Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Transfusion Done

We are finally back home after another incredibly long day at the Hospital. After they gave her the injection shot to finish off the fifth round of chemo we were sent over to "day surgery" for the blood transfusion.

Much like chemo, this required additional tests to confirm various things, saline drips, and assorted meds to prevent reactions. So, that took a couple of hours before they could actually start the transfusion of two units into her. They had to run it at a very slow rate as if they did it too fast it could trigger a heart attack in someone with Sandi's cardiac history.

So, it took the day and we are finally home. Exhausted but home.  Sandi is doing okay though she is very tired.

I have a very swollen and discolored leg as happens to me now when I have been up on it way too much these two days. I also have over 250 e-mails at this point so please be patient as I will work on things tomorrow. I just can't do anything more as I am worn out and in mind boggling pain.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chemo Round 5--A Sandi Update

As expected, the blood work indicates Sandi is anemic and urgently needs a blood transfusion. After some discussion, it was decided she would go ahead and have the full day chemo deal today like normal. We then went to the main part of the hospital where eventually Sandi had some more blood pulled so they could do the type and match thing.

Tomorrow morning she will have the injection to finish off the fifth round of chemo. Then, we will be sent to the day surgery area so they can do the blood transfusion which will take several hours.

Other than the anemia problem, everything else seems okay though they are double checking some measurements just to make sure.


Monday, February 27, 2012

A Sandi Update

I worked retail for more than twenty years and then I subbed for several years before being hired on staff in the local public school system (which in many aspects was just like working retail) so I get that some people are strange.  But, there are limits and the last month has not only made me question a lot of things but to seriously consider walking away from trying to do anything anymore.  Some of that is my worsening health and the strain of things here, but a large part is external.

I have never once written somebody and told the blogger he or she should not write about this or that. It never once crossed my mind to do such a thing. Yet, a number of people in the last month have felt the compulsion to drop me a note privately via e-mail to lecture and castigate me about writing about my Dad and his death,  and, among other things, Sandi and her cancer fight as “folks don’t want to read that” or “shame on you for exploiting your wife to beg for money” and other comments like that. My hands down personal favorite,  “You killed your dad, you are killing your wife, are you going to kill your fu**ed  up retarded ugly sons next?” These are not random folks that just stumbled across my blog. These are actual living breathing people from the various writing/reading lists I am on who have one face in public there and a far different face in private to me.

Really makes me wonder.

On the flip side of things in the last week Sand got two large boxes of yarn from folks who want her to use the yarn to make her chemo hats for donations to her fellow cancer patients.  She was absolutely thrilled to get the boxes of yarn and will do exactly as asked. 

Also appreciated very much were the few donations made by folks this month to hold things together a little bit longer for us. We appreciate it very much. As we do the several folks who e-mailed us over the weekend to ask about her and remind us both that they are praying for us amidst their own very significant troubles. 

For those who have asked in private or just flat out wondered the above is why I have not written much about her the last couple of weeks.  This latest round of chemo has worked her over pretty good. She has had the flu like symptoms nearly the entire time with only brief respites of a day here and there since she had chemo back early in the month. Beyond that, she has been incredibly cold nearly every day. Even on the days when we were nearly 80 here and I could sit outside in the sun while wearing shorts, Sandi was out on the porch in long sleeved outfits with her hat on and several heavy blankets. Several days, Karl and I took turns running blankets through the dryer to warm them up before putting them on her because she was shaking she was so cold.

Whether or not she has been so cold is a sign she is too anemic and will have to have a major blood transfusion tomorrow we don’t know. Round Five of chemo is scheduled tomorrow and Wednesday but I expect she will have to have a blood transfusion and the chemo will be pushed back a week to ten days.  Hopefully not. Hopefully the fact that everything was worse this time around is nothing more than what one expects as the rounds of chemo take a toll on her.

We will find out tomorrow morning…..


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: "Ten Healthy Teas" by Valerie B. Lull

Frequently in the media there is a news story about the health benefits of various teas. Unlike some other foods that seem to either be good for you or not based on the most recent study done by whomever, teas of various types seem to be solidly good for you. Capitalizing on the idea is author Valerie B. Lull and her small book Ten Healthy Teas recently self-published though Outskirts Press.

After the dedication and the usual medical disclaimer the book opens with “Ginger Tea.”  The brief chapter gives the Latin name for it, suggested uses for various health issues, and some basic information before three simple recipes for various types of Ginger Tea. In addition to the basic Ginger Tea there are recipes for “Ginger Peppermint Tea” and “Ginger Cranberry Tea.” The chapter that opened with a black and white picture of the tea in a cup closes with a “tea tip” that is this case pertains to using loose tea instead of tea bags.

This same format follows throughout the 42 page book with brief sections on “Garlic Tea, Green/Black Tea, Chamomile Tea, Cranberry Tea, Peppermint Tea, Raspberry Tea, Goldenseal Tea, Echinacea Tea” and “Lemon Tea.” Each tea discussed has between 2 to 4 recipes for variations along with a “tea tip” and a black and white picture of the tea. The book closes with a resource list featuring four books for further reading.

This is a very informative and easy to use small book that covers the subject quickly and well.  Ten Healthy Teas by Valerie B. Lull serves as a good starting point for your exploration of various types of teas as well as a good resource. Set up as simply as possible, the book is designed for the person who has little time but wants to enjoy various teas beyond the most obvious ones on the store shelf.

Ten Healthy Teas
Valerie B. Lull
Outskirts Press
ISBN# 978-1-4327-8493-5
42 Pages

Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog: But I Wanna Play The Vision

I'm old enough to remember Atari. When I was a kid we were happy with Space Invaders and life was good. On occassion, I still drag out my old Atari 2600 and blast the heck out of things that drop down towards the planet while the boys laugh at how old fashioned everything is.

If they keep that up, I dig out my old "Miami Vice" soundtrack record and a few other things and crank it up too just to show the boys what real music is and not that noise they listen to these days. They should be glad I have to use the cane to do anything these days as it wasn't that long ago I would spin the records and Sandi and I would dance.

Glen Walker is not only a good writer as well as my friend, he is trying to learn the new stuff. This is his latest column and it is another good one.
The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog: But I Wanna Play The Vision

Review: "The Cougar's Prey: A Joshiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger Novel" by Larry D. Sweazy

The court of public opinion, especially when fueled by constant media attention, can be quite an obstacle. True now and certainly true long before the 24 hour news cycle in late December 1874. The local paper, Austin Statesman, is having a field day with what is being called “The Feders Killing” and Texas Ranger Josiah Wolfe is on the wrong end of the story.

For the young organization known as the Texas Rangers, as well as for Josiah Wolfe personally and professionally, the case is a disaster and a public relation nightmare. Clearly Wolfe had no choice but to kill his fellow ranger Pete Feders but that has not stopped the rising tide of anger fanned daily by the newspaper. Josiah Wolfe has made some powerfully enemies over the years and certainly one is behind the constants news stories praising the deceased Feders and trashing Wolfe. The only choice those in charge have is to get Josiah Wolfe out of Austin, his home, as fast as possible so hopefully the media interest will fade as the case is replaced by the next big scandal.

The powers that be have decided to send Wolfe undercover down to Corpus Christi. There has been an ongoing problem of cattle rustling down there with the problem getting steadily worse. Wolfe is to go undercover in the area and pass information back up the chain of command about rustling and Juan Cortina. Juan Cortina may or may not be involved in the cattle rustling but there is no question he is causing trouble and trying to reclaim Texas for Mexico. Getting Wolfe out of town might work for those in charge but it comes at a very high cost for Wolfe.

Wolfe is leaving his young son behind in the hands of a woman he does trust for what could easily be six months or longer while he acts as a spy. Having lost his wife to sickness as well as his daughters, the idea of being away from his son is almost a fate worse than death. At the same time he is being told he must go undercover as some sort of spy which goes against the very nature of his being. The result is additional angst for Wolfe who is already plenty stressed about some other issues. But, the bosses give him no choice and he heads south towards Corpus Christi heavy in heart for many reasons.

The problem is Wolfe has a reputation that precedes him far and wide. Something that should have made those in charge think twice before sending him. As he quickly learns in Corpus Christi, it is nearly impossible to go undercover when it goes against your nature and everyone seems to know who you are anyway. Makes it even more difficult when you aren’t really sure who you can trust.

The fourth book in a series that began with The Rattlesnake Season finds Wolfe torn between two romantic interests, his family and his duty, and the ghosts of the past. This is a deeply complex character rooted in family and obligation to others who is forced by circumstances to often act in ways contrary to his very nature. This results in both internal conflict as he contemplates various issues and external conflict as he often has to respond to others in times of extreme stress.

Full of rich details and nuance, author Larry D. Sweazy once again shows why he is an award winning author. Featuring multiple storylines, complex characters, and a winding trail across southern Texas, this 294 page novel is a real treat. A complex and detailed Western on all levels, Josiah Wolfe is a hero that resonates with the reader in The Cougar’s Prey: A Joshiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger Novel.

The Cougar’s Prey: A Joshiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger Novel
Larry D. Sweazy
Berkley Books (penguin Group)
October 2011
ISBN# 978-0-425-24394-7
Paperback (also available in e-book, large print)
294 Pages

Material supplied by Publicist PJ NUNN owner of BreakThrough Promotions at  

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

FFB Review: "Houston Homicide" by Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson

Having reviewed Bill Crider’s THE BLACKLIN COUNTY FILES: 5 SHERIFF DAN RHODES STORIES earlier this week, it seemed only fitting to take another look at this one also from the very talented Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson for Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott.

Detective Sergeant Ted Stephens isn't bothered by the heat and humidity of Houston, Texas in the summer of 1969. Known to one and all as "Steve" he is bothered that his Lieutenant is shoving him onto a case assigned to other detectives. Lieutenant Bolce has his reasons and knowing the fact that Detective Wetsel is on the case explains at least part of it. Wetsel isn't one of the best in the Houston Police Department though he thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The well kept exterior of a nice home in the River Oaks section of the city hides a nightmare inside. Three adults are dead. Each adult was shot multiple times. Several kids were also in the house and slept through the shootings. That fact allowed them to survive the massacre and they are now safely in the custody of CPS. Before the bodies are removed, investigators already know that at least one of the victims had ties to organized crime. Investigators already know that the grandson had threatened to kill the rest of the family before and that the grandson has a history of drug dealing.

For some the information regarding the grandson makes it a simple case. Steve doesn't agree and begins to turn up other pieces to the puzzle. His investigation increasingly leads elsewhere and is constantly hampered by interdepartmental politics and a chaotic personal life.

Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson have created a steady tale full of interesting characters, plenty of action and a case that is far from simple. Relationships matter in this novel and relationships are what drive most of the events. Whether it is the conflict between Steve and Wetsel, Steve and his wife trying to save their marriage, or Steve and his friend private investigator Clive Watson working together in different and at times conflicting ways to bring a killer to justice, relationships are front and center throughout the novel. Relationships, both friendly and antagonistic, are the primary catalyst behind nearly every action in this enjoyable steady novel and serve to drive the investigation forward in a work that also examines the seedier side of life in as clean and a sterile way as possible.

While some have categorized the novel as a police procedural, I wouldn't. Instead, I would refer to it more as a cozy style novel that is occasionally a little graphic. While there are police procedural elements in it, as well as suspense, elements, romance elements, etc. it really isn't a police procedural. If anything, it could be described more as a "buddy mystery novel" if one had to pin it way down. Suffice it to say that it is a good mystery novel and leave it at that.

Houston Homicide
Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson
Five Star Publishing (Gale Group)
ISBN# 1-59414-603-9
261 Pages

Review copy provided by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: "Stirring It Up With Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes" by Ellen Sweets

For years Molly Ivins was a force to be reckoned with as a columnist for various publications including The Dallas Morning News.  She was often interviewed by the print and television media in herself described role of “professional Texan.”  You never knew what she would say but you knew that it would often be caustically funny.  Sadly, cancer did what political power brokers and others could not do and silenced the legendary Molly Ivins.

Many did not know the other non-public side of Molly Ivins.  For her lucky friends who spent time with her in unguarded moments away the media stage there was a lot more to Molly Ivins than the rest of us saw on  our television screens or in her many columns. One of those things that escaped public scrutiny was her deep interested in the culinary arts.

Her interest ranged from the most basic to the most advanced and complex dishes. Thanks to her friends and fellow cook Ellen Sweets, readers now have via Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes some idea of that interest. Often funny, occasionally sad, the book is a fun 272 pages (including index) read containing numerous recipes, photographs, and hundreds of memories. Simply put it chronicles a life well lived.

Published by the University of Texas Press the book is broken into chapters detailing the various events in Molly Ivins life as well as the life of her friend Ellen Sweets.  Black and white pictures abound in the book as do the recipes for items such as “Melba’s Baked Pork Chops” (page 85) and “Ouefs Brouille” (page 115) and “Smothered Chicken in Onion Gravy” (page 144) among other dishes. Nutritional information is not present nor are there pictures of the finished dishes.

Not so much a cookbook but a book of love regarding a dear and cherished friend. The book is filled with memories and reminisces that often result in laugh out loud moments and the occasional sigh of pain. The book wonderfully tells another side to Molly Ivins that most of us never saw or even had a glimpse of over the years. If you thought you knew all about her based on her public personae, take a look at this book and be pleasantly surprised.

Stirring It Up With Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes
Ellen Sweets
University of Texas Press
October 2011
ISBN# 978-0-292-72265-1
272 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: "The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories" by Bill Crider

Long familiar to readers via the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series novels Texas author Bill Crider has assembled a short collection of previously published stories featuring the good sheriff Dan Rhodes.  The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories read just like the good novels in that the stories feature humor, mystery, and the extensive cast of  folks that populate the town of Clearview and the surrounding East Texas County of Blacklin.

The small collection opens with the story titled “Buster.” Miss Onie Calder is quite elderly and someone has killed one of her many cats. She blames an angry neighbor and wants him arrested for murder. Things aren’t that simple but the truth will come out.

Sheriff Rhodes knows things happen in the county that might be technically against the law.  But, Rhodes is not a hard-nosed law and order guy and is willing to look the other way on certain things as long as nothing happens.  In “Gored” Sheriff Rhodes has to break his long standing policy of ignoring the Blacklin County Stagg BBQ. The quiet annual event deep in the woods as a remote cabin usually has no problems and nothing much happens but this year the addition of a dead man means Rhodes has to investigate.  By the end of the story if you were not already hungry for barbecue and all the fixings Bill Crider helpfully includes a recipe for homemade Peach Ice Cream.

Ron Eller never did look like Jesus did in all the pictures Sheriff Rhodes saw as a kid in Sunday school classrooms. The fact that he did not look like Jesus at all didn’t stop somebody from killing him and wiring him to a cross. In “The Man on the Cross” Sheriff Rhodes has to figure who killed Ron Eller and why in a story that starts the Monday morning after Easter. The suspects are many in this complex tale of faith, profit, and deceit.

If you live in Blacklin County and you want real good food--meat and potatoes kind of food that will stick to your ribs-- you go to the “Round Up Restaurant.”  The sign outside the door makes it clear that they don’t serve chicken¸ fish or anything vegetarian. In “Chocolate Moose” authored by Bill and Judy Crider, Sheriff Dan Rhodes has to go to the restaurant to investigate a death. Pretty much everyone in the county hated Mack McAnally and for various good reasons.  Now he is dead in a very strange way in one of the dining rooms. It could be an accident or something more. A good story that finishes up with the killer caught and a recipe for the “World’s Best Chicken Fried Steak” and includes the recipe for gravy.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Environmental issues are often a theme in the series---especially in recent books. An environmental problem and controversy are present in the “Who Killed Cock Rogers?”  Shipping live cattle can often be a messy operation with unintended consequences and controversy. But, nobody expected a murder because of it.

So, get yourself some glass bottled Dr. Pepper (plastic bottles and cans just aren't the same), some peanut butter and cheese crackers, and kick back for a spell with the Blacklin County Files. Five good short stories featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes, his wife Ivy, Deputy Rudy Grady, Jail Dispatcher Hack Jensen and numerous other good and no so good local residents.  Plenty of humor¸ twists and turns in the cases, and detail regarding the residents makes The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories  yet another fun comfortable cozy style read from award winning author Bill Crider. Solidly good, just like his novels, author Bill Crider provides yet more good reading.

The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories
Bill Crider
Kindle E-book

Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

ChipIn Widget Problems

Earlier today I was alerted by a friend to the fact that the ChipIn Widget was malfunctioning in a way neither she nor I had ever seen before. When one clicked out it, one got an alert saying the connection was not trusted and then all sorts of increasingly strident warning information after that. I checked and the same thing happened to me.

I deleted the old widget and removed it from the blog. I made a brand new one and tried again--only to have the exact same thing happen. Clearly something is very wrong at ChipIn.  So, I deleted the new widget and closed the current donation deal at ChipIn as neither one could be trusted to work properly.

As you can see over to the left, I have moved up the standard PAYPAL donation button that has worked day in and day out on the blog. I have tested it several times today and at this point everything still seems fine with it. So, if you would like to make a donation I believe you can safely do so.

As always, if you would prefer not to use PAYPAL---and many folks feel that way including me---by all means drop me an e-mail at and I will gladly provide our home mailing address.

Thank you again on behalf of all of us for all of your continuing support. Hopefully the recent news on Sandi that the chemo has started working a little bit and the thyroid is not a new problem means there is hope regarding her cancer fight. 

I keep thinking that if we can hang in just a little bit longer things have to get better.


Senior News Column--February 2012

For some time now I have been writing a monthly book review column for the Senior News newspaper. The Senior News is aimed to the 50 and over crowd with news relevant to seniors regarding various issues, humor pieces, and my review column among other things. The newspaper is a giveaway at doctor offices, stores, etc. and can be received by via a paid subscription. There are multiple editions across the state of Texas and therefore there is some fluctuation in content in each area.

My column every month focuses on books of interest to the Texas audience. Therefore books selected for the column, fiction or non-fiction, are written by Texas residents, feature Texans in some way, or would have some other connection to the Texas based readership. At least two books are covered each month in the short space I am given.

Below is/was my February 2012 column with the addition here of the relevant book covers……

The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial that Captivated America
David Stokes
Steerforth Publishing
ISBN 978-1-58642-186-1
384 Pages

Originally published in 2010 as “Apparent Danger: the Pastor of America’s First Megachurch AND THE Texas Murder Trail OF THE DECADE in the 1920s” the new book covers the murder involving John Franklyn Norris and the first megachurch in the nation. Led by John Franklyn Norris, known to all as “J. Frank,” the charismatic and controversial pastor of the First Baptist Church in downtown Fort Worth intended to be a powerful national figure as he took over the legacy of William Jennings Bryan.  J. Frank might have done it too--if he had not shot and killed Dexter Elliot Chips one brutally hot Saturday afternoon.

That he did it there is no question. The reason why is a key part of the defense. Author David Stokes examines the trial in great detail, the events leading up to the trial, and the repercussions of the trial for many involved. One of the original “true crime” cases, the read is exhaustively detailed and leaves absolutely no stone unturned as it recounts an interesting period in the history of Texas and the nation as a whole.

Killer Fiction: 11 Short Stories of Killers, Fixers, and P.I.’s
Sniplits Publishing
Kindle E-Book

Written by Texan Mark Troy and ten other authors residing in less fortunate places, this anthology is primarily a hard-boiled read. As the subtitle of “11 Short Stories of  Killers, Fixers, and P.I.’s” makes clear, crime is going to be front and center in this every well done short story anthology.

Deep in the anthology is yet another very good Val Lyons tale written by Mark Troy. In “Kill Leader” Hawaii based private investigator Val Lyons is trying to protect Paula Evangelista who is a power house on the volleyball court.  So much so, somebody is making threats.  Paula Evangelista is a difficult client, to say the least, and Val is having a very hard time identifying the person or persons behind the threats in this complicated tale. 

Available as single short stories as well, this anthology features eleven solidly good stories. The strong stories in this first anthology are complex tales featuring well developed characters, interesting situations, and the settings as varied as are the writer styles showcased here. The result is a highly entertaining read.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Earl Staggs reviews: "A DEAD RED HEART" By R. P. Dahlke

By R. P. Dahlke
Dead Bear Publishing

I love it when a book gives me a unique main character with an interesting past.  In A DEAD RED HEART, Rebecca Dahlke gave me Lalla Bains, a spunky, forty-year-old former New York runway model, twice-divorced, who returned home to Modesto, California, to help her ailing father with his equally ailing crop dusting business. Now, four years later, Lalla is still there as one of the pilots as well as manager of the entire operation.

I also love it when a story opens with an intriguing situation. A DEAD RED HEART begins with Lalla in a dark alley and a man sprawled across her feet with a pair of scissors imbedded in his chest.

From there, the story careens full speed ahead with complications and risks falling around Lalla like lopsided dominoes. Never a shy wallflower, she meets everything coming at her with the same fervor and wit that have marked her adventurous life.  The story is told in Lalla’s voice and there are bits of refreshing and irrepressible humor, even in the worst situations.

There’s a lively cast of supporting characters and several of them, along with Lalla herself, are suspects in the murder of the man in the alley, Billy Wayne Dobson.  Sheriff Caleb Stone, who desperately wants to marry Lalla, supports her, but there are times when she’s not sure he’s being completely honest with her. Detective Rodney Gayle harbors a grudge against Lalla and wants to pin the murder on her from the start.

Another detective, a gorgeous younger redhead, wants to help Lalla relieve the stress she’s under, or does she really want to relieve her of Caleb?  An old high school friend also wants to help, but it seems she has a few secrets to hide.  Add an obnoxious and relentless tabloid-style reporter who sticks his nose in Lalla’s life for reasons of his own, and Lalla is surrounded by people who may be friends or who may be the killer.

Lalla’s father is content to let her run the crop dusting business, being busy himself lounging in front of his TV when he’s not attending wakes and funerals with hopes of hooking up with lonely widows.  He drags Lalla to one of those wakes where Billy Wayne Dobson’s mother attacks her first with a loaded purse, then with a loaded gun.

Rebecca Dahlke keeps this story moving forward at a fast pace, but weaves all the pieces together in a seamless and entertaining manner.  You’re sure to fall in love with Lalla Bains as I did and come away from this book anxious to read the first in the series, A DEAD RED CADILLAC, and the soon-to-be-released next one, A DEAD RED OLEANDER.

Reviewed by Earl Staggs © 2012

Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned a long list of Five Star reviews.He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His column “Write Tight” appears in the online magazine Apollo’s Lyre. He is also a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and is a frequent speaker at conferences and writers groups.  Email:  Website:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sandi's Thyroid---The Update Finally!

Very late yesterday afternoon we finally got the call we had been worrying about since we first learned the PET Scan had showed a new problem now with Sandi’s thyroid. Her cancer doctor wanted her to have a thyroid ultrasound to check some things and that was done a week ago yesterday.  Then the waiting for the results began.

Finally, late yesterday afternoon a nurse from the cancer doc just called and they think the thyroid is NOT a new problem. They could see it on the ultrasound much better than they could in the past because apparently some of the cancer that was around it is no longer there. Not only does this confirm that the chemo is making a little progress against both of the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas that were everywhere in her body, the test seems to confirm that nothing has changed with her thyroid. Thankfully this latest scare is nothing more than the same issue she has lived with for more than a decade now.

To make absolutely sure nothing new has started they will do some sort of thyroid panel during her blood work prior to the planned next round of chemo later this month. Assuming that shows what they expect, nothing more will be done about this thyroid issue until she has finished chemo and stabilized a bit so she can do follow-up work with an endocrinologist. It is the best possible news we could have gotten on it and hopefully this won’t change later with new information.

That is yet another thing that makes this process so hard. Information gets updated and changes and just when you think everything is going one way, something happens and all that is out the window as things head in another way.

In the meantime, Sandi continues to make crochet “chemo hats” which are a huge hit at the treatment center. 
Despite having huge issues with her vision---another side effect of chemo apparently---she is able to keep making the hats in various colors and styles as she does a lot of the work these days more by feel than by vision. Depending on size (she is making adult and children hats) she can get 3 to 4 hats out of each skein on yarn. Folks love them! 

So, as long as she can, Sandi plans to keep making and donating the hats to her fellow patients. In the meantime, she has marked down things again at  to get some money so please stop by and take a look.