, while John had the Italian.  We both got Broccoli Cheddar soup, since it was Tuesday.  YUM!!

So we go back to the Perleman Center to wait for John to be called.  John spent most of the time talking back to the TV which was set for a news station (CNN maybe, not sure)  Not all the patients were waiting for Dr. Nasta (but it sure felt like it!).  She only handles lymphoma and leukemia.  But still, this place was hopping yesterday.  John's appointment was for 11:45.  They called him into the exam room at 2 pm.  Sheesh.

Not long after, Dr. Nasta came in.   She didn't look concerned, like the last time.  She told us that the 2nd PET scan had her puzzled.    They had the scan repeated because John was showing activity in his chest, with a couple of nodes lighting up (showing signs of cancer) but the nodes were very small, about the size of a bee bee pellet.  The 2nd scan showed a node lit up in the groin, but the ones on the chest were gone.  The 1st scan didn't show any activity in the groin.  I said the node was like a gremlin, hopping about on the scans to confuse everyone.  

Dr. Nasta has determined that the cancer is not showing signs of returning at this time.  She did, however, ask for a CT scan of his pelvic area to be done in 3 month's time, in October.  She doesnt' want John to get another PET scan because she says he'll be glowing in the dark if he gets any more! (PET scans are nuclear and CT scans have less radiation).  John had just gotten to the point where he was seeing her every 6 months but now he's back to every 3 months, at least for the time being.

She does want to be told if John loses 10 lbs or more (he's already lost about 10 lbs, but that could be because of his diabetes) , if he develops a fever repeatedly or if he gets bad night sweats.  

So the final diagnosis is that John is still in remission and he's coming up on his 2nd re-birthday on August 28!  And yes, we do celebrate it!  So stay tuned for another update around Halloween and hopefully, I'll still have good news!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Unbelievably hot.  Thank goodness for a/c!

Want to try your own Six Word Saturday? Go see Cate at Show My Face and link up!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday's Music Moves Me

This week's Mon days Music is a Freebie theme.  We can put up whatever we want!  So I chose a few of my all-time favorites.  XmasDolly is one of the hosts of Monday's Music Moves Me.  You can follow the ink and see what other folks have contributed!

This first one is my very favorite version of  Beethoven's Ode To Joy.  It's the funky rendition of Joyful Joyful from the movie, Sister Act 2.  

I've always loved Petula Clark!  Here is My Love, from 1966.

I used to have a Best of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons album that I'd play really loud when I was cleaning.  This song was written for just Frankie Valli.  His producer didn't think it was a good song for him, but he recorded it anyway, and I'm sure glad he did!  You're Just Too Good To Be True

Oh!  Now this song brings me back to 1969, when I was absolutely in love with this song and BJ Thomas!  I played this song over and over and over again!  sigh!  Hooked On A Feeling

And last, but certainly not least (and forgive me if I did this one before), when I was in 8th grade, The Cowsills stole my heart, Barry Cowsill in particular!   The TV show The Partridge Family was based on The Cowsills, a family band with mom and all the kids singing!  Sadly, Barry Cowsill lost his life in Hurricane Katrina.  This is my very favorite song of theirs.  Here is The Rain, The Park and Other Things.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday's Music Moves Me: I heart Broadway

HEY!!  Remember me?  I haven't done a Musical Monday in quite a while!   I guess I sort of took a break from blogging for a while and I'm getting back into it.  Anyway, Dolly told me that this week's theme was a Patriotic song or a Broadway hit tune.  Well, I don't know if you know this, but I am a Drama Mama!!  I'm also patriotic, but I really am a Drama Mama!  I might even get that as my license plate!

The reason I'm a Drama Mama is because my 2 girls were bitten by the acting bug.  Both girls were in at least 1 or 2 high school musicals when they were in grade school and little kids were needed.  Then, as each girl went to high school, they joined the Drama Club (Gina was President her senior year and Dani was Treasurer her Senior year).  Gina had the lead in her Junior (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz) and her Senior year (Narrator in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).  Not to be outdone, Dani had leads too!  In Junior year, she was Amazing Maizie in Seussical the Musical, and in her Senior year, she was Little Red Riding Hood in Into The Woods!  

Both girls have amazing singing voice!  Not sure where they got them.  I can't sing to save my life and their dad can carry a tune but that's about it.  I spent a LOT of time, volunteering at the school.  I made the programs for 3 plays a year for about 7 or 8 years. I sold tickets, I worked in the costume shop, I sold T-shirts, and I drove those girls to a lot of practices over the course of 11 years! 

Gina went on to earn her degree in Theatre, with a concentration on acting/directing.  She now writes and does voiceovers for commercials.  Dani went to college for theatre also, but decided by the end of her freshman year that she REALLY wanted to do hair!  So she went to hairdressing school and is getting ready to take her state test for her license.  Don't be surprised, if, a few years down the road, you find out that Dani is working for a studio in California, doing hair and make up.  And trust me, if it happens I'll be shouting from the rooftops!

Oh my!  I really do seems to be rambling on!  So, to get to my selection for this week.  A few years ago, I absolutely fell in love with the musical Wicked.  Everyone knows what Wicked is about, so I won't get into that.  This song, For Good is at the end of the play.  It's a duet with Elphaba aka Wicked Witch of the East (Idina Menzel) and  Galinda aka Glinda the Good Witch (Kristen Chenowith).  It's very poignant, and I cry every time I hear it.

So, without further ado, I give you...

For Good

I'm limited:
Just look at me - I'm limited
And just look at you -
You can do all I couldn't do, Glinda
So now it's up to you
(spoken) For both of us
(sung) Now it's up to you:

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend:
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you:

Because I knew you:

I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for

But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share

And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled Like a ship blown
From orbit as it Off it's mooring
Passes a sun, like By a wind off the
A stream that meets Sea, like a seed
A boulder, half-way Dropped by a
Through the wood Bird in the wood

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better?

And because I knew you:
Because I knew you:

Because I knew you:
I have been changed for good.

Marie, at Xmas Dolly reminded me that I should join in to Monday's Music Moves Me again.  Why not take a stab at it!  Each week is a theme and it's fun to see what everyone comes up with!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

John's health update

John had his PET scan redone two weeks ago, on June 28.  He couldn't get an appointment to see Dr. Nasta until July 26.  So he called on Friday to see if they'd give him the results of his scan.  And it looks like the test NEGATIVE!!  And he's still in remission!!!  Woo hoo!  And WHEW!!!

I'll be doing another update after his appointment at the end of the month.  But it was a relief to hear this news!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Six Word Saturday: Wedding!

The wedding last Saturday was beautiful!!!

and especially the Bride!

Want to try your own Six Word Saturday? Go see Cate at Show My Face and link up!

p.s.  there are more photos on the blog post below this one!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The bride was breathtaking and I have the pictures to prove it!

Yesterday my daughter's wedding day finally arrived!  I have a few photos that someone took and posted to Facebook, so I'm going to post them here.

The rehearsal on Friday night went smoothly.  A funny moment was when the parents had to go up on the altar and each light tapered candles.  So Gene and Jane (parents of the groom) and Greg (my ex) and I walk up the steps to the altar.  The priest tells Greg and me that we should be showing love and affection as we do this.  I turn to the nun who is helping with rehearsal and say, "Doesn't Father know that we're divorced??"  Later on, Father tells us to act like we know each other!  LOL!!  Too funny!

Rehearsal dinner was good!  Hot roast beef sandwiches and baked ziti with meatballs and salad.  Fresh fruit, cheese and pepperoni  and crostini as appetizers.  One of Gina's friends made a really fun cake out of Tastycake tandytakes! (if you're from the greater Philadelphia area, you'll "get" this!)   What fun!

We woke up early on Wedding Day because all the bridesmaids, the bride, the flower girl and mother of the groom had appointments to get their hair done.  My daughter, Dani, just finished hairdressing school, so she did Gina's hair.  The salon owner was kind enough to give Dani a station to work while the others were getting their hair done. I did my own hair since it's so short.  

We got back to the house for lunch and to get ready for the wedding.  I kept my cool all the while Gina was getting her makeup done and getting dressed.  Her Dad showed up around 2 pm, took one look at her in  her gown and started crying.  YES!!  He cried before I did!  Gina asked me to get a box out of the closet and bring it down, and THAT'S when I lost it!  When Gina was Christened, someone gave her a hankie, sewn into the shape of a bonnet, with a poem attached.  She was supposed to wear the bonnet at her Baptism, and then, when she was getting married, to carry it on her wedding day (ok, I'm getting all filled up just typing this!).  I saved the hankie for Gina all these years, and when she got engaged last year, I gave it to her, in the original box!  Then I forgot all about it.  So, when I got the box out of the closet, I just lost it!  So silly to be affected by something silly like that!

An amusing incident.  I bought my shoes and bag at DSW.  On Saturday morning, I showed the shoes to Jane (mother of the groom).  She informs me that she has the exact shoes in silver!  A few hours later, when Greg and Pam are at the house and I'm putting my shoes on, Pam tells me that she was going to buy those exact shoes in silver but chose another pair instead! And all of our dresses coordinated too.  I wore light blue, Jane wore dove gray and Pam wore dark blue and it was a complete coincidence!

Click on the pictures to enlarge them

 My son is escorting me down the aisle.  

The ceremony went off without a hitch.  The church is just lovely and Gina's good friend, Morgan cantored the wedding and she did a magnificent job!  Morgan has a gorgeous voice!  I guess Greg and I showed enough love and affection because Father seemed pleased with our performance at the candle lighting ceremony.  Hahaha!!!

 Here comes the bride!

 Gina with her dad, going down the aisle

 my daughter, Dani, a bridesmaid

the bridesmaids

I did get a little tickle from something.  At rehearsal, only people directly involved in the wedding ceremony were permitted to be there, so Greg's wife wasn't there.  Greg was sitting with me in the pew.  On the day of the wedding, she sat in the row behind us and he went into a bit of a panic because he didn't know whether to sit with me or sit with her.  He sat with me.  Hehehehe  I think if John was there, sitting in my pew with me, Greg would have sat with her.  But John chose not to go to the wedding (the jerk).

 saying their vows

 the deal is done, and sealed with a kiss!

lighting the Unity Candle

The reception was held at the Clarion Hotel (Greg worked there as the food and beverage director when Gina was a baby, so we got some extra special treatment.)  Open bar for 5 hours, sit down dinner, good food, drinks were flowing.  The featured drink of the bride and groom was a Lemon Drop Martini.  I think I had 6 of them!  They were yummy!!  They must have been weak ones because I never got even close to being drunk!  I felt fine all night, although I would not have gotten behind the wheel of a car.

The DJ was AWESOME!!  Her name is Jenny Z and she sometimes works at the radio station where Gina and Gene work.  Jenny mostly works at a sister station in Maryland since it's closer to her home than Wilmington, but she has a DJ business on the side.  I was very happy when Gina told me that Jenny was working her wedding!  Some of the other DJs were there as guests.  

A friend of Gina's made the cake.  The cake topper was the bride and groom high-5-ing each other.  My daughter, Dani spied the cake in the corner and realized the bride and groom were standing side by side on top of the cake, in what looks like a Nazi salute (Heil Hitler!)!!!  She quickly found a server and asked her to fix it!  I wonder if anyone got a "before" shot?  By the way, the cake was scrumptious!!!  Bibi did a fantastic job!

 this wedding cake was yummy!

 a close-up of the topper

she got him good!

When it came time to throw the bouquet and garter,  not sure how it happened, but the ring bearer and the flower girl were the big winners!!!  Hahaha!!!  Patrick put the garter on Leah's arm! 

the bouquet and the garter

The reception lasted until 11 pm.   We had 17 rooms booked for overnight guests.  The bar was scheduled to close at 9 pm (apparently Saturday is the slowest night of the week).  Greg slipped the general manager some dough and asked her to open the bar for the overnight guests, and they did!  We had that place filled and hopping until the wee hours of the morning!  The father of the bride got rather drunk, and I'm happy to say I never did!  He had to go to bed, which was disappointing because he was paying for my drinks!  I still did my fair share of drinking (Captain Morgan and Diet Coke) and even did 2 shots (I NEVER do shots!)!  My son bought me a Mind Eraser (kahlua, vodka and club soda), and my niece's fiance (and our wedding photographer) bought me a Dirty Girl Scout (vodka, Kahlua, Baileys and white creme de menthe)  It tasted like a thin mint!  I finally went to my room around 2:30 am. 

 these were taken with my cell phone.

Gina and me!

my favorite son-in-law and me!  

 my daughter, Dani and me!

my son, Tim and me!

Gina and Gene had the Bridal Suite for the night.  This morning she messaged me to come downstairs for breakfast.   And Gene called me Mom.  It made my day!   And on Monday, they leave for a week-long honeymoon in Aruba!