Henrietta Lacks 1920-1951

Lab-grown human cells are invaluable to medical researchers. They allow scientists to better understand complex cells and theorize about diseases. The first “immortal” cell of its kind was created in 1951 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, its donor remaining unknown for years. But we now know that those cells belonged to Henrietta Lacks.

From southern Virginia, Henrietta was a black tobacco farmer who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 30. Without her knowing, her tumor was sampled and sent to scientists at Johns Hopkins. Much to the scientists’ surprise, her cells never died. Henrietta’s immortal cells were integral in developing the polio vaccine, and were used for cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization.

For decades, the donor of these cells, which were code-named HeLa, remained anonymous. In the 1970s, Henrietta’s name was revealed and the origins of HeLa, a code for the first two letters in Henrietta and Lacks, became clear. While Henrietta Lacks may no longer be with us, her contribution to science is long lasting.

Saturday was busy. Bethany was in, Grace and Hannah had a lunch date Jack was supposed to decorate a cookie at Petsmart but then….we had to go to urgent care for me. I was dizzy but also when I would stand up my arms and legs would shake. This was worrying, I was hoping I wasn’t allergic to my new blood thinner. Turns out it (along with my other meds) was pushing my BP too low. I was 80/42 and apparently when you are that low your body shakes to get the blood flowing. I made it out of there while the sun was still shining, so we walked at the park.


Edmonia Lewis 1843-1907

Little is known about the early life of mid-19th century sculptor Edmonia Lewis, but she was reportedly born on July 14, 1843–although that is up for debate as well. Lewis is considered the first woman sculptor of African American and Native American heritage.

She began her education in 1859 at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she was said to have been quite artistic, particularly in drawing. During her undergraduate years, she changed her name to Mary Edmonia, which she had been using anyway to sign her sculptures. While at Oberlin, Lewis was wrongly accused of theft and attempted murder. Though she was eventually acquitted, she was prohibited from graduating.
When she moved to Boston, she was mentored by sculptor Edward Brackett and began to develop her own artistic style. Her dual ancestry proved to be a source of much inspiration for her, as her early sculptures were medallions with portraits of white abolitionists and Civil War heroes.

“Forever Free” (1867), one of her best-known works, drew from the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1876, Lewis completed what is considered by many to be the pinnacle of her career: “The Death of Cleopatra”. This sculpture went against artistic traditions of the time by portraying a realistic illustration of the event, instead of using a sentimental manner.

Notes from church:

-When we sow seeds of generosity we reap the benefit of a generous life.
-Don’t slip into fearful thinking with a scarcity mindset.
-The antidote to fear – practice gratitude.
-The opposite of gratefulness is envy.

Goings on this week – no school, NIA!, blood draw, DMNS teen movie night, Riize volunteer, orthodontist, Walk2Connect, Thanksgiving, Union station Crawford hotel stay, Union station lighting, Christkindl market, Larimer square market, Englewood market, church, last day of Harriet hikes, working at church.

Dinners this week – something on Pearl st mall, make your own pizza, chicken tikka masala with rice and snap peas, chili and cornbread, Thanksgiving (smoked turkey, brown rice chutney, sweet potato salad, honey chili brussel sprouts, Italian sausage cornbread stuffing, pumpkin and pecan pies), dinner at Union station, leftovers.
Sweet Potato Salad

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt + optional pepper
3 tbsp oil, or spray
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can black beans
1 cup can corn
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Toss sweet potatoes and onions with 1 1/2 tbsp oil (or spray), sprinkle with salt and optional pepper, and place in one layer on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in a non-preheated oven on the center rack, then turn the oven to 450 F. Bake 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Add all remaining ingredients to a large bowl, then toss with the sweet potatoes. Serve hot or cold
Cilantro Mint Chutney Recipe

½ cup yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 bunch cilantro, tender stems ok
1 cup mint leaves, packed ( 2 x .75 ounce packages)
1 medium jalapeno, sliced
2 teaspoons sliced ginger
1 garlic clove
¼–1/2 teaspoon kosher salt,
½ teaspoon sugar (or an alternative like honey, palm sugar, etc)
optional: 1 tablespoon water, or just enough to get blender going – you may not need this

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and lemon.
Brown rice chutney

1/4 C baby spinach
1 C cauliflower florets
2 C brown rice (cooked)
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 C apricot preserves
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 small package sliced almonds

Cook rice, roast cauliflower. Add all ingredients in dish and stir. Add above cilantro mint chutney and serve warm.



Andrée de Jongh 1916-2007

Andrée de Jongh, aka Dédée, was the woman who formed the Comet line that helped Allied airmen get safely through occupied Belgium and France, over the Pyrenees, and into Spain and Gibraltar.

Her implausibility was what made her formidable. When the war started, Dédée de Jongh quit her job as a commercial artist and moved into her parents’ house in Brussels. Volunteering with the Belgian Red Cross, she began nursing wounded Allied soldiers. After her country surrendered to the Nazis in May 1940, after British troops were evacuated and the battle shifted to the air, de Jongh turned her attention to the men who had been shot out of the sky.

Before it was over, Dédée de Jongh would personally escort 118 people to freedom in Spain, and hundreds more would escape using the complex network of safe houses she had set up throughout Belgium and France. She pep-talked countless men over the mountains, including Jack Newton, who, depleted but grateful, was sent to Gibraltar and put on a boat home to his wife. Many of her helpers were ultimately arrested — including her sister, who was sent to a concentration camp, and her father, who was shot by a German firing squad.

De Jongh herself was caught harboring three airmen in a farmhouse at the foot of the Pyrenees in 1943. She endured 20 interrogations before finally confessing not just to being involved with the famous Comet line but to being its mastermind. Her German captors dismissed the idea outright. “Don’t be ridiculous,” they said. Sometime later, the Gestapo thought to question her further, but when they went looking among the emaciated pale souls packed into the Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp north of Berlin, they could not figure out which one was Dédée de Jongh.

After the war, she was decorated by King George VI and honored by the American and French governments. In Belgium, she was named a countess. She waved off most of the attention and strived instead for a purposeful sort of invisibility, spending 28 years nursing at a leper colony in the Belgian Congo and at an Ethiopian hospital.

Saturday James and I went to coffee (though I didn’t have coffee), then to Home Depot to get some new door knobs. Grace was dropped off for a party, Hannah was dropped off with a friend at the mall and Jack was vigilant for squirrels.

I was going to stop for my walk, but I was hungry and decided to go home first and eat. It’s a good thing I did. I wasn’t home for a minute before I had a sharp pain in my chest. It took my breath away. I sat down and there was another deeper kind of pressing pain under my right breast. My forehead felt icy cold and I was dizzy, which I have felt before (but thought it was a salt issue.) I looked at the clock and waited 5 minutes, then another 5, but it was still happening. James wasn’t home yet from dropping Hannah off, but he was close. As soon as he got home we got back in the car and went to the ER. I’m a frequent flyer there and because of my CHF anytime I go in for anything they whisk me back and start hooking up the EKG. They drew some blood and sent it off to the lab, meanwhile they checked the heart, it was fine. I was still having some pain, but not as bad. I was thinking it was stupid to go in and then the blood test came back abnormal for a certain thing – so they ordered a CT scan to check for blood clots. They kept asking me if my leg hurt or if I was having trouble breathing, if I had a cough, no, no, no. I didn’t think about it, but my leg did hurt the day before, I thought I pulled something in my calf during walking, but it didn’t hurt now, so I didn’t mention it. It took 3 nurses to put in a good IV, and in the end they used an ultrasound machine and it went in perfectly. Why don’t they it all the time? Not everyone is trained to use it and it does take longer to set, but then I’d have one hole in my arm and not four.

James had been running back and forth, picking up Hannah, dropping off Hannah at home, checking on Jack, coming back. By the time he got back I was out of the CT and waiting. I was shocked when the CT scan came back showing multiple and large blood clots in the left (not right where it was hurting) lung. They don’t think it just happened yesterday, I probably had one clot that time that I felt like this and then a few more from Friday when my leg hurt. I was started on belly shot blood thinners, twice a day for 5 days (then it goes to a pill.) I have to be careful not to cut myself because I’ll bleed all over the place. I do get a shiny medical alert bracelet (which I think I was supposed to be wearing anyway with CHF.) I’m so glad that this was found asap, I’m glad I didn’t go walking by myself today, I’m glad that nothing happened yesterday when I was off the beaten path. But mostly I’m glad that I didn’t get admitted to the hospital, my goal was to not go in this year (ER trips don’t count.)



Amelia Bloomer 1818-1894

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was an early suffragist, editor, and social activist. Bloomer was also a fashion advocate who worked to change women’s clothing styles.

Bloomer was born in Homer, New York. With only a few years of formal education, she started working as a teacher, educating students in her community. In 1840, she married David Bloomer and moved to Seneca Falls, New York. Bloomer quickly became active in the Seneca Falls political and social community. She joined a church and volunteered with the local temperance society. Noticing his wife’s fervor for social reform, David encouraged her to use writing as an outlet. As a result, she started a column which covered a plethora of topics.

In 1848, Bloomer went to the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. The next year she created The Lily, a newspaper solely dedicated to women. At first, the newspaper only addressed the temperance movement, however due to demand the bi-weekly paper expanded to cover other news. After meeting activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bloomer started to publish articles about the women’s rights movement. In 1849, Bloomer’s husband was elected Postmaster for Seneca Falls. He immediately appointed his wife as his assistant. Bloomer used her office as makeshift headquarters for the Seneca Fall’s women’s rights movement.

Bloomer’s most influential work was in dress reform. After noticing the health hazards and restrictive nature of corsets and dresses, Bloomer pushed for women to adopt a new style of dress. The pantaloons, now called Bloomers, not only illustrated a departure from the accepted dress for women, the garments also came to represent activists in the women’s rights movement. The style of dress attracted much ridicule from conservative men and women.

In 1851, Bloomer introduced Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony. The meeting set in motion a long-standing partnership between the two activists. In 1853, Bloomer and her husband moved West. While traveling she stopped in many towns and lectured about temperance. She attempted to keep The Lily going, however her move made publishing the paper harder. In 1854, Bloomer decided to sell the paper. Eventually, the couple settled in Council Bluff, Iowa. There, she called on women to become property owners. During the Civil War, Bloomer started the Soldier’s Aid Society of Council Bluffs to help Union soldiers.

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Grace took Hannah to church in the morning and James and I went to Aurora Kaiser to pick up my shots. Our pharmacy didn’t have them, but I had one shot at the hospital and as long as I got them today it was fine. If I wasn’t able I’d have to go back to the ER for the shot. Belly shots are no fun. They hurt, they leave a huge bruise, they sting and they get this hard bump around the shot. I also found that they bleed of anything moves past them, a towel, a shirt, Jack’s paw. So I put a bandaid on each dot. I have to do two shots a day for five days, so I’ll have lots of bandaids. After we got home we went on a short walk, I decided to break my walk in two. We did a half mile at Central park.

I picked up Hannah from church then went grocery shopping. I was tired when I got home, so I rested on the couch while James went to get a toilet kit to fix the downstairs toilet that had finally broken. We watched some TV, then went on another walk around Redstone park.

I actually did pretty good on miles.

Back at home I made vegetable soup and meatloaf and we binged on Jack Ryan.

This week – school, TDO (Castle Rock), Kindness Krewe (food drive), Colorado symphony – Beethoven, doc, Police explorers, water sampling, field trip (Courtroom), youth group, teen cooking at library, teen candy apples at library, Castle Rock starlighting, Riize, church.

Dinners this week – chicken apple sausage and sweet potatoes, crockpot chicken cacciatore and linguine, swiss mushroom chicken with asparagus and risotto, crockpot beef and broccoli over fried rice, cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes, leftovers.

Crockpot chicken cacciatore

2 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bell peppers, chopped
8 oz. baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 C Chicken Broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. capers
8 oz. cooked linguine, for serving

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Add peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and broth, then season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours, until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from slow-cooker and stir capers into sauce. Serve chicken over cooked pasta with sauce.


It’s not fair, the older I get, the faster time flies. Jack was being a nut this morning.

Tuesday we had a co-op at the Chatfield botanic gardens, we went there to see the earth work art by Patrick Dougherty. This is the 5th installation of his that we’ve seen (and only 1 of those 4 are still around.) They are ephemeral pieces, so they don’t last forever.

Invasion of the Japanese beetles, I think they are pretty.

Around the farm and the small butterfly garden.

It was getting hot when we left, so glad we went in the morning. I had to run in at the doc and get some blood work done, I was supposed to have an MRi to check out my brain (headaches), but I volunteered the info that I have metal coils in my spleen and since the info wasn’t in my chart, they said no. Turns out I was supposed to get a card from the hospital that says that I have the correct kind of metal that can go through an MRI, but I never got it. It took the docs till Friday to get the info and (more on this later) by then they just told me to go to the ER.

Wednesday I had a newbie chat with some homeschoolers, Jack went to daycare and Grace retook her driving test (and passed!)

She made herself a celebratory lemon chiffon cake.

The Boop was tired.

My headache was getting worse, I call this piece ‘Fiery pain in my brain.’

This one reminds me of a very hot day here.

Jack thinks it’s fun when Joel plays with him.

Some more fluid art.

I really need to get a blowtorch to bring out the cells better.

Friday I went to the doc with 2 new worrying symptoms – face numbness (like when you go the dentist and they give you a shot) on the left side of my face and hand tingling on the right side. My face wasn’t drooping, it just felt numb. Well, given those symptoms, head pain of 8, vision problems, fatigue and dizziness, the doc said to go to the ER and get an MRI there (because if she had just ordered one it would have been next week.) So, I drove home and Bethany drove me to the ER, James took an Uber there, Bethany went home and Joel came up. I was there for 7 hours, 5 IV pokes before the 5th one was good, a CT scan and MRI, some IV meds and EKG. They came up with nothing on the scans, so I was referred to a neurologist. But at least I left the place with a prescription and enough meds to knock the pain down to a 3/4.

Looking much better on Sunday.

Hannah met a friend at the mall, so Jack got to go through Nordstroms. He sat quietly by my seat in the mall until it was time to go.

James was at work, so when I went to pick him up we had a date night in Golden. First stop, Golden Moon Speakeasy where I had 2 excellent drinks (and my new favorite – root beer and absinthe.)

Then we walked over to Tributary, a new food hall. I think they need one more dinner type food place (they had pizza and a raw seafood bar), but overall they have some good options for breakfast/lunch.

The Buffalo Rose was playing live music, so we went over there to listen. I had never been in the old one before, but the new digs they have are awesome. I love the pieces of history they saved/exposed and the open air bar is very cool (it has a sliding roof.)

This is the week that we follow Bethany back to GJ for school. Joel and company leave on the day we get back. They have: gone to the shooting range, fixed up a motorcycle, gone hiking/camping, ran errands, slept in, played video games, played with Jack and eaten some good food. I guess I missed my chance at a family picture because as I write this Bethany is about to head out (early because she has some job training to do before school starts), James is at work, so I could get a ‘just the kids pic’….

Hospital, weekend

Grace had a friend’s birthday outing, Hannah walked to Chipotle and Bethany came in while I was getting my aneurysm taken care of. We got to the hospital for a 6am check in, which meant that I was up about 4:30am taking a shower and getting ready. I went in, my nurse was hilarious, so that was fun. We got registered and I got prepped.

An IV, some electrodes, allergy bracelet. Find ‘X’, there it is.

The doc came in and told us what was going to happen. If they went in and could do it, they’d put in a stent. If the artery was not straight, then they’d put in coils to make that section of the artery block off. There are more than just the one artery going to the spleen, so the blood would just take about route. There are pros and cons to each,  but the bottom line is – your body is unique and stent vs. coils isn’t really up to the doc. I went back and James went to the waiting room. They went in through my groin and again, just like the heart angiogram, I could feel the catheter going up past my stomach and over to the left side under my diaphragm. The whole thing took about 2.5 hours, they shoved 10 coils in there before they were satisfied that the blood wasn’t going through. (Apparently it was 3cm, not 2.4cm like they had said, so it’s a good thing they got to it.) Here’s what I think the x-ray looked like.

I came back to the room and had to lie flat for 4 hours. Do you know how hard it is to eat lying flat? Hard. James fed me pieces of hummus, fish and sweet potatoes. They gave me pain meds, which helped and as soon as I was able to walk around they let me go. James took me to crazy lady’s coffee shop to get an affogato, just what the doctor (didn’t) order. Back at home I ate my chicken curry I had been marinating and we watched some TV. I had to sleep on the couch because I’m not allowed to go up stairs yet. So, that was fun.

The weekend was rest, rest, rest.

I did get out on Sunday to grocery shop and I got to use the scooter. It was very slow, hard to reach things and I was constantly having to watch out for grocery carts zooming past.

I watched a lot of TV and rode around in the car. My pain was increasing at the spleen site (where that part of the spleen is dying off due to lack of blood) and tylenol and ibuprofen were not helping. When I went to bed I slept poorly, woke up at midnight and had to sit up. I made it 3 more hours before waking up James and saying we needed to go to the ER. I had gained 3 lbs of fluid since Friday, my shoulder was hurting when I took a breath and the spleen area was hurting. They did an EKG, CT scan and blood work and said, it’s just pain. So they prescribed actual pain meds because I’m not sure it should be this painful. I got my new meds and spent the day sitting around again.

Jack and I watched a nature show, but we both fell asleep.

Grace made some Christmas art.

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Bethany took the girls to the teen Nature and Science movie night and James and I watched Sneaky Pete and Father Brown before heading to bed. Jack fell asleep on his blanket; that particular blanket is his kryptonite, he just falls asleep when he sits on it (which is good.)

Hospital day 1-5, Fall fests, LM’s

I’m not going to drag those into their own posts. Saturday morning the cardiologist came to talk to me. He said that I have congestive heart failure. It just means that my heart (and lungs, abdomen and feet) are full of fluid, making it harder to breath, making it harder for my heart to pump. They did an echocardiogram and said my heart was working at 30%, but that’s not out of 100% (for whatever reason), normal is 55-70%. So, about half. My BP was still really high, I was on continuous 2L of oxygen and an IV dose of this diuretic that kids butt. They said they weren’t even going to talk about the splenic artery aneurysms until the heart thing was sorted out. There are 5 reasons for CHF – deformity, genetics, blockage, viral, idiopathic. The doc said I would have been seen for a deformity before now, he didn’t think it was genetics (since only 1 person in my family had a heart attack and they already said this wasn’t a heart attack), it could be a blockage (though the doc was thinking that also was out of the question), idiopathic just means they don’t know what it is and viral. Well, I was sick back in June, the doc said I had a cold, but this doc thought, well if that’s where you breathing problems started, then it was probably a virus and it went into your heart cells. So, we were going with that, but I’ll do a stress test to rule out blockage, but I can’t do that until my BP, oxygen and heart rate get better.

Ugh, my eyebrows. They started me on the cardiac diet, low sodium, low fluids, low fat, low caffeine.

Alcohol was NOT taken off the menu, so I look forward to my drink at jazz night. I get bored very quickly and this was day 1.

Meanwhile, back at home, Grace’s pumpkin went smush.

I made some hospital art.

Bethany came in and went to a Halloween event with her friend.

More art.

They kept sending me pics of Jack.

It was also Joel’s birthday today (20th), Iwas awake at midnight, so I sent him a Happy Birthday text. He’s on 6 hour call, so any moment now he’ll be on a plane to Germany for a month for training and then off to Kosovo.

Sunday, James was running around all day (like I would have been.) Church, Fall festival, Littleman’s pumpkin carving fest, picking up and dropping off a friend for that, getting dinner, then finally coming to the hospital. He collapsed in the chari and said, ‘My gosh, I haven’t been home all day except to eat dinner?’ Grace said, ‘So, we do that every day.’ Well, not every day, but we are on the go more than some people. Bethany’s friend dyed her hair, at first I was like, who’s that holding Jack?

A lot of people painted their pumpkins this year.

Meanwhile, I was working hard with my spirometer, they changed my beta blockers and added in another BP med.

I gave the girls a list of school work to do Monday, I figured I’ll just give them a day at a time.

Monday morning Jennifer came to see me and brought me some stuff, check out these glasses.

They made the nurses laugh.


More art.

My puppy!

Everything was a little better, so my stress test was scheduled for the next day. Instead of using the treadmill, I was going to be injected with this stuff that uses a chemical to stress the heart. Then injected with radioactive isotopes, then photographed while lying on my back for 17 min, and another 13 min on my belly. The deal is, the test will show that there is something wrong (like a blockage) or not.

Here is my FB post from Tuesday morning.

It was a harrowing day at Spa Ridge in room 5214, starting with breakfast. ‘Can’t have that, can’t have that.’ Yogurt and dry white toast. Nurse remarks it’s like prison food, I’ve never been in prison, but I’m pretty sure it’s better. Then they gave me a double dose of diuretic because – why not? Went to stress test where doc said, ‘if you have a heart attack because of this – we have everything you need!’ Got isotopes pumped into me (not isopods, those are an order of crustaceans, ie, doodle bugs, but – quick fact- they can also live underwater (you’ll need to give me some of your Jeopardy money when you win with that fact.)) Spent 17 minutes getting pictures (I did my hair), 30 seconds getting radioactive, 10 minutes getting stressed and then 27 minutes getting more pictures. Sad to say, I studied hard for this test and it’s inconclusive. So, tomorrow I have an angiogram which will: find a blockage or not. If not it’s viral or idiopathic, genetic or mutation (I might be an alien.) So, that’s today’s report – and no I’m not going home tomorrow.

And I want to say, my nurses rock, they piece together information and advocate for me, they make me laugh, I make them laugh, I empty my own pee hat, they give me shots in my belly….okay that one is not fun at all, but they are sad to do it.

So, the test showed that there was some area of the heart that was not pumping like it should. Bottom line, angiogram in the morning (that’s where they snake a catheter through your vein and inject dye so they can see if blood of flowing through everything. If there is a blockage, they fix it right there with a stint.)

Wednesday morning, my FB post after the angiogram.

Angiogram showed……

wait for it….


no blockages. Virus is suspected. Beta blockers, BP meds, oxygen for a bit, cardiac diet, and low activity (if you know me, that one is the worst.)

Still not getting out until the vascular surgeon talks about those splenic artery aneurysms, which has nothing to do with my heart. In fact, they would never have known about them except for a slight peek at one from my lung CT scan in early October.

Yeah, the vascular surgeon said they are going to wait to let my heart rest and get better before they do anything. I also have to see an endocrinologist because on the CT scan they also saw a benign adenoma on my adrenal gland. The very good news for this day was – Jack could come visit in my room! And soon after I got that news, I was going home!


And Joel landed in Germany.

Coming home

We got off the ship and to the airport in record time. We had enough time to have a nice sit down lunch at a Cuban cafe (and the irony, the pictures on the wall were almost identical to some I had taken.) Our plane took off just as my doc messaged me telling me that I needed to call instead of e-mail when I had the chance. When the plane landed in Denver I walked 20 feet on the jetway and dang! I could not breath. Not like it has been, I just could not catch my breath, so I finally made it to a chair and James got a wheelchair. As soon as we were in car I called the doc and breathlessly explained my situation – they said to head over to urgent care. At urgent care my BP was 217/145, heart rate was 110 and pulse ox was 85-80. They gave me albuterol, which flowed with delicious oxygen and made my oxygen go up a bit. They ruled out heart attack, clots, pneumonia (yeah, we’ll get back to the missed diagnosis in a bit.) I had a CT scan of my lungs and since I was going to have to come back soon for an abdomen CT scan (because they saw something on the last lung CT scan.) I had contrast this time and that was weird. It felt hot from my neck, going down my chest, to groin and then legs. The CT scan of the lungs showed them full of fluid, hence my hard time breathing and the high BP and heart rate and low oxygen.  The abdomen CT scan showed some large splenic artery aneurysms and an adenoma on the adrenal gland, but that’s not important right now. I was put on oxygen when my level dropped to 80 and transferred to Sky Ridge hospital. I was checked in, weighed, poked, set up on meds and got to sleep about 1am.

Jack gets his swimming in

Thursday was HOT, 105 in Denver, 101 in Highlands Ranch, an aberration (for sure, considering that a few days later it will be a high of 77.) We don’t usually go to the chutes this early (too cold), but 56 feels good when it’s 101 out. Jack did not agree. He can swim (and does the doggy paddle when you hover him over the water) but even the extra insulation of the life vest didn’t make him want to repeat his performance. The girls got used to the water and flow (actually low for right now, 256 cfs) and I was on Jack duty. We had friends meet us there early, then some more showed up at 12, then more showed up at 1:30 (when we were leaving.) Oh well, we’ll catch them next time. Tubing here and Jack swimming here. 

Of course it wore Jack out, the water, the sun, so much fun, but so tiring.

It was so hot outside that Hannah tried to fry an egg in the street (because the blacktop is hotter than the sidewalk.) It sort of worked.

Grace made watermelon sugar cookies for youth group, they were cute.

A nice sunset.

Sometimes Jack’s tongue sticks out when he sleeps.

Friday morning it was time to water sample.


Right/left bank.


Heron flying off.

Jack “helping.”

Hannah and I took Jack to the pond for a swim. They  had a side blocked off, probably weren’t supposed to be there, so next time we’ll head to a different pond.

Grace got picked up for her Dan and Phil show (with Gwen) and the rest of us went to Salsa Brava to eat, even Jack.

Our dinner ended abruptly when James choked on a piece of meat. He could breathe, but this is the 3rd time in 6 months that this has happened. It is not the same thing as his peanut allergy, that causes his throat to close up, this was the inability to swallow. I dropped the girls at home and took him to the ER. They gave him a drug that relaxes the throat, but that didn’t work, so they ended up doing an endoscopy. That removed the piece of food and let them look at the esophagus, which looked normal. He has to go back for a recheck with the GI doc and I’m sure they will be more in depth about why this is happening and if it’s at all connected with the breathing issue with allergies. While he was back getting scoped I ran downtown and picked up the girls, they were so hyped (Gwen was sleeping over) they stayed up till late talking about the show. Grace really had a good time, I’m glad she got to go.

Random rest of the week stuff, Neighbor Network, CPW banquet

Cleaning fish tanks, washing clothes, watering the lawn. Had to take Bethany to the ER after she sneezed and burst a blood vessel. Going from humid to dry (and the horrible pollen here right now) was probably the cause. She made art out of her bloodstained cloth.

Hannah thought I was funny.

The girls and I watched A Wrinkle in Time, it was good. James and I went to Salsa Brava for flan and the sunset view.

Joel arrived at Ft. Polk and apparently was on gate duty with time on his hands.

Saw this pic of him and couldn’t figure out where he was, Polk isn’t near water….turns out he was offloading cargo and trucks in Port Arthur.

I took Grace for b-day pics, we had Cafe 180 for lunch and she doodled.

Too many people knocked on my door, so I made this handy flow chart.

Grace and I still have colds and horrible allergies (see this video for pollen flying everywhere.) But, that didn’t stop me from overbooking my Saturday morning. First up, taking Hannah to church to help with Neighbor Network, we were pulling weeds, trimming bushes, pouring rocks and spraying weed stuff for a nice old lady near Roxborough.

Then it was off to Golden with Grace to represent River Watch at the CO Parks and Wildlife banquet. They had a slideshow going with about 30 or so pictures and Grace or our river were in 9 of them (they must have not had many pics from volunteers, they asked, I gave, I just didn’t expect them to use all of them.)

We had a good lunch, volunteers were thanked, we got a waterproof notebook, fire starter and pins.

Now I’m resting at home, James will be grilling tonight, then we’ll dance in line at LM’s.

ER trip, NBTS pics, TNO

James called me from work and thought he had food poisoning, his stomach hurt and he wasn’t feeling well. So, I picked him up and on the drive home he was in so much pain that I told him we were going to the clinic. At the clinic they were concerned about the stomach pain, they don’t have a cat scanner there and they were thinking there might be something twisted in his gut, so we went to the ER. On the trip from the clinic to the ER he felt better and by the time we got him checked in he was feeling silly for going to the ER. But, they found a kidney stone – and it had finally made it to the bladder by the time they did the CT scan (hence the feeling better.) They said he has 2 more in one kidney and 4 in the other, they could stay there forever or just decided to jump ship and leave at any given moment. They aren’t sure why the stone came out or why he has them. After seeing his symptoms I’m pretty sure that what the doc said was a bad stomach flu for me 4 years ago was a kidney stone passing through me – oh the agony, the pain, the stomach ache! So, I feel for him. He was tired, but not in pain when we left the ER. The girls had been waiting since that morning (we were headed out to take pics when he called) for me to get back and take them to the book store to take school pics. So, off we went. I usually choose a location and then take everyone’s picture there, then they get to pick a place to do their own pics. Today we just did the bookstore and everyone got to leave with a book of their choice (which is the book they have in the pic, except for Grace, who chose the whale book after looking at the Nancy Drew.) I have to explain the Fahrenheit 451 pic, Bethany hated that book, just like Joel did, not sure why…I like it. But, she thought it would be funny to pretend to throw the book in the fire (which we would never do, even it we really didn’t like the book!)

Here are the Not Back To School pics for 2016.

Bethany, 12th grade.

Grace, 9th grade.

Hannah, 5th grade.

And some of the ‘teacher’.

After that we went by Grease Monkey, the library and then back home. I made sure James was okay, then headed to TNO to eat some good food and chat with friends. Look at that dinner – chicken korma, grilled peach coleslaw, beets and an awesome salad.

I was working on a doodle while I waited for people to show up.

It was a good 3 hours catching up with friends, I do love my TNO’s!


It’s been five years since you’ve seen this.


One year of no hospital we were cautious, 2 we were happy, 3 we were overjoyed, 4 it seemed like forever in a good way and now 5 years have passed since Grace was last in the hospital with RAD. It’s also been over a year since she’s been to the ER/triage for her lungs. It was Maura who first suggested that I use a journal to track Grace’s cognitive disabilities to see if they were caused by oxygen depletion from her RAD. When I had enough info I went to the doc, but it was still years before we got into National Jewish and met Dr. Searing. The fact that she has not been in the hospital in 5 years is due to two things – NJ and our HS group. Yes, you have stayed home when you really wanted to come to a co-op or park day or get together and your child had the sniffles or a fever or showed any sign of being sick.


You encouraged me when I was down, you fed my children when I was stuck at the hospital, you even took time out of your day to sit with Grace so I could take a shower or bring her cards in person or just hang out with her – mask and all.


(Yes, they are playing catch with vomit bins, but don’t worry they were clean!)

So, I applaud you for sticking with Grace through days when she was transitioning meds (which made her miserable to be around) for giving her gentle hugs (because her meds made her back hurt all the time) and for helping her to stay out of the hospital. I also applaud Dr. Searing for all of his expertise and for juggling meds and listening to us when we had concerns and questions. National Jewish and our homeschool group both rock!

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