Tuesday, July 26, 2016

STABLE

For those of you who are checking in and wondering about my PET scan results, I am happy to say that they were good. Barely discernible change in both SUV uptake and size. They considered it "stable disease." The boys and I are very grateful!!

I am spending a couple weeks being an activist on my lakeshore, soliciting signatures for people who want hi-speed internet brought in, Not only is everyone interested, but I've had the fun of meeting all these new cabin owners ----all so nice.

Going to a wedding in Mpls this weekend and next weekend tto Dick's class reunion. Been a busy summer. Thanks for checking in!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

MID SUMMER

I am on the grid for about 30 minutes, then I will be retreating again into cyber-obscurity. We have had to admit it is tough to live without internet these days. Even our cell phones cannot get clear calls. Some texts just don’t get to us. While the internet can be used for heinous reasons by evil people, for those of us who need to google something or find an address or check email, it becomes almost a necessity-----and we are without. It gets tougher each year.

Summer has not officially begun in northern MN. Maybe 8-9 days of sun and warmth. It’s been heavy with clouds and cool and rain. We have not been in the lake and only have fished once (I went with Sam and Gretchen one evening where we resembled the 3 stooges trying to release Sam’s big northern from his lucky lure).

Had my whole family out for a day and night. 22 of our 26 Hiebs could come and we had such a great time together. Our last connection was at Mom’s funeral and we needed a year later, to just love on each other and laugh and talk. It was a special time. We missed Anna and family who are in Denver.

I have a PET scan next Tuesday. Mom’s birthday. We will drive all the way home to do this. Enough of using local medical care for oncology issues. It is a lung scan, not another brain scan. My muscles still are daily painful and stiff and I still can’t squat and get up yet. I have faith that God will someday restore my musculoskeletal system.

Dick works hard every day on the shore and in our woods. He was born a woodsman. We want to get the cabin painted too. I am painting and distressing some old tables and trying to learn how to etch words into barnwood. Dick brought me a bunch of old barnwood he got at an abandoned farm in North Dakota over July 4th weekend in Kenmare. I am so tickled. LOVE barnwood.

My biggest treat is a new dryer which will be delivered in a week. My 40-year-old dryer, held together front to sides with duct tape, will be going to the landfill. It still works, but the duct tape, after 3 years, can’t keep holding the heavy pieces together. It’s all sagging. It is time.

Hard to believe summer is half over. We got a late start this year, but can make up for it by staying a couple weeks into September. Reading some really good books. I will try to keep track of them and post them later.

Hope you all are having a good summer!                                               


Saturday, June 4, 2016

RETIREMENT HAS ALMOST BEGUN

Dick's retirement party was really special. Friends, past employees and students came to honor Dick. He was given his emeritus title, officially, and had 4 of his faculty (and former faculty) get up to say how Dick has influenced them and students. The Dean of Health Sciences was a real dear man, has only been here for two years, and yet he knew Dick well enough to say, " Three words to describe Dick are a man of action, humble, and loving." He said he was an exemplary professor. I was so moved that he really knew him. Indeed, he is all of those. The students mentioned a couple "funny incidences with Dr. Ekstrom, like the time he schooled us in 3 on 3 basketball." Some humorous stories.

It would take many paragraphs to tell what they said about my guy, but Sam and I were very touched. I don't think any kid is tuned in very much to the impact their parents have on others in their workplace. I think it was so great that Sam could be there to hear what his dad has meant to so many.

I put up just a few of the pictures Dick's colleague Joy took that day, including one of the 2nd and 3rd year classes who wanted one last picture with one of their best profs. Sam and I are so proud that he is our husband/dad!!

Retirement official starts for him in 5 days. A new life ready to begin.













Tuesday, May 31, 2016

THIEF

For the second time in my life, I have experienced identity theft. Once about 8-10 years ago, and now. Dick and I have become pretty anal about never sharing our credit card number over the phone and very careful even on the internet when it is encrypted. But the only thing which we never do----and did, carelessly, while on vacation in March, was give our card to the server in a restaurant to pay our bill. It must have been then. NEVER again do I hand that card to another person who is not my family. When they bring the bill, they will have to deal with me following them to the credit card machine!

Luckily, Chase, our credit card company, caught the hacker. It amazes me they catch someone trying to use your account. They notified us immediately and we closed down our account and they gave us new Visas. It is a great company to take care of theft. I had my new card number memorized in about 10 minutes, so all is good. (For anyone raising their eyeballs at that, I admit to having a numbers thing. I still know my 13-digit VIN number off my 1974 green Chevy Vega and my dad's serial number when he was in the Army.)

Dick's retirement party is tomorrow. He teaches til the 10th and then retirement starts. Things really won't feel any different until fall when he is still at the cabin in late August and September and not sitting in a PT class. Sam is able to come tomorrow!

Our animal control officer just left. I had him set a raccoon trap in our yard. One recent morning I happen to look down into my window well and there were 3 very large piles of feces. Richie and I wondered who had paid us a visit, so we googled images of "animal poop." Instantly we knew that we had a raccoon who preferred to do his business in private. It was cleaned up and about a week later, it happened again. I have pictures, but I am going to restrain myself from publishing them. We cleaned it up (we as in Richie) again and I poured a gallon of beach in the well. Saw 2 more live raccoons in the neighborhood this week. We battened down the window wells with plywood and bricks and now animal control is setting a trap. One across the street too, I guess. I'm anxious to see if we trap one!!

We are packing up for the lake. Anxious to get up there.



Thursday, May 19, 2016

ONLY 5

A happy and positive start to the summer. I got my brain scanned this week and heard good news. Of the original 16 tumors (8 in each hemisphere of the brain) and more little lesions "too many to  count," 1.5 years ago, today they saw only 5 small tumors, stable or decreasing in size. My Healer God is faithful and true to His word. 

Richie and I took a load up to the cabin and lived to tell the tale of snowfall on Opening Fishing Saturday. It was 30 for a HIGH that day and we got about an inch of snow. Nobody was fishing. The whole 5 days we were there were very cold. Was wishing I had my winter parka. I got a lot of reading done! We got the water on, but my hearty husband even turned down the opportunity to get in the lake to put the dock in. Wonder why.

Fishing Opener morning. 25 degrees




Richie's retirement party-----for any friends in the area who want to come----is June 1, 3:30-5 at the Med School atrium. Short program at 4. 

It's beginning to look alot like summer out there. Enjoy it, all.

Monday, May 9, 2016

SO SO PROUD

On Friday was the Hooding Ceremony (essentially their private graduation ceremony) for Dick's 3rd year graduates. I had to go this year since it would be his last. 

Retirement is bittersweet. 

The students asked him if he would be their keynote speaker again this year. He did a great job of inspiring and challenging them in their profession and reminded them to keep their job in perspective.

At one point, 2 of the students got up and surprised Dick with gifts from the class and with a testimony of his "brilliant teaching" and his appreciated "wisdom". They said some other wonderful and funny things about him. I was moved to tears. They were grateful that he was so patient answering their "dumb questions." (I thought to myself, he gets a lot of practice at home!!).




Keynote Speaker







The class had a few words and some gifts.




After graduation, Slagle Hall



Dick's PT Faculty colleagues



Dr. Ekstrom, retiring after 46 years in the field of
Physical Therapy


Dick also received the very well-deserved designation of Professor Emeritus of the University of SD. Another reason to smile.

He will teach summer school, have a retirement party on June 1 (to which all are invited), then we will go up to the cabin mid-June. Retirement, here we come!!

SO SO proud of you, Richie!! Everywhere you have worked, you have done so with great integrity and abounding knowledge. Your students were right.....you are both brilliant and wise!

Love you past the moon.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

MINI VICTORIES

I did two things this week that I have not been able to try for over a year. I slowly jogged the length of our house and our next door neighbor's house. My legs felt like burning stumps. I notice that I can't lift my feet as far off the ground as I could before steroids and thus, I have to be ultra-vigilant for uneven cement on the sidewalks. It felt good. 

I considered it a tiny victory.

I also took the big step of getting out my bike. What if I was to fall again? When I first got on the bike, I looked like a 4-year-old who had just had her training wheels taken off her bike. I was wibbling and wobbling in the street for about 1 minute before my instincts took over. Balance is so different after steroids. We biked up to the cemetery where we enjoy the solitude and pretty trees. 

My worst fear came true as my bike slipped on just a little rut (which in a normal situation I could've righted the bike and kept on going) and I fell sideways, my bike on top of me. Luckily I fell between the large granite headstones of person A and person B, rather than on one of them, essentially assuring that I would have cracked my head open. I landed on a 3 foot wide mound of soft grass between them and I was grass stained and unhurt. Praise God for that.

If I was not living in this body, I would laugh at myself and how crazy my life changes are when my musculoskeletal system is not functioning as it should. I walk the laundry basket full of clothes up the stairs from the basement and I can barely reach the top step without stopping and letting the burn ease up. I bend down to look at a bottom shelf item at a store and I can't squat up without holding my thighs. 

All of this is not to complain. I am so blessed in so many ways. I am in absolute awe of my niece Kate who ran the Boston Marathon in great time. I would be in awe of her anyway, but when you can't run any longer, you realize what a gift that ability really is.

Don't take your agility for granted, folks!!