Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Not just a number

Overcast and foggy but traffic wasn’t quite as congested as Monday.

Our first appointment wasn’t quite as early; I didn’t have to get up at dark-thirty or whatever the heck the time was.


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10 cents difference in about 3 minutes of travel time ?!?!

Tuesday morning’s 8:45 meeting was with another PH.D in the Head and Neck Centre followed by an EKG at 10:15 AM in the Diagnostic Centre. This place is huge and they have 3 main elevator areas A, B or C and they are all clearly marked . There’s always enough time to get where you need to be and even enough time in case you get lost. Actually, I’d be the one that gets lost. Most of our meetings are either on the 2nd or the 10th floor and whenever we get on the elevator I never know if we’re going up or down. Most of the time it doesn’t matter ‘cuz I’ll just ride until I land on the right one.

The morning meetings ended with an MD at 11:00 AM however we needed to be back at 7:00 in the evening for a CT neck and chest scan in the Diagnostic Imaging Centre.

Again, everyone has been very compassionate and we’ve never felt that we are just another number or just another patient. They make us feel that we are the only reason they are there. We always receive their utmost attention.

Throughout the days and evenings there are volunteers that offer coffee or specialty teas. I so enjoy a cup of tea that someone else makes for me.

In this waiting area for the CT examination’s there is a large, about 2’ X 4’ electronic board that shows the status of each patient:

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It shows the status or you can do a search to see the status of the patient i.e. being prepared, ready for exam or if the exam has started. Amazing high tech equipment in all areas. Or at least we are impressed, keeping in mind that we haven’t had much experience (fortunately) in this industry.

Today’s appointments started with a speech appraisal consultation with another doctor.


She gave The Cowboy some different foods to swallow so she could appraise his swallowing. I think he had applesauce and fruit cocktail.

The next photo looks like The Cowboy is telling her that he’s now an expert in all of this medical stuff because he has the internet and he knows how to ‘Google’. Plus we always watch the TV series ‘House, MD'. Winking smile


Seriously, I hope this depicts how sincere and compassionate all of these specialists have been.

All of these meetings are in preparation for whatever decision is made as far as treatment is concerned. Once the type of treatment is determined The Cowboy will be ready for any and all types. One of the doctors told him yesterday that they were either going to”‘Fry him, Poison him or Cut him” meaning either Laser, Chemo/Radiation or Surgery. With having all of these procedures done ahead of time he will ‘have his foot in the door’.

The next shot is another very personable assistant demonstrating a prototype of a shield that he will be required to wear during any radiation treatments.


When she asked The Cowboy if he was claustrophobic he assured her that he wasn’t as long as he wasn’t in a small room or didn’t feel closed in. He also told her he didn’t have a fear of heights unless he was standing at the top of a ladder. Surprised smile !!!!!!


Cup of Tea anyone?

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Power of Prayer

The Cowboy received all great news today at the M D Anderson Centre.

It has taken us a while and we are probably still digesting all that they have told us but two doctors agree that he has what they’re calling a ‘T2 complex lesion’.

The first and best words that we heard were ‘easily treatable.’

We have a couple of options for treatment and we’re not sure at this point just what those options are.

Today’s tests included blood tests and x-rays along with the Doctor’s consults.

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Very relaxed and comfortable waiting rooms with calming aquariums.


We couldn’t remember ever seeing this sign before. We didn’t experience any longer wait than 15 minutes.

Tomorrow at 8:45 AM he will have a laryngoscopy and a stroboscopy followed by an EKG. Then at 7:10 PM he will be prepped for a CT scan at 8:00 PM.

Laryngoscopy: an examination a doctor uses to look at the back of the throat, including the voice box (larynx) and vocal cords by using a thin flexible telescope that is passed through the nose and carries a small camera and a bright light. This enables the the doctors to look at the details of the vocal folds while they are moving and while you are breathing and talking. Because it is important to see the fine details of the vocal cords while they are opening, closing, and vibrating, we use a technique known as stroboscopy – a video version of the above.

On Wednesday we will be involved in more prep for upcoming procedures and consultation.

The team of doctors will be meeting on Thursday and will let us know on Friday what they suggest or what treatment they feel is necessary.

We can’t say enough good things about this centre. Everyone has been so helpful, friendly and professional. We really got the Team spirit feeling from everyone there and all of the procedures today went off like clockwork. We feel very fortunate and confident that we are in the best place in the world for the best care in the world.

At this point we have no idea how long we will need to stay near Houston for surgery and follow up but by the end of the week we will have more details.

We can’t thank all of you enough for your prayers. Your messages and comments have meant the world to us. We hope our words convey the relief that we feel right now.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

En route to Houston

So after our last post I remembered a couple of things that happened along the way.

It was cold and raining but we had a planned fuel stop at the nearby Flying J. I mention this because the current gas prices seem to be a popular topic among travelers right now. Price of diesel in Edinburg $3.969.

Like many others, we have a Flying J or Pilot (whatever it’s called now) Loyalty Card so we try to take advantage of any type of savings especially when we are talking about a 100 gallon tank. Well, I think it is more of a pain – The Cowboy inserts his debit card, then the Loyalty Card and pumps $75.00 – because that’s the limit! That gave him 18.896 gallons so he repeats the process for another $75.00 and 18.896 gallons. Did I mention that we’re looking at a 100 gallon tank? So same process for the 3rd time with the same results.

You also need to know that we are at the RV/Car pumps where the nozzles are much smaller than the Truck area nozzles so it’s taking forever. Satisfied that we have ample diesel to get us to Houston we hit the road.

Oh yeah . . . Loyalty Card Savings $1.11 . . . Big Whoop!


Organized people are just too lazy to look for things. . .

I’ll refer back to this post where The Cowboy worked so diligently at removing our dining table and replacing it with this wonderful desk . . .which I love.


Well, as with a lot of our DIY jobs – the finishing touches kinda get lost in our ever-busy lives.

We purchased and still have the drawer pulls and door closures that will be installed . . . sometime.

Not a problem until yesterday when the motorhome was actually rolling down the highway just the way it was intended. Most of you RV’ers know that drawers and cabinets in RV’s are designed to stay closed either with a magnet or a little groove that requires you to lift up in order to open thereby ensuring that they won’t come open during travel.

So, any of you see where I’m headed with this?

While readying for our trip we had the forethought to place the printer on the floor in front of the two larger drawers (thankfully); we didn’t think to either tape or secure the top drawers from sliding out.

Happily, wheels rolling down the freeway we encounter a curve or two and yes the drawers slid out a ways but seemed okay as they soon righted themselves. We didn’t have to wait only just a few minutes for a very long and winding curve and the drawers slid completely out of the cabinets.

Now just try to imagine . . . paper clips. staples, pens, pencils, markers, push pins, elastics, envelopes and every other little office supply that would have been well organized in little trays and sorted in their little slots and containers . . . spilled all over the floor. Oh! And not just one drawer but both! They were about the only two drawers in our home that were that well organized! Sorry, no pics, I was too busy wiping tears – and not the happy kind.

Ah, well, I guess if those two incidents we encountered were our major issues of the day we’re pretty happy campers.


From the very bottom of our hearts - Thanks to all of you for all of you beautiful and thoughtful comments. We so appreciate all of your prayers . . . God Bless You All.

Houston . . . We Have Landed

Cool and dreary Saturday morning as we bid farewell to the Rio Grande Valley around 9:00 AM. Compass heading North and East to Houston about 330 miles (about 482 kliks).


Traffic was light although there were quite a few RV’s travelling both north and south.

About 73 miles north this unsuspecting Check Point in Falfurrias suddenly appears. We’ve travelled this route many times so it wasn’t a surprise for us. We’ve never experienced any issues here.


I wasn’t quick enough with my camera and the stats on the right are cut off but it looks like they’ve seized 69,422 pounds of drugs and caught 3,433 aliens. From what I could find on the internet these numbers seem to be accurate.

With 5,297 inhabitants, Falfurrias, Texas is home to the Border Patrol checkpoint with the highest seizure rate in the country. You would think that this small town would be in “the middle of nowhere” but, in fact, it is in the middle of everything—the hub of a wheel of activity. In 2006, the Falfurrias station apprehended almost four times as many illegal aliens (20,000) as residents in the town and seized conveyances valued at approximately $7.5 million. Located on Highway 281, the three-lane checkpoint is one of three permanent checkpoints in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Sector.


A little heavier traffic as we entered Houston. Keep in mind that the Rodeo is here for about 3 weeks.

The Cowboy confidently finds our exit – and bluer skies.


And the sign for All Star RV Resort. Always a sigh of relief when we are travelling in new places, especially in a place the size of Houston.

We arrived about 3:30 and got set up. The setting up consists of The Cowboy hooking the coach up to water, electric, cable, etc. Also unhooking our Toad and making sure everything else is in order. Probably a million other things that I don’t even know about.

I make the coffee. Who me?

The park hosts have been very welcoming and helpful. The park is full but very quiet – assuming everyone is at the Rodeo. Feels like we are right in the heart of the city and altho’ we’re not far from the major highways there are no traffic sounds.

We are on our way out now to explore and will report back our findings.

Thanks for stopping by. Make it a Great Day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Houston–We got NO problem!

We’ve come to the conclusion that we are not very patient people and that we are not very good contenders in the ‘waiting game’. Waiting to hear from our Doctor’s, waiting to hear where we need to be, what are they going to do, when do we have to move, and on and on and . . .

Please read this previous post to get caught up on the events.

We finally got word today from M D Anderson in Houston and a 6:30am appointment has been set for next Monday. That’s 6:30 AM! You know the first one, before the birds get up.

It’s been a very stressful time these last few days but finally we have a time and place. While there are still a lot of ‘unknowns’, at least we have a goal.

We have been tying up our loose ends down here in the valley. We have passed on our MASA commitments to our co-workers and they are currently looking after the presentations that we had previously set up. Everyone has been very supportive and we are so grateful for their help.

We will be leaving here on Saturday to head to All Star RV Resort in Houston where we have booked a site for a week. It’s about 350 miles from here which means about a 7 hour drive. (and the little Mexican isn’t driving) The park is near the Centre and there are several daily shuttle buses to and from the park. There are several parks in this area and they all cater to and give priorities to anyone staying there that is seeking medical treatment. The only big snag we encountered was that the twenty one day Houston Livestock and Rodeo is starting on Saturday February 25th to March 18th so most of the parks are slammed full to the brim! However, we were able to wrangle our way in to what sounds like a real nice site with tons of amenities (and we all know it’s about the Princess’ comforts).

Take a look at the entertainment line up. This is ONE HUGE event.clip_image002

Again, how lucky are we? Others would have to worry about flights and hotel rooms while all we need to do is take a drive and our home with all of its comforts will be right there with us.

Our contact at M D Anderson has advised us to schedule 3-5 business days there for any procedures and follow up so our week’s reservation should allow us ample time and who knows maybe we’ll get a chance to see some of the rodeo events.

From there our plans are to travel to one of our ROD membership parks, Castaways RV Park, a short jaunt from the Centre. We can stay there for 2-3 weeks if need be. Depending on the weather and again, some of those ‘unknowns’, we will start our journey north to Ontario from there. I know many of you reading this will be happy to know that.

Several of you have asked about our health coverage – The Cowboy is a US resident and became eligible for Medicare last July when he turned 65 so his medical expenses are covered.

We are fine and have everything we need so rest assured and please don’t worry about us. As many of you know and have expressed that we have each other and our love will see us through.

A wise old gentleman once told me; “TO MAKE A GOOD FRIEND YOU NEED TO BE A GOOD FRIEND”. We really don’t know what we did or how we ever managed to hold such GREAT friends as you all. Our hearts are so full and we both get very emotional each time we think about all of you. "MAY GOD BLESS” you and yours because you have sure BLESSED us with your friendship. The Cowboy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

To be continued . . .

Well, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks and our world is spinning around like a Bull with a bee in his ear – OMG Surprised smile the cowboyisms are contagious! I’ve been hanging around The Cowboy too long.

I’m going to refer back to last fall before we left Trillium Court, our summer camping spot in Ontario to head South for the winter. The Cowboy had developed hoarseness in his voice which we at first we thought was laryngitis. He had no other symptoms or discomfort.

We put off having it checked out as we were travelling and waited until we were settled down here in South Texas. His first doctor’s visit was followed by a trip to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Dr. Glatz used a small scope and suspected a fold in his vocal chord and knew that there was something either in that fold or behind it.  By the way, these are my terms, not the correct medical terminology. He wasn’t able to see anything clearly enough with the small scope so he set up a date, February 8th, for a procedure, including a biopsy to be performed at a surgical centre. The follow up date was set for February 15th. The results are The Cowboy has Stage 1 throat cancer.

While it’s not great news it sure feels better at least knowing what it is. It’s very treatable and we are very confident in Dr. Glatz’s expertise and professionalism.

The very first recommendation he made was to leave the Rio Grande Valley. This type of cancer is not prevalent in the Spanish nationality and he strongly suggested 3 other locations for treatment.

One of our options is M D Anderson Centre in Houston. It is one the top ranked Cancer Centre's in the world and the very largest in North America offering 70 years of experience.

There is also an organization in San Antonio. Another option is Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois where Dr. Glatz served his internship. SIU is a smaller centre it would offer more personalized care.

We are relying totally on the suggestion of the Dr. and weighing out all of our options. Right now we are leaning towards M D Anderson. Dr. Glatz would like us to get a second opinion from them and if we get a warm and fuzzy feeling while we are there he suggests having the surgery done there as well. If we don’t get that feeling then he recommends we head to his old school mates in Illinois.

Must admit that it has been overwhelming at times and we still have quite a few things to get done before we get the wheels rolling. Will cover some of those in future posts as I document the events with the intention of keeping everyone apprised of our daily adventures.

While there are many uncertainties ahead, there is always one certainty – God’s Love. We continue to Thank Him for this abundant life and the opportunities that He has provided for us. We are extremely grateful for being right where we are  today - living in our motorhome and being able to travel anywhere in this nation to get the care that The Cowboy needs.

We’ve been totally overwhelmed by the love and support of our friends and family. Emotionally, we have been blown away by all the phone calls and emails from everyone offering prayers and positive thoughts. We are so grateful to all of you. Thank You!

I will make an extra effort to post more on a regular basis in an attempt to keep everyone informed.

Thanks again for all of your prayers.

Side note and more cowboyisms from The Cowboy:

The Princess has picked this very cute and sexy little Mexican in the Valley just in case things don’t work out. I guess I’ll offer to put blocks on the pedals in the motorhome so he can drive it for me.Winking smile

Just 'cause trouble comes visitin’ doesn't mean you have to offer it a place to sit.

Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.

Every trail has a few puddles.

Happy Trails to You.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just when I think

I can’t find the time to read, yet another, blog – I come across another one to add to my ever growing list.

Since my posts are so infrequent these days I thought I would share a few of my favorite web sites that aren’t necessarily RV related.

Just move your mouse or cursor over the highlighted title and click – or CTRL & click to follow the link.

Anyone out there that knows me at all will know that my first and foremost recommendation would be The Pioneer Woman. For the last couple of years she has entertained literally thousands of fans. I’ve read that she gets anywhere from 50,000+ page views a day or 13 – 20 million hits a month. She has great contests and prizes and it’s nothing for the entries to pop up to 40,000 in less than 24 hours.

My home page is actually her web site. Now, don’t get me wrong - I don’t want to be like Pioneer Woman . . . I just wanna be her BFF Winking smile.


Her cookbook is on my kitchen counter and her book ‘From High Heels to Tractor Wheels has a special place in my little library.

From photography to home schooling – she does it all! Not everyone likes her or her blog but that’s the nice thing about blogs – you can read them or not.


Welcome to Hillbilly Housewife!



Hillbilly Housewife is a site that features low cost cooking from scratch focusing on frugal living.





Cow Patty Surprise is a funny lady straight out of the Ozarks.

My PhotoI am a fun loving farm wife. A modern mother and a gleeful gardening Grandma of eight.An A-type personality with an artful flair. A primpy person who can also sling manure with the best of 'em. I am a unique creative creature of God. I am blessed!”


The Redneck Mommy is a Canadian writer from Alberta.


Be sure to read her bio for a complete understanding of this talented lady. . . ‘lady’ may be questionable as she quite often tells it like it really is.



If you want to organize your home, your family or your life The Fly Lady will be able to get you started and keep you moving.

FlyLady cartoon

Be warned – you will need to first ‘shine your sink’! Oh! and wear tie-up shoes.

365 Days of Crockpot is exactly what it says it is! Learn how to create desserts and other goodies in your slow cooker.

These are just a few links to some of my favorites. I do not or will ever receive any compensation from any of the above links.

I am simply sharing with you ‘cuz that’s the kinda girl I am Rolling on the floor laughing.

How about sharing some of yours?