Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 5...

Portal RV Resort
Moab, Utah
September, 15, 2014

Day 5 was the charm...that is Day 5 in the chemo treatment cycle. Overall, Joe has done great. He never even needed any of the three extra meds we got to help with nausea on Day 2 or 3. And on Day 4, he stopped the one medicine he was told he must take to stop nausea for the first 48 hours. Yesterday was Day 5...we made a trip to Grand Junction for a follow-up visit with the Cardiac/Thoracic surgeon. Dr. Lapkin was very pleased with the progress, took out the stitches and said he would like to see Joe in a year. A YEAR! That was just the best news ever! Joe felt better yesterday than he has in months. The other good news...no restrictions on activities and we are hoping to be hiking and jeeping very soon. His lungs and heart are both strong. He does have 5 more chemo treatments.
 Last Saturday morning I took a walk around Portal...all the pictures in todays post are from that walk. It was cool, the sky was so blue and I had a fun time exploring some areas here I have never seen. 

A view of the LaSal Mountains from Portal... 

Portal actually backs up to a watershed formed by the Colorado River. I will revisit this sign in the near future...I was wearing flip-flops and quickly decided that was not good for wandering further into "Portal Outback".

There were lots of dragonflies...Joe and I just watched an episode on Nat Geo about dragonflies. Did you know they were in existence 100 million years before dinosaurs?  According to National Geographic, they are so perfectly made with full body armor and extraordinary eyesight that the only change in their "design" has been in their size.

There are also two spring fed ponds...one for pups and the other for people. White butterflies were fluttering all about. It was hard to get any pictures of them...they were so fast!

Dragonfly wings glisten in the sunlight...
We had visitors late Saturday afternoon while we were sitting outside enjoying some fresh air...

 Three fawns and their mama stopped by for a bite in the meadow...our backyard. Well, mama didn't eat. She stood guard. She wasn't so sure about us.

We so enjoy watching the sunset on the red rocks...its beautiful to watch the sunrise on the red rocks too!

 I am slowly catching up on blogs. Reading about your adventures and making notes!

Well, that's all for now...until next time, take care and...

 happy trails!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rosey Hips

Portal RV Resort
Moab, UT
September 8, 2014

It's a seed pod...I have never grown roses nor been to a garden to see these colorful pods called rose hips. I found myself on the ground trying to figure out if the bush with the pink roses was the same bush these orange "berries" were on. After a small thorny skirmish, I discovered that they were in fact the same.

I have always enjoyed the roses here at Portal. Most gardeners prune the faded rose blossoms to encourage more flowers. But here, the spent flowers are left on the bush.

At the end of the season, these small, berry-sized, seed balls or fruit appear. The bushes are full of them.

Rose hips begin to form after successful pollination of flowers in spring or early summer.  

The internet is full of recipes for herbal teas, jams, and even soups made with these rosey hips that are high in vitamin C.

A quick update on Joe...
he came home last Friday. It sure is good to have him here too. And oh my, did we have some wagging puppy tails! We have settled into a routine of walking, reading and napping.

On Thursday, Sept. 11, we go back to Grand Junction to St. Mary's Regional Cancer Center for the first round of chemo.

Thank you all for your positive comments, and prayers. Our spirits are high and our hearts are full of trust and hope.  

An aster plant hidden among some tall ornamental grasses...

Well, until next time, take care...

and enjoy the day!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best Worst News...

Portal RV Resort
Moab, UT
September 1, 2014

It has certainly been awhile since I last blogged. We had a couple of really easy rides on Aug 21 and 22. The kind of rides that don't require a lot of rock crawling, but offer lots of beautiful things to look at...well to me they are beautiful. The desert, the rocks, the mountains, and everything in between is certainly "eye candy" for me...next to Joe and the pups of course!

Prostitute Rock

Remember Lone Rock or Prostitute Rock as the locals call it? We saw it from "afar" when we did the Tiptoe Behind the Rocks Trail with the Red Rockers Club. There are two arches in that rock I wanted to see up close.

We loaded up Dover and Wrecks, water and snacks and headed that way...

Getting to the rock and trying to stay on the trail was a bit of a fun challenge. We had several very hard torrential rains and the trail was no where to be found in some spots. But we kept our eyes on The Prostitute and tires off the desert floor and enjoyed ourselves!

The red rock on the left is  Prostitute Rock...the trail winds around the end to the other side.
Balcony Arch was the first arch we saw...its massive!

It is on the side of the rock and there is a large sandy area to park and explore...

and Dover didn't have any trouble with that! 
When you continue on the trail, it takes you around to the other side and to Picture Frame Arch. The puppies and I did some rock scrambling, but then I chickened out and didn't quite make it to the base of the arch...maybe another day!

Wrecks was so sweet...and very attentive to me!

Do you have room for one more?

The next day was Friday, Aug. 22. Another easy trail day. I had mentioned to Dee that as many times as we have been to Moab, we had never been to Gemini Bridges. So off we went to walk the bridges and then rock hunting in Bull Canyon. Just head north on Hwy 191 about 10 miles, turn left at the sign.
Our view going to the bridges...

The trail starts out on a narrow shelf road with an spectacular view...

...and headed home.

Remember I mentioned all the rain...a big section of trail was washed away.

When headed in to see the bridges, don't forget to "kiss" Gooney Bird's toes with your tires.

We scrambled on the rocks and watched a group rappelling from the bridge...its a long way down!

A view of Bull Canyon...
The trail that runs between the rocks is a hiking trail accessed from the Bull Canyon 4X4 Trail.

So if you want to look up at the bridges...Bull Canyon 4X4 Trail will take you there. Its a moderate trail that follows a rocky creek bed...

...which often changes after storms.

There is a trail in there somewhere!
 We didn't make it to the bridges...the wind picked up and clouds started rolling in. Not a place you want to be when it rains! We did walk a little ways though.

We found rocks...
 ...moon flowers...

These beauties usually wither away in the heat of the day, but on this day it was very cloudy and cooler in the canyon.

...and tadpoles!

As we headed out to the main trail, Joe noticed he had a missed call. As promised, he went to the doctor when we arrived here in Moab. The coughing was much better, but the shortness of breath and fatigue was not. The last test, a CT Scan revealed areas that didn't look so good and there was fluid around his heart and lungs. The lower half of the left lung was completely collapsed...no wonder he couldn't catch his breath! The call he missed was from a Pulmonary specialist in Grand Junction. Lots went on  between then and now, including surgery to drain the fluids, biopsies taken and reattaching the air sac to the lining. Diagnosis is "the best worst news" as Dr. Lapkin said...Joe does NOT have lung cancer, but does have B-Cell Lymphoma. We are very hopeful that we have YEARS. The surgeon and oncologist at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction have been wonderful as well as the nursing staff there. Joe is still in the hospital and we are optimistic chemo and possibly radiation will follow soon. We are both in a great place in our hearts and thoughts...full of faith, hope and joy. Our home is still in Moab...about an hour and 45 min drive to Grand Junction. When we get a definite course of treatment, we will either stay here at Portal or move to the KOA at Grand Junction.

We left the canyon none too soon...

Look what I found in a bush by our patio...a white-lined Sphinx caterpillar...better known as a hornworm. This fellow will soon be migrating along the ground searching for the perfect soil to stage its next metamorphosis...

...a hummingbird moth. Pretty cool!

Well, until next time, take care...
I see a Gooney Bird!
and happy trails!

P.S. Thank you for your comments and e-mails. Please understand that Joe is not taking calls...he is receiving excellent care and is getting lots of rest...just what the doctor ordered!