NEW DOC, NEW DRUG, NEW ROCKS

Arrive in Durango for Chemo No5 and meet my new Doctor who tells me about another drug that he wants to add to the chemo cocktail. This takes another 90 minutes which makes it 4 HOURS in the chair and on the drips. Can’t say that I’m pleased but if it helps then it has to be done. He tells me the scan was GOOD and the treatment is working. I’ll see the scans next time for my benefit.

Thursday, and my least favorite day as I’m on the bag and drip for the full 24 hours and it knocks the crap out of me as I really can’t do anything .

Maybe at the weekend I can get back and finish my layout. This is where I left it after the flow checks on Monday night.

First try with some of the sandstone

Russian vine cut back and upper pieces more or less in situ 

Flows about right ….. subject to minor adjustment

Getting there

Need to finish the backside and add a few more smaller rocks in the holes on the front.

Friday 1300, only about 30 minutes left on this tiresome bag and drip which drives me mad lugging it round. Hopefully I can spend the rest of the afternoon doing something useful.

Nice 86F to keep me warm and time to get on with it before I start feeling tired. Afternoon goes better than I expected. Some flows adjusted and pleasing rocks found for suitable holes in the structure and placement begins.

Somewhere along the way by moving various rocks the water loss rate, which was becoming alarming has been markedly reduced.

Anyhow, by 1830 I’ve done all I can do, and while I’m not saying everything is in its final place at least they are all on the edifice which is now about 18″taller …….. lets see how it looks?

The Walmart Greeters are in place

“Doofus” the lifeguard,  resting in the lily pads

Work continues on the “Mary Rose” but it should be renamed  HMS WASP !

The Travelocity Team monitor security

Good flows on the Bismark Falls

Flowing well

Inspection work continues

Colored rocks to fill in

“Merlin” under the umbrella tells the crowd the new rules

“Hear No, and See No” not happy with the rules

“King Midas” turns all into rock

Death’s Head in place with the Escalante Mushroom

Not a HARLEY section!!!

Turtle checks out last year’s dead fall

Views from the new summit

The Death’s Head…… reminds me a bit of “Elephant Man”

Well that’s it for the first attempt, I’m sure there will be some revision especially as the Dollar Store keeps selling off it’s frogs at a 75% discount.

Saturday, feeling better after the last round of chemo and all set for an afternoon on the lake.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C’MON ROCKERY

After weeks of stating I’m working on the rockery and the last of my frog layout still nothing has been achieved!

A start was made and in the process of shifting rocks I managed to lose one of my rings! The rockery is a now a GOLD mine! With some rocks removed the plans get a little clearer as I see a “Y” split has sheared off caused by either freezing or the fall of the sign. Need to get into town and buy some irrigation parts to redirect flow and beef up the volume.

Went everywhere in town, totally unsuccessful, ended up buying some heavy whipping cream and good looking strawberries and completely forgot to try some 32×30 jeans from Walmart!

Looks like I’ll be making the flow adapters myself. First I’ll try a dry mock-up of the rock structure and then add the water and see if the flow is pleasing before installing on the upper section of the falls.

I found a new access hole for the mini pool pump hose so now just rebuilding of the storm damaged area and fill in all the holes and cracks.

Replaced the broken “Y” and now easy to see where the flow needs to go. Going to deal with this area first then load up the upper level with some bigger rocks before my sandstone flow pieces and not forgetting the unusual “Death’s Head” rock.

Most unusual rock that looks like a skull when upright

Saturday and it seems we are playing pool ? Well that’s a pleasant change and as we had a 5 day break from school I still have 3 days left to get some more work on the rockery. Once I complete that task it will be back to some biking which has been in the doldrums since the cancer took over.

Sunday September 1st and today I’m at last on the Rockery!!!Finally some progress as various gaps and holes get filled in where the sign fell down. Redesigned flow pattern completed in stage 1.

The backside gets cleaned, another load of usable rocks get hauled up from the Brewery, and as Labor Day arrives I’m ready to finish the top level.

Redesigned top and sign damage repaired

A long day! plenty of trial and error with a “jig-saw” of rocks to select from as only the right one will do!

The jigsaw …… only the right one will do!

By 1800 I’ve had enough and with the last test of flows it pleases me and now I’m left with the final phase of placing the remaining pieces of rock and figurines tomorrow.

Last of the jigsaw pieces

An early ring on the bell this morning, 0645, and I’m thinking a bit early to be ringing ….. its the Director who has misinformed me about today which IS a School day after all…… no matter I’ll be there this afternoon!

Now its Chemo week again so I’m off to hospital for yet more blood work and the CT scan to see if there is any progress.

 

TONY DOWN

BAG OFF AND SOME ROCKS ON

Nearly done

Very true

The title very much says it all as we arrive at post chemo Friday. Just the morning to get through without those post poison drip side effects and then hopefully enjoy the upcoming weekend.

Friday, 1000, and thankfully no side effects, only another 3 hours on the pump and bag! Another nice day and maybe rock moving or a ride this afternoon.

1430, bag free, time to get outside, 90F, look at the pool and make some plans. The arsebine is back and taking over again so an afternoon of intensive weeding begins and some areas are cleared but its not as easy  task. The “Death’s Head” skull like rock was taken of the rockery and giving a good cleaning … most unusual formation and very heavy.

Pool rescues from the mud in the bottom

Two more rescued frogs get repainted and now its too late to go for a ride but I WILL get a few miles this weekend and try and creep up my world circumference ladder.

Don’t think I could do it in a day!!!

Saturday, no side effects so maybe some more weeding and then work on the rockery. Despite 10 hours in bed I still feel tired but I suppose that’s just another chemo effect. Being over the half-way point I now need the CT scan to see what progress this poison has made. My surgeon, Dr Mattison tells me “its a blunt instrument” which means they haven’t made much progress in enhancing the definition. Well that’s a wait and see prior to Session No5 at the beginning  of September.

Weeding takes priority  and a good session is completed and then the tiredness creeps in and another nice chemo side effect of “pins and needles in the lips” if you drink or touch anything cold so its a beer through the straw.

Sunday, and if I don’t get sidelined by weeding I might actually get on the rocks which is my plan A . Plan B will be a 10 miler this afternoon to remind the legs WE are about to get back into it! Weight seems steady at around 175 lbs and clothing pretty loose. Might have a slow leak in the back tire of the Roubaix. Also a chance of some fishing?? now that might be fun!

Summit Lake

Fishing won, and we visit Summit Lake where I’ve always had a lot of success in the past. They have restocked with more types including Walleye, Bass, Rainbow Trout and Perch. I catch 3 table size small Trout and a couple of small Perch which go back in.

So a Trout dinner tonight with peas and bread and butter!I think I need to eat earlier such that I can sleep better without all the side effects of a running nose, the chemo cough and congestion which goes away at about 0300 for some reason ……..but I can tolerate it although it would be nice to have a pill for that!

Still no work on the rockery…… promises, promises!

 

TONY DOWN

ROCK ON + 4 DOWN, 4 TO GO

A chemo thought for the week

With the Safari repairs all done and all the overhanging branches around the RV park cut down and trimmed I can at last devote more time to pleasure pursuits on the Rockery.

This week is a 2.5 driving day week as its Chemo Session Four and there is no way to drive with the bag and pump on Thursday and Friday.

“Lancaster House” in Andover

Daughter Sally sent some “memory pics” of the old house in UK and it was nice to see the new owners had not removed the sign I made, but they could have polished it.

Hand carved in the wood and a brass Lancaster cut out of a sheet of same  ….. some of my finest work.

Monday annoying small cold, the joys of being with small children, but not really a problem. An hour of weeding but the temp is about 90F so too hot to do much, but every little bit helps.

Wednesday morning and the morning drive is completed and I’m home and ready for the Durango run for another delicious round of Chemo! This one is Round 4 of the planned 8 so hoping for the best in terms of side effects. The bags keep dripping and no need to worry about dehydration as I’m rapidly overflowing with all the drips coming aboard. Seem to be peeing like a racehorse with 4 drips going in. They have to be individually blended as one works with saline and the other with some sugar mix.

It just keeps coming!

Thursday morning, reasonable night’s sleep and not feeling any of the chemo side effects so far…….. not even sleepy? Might actually get something done today if I can get past this annoying bag thing. Only side effects today are tingling lips and finger tips if you drink or touch anything cold. Can’t keep the chemo bag on my shoulder so I’ll watch some worthless TV.

There will be only ONE Winner here!

I feel a need for more of this!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROCKING THE ROCKERY

 

Since Escalante Days the weather has been absolutely gorgeous and a real delight to be outside. With all my repainted frogs and gnomes, not forgetting the new ones, plus my craft fair purchases, Sunday became Day 1 of the layout.

Travelocity and friends

Of course these things take time and plans tend to get a bit more ambitious as the mind sees all the possibilities.

The “Mary Rose” is full of wasp’s nests!

Came very close to being stung

The week kicks off with a rather dull presentation at the High School which perhaps is one of the worst I have seen! Projected back light with a single bulb, softly spoken teachers and no microphone and very dry boring material.

School bus driving begins on Tuesday and as this is a “non chemo” week I can drive which is something to look forward to and enjoy.

Need to redesign the top of the waterfalls that took a battering when the sign blew down in the gale. I feel the need for a higher volume of water coming over the top and I do have some nice sandstone flats that have been water carved over the years and should give some classic pool to pool natural drops.

Just the right shape for “flow” on these sandstone pieces

Some rebuilding required

Not forgetting those lost in the sign “deadfall”

I do have an extra pump but I think a bigger one with more flow and outlets is where I’m heading but before that I need to see how I can route it to achieve the desired effect.

A bit more on the layout with some of the birthday frog and turtle team on the backside of the rockery

Meanwhile the lovers are enjoying the sunshine below the Hilary Step and should see the more refreshing waters in the near future.

Ideal for sunning and topping off the green tan

The “Guide” shows how to get to the summit

Frog, Salamander and birthday Turtle

The week comes to an end, delightful weather, and 2 trips a day on the School Bus to get back in the swing with a record number of 48 kids going home Thursday night!

Friday and time to deal with the bus battery problem!!! yes, Safari batteries won’t hold the charge so its disconnect everything, taking a drawing of where all the wires go, ……… into Walmart and get them checked ……. 3 other batteries ahead of mine (4) and each one takes 1-2 hours to check!!!

Ok everybody, its off to Walmart for you 4 !

Saturday, back to Walmart, NO! they are all toast including the new one that was fitted last year. Well they replace that one free of charge (pun) so now I have 4 new ones all with a 2 year warranty!

Well hello, 4 new batteries

Back home and try to decipher my diagram of the wiring. Trays cleaned of dirt, mud, and rust. Push/pull greased and functional so time to be bold and fit set No 1. All in, so far so good, and only one wiring repair to some miscellaneous earth wire?

Hope I have this correct

1st set in place ….. stay lucky!

Second pair go in and cables arranged in what I hope is the correct sequence. ……. the acid test! Yes, FULLY CHARGED and with one turn of the key the massive CAT engine bursts into life!! YIPEEEE!

Now down to Dolores River RV Park and get 12gallons of LP gas to see if the generator will fire up. Yes, fully working GENERATOR!! This really is turning out to be a GOOD DAY……… now try and start the Fridge which switched over to Electric when the LP ran out and dragged the batteries down. Holy Moly, it STARTS!!!!

OK, you deserve this ONE!

More on the Rockery …. soon I promise.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESCALANTE DAYS 2019

 

Our 1st Escalante 2 day Trial (2013)  …. all lined up for the parade

After yesterday’s rainfall a bit cooler this morning but the forecast says a nice 80F and not much wind so fingers crossed.

Champers Time under the big fir at Carol’s

First stop is at Carol’s down on 9th Street for some early morning champagne as the parade goes by. Carol is bright and bubbly and seems to be recovering very well from breaking her hip. Even, George makes it out to watch and is also looking a lot better now they have changed a lot of his medications.

Here come the mountain bike racers on their multi distance runs based on ability, desire and age. With them on their way for  the next few hours popular local Sheriff, Steve Nolan, leads the parade in the other direction.

With the parade over time to move to our next liquor hideaway down at the Brewpub. Some more champers and then onto my drink combos of the day

Beer for fun, the red thing for hydration ….. hey don’t knock it, it’s working!

Lunchtime, and time for the Chainsaw Competition, and as you could predict Bill Ragland at 84 years old wins AGAIN in another record time.

The “Master” wins again!

A really nice afternoon bumping into lots of old friends including Travis who used to own the Hollywood before selling out to what is now the Montezuma. Travis now has a 200 acre ranch over at Summit and a 5 year contract working on Oprah Winfrey’s new resort home at Mountain Village, Telluride!!!

More drinking and talking back at the Brewery and after a  visit to the craft fair back there again for lunch.

Another “must have” Mushroom

Lizard or Salamander ?

Couldn’t resist the honey and it’s cute pot

A few more beers and a “4 Cheese” completes the day

 

…….. and what a lovely day it was!

TONY DOWN

 

73 AND CHEMO ROUND 3

Drip on again, its round 3

Not the best way to start your birthday but at least its 1 less session of that chemo poison. Different Doctor this morning who answers all my questions re the last session.

He also changes the nausea medicine and gives ME the all clear to drive if I feel up to it. Now many of you may think that’s a little pig headed but let me assure you when you have Cancer anything that gives you a chance to look forward to something really feels like progress and some forward momentum.

Some nice presents in the form of frogs and turtles and a super winter cycling thermal jacket which would have been too small for me last year but now, 40 lbs lighter, it fits perfectly.

A couple of really nice chocolate cakes  ….. yumeee!

More frogs arrive today in the post, layout will have to wait as I’m still connected to bag and pump.

Big Bertha for the top of the “Falls”

Harley Frogs

Luv ’em

Tiny the pot hanger

Mr T

I already have them “planned” in my mind’s eye.

Friday, and time to get the bag off and get some semblance of normality back in life.  Might even get to phase one of the layout later this afternoon. On the good news front NO nausea or vomiting this week so maybe the change in medications was on point.

The day progresses, the bag is off, and time to do things. Start Safari and aim to get some LP gas for the generator.  Local station STILL broken so a drive into town to the big Maverick …… NO LP !  Well no matter a few more days to wait but the drive was good.

Back home, finish a bit of weeding I had started and the plan is now a ride down to the brewery as its the start of Escalante days ….. but it starts raining and does so through until 2000 …. annoying! Still no sickness after this round of poison and not so tired … time to be thankful.

Bit of Nostalgia from those Escalante Days Trials 2014

Under the 4th Road Bridge before the rain!

Sunday in Lost Canyon Creek

The Graded Hill they hated!!!

THREE Cleans for ME !!!!

 

TONY DOWN

 

FROGS AND GNOMES

Still a million questions including all the “what ifs” and “why me?” but the battle continues and its now 7/30. Still very tired, some nausea, dehydration, dizziness and loss of taste. Energy and guts, or willpower, are where I need to concentrate, and stop feeling sorry for myself but that of course requires a lot of effort at this point.

Bit of a plan for today, start Safari, water the seeds, mow the grass and finish off the frogs and gnomes. With the exception of the grass the rest gets done but then suddenly the chemo kicks me and I’m not feeling too good. Another one of those moments when you realize you might not make it!

No matter, let’s see what Michael Angelo has been up to in the Chapel. We started with the sad pairing of “Steptoe & Son” our two Travelocity Gnomes who had made it through 10 years of Colorado winter’s and were definitely looking “shabby chic”

Steptoe less than chic

Son, shabby

New, hats in red, fresh blue coats and some clean black wellies. New belts and buckles to complete the outfit along with a visit to the barber’s for a trim of the beard.

Nice beard

Pretty snappy!

A couple of pond “newbies” from the Dollar Store. They came with orange coats ……. yuk! so they got the blue coat treatment

The last remaining “big frog” got the complete makeover

“Hello”

The pool lifeguard got the full treatment too and is now on patrol by the one open water lily

See you in the pool

Last of the old frog collection “the unattached swinger” was looking pretty rough so another full makeover

Sad, and off color

Much better …… and Brenda patiently rehangs him

While still in the Shade Garden our “Queen Ladybird” was looking a little tatty so a repaint for her in proper Ladybird colors

A  repaint coming

Sadly two of the biggest frogs were destroyed in last year’s gale when the sign came crashing down on the rockery and pool beds. One was a beautiful ceramic that I had purchased at the Escalante Days Festival

Crushed!

Now that’s a deadfall !

Dead ceramic

Gruesome fate

Well our local garden center has a few replacements and these are home waiting for layout and placement ……. and then of course I have a birthday.

Hear No, Say No.

Family group

Why me ?

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHEMO ROUND 2 OF 8

Some of you may remember the rather nasty bout of pneumonia I went down with way back in October 2015 which then became COPD Stage 3.  The upshot of all that was to PUSH some air round the lungs and get out there on the bicycle and get the COPD back down to Stage1. Not easy, but for 2016, I did manage 2031.22 miles before winter shut me down.

I had embarked on the old Nutrisystem Diet and came down from 219.8 to a demi respectable 195.6 …… The diet then moved into the GT diet and held even ground until winter 2016-17.

Out again in 2017 with the new road bike in the form of the 16.00 pound Roubaix, another 3602.09 was pedaled up here at 7000′

Ambition changes and a new target is to cycle around the earth, some 24,902 miles in my lifetime. The year goes well and I manage another 4644.30 giving me a 3 year total of 10,277.61

As the clock turns into 2019 I can’t help but notice that the “gut” has reappeared again despite all this manic cycling. Back for another dose of the Nutrisystem again

Let’s try again!

Again!

Day 1 of the dreaded chemo begins not knowing that I had the “chicken egg” up my bum! First session seemed OK with no nausea or other side effects other than extreme tiredness. That tends to last until the 3 day pump and supply runs out and it gets pulled on Friday and then there are 2 days where all the body wants to do is sleep.

2nd session on 7/24 and by the Thursday I’m feeling nauseous and finding it difficult to breathe and sleep. By Friday I’m vomiting despite the pills and this of course has that “knock on” effect as I’m becoming dehydrated. I can only assume they upped the dose just to see how much I can take.

Well you can always get a drink in a chemo ward!!

However, it has to be said that if you really want to lose weight then you should give this chemo diet a go as after this last double whammy my weight is the LIGHTESS ITS BEEN SINCE AGE 13!!!!!

Sunday  7/28 ……….  ONE HUNDRED SIXTY NINE POUNDS!!!!

Tuesday and down to a ridiculous weight   …… not where I want to be!!! back to Cortez Hospital who draw some more blood through that shoulder device to see if I’m up to more chemo poison tomorrow. …… as they say it takes you to the very edge before bringing you back.

Over to Durango for Session 2 which after nearly 3 hours on the drips I’m quite tired but even when we get home I can’t sleep or rest. Even with two of their anxiety tablets nothing happens but I seem to be short of air and sleep is out of the question as I’m scared I won’t wake up!  Manage about 2 hours so maybe that’s another side effect but at least no nausea.

Two days on the carry bag and then I’m 1/4 way through unless there is more suffering I don’t know about. Thursday and I get the impression they have increased the dosage as I’m desperately tired and a bit dizzy. By lunchtime the vomiting starts leading to our old friend dehydration …….. most unpleasant! The rest of Friday is on the couch.

TONY DOWN