Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Smoky Mountains in the Fall!

     We spent Halloween in Gatlinburg! We've been helping Maggie and the kids for a few weeks and we decided to run away from home! We sent the grandkids Halloween cards with money and we hit the road! The colors were beautiful and we drove to Clingman's Dome and Newfound Gap. Had a lovely picnic at the Chimneys and played in the river. Did the Roaring Forks motorway and stopped at Eli's Mill. Found a quaint little seafood bar off the beaten track and had oysters, shrimp, and too much to drink! A wonderful time!! We decided to ride the aerial tram to Ober Gatlinburg and we took the skylift to the very top of the mountain. Then we rode the Alpine Slide down to the bottom! I won! Brian said he was being a gentleman! :-)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

October Already!?

     Hi and Happy Fall, ya'll! It has been unusually warm...still in the upper 80's most days! It doesn't feel like Fall or Halloween at all! We are buying mums and pumpkins and apple cider anyway. We will also be decorating the house for Halloween.
      There have not been any new travels as Brian has been feeling quite exhausted and weak. We even had to take an ambulance ride and spent the day at Vanderbilt!  I tease him that he sure knows how to show a girl a good time! The Dr. let him go ahead with his Nivolumab treatment even though it's wearing him down. The plan is to continue infusions every two weeks until March. He'll have another CT scan next month to see if it's all still working. Say an extra prayer for him, please!
     Our nephew, Andrew, got married Oct. 1st! Lots of family flew in to celebrate...and then they wouldn't go home! LOL! They really had a good time visiting and eating and visiting some more. Brian felt good enough to play a couple of songs at the wedding and then gave us a short concert the day everyone was leaving.
    Our next long adventure is going to be early November in Florida on the Gulf side. We are meeting my dad and step-mom for a two week vacation at the beach! We will be staying at a new place on Redington Beach. We are looking forward to being in Florida again. We may look for a retirement home while we are there!
     I tried to add a couple of pictures but something isn't working right! I'll come back later and try again.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Endless Summer!

    Everyone went back to school....except for me!! Yay! I loooove being retired! We have traveled all over the place! We have been to Chattanooga, Charleston,  New York, Cape Cod, & Arkansas! We have reservations in Florida in November. Our nephew is getting married in a couple of weeks and we are entertaining company from New York and Tennessee and Florida. Add Brian's immunotherapy every two weeks and we don't have time to work! Lol! More later!

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Wow! What a crazy ride! I have officially retired! I got my LAST paycheck (GULP!) this month and now my pension kicks in. Kinda scary, but we have everything worked out.We have been SO busy since school got out in May. Family came to celebrate our niece's graduation and we enjoyed a four day weekend at the lake. In June we met brother and sister-in-law in Gatlinburg. We enjoyed rest and relaxation and family for five wonderful days in a secluded mountain cabin! Early July found us in Chattanooga for a long weekend. We saw Rock City, Ruby Falls, the Chattanooga Choo Choo, we rode the Incline! We spent one whole day enjoying the Tennessee Aquarium including the River Gorge boat ride and the IMAX theater! Wow, what a busy few days! We celebrated grandkids birthdays and went on several day trips to state parks. Our next event is Charleston, SC later this week. Then we will stop to do some gem mining on the way home. We are headed to Troy and then on to Cape Cod in late August. We will follow that up with a quick turn-around to Hot Springs to meet Texas and NY family! Whew!
Brian had another episode on Memorial Day that sent him to the hospital again for several days. We finally got to see the Endocrinologist so hopefully we have all that under control now. He is almost finished with his second round of immunotherapy! He sees the dermatologist tomorrow and has his last infusion on Tuesday. Then we have to set up CT scans and an MRI. The hope is that the melanoma continues to shrink and no new ones appear. Prayers are welcome!
Ruby Falls

Smoky Mtns.

Chattanooga Choo Choo!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Almost Retired!

     Sooooo this is the last month of my teaching career! Sometimes I have mixed feelings about that - but mostly I'm pretty happy and excited! Education is getting absolutely ridiculous and there is no joy in it anymore. Testing, testing, testing! It's time for me to go!
    On another note: Brian started having really bad headaches from the immunotherapy. He got three doses of the combo drugs and then ended up in the hospital! They decided to discontinue the combo drugs and switch him to just the single drug. Nivolumab is the newest and best treatment for his kind of cancer. So he will have a CT scan on Sunday May 15th and then start infusions of that on the 17th. We had hoped to finish all four treatments but it was too risky. The Dr. says that three treatments with the "vigorous auto-immune response" had very good results. I guess the CT scan will show the truth. Regardless, he will start the Opdivo on the 17th.
Vanderbilt Emergency Room

     Our niece, Shelby. graduates on May 20th and a whole bunch of family is coming in to celebrate. We will have a weekend at Dale Hollow Lake! It will be great to see everyone. It should be a great weekend!
     Last Tuesday was my retirement reception at the Central Office! I got a certificate and a marble apple. My friend Kitty is retiring, too! We started together and are finishing up together!
Director of schools, me, Asst. Director

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sad Day

     Today Brian lost his mother to a sudden illness. She got the flu and her lungs just couldn't handle it. We flew to NY on Wednesday when we got the news that she was sick and going into ICU. Brian had an MRI that day and we got the call on the way home from Nashville. We got plane tickets and packed in an hour and a half. We got to Troy at 12:30 am and went straight to the hospital. She never knew we were there. She never regained consiousness and was on a ventilator. The difficult decision was made to take her off life support today and she passed away peacefully. We had to come home to see the oncologist tomorrow. We will return to NY for the services as soon as they are set.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spring Break 2016!

    There are just a couple more days to enjoy the very last Spring Break of my teaching career! We sadly said goodbye to Brother and Sister in law this morning as they trek back to cold NY. We all spent an amazing three days in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. We had a cabin with an awesome view! We saw deer, turkeys, and bears! We went to Clingman's Dome, Cades Cove, and the Chimneys picnic area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We sampled wine from two winerys and got lemon cake from Ely's Mill gift shop. It was a wonderful time spent with family.
     Monday we had a dermatologist appt. Tuesday Brian had his second infusion. We saw Dr. Sosman who was very pleased with how well Brian is handling the treatment plan. He scheduled the next CT scan for late May. He also let us know that, regardless of CT results, Brian will have an additional 12 weeks of single medication treatment. This medicine is Yervoy and is administered every two weeks. Hopefully he handles that treatment as well as he is this one.
The Chimneys
Living Room
Pool table in Loft

View from cabin

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Saga Continues

     As you may have heard, my Sweet Husband has has a recurrence of his melanoma. We found out right before Christmas. He had lung surgery in early January to determine if the spots were melanoma or some other cancer. They were melanoma. To say it knocked us on our asses would be an understatement. We were so sure we had gotten rid of it the first time around. So we shopped around for another Dr. and found a melanoma specialist at Vanderbilt Medical Center. They have an awesome cancer center. He had several other tests run and it was determined that he should start immunotherapy. The two medicines are Yervoy and Opdivo. Highly toxic and with serious side effects. He started this protocol three weeks ago and we were terrified! He has an infusion of medication - a four hour process - every three weeks. In between infusions he has to go to the Dr. for labs and checkups as the medications are so toxic. So far things are going very well! He has not been sick and all his labs have been great! He has his next infusion on the 29th which is next Tuesday. The entire protocol goes through May 10th. We are hoping and praying that things continue to go this well and he comes through this with no bad effects. The end result is to have the spots all go away. He will have CT scans and MRI scans at the end of the treatment to see what our next steps are.
     Based on the health implications we are facing, and other things happening in education, I have decided to RETIRE! I had planned to stay another two years, but - naaaahhhh! We are now planning where we want to travel first! My last day of work will be May 28th, 2016! I can't believe it! Neither can my boss! LOL! Right now I have started Spring Break! My last Spring Break! YAY!
First infusion - mad face! :-)
Really bad selfie!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Updated Photos of My Craft Room!

     Brian and I have been adding to the Craft Room. I had chosen the largest of the three other bedrooms for my craft room several years ago. The others are a guest room and an office/music room. Anyway, Brian has shown an interest in certain aspects of my crafting and so we have added some new spaces. He also bought me a new printer for Christmas this year! It prints up to 13" scrapbook pages! Awesome!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Not So Happy New Year

     We got some not so great news just before Christmas. Brian has been having CT scans every three months as regular protocol after his melanoma surgeries. All has been well until December. Three small spots showed up on his latest CT scan. One in the left lung and two in the right lung. We decided to go to Vanderbilt in Nashville to see a melanoma specialist. Last week he had the largest of the nodules removed. We spent three days in the hospital. Today we learned that it is positive for melanoma. That means it has metastasized into his lungs. We go back to Vanderbilt on Monday to meet with the melanoma specialist and decide the best course of action. He will be having immunotherapy. We do not know too much about that or what it entails. We do have lots of people praying for him and he has very good health so we are hopeful for a very good outcome. This was not the news we had hoped for in this new year. We were so very close to two years cancer free!
     We did not let all of this keep us down for the holidays. We got a HUGE tree at our favorite Christmas tree farm, we visited the winery close by with the tree hanging out of our tiny car. We went out and about to lots of Holiday events. Brian sang at several events and parties in town including the Gallatin Christmas Parade. We saw the Megacavern in Louisville, KY, as well as the Jim Beam distillery. We had all the kids and grandkids over Christmas morning for presents and brunch. We enjoyed another New Year's Eve in Nashville with 150,000 of our closest friends!
     We are still planning our summer vacation. The choices are hard. New York, Cape Cod, Florida, Texas, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, Arkansas.....etc! I'll keep everyone posted about our decision and on the cancer stuff, too.