GETTING A GRIP

 

With the first round of chemo kicking the crap out of me and making me feel very sorry for myself I think I’m coming out of it and getting a tougher attitude as I have to fight or this will be a very one sided battle.

While I might not be up to pounding out those miles on the bike I can at least paint the gnomes and frogs, do some weeding, and go and check the lakes for fish.

This morning starts with a complete refit. All bags, tubes, bits and bandages are removed ….. the refreshing warm shower water flows freely, old age and death are in the bucket and sweet smelling joy is restored. Now all I’m hoping for is this dreaded embarrassing leak to dry up and allow me to walk freely without unexpected falls of soot!

The leak continues and is infuriating as well as undignified and I wonder just how much longer this will last? My bum is now very sore and looking at where they made the cut there surely can’t be too much left to come??? Give me strength!

Seems I’m confined to the house until this goes away, yes, I want to fight but its difficult when you can’t make any headway with what you want to do.

Another poor night’s sleep for no apparent reason, must get on and do something …… anything!!

Here we are, Saturday 7/20/19 and not 1 mile on the odometer this month! Gardens look awful, grass is yellow and needs mowing, my dianthus died and the bloody arsebine is back!

Need to charge the batteries on the Safari, plant some more salad seeds, and start the repainting. We will see what gets done.

A recap picture of my “4th of July” recovering from the surgery and a whole load of thinking!

Happy 4th of July

That sums it up !

Well back to the tasks, yes the batteries go on charge ……

Something done at last, ……. now the seed bed ……

Another row of radish, and more lettuce

Back in the Shade Garden time to review what needs tarting up on the painting side.

A scruffy giant Travelocity Gnome

Gnome junior

A frog that “went a wowing go”

A badly painted Ladybird

Well we will see how these turn out

 

Still Alive!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THAT CUCKOO ?

ALL Cuckoos will be SHOT on sight!

First dose of 3 days of Chemo to see if I can shift the Cuckoo of its nest in my liver ? A reasonable nights rest and no chemo side effects so must be thankful. Just a little discomfort where the Port was fitted and the needles are still connected.

Friday lunchtime and back into Cortez hospital to have those poison chemicals and drip removed. The nurse who did it has something similar going on and I guess there must be something in her family as her father recently passed but he refused to have the “bag” fitted.

Saturday and no significant pain as  such, and the stomach muscles are beginning to strengthen up again after the battering they took with that “Michelin” surgery!

Not a thing of beauty!

Cycling wise not quite up to getting back in the saddle yet but back to see the surgeon on Monday so maybe the “all clear”.

While I’ve been in hospitals and the “patient” that bloody arsebine has been growing furiously AGAIN and is really annoying me!!!

Right now I’m still desperately tired and just sitting around like a limp rag. Three operations, much indignity, some pain, and very little get up and go. Perhaps tomorrow as the first chemo free day may see a brighter spark.

No more of that for 10 days

Maybe a good day to repaint some garden gnomes and frogs that our extended winter ravaged. Very tired and low energy for Sat and Sun but maybe just a little brighter today. Weight continues going down and now at an all time low of 177.8 ….. not sure this is good!

The lower tube that was cut which houses the dreaded tumor is leaking downward and causing a lot of unpleasantness but at least something is coming out and clearly can’t go on forever as it must eventually dry up. If I could feel I could walk around without embarrassing myself then I could probably get on and start doing some of the things I like to do.

Need to get into a more positive vibe, get my fishing license and go sit by the lake.

 

Cuckoo you are toast!

 

TONY DOWN

 

THE BATTLE ROUND 2

 

After two days and nights of fighting with leaking bags it was back to the hospital this morning for the last of this series of operations to fit the chemo valve on my upper chest and remove a nasty looking polyp that had popped out of the main stoma!.… ugly little bastard.

Another very tiring night for all with Brenda doing her very best to keep this thing from leaking. The hospital gave us some more supplies and some better glue.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of the chemo after about a two hour talk over all things cancer and chemo. Multiple drips and bags and 2.5 hours of infusions and chemicals through the port or (oil change filler cap) and then sent home via Cortez to pick up another load of chemo pills to deal with nausea and other discomforts. After the 2.5 hour bombardment I get a “flush” and then another 2 day supply with its own pump and carry case are attached and these will run until Friday lunchtime when its back to Cortez to have them removed and that will be the end of session 1. In two weeks time back to Cortez who will draw blood through the same device and send the results over to Durango before I start session 2 on 7/24/19.

So far, no side effects of which there could be plenty! Now what I HAVE learnt is that it isn’t liver cancer but rather colon cancer that has migrated to the liver and now behaves like the infernal Cuckoo chick that pushes other birds chicks out of the way to feed and finally kicks them out of the nest.

Cuckoo chick kicks all the other eggs out of the nest

The huge cuckoo still feeding from its adopted parent

A bit sore and battered and way down on sleep.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

ROUND 1 OF THE CANCER BATTLE

Wednesday 7/3/19 and off to the hospital to be dismantled so that the drains don’t get blocked up.

Hideous garment

Into the hospital gown (what a ghastly item!) and lay around as more and more needles and IV drips are made ready. Eventually I’m carted off and its into surgery with a vague idea of what’s coming. A solid, deep, anesthetic  and then the micro holes for disconnecting our old friend  “mien arseholen”. First in with the cameras and tools and then pumped up like the Michelin Man.

The before and after, yes it is like that

With stomach walls blown up and clear of intestines surgeons can start cutting and making the “stomas”   ……..these it transpires are anything but pretty!! The prime one will be for the main exit to the bag which I will be wearing up to around Christmas and then if the rest of the treatment is successful it can all be reconnected.

Don’t ask

Some time later the brain tells me I’m in a Bavarian forest and up ahead I can see some blue light through the trees but its blurry and there could be animals or people …… can’t be sure…….. stumble on,

light increases, …….. yes, people! Make a short appearance back on Earth then drift off again.

All night long and about every 3-4 hours they are injecting me or taking more blood and giving me pain IV drips, but I don’t care and sleep on.

Thursday and my diet changes from clear fluids to fluids! This includes ice cream and jello. When I finally come round I realize the magnitude of what they have done ……… I feel as though I’ve been kicked in the gut and other places …… and the mind boggles as to how they got this catheter in here and even worse how do they get it out?

Various pains come and go including one in the shoulder caused by the anesthetic and a cough also caused by same but that really hurts the gut. They certainly take good care of you and you know it must be quite serious surgery to warrant this much attention and checking all vital signs so frequently. Doctor comes and goes and says no more blood samples at 0500. Fireworks from the local park and a night on the history channel which is one of the few in focus.

Overnight the bags start leaking and then in round 2 its just full of gas and very painful.

Friday another day of constant checks and different style of bags but these start leaking. Well at least I’m on light food of soups and scrambled eggs and the coffee is quite good. Seems I’m going home tomorrow.

Dreadful night, can’t get to sleep, leaking bags, seemingly constant interruptions for vitals. Must have moved the bed angles and its very uncomfortable …… give in!

I think I screwed up the controls??

Saturday and another set of bags that don’t leak…… home at last but very weak and tired.

TONY DOWN

 

 

IT HAS TO BE SAID

Many years of working the front garden and all the non stop weeding seems to have paid off and I think I can say that this year it is looking its best ever.

Yesterday a few more mini dianthus to finish off the top side of the center bed and finally time to plant my radish and lettuce seeds and a bit more routine weeding.

Saturday again, and time for some more routine weeding of the dreaded arsebine to keep it all spick and span. Not the best time to plant things in the ground with temps at 80+ but certainly nice to be out there and enjoying it despite the Cancer problems

Cycling is beginning to pick up again despite everything and I should be through the 900 mile marker by close of play today. Well that did not happen so try again today 6/30/19. Finally got out there and now rolling into July at 906.70 ……. now I seem to be fighting Cancer as opposed to the weather!

Another near sleepless night which is knocking me sideways but I did get some weeding done and just need to finish off the rose bed this morning.

Rose bed done and dead headed. The short ride gets done but I’m feeling weak and tired. Another awful night follows and some feelings of depression this morning as the unknown manifests itself. Fortunately  the Hospital rings so things are moving along and we are on are way in for an appointment.

Now Wednesday morning and I’m scheduled for surgery this morning. Not the most pleasant but it has to be done and is the first step down what could be a long road. It seems I will be in recovery at the hospital for about 5 days before they fit the chemo valve. Wish I knew more of what is going on as I have that sixth sense that I’m not being told everything.

Finished the weeding yesterday and also mowing the lawn. The seeds I planted have all germinated and the rest of the beds are ablaze with color.

Wish me luck

TONY DOWN

 

IN THE CLAW OF THE CRAB

Last week I was on a “fasting” day prior to my colonoscopy. Tuesday comes and I’m all prepped for something akin to what in my RAF days we used to call a “Pull through with a Rotating Pineapple” or the Aircrew answer to a giant hangover.

The procedure is similar to cleaning a 12 bore shotgun. First remove the fired cases

Now insert the lead weight of the pull through

Now attach a pineapple to the cord

Some time later and I’m awake when another series of tests begin starting with blood samples and then off to the MRI thing for a CT scan having been injected with some special fluid. Finally a few X-Rays of the lungs and the job is done.

Really in the claw!

My star sign is good old Leo but today it seems it has changed and this is what I have

Yes, a Crab in the Heavens …..

Yes, Stage IV Colon Cancer which has already spread to the liver

No real answers at the hospital other than its serious and maybe it could have started 10 years ago????  No idea what happens next until I get to see the Cancer specialist over in Durango. My worst fear is nothing happening and this tumor growing and closing off the colon forcing immediate surgery and the dreaded bag. Best hope is chemo 3 days a week and radiation to shrink the little bastard so they can operate without having to get this bag thing. Must say I feel bloody helpless and amazed that for something this serious there are all these delays ….. I NEED ACTION !!!

Some action, and only Tuesday, they can fit me in on Friday for which I’m very, very thankful. Keep a brave face on it!!!!

Tomorrow I get to meet someone who has had this cancer and survived so I will be very pleased to get some inside info and insight as to what the treatment is like.

A wine drinking session with some delightful snacks to put everyone at their ease while discussing such an unpleasant subject.

Cheese and Wine to break the ice

Of course not really sure what I’m up against and how the radiation  and chemo treatments have progressed over the years. Good info on what lies ahead.

Friday and off to see the Cancer experts in Durango. After about 2 hours of talking and looking at various game plans collectively we have come up with a treatment plan which will take about six months to get through.

To deal with the basic major problem of “the hen’s egg tumor up your bum” …….. as this thing gets bigger it is likely to close off the colon and require emergency surgery as I will then start to clog up like a blocked drain!

Currently I get severe “gas” which has me up every 20-30 minutes at night thus suffering major sleep deprivation. The answer here is to get the “bag” attached such that I can get the poop out of the system and not clogging up behind the tumor. This will allow me to get some much needed sleep.

The dreaded bag!

Hopefully with that done we can move on to the Chemo plan which requires a sort of inlet valve inserted under the skin on the chest and this then lets the chemo straight into the vein and the bombards the entire body with the liver and colon as the main targets. This treatment is twice monthly or eight sessions. Of course during this period they should be able to see the reduction of the cancer cells.

Eventually if the chemo has done the trick the radiology can be used to shrink the remainder of the tumor and then surgery to remove what  is left. If all that is good then the colon can be reconnected and normal services resumed!

Well I beat COPD so now for this one ……. wish me luck!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARE YOU READY NOAH ?

From 2100 on 6/13/19 until 6/17 we are under FLOOD WATCH as the river is rising at an alarming rate and should crest the bank sometime today!

With RED warnings all the way across my weather screen I’m out on the bike to check the severity of this upcoming disaster. Sure, the water is up a bit, no surprises there, with all the snow pack melt but nothing in my opinion of an alarming nature. Back after a 20 miler and see that the warning has been lifted????

I guess the Ark can stay in port and Noah can go back to his normal flood relief Uber duties.

Just about done on my weeding activities as I’m now on the big center bed. So far about 4 half days spent on the project and now time for the sprinklers to soften up the ground again. This works well and the ground is now in prime weeding condition!

As the temps are up over 75 the newly exposed plants are loving it as the creeping, choking, arsebine gets removed and exposes them to the sun …… ice plants in full glorious color.

Bumper crop of wild strawberries this year and some of my fir trees are finally behaving as they should with colored frons for the first time ever. Self seeded cotoneasters appear and a well behaved fir has suddenly grown a “top hat” which will have to go!

Bumper crop of wild strawberries …… yumeee!

At last !

Not keen on the summer hat  …. it will have to go

A full afternoon weeding for Friday and I’m really making progress and actually enjoying the task. My palm is getting sore so I’ll stop at 1700 to avoid the “Jesus Blister” and get a few more miles and a couple of beers.

Weeding goes well, the ride top up is pleasant and finishes at 30.42 for the day and a couple of beers wraps up everything.

Saturday and I finally push myself up the road to see the rock fall disaster area knocking up another 24.56 for the round trip. Time to get into Walmart and see the plant mortuary ….. its just that! Brenda finds a couple of plants and its then onward to 4 Seasons for some new Ice plants. Not much variety this year but I do buy the last 9 plants that are not yellow!

My illness is now debilitating and I can’t summon the energy or will power to do any more weeding, and then it starts raining!

Sunday, and its been raining overnight, but it dries up and I push on for a few more miles before the afternoon storms arrive. The lack of sleep with all this overnight gas shows and I find it hard work but 17.64 goes in he books.

After lunch another good session of weeding and I might just get it finished on Monday and even some planting if I’m lucky.

Nice idea but the storms roll in and now its raining and the afternoon will be taken up with all the preparation for tomorrow’s unpleasant hospital visit. Today is also a fasting day! A truly crap day in more ways than one!

Well if I thought yesterday was bad then I wasn’t thinking worst case scenario which is what I was in for today! Largish tumor in the colon which the surgeon really didn’t need to have tested. Further tests and seems its stage IV Colon Cancer and already spread to the liver. Joy of joys, life expectancy about 5 years!

“Meanwhile”, as Stephen Colbert says, the front bed weeding was finished yesterday afternoon before the rain arrived and now as its wind free and warmish I might try and get the last plants in the ground.

The layout for the new plants gets done, but before I complete the planting I need a run down to the Brewery to select some large rocks to use as stepping stones for three pathways I want to create through the bed. Once again the cycling has to take a backseat as other gardening tasks take over.

Rocks are home, washed and laid and more weeding down the lawn side of the Scuffy bed gets done. Need a few more rocks to complete the task and then more planting and those edge cuts.

First steps on the pathways

Another day and another trip to the Brewery for more rocks to complete the pathways. The last of the ice plants are in and now time to start the edge cuts! The lawn side of Scuffy is done after an  early morning start and work now begins on the edges for the center bed. By quitting  time I’m about 3/4 way through leaving just the last portion, lawn mowing, and final planting of the dianthus.

The other entrance

Saturday morning, scared, angry and a little weak.   ……. I’m beginning to wonder whether I have the resolve to fight this ……. or do I even want to?  ……… I guess you can fight this sort of thing if you have love, support and affection all around you ….. and of course you can still fail, but at least you tried.

…….…………  the thoughts are endless and not fruitful

 

Better get out there and get on with the gardening, at least it passes the time and gives me some sense of achievement …….

Topside edge done!

Roadside done, and the fir has lost his silly hat

By lunchtime the center bed edge cuts are all done but I’m feeling very weak. Out again after a coffee and start the final shear cuts on the new edges and it pours down with rain!! …. and now they are forecasting a FREEZE Warning for tonight. It could be worse as the poor souls in Steamboat Springs woke up to TWO Feet of SNOW  on day 2 of Summer, 6/22/19

Sunday, cold with the freeze, and feeling very weak from this lack of sleep. Hospital visit tomorrow so maybe some answers to the burning questions. Depression does not help, but neither does a lack of knowledge in these matters.

Hopefully it will warm up soon and I can get the photos of my efforts but I need that sunshine to show the ice plants in full bloom.

Ice plants with some new clumps of dianthus

Pool bed after another weeding

Front garden finally up to snuff!

 

TONY DOWN

 

ROCK FEST

24th May, first day after school has finished, and I’m out on for my afternoon ride. There is no end of wailing sirens coming from behind me as I’m between 2 and 3 miles out of town. Ambulances, fire engines, heavy rescue equipment, police and highway patrol all going northbound on the 145. Constantly stopping as they roar by I’m thinking there must be a mega accident up the road and of course it was only two days ago when I was on an activity trip to Ouray when there had been about 6″ of fresh snow up ahead covering all the trees and their leaves making everything look like a weeping willow. On the way home it had all melted but I did think conditions were ripe for a mud slide as there were several loose boulders on the verge.

Later reports show there had indeed been a MEGA rock slide completely destroying the road and cutting an eight foot trench

First picture

Two of these mega boulders weighing about 1150 tons apiece and the size of a two story house had broken away from the top of the ridge and carved their paths of destruction all the way down to the road and beyond.

Next reports say they will bust one of the rocks which will involve a lot of drilling and then loading with that expansive jelly which will crack the rock ???? The other rock may well be left where it is.

More pictures showing the devastation come in courtesy of a drone that did a fly by showing the magnitude of the event and the wonder that nobody or any vehicles were involved.

All this is just past my normal turn round point and is between 10-11 miles from the house.

Eventually they say they have one lane passable as work continues and more pictures come in showing the size of these rocks.

Still a lot of rock

Where they came from

Wow!

I really must get up there this week and have a look for myself. They also say the river is flooding up there as the monster snow pack is melting.

Still a lot going on in the garden.  So I’ll be working overtime on that for a few more days. I’ll take a ride down to the river, which was really flowing yesterday, with a lot of tree debris which will all wash up as the water eventually recedes, but right now its all headed to the lake, which I won’t be going on this year. No matter, there are plenty of places for me to fish.

I guess this is the one they are not moving

It’s a big un!

Still haven’t made it up there, Friday looks like a good day

Meanwhile with the slightly better weather and my first full night’s sleep without having to get up numerous times some morning riding has been achieved and I’m through that 700 barrier!

D-Day, 6/6/19 and for me a trip to the hospital to check out this “supposed” heart murmur?  I’m duly plugged in and watch the screen as the tech completes all his tricks to find same. 30 mins later nothing found. Guess I might make it to Christmas.

A mega gas day and near sleepless night again……. I really need this issue sorted out and the quicker the better. Time to try the opposite of the problem with some gas pills and a laxative (first time ever) so better stay on a short tether close to the house!!!

Friday, windy of course, no riding, but I do get to start on the pond beds. The order here will be, weeding, grass removal, edge cutting, and then the precision cut along the new edge.

Some serious weeding here!

A lot of grass and that “arsebine” !

By Sunday I’ve completed all the main tasks and the pools have been drained and are now ready for cleaning and refilling. The current medical concerns are NO better but today 6/10/19 I’m at the hospital for a consultation and the unpleasant procedure is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Better get on with my last few tasks.  Must say I have some trepidation about the hospital as someone we knew went in there for an operation on her foot and did NOT survive!!

Well I completed everything on the Waterfall Bed and its all up and running again so lets see how it looks.

Water Lilies still alive

ponds drained and ready for cleaning

Weeding complete

Edges cut

Ponds full

All running

Perhaps I do have some uses after all.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANGING BASKET DAY 2019

Here we are again, ready for our annual visit to Four Seasons to select our hanging baskets. This year I feel I’m actually ready as we have sorted out the new balcony, replaced the irrigation system, and got the whiskey barrels, drilled and planted ahead of the baskets. All the basket hangers are up so today should be plain sailing!

Not too many buyers at the nursery and the selection begins in one of the outer greenhouses. One for sure and a maybe. Back to the main building………

Plenty here, and three more get selected along with a couple of the tomato plants with giant spreads and plenty of fruit. A few packets of seeds completes the mission and we are soon loaded and on our way.

Sadly I was not to know what was going on, however, the baskets are up and locked, tomatoes swing from the maple and fresh roses are planted.

The Maple in full fruit for the LAST time!

Baskets up

……. and locked

Good display

Roses planted, perhaps I have some use after all ?

Monday and I’m told to help with yet another Gazebo, the reason why this was purchased is completely unclear to me, no doubt it will be revealed in the fullness of time. It also seems I purchased another bed that I knew nothing about on my UK card so that will be vetoed today. Also, apparently, the house is up for sale along with other items. Seems I’m also surplus to requirements as well. Amazing how people change, along with their interests, and what was once  fun and pleasure is replaced with loathing and hatred. It would seem the age of compassion and understanding are dead.

 

TONY DOWN

 

ANOTHER 3 DAYS OF IT !

The weekend would have been nice but those bloody winds just kept coming and now for the last week of May temps might make 50F by day and a good chance of freezing at night. Of course its still raining, the never ending wind will be gusting 30 mph, and there is overnight snow in the forecast.

Now into Tuesday, and effectively achieved NOTHING, other than the planned shopping and fitting of hangers and irrigation. Outside its wet and goopey and still SNOWING (5/28/19) ……. how can I do any weeding? or even think about riding the bike?  ….. I seem to be at my wit’s end!

I’m told up the road the work force has removed one of the 1150 TON boulders and the road is now open and they may be leaving the other one where it is. Maybe get up there to see it when this awful weather goes away. Right now at 1030, cold wet, and miserable! Temp has just made 42F!

I eventually venture out in full thermals and it really is very nasty, cold, damp and rain in the wind. I do about 7.5 but it is so horrid I can’t push it any further. I’m cold and never really get warm again despite coffees and numerous hot chocolates. It pours with rain again at 1600 and the temp drops to 37F ……. WTF is going on???

Wednesday, bright and sunny, so just a chance something might get done. Whisky barrels need some drainage holes and the irrigation system needs finishing along with another bout of picking up branches from all these 30 mph gusts.

But first a Ride! Not too windy, a little chilly,  but press on anyway in the hope of getting 10 miles now and a few more later on. 17.78 goes in the book for the morning session which leaves 51.4 to get over 700 by the end of the month.

Afternoon and with irrigation complete, including another visit to the plumber for a new Y fitting, time for the barrels. Plan was big hole in the center and 5 more around the sides in a smaller size. The smaller size keeps jamming up so after two barrels its big in the middle and four more of the same on the sides. Task complete and barrels in place by the balcony uprights. It now gets really cold  and this calls for an inside fire!

The smaller holes drill bit keeps loading up!

The big one will do!

Still trying to control the “gut” and some improvement made by stopping ALL forms of medication and letting the system run on normal …. only problem excessive gas build up. Meanwhile, the weight is still going down and this morning an all time low of 183.8 which is 28 lbs down from where I started. Today the weather finally turns and I thought a run out to the boulders that closed the Telluride road would be good …….. but the gut has other ideas so I’m on a short tether. A completely wasted day!

 

Friday, and hopefully a nice day, and perhaps I’ll get something done and get the “mojo” working! Well clearly after yesterday’s setback my 700 by the end of the month is NOT going to happen and perhaps time to revise this year’s cycling goals. After the worst winter up here since moving up in 2007/8 and only having made 150 miles this month!!! the NEW total for 2019 will be 3000.

The next few days will be dedicated to the garden  and it all starts today! This morning we take on the whisky barrels, one tree and two bags of miracle grow in each and then a selection of fill in plants around the bases.

Whisky barrels …. GO!

3 with Clematis

2 with bleeding hearts

It all gets done leaving me time to start strimming ops before the main lawn mowing. With mowing complete I need to reset a piece of irrigation piping that has come to the surface by the rose bed and that one gets knocked off the list. Finish my efforts with some light weeding and clean up of the seed bed.

Now time for a ride and a few beers. 13.37 ticks over and giving me 661.97 for 2019.

Saturday June 1st, and its Riverfest Day, an annual Dolores thing with lots of bands playing in the park and other attractions for all.

Dead roses out and Scuffy beds weeded

I get some weeding done in the Scuffy beds and the 3 dead roses are removed ready for the new ones. Brenda wants to ride down to the park so a bit of tire pumping as her bicycle hasn’t been used in a couple of years. We get down there, pay the outrageous fee, only to discover she hasn’t got her phone! Back we go, and then with phone in hand do it all over again knocking up 4.56 in the process.

The gut is still struggling to get back to normal and gas abounds all night but I think I’m out of the woods so to speak as we come up to 10 a.m.

Today its hanging basket day again and NO frost in the weekly forecast so we will be off in a short while for 4 Seasons.

 

TONY DOWN