July 4 Pool Test – Fail!

It was fun to get away to a 4th of July cookout. I wanted to do a float test on myself, but it was so cold that I could only stick my toes into the pool’s water. I don’t how the kids do it! My hostess showed off her patio tomatoes, but, like mine, are getting big with no color yet. It will be hot enough ripening next week.


Our (Boston) annual Independence Day music and fireworks on the Charles River was the best I’ve seen. All from the comfort of my bed!

Regaining Weight and Health

With the Thrush gone, radiation done, a couple of blood transfusions, and rest, I’ve reached 161 pounds and have some energy. And the current news events keep me on my toes. I hope to start publishing more photos and spending more time at the gallery soon. One thing giving me joy is raising some decorative and edible plants (patio tomatoes, lettuce, and basil). I’m happily spending more time shopping at Goose Cove Gardens and less at the hospital.

Hospital Bling!

In general, I’m doing OK, and taking it easy at home today with my sister, Barb. I always need a rest after a day in the gallery and/or a visit to the hospital. It was coincidence that my bracelets ended up on one arm yesterday. This afternoon, Barb and I will eat some of Susan LaRosa’s homemade meatballs with gravy, and take in the Sox game on TV. Relaxing!


“Invent, Improvise, and Overcome.”

Old movies show pop walking to the factory, lunch pail in hand. When he got home, dad gave the pail to one of the kids to fill with beer at the corner tavern. In our Rockport house the second floor is used for sleeping and to use the bathroom. The kitchen with perishable food and dish washing,LunchPail5794 are on the first floor. Because of my mobility challenges, I needed to protect the white rug and safely transport fresh food upstairs and dirty dishes downstairs, so I resurrected my version of the lunch pail. If something spills, it goes into the pail.

“Fast and Furious Marty Luster.”

LusterJeep5832I that knew my friend Marty liked my Jeep Liberty. He like it so much he bought the first Jeep Renegade on Cape Ann (Hull No. 1). We took a ’round the Cape ride in his new car last week on one of those Spring Fever days that stirred the instincts of every teenager, only 60 years later.

After not driving since January 2014 because of illness, the fever hit me, hard. Tomorrow I’ll take the shop vac, towel, wax, and Windex to my 2009 “Trail Ready” Liberty. I can’t drive it yet to insure both my safety and that of others, but I can run my hand over the smooth metal as I did with my Dad’s 1956 Buick Special station wagon.

“Why Me?”

“Why Me?” That’s the thought that kept racing thru my mind 15 months ago from my hospital bed, tethered by IV tubes, pumps, and very serious medical conditions (cancer, kidney failure, etcetera). That mindset soon changed to: “Why NOT me,” and “Better me than you.” This beautiful morning is a gift. Enjoy it.

My Horse Lost, and I Won the Derby

Yesterday Janet and I went to a Kentucky Derby party in Boston, ironically hosted by a Derby (family name). My pick, “War Story,” didn’t even merit a mention at the finish. Still, I won big:

The dining room table was populated with a wide variety of hors d’oeuvres and a honking’ honey ham. I discovered I like (can eat) ham sandwiches, vinegar potato salad, marinated mushrooms, a canned oyster, and creamy artichoke dip. I gag from smoked salmon or spicy hot anything. I guess I’m relearning what and how to eat (slowly with small bites). This was a wonderful opportunity expand my menu, be with friends and cheer on my $2 bet. Happy Mothers’ Day and bon appetit!

“Gimme dat Fat!”

Fred can finally chew and eat a modest amount of normal food, sans Thrush. I weigh 148 lbs, probably what I weighed in 6th grade in1962. I’m munching all the time now. This was the “Breakthrough Day.” For the first time in10 days, I can swallow food and water without pain. Just give me fatty foods, please…

“Visit from the Thrush Fairy”

I spent half an hour with the AGH hospital Dietician today, and finally understood how to efficiently hydrate and fatten up my boney body: mayo slathered into tuna or chicken salad; biscuits with real butter and jam with a scrambled egg; full fat ice cream with syrup. There are 8 pages of healthy dishes for folks like me, and I can’t wait to dig in with my new found knowledge. Bon Appetit!

“Weekend Survival Kit.”

Without the marathon hydration IV I got at AGH on Thursday, I’d probably be hospitalized or fondly remembered. So I called Oncology for advice on how to best take care of myself over this weekend. One of the nurses told me to drink at least 4 ounces of water or juice every hour. Four ounces is the size of a small cup of Italian ice. She also suggested trying to eat mashed potatoes, pop sickles, and also ice cream. “If you stand up and feel dizzy or like passing out, go right to the ER,” she warned. I’m following all directions. Tomorrow, Saturday, I’ll not open the gallery, as walking in my weakened state is very difficult.

“My Cure and Reward.”

I went to see Dr. McIntyre at the AGH Oncology Clinic this morning. I weighed in at 148 lbs, dangerously 100 lbs less than the weight of old Big Fred. After some listening and probing, Dr. Mac looked in my mouth and said: “You’ve got thrush! I’ll prescribe some medication, and it should be gone in a week.”
Oral Thrush is a yeast infection afflicting babies, those with weakened immune systems (me), cancer (me), and the elderly (me?). I took 2 pills today and will swallow one for the next nine days. To revive me, the clinic dripped IV hydration fluid into me for 3.5 hours. While in the chair, I ate 2 Italian ices and eight pop sickles. While still coughing, I’m mightily relieved and thankful that your thoughts and prayers allowed me to dodge yet another bullet on my way to recovery. Fred.

“Some Have Meat, and Cannot Eat…”

Today I drank 4 oz each of vanilla protein coconut milk shake and raw coconut water. Nibbled on a nutrition bar and just about choked up the caribou bladder. I have gotten a new appreciation for Common Crow http://www.commoncrow.com natural supermarket. ANYTHING I can swallow is precious to me. Seeing my doctor tomorrow and will ask for a throat numbing remedy. Hope I don’t dream about food. Last night’s CSI: Cyber was a bust because I fell asleep after a few minutes 😦

“Eat Food or Die – A Plea for Help.”

Simple. Often overlooked. And my current challenge. There’s something about the cancer, the chemo, the hormone or radiation therapy, or my 14 daily medications that screwed up my eating. I can quaff water, but when swallowing most liquids and solid food I gag and burp up the clear sticky stuff. You can’t live on water alone. The only substance I can nourish myself with is supermarket brand chicken broth and rice soup. That’s the thin cheap stuff that’s 79¢ for a small can.
I was never a health food nut, but the writing’s on the wall for me (or rather the screen). Coconut milk perhaps? I can’t do spices, dairy, citrus, any more than a sliver of meat, and all bites are bird size and extra chewed.
Before I got sick, Joey C. called me Big Fred at 250 lbs. My lowest weight from cancer was 160 lbs. The height of my recovery registered 184 lbs and my doctors were happy. Now I weigh in at 171 lbs. and nobody’s happy. Please help me with your suggestions. Nothing too crazy please.
Below is the Sugar Cane luncheon I bought for my #1 Angel Donna Ardizoni. I only ate the broth from the seafood noodle soup (R). A great deal for $14. The Sugar Cane is aChinese/Vietnamese restaurant on Main Street in Peabody. Worth a visit.


When the Bell Rings, Whack It!

BellRing5779wmAnd when you see actor Brian Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame wearing a shirt like this, buy it… at Bananas. There are so many similar things in that TV series that ring true, like cancer and intense physical therapy (altho’ from gunshot wounds). What a fine day to bid farewell the expert radiologists at the Lahey Clinic, and to tell them how much I appreciated their hard work in the continuing effort in saving my life. Now monthly follow-ups.