Day 2 – Round 2

DSCF9525 (2)  This little shuttle is a life saver.   The hotel runs several every hour.   They go from door to door.   No having to stress out over driving in major rush hour traffic…no paying $15.00 for valet parking and no trying to find a place to park in the public parking areas.

In addition to that,  the hotel puts on a wonderful breakfast buffet and gives folks with a medical reservation a voucher for the breakfast/buffet.   How can you beat that?

We’re right across the street from about 30 stores/eateries and around the corner from Joe’s Crab Shack and about 20 more eateries.

Think we’ll be repeat customers.

Testing was … well…. testing.    Been shot up, felt up, poked and prodded.   I’ve been radioactive-vated, x-rayed, bone scanned and a few other not so exciting things.   Was glad to get the little IV port out and be disconnected from the tubing.    I’m thankful it’s over for this trip.   We did pick up the appointment schedule for October.   That will be another 3 day ordeal…only because they cannot run certain tests within 24 hours of each other…and I’ll see the dr. last thing.

To show it wasn’t all torture,   this is where we went tonight…..

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Overseas, this was one of my most favorite stores.   I’ve been wanting to get into this store since 2000.   Tonight, we did and I was very disappointed.   Things were not as I remembered.    I was looking for new dishes to match the ones we have – wrong.   Found the same manufacturer, but the colors were so different, there was no way they could be mix or match with our old ones.   The other brands, styles were pastel colors and in my opinion….ugly.

The little storage boxes I was looking for – nope.  Those aren’t around anymore either.   And so on and so forth.   Some cute lamps, wonderful pop up baskets and a couple of cool rugs.    We weren’t in there for very long and Ernie couldn’t believe it when I was ready to check out.   Maybe we’ll check them out in another 13 years, lol.

We’ll be heading for Burkett tomorrow.   I’m ready to be home again.  Oh…would you believe I still haven’t found a decent Houston map???   Guess nobody around here ever needs to know where they are…or perhaps the GPS business has replaced paper maps.   In  my opinion, the GPS is okay in most situations, but faced with construction, she cannot find her way out of a paper sack.   Tonight,  we passed an exit just as she told us we needed to turn.   Then she got huffy at having to recalculate.

Oh well.   Don’t need her in Burkett.

Susan ~ Patchkat


What a rat’s maze ~

MD Anderson is a HUGE place.   There are a million hallways, walkways and offices.  There are 6 elevators that go to totally different clinics on 10+ floors.   Of course,  elevator A is on one end and F is somewhere unknown to man.   The one’s in between are scattered and don’t necessarily go to every floor.   Then there are walkways over the roads to more clinics, labs, hotels.

DSCF9524   This was the little “you are here” sign in front of elevators A.

The staff was exceptionally nice and helpful.  The other patients….really depressing.  Lots of people walking around, heads down, all hope gone.   I couldn’t stand working with that day in and day out.  My hat is off to all those employees who stay cheerful in those trying situations.

We’ll go back tomorrow for more scans, x=rays and receive the schedule for additional testing in 2 weeks.    The Dr is thorough.   She has already read through all my written reports from previous scans, but she hasn’t seen the disks yet.   She said it would probably be another week or so before they would be scanned into their computers and read outs made for her.

She did have some encouraging words – but didn’t want to give us false info, so we’ll discuss further treatment when we see her again in a couple of weeks.   She explained a lot more about thyroid cancer and how it responds to the chemo treatments/radiation I’ve already had.   Was very interesting.   She also praised my local oncologist for being so diligent in her research and finding those treatments.   Said it’s very unusual to find one who will go the extra mile to figure out new treatments.  Will have to pass that along to Dr. Aks when we see her next.

Our hotel is right across the street from a BIG LOTS and about a dozen restuarants.  We had dinner and visited the Big Lots.   Was a little disappointed.  Think the store in Brownwood is better stocked.   But…it did relax me.  That’s a good thing.  Maybe tomorrow night we can visit the IKEA store.  Haven’t been in one of those since early 2000.

That’s it for tonight.  It’s been a long, trying day.   Think it’s time for bed for this chickee.

Susan ~ Patchkat


Off on another adventure???

We finally got on the road about 2pm….when I left the office,  there were five (5) Scissor tails swooping over the van and into the trees.   They were chattering and playing…made me smile.   Thank you Lord for an uplifting sight when I needed the cheering up!!!

Saw a really interesting place with lots of lawn statuary.   There were chickens, cows, bulls, fountains.  Told Ernie we need to stop there so I can get a life size cow for the back yard, lol.  Wouldn’t eat much, certainly won’t foul things up and won’t walk off of it’s own accord.


This was one of our stops in Chappell?   at least I think that’s where we were.  By this time,  I was in need of meds…back side getting sore from riding.  The drive was nice as I’ve only been this way (36) one other time.  Lots of beautiful horse and cattle ranches.   The cattle are different from the ones around our area…brahma and red angus.   Fat and sassy, really sleek fur.

We found an IHOP a little closer into Houston and had double decker BLTs!   Yum.  Service was slow but the sandwiches were good.  I ate a little over half of mine and a few fries.   My sweet hubby finished it off so I didn’t look so wasteful.  I hate leaving food on a plate.




DSCF9523 (2)   While we were in IHOP, it was time to consult the map and see where we were going…I’m sure they thought we were nuts.  Houston has outgrown our outdated map but the main roads are still the same.

We used the Garmin and she actually got us right to the hotel with no mix-ups or problems.  I’m glad we came in 2 hours after rush hour.   Living in the country has left me terrorized of traffic.  Especially at night when I cannot tell what lane the vehicles are in.   Scary.

Now it’s time for a quick shower and bed.   I suspect morning will come too early…no matter what time I wake up.

Susan ~ Patchkat

We’re off to see the wizards of science…

Today is the day we head for Houston.   Nothing like a brisk morning of work…then 6 hours of driving :-)    I’m so fortunate to have Ernie as my chauffer.   I don’t do well with distance driving anymore….and neither of us enjoys night driving.   Boy!  What a change.   In my single days, it was nothing to jump in the car with the girls and make the 9 hour drive from El Paso to Arlington.   We would hit the road after 5PM.    Sometimes we’d spend the night in Midland/Odessa area…sometimes we’d drive straight through.   Now,   I wouldn’t dream of leaving after 5PM and if I did,  we’d be stopping for the night in Van Horn, lol.   2 hours would be my max.

Things have sure changed as I’ve gotten older.

I’m thankful Ernie is willing to tackle the driving challenges leaving me to sit in the passenger seat and kibitz or holler depending on how I like his driving!   I think he wears ear plugs – or mentally turns on his selective hearing.   He does occasionally offer to change places with me.

I’m also thankful our daughter Stacie is available and willing to come kitty/house sit when needed.   The kitties don’t even know we’re gone as Stacie spoils them sooooo bad.

Please keep us in your prayers as we make the trip and I go through the testing (torture).

Susan ~ Patchkat


Sometmes, the things meant to help you….hinder you more!

Last week was my monthly visit with the Oncologist.   They always play vampire and take tubes of blood…and the folks in the chemo lab love to shoot me up with Xgeva which is to help the bones.    In between,  I see the Dr , ask my questions, and get the current lab results which suddenly indicated I’ve become anemic…severe iron deficiency!   I’ve NEVER been anemic…ever.

That’s a major change from the last month’s readings, so when we arrived home,  I got out the ol’ laptop and researched a few things.   Come to find out,  the Nexium that was prescribed for the hiatal hernia last month….can cause severe anemia.    Guess who has opted to quit taking the Nexium.   That is one of the dangers of taking so much medication.   A med that can be great for one problem may have bad interactions with another…or cause it’s own problems.

Since we’re going to MD Anderson this week,  the Dr. didn’t change my meds.  Guess she figures they’ll change stuff around after they run their own tests and blood work.    I’m sure they will, but to me,  the indications are so strong that the Nexium caused the anemia that I decided it wasn’t worth it to continue.   Anemia for a cancer patient is NOT a good thing.

For  those on medications and with health issues,  it’s worth taking the initiative to research all meds and current health problems.   From my research,  I’m seeing it’s not uncommon for a good drug to cause bad problems for some people.  The research gives us information to talk sensibly with the Drs.   Researching newly prescribed drugs should be an automatic thing.  The better educated we are about our health, the drugs and treatments, the more involved we can be in our own well being.

Susan ~ Patchkat

She loves me, she loves me not…..

Cassie Brad wedding 067  Little Isaac loves the flowers.  He took his boutineer apart at Alexandria’s wedding,  ate his Grandma’s corsage and played with all the flowers he could reach.   Here he is with one of the Bridesmaid’s bouquet….I think someone rescued it after this photo.   Doesn’t he look sharp in his little suit!

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Then there is Cassie’s brother, Hunter….once again,  he provided the Wedding March music on a keyboard…flawlessly I might add!   He’s 10 and can read music better than most according to his teacher.   Another sharp dresser!    He had his shotgun shell boutineer all the way through the reception.






Here we have the groom with the bridesmaids….











and the bride with the groomsmen….










Cassie’s Papa Tom and Nana


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and Ernie and I…..not sure what Ernie was doing but you can tell the wind was blowing.   We made it through the service without lots of wind.  Afterwards, the clouds came up along with the winds.  No rain though.


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Susan ~ Patchkat

and the wedding….

The 2nd trip to Wisconsin was uneventful just like we like them.   We flew Southwest Airlines…what a cattle car!   We got on an empty plane in Dallas…not an empty seat when we left.   A short stop in Kansas City where the cattle was unloaded and a new herd ushered onboard.  Once again, not an empty seat.   We’re talking about 3 seats on a side and each seat allowed about 16″ per butt.   CROWDED.   Was glad to disembark in Milwaukee and stretch a little.   We were met by the local wheelchair service and taken all the way to the rental car.  That was really nice.

Sadly,  the rental car people were a little on the rude and difficult side, but Ernie’s good nature prevailed and we were soon on our way in a little Chevy? Cruze.    Tiny car, great on gas mileage and good handling.     The Garmin finally located enough satellites to figure out where we were and head us on towards Oshkosh.    Enjoyed a quick lunch at the Cracker Barrel near Germantown, then back into the little sardine can to finish our drive to Ripon.

Checked into the hotel (think this was our 5th stay with them in as many years).    We were given a room with the bestest recliner in the area!   Between the recliner, a heating pad, pain pills and a blankie….I was good!   That was my go to place when my hip started hurting.  A few minutes on high and stretched out and I was ready to go again.

Had yummy meals at a little restaurant on Watson St called Kristina’s.   Everything from breakfast to Gyros!   We enjoy eating there.

Several trips to Christy’s to check on wedding plans and the hair/make up progress,  rehearsal and the dinner, then suddenly,  the day was upon us.   It was 70ish, sunny and absolutely perfect for an outdoor wedding.  The bride and her attendants were gorgeous…groom and his entourage were pretty sharp too!



Here we have proud parents and newly weds…Mr and Mrs Brad Lynn.

Of course, there were a ton of tissues in evidence and almost as many cameras.  As I am presented more photos,  I’ll try to post a few more.   These are just the ones the kids have posted on FB so far.

The bride’s family….




Grandparents, Tom and Kathleen, Larry and Karen, Sister Alex & brother-in-law Jim, Cassie and Brad, Grandparents Ernie and Susan, Parents Rustin and Christy…and in front,  Cassie and Brad’s son Isaac and Cassie’s brother Hunter.    Quite a gathering! and 4 generations on Cassie’s line.


Finally,  time to head off to the reception at the country club.  Good food, great DJ and enjoyable family visiting time.    Brad and Cassie in one of Brad’s lovely little Triumphs.   Nice ride!   Stolen kisses too :-)

Susan ~ Patchkat