Category Archives: Jo’s Journal

Medical Update for the Kramers

Our family has continued to support the medical community.  Gannon got tubes in his ears last week…he has two appointments in Iowa City this week.  Georgia is getting tubes in her ears on Thursday.

….and me, well my case continues to be “challenging”.

You might remember that I have thyroid cancer that is doing it’s darndest to stay hidden.  We know it’s back according to my bloodwork numbers…but where, who knows for sure.

On February 10th I was back to Lacrosse to have a neck CT scan done.  A lymph node near my trachea had grown and the suspicion is that the cancer is there.  I’ve had several intervention radiologist look at and none have been able to get a biopsy on it.  In the meantime, I’ve had numerous other lymph nodes in my neck biopsied but none have come back cancerous.  This particular lymph node is more or less in the middle of my neck.  There are all sorts of things going on there….There’s a risk to my voice, to my trachea and now I found out my main artery too.

Well I’ve been waiting since the 10th to find out a plan.  I’ve not heard anything.  On the 14th I messaged my doctor and she said that my surgeon was supposed to be talking with the latest intervention radiologist and see if he might be willing to try this biopsy.  Apparently he was on vacation and no one told me so last week on the 20th, I messaged the surgeon.  I heard from his nurse a simple courtesy reply..and heard a courtesy rely on the 21st again.

Over the weekend I was frustrated.  All of my kids were home so I talked with them about it.  I told them I thought I was going to request to be sent on to Mayo Clinic.  So Sunday night I messaged my doctor.  She got back to me this morning.

She apologized and apologized for the delay.  She told me she was out all last week with Influenza A.  She had a cold when I saw her on the 10th so she’s had a rough time of things.  She sounded terrible on the phone.

We came up with a plan.  Here it is… Continue reading

The Little Doggie Dress

Look what I picked up for Georgia at the thrift store….I’m in love with the little scotty dogs.Georgia is such a dog lover.

She adores Rosie.  Some of the big kids are afraid and squeal over Rosie.  Not Georgia.  She is like a magnet to Rosie….

She totally loves Puppycat.  Kelli says that when Puppycat walks around the house, Georgia crawls around after her.  I’m so glad Puppycat is a gently soul.  She seems to love Georgia too.

So…the dress with dogs seemed so appropriate….more than that, I reminded me a dress I wore as a little girl.  It was my favorite dress.

Here’s a picture of me in the dress with my dog Nippy. Continue reading

The “Jo Bucket”

A year or so ago Kalissa came to my house and said that her “Craig bucket” was running empty and could I watch the boys so they could go out to eat.  I remember those days as a young family- wanting and needing adult time away from the kids to recharge and remember exactly why you were married and in this life together.  I said yes and off they went.  I was so happy to be able to help.  Having a full “spouse bucket” is so important.

Well recently I have been looking at my life and have started to realize that I don’t always have a full “Jo bucket”.  My own personal time bucket was running on empty.  The other day I had to step back and look what was up with me.  I’d been a little cranky.  I’d been a little touchy.  I’d been tired….Along with that I’ve had increasingly more commitments..Rosie is still pretty needy…the kids and grands have been more needy…my health things have been happening…I’ve just had a lot.  I’ve had more kids at childcare with late starts and snow days and teacher in service days.  My “Jo bucket” is running a little empty.

I haven’t sewn on anything for me.  I’ve only sewn for causes or commitments.  I’ve not cross stitched since I had the flu a couple weeks ago.  I need to change my sheets on my bed.  I need to just stop and reorganize so many of the things in the house.  I do really, really well keeping up and then gradually the dining room table gets covered.

The kitchen island starts filling up with things I need to get to.

The laundry room starts to get too many projects in it.

I did some reorganizing in the living room only to find things needed to be taken here or there but rather than getting taken and put away, they sat.  They got loaded onto the dining room table.  AH…after awhile, all of this starts to drain on me.

I don’t consider myself an organized person.  I don’t consider myself neat…I don’t consider myself on top of things…but, I do have a threshold that once the laundry room, dining room table and kitchen island get to be needing help, I’m doomed to get in a funk.  Once all of my sewing and crafting go to only charity or gifting sewing and I don’t touch cross stitch…I get in a funk.

When Kramer was around here… Continue reading

Pronouns and Checkboxes

Since my husband, Kramer, died last June, I’ve had a complete and total problem with pronouns.  I went to college and for a year or so it, planned to be and English major.  I know what pronouns are.  I understand their use in normal everyday life but since Kramer’s death, they have become an entirely different thing to be reckoned with.

Let me explain….when Kramer was living, we lived in our house.  Now when I got to try to use a pronoun when talking about the house things are all wrong.  I understand he is dead so technically this is not “our” house.  BUT…it still is “our” house and always will be.  Kramer did so much work here to make it our home.  We picked the house together.

We worked with the architect….


We didn’t do it quite like it’s pictured….

The blood and the sweat to get the house where it is, was the work of both of us…so even though he is not here…I still can’t call it “my” house.

houseFrom the moment we bought it, I don’t know that I had ever called it “my” house…even with him gone, “my” house isn’t the right pronoun for me.

When I talk about the kids…how do I refer to them now?  For my entire life to date, I’ve not really ever called them “my” kids.  I’ve always called them “our” kids.  For me, calling them “my” kids negates the role that Kramer had in their lives.  Granted, of their growing up years, I spent WAY more time with kids.  I did do a lot of the day to day parenting, but in no way does that trump the role Kramer played in their lives.

Without his occasional “come to Jesus meetings” he had with the kids, the great support he gave to me, and “reality checks” he gave us all, we wouldn’t be the people we are today.  Calling them “my kids” and not “our kids” feels so wrong to me.

He was such a good support to me.  No, he wasn’t there all the time because he was working but…the kids knew he would be coming home.  The kids knew I would tell him what our day was like.  The kids knew he would back me 100%.

There are so many things Buck learned from him that he went on and used in his work.  He’s the reason the girls became nurses.  He’s one of the reason the boys enjoy hunting.  These are just a very few of the reasons why I don’t feel comfortable calling them “my kids”.

As for the grandkids…someone asked me the other day, “How many grandkids do you have now?”  My answer… Continue reading