Sunday, September 29, 2013

Elk Rapids, Dockside, Geocaching

What a gorgeous Sunday!  We began by driving around and around Elk Rapids - what a lovely little town - and it's right on Lake Michigan, so that makes it even better!  Their lakefront is beautiful, and they have a large marina with tons of big lake boats.  It's always enjoyable to see them.  We had planned to splurge and have lunch at Pearl's, but we drove by twice, and both times the parking lot was completely empty, so we negged that.  

We haven't been to Dockside all summer, and we usually get there at least once, and sometimes more than that.  Even when the family was here in July we didn't make it over here, so we were overdue.  You just can't beat a burger and onion rings on the deck at dockside.

On a day as beautiful as this one, and on a ride around some of our favorite places, of course we did some caching!  There were a lot to choose from:

Found it 09/28/2013You found Westwood Cemetery Visit Log
Wow! An Ammo Can! 10 caches today and this was the only one. One thing I can't figure out is why it's so hard for folks to re hide them. Even if that's how they found it they must know that it doesn't belong laying out in the open. Signed the log and left a neat Batman figurine for some small cacher. Then we replaced the cache where we found it but covered as we think the owner desired it to be. TFTC 
Found it 09/28/2013You found  He Has "Spirit" Visit Log
This was a fantastic day for a drive and finding a few caches made it even better. A quick easy find on our way home. Thanks for adding to our fun today 
Didn't find it 09/28/2013You couldn't find  Tank you very much Visit Log
We weren't good enough today. 
Found it 09/28/2013You found  Parking Lot Cache Visit Log
Don't very often see a cache with out a container. Bag is ripped and needs replacement. 
Didn't find it 09/28/2013You couldn't find  The Crow's Nest Visit Log
No joy with this one today. At the base of the pole was a pile of sticks, a couple of small sheets of plywood and three pieces of Styrofoam. No container and no logbook. Thought that maybe folks were signing the pieces but that does not appear to be the case. Not sure what they signed to claim a find but we didn't see it. 
Found it 09/28/2013You found  Colin's Cache- To Grandma's House We Go! Visit Log
A Grandma and a Grandpa out for a drive on this beautiful fall day, saw this cache pop up and had to see what Colin hath wrought. Extremely neat hide, well crafted. The log was signed and the container was replaced as found. Thank you Colin for adding to our fun today.
Found it 09/28/2013You found  Summit Village Visit Log
We were out for a drive from Traverse up through Elk Rapids and around the chain of lakes. This cache gave us a bit of trouble because we were basing our search, in part, on the hint from a previous cache. Once we reviewed the cache page we were back on track and made the find. Signed the log and replaced as found. Thanks for the fun. 
Found it 09/28/2013You found  Eagle Walk Visit Log
A couple of old retired school teachers out for a ride to enjoy this beautiful weather saw who had placed this cache and knew we had to find one of them. Most of the town was a mob scene today but it was quiet out here. Made the find, signed the log and left our flashlight. Thanks for placing and maintaining this cache on a peaceful trail. It's a favorite of ours. 
Found it 09/28/2013You found  SWS - Alden on the C&NM (C&O) Visit Log
We aren't sure how many more beautiful days we will have this fall. We wanted to take advantage of this one and enjoy a ride, have lunch and find a few caches. We loved the history lesson and the brief stop in one of our favorite neighbor towns. Signed the log and left our card and flashlight. As the cache was replaced I'm almost certain I heard the faint sound of a steam whistle off in the distance. Thanks for placing and maintaining this cache. 
Found it 09/28/2013You found  PLEASE WATER THE FLOWERS AND MAKE MOMMA HAPPY Visit Log
I have been attempting to load caches on our Nuvi for a couple of weeks. All we want it to do is show us where a cache is on the map when we are near, nothing special but until this weekend it's been beyond my computer skills. With the beautiful weather today, we decided to take advantage of our temporary freedom from medical appointments to go for a ride and check my GPS progress. As we approached Elk Rapids, I was happy to see the little ammo can on the screen. When the iPad told us who had placed this cache, we had to check it out. We enjoy these "spirit" caches because it's good to stop in a quiet place and pause and reflect on the lives of those who have gone before us. Thanks finsandfeathers for showing us this area. 

Friday, September 27, 2013


I was very dissatisfied yesterday - sitting for 4 hours in the Radiology waiting room.  I think I have figured out why I was so distraught about the whole thing.  We are just not used to living with cancer yet.  It's a very new thing for us, and we feel confused and just generally in the dark.  For us, it is a Very Big Deal.

At the hospital, they deal with all kinds of people with all kinds of maladies, and they go from one to the other and try to be personable and efficient.  While we sat there we watched many people pass through the radiology doors and return and leave the hospital.  We sat there totally clueless.  Four different staff members came out to say a few words to us, but there was no continuity of personnel, and no in depth explanations of the most basic sort.

Approximately every hour, I would go back to the desk to see what was up, and every time there was nothing.  The desk lady said - You have more patience than I have!  I said - What makes you think that I'm patient!  She said - Well you hide it very well.  Of course I do.  These are not the people that I want to antagonize!  We're on the same team.  I want to be on their good side.  Ye gods.

It became obvious to me after a while that even though my situation is a Very Big Deal to us, it didn't matter at all to the staff.  We were just a ho-hum part of their day, and we felt like it. We began to feel like part of the furniture - there, but taken for granted and effectively invisible.  Maybe it's just part of living with cancer.  At this point, I have no clue.

  I was fasting for the scan, and Dick hadn't eaten either.  There was nothing available to drink, and I admit that Dick could have gone to the cafeteria, but he waited a long time before he went and got a cup of coffee.

The lesson I learned yesterday was that nobody cares about my cancer as much as we do.  I have to ask a lot of questions, and try to figure out what's best on my own.  For instance, after reading the fine print on the Omnipaque order (the fluid I drank way back at 5 a.m.), I found out that after drinking it, I should discontinue Metformin for 48 hours because of a potentially dangerous reaction.  I take Metformin twice a day, and it's listed on my meds sheet that had been turned in.   Nobody told me to not take it for 48 hours, so if I hadn't read it for myself, I would have taken it routinely.  This has me a little nervous about things that I'm told and things that I'm not told.

 Since I'm in no way a medical person, it appears that I have a lot to learn, and quickly.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Big Whoopin' Deal

First of all, this was to have been the day of the CT scan with contrast to determine if there is any more cancer in my otherwise perfect body.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

I awoke around 3 a.m. and had trouble going back to sleep, because you can't rely on an alarm to go off at the right time. (!)

I began drinking the contrast fluid at 5 a.m. -  It had to be consumed before 6 a.m. because the scan was scheduled for 8 a.m.  (Ha!)

Have you ever had a colonoscopy?  Then you know the side effects of Omnipaque (the contrast fluid).

Dick has kept a log of how we spent this beautiful morning at the Main Radiology Department of Munson Medical Center, and accomplished nothing.

Dick's Log:
Leave house at 7:15 for 7:45 appointment. 
Check in 7:40 
8:30, nurse appears, says they have no blood work for kidney (they need the creatinine level to proceed) 
 9:10 Nancy checks with desk. They tell her that the nurse said that if Nancy asks, tell her that the office the nurse needs to check doesn't open 'till 9 (Thirlby Clinic opens at 8 a.m.) 
9:20 different nurse says Thirlby Clinic does not have blood results  (???) 
9:30 blood draw 
10:50  Brian the tech comes to explain creatinine level is too low for the additional contrast injection needed for the CT scan and we need to reschedule contrast scan with hydration. (A procedure that will take 8 hours, including IV hydration, more contrast fluid, another blood draw, the CT scan and then 4 more hours of IV hydration.) We go in consult room and Brian hands Nancy a phone.  She is to reschedule the procedure for sometime next week. She talks to "Matt". He needs her medical history, but he is finally able to reschedule the scan for next Thursday, Oct. 3 

I realize that the Munson radiologists and the Steigers are all on the same team - they are valiantly trying to take care of my kidneys, and I appreciate that.  I just didn't appreciate sitting in that waiting room for four hours with no clear information about what was going on.    Thank goodness for Dick's company!  So again, no news until next Thursday.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Latest Delight

by Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in.

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…

If you’re a pretender, come sit by the fire,

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

Shel Silverstein writes wonderful books of poems for children.  My first and second graders were always delighted to listen to and learn them.  I have never seen this one before - and I'm delighted.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


So, first we have to determine if there's cancer anywhere else in my body.  I'm having a CT scan Thursday morning to check that out.  Coincidently, the University of Michigan Liver Clinic is sending a group to T.C. next week to put on a tumor clinic here, and Dr. Ruch is planning to present my case.  I think one of the outcomes is that the U of M people will recommend the best possible treatment of my situation.  It's my good fortune that this is happening right at the very time I need it!

Dr. Ruch said that if I can be approved for surgery (a bit of a long shot), the surgery would be done in Ann Arbor.  Other possible treatments include localized chemo applied directy to the liver or a "chemo pill" taken orally.

So won't know anything else until I hear the results of the CT scan.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Birthday RBS !

Today is Dick's B-Day!  We figured out that we have now celebrated 62 birthdays together, because today is his 77th, and it all began when we were 15  :)

We had brunch at the Brookside in Beulah - we were shocked at their lack of customers.  All of the smaller restaurants on the way over had packed parking lots, but the Brookside was empty.  We enjoyed driving around Leelanau, caching, and just chilling out.  It was a most pleasant day.

Found it 09/22/2013You found  Welcome to Glen ArborVisit Log
We attempted to seek this cache earlier this summer but couldn't figure out how to get back here. (I don't know, maybe it's age.) Today we were able to get our brains in gear and drove right to it. Made the find, signed the log and replaced as found. Thanks for the hunt. 
Found it 09/22/2013You found  Pine nutVisit Log
Well this was quite a challenge for us but because of the reason this cache was placed, we had to persevere. Today is Mr. Bend's birthday. (77) We went out for brunch and then up to Empire to do some work on stage 1 of our S2S cache at the beach. Looking at nearby caches we saw this one was placed for Bobbie's birthday. A perfect one to score on a birthday.
We searched the spot indicated by our iPad and phone again and again going around and around, looking up and down, in and out, without success. Mrs Bend's endurance gave out first while the search was expanded to nearby spruces. All efforts were totally futile. We both were ready to call it quits. We got back in the car and prepared to drive away but first we reread the description and logs. There has only been 1 DNF in over 2 years and it is after all a cache dedicated to a birthday. Give it one more try. BINGO!!
How did we miss it? We looked there at least three times each. We must have had our hands within inches. Anyway a fantastic hide! Thanks Kati for the challenge and the sense of accomplishment. 
Found it 09/22/2013You found  Road KillVisit Log
We came over to do some maintenance on our S2S Empire cache and to pick up a few on the way. This is a fun one! We discovered that the zip lock had a couple of holes in it (maybe chewed?) so we replaced it. Found the cache, signed the log and replaced as found. Thanks for the fun. 
Found it 09/22/2013You found  Another Crystal Clear ViewVisit Log
On Mr Bend's birthday, we decided to enjoy brunch at the Brookside and then head over to Empire to do some cache maintenance. Since it's on the way, once again we decided to give this cache another try. It's just amazing how often we can search and search without success and then the position of our objective becomes clear and obvious. For this cache, today was the day. Erasing this DNF became a birthday present. Thanks Halanskis for the challenge and the reward. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Such a Disappointment, Wolverines - Happy Birthday Jana!

Seventeen Unanswered Power U-M to Victory at UConn

9/22/2013 - Postgame: Hoke video icon | Gardner/Toussaint video icon | Morgan video icon | Photo Gallery
Seventeen unanswered points -- highlighted by a Desmond Morgan leaping interception and two rushing TDs from Fitzgerald Toussaint -- propelled No. 15 U-M to a 24-21 win at UConn. More [+]

Dick and I were really appalled at the incompetence of our team tonight.  It was so painful to watch the first half.  We watched in disbelief.  Dick kept rewinding to watch the plays again to try to figure out what was going wrong.  The blocking was atrocious - looked worse than high school.  Oh sure, it's a W, but it's nothing to be proud of.  I hope they all have a good bye week, and will be looking halfway decent when they start the Big Ten season.  Heavy sigh.


Happy birthday Jana!  We had fun on the phone, and she liked her present and cards - so in that way, it was a very good day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A New Development

We found out today that the biopsy showed that I have liver cancer, stage 1,  caught very early.  One of the blood markers for cancer has a normal result of 6.0 and lower.  Mine was 6.1 - so that's really early.

 Have an appointment Monday with oncologist for consultation about treatment options.   Dr. Ruch is relatively new to the area, and starting a new practice.  He was highly recommended by a colleague of Dr. Burke's, my primary care physician.  Dr. Burke thinks that this new Doc will be up to date on all of the latest techniques and treatments.

Dr. Burke recommends surgery to remove the cancer if I can qualify for it.  Because of my anemia,  low platelet count and diabetes it may be a moot point.  It depends on how risky the surgeon thinks it might be.  It will be interesting to see what the oncologist says.

 We are optimistic and hopeful - all other test results have been normal, and we are convinced of a positive outcome.

I don't really know how to do this living with cancer thing - I suppose you just do as you're told, cross your fingers and hope for the best.  What helps me the most right now is having  a great life partner such as Dick who is caring, willing and effective :)

I am mentally using Barb as my inspiration for overcoming - I want to be a survivor, too :)   And also my Kanitz niece Pam, who is battling breast cancer with such humor and fortitude!

 It's really amazing how fast things are moving and how lucky I've been to get immediate appointments.  Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's OVER!! We DID IT !!

Yesterday Dick had a consultation with Dr. Recchia which turned out well.  He is to cut one of his meds in half daily, and go back for a stress test followed by an echo cardiogram  on next Wed., Sept. 25th.

Today I had the liver biopsy at Munson with some of the nicest people you can imagine.  Dr. Broder was the main man, and Michelle was the CT operator and make-the-patient-comfortable person. 
I spent a most uncomfortable and sleepless night in anticipation of this biopsy.  What a waste of time!  I felt nothing during the entire procedure.  They are very careful to numb the affected areas, and one needle is inserted and the other needle just goes in and out of the stationery needle.  No pain.

There is a long recovery period - checking vitals, checking band-aid, etc. There was a great male nurse, and Nurses Merry and Chris.  We were at the hospital from 7:30 until 12:15.  During that time we had our own TV, and chose a meal, and had our own private room.  I can resume regular activities Friday.

Now we're back home and glad that all of this is over for now.  Dick has his tests next week, and Dr. Burke should have the biopsy results next Tues. or Wed.  Hooray!  I think we're both headed for a nap soon :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hooray For Meds

I left a couple of voice mails at Munson radiology yesterday saying that I was unable to keep the appointment, and I'm so impressed with their efficiency - they called me at 8 this morning! They were very sweet and understanding...whew! My biopsy has been rescheduled for this Wed., the 18th. My medication has begun to kick in.  I'm still a little limpy and gimpy, but at least I can walk!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another Gout Post

On Friday the 13th I had the worst gout attack ever in recorded history. (Well, maybe)  The bottom line is that I literally can't walk.  It's agony just making it into the bathroom.  Consequently, I have cancelled my liver biopsy.  It was supposed to be tomorrow - there's no way I could get there. 
 Dick's heart procedure is still on, and I'm hoping that by Tuesday I'll be able to drive him home - it's my left foot, so driving shouldn't be a problem.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Nice Win !!

This is just about the only thing in the world that would have us staying up past midnight!

MGOBLUEJeremy Gallon
Jeremy Gallon

Sep 7, 2013
• Postgame: Press Conference video icon | Highlights video icon
Box Score | Quotes | Notes
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Event: Under the Lights II
Score: #17 Michigan 41, #14 Notre Dame 30
Records: U-M (2-0), UND (1-1)
Attendance: 115,109
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Sept. 14 -- vs. Akron (Michigan Stadium), Noon
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior/junior quarterback Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) accounted for 376 yards of total offense and five touchdowns, while fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) set career highs in both receiving yards (184) and touchdowns (three) to guide the No. 17-ranked University of Michigan football team to a 41-30 victory over No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday (Sept. 7) in the second-ever night game at Michigan Stadium. The win is the program's 400th at the Big House.
Right before kickoff, Gardner was awarded the No. 98 jersey, the number designated to newly minted Michigan Football Legend Tom Harmon. The U-M quarterback is the first player to wear that number since Harmon in 1940, a span of 73 years. Officially, Gardner went 21-of-33 for 294 yards and four touchdowns through the air, adding 13 rushes for 82 yards and one touchdown. Michigan fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) carried the ball 22 times for 71 yards.
Shining under the lights defensively, junior cornerback Raymon Taylor (Detroit, Mich./Highland Park) led the team with 11 tackles, while junior/sophomore cornerback Blake Countess (Owings Mills, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) had six tackles and two interceptions.