After Sedona, we have been home. We hosted a group of 17 friends for Christmas; it was a potluck and really went well. There has been more rain; only another 2 inches, but this weekend we are supposed to really get it. In the last 24 hours, we have already had an inch. And this is the La Nina year!!
We’ve been busy with catching up on medical tests, etc. Jim had his post procedure 3 month PSA test and it was better than expected. The medical staff at Loma Linda had predicted that it would be half of his previous score, but it was down to less than 1/4 at 2.36. Wow, we are so happy!! I, Cheryl had the dreaded colonoscopy this week, and the endoscopy of esophagus at same time. What a rough 2 days! There are some minor issues to deal with, but all should be good.
Today, we decided to go for it and booked a big cruise. Jim had wanted to do the Regal Princess, Transatlantic again. But I don’t have as fond of memories as he, since I was quite sick. In addition, we wouldn’t have our good friends with us. He did some more research and found a Seabourn cruise that includes Japan (I’ve never been) and for a decent price. We had decided that we want to splurge to celebrate Jim’s successful fight against cancer. So we discussed and looked at it further and went for it. It starts May 11 and goes to Alaska, ending in Seattle, WA.
Monday, we leave on our 15 day Star Princess Cruise RT from LA to Hawaii with port days on four islands. We have been to the islands many times, but always love going there. Plus on Maui, we will see our good friends, Dan and Kelley. We have a lot to do, before then. Hope that everyone is staying warm and healthy.
From December 16 to 22, we stayed in Sedona, AZ at Sedona Pines Resort. It was really nice; actually had a Park Model trailer. The weather was cool, but sunny, once we got there. We drove around several days and took lots of pictures of the fantastic scenery. One day, our friends, John and Suzanne came to visit with their daughter, Sophia. We arrived in the rain and drove home in the rain, on the 22nd; bad traffic and visibility. Since we have been home, we have had more rain. Our rain gauge says we have had over 6 inches in 2 weeks. It’s good, since we need it, but our snowbird friends are hating it.
Happy New Year to everyone. Our best wishes for happiness, health and good times with friends and family.
Red Rock Loop view of Cathedral Rock
Sedona red rocks
Sedona Pines Resort cabin
Red Rock Loop scenery
Feeling for all of you who are experiencing the cold and snow, ice, etc. We have colder weather, for us and maybe rain this weekend, but as you know, not so severe. We are headed to Sedona, AZ for a week, 12/16-23, so will experience some cold and maybe snow!
Attaching my Christmas Letter and Fun Video. Enjoy the Season, we hope!
We enjoyed a fun party last Saturday night at friends’ house in Huntington Harbor; about 50 of us. The occasion was to enjoy the Boat Parade and a fundraiser for our Pickleball group. It was great, and all had a good time.
Enjoying the Boat Parade party
Beautiful boat decorations
Early, before the parade started with boats setting up
One of smaller boats, but very pretty
Jim is still doing well, so we feel so lucky. Hope that everyone is feeling healthy and happy.
Today is a cooler day, more like fall, but we have been having summer like weather most of November. We only had a a few drops of rain, so still very dry; wish our snowbird Canadian friends could have piped some of their water down here!!
Jim is now 4 weeks 3 days post Proton Treatment and doing very well. He added spicy food to his diet this week and has not suffered any consequences. Do to the treatment, eating a little less at each meal, Metamucil and/or no diet coke, not sure which or all, he has lost some weight. We are both happy about that.
He’s gotten back into the groove and planning travel. We have the Ruby Princess cruise starting November 26 (7 days in Mexican Riviera) and an LA to Hawaiian Islands on Star Princess in January for 15 days. Also we have reserved a condo in Sedona, AZ for a week, December 16-23. Back to normal, almost. In between we both have some medical tests and procedures. Holding off on travel after January to see the results from those.
We are having a very quiet Thanksgiving; only about 5 of us getting together to share the meal. Looks like Jim will be the only male. Hope every one has a good time with family and friends. Jim is talking about decorating for Christmas, including a small tree, for the first time in years. I’m glad to see him get into the spirit.
Peace and love to all.
This week we spent 3 days and 2 nights in Laughlin, NV with side trips to Oatman, AZ and Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed at the Edgewater Hotel and Casino and Jim did some gambling; not successfully. Wednesday we drove the 35 miles to Oatman, AZ, an historic mining town with a population of burros, roaming the downtown. It is very quaint and fun to visit, but filled with tourists, of course.
Burros of Oatman
Jim on Oatman main street
Then, on our way home from Nevada, we did a longer route in order to drive through Joshua Tree. We have visited there many times and our daughter, Jina, loved climbing on the Jumbo Rocks. Then for a couple of years, she and her husband lived nearby at Twenty-nine Palms, while he was stationed at the Marine Base. Our grandson, now 22 years old was born at the base. We visited with them at the Park, many times. It is a beautiful desert park. We recommend taking the time to leave the freeway and visit.
Cholla Cactus Garen
Some of the Jumbo Rocks at Joshua Tree NP
Jumbo Rocks and Mountain View at Joshua Tree NP
Jim has completed his Proton Beam therapy and doctor is sure (95%+) that the cancer is gone. Followup will continue every 3 months for 2 years and then every 6 months for 4 more years. We are so relieved and glad that he had minimal side effects. We said goodbye to our little apartment and our lovely landlords, yesterday. It was a very comfortable place to be while going through the treatments.
Marijke and Tom Sawyer
Jim’s Certificate of Completion
We still have his skipped heart beats to deal with and more tests and appointments. The cardiac specialist has said that it is not an urgent problem and his heart is healthy. So, no rush and we may get a second opinion to be sure.
Meanwhile, Jim has booked a cruise!! We leave on November 26, out of Los Angeles on the Ruby Princess. It is a 7 day cruise and we booked a balcony at a very good price. Since Jim’s birthday is the 30th, we will also celebrate that! Come join us!!
We wish good health to everyone and thank you for your support.
Still doing well with the Proton Beam treatments, at 80% complete; should have last one on Monday October 17. All downhill from here! So glad that he has had minimal problems. A few extra naps, but not really fatigued.
Our little apartment is still fitting our needs and we are getting to know the area even more. Yesterday, we attended the exit class. It’s good to know that LLUMC Proton program will monitor Jim’s status for at least 6 years. Since he is in the hypo fractuanated protocol research treatment, they are still collecting data on the results, long term. That big phrase just means he got his protons in a shorter period of time, more per day.
We toured behind the scenes of the treatment center on Sunday. Amazing history and so much science involved in separating the protons from hydrogen atoms and accelerate them to 4 times the circumference of the equator per second. Then they are transported to the treatment rooms to beam to the patient’s specific target.
Jim and a pod in treatment gantry
Jim’s Gantry 1
Protons transport to treatment
Well, Jim has had 12 of 20 Proton beam treatments, so 60% completed, and doing well. We are getting to know the area of Loma Linda and Redlands. Loma Linda is one of 4 Blue Zones in the world, very healthy living and more 100 year olds than the norm. We definitely see more pedestrians and very fit older folks.
Redlands has a lot of history, and beautiful old homes. The public library was donated in 1898 by a millionaire and is a very unique structure. Behind it is an Abraham Lincoln Memorial, also donated by a philanthropist. We had a tour today and it is very extensive. Also posting a picture of the Morey Mansion, an 1890 Victorian house. A lot of history in this house. All is good for now.
Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Redlands Public Library
For now, all my news is about our adventure with treating Jim’s Prostate cancer with Proton beam therapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center. I wrote the following in an email and am copying it here.
Well, Jim had 4 proton beam treatments for his prostate cancer last week and all is well. He has not felt pain, discomfort, fatigue or any other side effects, except for intestinal gas. The doctor warned him to avoid spicy food, greasy food and raw vegetables. So he’ll have to make some adjustments. He has already given up coffee and diet coke (about 8 weeks now)!! He drinks Earl Grey tea and lots of water, during the day and so far he has been able to tolerate his favorite cocktail at night.
Our little 1 bedroom apartment is really working out well. We have walked to Loma Linda University Medical Center, 5 blocks away, several days. We have also made use of our free membership at the University’s fitness center with outdoor pool and jacuzzi. Our landlady is very nice and helpful. She even called us Friday afternoon to make sure we made it back home for the weekend alright. Marijke is from Maastrict, Netherlands, where we were last May. Her husband is US and they met when he was stationed in Netherlands, in the 60’s. Their son, who is 45, lives next door and is on call when we have questions, etc. Father and son are Tom Sawyer (cool?).
Jim will have his treatments at 8:40 am every morning, Monday thru Friday. That gives us our days free. (We understand that rarely do you get an assigned time, especially this early in your treatment program). Tomorrow it is supposed to 105 degrees here, so we are headed to Big Bear, in the local mountains (25 miles away) where it will be 71, because it is near 7000 foot elevation.
We are learning more about this proton beam therapy. It is amazing! Loma Linda is the pioneer and have been perfecting for 25 years. A refresher on high school science, about atoms, electrons and protons. We will tour the facility on October 9, looking forward to that. Our friends, Dan/Kelley and Craig/Peggy highly recommend it. The Center also believes in treating the whole person and everyone is very loving, lots of TLC. We attended 3 group events this last week. It is good to meet the other patients and some alumni. Everyone has a story, but we are all connected! Our family and friends near and far continue to be great support. Thanks to everyone for your heartfelt words. Love, Cheryl and Jim
We are forging ahead with treatment for Jim’s prostate cancer. We met with the staff this last Monday at Loma Linda University Medical Center Proton Therapy center. He was fitted with his “pod.” This coming Monday, he will have a mock treatment, then start the proton beams on Tuesday. He will be treated Monday through Friday for 20 treatments. Since the traffic is terrible between our home and Loma Linda, we decided to rent an apartment just 4 blocks away. It is a fully furnished 1 bedroom with all utilities, TV and internet included. We are renting from a very nice couple, about our ages. We move in tomorrow. We feel very positive about the outcome and plan to make the most of our little “vacation.”
Living room and kitchen