Category Archives: Jo’s Journal

Martha Washington Cabinet

Remember all of that fabric that was in my garage?  As I was cleaning all of that up I decided to do some other cleaning too.  I unearthed the Martha Washington cabinet that I bought a couple of months ago at the thrift store.  I told myself it was time to find a place in the house for it or move it on.

I didn’t know if I wanted to paint it, strip it, or what.  I decided the first thing I needed to do was to figure out where in the house I wanted to put it.

I ended carrying it in and put it here at the entry of the house at the front entrance near the staircase.

It sat there for a day or two…I tried to decide if I liked it there or not.

Then I figured out… Continue reading


I’m supposed to have a community quilt post from Ray but I am moving that to tomorrow evening so I can share the latest Kramer family news:

You know the old saying, TGIF, Thank God it’s Friday.  Well…I’m changing that up to TGInotThursdadyorF as in Thank God it’s NOT Thursday or Friday.  I’ve had kind of a crappy end of the week.

The last two days were a mess.  I was very ready for the sun to set and welcome a weekend.

Here’s how things started…Kayla called me on Thursday at 6:50 am.  Typically she doesn’t call that early so I figured something was up.  It was.  She had been driving Jasper to childcare listening to him cough and decided she was turning around and going home.

Kayla explained that a little girl at childcare got RSV and was worried Jasper had caught it.  If you all remember, Jasper ends up in trouble if he gets a cold as it often turns into pneumonia.

A side note for those who aren’t familiar with RSV:
Virtually all children get an RSV infection by the time they are 2 years old. Most of the time RSV will cause a mild, cold-like illness, but it can also cause severe illness such as

  • Bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung)
  • Pneumonia (infection of the lungs)

One to two out of every 100 children younger than 6 months of age with RSV infection may need to be hospitalized. Those who are hospitalized may require oxygen, intubation, and/or mechanical ventilation (help with breathing). Most improve with this type of supportive care and are discharged in a few days.”

I could hear Jasper coughing in the background and I told her I thought she did the right thing.  I suggested getting an afternoon appointment to take him in case he spiked a temp.

A couple of hours later, sure enough, Jasper spiked a temp.  Kayla had called for an appointment and that afternoon they went in.  It turns out that Jasper had an ear infection.  Kayla told the doctor a girl at childcare had RSV.  The doctor seemed to not think that was a big deal.  Then Kayla pushed a little and asked for the test.  She wanted to make sure it would be okay for Jasper to go to childcare and didn’t want to risk exposing others to RSV, if Jasper had it, as kids who have it are supposed to stay away from other kids for five days.

They ended up taking the test.  They said the results would be back that evening.  In the meantime, Kayla’s cold had kicked in and was glad that she’d likely be staying home from work the next day with Jasper so she could rest too.

About 7 pm Thursday night they called.  Jasper did have RSV AND has COVID.  WHAT??  Jasper had covid.  Kayla didn’t even suspect that nor did the doctor.  The doctor didn’t even plan on testing Jasper for RSV.  They only tested because Kayla requested it.

UGH.  Well, that left Kayla and Spencer doing their own contact tracing.  Japser had been with Grandpa Jerry in the combine.  Jasper had been at childcare.  Kayla had been teaching at school.  So many calls to make and now Kayla had lesson plans to write…plus, Kayla was now worried she too had covid.

Friday Kayla was tested and she had covid.  Spencer so far has no sickness at all.

I was happy to get a video from Kayla on Friday morning of Jasper.

That’s enough to make me feel a little better about him.  On Thursday he had just laid on Kayla all day.

Now to more of the Kramer family medical journey… Continue reading

23 and Me

I’m sure many of you have heard of DNA tests to find family members.  The most popular ones might be 23 and Me or through Ancestry.

Kramer and I both have family that has done the test and it has changed their lives.  Forgive me for being a little vague as I write about this but these stories are theirs to tell and I haven’t gotten permission to tell them.

We had one relative that never knew her dad.  She always longed to know more about him.  She took a 23 and Me test and surprisingly she found first a relative and that led her to find her dad.  It turns out her birth Dad never knew about her at all.  Her Dad has become a big part of her life now and she’s discovered that even though she grew up as an only child, she has siblings.

We have another relative that was adopted at birth.  After taking a test she found out that she was likely the child of one of a set of brothers.  After contacting them she found her birth Dad.  She has a wonderful relationship with them now and is so glad she found them.

Another relative we know bought a kit for her mom as a present for Christmas.  Her mom knew she was adopted at birth.  She knew what hospital she was born at but that’s about all she knew.  She grew up as an only child losing her parents at a young age.  She didn’t have a lot of cousins and lived a life without family.  She always longed to know more.  Who were her birth parents?  Did she have more siblings?

After the results were in she found she has MANY siblings…I don’t remember, 10 maybe.  She has gone on to have many great family celebration days with them.  I learned on her birthday many of her newfound siblings called and wished her a happy birthday.  What a difference for so long she thought she was alone.

In turn, the daughter has found a host of new cousins and she’s been having a great time getting to know them.

I know of a mom who gave her children away to be adopted and her children found her.  That has ended happily too.

So far, every story I’ve heard has had a happy ending.  I’m so happy for all of them.

That got me thinking…we have a mystery in our family.  The mystery is from my mom’s side of the family and I’m not ready to share it yet as again, it’s not my story…but by taking the test, I might help someone else find the answer to the mystery and me, I want to know the answer and my time to find the answer is ticking.  We’re not getting any younger and technology is making it possible so a pair of us decided to just do it.

I took a 23 and Me test last week.  I bought one for me and… another for my family member.  I bought them through Amazon.  You can find a link HERE.

Forgive all the threads on my shirt.

Kalissa came over to my house and she registered the kit for me.  It was really easy and it is totally non-invasive.

Kalissa told me I needed to take a picture and document taking the test.  So in true Kalissa fashion, she snapped LOTS of pictures.   I couldn’t decide which I like the best.

It’s funny as I’ve never really thought I looked like my mom until these pictures.  It might be because my hair was in a bun and she always wore her’s in a bun.

Kelli and Kalissa were both here as I was providing my sample.  See the tube in my hand.  All you have to do is spit in the tube.  When I say to spit, I mean spit a lot.  I am not a spitter and spit makes me gag so the girls had a good laugh while I gagged my way through the test.

I wish my mom were living.  She wanted the answer to test her whole life.  This one is for you Mom!!

This will be my face when I finally know the answer!!

Whatever the results make no difference to me.  My family is my family.  Bood family or not blood family truly is irrelevant to me.  I do just want to know.  We all do.  It’s time.

Once the questions are answered and everyone feels comfortable with the results, I might have a story to tell.  I might not.  I want everyone to feel comfortable with the telling.

In the meantime…I’m waiting for the results.  I hope it doesn’t take too long.  Has anyone does this?  How long does it take?

Doctor Run Around…

My doctor’s run-around has continued.  I’m going to pull the info I previously wrote about my doctor visit and put that at the beginning of this post and then I’ll write on what happened after that.

I went to the doctor on Thursday the 23rd for my thyroid cancer check-up.  I have slow-growing cancer and I go in quarterly to see how it’s growing.  My doctor originally requested that a PET scan be done but my insurance would not cover it.  She opted instead to do a chest, abdomen, and pelvis CT scan.  The scans came back okay and she assured us that we didn’t need to worry.  At this point, the bloodwork wasn’t back.  The number we were most wanting to see was the thyroglobulin tumor marker.

The doctor repeated about three times not to worry as the scans look really good and this is what she goes by.  The tumor marker was just a tool.  She would see me in 4 months.

At the previous appointment, the tumor marker had been at 500ish.  They expected it to go to 800ish.

Kalissa expressed concern that CT scans were done instead of the PET scan she originally ordered.  The doctor said don’t worry about it.  CT scans can do what we needed, it’s only that PET scans make this all easier.  We felt content with that and didn’t worry that I had only had CT scans rather than the PET scan.

The next day the numbers finally came back and I saw them via the online care program Mayo Clinic has.  The number had gone into the 1200’s.  I messaged our kids and told them the numbers weren’t good and that I wouldn’t be surprised if my doctor called me to discuss it.  This was at about 9 am.

Then about 3:55 pm, I got a call from the Mayo Clinic business office.  They were coordinating with my insurance about my upcoming appointments.  WHAT?  I don’t have any upcoming appointments.  The lady assured me I did.  One at the beginning of October.  One at the end.  WHAT?!  When I left the doctor’s office I was told that she would see me in 4 months.

It’s now 4 pm on Friday.  I called Kalissa to double-check to make sure she heard what I heard at the doctor’s office.  4 months from now appointments right?  She said yes.  She told me to quickly email my doctor and I did.  By now I was mad and frustrated.  The doctor had said again and again that the blood work was only a tool.  She said she believed in the scans.

I had no call from my doctor.  I had no reason to know what these appointments were for.  Sure I knew my blood work numbers were higher than expected…but all of this for that with no phone call??!!

I was working so Kalissa offered to call Mayo Clinic and see what’s up.  I said yes, please.

Kalissa called me back a bit later.  She called and talked to the schedulers, schedulers boss.  Apparently, I am getting a PET scan at the end of October.  The early October appointment was a mistake.  My doctor ordered it.  No one talked to me about it.  UGH.

My friend showed up to walk.  As soon as I was home, I checked my appointments on the computer.  The early October appointment was gone.  The other appointment listed was with my doctor.  No PET scan was scheduled…just the follow-up appointment with my doctor.  Hmm.  Then I noticed the time for the appointment… 9:45 am.  Well, that isn’t enough time for a PET scan to happen and the results to be back.  I was confused by it all and frankly frustrated.

That is where I left you in the story…

Monday I got a notification that I was to get a PET scan the next day.  I was also to get a head and neck scan.  WHAT???  The next day.  What is going on??

How can that have cleared with insurance?  I’ve gotten a PET scan before.  I know there is a diet to go with it.  No one has told me to go on that diet.  What is going on?  There was no appointment listed to follow up with my doctor after the scans.  The appointment for the end of the month to see my doctor was still listed.

Kalissa was here and ended up calling Mayo and asking about these changed appointments.  I asked about insurance covering the scan.  I felt I needed to know these things.

Kalissa got the run around…transferred from this person to that person.  The gal said yes, these scans were needed ASAP?  What?  ASAP?  What is going on?  When I left the doctor on Thursday nothing at all was urgent.  That tumor marker we were told was just a tool.  The scans were good and that was supposed to be our real guideline.  What was going on?

I was so thankful that Kailssa was at the appointment with me.  This is all ridiculous.

Kalissa asked the person we were talking to to check on this…let us know if this was approved by insurance.  If these appointments were legitimate…

In the meantime, I was trying to decide if I should call my childcare parents and tell them I needed tomorrow off.  I looked up what the PET scan diet was and started trying to eat accordingly.  What a mess.  I was so frustrated.

Still no call from a doctor.

About two hours later we got a call from Mayo Clinic.  The gal was calling back.  I was trying to take care of the kids so handed the phone to Kalissa. We were told- Big mistake.  I didn’t need any of the appointments.  The scheduler had looked at the doctor’s note that said 4 months and saw it as 4 weeks.  Then to get an appointment within four weeks, it’s coded as ASAP.  No worries.  All of the appointments were removed.  Kalissa did ask the gal to request that my doctor call and tell us her feelings about the tumor marker being so high.

WHEW.  No ASAP Pet scan.  That made me feel better.  4 months sounded great to me.  It wasn’t that I was against getting a PET scan.  I just needed to:

-make sure insurance was covering it
-make sure my doctor really wanted it as nothing previous to this indicated she did
-get on the right diet for the scan
-get the day off from work

Continue reading