Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Great News!

Met with Slidell Oncologist this morning.

Bone Marrow Biopsy reading was 0.2 !!!!!!!  Apparently, much more definitive than blood work.

We're absolutely tickled!  Thank you all for the kind words and prayers.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hot Stuffed Banana Pepper Pasta

We have a never-ending supply of both mild and hot banana peppers.  I made this yesterday for Dom's 7th "birthday".  It was a pain in the neck stuffing the peppers, but worth it. Delicious.  Very flavorful.

1 lb sweet Italian sausage
2 T olive oil
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
12 banana peppers, cleaned of seeds and ribs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
½ pound pasta cooked
grated cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray your baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Stuff your banana peppers with the sausage. If the sausage is in casings, take them off to stuff the peppers. If you have left over sausage, shape into small meatball bites.
Slice the banana peppers in a few pieces and make sure the sausage is in every piece if possible.
Add your stuffed peppers, excess sausage, tomatoes, spices and olive oil to your baking dish and toss so that everything is mixed well.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the sausage is fully cooked.
In the meantime cook your pasta.
Once the peppers are baked, add to your cooked pasta and serve with grated cheese if you wish.
Also delicious over zucchini noodles if you are gluten free or Paleo.

Tomorrow morning, we're off to Slidell to meet with our Oncologist to discuss the recent bone marrow biopsy.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Update on Our Patient and Dinner Tonight

All is OK here.  Had a relaxing Saturday.  Tomorrow is Dom's "7th Birthday".  

We go to the Slidell oncologist on Tuesday to discuss his bone marrow biopsy.

Made a KILLER dinner tonite.  Cheesy/garlic/butter baby potatoes with a store-prepared Chicken Cordon Bleu.  This rocked!

Drizzle with garlic butter, add green onions and banana peppers.  (had 'em from the garden)

Top with SWISS

Sharp Cheddar  (what I had in the fridge)


Boil your potatoes for about 15 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Melt a mess (almost a stick of butter here) and add a lot of minced garlic.

Use the back of a fork to squash the potatoes slightly. You don't want to crush them, just break the skins open so the butter can ooze in.

Dump your butter and garlic over them.

I topped with sliced scallions and banana peppers.  Topped with swiss and cheddar.

Back in the oven for about 15 minutes.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

VA officials pledge new studies into effects of Agent Orange

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding its efforts to determine how Vietnam veterans and their children have been affected by exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.

The VA will conduct its first nationwide survey of Vietnam veterans in more than three decades and request an outside panel of experts to continue its work studying the health effects of Agent Orange on veterans, their children and their grandchildren. Both initiatives were discussed recently by ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot on the possible multi-generational impacts of Agent Orange.

Vietnam veterans have argued for years that their exposure to the toxic herbicide has damaged their health as well as their children’s. From 1965 to 1970, some 2.6 million U.S. service members were potentially exposed to Agent Orange, which contained a dangerous strand of the chemical dioxin. While the VA has linked Agent Orange exposure to a host of diseases in Vietnam vets, experts and veterans advocates have criticized the lack of research into the effects on future generations.

“I believe that these individuals deserve an answer,” Linda Spoonster Schwartz, the VA’s assistant secretary for policy and planning, said in response to a question about the lack of research. “I believe that we need to at least ask the question. … This is the right thing to do.”

ProPublica and The Pilot have been examining the effects of Agent Orange for the past year and have heard from more than 5,500 veterans and their families. Thursday’s forum – titled A Toxic Legacy: Has Agent Orange Hurt the Children of Vietnam Vets? – featured veterans advocates, researchers and policy makers. It also provided a rare opportunity for frustrated veterans to vent directly to high-ranking VA officials. Veterans came from as far away as Mississippi and Pennsylvania to share their stories. Pilot photographer Stephen M. Katz told of his own health problems, which he believes may be linked to his father’s exposure to Agent Orange.


Dr. Keith Roach: Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer

Dear Dr. Roach: My 72-year-old husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma recently, and we have been told that he will need chemo treatments. He also has anemia, which I think is probably normal. He had a back injury in early February and a kyphoplasty in May, with a bone biopsy done routinely. After tests, we now have the diagnosis of multiple myeloma. What can be expected from this diagnosis? I understand that he has elevated kappa light chains.

-- I.F.

A: Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer coming from plasma cells, the cells that make antibodies. As in any cancer, the cells reproduce uncontrollably. Damage from the cancer can come from what cancer cells produce, or by the fact that they take up necessary space and nutrition from the organs they occupy. In the case of multiple myeloma, the myeloma cells usually secrete immunoglobulins (antibodies, or parts of antibodies). Kappa chains are a component of antibodies (so are lambda chains, the other type of "light" chain protein). High amounts of myeloma protein can damage the kidneys.

Unfortunately, these antibodies aren't helpful in fighting off infection, despite the fact that antibodies are an important part of the immune system. In fact, the myeloma cells can grow so much in the bone marrow that they can push aside the cells that normally grow there, including red blood cells (which is why anemia is a common sign), other white blood cells (making infection more likely) and platelets (bleeding can become a problem).

Like many cancers, myeloma can progress from a more benign condition -- in this case, monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance. Not all people with MGUS progress to myeloma, but the condition needs to be carefully watched. Once it becomes myeloma, treatment, usually chemotherapy, is recommended. Multiple myeloma is a highly variable disease, and its prognosis depends on many factors; some come from blood testing, some from the bone marrow biopsy, and some are based on your husband's overall health. Your husband's hematologist/oncologist can give a better estimate of his prognosis based on these factors.


Monday, July 11, 2016

A New Generation of Raccoons

My favorite little girl showed up over the weekend to introduce her little ones!  They're the 3rd or 4th generation of this family.  Adorable!

The 3 kids are shy, but watched their mom and I interact from a tree.  They'll be eating out of my hand in no time at all!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Another Out of this World Recipe.... Fried "Rice" Quinoa

In recent months, we can't seem to get enough Quinoa.  I made this last night with Sesame Green Beans and Walmart Egg Rolls.  Delicious!


2 Cups of Cooked Day Old Quinoa
1 Medium Carrot, minced
¼ Onion, minced
½ Cup of frozen peas
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
Handful of Thinly Cut Green Onions

Scramble the 2 eggs into a bowl

Using a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil over medium high heat

Add the scrambled eggs and let them cook. Remove from heat and chop them in little pieces

Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat and cook the onions, carrots and ginger for 2-3 minutes

Add the cooked Quinoa and stir until combined. Add the soy sauce and mix everything together. Add the cooked eggs

Add the frozen peas and cook one minute more until the peas are heated through

Serve with Green Onions on top.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Frightening Couple of Weeks

Hi gang-

Things are kind of "gloom and doom" here.

For 6 years, Dom had a ZERO M-Spike.  Last summer, it jumped up to .3 and stayed there for almost a year.

3 months ago, it jumped up to .6

Most recently, it was at .8

Our Slidell doctor "signed off on it".  I guess he had a "wait and see" attitude.

I went to PCB for a week.  Dom was supposed to join me on June 30th for the holiday weekend.

He got a call saying that our Dr. Safah at Tulane wanted him to have a bone marrow biopsy.

I immediately came home.  (I like that she's pro-active.... if something happens, we'll blow off the local guy and go back to NOLA).  The reason we started seeing the Slidell guy was out of convenience.

We spent most of the day at Slidell Memorial Hospital yesterday.  Appointment for 11am, biopsy at 1 pm, then 2 hours in his room before they let us leave.

We'll hear something late next week.  Please keep Dom in your prayers.