Sunday, July 31, 2011

No internet!

On Friday morning we left for Pennsylvania to visit my aunt, uncle, cousin and his fiancee. We were very surprised that the hotel we stayed at this weekend, despite advertising that it was wireless, only had wireless in the lobby and was wired in the room. Not a problem if you bring your laptop, but for my birthday my parents bought me an iPad, so I just took that with me, and it doesn't have an access for wired Internet! I know I could have gone to the lobby and used that wireless, or used my mom's laptop, but I was lazy and we weren't in the room that much because we were visiting, so I was WITHOUT INTERNET for the weekend! It was kind of a big deal, but luckily for a very short time. Now I'm home and can spend the entire rest of the day online. Ha. Although, to be perfectly honest, since I don't have anything pressing like classes to do online, it really wasn't that huge of a deal because I had other things and people to occupy my time. So tomorrow we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program of Traverse City vacation recounting. Hope you all had Internet-filled weekends!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Moomers is an award winning ice creamery outside of Traverse City.  Good Morning America awarded them the best ice cream in Americ award a few years ago for their signature flavor, Cherries Moobilee, which is cherry flavored ice cream with sweet and tart cherries, fudge swirl, and brownie pieces.  YUM!

The problem with Moomers is that it is only available in a few stores up near Traverse City, in their adorable store that's abot 20 minutes outside of town, or you can order it online.  This year a big change was that you can buy pints at Tom's, the local chain grocery store.  So we bought some of them to start off out trip!  We got grasshopper, mint oreo, something chocolate, and coconut almond delight, which isn't my favorite because I don't like nuts.  But everything else was delicious!  We also got cinnamon bun at some point, I think it must have been then.  The next night we went out for ice ream and got lots different flavors!  Black raspberry, mango, lemon custard, lemon sorbet with raspberry sauce, chocolate peanut butter chunk, and chocolate raspberry chunk.  We all had fresh bowls, and some got multiple flavors, which is why we had so much ice cream!  I didn't try the two lemon flavors because my brother and sister carry germs, but the black raspberry and mango were fantastic, the chocolate peanut butter chunk is a favorite from last year, and the chocolate raspberty was mine, and was fantastic!  Chocolate ice cream with a raspberry swirl and raspberry filled chocolate cups.  Amazing!  My mom and I went back the days before we left and got some pints and quarts to indulge in that evening, and to take back with us.  We got chocolate peanut better chuunk, cherries moobilee, coconut almost delight, toasted coconut (for those who don't like nuts), raspberry truffle (just like the chocolate raspberry but with vanilla ice cream), and ummmm..... somethng else.  I think it was amaretto cherry.

Think we got enough ice cream??!!!!

The great part about Moomers is that their ice cream is the perfect amount of creamy and sweet, not too much of either, and the flavors are very authentic, not at all fake or artificially flavored.  It's a real treat!

I was too busy eating the ice cream to take any pictures of it, but here are some pictures of Moomers!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back from break!

I've been back since Friday, just took a while to upload my pictures so I could make some posts.  I really didn't take that many pictures this year because it was so ridiculously hot out, I just couldn't spend the extra time in the sun!

Our condo was fantastic again.  Same model as last year, but on the second floor rather than the third floor.  

Here are pictures of the view, but for some reason that I don't know and find frustrating, Blogger has rotated some of them.  So you can either crane your neck to the side and peek at them that way, or just look at the ones that are right side up.  Or if you know how to fix this problem, please let me know!

Looking out on the East Bay towards Old Mission Peninsula

Looking back towards mainland Michigan

There are lots of boats in the Grand Traverse Bay, but fewer on the East Bay than the West Bay

Some of condos are owned, and the dock is for boats that belong to owners.  The seats on the beach are up for grabs.

Having fun in Lake Michigan!  The lake is probably the best way to escape the heat and humidity.

Stay tuned for more sideways pictures of Traverse City!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Great birthday present!

I'm getting discharged today!  Unfortunately we won't be out on time for our Harry Potter tickets, but I have a feeling it will be in theaters for a while, and we still get to leave on Sunday for our trip to Traverse City!

On Wednesday and Thursday I had sedated procedures, so I wasn't up for much computer time.  But I'm feeling better since starting the antibiotics and anti fungal.  I can breathe more deeply, I don't feel as out of breath when I'm doing things, so that's all good news.  I don't have to wear oxygen all the time anymore either.  That was one of my guidelines for getting discharged, I had to be off oxygen, and so I am.  I'll still be on some antibiotics and an anti fungal, but at least I'll be out and able to enjoy myself!

Today we'll probably be running around doing shopping for things we'll need to take up north with us.  We'll be staying in a condo on the beach with a kitchen so we bring some snacks and things, but they have fantastic food up there too.  Moomer's ice cream, the Pleasantown bakery, Black Star Farms raclette cheese and French pastries (the best croissants I've had outside of France!), and of course the wineries!  So today won't be so birthday focused, but that's okay, I have a great dinner planned for tonight.  Tuna steaks, smashed potatoes, roasted potatoes (my dad's favorite, if we don't have them it isn't Shabbat), pea pods, and for dessert, coconut cheesecake! 

I wonder if they pushed to get me out of here because the hospital is full and they need my room, or because they really like me and wanted to get me out for my birthday and vacation.  Probably both!  I am pretty popular among the medical folks, if that doesn't sound too ridiculous to say out loud :)

Hope everyone has a  wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crazy from relief!

I'm taking a steroid every other day to help control my GVHD, and this past week I was having very strange, not comfortable symptoms the day after not taking the steroids.  On Saturday evening it was really bad, so on Monday I had my photopheresis appointment and I asked them to let my doctor know.  He called back, I explained my symptoms, and he thought it sounded like the problem was the every-other-day-steroid thing and changed my dose.  One of my problems has been shortness of breath, and I noticed on Monday evening that walking around my house twice was getting me out of breath.  This was no good.  Of course this made me start freaking out about my lungs.  It could be GVHD, could be another recurrence, could be lots of different bad things!  And we're leaving for a week in northern Michigan on Sunday, what if things get worse while we're there with health care that's nowhere near as good as it is down here!!!! 

So I called first thing this morning and left a message that I wanted to be seen before I left.  Got a call back from a nurse in clinic who said the only appointment she could get me was Friday morning.  One, I don't want to come in on my birthday, and two, that's not soon enough.  So I emailed my doctor asking if he could see me earlier.  He has clinic today, but called me back soon after I sent the email, we discussed things, and he said come in for a chest x-ray and then wait around until he's seen it and can tell us what the deal is.

We ran to the hospital as quickly as we could, got the x-ray, and then went upstairs to clinic and waited.  I'm freaking out because I'm so worried about the results. My doctor came out looking for us pretty soon after we got there, missed us as first but eventually our waving and calling brought him over.  He says "you have pneumonia."  And then we got my pulse ox and blood pressure and made a plan for treatment.

PNEUMONIA!  I'm so happy!!!!  That's so much better than a recurrence or GHVD!  I mean, it isn't good, but it's so much better than the other things I was worried about!  I feel so much more calm and less anxious than I did before.  What a relief!  I've been telling everyone how happy I am to have pneumonia!

The next few days will be kind of annoying, but I have a sick liking of the hospital and nurses on the BMT ward.  Yes, I was admitted as an inpatient.  I already started a broad spectrum antibiotic and an antifungal, and got a chest CT.  Tomorrow I'll be getting a bronchioscope (I think that's what it's called, can't remember) and a lumbar puncture with chemo that I was already scheduled for, which means I'll be pretty out of it all day because they are both sedated procedures. 

So the hope is that I'll be out of here on Friday so I can celebrate my birthday!  We have tickets to see the new Harry Potter movie at 1 PM (no, I do not want to see it at midnight, I like to sleep, thank you very much) and I have already spent my birthday in the hospital, and it wasn't that fun, so I'd rather be out.  I'm sure you all understand where I'm coming from :)  I at least hope I get out by Sunday so we can still go up north for next week.  Fingers crossed!  I'm not sure what the guidelines will be for letting me out but I'm guessing it will have to do with my pulse ox and what kind of pneumonia they decide I have and what my treatment should be.  I'll keep you all updated.  But not tomorrow, because I'll be sleeping most of the day :)


(No, I wasn't admitted to the psych ward, but yeah, I'm a little nuts today because I'm so relieved!)   

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I have huge feet.  It's kind of embarrassing, actually.  I wear a size 11, 42 in European sizes!  I never found any shoes in France that fit, and even in the US it's a problem. 

Because of my limited mobility, I'm supposed to be wearing shoes that have thick soles and are supportive, and if I wear sandals they have to have straps over my feet and around my ankle.  Guys, those shoes are all UGLY!  I keep looking and hoping to find something useful, and I found a pair that's... okay.  Less bad than the others, and not too terrible.  I want a pair of sandals for our trip to Traverse City, so I decided to buy them. 

The sandals came yesterday.  My other foot problem is that they are very skinny and sometimes I need to buy narrow width.  These ones were only available in an 11 medium.  So I tried them on, and they're too big!  They're too wide, they don't fasten tightly enough, and I think they might actually be a little long.  That isn't usually a problem I have with shoes!

I'm not sure if ordering a 10 narrow will help, but I'm thinking about it.  I think it's funny that this is what led me to find shoes that are too big!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pie Pictures

First off, a big thank you for all the support on my last post.  It really means a lot to me, and I can never express fully how much I appreciate it.  Thank you.

In other news, today marks seven years since I was first diagnosed.  I'm still here, so screw you cancer!

In food news, we had a great barbeque for the 4th of July, and a wonderful dessert!  The cherries finally appeared last week so we had cherry pie with all the fixings.  Michigan is the #1 producer of sour cherries in the US, and sour cherries are the ones you use in cherry pie.  The Cherry Capital is Traverse City, located on the tip of the pinky finger on the back of your left hand.  I hope everyone knows that the lower peninsula of Michigan is shaped like a mitten, which is great for pointing out locations and fun for jokes.  We'll be up there for a week starting the Sunday after my birthday, the 17th, and I can't wait!  We were there last summer around the same time and had a great vacation and I think this year will be just as nice

Here are some pie pictures.  My mom is a fantastic cook, and the pie was wonderful!