Sunday, October 30, 2011

Be The Match Update

Last week we heard from Be The Match foundation to let us know that the patient is deteriorating.  They are still going to go ahead with the stem cell removal in the hopes that she starts to improve.

On Friday Bear received the first two shots.  He had a bit of a restless night.  Saturday morning the nurse came to the home to administer the next two shots.  She asked Bear how he was doing pain wise on a scale of 1 - 10.  He said he was at a six.  This concerned the nurse as this was only the beginning.  My husband does not complain about pain and no he does not have the 'man flu' that would be me.  I knew he must be hurting because his 6 would be my 10... or in the case of someone who lives in Spain, an 18. :~)

The nurse told Bear that he must take the Vicodin that the Doctor prescribed.  He did, and had a good nights sleep.  Yesterday the aches were in his hips and joints, today they are in his sternum.  So lots of Ibuprofen and the V for bedtime.

The nurse will be back on Monday morning and then we leave for Portland.  We need to be at the hospital at 6:30am on Tuesday morning.  I will keep you all posted and hopefully it will all progress smoothly.  Current update on the patient is that she is still not ready to receive Bear's stem cells, but they will store them.  I have no idea how long they can do that.

Keep her in your thoughts that she pulls through. 

Have a great week friends.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Great State of South Africa

Don't know who did this, but I would like to shake their hand.

I know you are all not going to believe the conversation I had today with a college student.  I still don't believe it.  When I get asked those questions I have begun to look around me expecting to see the camera from some comedy show.

This morning I was at a local coffee shop and ordered my usual.  The conversation went as follows: 

College Barista:  Oh wow you have a beautiful accent, what State are you from? 

Me:  I am from South Africa 

College Barista:  Really?  What State is that? 

Me:  *crickets*

Remind me again as to what is required to get into college?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wine and lessons learned.

Middelvlei Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa

I was raised on great wine.  My father always told us to never use cheap wine in cooking, a rule I follow to this day.  I remember my father sharing a very old bottle of wine.  This wine had a wax seal.  People could not believe he opened it.  

When I graduated high school I decided to go into the hospitality industry.   One of our requirements was we do a wine course through KWV.  It was somewhat extensive and in depth and I thought I knew quite a bit about South African wines.

Fast forward to 2007 and Thanksgiving.  Bear, T and myself decided to fly to Seattle and have a great vacation.  No worries of family and cooking.  One morning we decided to visit Pike Place Market.  We found a wine shop professing they sold wines from Washington and around the world.   We went inside and I inquired if they sold any South African wines.  The sales person, loudly, responded. "Oh my God the owner would never sell South African wine, their Pinotage is disgusting." He proceeded to turn and mumble to a customer and I sheepishly left the store.  I was mortified.  All my training and this person basically made me feel as though I was asking for a box of Franzia while scratching my crotch and trying to balance a baby on a hip with a cigarette hanging from between my lips.

Ever since that encounter I have second guessed myself when it comes to wine.  I am intimidated by people who smell "layers" in the bouquet and can virtually pick out the soil and date of harvest.  I never was that intense, but I thought I knew something about wines.

After I kicked Facebook to the curb I discovered Twitter.  I am sure there are a few people out there that wished I hadn't, but it is so, they will get over it.  My very first winery that started following me was Seven Bridges Winery in Portland. (@7BridgesWinery)  Slowly I discovered more wineries and more wine connoisseurs and I started to follow them and learn.  Many of these wine peeps have thousands of followers, intimidating in itself, but you all know the Princess, she marches forward and takes her place. (Bull in china shop comes to mind).

The first wine person I reached out to was Beau. (click on link, you will love his blog) (@UCBeau) He helped me with a selection for my chilli dinner and I had some questions afterwards with regards to the taste.  He was very kind and patient and explained that while the wine was excellent with the chilli, the corn bread was not a perfect pairing.  So much goes into pairing thought and I learned a lesson.  I think that where ever Beau ends up working in Oregon in the wine industry he will be a great asset to any company as he doesn't snob it up and he listens.

I have met some great wineaux's on Twitter.  Jack (@NWwines) has told me to trust my nose.  I was drinking a South African blend and could only smell Vanilla, so thanks to Twitter, I tweeted him and asked him if I was in the ball park.

Wineries such as Kramer Vineyards (@KimKramerwine) Left Coast Cellars (@Leftcoastwine), Skylite Cellars (@Skylitecellars) Seven Bridges Winery (@7bridgeswinery), Tweeters such as Lars (@virtuallars), Becky (@BeckyKramerWine) have welcomed me into their group and have once again given me the confidence in trusting in myself and the wine.

If you are on Twitter I would recommend you follow these great folk.  Join me in the journey of discovering new wines and best of all, new friends.

Lesson learned.  For every one insensitive wine sales person out there, there are dozens of kind caring wine connoisseurs to help you along in the great journey of wine discovery.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Mug.

September 2003 after 12 years of marriage my then husband informed me that he was moving onto greener pastures.  He moved and took along with him his cow or who also was otherwise known as my best friend.

January 2004 was my first birthday alone.  T. came home and gave me my gift.  It was a mug.  A mug that my soon to be ex bought at the dollar store.  T. made me a cup of tea in my new mug and I drank my tea forcing it past the lump in my throat.  That night after I put T. to bed, I cried.

When I looked at the mug I saw 12 years of marriage.  Frequent Navy long deployments.  Infidelity.  Alcoholism.  Physical abuse.  Mental abuse.  Working while he earned his degree.  Sacrificing financially.  Rehab.  Adultery.  Humiliation. Lose of friends.  Lose of family. This man who had put me through so much figured I was worth $1.00.

As time passed whenever I used the mug, I could only ever think of what it represented.  At the beginning of the year when we moved and I was unpacking I unwrapped the mug and I smiled.

The mug is now in the china cabinet in between the Lladro and Waterford.  This mug is truly the most priceless gift I have ever received.  This mug represents who I am today.

A survivor.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Update to Be The Match

For those of you that have been following my blog and this story I wanted to give you an update.  On Thursday Bear received the call that he is definitely the match for a 23 year old woman with leukemia.  This has all come about because my friend T posted on her Facebook page many months ago that she signed up for Be The Match.  T, because of you, this woman is getting another chance at life. 

On Monday Bear goes to have blood work done and see a Doctor and have more tests done.  Then on the 28th October he will start a series of injections, Filgrastim,  to increase his stem cells.  On 1 November they will remove the stem cell via taking blood, removing stem cells then putting the blood back into his body.  It is called peripheral blood stem cell donation and if I had any medical know how, I would probably put it in better terms.

Bear will be losing two days of school and the side effects are muscle aches and headaches, but as he said, probably nothing compared to what this woman is going through.

And this is why my husband is one of the best decisions I made in my adult life.