Viktor's RecordsMedical

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Day 1 June 10, 2013
After a couple of months of discomfort in his gut, and after Graduation at 
Nightingale School, Viktor spoke with his doctor.
After a short conversation Monday night (June 10, 2013) the Dr. ordered a cat scan
 to see what was going  on in his gut.  This is the Report:

(Click The Document To Enlarge)






The two large masses and several smaller masses were discovered and additional information would be needed
to determine what they were.  By Thursday we called the Dr. to find out what to do. 
 The Dr. was able to schedule the blood work and biopsy
After receiving the results of the cat scan, the Dr. ordered a blood workup, Chest X-Ray to check the lungs and biopsy to determine the type of tumors, whether they were infections and the origin of the tumors. The results of those tests are  below:

(Click Document To Enlarge)












At our Friday Night Jam Viktor determined he still had an infection in his teeth,even after
taking antibiotics for a week.  We were able to get to our dentist on Saturday and have the
another root canal.  By evening the pain in his stomach was lessened.

For the past 30 years Viktor had a theory.  Now, with the pain in his gut better, 
Viktor expanded his theory.  Over the years, he has had 28 root canals and was, 
and is, prone to tooth and sinus infection.  He believes the recurrence of infections could be
 related to his stomach/gut issues and that the mass is could be an infection or cyst.
The first thing we came across in our search was the
following article:
We will add the articles tonight.


Of course, we also were looking at alternative medicine such as juicing therapie like the Gersen Therapy in addition to traditional route we plan to take. 

The Gerson Therapy is a natural treatment that activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself through an organic, vegetarian diet, raw juices, coffee enemas and natural supplements.





At this point, we are looking for an explanation of these tests, and we still have no explanation for

the fever. If Viktor doesn't take his antibiotic his fever skyrockets


We also have a possible in at Rush.  One of the teachers husbands at Nightingale, 

(where Viktor works/volunteers referred to us by Principal Kouretsos and two cancer surviving teachers,) 

 is the head of admissions to the cancer department at Rush.  


Date
 Time
 Observation

 June 13

Thurs


Night 


Temperature 97.2 - 101.0
T-Shirt Soaked as a result of Night Sweat
Swollen and in Pain from the Biopsy Needle 

Stomach tight and bloated - massaging stomach to lessen discomfort
 June 14

Friday

Evening
9:00 p.m.  - 1:30 a.m.


Felt good throughout The Jam
After Jam bottom two teeth felt infected
Started clyndomycin and called Dentist to get
in in the morning to address the issue
Temperature 98.99   


 June 15




June 16
Sunday

 Morning





 Night 
   

Dr Healy re-cleaned out the roots which helped
continued taking Clyndomycin helped with the pain.



T-Shirt Soaked from Night Sweat


June 17

Monday
 
Stomach tight and bloated - massaging stomach to le
ssen discomfort


 June 18

Tues
 
Loss of appetite - Didn't want to eat
Nauseated throughout the day
Stomach tight and bloated - massaging stomach to le
ssen discomfort



 June 19

Wed
 

Noon



We have been accepted into Rush!

We are scheduled for a round table discussion on Tues June 25

and up and down scopes on Wed. June 26


Better Appetite Felt Good All Day
Picked Suzie up with the scooter
 


 June 20

Thursday
 



Daytime (Suzie
went to work)



9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.


Nauseated and tired
Massaged stomach Then napped



Napped Hot Stomach, Elevated Temperature but no sweat 




     












 June 21
































































































June 22 Saturday







Sunday


















Tuesday
June 25, 2013










































Wednesday Night

































Thursday
June 27, 2013 3:00pm

































Friday 
June 28, 2013
























Saturday
 June 29 2013


Sunday
 June 30, 2013




















Monday
July 1








































Tuesday
July 2, 2013





Wednesday
July  3, 2013










Thursday
July 4, 2013





























Friday
July 5, 2013



Saturday
July 6, 2013








Sunday
July 7, 2013




Monday July 8, 2013




Tuesday July 9, 2013






























Wednesday July 10, 2013
One month since I called the doctor









Thursday July 11 , 2013












Friday July 12, 2013



















Saturday July 13,  2013















Sunday July 14,
2013


Monday July 15, 2013








Tuesday July 16, 2013



















Wednesday July 17, 2013














Thursday July 18, 2013








Friday July 18, 2013








 


















































Saturday July 19, 2013























































Sunday July 21







Monday, July 22, 2013




 



All Data  input before this time ( June 21 )
was from Suzie's memory
No data had been compiled







Temperature 99.0
Stomach Area Very Hot
 use cream to cool his feet

light massage - some relief
Stomach tight and bloated


Temperature under the tongue 100.6
Temperature from belly button 102.7

Able to burp occasionally 


Gas relief seems to bring the fever down
Drinking water does nothing
Temperature by mouth 100.4
Temperature by Belly Button 100.0


Head Ache and Fever

Temperature 99.9


Temperature 99.4

Stomach Temperature 99.0

Temperature 100.1

97.7

Our nurse navigator, her name is Kateri,

  was not told about the fever problem or the root canal, Suzie 

said she didn't ask. 

After being told apparently the fever is important.

After some consultation with our

Kateri, she consulted the other doctors

who then recommended that we go to the

emergency room and find out where
 the fevers

are coming from or if there may be other infections

After some blood urine and x-ray tests the 

doctors saw no change in any of the numbers

 from the previous tests done at Westlake Hosp.

and thus concluded that delay in taking my

 antibiotic is what brought on the fevers and

night-sweats and that they were probably a

reaction to the tumors on the liver. They sent 

us home to wait for our Roundtable talks on

Tuesday, and our upper and lower scopes on wed


After a short nap we had a great Jam ( almost 20 Players), more than always a great way to get your spirit up and lose yourself in happiness, comradery and harmony, shelter from the storm, what a lucky man I am.
 I felt fine all night, later we got french fries . No issues today.

Is summer ever coming.
We got up and did our normal Saturday shopping. We went to tiger direct and got a long HDMI cable to connect my computer to the TV. Stopped at Costco and saw one of our good old friends, very nice.
Tried to take a nap but could not sleep, we plan to have a small pizza at 11pm and watch a movie.





In our effort to keep the fevers down
we switched the Clindomycin from 1 every
8 hours to 1 every 6 hours
Felt pretty good most of the day and evening
switched to 1 antibiotic every 7 hours
Ate Pizza and felt good

Went shopping and forgot to take the
antibiotic felt ok
Steve Rigik came by with letters of well wishes
from our many friends at Nightingale School,
very heartwarming visit. Thank you to
our wonderful staff .
Ate some soup but could not take a nap
so we went downtown with our scooters and dogs,
what a beautiful city, forgot my antibiotic and
had to rush home, ate Pizza and felt fine
Went to Best Buy and picked up a computer
to use for the hospital stay ( touch screen
for ease of use if I have limited capability )

Felt pretty good all day except for a short period around 5 pm when there was a pressure change 
in there air from a storm. Weird effect on my sinus
ate twice and watched the Blackhawks big win

Going to the round table meeting at Rush 
Maybe we'll find out a little more today


OK , so here's what we know right now I have 10 or so cancer tumors on my liver.
the plan is to scope me tomorrow to find if there are any blocks in the colon or stomach .
Early next week they will insert a plug into my chest
to administer chemo therapy and take blood it is so they
don't always have to find veins in my arm and to make
the chemo easier to handle. The process is that every
two weeks I have to go in for two hours and then wear a portable walkman size device that will continue administering the chemo for two days at home, at which
point a visiting nurse will remove the device.
They say that this type of chemo will not make me sick
or lose any hair. If they find any colon cancers they will be treated the same way, they said the plan is to shrink the tumors and when small enough maybe  seed the remainder. There was no talk of surgery.
So for the most part we are ok with the plan.


Started the drinking of the stuff to clean me
out for tomorrow's scopes. Total failure. By 10
I looked like I was pregnant and I was sick as
a dog.  The inability to drink Pepsi, the only thing that makes me burp anything, set off severe migraines that were not relieved until around 1:00am and then I was able to sleep, getting up hourly until 7:30 for bathroom breaks. Overnight I sweated and urinated out the
half gallon liquid. I did have some bowel movements, 
but nothing like what everyone said.
holy cow !

We are now on our way, Wednesday, to have the alternate procedure (enema), more blood work and then the scoping.
The esophageal found a few small ulcers in the stomach,which I have medication for.
The colon scope found a tumor in the colon.  I will need a stint to open the blockage caused by that tumor.






They also scheduled the insertion of the portacath for tomorrow, Thursday, and start chemo as soon as we can, probably next week.
At this point they sounded optimistic and that they would be able to control the tumors.  The sooner we get going, the better.
I hope to back with the living by Friday for the
Jam.  See all Jamsters Friday!

Got home about 6:00. Feeling pretty good.  Took  the dogs for a walk and at 9:00 took a nap til 10:00.
Heidi & Luis came over and we had pizza (our new health food) and talked about juicing and the low residue/fiber diet we now have to be on.  Shared some good ideas
and brought up some food for thought.

We are at RUSH again.  Viktor is getting the
portacath inserted on the left side of his upper chest.
Very important since he is a guitar player!
Still getting residuals from that horrible
GoLytle solution.  Other than that he is feeling pretty
good.  He should be out around 5:15pm. 

It is 6:00 and Viktor is in recovery.  Everything went well and he feels OK!  Looks like the colon stint will be put in on Monday, then the Chemo can begin.





This morning I feel fine, drove Suzie to the train and stopped by at school, very nice.
Watched the Blackhawks victory party and moved the car for street cleaning, took the dogs for a walk. I then took 1 hour nap until Luis and his brother came over to help clean up the basement so we can build some more Amish scooters.  We've been waiting 3 months to get going, the time is now.
Later I got calls from Rush telling me what time on Monday for the stint implantation.
We then went shopping for the Jam and got some Whoppers for lunch, great.
Now we're cleaning the house as well as we can for tonight's jam, should be well attended.
I had the doctor at Rush yesterday put the port
on the left side so it would not interfere with my guitar. 
Generally I feel fine, a little sore where they put
the port. 
All in all life is good.

Beautiful day spent most of our time shopping
and I feel good . At around 3 pm for the first time in my life these days I'm starving and we had to get something to eat, that was great and really hit the spot. We got home around 6 pm and I took a 1 hour nap. I had several movements to a feel good that the Fleet solution should work.
Now I'm going to eat a piece of pizza and get ready for tomorrows stint implantation. I'm told I never have to take the awful go lightly again, thank goodness.

Maybe I spoke to soon, the Fleet solution did
not work, just like the go lightly solution failed coming in last week ( I can only assume I'm pretty blocked up ). Makes me feel a little uneasy,
I assume this means I will have to go in earlier
and have them figure out a better way to clean me out, oh boy what the hell. I'm kinda freaked out.
 

Suzie talked with Kateri our nurse navigator for a long time this morning and found out that the block often doesn't allow the Fleet to work. The stint will go through the tumor and allow me to go.

We're also waiting on the Humana people to approve the chemo hopefully starting tomorrow. 

Today at 3 pm we are having the stint put in.

Alright the stint is in and I don't have any procedures until next week. The procedure 
was like the colon scope except this time the put a stint through the tumor that will keep expanding for several days. The tumor was about an inch and one half in size. They said I would only experience gas but I believe that a bunch of Go Lightly was still in my system, sort of uncomfortable but I was able to eat just fine . 
The doctor said we should get some Miralax, but after reading the instructions on the container could not figure out what the proper dosage was so we took just a little, maybe one third a of a cap full.





Today was an unexpectedly hard day, even though the stint is in yesterday seemed to empty the upper colon, where as last night it appears that my small intestine starting emptying its digestive juices. Really hard day to get through. 


Today was exactly like yesterday except my sister who had colitis found a place in the neighborhood where we could get an ointment called Calmoseptine that acts as a barrier against the acid. Great because It stopped the rectal fire and swelling that made Tuesday such a nightmare. Still I'm wondering why the stint is not working.
One of our doctors said go back on the Miralax, so we continued with the recommended dosage on the jar.
Still a pretty hard day.


Thursday was just like th
e other days and I was feeling very frustrated but I was begining to come out of the confussion the doctor said I would experience. That night
while taking a bath I asked Suzie how high of a fever was the red line before we call for help.  I had given Suzie an audio recorder, attached it to her book so she would not miss any instrctions. The audio clip was only 3 min. I asked her whether she reviewed, she said no so I told her to play it. The fever thing was 101.5.
Then we heard the most shocking thing ever, the doctor clearly says " MAKE SURE TO GIVE HIM 2 TO 3 CAP FULLS OF MIRALAX EVERY DAY " I almost died,
and asked her to bring the 2 page release instruction
Sure enough the same insrtuctions, she simply did not read them, because she felt she remembered what he said upon release. We called my sister who is second in charge after Suzie, she called the Doctor on call and he said, start taking 4 cap fulls a day staring right away.
By now I'm in a virtual coma and can't get rid of a terrible
Migraine headache.



It's Jam day and the jam went on but I was never able to get up all day and night.  I couldn't shake the headache
and I still had not passed anything except acid. 


My sister and her husband came down from Wisc. and brought organizational charts and set up a backup system using Luis as a backup to make sure these problems don't happen again.
Still no sign of the stint working and after they left my fever shot up and I became filled with gas and was sicker than
I'd been yet, my sister checked with the doctors was told
that if I became nauseated to bring me in.


By Sunday morning we were able to move the gas and I was able to get up to update the webpage.
I was able to use the bathroom and it looks like we might be able to clear the stint, It hasn't happened yet but it's starting to look good.


Felt better but mostly rested




We went for our first chemo treatment at 7Am  and expected about 3 hours or so , tests and waiting for results until 1pm when they starting inserting all the different anti nausea .
( During the day every person gave us a full detailed explanation of what different chemo's  work etc. Suzie and Luis took notes and recorded all day. We had a great lunch while waiting for different anti nausea drugs were administered. Then at 2 pm they started the chemo, 2 different kinds. Before the two hours were over another nurse came in to attach the portable chemo  device (Walkman size)
and explain that in 2 days a traveling nurse would come to the house and remove the device.We got out at 4:30 pm.   We spent the evening working on updated charts and shopping for large chart paper and nice thermometer.I felt fine all night and we had great steaks for dinner. I never felt nauseated so I never had to take the optional anti nausea drug Compozine , I never got tired ether ,very nice .I finally slept for an hour at 6am ,got up and drove Suzie to the train walked the dogs around the block and got back to my charts  and the Web page. Plan to take a nap at noon. Everything seems to be working good and other problems are getting better as well, Miralax seems to staring to getting through. 
Clearly we feel great that the chemo has begun and the tumors will finally be treated.
Going to nap now 12 noon.



So I  slept to long without any water and when Suzie came home she saw I was   sleeping any when I finally woke up I had a migraine that gave me a very hard night . I  then asked my two helper if they read the instructions like they where told ( hear the instruction, immediately upon coming home read all the instructions and note important must dos )



Finally got to sleep very late


The next day was Thursday and felt pretty crummy
The traveling nurse came by and removed the chemo bag from my port, I never quite got better . When Suzie came home I had her make me two small ham sandwiches but by now the fever kept spiking and by 7;30 it was 102.8, by 7:45 it was 104.4.  Suzie called the doctors and they said get to the ER and lets find out what the hell is going on .

After hours with Larry in the ER they decided to keep me
and after a night with fluids I woke up refreshed and feeling good.  They brought me breakfast and quickly took it away saying I was getting tests done and couldn't have food or water for 4 hours before the test, when they realized the tests where not until 5 the breakfast was gone but I finally got to drink. I got a lite lunch and drank everything I could and had Luis get me some more cornflakes,it was very good.
At 1:00 the good times were over and I had to drink barium for the next few hours. I went down at 5 for the new catscans but not get back to the room for dinner.  I was promised food and water and a motrun to help keep the fever down.
They bring my food and quickly take it away, a young internist  overrode the food and water saying he wanted to see scan results first, by the time he cleared me it was after the food service had already closed and Suzie was gone. I did get the motron at 7 and my nurse turned the IV water to a higher rate so by 8  I was feeling ok. I watched the jam on my computer.

Suzie and Luis are on there way back with some food.


Woke up with a small headache but had breakfast and lunch and felt generally OK.  At 2:00 the infectious disease guys came by and asked a battery of questions.  They said they know what it not causing the fever and that all tests were normal.  They continue to  try to see if anything grows in the blood and urine samples. They are going to get me on a regiment of medications that will allow a normal life.  They are still going to try few try a few more antibiotic groups today.
Suzie came got to the hospital at 3 and I had been given very little water in IV form because I was on a 6 hour antibiotic group with 25 drip rate.  Finally I got the water back along with some other tests. At 5:00 Alca and Luis came by and I felt pretty warm.  They went out for supply's then we talked until 8.
We figured out a way to wash my hair and Suzie and I finally got to watch the movie Lincoln.  Great.



Woke up feeling fine at 7 had breakfast.  Dr. Leslie came by
and basically said they found nothing to pinpoint except tumor fever and they felt if the could get the right drugs to work I could go home soon, maybe Monday.
First day in while not feeling bad or having fever.



Hello I'm home and I feel good. They finally decided that everything is coming from tumor fever and so they're going to keep the fever down with Naproxen.
This last 24 hr period  is also the first sign of regular bowel movements with no diarrhea or liquid stool.

Slept OK , stayed on the water, small headache but no  fever.  I'm going to get some chores done today but first I'm gonna make myself a little breakfast.
Traveling nurse came by to check on me, everything was  fine. Took care of all sorts of home jobs, ate a lot, Andy Paniauga came by . After dinner we watched The Edge, Anthony Hopkins.  What a great movie. Stayed on my H2O and felt good all day.
My only problem was that I'm still pretty swollen from all the IV fluids in the hospital and after being on my feet all day my feet I almost didn't fit my shoes.  I'll be a little more careful tomorrow.


Slept  fine ,had to get up every several hours to urinate but I got rid of a lot of the swelling.
Drove Suzie to the train and took the dogs for a run with our scooters, one mile run. I never thought that the scooters would be something I needed, the run felt great. I will now make myself some breakfast. 
Luis came over and we went over the chart for the Tenn. jam.
Then we spent the afternoon picking up extra jam needs,ate lunch and met with Earl, Lil Pat and Heidi to go over logistics for the trip. Spent the rest of the day packing.
Swollen feet are still a little trouble.


Woke made breakfast and intend to get everything together and in the van for the trip. We're leaving tonight.

We are on the road now driving with Earl & Monika to Tennessee.   Very strange to be sitting in the back.  Viktor seems to feel pretty good, except for his feet.


Woke early and hit the road, had breakfast.  Arrived (11:30AM) at the Delmonaco Home, dropped off our stuff and headed to the winery.  Beautiful place and friendly warm people. We settled in and enjoyed the place, went to town for lunch. We waited most of the evening for the rest of the Jam to arrive. We start playing around 10:30.  Ben arrived an hour later, so we played until 2:00.


Because there were so many of us and limited bathrooms, Viktor had some problems making a rough start to the day.  
Then there was a delay in his and Earl's morning meals that were a little touch and go for a while. 
After eating things were much better

 Today was show day!  It was a hot, hot, wet day!  We originally were to set up inside but were then asked to play outside, but under an overhang.  The setup went pretty fast and we were out of the sun which made the temperature over 100 accompanied by high humidity.
The train from Nashville was delayed so we got pretty anxious to get going.  While waiting we kicked back and relaxed, Viktor with his feet elevated so as to help keep the swelling in his legs down.  So are the only issue he currently is experiencing.

Once the train arrived and we were jplaying, it was a fun, exciting and personally fulfilling for everlyone.  What a bunch of fun!
One problem was that  the heat knock out some people for a while.

Viktor was really overheated so he sat down, got him a stool to sit on and a couple bottles of Gatorade.  Never tasted so good!  He felt much better in about 10 minutes.

Lu also had to leave due to the heat.   After she got back we got her a chair as well and that helped her out too.

Chris said he was feeling light headed so he ducked out for a while.  These were a little scary, but it all worked out.

By 3:00 the people were back on the train to Nashville
ending the Delmonaco Winery & Vineyard Festivities.
Back at the Delmonaco digs, we relaxed.  Some went swimming, some explored, some napped, etc.

The rest of the evening was made up of music, more exploration and a whole lot of laughter and great comoradore!  We played outside by the pool and inside when there was a threat of rain.  Again, we played til after 2:30 before crashing out.

A wonderful time was had by everyone who  came, I have verbal confirmation of that fact!

In addition to proving that the Jam can play out and be credable, which it did and we were, this excursion was to see how Viktor would react to being on the road and being able to keep up the the medications and feeding routines.  I would say we had a successful trial run.   Makes us feel a bit more secure about our Colorado trip next week.


Well, we had breakfast with Earl and Lu, the car has been packed and we are heading back to Chicago.  All morning meds have been taken.  We are happy people!
The ride back was long but no problem,We ate dinner , got organized for Monday morning chemo.


Got up, chemo at 7Am, out at 1:45. I'm feeling fine and my feet are better.

Talked to Dr. Gandhi about my lack of elimination.  She then suggested I try Ex-Lax

Tuesday











Wednesday











Thursday







 Friday






Saturday

























Sunday






















Monday, July 29, 2013













Tuesday, July 30, 2013











Wednesday July 31, 2013





Thursday August 1, 2013















Friday August 2, 2013





















Saturday August 3, 2013






















Sunday August 4, 2013



Monday August 5, 2013
 
Drove Suzie to the train and took the dogs on a run.  Spent the rest of the day getting stuff for the trip to Colorado, Dogs to the vet,scooter parts and packing. I feel fine but am still having a hard time going to the bathroom.





Had the chemo bag disconnected ,packed the car and left town for Colorado.  We drove to DesMoines stayed the night, took an E-lax, No action.



Got up at 8:30 and had breakfast at Perkins and got on our way. Suzie got tired right away so I drove for 5 hours, seems to be ok I have feet up between driving and we feel fine. We should make it to Rocky Mountain National Park around 9:30. I will try the X-lax Again then


Ate a good breakfast. Took the dogs on a three mile run around the lake in Estes.  Bought Viktor a hat.  The ex-lax seems to be working.  Dogs had a good run and we had a good day.  Going for dinner. Feet are better but legs are still a little weak in the morning.


Ex-Lax started working but we could not leave the room until 1:00 and it required us to have a toilet for the rest of the day.  Thank goodness we do!  After 1:00 we headed over the mountain to Grand Lake, 80 miles.  A beautiful ride.  We were up in the snow, saw beautiful big rack elk, herds of females and a female moose near Grand Lake.  Still had trouble walking and the weather closed in when we got to Grand Lake.  Suzie took the dogs for a walk and a swim and I stayed in the car, too tired to walk from the adventures of the ex-lax, and ate crackers and bad cheese.
Got back at 7:00 rested and went to dinner.  Felt pretty good for the first time since the stint was put in because the ex-alx had finally purged all the food I had been eating.  After a no big deal tasting dinner, I felt invigorated by the food.  Watched a movie and had a good night's sleep!

Woke up this morning  thinner, able to walk. almost back to normal.   Hard to believe.  Knock on wood it will continue.



Today, Sunday we woke up, had breakfast and because of bad weather we spent several hours doing utilitarian chores.  In the afternoon the sun came out  so we took the dogs for a nice run with the scooters then went into the park for an evening stroll.  While walking with the dogs in a big field we came across a coytoe not 25 feet from us; No one was afraid, everyone just walked.  I felt fine all day long and was only a little bloated from eating so much today.



Today, Monday, got up, had a great breakfast at The Egg & I, feeling good.  Took a ride up the old  trail to the top of the mountain, 12,000 feet, feeling great, bought some stuff.  We then took the dogs for a run by the lake, let them go swimming followed by a nice romp at the dog park, meeting 10 other goldens.  Everything seems good.  We are off to dinner.






Today Tuesday I took xlax again because of no action, felt good all day. We made it a dog picture day and took the crew to the top of the mountain, taking pictures all the way.
We did see a herd of about 100 Elk grazing next to the road. In the evening we took the dogs on a long run with 2 swimming breaks .





Wednesday,  woke up real early and weak from not going to the bathroom. Took 2 more exlax.  Still no action. We went for rides but really felt weak. I made several appointments for next monday and tuesday with all my doctors.


Thursday, had a good breakfast,still have not gone to the bathroom.  Drove to Grand Lake.  Saw several moose on the way, big males.  Rented a pontoon and took our dogs for their first boat ride.  They seemed to enjoy it.  Totally delightful.  Let Suzie drive mostly. 
walked around Grand Lake for a little while   In the evening back at Estes took the dogs for a short run and a swim at the doggie park.  Not happy about being blocked up again, but still feeling OK.

Friday, woke to a most beautiful day!  Went for breakfast (Egg & I again) then took the dogs on a photo shoot up the mountain.   They got s lot of attention every where we went.  They seem to enjoy the contact.  I am getting more uncomfortable.  I am passing gas and that helps but it does not seem the ex-lax is doing anything.  Had a picnic in the van at the top of the mountain.  Took the dogs for their final run and swim, went to  dinner (Wapiti) and packed for the ride home.  My stomach has a hard layer on top, softer in the center then hard again.  I seem to feel better during the day.  I am anxious to hear what the doctors have to say next week.




Saturday I felt a little bloated from no bathroom activity, skipped breakfast and started our drive to Lincoln Nebraska.
There I had pretty high fever 101.9 . We treated it with Naproxen and a cold compress and everything was fine for the rest of the ride home, except Luis called us and told us that he lost our Tubby. Neighbors reported seeing him around 7 pm but Luis did not miss him until after the Jam at around 1 or 2 am. Needless to say it ruined all the happy times we had on the vacation. Suzie and I pined all the way home. Another super sad event; not good for my fight against the tumor.
 
 


Sunday we're home after a casual drive and immediately started searching for our wonderful little cat. I went and bought food supplies, Suzie ordered a pizza and we went to bed.


Monday we Got up a 6 and went for our appointment with Dr. Leslie, got some blood work and x-ray and are now getting Our third chemo. Talked to Dr. Leslie who came in with a report that the tumors have gone down from 15,000
on July 9 to 7021.5 today, August 5, 2013.  To me this very promising.






Tuesday August 6,
 2013




 
 

Today I got up at 9am I feel very good except for the loss of our cat.  I cooked and ate a nice breakfast. I helped 2 neighbors save money because of street cleaning.  At 2:15 I have an appointment with my Gastro  man  and hope to find out what I have to do to become regular again (my only really noticeable problem right now.)


 

Wednesday August 7, 2013


 

 

Today I dropped off Suzie and then slept until noon.  Started The Gastro man's (Dr. Melson) new pill today, I hope it works. The traveling nurse came today and removed the Chemo bag.
    Luis and I went shopping for some supplies and I'm a little weak but feel fine.

 

Thursday August 8, 2013


 
Non eventful day, new pill did not work yet. 
 
 

Friday August 9, 2013



 
Spent most of the day getting ready for the jam. Jam was good despite 7 regulars being out. Everything is ok health wise. 
 
 




Saturday
August 10
2 months since I
 called the Doctor






 


Got up late and went to our Alsip Flea Market
to see our friends, It was a very pleasant experience.  The support we are experiencing is really overwhelming, people are praying for us in many languages and we welcome all their prayers and support.  In the evening we took the dogs running and rented some movies.

 


Sunday
August 11, 2013




 
Again we spent the day running around getting odd jobs done. I feel fine although the Gastro man's seems to work.  I don't know if it's keeping up with my food consumption. I have an appointment on Tuesday to take some pictures of the stint.
 
 

Monday
August 13, 2013




 
Standard day except they forgot to tell us that I couldn't eat after 12 noon , so we rescheduled until whenever?  The new medicine for getting my stomach moving seems to be starting to work.  
 


Tuesday
August 14, 2013



 

Regular day, felt good all day. Bought a new faucet and Luis installed it.
Bowel movement getting better, we decided that we would take Miralax 3 times a day.
 
 

Wednesday
August 15, 2013





 

Another regular day, good appetite, feeling good. Our nurse navigator called and set up the new appointment for Friday. There were different directions from everybody we talked to until the navigator said listen to no one but her.
 

Thursday
August 16, 2013









 

Woke up and ate eggs and bacon for breakfast and grilled cheese for lunch, before my food ended until after the stint procedure tomorrow . Had to drink just water for the rest of the day until midnight then nothing, just when I really got to like eating. I'm mostly cleaned out now so I'm hungry.
 

Friday
August 17, 2013





 
Today I'm told my procedure is only the fasting and drink something and take a picture, no problem. So we get there a little late and we (or anybody else) can figure out where to go, on the 10th floor they put a name tag on and offered to connect my port, I did not let them and went off to find the gastro guys. We found them and waited a minute and a girl came out and got me. They ask me to change into gown and had me lay down on a cold metal table.  Two young very cute girls came in and asked me if I had been told what was going to happen. You are taking a picture ?

Yes but not that simple she said as she held up a bomb shaped tube attached to a large tank of liquid, I thought, oh boy !
  Just kill me now.
She said, now this will be uncomfortable, I have to insert this into your rectum, I asked for lubrication. We have lub, no problem, but then you're gonna feel an injection of contrast. Try to hold you butt tight while we take the pictures.
The room was darkened with TV screens everywhere and the camera was brand new state of the art. It was a zoomable X-Ray machine that could zoom in on anything and get a high resolution picture. The most humiliating thing I've had to do  while awake.
The end result was that everything was working well and everything was clear.
That evening we had a great Jam and a super distraction from the other troubles.

 

Saturday
August 18 , 2013











 


Saturday was a nice day, we went shopping and in the evening took the dogs for a 3 hour run along the lakefront at Burns Harbor  What a beautiful day . No problems and I gained a couple of pounds, how nice.



 Sunday
August 19, 2013








   

Again, another nice day, Appetite great, feel a little tired at times, but a 10 min. rest and I'm OK. Lilly and Viny came over and spent some time, great to see them.

 


Monday
August 20 , 2013





 

The day started out with a discussion with the cancer doctor who said everything is going good. Now I'm getting my 4th Chemo treatment, I'm told that the swelling in my feet is from the steroids in the chemo and the extra salt from all the extra times I'm eating these days.
All in all I feel fine and plan to check out school this week on Wednesday for open house, and check in with all my good school friends.
  All my blood work numbers are coming back very good.
After  Suzie got home we drove to just outside Wisconsin to see about a cat. Needless to say we now have a new beautiful cat, Mandella.


Tuesday






 
 

Regular feel good day, good breakfast and lunch, great diner. Still wearing the chemo bag but it doesn't bother me at all. New cat is doing fine.
 
Wednesday





 

No problem day, Traveling nurse came and removed the chemo bag. Nothing unusual health wise.  In the evening we decided to find out what the all electric Nissan Leaf really costs after federal and state tax incentives. Twenty-five thousand seems to be the price however we can't drive or even see one because they sell as soon as they arrive. 
 

Thursday




 

Kind of a down day. I must have caught a small stomach flew from someone. It resulted in no appetite which in turn resulted in weakness so I slept most of the day.  I must be more careful about staying away from sick people, problem is it seems everyone has some little illness they may not even know about.

.  
 
 

Friday





 

Good day, I woke up feeling good and ate getting better all day long. I felt good enough to get the house ready for the jam. The jam was fine, I felt strong and good all night. AT 3 am Suzie said she couldn't find the kitten and we spent an hour searching inside and out until Luis found her hiding in the house.   
 

Saturday








 
Woke up at 10 am because the car dealer just received a Leaf that we could check out and test drive. After the test drive we ordered one, It's the right thing.
We then went and took care of our Saturday shopping and had a nice evening. Took the dogs for a run at about midnight, very nice out. I could not sleep for some reason and did odd jobs until 6 am. I felt fine and strong.

 


Sunday
August 25 2013






 

 

Again we went running around and decided to use the evening to try to get back into a regular system of life, you know chores, regular meals and frugal living. 
The only chemo related problem is that sometimes I feel a little weak but if I eat well no problem. I have no sign of nausea or any other problems. I plan on going back to school to help run some of my programs and see my friends. I think this will be a good year.

 
 


Monday






 

Good day no problems. Took the dogs running early . 
It should be noted that all my little sores, warts or aging skin marks are gone or leaving, I assume it's related to chemo.
  
 


Tuesday





 
Spent most of the day looking up possible new songs for the jam, ate well, a little tired at times but not enough to knock me out, I have pretty high energy levels normally. Luis is working on some project stayed up late printing posters for school. 
 
 


Wednesday




 

Quiet day nothing to report, felt good all day. 
Had a nice visit from Ms. McDonald and Ms. Cassidy. Took the dogs running. In the evening Luis and I repainted our scooters and kind of got them ready for fall (I can't say enough good stuff about the lithium batteries).


 



Thursday




   

Nothing much to report I felt a little more tired . School has started and the twins are over a lot.  There are hand sanitizers by every door but I have to stay on everybody to use them, especially school kids.
  
 



Friday






 

Today Is jam day and I expect a pretty large group tonight  because most of group are teacher related.  Health wise I feel fine, just a little less hungry.  I feel I need a mission to fire myself up, I now live in a world where people are saying  "take it easy"
 but I feel just the opposite, I need to be inspired not told to rest.  


 sat  

Woke up a little late and tired, very little appetite. I don't know the cause,chemo, diarrhea or staying up till 3 at the jam ? 
We went to Evanston to drop off Suzie's bass. Took the dogs running and got some videos and had a nice evening. 
 


Sunday
September 1 , 2013 
   

We took care of our Saturday chores and took the dogs running. Again though, I was pretty tired again, although I ate better. I will have to ask some questions when I go to chemo on Tuesday.
 mon    





Wednesday the pain started back up again even with the antibiotic. I did eat breakfast but my appetite was pretty poor ,although We are having turkey again and it's great.  I had a hard time staying awake. We did take care of making some videos for Rigik needed for class.



Friday





Labor day Monday
 

Today is Labor Day and we just stayed around the neighborhood . The gastro doctor's pill seems to be working to good because I've have constant diarrhea, for days now . It's a real drag because it makes you tired. Tomorrow is chemo and we'll ask some questions.
  
 



Tuesday 
   

Today we got to the hospital and got all set up for the chemo and after telling them about the diarrhea they decided to take a test for an intestinal infection instead. So the chemo was put off one week. The test for the infection was negative.
After talking to the gastro guy he decided to half the pill and see how that goes.
Steve dropped in with a wonderful video pep up card, two songs performed by the nightingale teaching staff, very great job and uplifting. Thank you Nightingale staff. 
 

Wednesday
  .
 Today, felt tired, bloated and mild diarrhea. I kept up my eating and felt generally good all day. 


Thursday 
 

Almost the same as Wednesday
 

Friday
   

Friday, Jam night. I went out and got supplies and printed up some sheets.
 Saturday  


Today Saturday  was a strange day, I did not take the pill from the gastroman because it was still troubling me.  We went shopping at Costco and my side was hurting like a long range runner but it then continued up my side was quite severe. I tried to sleep it off but nothing  I finally felt it was gas, way to much gas.  By the next day it was still there but much better as I was able to relieve some of the gas problem.
 Sunday 

Sunday was football and we watched  all the games, we also went to Chucks for ribs, very nice.

Hard time going to sleep so early, finally fell asleep around 2am.

 

Monday
 

Chemo today, 7am.  All my test numbers were very good. My doctors agree that I should  decide when and if I take or feel the need to take the gastroman's pill. The chemo always fires me up so I ate a lot, watched football and worked and played music until 4:30am.  My plumbing seems to be working nicely now and I felt good all day.

 
 
 

Tuesday
 

Got up and dropped Suzie at the train, took the dogs running while it was still cool. I had ribs for breakfast and feel good.  In the afternoon I did chores . In the evening JT, Heidi ,Pyle and Luis came over to practice, first practice all summer.
 
 w 

My home nurse came by and removed the chemo bag, everything is fine. I felt pretty tired though for the rest of the day.
 
 
 t 

Thursday I got up, did chores and breakfast and drove to Evanston to get Suzie's bass from repair. We the stopped at several stores for bike parts and food. Football in the evening and Suzie's first attempt at beef stew was great.
I was still tired most of the evening and even had a fever for about an hour, I believe due to some very minor cold I caught, better be more carefull.
 
 f  

Haircut and Jam day. Felt good all day and had a great jam. 


 s 

Saturday was a beautiful day And I felt ok so we went to the Lake Front and spent 5 hours taking the dogs running and enjoyed the weather and the day
and by the time we got home we were a little tired. After 10, I only got up to use the bathroom every hour or so. What a hassle, by morning there was some blood.

 
 s  

Sunday was a crummy weather day and we stayed home and watched football all day, no more toilet issues.


Monday

 
 

Monday was a regular day. I felt a little bloated and let Kateri know my problems over the weekend.

 
  

Tuesday we set up a time for Luis and I to go to school on Wednesday to take pictures of the classrooms and new teachers. I felt good all day.

 
   

Wednesday we took pictures and I enjoyed seeing all my friends for the first time this school year. We got most of the classes and left at lunch. We had lunch and I was pretty tired. I talked to Kateri my nurse navigator and she said the doctor wanted to take another x-ray and see him that day. Since there were no problems since Saturday I told her I think it's ok.


  
Thursday after feeling good all day I stared having a variety of diarrhea episodes, even though I felt fine and ate well, by morning there seemed to be reddish toilet water. What a world. I feel like at the end of the gastroman's pill there is a problem, I will not take it again.

   

 
  

Today is Friday and my system has settled down and we'll talk to them on Monday at chemo, I'll call and set up the x-ray for Monday. I hope there are no problems over the weekend. I hope for a good jam to balance the bull. It's really frustrating because I'm so used to having control of my life. 
 saturday  

Nice day Saturday except we got a late start because I forgot to lock my van door overnight and someone broke in and stole our power supply, GPS and some odds and ends. We then took time to replace the items and by the time we got done it was not very sunny so we did not go to the lakefront with the dogs.  We did however take the dogs running in the neighborhood and got some movie rentals for the evening.  Had a nice time and felt pretty good all day.



Sunday
 

Sunday was a beautiful day so we took the dogs to the lake at 55th street and ran all over the area.  The dogs were very happy and so were we.  Later we watched football and had a nice evening.
 I'm still eating a lot and am usually very hungry even when I feel bloated.  My only problem in life seems to be toilet irregularity but it usually doesn't stop us from doing what we want. 

 Monday 

Chemo day and we were out early, a little tired in the afternoon but up till 4am No problems .

 
 Tuesday  

Today I felt good all day, not tired at all until the evening.  I had a nice lunch with my brother Ed who lives in Orland.  Very nice visit.
 In the evening I was pretty tired but felt ok otherwise.


 Wednesday  

Wednesday is visiting nurse day. Very tired after he left, slept most of the evening.


 Thursday  

Thursday again I felt very tired again, probably from the chemo treatments which seem to get harder as the treatments go on. Luis and I did finish the class pictures and the teacher organization chart and get it passed out.
I also started taking the gastroman's pill again. 
We also had a nice jam practice.


 Friday
September 27,2013
 

Jam day  and I hope I'm not to tired since Luis is at U of C hospital making a training tape and there's plenty to do to get ready for the jam .
It's 10 am and I'm going to take the dogs running. 
I took care of the shopping for the jam and our electric car is in, we'll pick it up early on Saturday. 
I had a nosebleed today  just from, blowing my nose, probably the first time in 20 years.
 

Saturday
  

Very nice day , we got up at 9am , ate breakfast and picked up our new electric car ( It's Great , no more gasoline ) We then met our friend Pyle and my sister and her husband to have lunch and see some lakefront apartments in Hyde park. Later that evening we had dinner with them at Tuscany , great day for us all.


  

Today Sunday we took care of our weekly chores, we ordered polo shirts for school and got some jackets for our new teachers, paper for the teacher list and Costco for food.
Football took care of most of the rest of the day.  I feel fine and have a great appetite . 
(We feel great about the electric car, it's just great , super quiet great drive and safety features not to mention that it's big. It simply doesn't look like a super small toy, it's really nice and a lot less expensive than anyone knows. ) 



Monday



 
 

Monday I felt fine like most days, I had breakfast while I was printing the teacher organization chart. At 10am I went to school and gave out the charts, and visited with many of my teacher friends. 
After I got home I took the dogs running when a dog was by us trying to hump my dogs.  I tried to get rid of him without being cruel.  The dog had several tags and a collar. I grabbed the collar but it was on to loose and the dog spun his head around bit me on the wrist.  I thought he didn't really get me but one tooth punctured and blood was pouring out!  I stopped the bleeding went home, cleaned up, it seemed to be OK. Although it was messy I didn't really feel any pain I just thought oh, oh that's what the doctors told me to be careful about, great.
Just a casual rest of the day , boring football game, great dinner.   
 

Tuesday


  

Got up and made breakfast, feel fine, I'm gonna take the dogs running but I will take the mace.
 

Wednesday


 


Nice day Regular breakfast and dog running . The dog bite from the other day seems to be ok. No health problems except I need more variety in my food and it's hard, I'm German and those folks need gravy with everything, hard to find here. We watched Meet Joe Black, what a great movie.  

 


Thursday 
October 3 
 

Thursday is starting out with drizzle rain, had breakfast and am making some jackets for our new teachers . I plan to go to Hyde Park and find out about renting a good violin. I believe I can already do all the fingering but I don't  want to spend a fortune without knowing that I can do it well.
Tonight is also practice and Jam tomorrow.  Earl's October Fest Party Saturday, Should be great.
The new electric car is great, I'm spending no money , the car is everything I thought it would be. Nicest riding car I've ever been in.
friday  

Very nice day, a little tired but OK in the evening.  Every once in a while the jam becomes a great happening, Little Pat was back, Marty was in from San Diego better than ever and Carla was also in from San Diego, Lu was in from Missouri and Jennifer came back this week with a friend. It was just what the doctor ordered.

  
 
saturday  

Saturday we took care of chores and got more sweatshirt jackets for school. In the evening we went to Earl's house for his October fest, good food, good friends and good music. 
 Sunday  

Sunday, some bloating problems, and tired . Watched football the rest of the day.


 Monday 

Monday is chemo day and I still have some bloating and my blood tests showed a small rise in the cancer markers, everyone says its normal fluctuation, however we decided to redo the blood test and do a new cat scan next week Wednesday.
(By the way, we drove the electric car for 250 miles at a cost ,in fuel, of $8. instead of $100. driving our van. ) 


 
Tuesday 

Tuesday we picked up the supplies to install the 220 volt charger for the car. I felt good all day but got tired around 6pm. It's really hard these day to find an actual tradesman .

 
 Wednesday  

Today we took the cat to the vet in the morning. I woke up though with a headache and never was able to get ride of it all day, I probably caught  a small cold from somebody this weekend. I hope it goes away soon. I had no appetite and slept most of the day. I was bloated all day long. Spent lots of time in the bathroom. 

  
Thursday  

Today early I bought some extra electrical supplies for the 220volt line to  charge the car.  Had breakfast  and started to run the wires and pipes, big job , took all day until sundown, we'l finish tomorrow.  We also took care of some school projects and we watched the Bear's game.
I debloated somewhat today and felt much better, however I'm still pretty tired. The funny thing is that if I take a nap because I'm tired I stay up later, the same amount of time I slept. I think being tired has little to do with sleep.
  

 


Friday

 
 

Friday is jam day and we spent most of of the day getting ready. Tried out the  220 volt line, very nice.  The car charges to 110 miles in 2 hours. Very nice Jam, Mark was back from his 6 week tour of Europe, good to have him back.

 
 

 Saturday


 

Saturday was another beautiful day.  We went to the flea market, after we took the dags running and got some rest. In the evening we got ribs from Chucks. Great.


 

Sunday


 

Sunday, again beautiful, we took the dogs to the lakefront and had a great time. However, as we were coming home Lincoln saw the water and wanted to go swimming. We were by the rocks at 53rd St. and Lincoln goes in but the water was higher than he thought and needed to get out so I bent over on my knees and tried to pull him by his chain, no good, so grabbed his front paws and  started to pull,  Suzie grabbed my belt to help. All of a sudden we hear a loud crack in my back and I went down like a rock, I have no idea if broke something or just sprained my back. Suzie finally got the dog and I was surprised I could get up, once standing I could drive the scooter back to to car but I could not lift them into the car so Suzie and I had to switch places. We got home and I was stiff as a board, we put on some muscle liquid and I laid down. After an hour I took a hot bath ate some food, more muscle relaxer and plenty of massaging from Suzie. I had a real hard time getting up at night but some of the pain was getting better.


 

Monday
 

Woke up in pain but I was able to get up and drive Suzie and have breakfast. I'm sure I have to report this to my doctors, I hope to persuade them to wait until Wenesday hoping that the cat scan will show what did or did not happen.
Plan to stay in and make sweatshirt jacket logos .
They did decided to wait until Wednesday, just expand the scan to include the back area. The back pain is very bad; slept almost all day.

 
 


 Tuesday


 
After taking 10 min. to get out of bed I realized the zanax I took is a muscle relaxer and really helped, I made it through the day, however I still slept a lot.


 


wednesday

 
 

Woke up feeling a little better.  We got my cat scan tests at 9 and went home, stopped at Costco on the way but I could not pick up anything heavy, what a drag. I went to sleep.
At 4pm the doctor called to say the cancer tumors were way down and he was supper pleased (needless to say so was I . He said the backbone will heal pretty quick and keep on taking the Zanax. All in all I'd say it was a pretty  good day.
  








Thursday

 
 

Thursday was uneventful except I was very tired, some bathroom issues but nothing to bad. 


Friday

 
 

Friday is jam day and I was still very tired from diarrhea, but felt good all through the jam.  Good jam . Pat Kennedy's family Christmas fundraiser went very well, they help a battered women's shelter and kids with cancer group, very nice.  


 

  Saturday


 

Saturday we took care of chores and slept a lot, F,for the first time we ate at the International House of Pancakes.   In the evening we were on our way to dinner but realized we were not going to make it, we ate at Giordanos instead, very nice change.




Sunday

 
  

 

On Sunday we got up ate and took care of lots of needed items,printer, cat fence, new clock and food, because one our old buddies sent us some money and said take Suzie to a nice place to eat.  After questioning some our friends we chose the Brazilian Steak house in Lombard, What a great place, thank you everyone. Tomorrow is chemo.

 



 Monday


 

Today was chemo and meeting with my doctor about the new cat scan from last Wednesday. So, the main thing is that all the tumors are shrinking, mostly in internal mass. In other words in the July cat scan the tumors were firm and now they are jelly like and are barely visable in the scan, this is all very positive.
  I then got the chemo and got some lunch and went home. In the evening we watched football and did some stuff for school and fixed the clock in the frontroom.
At somepoint in the afternoon my back felt much better and I got the feeling I was finally over with that nagging backache. 


   

In the morning we brought our cat Mandella in to be fixed and declawed, we were able to pick him up that evening.
On Tuesday I felt great and we went to school, got a lotta stuff done.
In the evening my backache was back and I realized it was the steroids in the chemo that made the pain subside, ugg. 




Wednesday 
 

On Wednesday I was very tired and my back was a problem again, I hope it goes away soon. Ojo my home nurse came and took the chemo pad and slept most of the rest of the day, maybe bummed because I thought the back pain was gone.

 
 

Thursday
 

Today is the Day of the Dead reading night, a big deal here at Nightingale( number 1 level school ).  We expect a large turnout.
My back is still a problem and I've got gastro problems that make me tired, when my stomach is bloated it puts extra pressure on my back problem, still a real drag.
The Reading night turnout was great and quite impressive.

 


Friday

 
  

Friday my back was a little better and I spent the day getting ready for the jam. I felt good but tired. Suzie talked to my doctor about my backbone Cat Scan, the question of whether my back was fractured or or what ? It seems that an area of the spine was crushed. It just will take a little time to heal.
 The Jam was great, little Pat brought his long time friend Zak, who is a superb lead guitar player. It was a very good night.

 

 

Saturday
October 26, 2013
 

We got up at noon and took care of our Saturday chores and I had no problems
 and my back was better, constipation ended and I felt better all day.

 

 

Sunday


 

Got up a noon and took the dogs running, first time in 2 weeks. My back was a little problem but OK.
  We then went to Guitar Center to get some speaker stands and amp connectors, a couple for school and the rest for the Jam doing a benefit at the Beverly Arts Center on Saturday.
I had a taste for grilled steak so we bought a little Weber, It was in fact great.
I did have some discomfort from a constipation day.
Watched football the rest of the day.

   
 

Monday


 

Monday was a constipated day, I spent a lot of time sleeping, I expect tomorrow to be a purging day.

 
 
 

Tuesday


 

Tuesday I spent a lot of time on the toilet, I was able to go to school and start my portion of the KWN program, I am running it this year with Alca, one of our 6th grade teachers who was a National winner when she was in the KWN Program here at Nightingale in 2000.

 


Wednesday 
 

Wednesday was another purge day, not enough to ruin the day but still.

 


Thursday 
 

Thursday,  constipation day I went to school in the morning to take Halloween parade pictures.  In the afternoon I went to the KWN program.
Watched football in the evening .

 






Friday 
 

Friday we spent the day getting equipment together for the Saturday's benefit for kids with down syndrome. We're playing at 7pm and I expect to see some of our teachers there.
In the evening the Jam was great and everyone was ready for Saturday, It was also Earl's  birthday.  
It was a no go day but felt OK.


 

Saturday
 
Saturday we did some chores and got ready for the benefit this evening. The benefit was great fun for us, we had 10 players. Had a pizza as a reward.


 
 

Sunday
November 3, 2013
 

Sunday was our major chores day and everything went great. Football and bath in the evening.

 
 

Monday
 

Monday was chemo day and very crowded  so the day lasted pretty long. My chemo always goes good on the first 2 days but this day I also had constipation and was bloated with gas. We talked to our nurse navigator who talked it over with our gastro guy and they want an x-ray. In the mean time I have to eat or get weak, I hope we can get the right combination of drugs so I can go on with what I need to.  




 Tuesday



 

Today is KWN day at school.
I drove Suzie and had breakfast, ran the dogs and slept for half an hour. There seems to be some let up in the gastro pains, so will see. Ojo came by at 1pm to remove the chemo from my port. After he left I went to school but I was real tired. Felt bloated and constipated, real tiring and appetite inhibiting.  


 


Wednesday 
 

Feeling pretty bad, mostly constipation, little appetite. In the evening I got a bad headache and fever. I stayed in bed the rest of the evening

 


Thursday
 
 


Felt bad again and could not make it to school same as yesterday. now I felt like I better get an x ray and some consultation. 

  


Friday 
 

Friday started the same but my system started to  move, and my nurse navigator was already off for the weekend. I decided to see how it goes at the Jam and the weekend. I slept until the Jam and was ok until around 1:30 am when my back started bothering me. Otherwise I felt much better.



 
  

Saturday started with pretty heavy diarrhea until around 4pm allowing me to go and help with the Washington School V show, one of our regular video jobs. Turns out good that I went because there were several traffic reroutes that we needed to know the city and suburbs, it would have been a real problem. Once the show was set up and going well I went outside and laid down in the van. The job went very well.

  
 


Sunday 
 


Sunday was another diarrhea day but I was home watching football, it seems the diarrhea starts around 4 hours after I take the gastroman's pill, then one event per hour for about 5 hours. For the rest of the day it's controllable and around 9pm it's back to constipation with gas and bloating every day. Yesterday Suzie was doing some research on the gastroman's pill and was shocked to find that every side effect listed is something I have every day and have repeatedly reported as problems. We have now chosen to not take that pill any more no matter what. We're hoping to get a more human response from a guy who is supposed to recognize all the side effects.   
I have to say this was the worst week since July . Tomorrow I'll go get the x ray and talk to some of my doctors to see what the hell is going on.

  

 


Monday
 

I felt a little better and stopped taking the gastro man's pill. I went in for the x ray and we talked to Kateri our navigator who the spoke to the doctors and would get back to us. My appetite  is low but I'm still eating. In the evening I finally was able to pass gas ,I swear it was like losing two large balloons of gas.
With the lose of the gas came almost instant relief of pressure on all my internal organs, I felt I was back.
Watched Monday night football and went to sleep, only 2 wake ups to use the bathroom.   


 

Tuesday
 

On Tuesday I felt much better however, my back problems were back, almost like the gas pressure was holding my spine in it's proper place and when the gas was gone so was the pressure holding my spine up. Still, even with the back ache I feel so much better. I still had very little appetite . Talking to Kateri my nurse navigator called to say everything in the X-ray was good and everyone agreed to stop using the gastroman's pill.
 





Wednesday
 

Wednesday I felt better again, even my appetite was coming back. My back though was quite irritating.  We, mostly Luis spent the evening making shirts for the staight A student.  My back hurts but nothing drains you like diarrhea and constipation. Watched some movies and felt OK.
 

Thursday
  

Woke up had breakfast, made posters and plan to go school today. School was good and we got our group together. My back was getting worse but still manageable.
In the evening we watched football
.

 

Friday
 

Friday was the honor roll breakfast went very nice. In the afternoon we had the KWN kids put up posters for the food drive.
Constipation was with me again and my back pain was still there.
I got supplies for the jam witch turned out real good , Marty our fiddle guy came by on his way to California. Our two primary lead guitars failed to make it having already missed at least half the jams this summer.
Later my back was getting worse, I'll have to check this out on Monday when I go for chemo.


 



Saturday November 16, 2013
  

Saturday we had a job in Mokena to film a play, I drove the electric car just in case I was in to much pain. This happened right after we set up. I went home and went to bed in pain until the next day.

 

 

Sunday
 

Sunday I was pretty tired from the back pain but bearable . At 6pm we went out to Mokena where the play was and we were lucky enough that we got a nice piece of the background.
Later we watched the football games, I swear the bears coach did everything possible to let the bears lose, what a crummy coach.
The Kansas city Denver game was great.
Still in lots of pain however it seems to be in the kidneys, must find out tomorrow.

 






Monday
 

Monday is chemo day and blood tests etc. and meeting with our doctor, after some tests my white blood count was a little low so they went to find out if the kidneys were infected. The  kidneys were indeed infected, and the chemo was cancelled for a week and I was given an antibiotic which they think will deal with the new kidney problem. I was pretty much hoping that this was the real problem for the back pain because it would show the crushed disk is better. I was in real pain for the rest of the evening. Diarrhea was with me again and my kidneys were a real bother.
 Speaking to my sister, who has lots of experience in this field, said the combination of the miralax and the gastroman's pill both keep the water out of the colon and very little going to my kidneys, and that I should be drinking much more water to compensate for the laxatives. Since I thought I was drinking enough and had no problems. I thought I was Doing OK.  






Tuesday
   

Tuesday is starting with a little less pain. I don't feel like I can make it to school today.  Luis covered my class and I steadily felt better. By evening I could not sleep and got up to work on the Kennedy tapes for Steve. We are having turkey tonight but today I  have an appetite. The two different back aches has us all totally confused partially because they were so close to each other and equally debilitating. I feel so much better.

 



 


Wednesday
 
 


Thursday
 

Thursday was painful in the kidney area. I ate well and Alca covered my class. We had turkey again and it was great. I am hesitant to take the morphine for fear of masking the infection. 


 
 

Friday was painfull again but I ate well and went to school. Real good jam and I felt pretty good until 3 am  Great Jam , even in pain it's lots of fun.
 
  


Saturday we made a new turkey and went out to take care of my errands , still pretty much in pain.
 



Sunday
 

Sunday was errands and football which was terrible, I hate the new bears coach who reminds me of a pee wee coach, we have a pretty good team but that coach is doing everything he can to make the bears lose. To me he's the worst coach we ever had. 


 


Monday
 

Monday was chemo day.  We thought we would not get the chemo because my kidneys were still killing me but after some discussion with the doctor and seeing that my numbers were way up again I did get the chemo. I did feel better after some sleep.I felt pretty for the rest of the day, even played some music.

 
 

Tuesday
 

Tuesday Luis and I delivered the Washington school job. Then we built a construction box to hold the 220 volt charger, I must say we did a good job. By then I was pretty tired and slept for a while. Had a real nice new turkey for late dinner. My chemo bag is already empty 20 hours early, seems strange to me  but I don't know what it means.




Wednesday

 
 

Wednesday Ojo comes by and removes my chemo bag. Today he come  at 9am because the chemo bag was already empty one day early. I felt pretty good all day . We watched movies and made turkey at night. Again it was great.

 


November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving 
 

Thursday was the holiday and we stayed in all day and made another turkey, It was great. 

friday 
 
Friday we slept late but I was really tired and Suzie did all the shopping.
The jam was really good and and most of or guys came. I'm sleeping all the time and I feel like the world sucks.

 
  


Saturday we got up late and went shopping , I needed a reclining chair with an ottoman because we have no comfortable chairs. My back still hurts and nobody seems to know what is causing the trouble .


  

Sunday  my back was still in hurting and no real explanation The rest of the day we watched  football.
kind of a poor day for football.  My back was killing me and my appetite was very poor.
 





Monday
 


Monday I got up and ate a little but not much, no appetite so I went back to bed. At 10am I woke and my stomach was killing me and there was nothing I could do. We called the doctor and he sent us to the ER, even though the place was packed we were got #1 priority  treatment. I got a late night cat scan. At around 4am residents started coming in to tell me that the cancer was worse and I now had 2 fractures, the new one was the reason for all the pain, not great news.  Dr. Leslie chewed them out for telling me not so true facts.


Tuesday
 
Tuesday   I spent the day on morphine with a large team of doctors trying to find the problem. I don't know whether it's the new fracture, or the fact that the cancer is a little worse. I spent most of the day getting tests on everything from urine to skin to blood with no answers.
In the evening Suzie, Luis and Gandhi came over to visit.
Dr. Leslie's main chemo nurse, Rebeccah, came by for a visit, great person.
   


 


Wednesday

 
 


On Wednesday at 4 am they came to get me for the MIR test, unbelievably noisy, at 8am they came to remove liquid from my abdomen by the ultrasound group, however they didn't find enough liquid to remove for the test. The rest of the afternoon I had discussions with other doctors about injecting a new plastic into the fractures to lock the bones in place, and with the neurosurgeon about a support brace. At about 4pm the teams were going to send me home until Monday without any consultation with my main doctor but I had to wait to talk to the neurosurgeons who were still in surgery. By then Suzie and Lincoln came by. We decided to have me stay the night so some decisions can be made before Monday. It is starting to get very complicated.




Thursday
 

Thursday morning the neurosurgeon  came by to explain a plan where the brace and plastic insertion. Sounds like a good idea.
At noon my head floor doctor came in to tell me that they're working on the brace but it could take quite awhile .Still there was no group discussion witch is what I'd like to have, anyway she said I would go home today, brace or not. This system of several groups working independently is not exactly what I thought would happen.
Anyway Monday I start a new chemo, I hope this will work.  

 


Friday
 

Friday I took care of some chores. Not very hungry and slept until the jam.The jam was very good and my back didn't really start hurting until around 2am. I did take a little morphine .
 


Saturday
Dec.  7 2013
 

Saturday we got our chores done, rented some movies and felt ok except for my back.




 


Sunday

 
 


Sunday Everybody in the house went to do a job Park Ridge and I watched some football but was in real pain from my fractured back.
Tomorrow we will meet with our primary doctor about injecting a epoxy into my back  to fuse the break. We really have no faith in our first
neurosurgeon because it has already been 4 weeks and his attitude is to wait 3 or 4 weeks , in the mean time we believe my back pain is stopping my fight with the cancer.
In the evening we watched the football games of the day , I still had to take some morphine to make it through the night.

 


Monday
December 9, 2013

 

Monday starts at 6 am and we  are scheduled to start a new chemo blend and to meet with our doctor . We got the names of other neurosurgeons. 1 was highly recommended and we are working on getting him. I felt pretty good all afternoon and took a nap before watching the bears beat the heck out of Dallas, what a great game for us.

  
 

Tuesday


 

Tuesday I ate breakfast but had to take a short nap just from carrying in the groceries . I then got up and worked on Christmas gifts and talked with Luis about what's going on at School this week. I plan to go to the science fair on Wednesday.
I was very tired ,probably from the new chemo.

 
 


Wednesday
 


Wednesday was a complete sleep in . I slept all day ,all evening and all night. I was in pain all of the time until overnight. Suzie made beef stew and it helped a bit, the rest was morphine.


 







Thursday
 


Thursday I woke up a little better, probably because several back brace pillows or the food and juices I took wed.
Thanks to all the support I got from my oncology team,Katieri, Rebeccah and Dr. Leslie ,not to mention Suzie, got the 
neurosurgeon group to admit me on Saturday and do the kyphoplasty on Monday. Kyphoplasty is the procedure where they inject a polymer into the back to fuse the weak parts together. WE hope that this will stop my back pain and  let my life get back to no pain mode. It's our feeling that  when my body is dealing with severe pain, it has a much harder time fighting the cancer.
I have constipation again even though the new chemo is supposed to just the opposite. I also had no appetite this week and ate mainly soup.   








 
Friday


 
 


Friday was a real Tough day. Jose got the Jam supplies and I sleepy until 9pm , however I was in so much pain that by 11pm the group could see how much pain I was in, but this time it was my stomach. It seems that every day I find a new disaster. I could not control the pain in my stomach. This was absolutely no fun and by 11pm we were in the hospital hoping.

   

   
 


Saturday
 
I could not control the pain in my stomach. This was absolutely no fun and by 11pm we were in the hospital hoping for .. We ended up in the ER getting poked and prodded, Lotta all .by nightime.Tomorrow They will Get going on fixing the stomach and my back.


 

Sunday
 
Sunday I was  in the hospital to get everything arranged for tomorrows Kyphoplasty operation by the neurosurgeons. I went through tons of tests. The plan is to insert a polimer  into both back fractures, then find a way to clear the blockage by the stint. These two procedures should clear my pain issues so I can back to curing my cancer. Suzie spent the day with me while Luis and Jose B. working on the dance shows. Everybody is coming through and I am proud of everybody.

 
 

monday December 16 2013
 

I woke up today, no appetite,and hurting mostly in the back,  plus severe constipation but optimistic about todays operation.  At 10am they came for me and suzie and I went down, the doctor spoke to us about the risks and off I went. I got knocked out and woke up in some pain. Most of the pain at that time was in the throat from the pipe going to my stomach. Like in most hospitals transport took forever. Once back in the room I was in pretty much pain plus I still had severe constipation.
We then tried to watch football but the did not have ESPN . We talked to my sister and tried to eat but I became nauseated ,stableized myself and watched some bad movie. Suzie went home and I went to sleep, I did have a headache most of the night but survived till morning.
In the middle of te night they had me come down for an xray to see if there is a stool block and of
course there is. They of course do nothing.


 


tuesday

 
 

Tuesday I had no idea what would happen ,the first group of doctors in where the neuronsurgeons, they just said you if you're ready you can go. I said that I would rather stay and find out what is wrong with my stomach which is in severe pain and is killing me.
Later the floor attending doctor comes in and asked how I'm doing I say my stomach must be fixed
 They call me down to x ray and x ray my back and I don't see them again that day. some time later they call me down to xray again , but this time they xray my stomach, and again I don't see any of them again. At four my cancer doctor Leslie comes in ,again I explain the  .real problem, my stomach.
I must say that there is only bullshit a person can take, I don't know how much more of the I can take.
In the evening my sister and her husband came by for a visit and some christmas gi
fts,Great to have the company . I can't wait to see what crap happens tomorrow. It's funny that I haven't seen my gastro guy in months.






Wednesday
 
Suzie & I
   requested I be taken off the  IV solution.   I could not eat my nice hot breakfast because
my stomach is so full.  Three doctors came in to talk with us.  We told them we were unhappy
with the lack of communication and that we needed to know what they were going to do
about my stomach issue.  We talked with them for a while, they left and came back with the
attending floor doctor.  They agreed with our assessment and agreed to get the ball rolling to get
rid of the blockage in my stomach.

I went for an ultrasound to determine the status of my gut.
At 12:15 I finally got an enema which really did nothing.  Both the physical therapist and the
occupational therapist came by to walk me around, but at different times.  They both said my mobility was excellent for someone who had just had  back surgery.

By brother showed up shortly after the enema was administered.  We all had a very nice visit and
then my sister and her husband came in.  It was family day at Rush!  They all stayed for a while
and then we waited to see what was the next try to clear out my gut.  One of the members  of
the attending team of doctors came in and said Dr Melson (our Gastro Guy) and Dr. Towbin, head of our attending team, were discussing my situation and that she would be back soon with
an  answer.  In the meantime, Dr Leslie came in and we asked about re-starting chemo.  Kateria got us scheduled for Monday, so we are back to the fight.  Dr. Leslie prescribed some steriods to give me some pep, but only for a couple of weeks.

I ate a good good dinner then took a different medication to try and unblock me.  Tomorrow they
are going to try  a procedure that worked in the past.  It was too late for today. 

Spent the evening with Suzie and then went to sleep.
 


Thursday
 

Thursday morning Suzie and I were waiting for the house team who along with Suzie made the arrangements for the gastro procedure to happen on thursday morning. The residents came in at 7:30am to let us know everything was going well.  By 2pm we realized the teams had screwed up again. they made a mistake and it was on friday, we were so disgusted we decided to leave and come back as out patients , it was pretty obvious that the gastro team screwed me big time and have no concern for me or the hospital. I certainly hope I don't have to rely on this bum, where in the world do we get guys like this.

We got checked out and went home discussed .
We watched some tv and went to sleep.       

 Friday
DECEMBER 20 2013
 

Friday my back was great but the stomach was still a problem so much so that when the jam started I  was not ready to go . My plan was to get up at the break. The problem happened  when I got to the bathroom, I had only a few seconds to be in the bathroom. I knocked , and tried again to knock , my stomach started convulsing so hard that it affected my back making me feel like I broke another section of backbone. To add insult to injury I did not make it anywhere close to the toilet, what a horrifying experience.
I believe that I broke my back again,but a little higher up the spine.

  

 

Saturday
 

Saturday we did our shopping , had a great meal. My pain  was overridden by pain pills. We did find a great new drug, Lactulose , Much better than miralax.

 



Sunday
 

Sunday we went to the flea market to check in with our friends. We had a great time being with real people.  In the corrupt retail world there are really no merchants who are honorable and decent people. We really enjoy the flea market.
Monday is chemo and probably some  xray's It is truly the first time I don't feel that good about going to the hospital, confidence very low.


 



Monday
 
Monday morning we went for chemo and had an  xray of my back, however the the pain was so great that that I must have missed  the backbone with the xray.
I tried  to tell the operator that it's higher but they did not listen.



 
 



Tuesday
 

Tuesday was Christmas and our first Skype celebration  It was very nice . my pain was pretty severe.


Wednesday
 

 on Wednesday  we slept all day, in the evening we put together some  gifts for the jam.
 

Thursday


 

On Thursday I went for another xray and confirmed another break  at T9. We did some checking on our neuro surgeon but he will not be back until January 6,  2014

 


Friday
 


Friday is Jam day and our Christmas ugly  sweater party. I hope it will be a good day.
Jam went real good but by 2am Suzie and I were bushed and fell asleep . In the morning we realized that a group of elves cleaned the house , what a treat.
 

Saturday
 



 
 

Sunday
 

Sunday I woke up with a terrible back ache ,I don't know why but I couldn't get up. We already got confirmation of the new T9 break. We finally got me in a standing position and tried to make it to the bathroom. When we got to the door I started to fall, Suzie grabbed me and I made it to the toilet, in great pain. We now realized we were in big trouble with our doctor being out of town.
We called our cancer doctor and tried to get somebody to help us. I was already taking the biggest pain pill I could take at home and all we could do is go to the ER and get checked in on Monday

 


Monday Dec 30
 
On Monday we checked in at the ER and got a room by 12am and finally got a real dose of pain pills while the staff tried to get someone to help. We did take the cat scan and saw another break , so now we had 2 new breaks. They were going to get something done with the neuro staff by Tuesday. somehow we got luck and got one of the best doctors in the world to do the procedure. The plan was for Wednesday morning. Suzie was over most of the evening and it was great that I had access to the good pain pills.
 

Tuesday

December 31, 2013
  

On Tuesday Suzie came early but the neuro surgeons were late and she went to work. The surgeons called up a portable Xray and at 12pm I was on my way to surgery. I met with all the doctors and was told we're going do do it with a local and not get knocked out . I got strapped into a harness and away we went. I must say I did feel some pain but everything went fine.  This time the kyphoplasty was done by world renowned Dr. Kessler, I had to stay there for and hour or so while the compound hardened. I slept most of the afternoon.
In the evening Suzie came over and we intended to watch some new years eve movies.
Our friend Dave Pile came for a visit with a fiddle that he rented for me to see if I liked it. Another friend, Heidi also dropped in and we got some Ginger ale and celebrated new years eve at 7:30 It was great and I can't  feel better about the visit ,I am a lucky man. We watched Lincoln and Suzie then stayed until 11pm and went home.  

 

Wednesday

Jan 1st 2014



 


Woke at 5 am and worked on the blog. At 7:30 nuero surgeon people showed up, said
everything looked OK, needed another x-ray then we could go home.  By 2pm the xray time had been postponed until 5pm. Finally by 6:30pm I was released but I was still very tired. We stopped to get some rolls and got home.
I have to say the electric car is great even in this weather.
Luis and Edwardo came over and shoveled snow and listened to my hospital stories.
We went to bed around 12midnight. I was still in pain but better.
It is pretty clear by now having had 4 back fractures in 4 months that without the invention of the kyphoplasty my back pain would have made the cancer terminal because my body would be spending all it's time fighting the pain and not the cancer. 

 

Thursday
 

Woke and drove Suzie , had some breakfast and went back to bed. Woke up feeling better, ate a little more,seems like my appetite is getting better again.





Friday
Jan 3, 2014
  


In the evening we had the Jam, talkative group , lots of fun.
 The Jam lasted till 3am, by then my back was tired but I got a massage and slept good all night.






Saturday
Jan 4 , 2014

 

Saturday we got up feeling good,  no back pain . We decided to go and do our shopping, flea market, guitar center costco, Petes. I felt pretty good all day while we watched the NFL play offs. I also put new strings and cleaned my mandolins.  Suzie made a great dinner and we're off to bed.
 


Sunday
 
Jan 5, 2014


 

Sunday because of the cold we stayed in and watched football, it has't been this cold for 30 years. I felt ok but kind of tired.overnight I had a nightmare despite the fact that I have only had a few in my whole life, freeky.

 
 
Jan 6, 2014
Monday

  

Monday was chemo day, my appetite was pretty low and I was nauseated,and slept most of the evening. My  back did hurt somewhat and I was somewhat bloated


Jan 7, 2014
 Tuesday
 

Tuesday I slept most of the day. In the evening Heidi came over to to spend some time. I stayed up a little and felt pretty good.
 
Jan 8, 2014
Wednesday
 

On Wednesday I slept all day and evening and felt pretty low down. I have to say we've been starting to consider Oregon Because nothing seems to be getting better.

 Jan 9, 2014
Thursday
to 
Jan 17, 2014


 
Sorry about the long absence friends.
This new chemo is really kicking our butts!
   It is called Irionatecsan.  Viktor is loosing more hair (I think it has stopped falling out, but after the first round on the 6th it was brutal).  Viktor has bought a couple of hats but his mood is low as well as his appetite.  I can't get too specific because of the long gap.

After the second chemo Monday (13th) things became really dicey.  Viktor was feeling really bad, and of course we assumed it was reaction to the chemo.  We were able to pull off the Jam on the 18th.  Immediately after that Viktor was in the bathroom for almost an hour.  I finally knocked and he let me in.  He was lying on the floor, sick as a dog and having massive diarrhea.   I stayed with him while.  We laid on the floor until we were able to get to the bedroom  We had put a portable toilet in the bedroom and the remainder of the night, and into the next day was spent on and off the toilet.  We had no idea what was going on and where this diarrhea came from.  Finally, around 8:00 pm after contact Dr. Leslie, we went to the ER.  After all the preliminary tests, etc. we were admitted to the hospital

The next day, after a stool testing, it was discovered that Viktor had contracted C-Diff, a really nasty, super catchy infection gotten from antibiotics and chemo as a result of the killing off of the friendly bacteria.  It was also discovered there was a large amount of stool "stuck" above the colon.  So, we were back in the hospital being treated with Flagy, and oral antibiotic. (kind of ironic!)  This is working well and his diarrhea has ended.

Because he remains bloated, they are going to do another procedure to look at his stent to be sure it is in the proper place and try to determine why there is a blockage.  We had to fight to not have a cat scan because the barium is so distasteful, so they are going in the other end.  Neither is fun.
Of course, I have been spending all my free time at the hospital.  It is pretty arduous because we are getting nothing done at home.  The dogs are wondering what is going on. (Luis has been taking them to his house to play with Chomsky and get a change of pace.)  Mandela screams at me when I come home (Mom, where have you been!!!)  But, what else can I do?
We watched the Playoff games on Sunday.  That 49ers Seattle game was really exciting!  Luckily, we did not really care who won because we like both teams.  I like Harbaugh much better as a coach than I did when he was our quarterback.
Viktor's sister, Dagi from Wisconsin, (and her minion Kirstie) have been in town for a few days and been a HUGE assist with trying to keep Viktor and his mood on an even keel.  Talk of "leaving the planet" and "I can't take this anymore", etc. is not only really distressing to me, but the Resident Dr. sent in a mental health person to talk to Viktor about his attitude and thoughts.  It really make me sad and frustrated.  Besides that, I am not getting very much sleep sence I mentioned, nothing is getting done at home.
He hates when I leave and often says "don't leave yet"  again, what can I do?  He is my boy. 
Anyway, Viktor is scheduled to come home tonight (22nd) and I will pick him up at the hospital after work.  I have been driving to the hospital in the morning for a quick visit, catch the Pink Line to work and then back again to the hospital until Viktor lets me leave.
We will try to be better at keeping up.  We may even edit this section, but I wanted to get something out to you guys as I know many of you read this every day and get concerned when there is no posting.

Peace.

  
 
Jan 17 - Jan 21
Friday-Tues

 So, we had a good Jam Friday.  I can't tell you how great it makes us feel to have our Jam friends around.

Almost immediately after the jam Viktor started having severe stomach cramps and diarrhea.  It was the worst we have ever experienced.  This continued until 8:00 Saturday night when we decided to take him to the ER after talking with Dr. Leslie.  As expected, we spent several hours in the ER:  blood work, X-Ray,  stool culture
, exams, pushed, prodded, etc.
  It was finally determined that he had picked up C-Diff.  If you have never heard of it, this is a nasty, contagious, debilitating, horrifying stomach infection usually picked up in medical facilities.  Great, huh!?  It is also picked up when antibiotics are being taken or you are on Chemo, so we were prime targets.  It is spores that attack when the good bacteria is substantially decreased.   We finally got a room at 3 am and stayed until Tuesday
.
Treatment is another antibiotic, kind of ironic.   The weight loss is intense.  We  figured he lost 20 Lbs.  And he cannot afford to lose that much weight!  We are pretty frightened with all this stuff  that is keeping us from Chemo 
Jan 23 2014 Wednesday



Wednesday I Didn't have enough strength to drive Suzie or enough to get out bed very far, I had no appetite for food  or water and still felt no way recovered. I still feel heavily distended and constipated. I feel mostly ok unless it deals with food and running around.


 
Thursday January 24
 
Thursday the same as wednesday.

 

Friday January     25

  
Viktor is still pretty tired and wiped out from the week's ordeal, but is working on consuming more food.  He has taken to "eating" milk, which he really likes.  Also Stoney Fields Strawberry Smoothies and Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt.  None of them have I ever seen Viktor eat before!  Chemo really changes your taste.  This guy who has been drinking almost nothing but soda all his life and put lots of salt on EVERYTHING can tolerate neither!!


 
Saturday & Sunday
Jan 26 & 27

 
Did our normal Saturday errands.  We have decided to make Saturday our work day and Sunday our catch-up day That worked out really well.  We got a lot done and Viktor was in pretty good spirits.  No chemo tomorrow because he is still weak.  Hopefully we can start again next week.

Monday-Fri
Jan 28 - 31

 This started out to be a good week for food.  We had Chinese Food twice. Hamburger & Fries, or fries & gravy.  Toward the end of the week his appetite started to diminish.  Still ok with milk but the OJ and water are tasting odd. Get this, everything has to have ice!
Saturday
Feb 1
  - Wed February 5
 Sorry for the absence.  Lots going n and Viktor is too tired to write

I ran errands myself today.  It was pretty hard. Everyone was asking about Viktor since we are living day to day.

It is really hard to remember what has happened and in what order.  so...

We watched Super Bowl.  The first half Viktor was in bed and the second half I got him out to the living room. The game was not so good.   He is not eating anything solid, but still big on milk, smoothies and yogurt.

Went to our chemo appointment,  knowing we would not have it and that we would probably be 
admitted to the hospital.  We were right.  His numbers are bad and he is still too weak to tolerate chemo.   They  did a procedure called 
Paracentesis which is when the insert a needle into his gut and take out the fluid.  It worked really well and gave him some much needed relief.  He was able to eat some solid food, but was put on a soft diet.

Pyle came out to visit.  It was good to see him and talk about plans for the future.  Yes there will be a future, just somewhat altered. 
One evening, some of our kids (Andy, Matuz, Lily) and friends (Juan Luiz & Heidi 0 came out for a visit.  That was really great for our mental health!  Good to see them and know their lives are going well.

Wednesday, morning we heard the news from Dr. Leslie that we were looking at 
3 - 5 months. We were not ready for that news.   Our world came crashing down around us in a very serious way.  We are obviously looking for a miracle.

Basically, the  Bilirubin is too high to continue with chemo. Anything anybody knows about flushing bilirubin from the liver would be greatly appreciated.
We knew this news was coming, but not this fast.

We were discharged from the hospital that afternoon.

Thurs & Fri
 Feb 6 & 7
 I stayed home again on Thursday. Viktor must have someone home to assist and, more importantly, talk to him.  He hates not having someone to talk to now that he seems to be home bound.    Luis & Jose B have been around all the time to help me out, so I can be with Viktor.  They are great people.  Ben  is in town from Florida (6 years since his last visit) and he and Jeff N. stopped by for a visit and played some music.   We all really enjoyed that!

Friday Steve Rigik from school stopped for a visit with armfuls of cards, notes and well wishes from what looks like the entire school, including students

Friday was the most unbelievable Jam!   There must have been 25 people here.  It was the most beautiful experience.  Those who could not be here missed out on something special!  
Not only was it Mark N. Birthday, and he made some great song choices,  there was a a magic in the air you could feel, and everyone seemed to feel it.  A mixture of friends, musicians, new and former players, friends we have not seen for a while and a big group of  "our kids".  There was love and joy all around everyone! It is really hard to describe, but holy cow!

We did the first round, took a break to celebrate Mark's Birthday and then, since it was apparent Viktor was not able to get up, we trooped to the bedroom and sang and "celebrated" there.  "My heart soared like an eagle".  The last people left at 4 am.  It was a fabulous night! 

Thank you for the enormous outpouring of caring for my boy!!!

peace


Sat & Sun
Feb 8 & 9  
 

 Viktor is still not eating solid food, but continues with his milk products .

Ben stopped by with Jeff again.  They stayed for 3-4 hours talking and playing music.  It was a really nice visitThe rest of the day was spent watching the Olympics.

Viktor is more tired by the day.  Mobility is a big issue because of back pain and overall weakness.  We put a portable toilet in the bedroom to make things easier for him.   Getting off the toilet can be a long, hard struggle that totally wipes him out.
Mon Feb 10
 Went for what we thought was going to be our 3rd kyphoplastyHowever, his INR (blood clotting ability) was too high, which means there is a danger of bleeding due to reduced clotting ability.  Also, his belly is full and needs to be drained again.  We were admitted to the hospital to control pain, lower the INR and drain the fluid.  So, ...
Luis, Alca, Earl, Lily, Juan Luis, Heidi & Pyle all stopped by for a visit.  What can I say, I am continually touched.
 Tues. Feb 11
  Stopped by the hospital on my way to work, but did not leave.  (I cannot tell you how great and understanding my boss and the people at work have been during this time )  Bilirubin is at 7.2, INR (before meds) is at 3We may not be able to have the kyphoplasty at all.  There is another team that can do an alternate procedure.  I don't care who does it, I simply want them to stop the painAccording to Dr. Leslie, we are looking at weeks.  I spent the night.
Weds Feb 12 -
Sun Feb 16
 I intended to go to work on Wednesday when Viktor was to get his belly drain "installed", at 8:30.    Unfortunately, that did not happen until almost 1:30, so I did not go to work.  I slept a little since Viktor kept me up most of the night, but that is OK.
We had more visitors, while I ran home for clothes, etc for the night.  I cam  back to the room with Viktor's brother Ed, Dagi, Bryce, Christopher M., the Twins, Luis.   Later Pyle, Molly and Heidi stopped by.
At 1:30 am, they came to get Viktor for an MRI to make sure they get the right vertebrae glued.  When he got back to the room, he said he was "on fire".  Apparently, the contrast they gave warms up the body, but he was really, really hot.  I had cold compresses on his head, his belly, his legs, etc.  I was sitting there in a blanket and he was almost naked and still really warm.  It took more than an hour to finally get him cooled down.  Unbelievable circumstance as we had no idea that would happen because it had not happened to him before.  I don't know what he would have done had I not planned to spend the night again.
Thursday, they came for him earlier than scheduled, I think before noon, for the Kyphoplasty.  I napped again.  We started pushing for him to go home to be there for Friday.  We won.  The nurse, Mirabel, showed us how to "drain"  him.  It seems pretty straight forward.  I guess we will find out soon.
During this time When I got to the hospital, the "morning crew" of Drs., etc, came to see Viktor  The main Dr. explained to us that we have a disease that they cannot cure.  We knew that, but it always hits hard.
We went home and got Viktor settled.
Viktor had the nurse at the hospital help him make me a Valentine's Day Card.

Friday Ojo (one of his nurses) came out.  I had never met him but had heard a lot about him.  He is a huge Nigerian man, very nice and seems to really like Viktor, so he is OK in my book!  He took vitals, "drained" Viktor and chatted for a while.
We had visits from  Ms. Cassidy and Ms. McDonald as well as Steve Rigik and Ms. Palacios who came with an armful of Valentine Cards and messages from staff and students.
We had another wonderful Jam.  Lots of people and good vibes.  Viktor was able to come out after the first round of songs and stayed up for the remainder of the time.  That was good.
Saturday, I went to work (Tax Season).  Jeff N. and Jennifer S. were with Viktor most of the day.  When Dagi, Bryce, Willy and Chelsea came by, they were able to leave.  How great to have friends to donate an entire day to us.  shortly after I go home, my nephew, Andrew and his fiance, Lindsay, stopped by.  That was the first time they had met each other.  Sad, but true.
They group was gone by about 7:30.  I was able to get Viktor out into the living room for a few hours.  We watched the Olympics and he ate part of a soft boiled egg, drank a little smoothie, and drank a lot of water.  About 11:00 we headed off to bed.  I gave him a little massage and we fell asleep.  He was OK all day and seemed to be "fine".
Sunday morning around 3:00 am, I woke to Viktor kind of moaning.  Inoticed the bed was wet, that set my blood cold, thinking he was losing control, I called to him.  I got no response.  I called again, again, no response.  His one eye was partially opened but he did not appear to be aware.  I started getting very frightened.  I called Dagi and told her I thought he was leaving us.  She asked a few questions, like was he breathing and was the breathing raspy or gurgley.  We talked a little more, with me crying of course, and finally came to the conclusion that he was just really tired from the surgerys and constant visitation, which we will never discourage, and just needed rest.  After our conversation, I looked at the wetness on the bed and realized it was his back surgery area oozing.  I removed the bandage, cleaned up the area and put a new dressing on it.  I felt a little better and was able to go back to sleep around 5:00 am.

Sunday, Viktor was still pretty out of it.  I did not leave.  Luis & Jose B had gone skiing and had not yet come to the house.  Dagi & Bryce came over in the afternoon, as did Luis.  I think we watched the Olympics.  Viktor continues to weaken but is still able to recognize us. 

Mon. Feb 17  Dagi & Bryce came to stay with Viktor while I went to work.  I missed him all day.  Viktor is not able to get to the bathroom anymore so we have the commode Dagi got us, in the bedroom.  It is easier, but the urge to go is really strong, even through there is nothing there, or it comes before they are ready.  We are trying to tell Viktor it is OK to just let it go, but that is a very hard thing for him to do.  There is nothing easy, or private, about this entire situation.  
While I was at work, Dagi got in touch with the Hospice people and we are going to set that up tomorrow.  Viktor is a strong spirit and is still "playful".  Loves those kisses!
Chris and Correna Morales, (former kids) stopped by to visit.  They left a lovely book they had put together for Viktor.  Pictures and history.  
I had a long conversation with my brother and sister-in-law in Canada.  That was a good thing.

I was able to successfully deal with changing Victors pants.  Not something I ever thought I would need to learn.
   Dagi & Bryce are outstanding
 Tues. Feb 18 I was just told Nightingale is going to name the Auditorium after Viktor.  I lost it.   John Arniari and Barb Popish brought over a plaque "Viktor Simoneit Theater".  It is truly beautiful and touching.  We are speachless.

We got a visit from the Hospice Group today.  Martha got us signed up and started the process rolling.  Gloria assessed the environment, talked to us to understand our needs and took care of setting us up for care.  They were both kind and very knowledgeable.  It is such a final step but one that needed to be taken.  We are now aware of what to expect and what everything means and what medications we no longer need to give Viktor and what we need to keep him comfortable.

Lu from Missouri and her son, Patrick, stopped by.  I believe she had just driven in from Missouri.  She will be doing a split shift with Dagi & Bryce next week.  Those 12 hour shifts can be really tough.
Heidi and Edie also showed up to visit.  We were very sad and happy almost at the same time. 
Love is a wonderful thing.
 There are many tears being shed
 Weds. Feb. 19
 Rochelle is our official Hospice Nurse.  She is very knowledgeable and understanding.  She continued the conversation about what Viktor, I and our family need for a peaceful end of life process.  We were able to easily change the bed and set it up with a "moving blanket" for a less stressful time for Viktor.

I went to work for a few hours.  My boss and co-workers are really wonderful to us.  I don't know how I could have kept my job without all their support.  I am truly greatfull.

We had visits from Dave Pyle, (Dagi says he is great), Andy M. and her mom, Martha, Lily & Juan Louis and Paco.  Viktor can hear what is happening and knows people by their voices but  there is no conversation.  A few smiles and looks, but not much more.  He is also trying to get up and go to the bathroom.  This is a response to the body telling him he has to go, but there is no movement, or so that is what I understand.  He asks for us to help him up, but we cannot.  He simply needs to rest, relax and let it just happen.  Sleep is a little hard to get because this asking happens every 10 minutes or so.  Some of the new medication is helping lessen the urge and how often it occurs.

   Thursday February 20, 2014

"And I know you've got to go but you can't say it
And I know I've got to let you go away
So many times before, So many places we have been
You cannot run from the wind"

My love, my life, my best friend is gone.

Peace

 Fri - Mon
Feb 21 - 24
 
Finding a new "Normal"
 

Mr Rigic stopped by, Ms. K. and Ms. Cassidy also came over.  My oldest brother, RIck, came over and while we waited for the appointment at the Cremation Society of Illinois, he took me for a bagel  and coffee.  We had a very nice chat.  He also came with me to meet Dagi & Bryce for the meeting.  That was certainly surreal.  But now all that stuff is done.  

I stayed with Dagi & Bryce at their new apartment and looked at the great view of the lake and talked, or didn't talk.   We headed over for the Jam.

The house was already full, even though it was early.  We had over 30 people there, including all of Luis' family!  We had another great Jam filled with energy & love.  I did not go to bed until after 4:00.
Friends and music are a great balm for the sole.


Saturday

I slept late and through the night.  Something I have not done for a while.  I spent time separating and washing clothes to send to the Eddie Beard House, thrift store and for Luis & Jose-B.  We ordered pizza, drank some abandoned beers, and talked.  These two have been a good support and Luis has been invaluable to me.

Sunday

Luis & I did what used to be Viktor's and my regular weekend chores.  We went to the Flea Market to get a few things but mostly to talk to our friends about Viktor.  Jane & Jonas, our flashlight friends, Joan & Bernie, never bought anything from them, but they are loving caring folks. David & Tony who we got paper, pens folders, anything stationery, Jaison who we bought all our t-shirts, hoodies and sweat shirts from.  All of them have become good friends over the years.   They were shocked and sad.  It was pretty hard but I thought they should know.

Costco was the same.  Friendships that grew over the years.
At home, continued washing clothes to donate and generally clean up.
More Pizza and leftover beer.  Luis and I have good conversations.  We are feeling many of the same hurts at the loss of our friend, Viktor.  I am sure it helps us both.

Monday

I had to get out of the house.  I took Gandhi, Lincoln & Chomsky to Marquet Park for a long walk in the snow.  I really missed Viktor there,  We always took the dogs out for walks together, now I take them everywhere alone.  The hole is so huge sometimes I can hardly breath.

Tonight was pizza & wine & more conversations with Luis and Jose-B.

I wonder if I am doing the right things,  Sometimes I don't think I am crying enough, other times for no particular reason, I start crying.  Is it ok to start emptying the house of common stuff, cloths, hair spray, combs, or is it a good way for heading to a new "Normal"?  

 Tues Feb 25 
I walked over to school with Luis to talk with Ms. K. about Luis & the twins, who have both been accepted to Whitney Young!  Keeping with the "We never go anywhere without our dogs" we caused a stir at school.  However, no body seemed to mind.   There were several teachers in room 206 so I went in just to say HI, but stayed for a little while talking.  The had taken a collection at school for us.  Lets add generosity to love and support.
The dogs an I took a long way home so get back to a routine.

That evening, Heidi, Andy Paniaugua and Edie came by for a visit. It was nice after really not wanting to see anyone for a while.  There was steak (not for me of course) baked potatoes and guacamole, and wine.
 
Weds  Feb 26
 
It was so nice taking the dogs out I decided go to McKinley Park.  We wandered around for a couple of hours.   Cold. crisp, refreshing and lonely.  Even though I have the support of so many friends, family, etc., I really feel totally alone.   I don't think I will ever be truly happy again.  I keep hearing about the future, but what is "future" without Viktor?  I am back & forth between unbelief and some realization of the finality of it all.
I continue to clear out things that make me sad. We have a lot of clothes to disburse mostly.  Chop Wood, Carry Water.

Thurs Feb 27  This afternoon I got a call from Dagi and met her and Bryce at the Cremation Society to pick up Viktor's ashes.   I wasn't ready for that, but I went anyway, getting lost numerous times and ending up being about 5 minutes late.  

The container is very nice, sunset almost looking like our "goodbye shot".  Dagi & I both got a small urn for ourselves.  I now need to get "ready" for tomorrow.  
 Fri Feb 28 Today turned out to be a wonderful, sad, fulfilling day.  I was very nervous about the whole thing.  All I knew for sure was that the Jam would play.  

Luis, Jose-B, Nolan and I got to the school about 1;30PM.  Jam People began to arrive while we tried to set up the stage and get organized.  Lost of nervous energy flying out of me.  I tried to keep myself busy.  I was touched to see the Rochman's from work come in and went to greet them.  Tammy Johnson, who's mother got us into the Dance Video business, and Steve came in, I greeted them as well.  Once we started playing, I could not keep up with the arrivals.  My office people, 
Barbara, Michele, Shakeia, Jay, Jeff, David, Denise & her husband, all came.  The was touching, as well.

The Dedication was really nice (unfortunately the recording was corrupted so we have not record, unless someone else was recording). Steve Rigik spoke about Viktor and his dedication to the school, staff and students.  There were tears all around.  They played a very sweet video put together by Ms. Jennings, the Art Teacher.  Pictures and interviews of students and staff.  Funny and sad at the same time.  After the video Frank Fackler also spoke.  I actually ran over before He spoke to give him a hug.  It has been so long and I had no idea where he was or if he was even alive.   As the people left the "Viktor Simoneit Theater"
the Jam Played again.  It was bitter sweet, fun but sad, encouraging and depressing all at the same time.  
Many of our "kids", current and past, were there.  It was a really nice turnout.  Many former connections were re-connected. Hopefully, the "re-connections" will continue.
Interestingly, I spent a lot of time comforting others who had not yet spoken to me, or just learned  about my Viktor's passing.   Not al all uncoomfortable.  I felt sad for their grief.

The Jam group, and some others, came back to our house and we had another stunningly good Jam.  It was Edie's Birthday so she chose the first round.   We again played excellently, people felt "magic" in the air.  I believe we may get couple new recruits.  Young blood and new ideas; something Viktor was always looking for.  Some had just been too young.
Sat. March 1  Today I tried to go to work.  I arrived about 11:30 am and stayed until 6:30.  It was an interesting exercise and I did pretty well.   I was tired so we, Luis, Jose-B and I, spend a quite night.   I sifted through more papers on my "neatly piled" desk.
Sun March 2  Today I took the dogs and went to Costco.  On the way home, I stopped at Marquette Park and walked around for a couple of hours.   I was very hard.  I cried often and hard.  We walked around the golf course, since nobody was playing.  I have lost my pal and best friend.  The person,  I did all these things with.  It is so hard to have fun alone after Viktor, even with my wonderful dogs. During our rambling, I hit a patch of ice and went down.  No harm no foul.  
I was going to make a pot roast for the "boys" but by the time I got home I was too sad.  I fed them steak instead.  I don't think they minded too much.
I tried to get to bed early, around 12:00, to get myself back to working hours.  I am having a little trouble going to sleep.  I am just not getting tired.  I took a Zanex and that worked OK, although it took a while, even after the wine.  
Today was a hard day.
Mon March 3  So, I worked a full day.  Things were OK.  I got weepy a couple of times talking to people and when I had to sign the paper to take Viktor off my insurance.  After work was a totally different story.
I cried most of the way home on the  El.  Funny, I don't mind crying in front of strangers.
Now, I am waiting for the pot roast to be ready for addition of vegetables.
Tues March 4   I had to be sent home from work today.  Things were going OK then a wave of sad/loneliness  came over me.   I just could not quit crying.  I cried on the train home, I cried on the walk home, I cried while I talked to Luis about my feelings.  He is going through some of the same stuff.  He lost a good friend, too.  Did I mention Luis now has a Social Security Card!!!  Something Viktor and I had been pushing for.  That will help his life immensely.

After talking with Luis, I went to lay down for a while.  Up at 8:00, fed the guys and Alca pot roast.  Folded some clothes then went to bed.  I hope tomorrow is better.
 Wed. March 5  Today was a better day at work.   The ride home seems to be the hardest part of the "work" day.  I have no interest in reading anything or listening to anything.  So, I just think and that always makes me sad.
Luis & I decided we should restart the mid-week practice.  We got Pyle, us and Sandra, from a couple doors down.  Sandra plays cello and we are looking forward to those cello solos.  It was OK.  Plye was pretty sick but we were able to work on some songs.  It felt good to practice
 
Thurs. March 6 Work went off without a hitch.  Never really happy, but I kept things together.  When I got home, I took the dogs for a walk, all three of them.   They are getting good at listening but there is still competition between Lincoln and Chomsky.  I had a struggle when I saw some of the posters I had put up when Tubby was lost.  Neither of them is coming back.  It got dark so I had to go home.   I continue going through the papers on my desk.  Its seems like a bottomless pile.  
 Fri. March 7 Today was a down day.  I was anxious about the Jam although I did not need to be.  It was a good crowd.  Sandra brought her cello and that was good for her.  She is not playing loudly but at least she is plucking away.  Vinny was doing dishes at the end of the evening.  That was a big help.
Sat. March 8  I walked to the train this morning.   I just felt a need for activity.  Work went fine. It was a sad ride home on the train as I cried all the way.  I got home, had some wine and took a nap.  When I got up Luis was there.  I made some guacamole which was all the cooking I was going to do.   Not very energetic or interested in doing anything, although I have a lot of catch up stuff to do.
 Sun. March 9 I went to the Flea Market and picked up flashlights and T-shirts.  This seems to be the hardest place for me to go.  It was such a routine with Viktor and me.  My heart breaks just walking around there.

Met up with Dagi and Bryce around 1:30 and took a wonderfully nice walk by the lake.  It is really great that they are moving to Chicago so we can take many walks, and hopefully scooter rides, along the lakefront in the coming months.  Gandhi and Lincoln were sooooo happy to be out, leash free and running around pretty much where they wanted.  Not too many people so I did not feel bad about letting them be free.  It was a beautiful day.  

Dagi & Bryce had to go to Wisconsin so after I left them I tried to drive home.  I took a wrong turn in the park and ended up where I started.  My good mood was diminishing.  I finally figured out what I had done and got home without further incident.  Bought a bottle of wine, went home, drank part of it, took Viktor's Urn with me and cried myself to sleep.  
I got up later and had dinner with Luis.  Again, I had no interest in doing, watching, reading anything.  Finished my wine and went to bed.  Kind of a lost weekend, except for the nice walk.
 Mon. March 10 No great shakes at work.  I survived the day but again, cried on the way home.   Once I got home, I went to bed and cried for a while.  Mandela wouldn't stay with me so that made me sad, as well.   I finally got down to writing a response to the Nightingale Family.   I also figured out I have about $2000 for the scholarship we are looking to set up in Viktor's name.  Another piece of a legacy.  
Screw the legacy!  I would much rather have my boy back and healthy.
Tues. March 11  Today turned into a pretty crummy day.   Work was OK until about 3:30, when that wave came over me again.  I left work early and cried all the way home, again and for about 30 minutes at home.

I used to walk with a spring in my step, my heart full of joy, I was so happy.  I had a wonderful love and partner.  We had a great life, the future looked full of promise.  Now, there is no spring in  my step, my heart is broken, my life feels empty and there is nothing to look forward to, nothing,  Every day is just another joyless bunch of time.  I have no goals, no ambitions, no lust for life.  I can't just drink and sleep my life away, but that is how I feel. (I am making a big effort to quit the wine thing, although I don't know if I care).  My cat won't even sleep with me.  I can't be any fun to be around,  I fell like shit. 

Just an additional kick in the face, my tenant didn't know there was water spurting out of the pipe under the kitchen floor.  It has been running enough for 4" of water to be under the house in the crawl space so it has been a few days.  She heard the water running, but neglected to say anything to us.  Great, just another piece of stress for us to deal with.
 Wed. March 12 Relatively OK day.  No depressed outbursts.  Took a nap Worked on getting the bills, etc. for Viktor organized.  My space looks a little better.   We couldn't do a practice due to the uncertainty of the water situation, so it was just Luis & me for dinner.  We ordered a pizza.   
 Thurs. March 13 The city has to dig a hole by our Oak tree to turn off the water that is still spewing from  the back house.  Great.  Then, we have to get our plumber our to fix the cracked pipe.  Remember to always leave water running in your pipes when it gets cold.    Seems that the nap thing is helping.  Kind of reboots my brain.

I did not want to do any cooking, so I made baked potatoes for dinner.  Seemed to go over nicely.  Did a little laundry and tried to pay the bills.    At least I was able to figure out which ones I can pay.  Replenished the "medicinal" wine.  Still chopping wood and carrying water.  Still amazed at life.
 Fri. March 14 Work was ok.   A couple of close calls, but I was able to push them back.  I am a little tentative about the Jam.  Both Earl and Quiet Mark are out this week.  People came "fashionably" late, which always makes it hard for those who come on time.  It turned out to be another good Jam.  I was not in a very good state but stuck with it and by the time it was midnight, I was feeling better, just what the Jam is supposed to do.
Blake stayed to clean up in the kitchen.  That is always appreciated.

Feeling pretty bad for Roy and Linda.  They are going through what Viktor and I just went through.  Just waiting and keeping comfortable.  Not a good place to be and it hurts to know they are suffering so much.
 Sat. March 15 Work went fine.  Jose-B, Luis and a few other friends went to Alpine Valley to ski.    Lily called and asked if a few of them could come over and go through video tapes, etc.  So, Lily,  Vinnie, Andy, Rick and Chris came over and headed into the basement.  I could hear them laughing a lot so I think they were having a good time.
I decided to go through the closet and get rid of t-shirts and sweatshirts.  I filled three black garbage bags.  It was very satisfying to weed our some of those clothes.  I also got two suits with shirt and tie, to go to Eddie Beard.  I was pretty tired, after the jam and working all day, so I went to bed early, even before the group downstairs left and the skiers got home.
I was a not too bad day.
Sun. March 16  Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day, but pretty darn cold, mostly due to the wind.  Luis, Jose-B and I did the Sunday Circle.  Flea Market, to hand out programs and flashlights from the Theater Dedication, pick up shirts for school and get Luis sunglasses, which he lost before we got home.  The last time I was alone at the Flea Market and it was hard.  Having the "boys" along seemed to make it less lonely.  Talked to Joan & Bernie, Jane & Jonas, David & Tony, Chuck & Kevin and Dan, the guy at the door.  They all appreciated the program and flashlights.
Next was Costco.  I was doing fine until I saw Viktor's shoes and I lost it.  You just can't tell what will set you off, or when.  The mind is a crazy thing.   Since none of us had ever had it, we bought a bottle of Jagermeister, to see what the fuss was all about.  I am still waiting.  No great shakes.  I asked several random people in the store if they knew what it tasted like.  I finally go the answer from the checkout person, but I did not think it tasted at all like licorice.
There was a request for roasted/baked chicken so we got a couple and I cooked one.  The guys said it was good!  I swear, I am the best meat cooking vegetarian around! 
 Mon. March 17  We are still waiting for the city to dig the hole and shut off the water.  This is becoming a saga.  
Work was very busy so I had a pretty good day.  That ride home, however, gets me every time.  At least I did not cry all the way home, but by the time I got home,  I was pretty sad.  Luis and I sat in the kitchen and talked over Jagermeister.  It is good to talk to Luis.  He is really close to the loss of Viktor, so he can totally relate. I took the dogs for a nice walk.  
After my nap (these do seem to help) I reheated the rest of the chicken for the boys, had some soup and went to bed.  Not very productive.  Shakeia at work asked if I was losing weight.  I don't think so.  I will pay attention.
 Tues. March 18 I have been a little shaky the past few Tuesdays and I am wondering why.  It is not a day that had any great significance to Viktor and me.  Still, since his death Tuesdays have been tough.
My schedule of walking the dogs and then napping is working out well.   Good for the dogs to walk, good for me, and napping reboots my brain's computer.
I finished putting the remaining stickers on the flashlights so I can distribute them to the Caribou people (who sent a card), my co-workers who attended the Dedication but missed out on the flashlights, as well as the CVS Pharmacy folks (who also sent a card).
Today my monkey brain was focusing on intimacy.  Great, just another part of my life that has been lost.  Viktor and I enjoyed ourselves and that is something I will truly miss.  Crazy brain.
Still waiting for the City.  
 Wed. March 19


  Work was OK.  Tried to set up a practice, but Pyle could not come out today.  We told him about Lil Pat's band so he made go with us tomorrow.  Got a little more organized with my "thank you" notes.  I hope to get them out before too long.
Thurs March 20

 
 Today was one month since I lost Viktor.  I thought it would be really hard, but the day went along without too much sadness and tears.  Baby steps.
Lil Pat and his metal band were playing at Junior's Sports bar, so Luis, Alca, Pyle and I decided to go.  He was to go on at 9:00, but by 10:00, the second band, who was to be Pat's, bumped them.  Since it would be almost another hour before they could even think about playing, we said goodnight and went home for pizza and wine.  
Three hippies walk into a Metal Bar.......... 
 Fri. March 21 Today we learned that Linda, Roy's wife, died this morning, at home, with her family.  Linda also had the same cancer that got my Viktor.  So very sad for Roy and his family.  I am glad she is not suffering anymore. Like Viktor, she was not going to get better.  You need to let go, but it is really hard.  I hope he stays strong and lets people help him.

The Jams continue to be great!   Viktor would be pleased.  Marty from California has moved back to Chicago!  Hope this indicates he will be at the Jams.  That would be wonderful!!  Made me smile to hear the fiddle.  Also, the amazing young lead player, Armando, came this week.  It was candy to our ears to hear the fiddle and lead guitar sharing leads, working in and out of each other's solos.  Totally fun!

Dagi & Bryce are back from Wisconsin.  Sounds like it will only be a couple of weeks before they are here, permanently! Good to have Dagi at the Jam!
 Sat March 22  Another Tax Saturday.  The day went OK.
Alca, her sister, Ida, and daughter, Mia, stopped by for a while this evening.  Mandela got a workout from those girls.  He seemed pretty content. Luis was showing Alca some chords on the mandolin, so I picked up the other one and played along.  It was a nice moment in time.
  Took a nap.  Made some cheese sticks and watched George Carlin with Luis.  Went to bed.  Fairly uneventful day.
 Sun March 23 Luis the dogs and I went to Tinley Park for Linda's, Roy's wife, wake.  Spoke to the family .  This cancer is a horrible disease that affects so many more people than I would have imagined.  More than I remember growing up.  That is what Rick's wife, Suzanne, (Roy's brother) said as well.   Should make everyone stop and think about what "they" are feeding us, putting into our air and water.  Turn off Fox and start paying attention to the facts.  Saw Pyle and Pat Joyce there.
After the wake, we took the dogs to Hickory Creek Forest Preserve near Mokena.  Long way away but the dogs were in heaven!  It was wet and muddy, perfect for dogs!!  The really seemed to enjoy themselves finding every puddle or smooshy spot they could get into.  By the time we left, all three of them were really muddy and smiling!!  It is great fun to watch them have such a fun time!
Starting home our Leaf had about 39 ticks.  Unfortunately, we wasted 10 or so going the wrong way on Archer.  Ok, we are new at this direction thing.  Viktor always kept us on the right path.  
Once we figured out our mistake, we had 19 ticks.  It was getting touchy!  By the time we hit 55th Street we were at 12 and soon after 8 and soon after - - - (three dashes).  It was a pretty quiet ride.  We were afraid to say anything lest it drain our electric more.  But, we made it on the three dashes!  Happy and chuckling at our good luck!
Alca joined us for dinner.  Steak, baked potatoes and peas.  I had a baked potato with butter & cheese, for those of you who are keeping track of the food intake!  Thanks!!
I gave the dogs a little combing out.  It was burrs and sticks only since the dirt literally falls off of our Goldens once they dry.  I think its the breed but the good food we feed them probably is a reason as well.
A nice day.
    Viktor taught me so much it will take me the next 30 years just to get it all straight.  Just something my mind was trying to reason for his death.  Quiet you monkeys!!
 Mon Mar 24 I bought a dutch oven.  The first I have ever had.  Made it much easier to cook the chicken than in my tiny roaster.  The boys said it was good. 
Thinking about baby steps.  I guess I have been doing that.  Cleaning out closets, drawers, etc., cooking, walking the dogs, doing laundry, keeping the Jam going.  I kept wondering what baby steps were and I think I know, but in hindsight.  Interesting
 Tues Mar 25  It's Tuesday and the monkeys are knocking at the door.  I got through the day but had a not so good ride home.  Once I got home, Paco Loco stopped by and a short time later, the Twins, who had a birthday yesterday (14) showed up.  I asked how they got out and they had asked their mom if they could come to our house.  I thought that was nice.  With all the action, the monkeys did not have a chance.   I re-potted a couple of plants that needed my attention.  It was good to see and talk with Paco and the Twins.  It actually was a pleasant evening.
Weds Mar 26 Today at work was OK, but the ride home got me again.  Today's monkeys were chattering about Viktor's and my dream of growing old together;  of not being alone and old and dying together.  It hit hard.
Things I hate today:  Couples holding hands, especially older couples.
 I feel I have been really cheated.  Sure, Viktor and I had a wonderful life together, but that doesn't mean I had enough!  
I tried to write some thank you cards, but just could not concentrate.  Luis was helping the Twins with a project.  About 10:00 I went to lay down for a bit and woke up at 7 am.   Nobody ate dinner.
Thurs Mar 27

 Work was OK.  We did have a good practice.  Sandra used her bow on the cello.  What a nice sound! 
Fri Mar 28   I am feeling a little shaky.   Work was OK.  The Jam was really good.  We had 4 lead players!  We played well and sang well.  Surprising how the Jams are turning out.  Viktor would be proud.
Unfortunately, I had to bow out early to get up for work.
 Sat Mar 29 Work was really busy.  The monkeys are chattering so much I can hardly understand anything .  The closer to home I got the more sad I became.    Felt like I had to do something constructive so I picked up dog poop and picked up the charcoals from last bar-b-cue and miscellaneous pieces of garbage.  Somehow it didn't look much better.  Yards are so sad in the winter.
Made some guacamole and  had wine with dinner.  Too sad, so I went to bed early.
Sun Mar 30  I figured I could sleep until 10:00 when Costco opens.  Decided to go shopping then take the dogs to the Lakefront for a walk.  Still feeling shaky. I asked Luis if he wanted to go, so we packed up the dogs and went to Costco, dropped off the groceries, etc. and went to Burnham Harbor and took a walk.  It was nice out.  We walked around the lower part of the Aquarium and to Buckingham Fountain.  Walks help.
Took a short nap, had dinner worked on my thank you's but failed again.  
 Mon Mar 31 Today has been really difficult.   I had a Dr. appointment.  I was really shaky at work and going into the  Dr. office brought back so memories.  When the nurse weighed me, I cried, if she took my blood pressure, I cried, during the examination and conversation with my Dr., I cried, when I had the bone density test  I cried because it reminded me of  Viktor's last X-ray and how very hard and painful it was for him to get on the table.  I cried at the time, too.
Back at work, I had all I could do to not break down.  I left earlier than I should have,l but I had to leave.  The walk home was tearful.  
Tues April 1  Today at work was better.  I was really busy so that helped.  Did some laundry and took a nap.  I have to get back to that, it really was helping.
Yesterday, I told the Dr. that I wondered why I was having this appointment when I really didn't care.  He asked if I had thoughts of hurting myself.   I said no, but wasn't looking to be all that careful.  He told me several times that if I did I should call him.
After work I had to drop off some prescriptions and talked with one of the pharmacists who sent me the card.  It was a little hard to talk with her, but she was very sweet.  Up until then, I was OK.
I tried to do some paperwork but got distracted by "busy work" picking things up.  Got to be really late.

Weds Apr 2   Luis got his Driver's License today!  Now he has a Social Security Card, State ID and License.  All those papers that make him a "person"!  In celebration, Luis, Jose and I ordered dinner from Maggianos and had a bottle of champagne  This is certainly a significant step up for him.  Viktor would be so very happy, as we all are.  So many doors are now open to him. A rather good day for us all!!
Thurs Apr 3 Today was OK.  Work continues to be busy which helps keep the monkeys at bay. They are talking about being cheated, which I feel that I have been.  Not to say my life with Viktor was not wonderful, but I don't know why we have been denied more of that wonderful life.  There are so many shitty people who could have been taken.  It makes no sense.
Luis was at school so I walked home.  I kind of enjoy the walks I have been having.  Sad but I am able to push some things away, at least for a while.  
We had a very good practice this evening.  Sandra continues to improve and step up.  Pyle is good to have there.  Maybe next semester some others can come, too.  We worked out some more kinks in some songs and enjoyed each others company.  We have a nice litle group.
Fri Apr 4 Work was OK.  The Jam was great!  I did miss Armando, but hopefully he will be back next week.  We celebrated Roy's Birthday and that was nice.  I feel good about being able to continue the Jams.  I think we were all afraid that it would end once Viktor was gone.  It is good that everyone wants it to continue.  Went to bed with people still there.  I do it every year.
I am still frustrated with some people messing with stuff.  This week I lost my second plant/planter.  If you want to do something, look on the door.  I am taking advise and putting my needs up there.   Good advise, Dagi!
 Sat April 5 Work was really busy.  I think I left after 7:00.    There was talk about the kids coming over to go through pictures, videos, etc.  I did not get any confirmation and one two kids showed up; Doc and Heather Rae.
We had a lovely evening talking and remaniscing.  I was pretty tired, but it was so nice to have such a long, uninteruppted conversation with them.   Makes you remember why you liked these kids so much in the first place.
Had dinner, guacamole and whatever the boys bought for themselves.  Saturdays I feel like taking a break from cooking.  So far, it is working well.  
 Sun April 6 Luis volunteered to go to the Flea Market and Costco so I could spend time with Dagi & Bryce.  We planned to take a walk by the lake.  Pyle called so he and Sophie came along, too.  It was a nice walk.  We met a lot of dogs and dog people.  That is something I have missed.    It started out nice and sunny but as the day progressed, is got a little more overcast.   I was abel to find the place of "the beginning of the end" where Viktor cracked his first vertebrae.  I was able to better explain what happened, but I did not go down to the water there.  Too shaky.
 All the dogs seemed to have a good time.  They were soggy and had happy tails.  
Dagi & Bryce had to get back to Wisconsin so we parted company around 5:00, after Bryce and Pyle took a table and some other stuff to the car.   I am happy to know it is only 2 more weeks then they will be in town permanently.
The new normal.
Made shrimp, cilantro and rice, did a little laundry then off to bed.  A fairly pleasant day.
Mon April 7  Work was really busy so I didn't leave until almost 9:00.  Luis texted me and said since it was so late I should not have to cook, so we ordered a pizza.  What a good guy.  Such a Viktor reaction.  It made me sad when I left because this would be a day I would have to call Viktor and as him to "rescue me or I will work all night".  He would drive down and pick me up with the dogs, their blinky lights flashing.  Always made me smile coming off the elevator, but not today.
Folded my clean laundry and went to be.  I have been taking zanex at bedtime and it works really well.  Not a good day but not a bad day.
Tues April 8  Well, today was horrific.  Work was pretty busy but by the end of the day I was getting more and more down.  By the time I left, I was crying and did so all the way home on the train and on the ride home with Luis.  I got home, grabbed Viktor's Urn and cried myself to sleep, hugging the urn.  It was terrible.  I couldn't stop crying.
The monkeys were talking about how alone I was and how alone I will continue to be.  I don't know if I will ever be happy again.  I might laugh and sound cheerful but I am not.  Nothing seems to help.  Pretty miserable day.
Fed the boys, pets and went back to bed.  I don't know if I can stand this void I am facing.
Wed April 9  The monkeys were knocking at the door all day.  By 4:00 I had to leave work.  Not as much water works as yesterday, but it lasted all the way home, including the walk.   I got home and took the dogs out for a long walk.  That seemed to help.   
Heidi stopped by for pizza and a chat.  That helped, as well.  It is so hard to focus or get anything done.
I am trying to greet people I meet on the street, sort of easing my way back into the friendly person I was a few months ago.  Yep, those waves keep coming and going.  
 Thurs April 10 Whew!!  Today was more calm than the last couple.  I guess the monkeys were tired from all the commotion of the past couple of days.
We had a nice practice. Sandra brought her sister's boyfriend, Savador, and he is trying the saxophone!  I am thrilled these younger people are enjoying playing with us.  We may be old, but we must not be too crusty!!  Heidi is setting something up for May 10, with the Nurses Union celebration.  They want the Jam to play a couple of hours during the event.  Sounds like fun.

 
Fri April 11  Hectic day at the office.  It feels like we are getting to the end of Tax Season.  Had another great, very packed Jam!   There are new people and lots of energy.  It is truly amazing to me, so I am not complaining.  I went to bed around 2:00.  Working Saturday and Sunday.  UGH!!  
Sat April 12  Worked until after 8:00.  Took a quick nap until 11:00 then hung out with "the guys" until about 1:30.  Not much time for "monkey business" when I am working so many hours! 
 Sun April 13  Worked all day again.  Didn't do much once I got home.  Picked up a bit and ordered some stuff for the Dance Show season.  I did take the dogs for a walk so they could get out.  Other than that I was just too tired  to get involved in anything else.
Mon April 14   Whew!  A busy day at Jay Zabel & Associates.  We worked until about 9:30 and Luis came downtown to pick me up.  Since it was so late, we ordered pizza for the three of us.  By the time we had eaten, it was time to go to bed.  Tomorrow is the last day of Tax Season!
Tues April 15  Today we all worked until 10:00.  This was so unusual for us because we usually get out at "regular" time.  Lots of action, many phone calls and questions from clients.  The last thing was making sure all the returns were submitted to the government before we left.  
Had a nice talk with one of our clients who lost her husband to cancer a few years ago.  I thought about her during Tax Season.  She had a really nice friendly husband who, the last time I saw him, was very thin, like Viktor toward the end.  It felt good to tell her I was thinking about her.  I also got a call from Kateri, our Nurse Navigator from Rush.  That was very nice for me.  She said people were asking about me and she had been planning to call but wanted to give me some time.  I must get some flashlights and go over to Rush and visit with all those wonderful people who cared for us during the time of Viktor's pending demise.
At home we again ordered pizza, but this time the Twins were there too and stayed until midnight.  I am kind of honored that their parents are comfortable letting them be at the house.  They are pretty protective of their kids.
Dagi & Bryce (and the cats) are back in Chicago!!!!
 Weds April 16 Still pretty busy at work.  Cleaning up the loose ends. My bosses had a short chat with me about my plans.  I told them that I would like to take a little extra time at vacation to get to Yellowstone and show Luis & Jose-B why we loved our trips West.  I guess they thought I would quit or take a leave of absence.  Yea, I could stay home and get the house in order, but I believe that would drive me crazy and more lonely.  Went to lunch with the girls, which is something I never do.  It was a nice change.  Played with the cat a little and then look a nap.
Finally were able to get Heidi over for dinner.  We had a fun time.  Basic steak and potatoes and Heidi brought a bottle of wine.  A lot of laughter and silly stories.  Felt good to laugh.   
 Thurs April 17 Got a nice bonus check for after Tax Season.  Went directly into the Vacation Fund.  It was a shaky walk home, but I was able to keep the monkeys away.  At home I washed dishes and re-potted some plants. Dagi & Bryce came over for practice.   Luis and I have been listening to the song Sandra was saying she wanted to try, Hop High Mu Lulu Gal.  We worked really hard getting it off the ground and were pretty successful, but it sounds like our new kids have never really had to learn or present a song before.  It is a lot harder than singing along with the radio!!  It was good, though.  Everyone worked hard to make things work for their practice buddies.  We ended close to 11:00.
It was every man for themselves regarding dinner.  I had to get to bed and the boys looked like it was going to be steak again.  However, I did not stay up to find out.
 Fri April 18  Work was fine.  The Jam was, again, great!  In honor of Viktor's Birthday on Monday, we did Viktor songs; either ones that he wrote or other's songs, that he did at the Jam.  We had a nice grouping of both.   It was a nice celebration and not too sad.  Sometimes there will be a song that is going really well and I think about how Viktor would have enjoyed hearing all the parts and how good we sounded, then I makes me cry.  Only for a minute or so, and I am grateful that nobody makes a big deal about it.  They just seem to understand and let it go.  
Now that Tax Season is over, I am able to stay up later at the Jam!!  I am really understanding Viktor's love for the Jam.  It is an uplifting positive experience that cleanses every week.
Sat April 19  Luis and I did the Saturday Errand Run.  I may be that just he and I take the trip.  Jose-B seems to be having some conflict with school.  We decided that would be OK and we could put up with each other for 3 weeks, or so.  Either way, it will be an interesting trip. 
 Sun April 20  I went to Dagi's, sans the dogs, to help her decide where all her pictures, etc. should go in their new apartment.  What a fun day we had.  First, it is the most beautiful view!  9th floor looking over the Lake, Promontory Point to the right and downtown to the left.  Fabulous!  It took all day (I left to go home after midnight) but we were able to pretty much get everything up, or ready to be "curated".  We hung no sconces or glittery stuff.   The long hallway was an issue, but we worked everything out nicely.   We will have to find a way to get the dogs into the building.  They allow small dogs to live there, but said I could not bring mine when I visit, which will be often, and my dogs MUST be able to go with me. 
We talked about Viktor and the families and how strange it was that our parents never met, spoke with or even sent a card to each other.   We both thought that was amazing, but I thought it was a natural progression of the relationship of my family.  It was OK.
Mon. April 21   Today would have been Viktor's 65th birthday.  He was way to young to be ripped away.   Lucky for me and Dagi, we were so busy there was not too much time for sadness, not that there wasn't any, but not so overwhelming as it could have been.  We did talk about how we both felt cheated, me especially, but Dagi, as well.  They were close and she spent so much time helping out during his "dying" and did things only a loving sister would do.
We checked out the garden area and started to make some tentative plans as to what to do and how to make the garden better.  It certainly was neglected last summer, so we have work to do.   I had been wanting to cut back my white rose bush and clematis plant, so they both got a good hair cut.  Just as we finished our work, it started to rain big time.  Perfect!
Inside for guacamole, wine and a bit more conversation.
Luis was breaking in my "replacement" by teaching her, Katie, how to run the cameras and other stuff about the video business.   I will help out, but I won't be doing very many shows any more.  It fun has kind of gone out of that aspect of my life.  I enjoyed working with Viktor.  As long as I was with him, working or at play, I was happy.   The happiness has gone out of the business (and personal) side of my life.  It left with Viktor.
In honor of Viktor's birthday, we ordered dinner from Falcos,  his favorite place for pizza, and we had it delivered!!.  Around 10:30 I drove my  buddy, Dagi, home.  We had great conversations about all sorts of stuff this weekend.  What a wonderful spirit to have around.  She picks me up when I am sad and keeps me happy when I am up.  We are surrounded by laughter.  A very important thing for both of us right now.
 Tues April 22 Ok day at work. Pretty busy.  At  home I made Sloppy Joes for dinner.  Seemed to go over OK.  Not a very exciting day, but no "monkey business".
 Weds April 23 Today was OK for work.  Had a Drs. appt at 4:00. I will get results in 2 weeks, so I can't believe I am at great risk for anything.
Both my eye doctor and the gyno guy said my blood pressure was high.  Although they could understand why it would be high, they both suggested I talk to my regular doctor.  Maybe I will get a home blood pressure machine.
At home, Luis and I took the dogs for a walk to the video store.  Luis went to pick videos and I stayed outside guarding the dogs.  People really like seeing these 3 goldens.  They are so pretty and they behave so well.
Mandela and I are working out our sleeping arrangement.  I want to cuddle more than he does, so I am taking it slowly.  Close, but no arms around, like Tubman used to like.  He is not even 1 yet, so I am not too worried about the progression.   
Thurs April 24  Busy day at the office.  Trying to get caught up on sending out Tax Returns.
Took a quick nap before our practice.  We are having very productive practices.  Makes them fun and good for the group in general.  Dagi was able to come with Heidi and Pyle took her home.  I am grateful for that!
Had a quick dinner then off to bed.  The boss wants me in early tomorrow.
I have been trying to improve my eye contact with people/strangers.  I used to be so much more happy and social, but I am working at going back to that.  
Fri April 25 Work was OK.  Got ready for the Jam which turned out to be pretty good, considering we had no lead guitar players.  Makes it pretty hard to play but we did well.  Getting closer to the Heidi thing, but she was absent.  I hope it all works out OK for her.
Got ourselves together for tomorrow's job then off to bed.
 Sat April 26 Today was the first job since Viktor died.   I usually don't do this job, but it fell after Tax Season.  Unusual.  It was hard.  I felt Viktor's absence of everywhere.  Cried a couple of times.
We brought Katie, who will be the new "me" to talk to her about what I do as I will not be doing this anymore.    Like other activities, doing jobs with Viktor was fun because I was with him.   There is just no more fun to work without him.
The Leaf made it out to New Lenox and back with 10 clicks to spare!  I love my electric car.
At home I took a nap.  Then got up and paid bills, cleaned up a little and waited for the crew to return.  I made guacamole for them since they said they would like that.   Helped bring in the equipment then Luis walked Katie home.  I feel better making sure people get home from our house safely.  Spent some time up with the boys and then went to bed.  
Sun April 27  Luis and I did our Saturday chores today.  Lots of stops but we got what we needed.   I was going to take the dogs to Dagi's and go for a walk, however, the wind was pretty brisk so we postponed for another day.  I agreed to roast a chicken for the guys.  Turned out pretty good.
Feeling down today, not severely, but enough to sap my energy and spirit.
Mon April 28  Hard to get up this morning.  I was late for work although it went fine.  I just stayed a little later.  I am getting the Returns assembled and ready to go out once my boss gets back.  
I was really sad today.  At home, I went to sleep.  Unfortunately, I cried a lot before I was able to doze off.   I did not feel much better after the nap.  Just down and lonely.  Those monkeys are telling me how lonely I am going to be living for years without Viktor.  The truth of this is overwhelming and painful.  
We had dinner, I folded some towels and took my cat and went to bed.
 Tues April 29 This is becoming a not so good week.  Still down with no relief in sight.  Took a nap when I got home.  While waiting for dinner to be done, I played ball with Mandela.  He is getting the hang of the game.   That made me feel a little better.  After dinner I brushed Chomsky.  Made a couple of on line purchases then went to bed.  Took a while to fall asleep.  Ended up taking a Xanax.  That worked.
 Weds April 30  Today was no better than yesterday.  Nothing specific, just blue.
Forgot to take the meat out of the freezer so pot roast is out of the question.  Decided to use a credit we had at Chuck's Ribs.  The guys enjoyed that.   Since we ate early, I decided to take a bath.  It was nice.  Sleep was almost instantaneous.
 Thurs May 1  Another ho-hum spirit day.
Had our weekly practice.  Sandra's sister decided to come so Salvador could not.  She is pushing in on his space.  That is OK though.   After a bump in the road, the practice went on and we had a nice practice.  Everyone is getting better and more confident, especially the "new kids".  I think it would have made Viktor happy, which sort of makes me sad.
 Fri May 2 Well I was right, this has been a not so good week for my spirits.  There is a dark cloud following me lately.  
Pat Joyce died from complications with surgery.  I guess there is a danger with diabetics and anesthesia.  He went in Monday and just never work up.   I feel really bad for Dorothy.  Our music family has really taken a beating since February 20, when Viktor died.
The Jam was good, even with this heaviness in the air.   We played until almost 2:00 am.  People started throwing questions at me about the Nurses thing with Heidi.   I referred them to her but also texted her about  the questions.   
Sat May 3  Today was our second job without Viktor.  Katie is working out well and is picking things up pretty fast.   I had to tell a couple of the Frankfort Square staff about Viktor, which led to conversation and some tears.   They all liked Viktor.  What was not to like?
I left after the first show, thinking on my way to the car that maybe I should stay.  Letting go is harder than I thought it would be!   However, I did not go back and went home to make dinner for "my staff". Had to make sloppy joes and burgers for my finicky eaters!
We had a delightful (it was to me) time sitting at our tiny kitchen table watching a movie and having lively conversation.  What a nice group of kids to have around me now.   They really are uplifting.
Got a text from Heidi and she has cancelled the gig on the 10th.  No explanation.  We are all disappointed.
 Sun May 4 Today was a good day.  I picked up Dagi at 12:15 (and I did not get lost going to her apartment!) and we headed to 95th street to try and get a charge from the Nissan Dealer there, since I later figured out, the car did not charge because the fuse had somehow blown so I got in the car with the same charge as when it was plugged in last evening.  Luckily the chargers are available 24/7.  We plugged in and had a gab fest for about an hour when we then had 52 clicks and that was enough to get around for the day.
We talked about everything:  parents, siblings, what has happened in our lives,  death of loved one, how we relate to others.  It was very enjoyable, educational and therapeutic.
Then, we went to a nursery and between us bought over $300.00 worth of plants!..  We plan on planting next weekend, now that the nurse thing has been cancelled.  That will be so very soothing to my sole.  I love being in my yard and it has been a while since I have actually paid attention to it, especially over the past year.  It was great fun picking out stuff to plant.
At 5:00 we went to meet Chris Johnson, the woman who actually got Viktor and me into the Dance Show Business over 20 years ago.  She lost her husband a littel over a year ago, so there was a lot for all of us to talk about.  Again, it was enjoyable and  Therapeutic.  We have her job in 2 weeks and I promised I would not leave after the first show.  How can I say no to Chris!!
Today was the 40th Anniversary of the Kent State Massacre.  Holy Cow!!
Mon May 5   Work was OK.  Pat Joyce's Wake was this evening so after work I took, Luis, Jose-B and Edie, went to pick up Dagi and drove to the funeral home.  It was an interesting drive since everyone had an opinion as to which way to go.
The wake was different in that there were people playing live music.  People who know Pat or his family and were invited to play music at a function for a music player/lover.   Talking to Pat's family was a little hard.  No parent should have to bury their child.   Siblings who have lost a close brother.  They seem to be a very tight family.  I feel so bad for them.  And talking to Dorothy, I could see exactly where she was, because I was there a couple of months ago.  You go on because that is the only thing you know what to do.  I wish you as much peace as you can find, Dorothy.
Tues May 6  Work was uneventful.  
At home, I, with the assistance of Luis & Jose-B, pulled up the bricks from the work done in the front, dug up the pile of dirt that has been sitting in the front yard, refilled the area and in a couple of days we will put the bricks back down.  I also cleared some of the comfrey from the side by the hostas and picked up the garbage that always ends up in the corner by the house.
I did the dishes, folded some laundry, crying as I went along.  I think the movie we were watching made me sad and started the monkeys chattering.  It had something to do with New Years Eve and everything made me think about Viktor and how he will not be here anymore.  I am continuing to sink a little more every day, into a funk.  I smile, but I am not happy.
 Weds May 7 I have a big project, so that makes work more enjoyable.  Busy minds are happy minds. (right)
the Guitar Class at Nightingale (10 Kids) went to the House of Blues to perform.  There were about 8 other groups there to perform.  Luis said they did really well and all are anxious to sign up again for next year.
I went out to clean up the rest of the mess I had made yesterday and to peruse the yard.  My other clematis is coming in so I placed a support by it so there would be a place to grow up.   It feels good to be outside doing some physical work.  Sweat and mud are good things!
took the dogs for a walk while the chicken was cooking and went by Heidi's house.  We had gotten a message from UIC for her probably because her voice mail is always full.  I wanted to make sure she got the message.  Something about an MRI.   Actually spoke to her, unfortunately, I did wake her but I felt better knowing she knew.  Continued walking until my alarm went off and I headed back to finish preparing dinner.  The guys apparently thought the chicken was good because there was very little conversation, or maybe they were just hungry!


 Thurs   May 8  Work is fine, I am just sad.  We had a  good practice.  We are really becoming able to hear  each other and what we are doing.  I like having an excuse to practice.  I am so grateful to my practice buddies!
 Fri May 9  Another great Jam. Lots of good energy and good spirits.  It is no wonder we all love it so much!!
Sat May 10  Today was the best day I have had since Viktor died.
Today was "plant the garden" day.  I was out by 11:30 to get the garden areas ready for planting.  Luis was working on some of the small repairs we have been discussing for some time.  Finally, we got some time off to take care of things.
The Twins stopped by and we put them to work taking away the discarded gates and fence parts and a couple of big pieces of wood.  Cannot seem to get rid of the 10 Ft. piece of redwood Viktor bought on his 10,000 mile trip, way before me.  Pyle made a bench/table out of it.  Fine, it seems to want to live here.
Sandra and our new fiddle player, Talmia, came by and volunteered to pull weeds.  I finally got rid of those little light green leafy things with white edges, I believe they are known as "snow on the mountain" out of my yard.  A great help that was!  Sandra also gave me a glazed piece of pottery she had made in class.  It is beautiful, I am touched by her thoughtfulness!
I did have a period of time when I was very sad knowing the only reason I was out in my yard was because Viktor is gone.  At the same time, this is something I have always loved to do, in the dirt gettingn dirty and planting new life.  I am happy to have this release.  I hope Viktor is OK with my wasting a beautiful day not taking the dogs somewhere with our scooters, but falling back into a comfortable routine.
Dagi, Bryce and Pyle came a bit later and "dug in", literally.  I had cleaned out the garden areas and they dug up and turned the soil.  Dagi and Jose-B were breaking down the clots of dirt, I was planting in my new herb garden and Pyle was generally cleaning up!  It was so much fun!  I had no idea I would have so much help.  I felt like we were creating a community garden.  
After putting in all the annuals,(we will re-evaluate the garden in the fall) we switched to the front where the City had to dig up our front to find our water turn off.  Along our new sidewalk we planted some little bushes, Mairgolds and Sweet Alyssum.  There were also a few extras to make two planters.  I had only planned for one, but hey more is better!
By 7:30 I had finished my last planter, and cleaned up the yard, after watering everything.
Luis suggested Giordonno's for dinner so as soon as Jose-B came back, it was Mother's Day for the Hispanic Community (that is why there were so many parties in the neighborhood. (Silly me, I thought they celebrated the Monday after "our" Mother's Day.  Such a self-centered people we are. Now I know!)  We ordered, ate and almost immediately, I went to bed.  By that time it was almost midnight and I was pleasantly tired and pleased with this wonderful day and my friends!
Sun May 11 Today, Luis and I did our chores at Costco.  We dropped off the groceries and the 5 of us (you know I try to not go anywhere without my dogs) went to Dagi & Bryce's and then the 7 of us went for a walk along the lake.  It was slightly cloudy, but who was looking!?  (Well, Bryce, he was keeping an eye on the impending rain!)  the dogs got to go into the "boat pond" then run along the lake.  We all had a very pleasant time relaxing after yesterdays work blitz.
I am pretty sore today, but it a good kind of sore;  the kind that makes you know you have done something productive and fun!!
Back home, since Sergio had been doing titles all day, we invited him to stay for dinner so it was steak, potatoes and sauteed mushrooms on the menu.
After being cancelled for the Nurse thing at UIC, this turned out to be a fabulous weekend!

Mon May 12  Well, apparently the monkeys in my brain were punishing me for having too good of a weekend.  I guess I am not allowed to have any fun.  It was a pretty weepy afternoon.  I took a nap to quiet the monkeys and once I got up, I was a little better.  Tried to clean up my papers and find my checkbook.   
 Tues May 13 Not a very eventful day.   Did some folding of towels.  I made guacamole and we ordered pizza for dinner. 
 Weds May 14 The weather has been really crummy; rainy and cold.  I don't think summer will ever come.  My "boys" are not holding up their part of the "I cook you clean up" deal.  I guess I should have been more specific, you clean up before you go to sleep.  So I had to wait for the dishes to be done before I could fix the chicken for dinner.  Pushed us back a couple of hours.
After dinner I took a nice warm bath but I still had to take a 1/4 xanex to go to sleep.
 Thurs May 15 I made the mistake of contacting the city about the Jury Duty notice for Viktor.   I should have just let them find him.  So I couldn't just tell them he was deceased, I had to send proof.  I sent the Obit.  I couldn't help but read it and that was the end of my composure.  
At home, I took a nap, which helped my mental state.
Practice was good.  We worked really hard on our singing and tone quality.  It was really good for us all!   This is such a nice little group.
Luis and I have been talking and considering ideas for our trip.  Where to go, how to get there, how long to stay.  It is getting more exciting the more we talk about the details.
After everyone left, I fixed dinner and went to bed, although it was pretty late.
Fri May 16  Work was OK.  The Jam was excellent.  I has been going well, so I am thinking it is not a fluke.  Sandra made a rice "pudding" dish.  It was excellent as it was gone by the end of the Jam.  there are some good recipes coming out of that house! 
After the Jam, we got things together for the Park Ridge job tomorrow.
Sat May 17   Well, my first birthday without Viktor.  Not too good.
We did the dance show. As has been my habit, I left after the first show.  I had not told this group about Viktor, so that weakened me.  I took Pulaski all the way home, which was interesting, but I cried a lot on the way.  the drive was pretty much a blur.  My mind was somewhere else.  I was on automatic pilot.  Sad.
The Crew got back about 9:00.  Luis had asked his mom to cook for us, might have been because it was my birthday, but at any rate, it was fabulous!!    
Chiles Rellenos
She also made some really good rice.  It was a most yummy dinner!  We chatted around the table until Katie had to get home.  I went to bed, after  and the guys got ready for tomorrow. 
Sun May 18  Today was Chris Johnson's last show.   It was also her 50th Anniversary as a dance show teacher.  Pretty amazing.  She touched a lot of children over those 50 years and they are all better for it.
The shows were good and even I said some words about her after both shows. (Chris asked that I stay)  She actually got Viktor and me into the dance show business.  We owe her a lot.  Hopefully, she will enjoy retirement.
Once we got home, we unpacked and ordered pizza from Giordano's.  They were both excellent.  We ate good this weekend.
It was a not so cheerful weekend.  I think it was the worst birthday I have ever had.
Mon May 19  Sadness followed me around today.  Even though I got a pretty dish garden with live plants from Michele and Momma June and an Alex & Ani bracelet from Shakeia with a "V" charm on it, I just could not shake the feeling.
Checked titles.  We are working on getting the Dance Shows processed and out.     
Tues May 20  Another "ho-hum" day at work.  
Tonight was the first night of the "Little Mermaid" at Nightingale.  I walked over with Jose-B.  Said hello to several teachers, etc. then headed up to the booth where I have been sitting for all the shows at Nightingale, right after I would say hey to Viktor.  I got to the base of the booth and "something" hit me like a wall.  I totally lost it and stood there crying.  Who knew?  Luis saw me and came over to see if I was OK.  I cried through the first few numbers.  It was horrible.  I did see David Moreno, Benjamin, Mr. Moreno and his youngest, I believe his name is Abraham.  Good to see them there
The show was really good.  The scenery was good, the kids did well.  A good first effort without Viktor.  You could almost feel his absence.  Many people mentioned how much they missed him.  I am right there with you.  
Wed May 21  Another great show at Nightingale.  Dagi, Bryce and Gus!! came tonight.  I also was able to get Sandra to come along.  After the show, I road  back with Dagi and they unloaded a bunch of gardening tools!  Power tools, regular tools, great tools for the yard.  I am pleased to have them.  Ordered pizzza from Giordanos.  Again, it was good.  Still have those blues hanging around.  I have walked home every day this week.  Seems to help when I am so sad.
 Thurs May 22 Work was OK.  We had a good practice.  Sandra was packing so there were only 3 of us:  Pyle, Luis and me.  We worked really hard and, hopefully will show some results.   
Fri May 23  Work as OK.  I was worried about the Jam a bit because some of our "regulars" were not coming for sure.  Lil Pat was going fishing with his dad with a 3 am get up time; Pyle was going camping with Jennifer and Sophie, we haven't seen Earl for a couple of weeks,    It turned out to still be a good Jam.  Armando came back so we had another lead and Blake came after his show.  That gave us 4 lead players!   Sandra brought a friend who, although didn't seem to know many of the songs, appeared to be having a good time.  It is always good to have Armando and Quiet Mark was sounding really good!   Just shows that anything can happen on any Friday!  Good end to a crappy week!  Except for Luis saying he had a sore throat.  Good thing we have a long weekend.
Sat May 24  Only did a few errands but took a few hours.  I could see Luis was getting sicker.   I let him stay in the car for the last few stops.   We met Dagi, Bryce & Alca at Blake's latest show.  It was truly a most interesting production!  Hard to describe, but the story of a relationship in numerous stages (and rooms).  Really good, creative and very entertaining.    At home, I sent Luis to go rest in the bedroom while I made some chicken soup.  (Chicken stock, roasted chicken from Costco, carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic & onion powder  simmer for about 30 minutes or until the veges are done!!)  After soup, I started a hot bath for Luis and then sent him back to bed.  I was surprised he did not fight me about sleeping in the bedroom so I know he was feeling really crummy.    I made some tea for him (used cinnamon & honey, really good!) gave him some aspirin, a real Nurse Nancy. The hot bath really knocks you out so he was able to sleep.   Victor would have been proud of me!   I slept on the chair and then the floor in the living room. 
Sun May 25  Luis was feeling better, so we and took the dogs to the Doggie Beach at Montrose.  We parked south of Montrose and, apparently took the long way.  It was a long but very nice walk, even though it was pretty warm.  The dogs had a ball at the beach!  The just ran around meeting and playing with other dogs and splashed around in the water.  Chomsky chased every ball he could see being thrown to any other dog!   I was able to go in the water after a couple of tries.  The water was really cold.  We talked to a lot of people and met a lot of dogs.  Even Gandhai G was was playing in the water!   Since Lincoln, she has become much more playful!  It is wonderful to see, especially since she is almost 11 but she can keep up!
We arranged to meet up with Dagi later in the day so around 2 or so we started back.  We found a quicker way back, which was kind of nice.
Picked up Dagi & Gus at their place and took another walk along the lake and found another place to let the dogs go into the water.  It was a wild and wet afternoon.
I was feeling guilty, again, about having fun without Viktor.  Dagi "scolded" me and told me that guilt is not something I should be beating myself up for.  I know she is right, but at times I can not stop those feelings.
Once at home I started feeling bad and it was Luis' turn to play nurse.  Strange how things go.  He has become a really good friend to me, and I am truly grateful.  Can't help but think Viktor is smiling and telling me to not feel guilty.
 Mon May 26 No much going on as both Luis and I are under the weather.   Luis worked on dance and school projects and I slept most of the day.  I got up for a little while but then had to go back to sleep.    Jose-B, Luis and I had soup for dinner.  Both Luis and I now have the chicken soup recipe down, with our own little twist.  His is cilantro which Jose-B looked up and found that it has numerous good things.  We were all impressed.  Beneficial LDL, antioxidants, vitamins, including A, minerals including calcium and potassium, stomach issues, etc.  Lots of stuff for a little leaf!
Made it an early evening.
 Tues May 27 Still recovering but I did go to work.  At home, processing dance shows so we can deliver this week.  The guys are working hard.  Some correction needed to be given to the "employee" but all in all things are going pretty well.  No big highs no big lows. 
 Wed May 28 Felt like a Tuesday.  Kind of down and quiet.  I think I took a bath because I slept pretty well.  The blahs are hanging over my head.  Got prepared for Tammy's shows.
Thurs May 29  Well today was all Viktor all the time.  Walked to school to have "finance" meeting with Dagi, Bryce and the money guy for Nightingale.  Getting the details worked out for the Simoneit-Knoor Fund and the annual Viktor Simoneit Technology Award.  Felt OK.  Walked back home and edited my speech for Monday.    Luis and I then went back to school for graduation rehearsal.   Said hello to as many teachers, etc, I could find.
rehearsal was going good until the graduates did their song, which was Bruno Mars  "Count on me" that the teachers did in a video for Viktor.  There were tears through the song, twice.  We finished the rehearsal and headed back home.
We had a little time before heading out to the dance show.  Did some mundane stuff and at 3:00 headed to Lemont.  Once we got there I saw Toni who I have not seen since Viktor died.  That encounter started to weaken me.  By the time we were set up and all the familar things screamed the absence of Viktor, not to mention some of the songs they were playing for sound checks, I was in tears, again.  It did help when I had to go sell DVD's, but even that was a big soggy.
The show went OK.  I am not too confident about my focus, but Luis said it was OK.  Having something to do, like sell and shoot the show pushed back the monkeys.  The rest of the evening I was blue.  We ordered pizza for dinner.  
I decided not to work anymore on the speech.  Enough of the monkeys filling my head with more Viktor sadness.  All Viktor, all the time was overwhelming.
Fri May 30 Work was OK.  The show went fine and the Jam was great, again.  Some of the missing ducks have come back . 
Sat May 31 Slept in because the Burbank Show did not start until 5.  Had a problem with the camera microphone dying, but we were able to get the music on DVD from Dana.   Second show went without a hitch.    Luis' brother, Edwardo, helped us out today since both Jose-B and Katie could not work.  Ordered pizza and heaved a sigh of relief to have finished three day marathon.   Worked on and finished what I believe is the final draft of my speech!   I read it to the guys and they approved.  Waiting for  my editors to come back with comments.  Felt pretty good today.
Luis feel asleep in the bathtub again.  He has a hard time sleeping so I guess that any time you can sleep its a good thing.
Sun June 1   Did the weekly shopping chores.  Since I got the OK from the editors, the pressure was off at least regarding the writing of the speech.  Now I just need to practice it a bit.
Made a new batch of chicken soup, cleaned up the kitchen and thought about Viktor.  The monkeys must be tired too, because thinking did not make me sad or cry!
 Mon June 2 Today was the day!  Dagi and I made our joint presentation of the first annual Viktor Simoneit Educational Technology Award to the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the 8th Grade Class at Nightingale School.  I think it went off pretty well.  We will view the video on Thursday at practice.
Both Dagi & I lost it a couple of times during the  Graduation Ceremony.   The kids got laptops.  The Valedictorian even mentioned Viktor during his address to the students.   In talking about Viktor's telling him that they must change the world, Pablo mentioned Viktor's saying "We are all hippies, but we don't do drugs".  
I felt good about the entire thing.  Viktor would be happy to know we has expanded his "legacy".  The Theater, the Educational Technology Award and the Simoneit-Knoor Foundation.  I left school invigorated!
The rest of the day was fine.  I got to work about 12:00 and stayed until a little after 5:00.
At home I attacked the song sheets.  What an endeavor.  I will have to finish the next round another day.
Tues June 3  Work was fine.  Made more soup and folded towels, etc.    No big highs and no big lows. 
Weds June 4  An ugly rainy day that turned into a beautiful sunny afternoon.  My Community Garden is doing well.  It has been less than a month and the roses are coming back strongly, the clematis on the iron tree is going wild and the plants in the front, except for my begonia, are looking happy and healthy!   Guacamole is the before dinner appetizer and soup is our entree.  Homemade and yummy.
Luis is helping me with a new song.  We almost have it worked out but he hurt his wrist/hand and playing was a little difficult.
Some weak moments, but nothing really bad.
 Thurs June 5 Nothing extraordinary today, good or bad.  We had our practice, which went very well.  Luis & I did my new song and that went OK as well. We had dinner and then off to bed.  The evenings are short with practice thrown in.  Molly came, too, but now will be gone for a month.  Summer is really hard on the Jam. 
Fri June 6  Another fun Jam with a different grouping.  Sandra is back from  Farmerville, LA.  Yes really!  When I wasn't looking, Pyle suggested a "two-fer" round.  Good to mix things up.  It was a fun night, some little yanks at my heart, but the mood was positive and Dagi brought over a beautiful Watermelon "Cake"  Yummy, sugar free frosting!  It is always good to go to bed after a wonderful evening of music. 
 Sat June 7 Today is the day I almost killed my dog, Lincoln.  
We were on our way to Dagi's to go to the 57th Street Fair with she and Bryce, Mark & Susie Nicholson, Pyle, Katie, Luis, myself and the dogs.  We were cleaning up after the dogs and going across the street to deposit our "gifts".  Chomsky chased after Luis, then Gandhi and then Lincoln, not to be left behind, ran across the road.  At the same time there was a Taxi coming down the street.  I am screaming at the dog but he was already gone.  The Taxi hit him broadside and spun him around like a helicopter!  I was on my knees knowing my dog was, if not dead, really badly hurt.  He landed on his feet and after slipping on the street, came over to me with a look like "OK that was interesting".  All I could think about was how I was going to tell Viktor I had killed his dog!!  I was so frightened and distressed.  But, he seemed to be OK.
Luis and I decided to take him to the local Vet, just to be sure he was no hurt internally.   It took a while to get going because the Cabbie and some woman who apparently lives on that street were having an argument, over what I don't know.  All I wanted was to my baby Lincoln to the Vet.   I tried to tell the Cabbie that it was not his fault, that I was to blame for not taking care of my dog.  I think he was probably freaked out as well.
We went to what I think was the Hyde Park Animal Clinic.  Dr. Henry, a very nice young lady, checked out Lincoln.  No whimpering, no blood, no broken bones, his heart and lungs sounded good.  She suggested we simply keep an eye on him and make sure he eats, drinks and poops and that his breathing is not labored.   I have to believe his 95 pounds, running since he was a puppy, good food and Viktor watching over us, saved him.  I don't know when I have felt that was before, except maybe when Viktor cracked his back by the lake.  Such a helpless feeling.
We did meet everyone at the Fair and had a wonderful afternoon.  Lincoln seems to have no reactions to the accident, but it did scare the s%#^ out of me.  We ordered pizza for dinner.  What a scary, happy day!
Sun June 8  Today was run the errands day.  Luis' brother, Sergio, came with us because he needed to go to Costco.  He and a bunch of his friends (20) are going to Starved Rock next weekend and he was in charge of the burgers, water and soda.  
We chatted with our buddies at the Flea Market.  I feel a real kinship with them.  Chuck & Kevin, where we get our reading & sun glasses, Jane and Jonas, where we get our flashlights, batteries and soap.  Tony & David where we get our stationery supplies, Jaison, from whom we get our t-shirt, sweatshirt jackets and sweatshirts and Joan and Bert who we just like and who often give me peace jewelry.   They all were very good to me and Viktor and I see no reason to not keep in touch.  Relationships with nice people are very important to nurture.
Luis talked me into making a pot roast so after we dropped off Sergio, I did just that.  Then we waited for Jose-B to get back from work.  They said the pot roast was "really good" (that always makes one feel good).  Cleaned up the kitchen a little then just really did nothing.  I am a lump.
 Mon June 9  Work was busy so it was fine.
I was finally able to get out into the front, cat and dogs in tow, and weeded my new plant area in the front.  Generosity of the City  of Chicago.  Mandela appeared to be enjoying himself  lying in the sun in the grass.   I talked to Pedro (Blake & Olive's masters) and his parents.  They had not heard about Viktor until recently.  Back to my plants.
took a nap, fixed dinner, did some laundry and went to bed.
 Tues June 10 It was a year ago we got Viktor's diagnosis and our lives were abruptly and horribly changed.  It was a hard, sometimes unbearable, year.  In the beginning, and pretty much until October when his bones started to crack from the Chemo,  we were being optimistic, hopeful, feeling strong about our resolve to beat this parasite but, of course, we were wrong.
People around us began to be altered a little, in a positive way. Some stepped up, took over responsibilities they were not asked to do, they just saw the need and filled it.  It was a year of adjustment all around.  Readjustment to a hideous situation.   I tried to stay upbeat and positive.  I had to be.  I could not worry Viktor about his condition while we were living this nightmare.  I had to really ignore that.   I know he was worried about what would happen to me.  He was so caring, to the last minute of his life.    I had no idea how to go on without him.  I still don't.
I am so grateful to all the people who have helped me in any small way.  I may not have been able to take them up on their offers. However I treasure their love support.  I appreciate all of you who follow me on my journey.    People have changed their lives for me.  I hardly know what to say about that.  It is very humbling to realize that fact.
I do see good things happening around me, but I am still not totally convinced it was worth the sacrifice.
Wed June 11   I am still a little "hung over" from yesterday's anniversary.   Just a day.
I am making headway with our reservations for the trip.  I hope to be able to visit my uncle and his wife in Eugene, Oregon.  I am hoping Dagi is right, that this will be a healing trip.  
Thurs June 12  This turned out to be a beautiful weather day.   We had a good practice.  JT came out and that was nice.  We worked pretty hard on our songs and hope to have a new song week real soon.  Maybe in 2 weeks.

We have decided that we will scatter Viktor's ashes in Yellowstone on the 24th of July.  Anyone who wants to come is more than welcome.  I totally understand it is a long way to go.  We might do more scattering along the way on the rest of our trip.  
Because Dagi & Bryce are unable to get to Yellowstone, we will have a "scattering" at Promontory Point by 55th Street and the Lake some time in mid August. 
 Fri June 13 Work continues to keep me busy and my thought processes in check.  We had another really fun Jam.  A LOT of laughter and good feelings.  This is so helpful to my, and everyone else's, well being.   There were a couple of exoduses but we continued to play until after 2:00 am. 
I really love the vast diversity of the Jam at this time.  We range in age from 18 to 70!  An amazing feat for any group!
 Sat. June 14 Today was chore day.  Luis & I also took Viktor's Mandolin to Guitar Center for  some adjustments.  Craig, the repair guy will be running an open mic on Fridays starting in a few weeks.  I am going to mention this to the Jam.  It might be something we could have fun with.
Luis and I went to a screening of "Citizen Koch" at the Gene Siegel Theater .  I overslept so we almost did not make it on time.  It was very interesting.  Not any really new information but events put in order and some understanding as to the motives and actions behind these guys and their cronies.  Seeing some people, "baby" Bush, Cheney, Anne Coulter, and the gang who got us into the Iraq war, made my blood boil, even today.  I still hate George Bush for what he and his people did to our country and its citizens.
 Sun. June 15 Today was AMA.  A very long and arduous day.   There are always some tears at dance shows.  There are just not the same without Viktor and that pushes the pain forward.  
We took a wrong turn and ended up coming back via South Holland!  No big deal.  Would have made Viktor crazy though!
 Mon June 16 Not much to say about today.  Ups and downs, making reservations, feeling good about our coming trip.  It will be good to get into another mindset for a while. 
 Tues June 17 Feeling a little blue today.  Missing my boy.  
Ground up some old steak from the freezer and made Sloppy Joe's (affectionatly known as Sloppy Jose-B's!)  and guacamole for dinner.  Catching up with domestic chores.  
 Weds June 18 Another rainy gloomy day.  The plants are loving it.  Viktor's mom's rose bush is looking good and covered with roses!
I was able to get a cottage in the hills above Santa Cruz for 5 nights!  It is so wonderful I can not believe our good luck! This will be our last location before heading back to Chicago.  I can't think of anything better.  Close to the ocean, forests and very quiet.  Just wish Viktor could be there, too. 
Had to take a nap tonight.  Lovely, rainy night!
Thurs June 19  Other than the fact we had a good practice with Sandra bringing in another good song we were able to workout with her,  there was not much excitement or sadness today. 
Fri June 20  Another good Jam!!  Viktor must be so very pleased with the Jam Group.  Even one of Jose-B's friends said she would come for an hour and stayed until almost 2:00.  Something about "old" people.  Shows how wrong you can be about people!  Re-arranged a few people for the night.  Might be OK by next week.  Played until after 2:00.
Sat. June 21  Today was our last dance show for the summer season!   Jeanne has had 3 different venues in as many years.  It was a good balcony shot so we were happy.  Would have missed a lot on the ground floor.  Only Katie was with us.  We went to get coffee at the break and by the time we got back to Schurz High School, it was pouring and there were flash flood alerts.  It really came down!  A good working group, even though we were small.  Ordered Pizza and relaxed a bit before bedtime.  I got a great massage from Luis that actually put me to sleep.  It always annoyed Viktor when I fell asleep so he would wake me up!!  Shouldn't have been so good, Honey!
Sun June 22  Took the dogs and went to the Custer Street Fair.  It was really fun.  We meet so many nice people and dogs on these excursions!  All the dogs are nice, who would bring a mean dog to a place packed with people and other dogs?!?  The people are as friendly as their dogs!   It is more of a "people's fair".  More affordable  than most other fairs so I guess its a little "low brow", just like we like it!
We managed to "misplace" our car so it took about 30 minutes of walking around to find it!  So much for the male internal GPS!!
Back at the house, Bryce, Dagi and Gus! came by.  Bryce helped me make sense of all the medical bills received on Viktor's illness.  It turns out I don't really owe that much,  maybe $10,000.00 or so.  Not bad when you realize it was about $40,000.00 for each chemo treatment!  I am sure if Viktor had known our insurance was so good, he would have made the trip to the doctor earlier.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
Since it was still early, Luis suggested we go to the Lock Down, a Heavy Metal Bar, for burgers.  (3 hippies walk into a heavy metal bar ....)  They are supposed to be the best in town.  They were a little pricy, but my vegetarian burger was the best I have ever had.  They mostly just taste like ground up beans with pepper.  The fries were excellent.  We could not sit in the bar because Jose-B is only 19, so we had to sit outside.  It got really cold so we got the food to go and ate in the car.  What a different, interesting experience.  I am sure the people in that residential area loved seeing us sitting in the car eating.  Oh Well!  
Saw/heard a pretty bad accident.  The police never did show up while we were there! 

Mon June 23   No big deal day.  Work was fine, did nothing exciting.
Tues June 24  Vacation is appearing big on the horizon!  Have all the important reservations, maps and directions printed up.  Now to think about packing.
 After the aborted trip to pick up video cases (the guy forgot to have them delivered) I worked on pulling/digging up weeds and obnoxious comfrey.  The front looks much better, now.  The rain and warm temperatures have the plant going crazy!
Took a bath and cried.  Baths are just not the same without my Viktor. The olive and lavender oil were nice and I felt good once I got out of the tub.  Still, it made me sad.
 Wed June 25  Went to pick up our Leaf .  They had to order a part so we have to go back next week.
I made chicken for the guys.  Folded a bunch of towels, etc.  Feeling sad again.  Fought back tears all evening. 
Thurs June 26  Normal day at work.   Our practice was good.  Getting ready for new song week.  We do work hard at these practices.  Everyone seems to like working out the songs and getting it right.  It is good for all of us, not only the singer.  We lose Pyle for a few (4-5) weeks due to vacation plans.  JT is in France, Molly is in South America, if I remember correctly.  Ah, Summer at the Jam.  
Fri June 27  Another of Earl and Monika's music friends died this week.  Seems as though there is a run on musicians in Heaven.  We are sad for the loss of their friend.  
Interesting New Song Night at the Jam.   Things went pretty well.  Summer is really a hard time for the Jam.  Lots of vacations which of course lead to jammers not being around.  
We worked hard.  Most songs got at least 2 runs through.  Good energy and we played late.  
Sat June 28 Took the dogs, of course,and Jose-B on our shopping excursion.  Costco, regular grocery store, for the coming week and stocking up for vacation. It is somewhat sad making plans that do not include Viktor, except for the "scattering". Confusing to my brain.
Bought a bunch of lemons to make fresh "lemonade".  Was rather tasty, even without sugar.
Had a pot roast and a couple of steaks in the freezer,so I ground them up for hamburgers.  It produced a BUNCH of large burgers.  The guys will be eating them for days!!  It feels good to make them that way.  At least you know what is in them.  I hope they taste as good as they look.  I also juiced a bag of onions to have packages of onion juice to add to stuff for my friends who do not like the onion itself but enjoy the flavor.  Makes me continue to miss Viktor.
While I was juicing, grinding, and preparing,  Luis & Jose-B worked on the post production of our remaining two dance shows so we can deliver before Luis & I leave on vacation. 
 Sun June 29 Loaded up the dogs (of course) The Twins, Jose-B, Edwardo, Luis and myself and headed to Indiana for fireworks.  We had a good time walking around and picking out what would hopefully be big, fun fireworks,  We, meaning the "kids", spent a bunch of money!  My first excursion without Viktor to make such a purchase.  Felt kinda good to be part of the gang!  "Me and the boys".   Next Friday at the Jam should be different, and fun!
Yes, I am the enabler.  I miss you, honey. 
Back home, I made guacamole while they sorted out and took inventory of our purchases.  Around 9:00 I set up for dinner.  Since I had made a BUNCH of hamburgers yesterday, we had those today.  Probably have them tomorrow and the next day, as well.
Took a hot bath, lavender and olive oil, tonight and went to bed, after I fell asleep in the tub.  I did get a wake-up call from Jose-B! 
Mon June 30   I feel like I am losing control.  Kind of like I am floating around with no sail or paddle.  I am not able to really concentrate and I have been sad for the past few days.  
Tried to get my "neat" program working, but it won't load.  I  fussed around with it all evening and got nowhere.  This adds to my frustration and feeling of lost control.  Jose-B even tried some stuff, but nothing helped.
The Twins came over to work on putting the fireworks together so they have a kind of "show" for Friday.
Made some guacamole because everyone is looking for snacks.
 Wanted to help out with the dance shows but the crazy program issue stopped me.  That makes me feel sad, too.
My cat is going through "I hate you" nights.  I cannot keep him with me.  That makes me sad, too.  ARGHHH!!!


Tues July 1 Yesterday the "supreme court" took another shot at women and their healthcare by saying private companies are not responsible to provide birth control to their female employees if it is against their religious beliefs!   Really!?  Now we have to get our employer's approval in order to take care of our bodies?!!  "Birth Control" is not only for preventing pregnancy, there are numerous reasons to take them!!  This right wing "men" have no clue.  They are really trying to drag us back to "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" life!!  Assholes!!!
And another frustration:  Dagi's building won't let me bring my dogs for a visit!!  They let dogs live there, but I can't have my "service" dogs with me.  This is tremendously hard for us because I cannot leave them.  Viktor and I took our dogs everywhere, as many of you know.  They are my security and connection to Viktor that I cannot do without.  
I am feeling pretty low about now.  I miss Viktor and people are trying to tear apart the stability in my life.  How do I fight this???
Weds July 2 The Twins are over again getting ready for the 4th and fireworks.  They are building stands for some stuff.  It seems to be a really fun thing for them to be doing.  I am still in a funk.  I so want to be able to visit my friend, Dagmar.
Thurs July 3  We were able to leave the office at Noon!  What a nice treat!   I headed out to my yard to keep Twin company.  He cut the grass and I weeded the yard/gardens.  Take that Mr. I don't like their landscaping!!!  It looks great and the flowers are blooming beautifully!
More work on the fireworks and a sort of late night.  No practice since Pyle is not available for a while.
Fri July 4
 Viktor would have loved this 4th. 
A gorgeous day!!  We, Luis, Jose-B and I, took  the dogs to the Montrose Dog Beach.  It took a while since it appears if there is a holiday or chance of crowds, the powers that be close the Lake Front to traffic.  We had to find a place to park, which took some time, and walk to the beach, which took not too much time. The dogs were going crazy with the delay!!
Ah, the doggy beach!!  I love going there!  Friendly people, friendly dogs, lots of swimming, lots of laughter, just a great place to hang out and have fun in the sun!  Next time we will bring a bag to put our stuff in so someone is not left out.  Thank you Jose-B for being that someone!!  I, of course, went into the water and immediately was wet way past the bottom of my shorts!   Luis finally got the courage, or whatever, to take the plunge.   Swimming with the dogs, ours and others, is such fun!!  Chomsky was swimming after his tennis ball for almost the entire time.  We me a beautiful malamute that was twice the size of Lincoln!  Gorgeous and super laid back dog!!  Sadly, we had to head home for the rest of the day's activities.
 We had a bunch of people, Dagi, Bryce, Gus, Sandra, Katie, Angelica, the entire Leon Clan (mom, dad, Luis, Jose, Sergio & Edwardo), the Twins, Jose-B, Anna, Edie, Mark, Blake, myself.   If I missed anyone, I am sorry!  It was SO MUCH FUN!  We filmed the entire show, about 2 hours; Dagi took pictures which I am sure will end up on Facebook.
After the fireworks show, Bryce acted as chef and cooked hot dogs for everyone!!  We also had food brought by others so we had a regular feast!  Thank you, Bryce.  Then once dinner was ended, Blake, Mark, Luis, Sandra and I had the Jam. (So we still have not missed on yet).  Small group, big audience.  Most everyone stayed for the music!!  I can't think of what could have made this day better, except of course my sweetheart being there.
Once everyone left, Luis & I watched the video with Edie, running it at slow motion at times, which was very interesting and funny at times.
Sat July 5  Another pleasant day.  Slept relatively late so we decided to stay home and work on the remaining dance shows we have to deliver before we leave.  I am already freaking out about what I am going to forget to do or take on the trip!
Good day of work and rest after the excitement of the 4th and its festivities.
Decided also to make Chilis Rellenos and "Tomato Rice" from the recipe we got from Luis' mom.  After getting answers and clarifications we did the regular shopping trip to get what we needed, which was not too much.
Jose-B was going out with his "friend" but got cancelled out for dinner, so it was Chilis Rellenos for 3.   It was pretty much fun trying a Mexican recipe that actually came from a Mexican person, not some fas Mexican.
There were a few steps that were very different for me, (frying the raw rice, blending in egg yolks after making meringue-like egg whites), but they turned out pretty good!  A little tweeking is in order, but not bad for the first try.  It is good when the Mexicans say the Gringa did a good job!!
Sun July 6 Today was way too hot to take the dogs out.  The air was so thick we humans did not want to go out, either.  So, we continued with the dance shows.  I finished the titles and Luis is almost done with the fixes.  Our new printers are not working with the refillable cartridges, so that presents a problem for us. 
Once I finished the titles we took the dogs for a short walk.  By that time it was a little cooler, but not less humid.   Luis & Jose-B worked on trying to get the printers running, but so far no luck.
Made some guacamole and prepared for dinner.  
It was a really nice weekend.  I think Viktor would have enjoyed it, as well, except for the Jack.  We had a lot of fun, had good food, prepared a new meal.   Over the course of the days, there were several periods of tears, as 4th of July was the first weekend Viktor and I spent together.  All the excitement helped.  I appreciate my friends helping through all these difficult times.
Mon July 7   
Tues July 8   
Weds July 9 Met Dagi for dinner and drinks after work.  We, of course, talked about Viktor and all things in our lives affected by his death.  In addition to other stuff, too.  She is a great talker and listener!  A wonderful combination.  We have decided that Bar Luis is the place to be and it is really easy for both of us to get to, should we have a need to meet and vent!  Gus drove us to my house.   I like being able to see him more often.
At home I took a hot bath, with my new Pandora account singing to and with me,  and went to bed.  
Thurs July 10   
Fri July 11 Work was so, so.   The Jam was certainly interesting.  No Earl, he had to leave before we even started to take care of a crisis at home.  We played a long time and did better than Luis and I thought we would do.  Jams are a great thing
Sat July 12 It was kind of a crummy day so doing "chores" was OK.  Went to the Flea Market so we can have "Viktor"  flashlights on hand during our trip and to let our friends know we would be gone for a few weekends.  People do worry about us.
It certainly takes a long time to do those weekly chores.  We did not get back to the house until after 5:30!  
Made guacamole, stalling as much as I could so Jose-B and I would not devour it before Luis got back from dropping off water for his mom.  It was VERY difficult.  I actually sent a text telling him it was "being served".  Then it was roast chicken and "red" rice for dinner.  And I got a backrub!!  Ahhhh !!!
Sun July 13   Took the dogs for a quick swim at 55th Street.  The water was incredibly cold!  It took my breath away, literally.  I actually had to swim to rescue the frisbie.   Chomsky & Gandhi were swimming like crazy.  Lincoln was happy just to be in the water.  Not a big swimmer.   Chomsky couldn't get enough swimming.  He was always ready to go!   Gandhi-G was a big surprise for me.  She actually seemed to enjoy swimming and went with me every time I went out!  She has become a  happy water dog!
Did not stay long as there are dance shows to finish and the trip to prepare for.   Started putting a few things together and washed some clothes.
 Fixed guacamole and leftover chicken with rice for dinner.  
 Mon July 14 Slow day at work.
Started working on cleaning up the van for the trip.  What a mess!  We clean it once a year whether it needs it or not!!  The Twins stopped by so we put them to work.  Very strange to be doing this stuff without Viktor.  I am kind of in a confused state.   I am so used to Viktor just taking care of things for our vacations.  It is not that I don't trust Luis, because I do, it is just different and at times, distressing.  First trip in over 30 years without him.  Sigh!
Got a lot done.  Hope I can get as much done tomorrow. 


 Tues July 15 Another slow day at work.
Continued our packing process.  Luis is getting all the technical and electrical systems in order.  I continued my process of packing clothes, etc.  I feel like I have the easy job.
Wed July 16  Making a list and checking it twice.  Alca came by and had dinner with us.  It did not stop us from working, however.  It was nice to see her. 
 Thurs July 17  Feels like we are pretty well organized and ready to pack!   Walked the dogs to the Video Store to return movies.  Most of the evening was spent thinking and re-thinking.  By 10:00 we ordered pizza from Falcos.  No good pizza for the next few weeks.  Gave my driver a back rub and went to bed.  I am anxious about the trip, but I think we should be fine.  It is just so strange to know I am going on a trip without the physical presence of my guy, Viktor.  I don't really know what I am thinking.

I will try to keep up with this blog, but if we miss a couple of days, hopefully you will understand!! 
Peace
Aug 18  2014 
Vacation Part I
 

Hello! 

We are back and I want to thank all of you who have waited to see if we survived the trip. 

The first week was “iffy”.  There were tears many times a day.  I was apprehensive and unsure about how this was all going to work.

We did the official “Scattering” on the 24th of July in Yellowstone.  I had two different locations in mind.  One was at the base of the tree on Butte Overlook where we had to bury our stash one year due to the craziness of the Bush Administration.

 

The second location was Viktor and my traditional “goodbye” shot along Lake Yellowstone on the road to Cody.  Due to the years of wind, water, dust etc., the place has changed a lot.  It seemed appropriate as life has changed and evolved and this act of love was a change and evolution.  Everything just felt right.   The rest of the day was spent continuing our exploration of the Park.

 The next morning, it was if a weight of my self-imposed responsibility and desire to take care of Viktor, the accomplishment of that and the continuation of the celebration of Viktor lifted and things seemed to be calm and peaceful, like he was finally where he wanted to be.  It was a strange and wonderful feeling.   

The remainder of the trip was great!  So much better than either Luis or I thought it could be.  Another great thing was that I was not feeling guilty about having a nice time.  Before the Scattering, every time I had a good day of “fun” I would feel terribly guilty about being happy.  This seemed to be one of the “weights” that left me.  Viktor, I think, would be happy to know about that shift in my mental state.   My feeling are still strong for him, but I understand now the need to hold on to that, but to move on with my life.  Otherwise, I probably should just cash it in, and I am not ready for that!

After Yellowstone, our journey took us to the Olympia Washington area for a couple of days which allowed us to visit Mr. Rainier.  Beautiful!   Headed down the west coast to Florence, Oregon, where, after an hour ride through beautiful countryside, we got to Eugene where my Uncle Paul and his wife, Sandy, live.  Luis and I (what a wonderful traveling companion to go visit my old, last living parental siblings!)   We had a super nice visit with them and found it difficult to leave.  Left a good feeling in me. 

Vacation Part II  

From Florence we drove to Acata, California for a couple of nights.  Cute little town in which we were fortunate to go to the weekly Farmers Market.  Lots of really nice stuff and really nice people.

            Our last stop was in Santa Cruz.  We spent 5 nights in an adorable cabin in the hills above Santa Cruz.  Every night coming back to the cabin, we got to drive through a beautiful area of forest that would make Hansel & Gretel jealous!  We spent time driving the area, taking the dogs to the ocean to play, something they just loved!!  I was so proud of my dogs heading into the waves without a bit of hesitation!   The happy Golden Smile! 

            I am so grateful for Luis and all the driving he did and the patience he demonstrated with me.  He never complained if I gave him the wrong directions and we had to turn around, which happened more than once.  The best traveling companion ever!  We had no car problems, traffic problems, not really any problems.  Once we settled in, it was a stress free time.

            This was, as some said, a trip of cleansing with the ability to look try and look ahead.  It was that and more.  I believe I am ready to move forward with Viktor in my heart and the courage to go forward.  Wish me luck!  

 Peace

 

  


April 1, 2015

 I survived the holidays, although there was way too much liquor involved.


July 8, 2015

From all that I have heard/read, it was my uderstanding that "things" would get easier after the  first year.  This is proving to not be right.  

It seems the first year was the "I'm in shock" year.   Going through the motions but not really understandign what has really happened.  Now, the occurraces of sadness and melancholia are getting more frequent.  Talking with Dagi and Luis, we seem to agree that these feeling are going to get worse before I get better.   What I have been experiencing seems to verify that fact.

I try to be happy.  I play music, go out with my dogs, work in my yard when the weather permits, stay working on the dance shows, visit friends, but I always seem to have a malaise hanging over me.   Looking at pictures, thinking it would make me happy about the good times, only brings me down more.  Makes me think about how much I feel I have been cheated.  All those plans made during the times of those pictures were for nothing.  I sometimes feel like there is no future for me.  Just treading water until I am gone myself.  Not a good way to live.

Not a very positive outlook.  But, I do think Viktor would be most disappointed if I gave up, so I trudge on.

October 2, 2015

Vacation turned out to be fun.  My driver, friend and bodyguard, Luis, and the dogs, Gandhi, Lincoln & Chomsky, all had a wonderful time.  We stayed in Estes Park in a cottage overlooking a valley with the sunrise coming in my window and the moonrise coming in the same window.  It really was lovely and very peaceful.

We took the dogs hiking and swimming, when possible, every day.  We explored the area as much as possible and sometimes just lazed around.  We also spent a couple of days searching the dispensaries.

December 4, 2015

Well, I survived Thanksgiving. Little tougher this year since the dogs were banned from the celebration.  My link to Viktor.  It was a bit of a struggle, but Dagi & I worked through it.

Tonight we are playing a benefit for a battered women's shelter that Little Pat and his sister collect toys for every Christmas Season.  The Jam will just be moved to her place.  Buying toys was kind of fun, although you can spend a bunch a money in no time.  Toys are cool.  I did stress not toys of violence; guns, knives, wrestlers, anything that could remind or encourage aggressive behavior.

I am not looking forward to the coming Holidays.  It is hard to be happy and cheerful when you feel  "alone", although I am hardly ever alone, the loneliness hovers around me all the time.  Thanks to you all for keeping up with me.  I realize I am a bit scattered with my postings and I appreciate you coming back.   Peace