Category Archives: Jo’s Journal

Hey There….

Hey…sorry I made a mistake and didn’t have a blog post for tonight.  I was just going to leave it but after this morning’s post I was worried you’d all think I was sad or something was wrong.

All is good…no worries.  I’m totally okay.  I just had a scheduling mistake and then got completely distracted with the mailing of auction items.  Speaking of the auction WOW.  Thanks so much to everyone who bid and everyone who had a winning bid.  I still have a couple of people that haven’t gotten back to me but I have sent out all of the emails.  So if you think you won, check your inbox.

The kids have been taking care of me.  Karl took me out for ice cream.  My favorite is Fat Elvis.  If you’re wondering what Fat Elvis is…”Sweet banana ice cream all shook up with a salty peanut butter ripple and rich chocolate chips.”  It totally my favorite.


Kalissa’s family and Karl got me out of the house and out to eat…well we got food at the Barrell.  It’s a drive-in.  We got our food and went to the park to eat.

The kids ordered for me…I ended up with a coney dog which they all say is the very best.  Admittedly, it was good.  We shared the BOX of fries.  Can you believe the box is only something close to $5.50??


We couldn’t even eat them all!!

One more thing before I go… Continue reading

The Doctor Visit that Wasn’t

Remember back in June, I had a doctor’s appointment.  It had sounded like everything was okay but my bloodwork wasn’t back yet.  The doctor had sent me on my way with the plan for me to come back in 6 months.  Then on the way home, she called me and said my bloodwork thyroglobulin tumor marker had gone up higher than expected so she wanted me back in three months and wanted me to have a PET scan.

For those of you who are new here.  I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2016.  I had surgery to have my thyroid removed and underwent Radioactive Iodine treatment.  The hope was that would be well…but it isn’t.

I was good for a year but gradually my blood test numbers have been slowly creeping up.  I hate to complain or even talk about it because what I am going through is NOTHING compared to what other cancer patients go through.  At this point, there has been no chemo.  No radiation.  Even if things do go bad there is a high chance that I’ll never have either of them.  Still, it’s annoying.

The thought is that the cancer has moved to my lungs.  It supposedly is slow-growing or at least is supposed to be slow-growing.  Who knows…and that is what was supposed to take me back to the doctor yesterday.

That didn’t happen.  I have had the appointments for a couple of months.  Then Friday I was called and told insurance wasn’t approving my PET scan.  After numerous calls to my insurance and to the doctor plans changed and at 5 pm on Friday when scheduling closed, they decided they would go with a chest CT and abdominal CT scan vs the PET scan.  But, they had to be approved by insurance.

That wasn’t helpful to me.  No appointments were scheduled.  I had already taken Monday off…now I couldn’t schedule the appointments.  No one had any idea if they would be able to get the appointments scheduled on Monday.  UGH.

I was supposed to be at Mayo Clinic (two hours away) at 8 am for a blood test.  I’d have to leave at 6 am to get there in time.  There was no way to schedule appointments at that time…so everything had to be canceled.

I talked with my childcare parents and ended up doing childcare today.  Of course, Mayo Clinic called at 8 am on Monday telling me they could schedule appointments as insurance did approve the CT scans…she said she could have likely gotten me in for them that day.  Well, it was too late.  I was two hours away and now had childcare kiddos.

On top of all of my own cancer stuff,  yesterday was also the anniversary of my niece’s death.  She died two years ago from breast cancer.  There is nothing like the anniversary of a death from cancer to make a person realize that I could be going down the same road.

I can’t tell you how many times Jody and I would call each other on the way to appointments.  We always called each other right away with results.  We shared something that few others in the family and friends understood as we both understood with our cancer diagnosis.  It was so good to talk to someone else who understood the lingo of cancer.

Monday, with my problems with insurance and appointments, was a day I would have for sure been calling or texting.  She understood the frustration of all of that.  She was someone who I could vent to and she’d love me just the same.

Going through all the appointment/insurance junk yesterday on the day she died was one moment like, she’s with me and cheering me on and the next like cancer can kill and she’s proof.  I did everything I could to try to be on the “she’s with me” train of thought.

My niece sent a couple of pictures that did me some good.  I hadn’t seen these pictures.  Here is Jody meeting Georgia.  It was a good day even though Jody was sick and in the hospital.  Jody had a great smile even sick.

Jody and Kelli both dealt with infertility.  They bonded greatly over it and Jody completely understood the trouble Kelli and Jason went through.  She was just thrilled for Kelli to have Georgia.

Sadly Jody died on the birthday of her triplets which was two years ago yesterday.

My appointments are all moved to September 23rd, I’ll tell you what I learn.  At least at this point, I know insurance has approved the appointments so that is one frustration I won’t have then.

I’m trying really hard to remember and see the good and not think about insurance/appointments/cancer.  Yesterday wasn’t the best day.

I’ve learned on those not-so-good days to give myself a break.  Sewing, stitching, and get lost in an audiobook is just what I needed…and just what I did.

Today will be better.

 

Saturday Outing

I have been home for many-many days and thought on Saturday I would get out.  I had several boxes of stuff that needed to be delivered…first to the ladies in Decorah that make charity quilts and then to my friend who makes the baby care kits for Lutheran World Relief.

Mostly, I was wanting to get and go to the thrift store, and my other motive for getting out, I want to get food at Lesley’s Taco Truck.  It’s really the best food.  I snapped some pictures along the way so I could take you along.

First stop was the thrift store.  I saw this huge bag of buttons on cards for $8.  I popped it in my cart and then messaged Kayla to see if buttons might be something she wanted to offer for sale in her Etsy shop. (find her shop HERE)  She said YES!

I found a few other goodies but I’ll share them with you later.

Check out this beautiful secretary.  It needs a mirror…but WOW.  Only $100.  I have Grandma Kramer’s secretary and love it.  This one is similar.


While there I met up with the first lady I was dropping off goodies for.

Next stop, I decided to treat myself and go to the quilt shop.  Remember I told you I was working on the Two-Step quilt?  This one…


I need to make more of the white units and my white-based background fabric was slim pickings at my house.  I thought I would go get a stack of quarter yard cuts to liven it up.

Red Roxy’s is the fabric store in this town so off to Red Roxy’s I went.


After I left and was driving away I kicked myself for not taking photos and doing a shop tour.

Next, it was time for Lesley’s Taco Truck.  They were parked at Mr. Carpets in Decorah, Iowa.  If you live in NE Iowa, it is a must-stop spot.  The food is so good and the servings are HUGE.


Lesley and her family are super nice too.

I stopped at Goodwill too…then it was off to stop at my friend’s house that makes the baby kits.  Happily, I was able to find two flannel sheets for my friend to go along with the other four boxes of goodies for her.  She uses recycled flannel sheets to make diapers for the baby kits.  She was so thrilled to get the goodies.  So many of the goodies I delivered came from all of you.  There were the receiving blankets, flannel, diaper pins, socks, and baby gowns.  You all make me feel like Santa delivering presents and I love it!  She was so happy with the goodies you all sent.  It feels so good when others recognize your good works and support them.  Thanks so much!!

So what did I get in town?  Let me show you… Continue reading

A Visit with the Rebels

I told before that I had referred to our adult kids that live near and around me as the northern contingent and the kids that lived south, the southern contingent.  Well, then the kids joking started calling the northern contingent the Yankees and the southern contingent the Rebels…you know, a play on the Civil War??

I had a visit with the Rebels and I forgot to tell you about it.  Sometimes I forget due to timing and sometimes current events bump a blog post like the flooding.

I was going to Buck and Lora’s because Lora was gone for a bachelorette party and Buck needed to be gone for a funeral.  I was to be on Grandma duty.

Here are some random pictures I snapped when we were on the swings.  This is Lucy.  She’s 3 1/2.


This is Scotty.  He turned 6 recently.


Scotty loves pushing the limits a bit as you can see him not holding onto the swing.  It makes this grandma nervous.  I ended up having to tell him the true story of my niece who didn’t hold on to a swing, fell off, and broke both of her arms.


He hung on after I explained that she had to be fed and had to have help in the bathroom as the way her casts were bent, her arms didn’t work right anymore.  She was about five and it was a challenge to help her all of the time.



That night Buck wanted to take me to supper in Sutliff.  It is a really neat bar and grill that serves great food.  I highly recommend going in you live anywhere in NE Iowa.  It’s worth the drive.

The “town” consists only of the bar pictured above, a couple of houses, and the historic bridge that is right across from the bar.


The bridge was awesome.  It was completely safe for the kids to run around on.  They would look out over the water and they just loved it.

The bridge is historic so there are placards along the bridge telling about it.


On the bridge are a few picnic tables.  Patrons can go over to the bar, order food, and then go hang out on the bridge.  They have a loudspeaker and when your order is ready, they call out your name, you cross the road to the bar and get your food.  Then you can eat it at one of the picnic tables.

It was so fun especially when we had met Kayla and had Jasper with us too.  MUCH more space for kids to be kids.  Lilly in the stroller looks sad but she really wasn’t.  The picture was just an “odd moment” shot.

There is seating inside the restaurant too.  We simply preferred the outdoors.


The views from the bridge were so pretty.  There were people boating on the river so the kids had fun watching them.


Scotty loved pushing the stroller with Lilly as we waited for our food.


People seemed to stroll the bridge before or after they ate.  This person saw a turtle in the water and called the kids over.  We didn’t know the person.  She just wanted to share her find with the kids.  Everyone we saw teased the kids and all were so friendly.  The atmosphere was just great!


I snapped a picture of Kayla and Jasper.


Our number was called so Buck went and got the food.


We ordered two burgers for Buck, a meal for Scotty and Lucy, Kayla and I got a meal and she ordered a chicken strip for Jasper.  We also order two appetizers, deep-fried pickles, and deep-fried green beans.  Plus we had three beers and milk.  The bill was $62.  That was CHEAP!!

What a fun night!  I really hope to do that again.

If you’re wondering Sutliff is between Lisbon and Solon Iowa.

We all went back to Buck’s and hung out for a bit before bed.  Lucy wanted me to be the sad lion.


Here is Lucy and Kayla chatting.


Here are Lucy and me.  She is such a pretty girl but the goofy girl over smiles likes this the second she sees the camera.


Saturday I took Scotty to see his other grandma.  She was taking him for an overnight.  She lives about a half-hour from them.  She’s so lucky.  She is a great help to them and I’m so thankful she is around to do the things I wish I could.

I try to soak in as many smiles and giggles as I can when I see them.  They really are great kids.  Lilly and I spent the two days fighting over her hair.  She WILL NOT leave a clip in her hair.  If I put on in, within 10 minutes, she pulled it out and had her hair in her face.


This swing was a new addition to the play area.  Lilly wanted to go but I was nervous not knowing if she’d hang on.  She was a champ.

HERE is a link to their swing.  I thought about getting one for the other grandkids for Christmas but they don’t all have trees.  We’ll see.


I would have just adored a swing like this when I was a kid.


The day ended way too quickly…but sadly it was time to get back to my life.  I had gotten a call from Kalissa.  She was dog-sitting for Rosie.  She got away from her and put Kalissa in a panic but they got her back.  Rosie just doesn’t do well without me.


I left with hugs and I gave Buck a reminder that I like to be asked to come and watch the kids so ask anytime.  I am terrible at scheduling time to visit but if they ask and need me, I typically drop everything.

I hate intruding…but love spending time with them all.  When I’m invited it’s so much easier.  I think many of you can relate.

So that was my visit with the rebels.  I hope I see them again soon.