Surgery, Construction and the March Storm of 2017

Construction on the addition started  and was going great until the winter finally caught up with us in Mid-March.  The old porch and foundation have been removed, the foundation has been excavated and the footers and the walls have been poured.  Then it snowed and we were in a holding pattern but they returned after two days to uncover the walls and then to waterproof the walls and the top of the footer.  The building inspector has approved us for spreading the back-fill, but we must wait for the snow that is on the pile of dirt to melt.  My back yard, especially where the majority of the fill material is, gets very little sun so this may take a while.  The other option is that we shovel off the snow so they have access to the dirt.  While we are waiting for the snow to melt, they cut the hole in the basement foundation that will serve as an entrance to the crawl space.  Originally I thought they wouldn’t be able to even start any construction until at least the start of spring, so we are still way ahead of our plan.  At this rate we  may be done before June, so we will get to use our new deck for the whole summer.

Our new puppy, Griffin, is turning out to be an incredible handful, but an absolute joy.  He really enjoys the snow.  During the snow storm last week we had about 16 inches of snow with drifts in areas up to 24 inches.  Griffin had a blast playing in the snow.  At first he was a little tentative but he was soon diving in head first and charging all around the yard.  He was afraid of the snow blower.  The week of the storm my daughter Carolyn was home from college with her cat Ollie and the two of them hit if off after a day or two of getting to know (sniff) each other.  At the end of the break when Carolyn and Ollie had to return to Ithaca, Griffin would look all over the house, even sneaking down the hall to Carolyn’s room looking for Griffin.  Meg and I miss Ollie (and Carolyn too) mainly because he was able to get Griffin exhausted so that he sleeps at night.  Ollie will be visiting for a weekend in early April and then he will be with us all summer starting in late May until Carolyn goes to law school in August.

Of course my surgery to finally remove the cyst from my neck was scheduled for the same day that the storm came, so it was postponed the day before and now won’t be until the beginning of April.  The more time that passes the smaller the cyst gets, but they want to get it out so they can make sure that it isn’t growing inwards.  Now the cyst has reduced in size dramatically since this photo was taken but we still need to get it out.   I did have a major spill in my driveway on the ice/snow and wound up landing on my back.  I landed fairly flat and it was spread over my whole back but then so was the pain.  It took about a week but now I am fairly pain-free except for the arthritis in my knees.  I did have an appointment with the transplant center in early March.  My kidney function continues to remain at 1.0 and my prograf level is also doing well.  I asked if I could stop the prednisone but the answer was no and they may even increase it.  It will depend on my next blood test which is not until the beginning of May.



Two Year Kidney Anniversary

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So this week is the two-year anniversary of my kidney transplant!  It is hard to believe it has been two years since the transplant and so much has happened to both me, and my family.     My kidney disease was a long developing problem that started with my diabetes and at some point I was prescribed a BP med that kind of put me over the edge and shut down my kidneys, but I drove myself to the edge.  My lowest point was during the winter/spring of 2013 prior to starting dialysis on May 2, 2013.  The transplant was a long involved process, but as I’ve detailed that process in earlier blog posts, I’ll skip to my transplant on March 3, 2015!  It came up very suddenly and involved 4 women donating to 4 men.  All 8 surgeries done on the same day at Yale New Haven Hospital.  It has been two years with many ups and downs (health wise), and many ups in my personal life!  Many thanks to everyone that made this possible but two people really stand out.  Meg – the love of my life – was with me thru my dialysis and helped me to put two giant needles in my arm every day, sat with me thru hours of dialysis and then gave a kidney to a stranger so that I could receive a kidney.  And also my donor, Patricia, who just wanted to help someone by giving the gift of life!  I will never be able to thank these two enough!


This past weekend WE picked up our new puppy – Griffin!  By WE, I mean a large contingent that included Kate & Kenny, Carolyn and her boyfriend – we kind of descended upon Fox Creek Farms like an invading army.  We spent the night before in Hagerstown, MD and my sister Carol who came up from Washington, DC.  We had a very nice visit and night out for a very nice dinner.  Griffin is a Goldendoodle that was born on 1/1/17.  At only 8 weeks old he is still very little (weighs only 5 lbs.) but is very cute and lots of fun.  He was pretty quiet on the ride home and alternated sitting on Meg and Kate’s lap, but did get active when we got home.  This week, during the day, it has been just Griffin and me at home working on housebreaking and all the other puppy activities – learning not to chew on everything, playing games, and lots of sleeping.  He sleeps in a box next to our bed, mainly for housebreaking, so if he cries too much we can take him out at night.  It will be a long several months until this process is complete but we will survive.

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Our Spring construction project began today (March 2, 2017), with the taking down of our old back porch.  It was taken down today and the next step is to take out the foundation and dig out the ground for the new, and bigger, foundation.  The dumpster was also delivered today and hopefully the excavation starts tomorrow!  When complete it will be a 16′ x 20′ addition with a 15′ x 10′ attached deck.  The addition will be our new living room and what is now our living room will become a formal dining room.  We have been thinking/dreaming/planning for this since we bought the house 13 years ago, but it wasn’t until the 2016 HGTV Dream House win that this became anything more than just a dream.