MRI of both the Neck and the Brain – Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

We went to Kaiser at 6:30 am this morning so that Erin could have MRIs of both the brain and the neck. Erin enjoyed seeing her buddies on the staff there whom she has been seeing at least twice a year for the past 7 1/2 years.

She was supposed to see Dr. Lallana, her neuro-oncologist, for a routine semi-annual appointment this afternoon. But, when the receptionist in the MRI office called up to his office to see if he could see her earlier, she found out that he was out sick. So, Erin’s appointment to see Dr. L has been changed to next week.
The pain in the back of her neck due to the benign Desmoid tumor on her trapezius muscle has been causing a lot more pain lately, so that is why she had the new MRI on the neck now instead of waiting another 3 months. Dr. Morse, the musculo-skeletal oncologist in Orthopedics at Kaiser in Oakland called me in the late afternoon. He had read the neck scan and said that the Desmoid tumor had grown about a cm (about 0.4 inch) in all directions. 3 months ago it was about 2.3 inches by 1 inch.

Again, the possible treatments are surgery which has a high recurrence rate, hormone treatment with tamoxifen, or radiation treatment which long term can actually induce small cancers. Right now Erin wants to do nothing and will probably see what the change is in another 3 months.

After the MRIs, we stopped by JimBoy Tacos to get a breakfast burrito, but they weren’t open yet! We had been up for 3 hours!


Clark; Erin having Tortilla Soup – Thurs. Jan. 19, 2017

Erin loved Costco’s tortilla soup. We also like Costco’s quiche which we had for breakfast and their mashed potatoes which we had for dinner.

Clark and I took Patricia to the airport around 11 this morning. This is the first time that she has stayed for as long as 3 weeks, and we enjoyed every minute of it. She is so helpful. She brought her own mixture of coffee and decaf and made coffee for herself and Clark before I ever entered the kitchen in the morning. She also unloaded the dishwasher whenever needed, and helped with preparing dinner. Tonight at bridge 2 people asked where she was. They missed her, too!


Clark Erin Patricia at Espanol – Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Clark Erin and Patricia are about to enjoy a good Italian dinner at Español restaurant on Folsom Blvd.

We ate out again tonight enjoying good minestrone, great salad, delicious bread, along with our entrees, capped off with vanilla or spumoni ice cream and coffee or tea. Erin and Clark had gone to Weiner Schnitzel for lunch, so when I told Erin we were going to dinner, she said she wasn’t going to go and just wanted to sleep. When I told Patricia that Erin wasn’t going, Patricia sighed in disappointment. Erin heard Patricia, and changed her mind, and went with us.

Tomorrow is our last day of bridge … 2 sessions. Then Patricia leaves on Thursday. it has been fun. I had suggested that Patricia stay longer this year to avoid the Denver weather, but Sacramento has been COLD … too cold to take a walk. Just checked and my phone says that the high today was 52. But, the wind and humidity make it feel much colder than that.


Erin Patricia Marie Clark at Cafe Bernardo – Mon. Jan. 16, 2017

Tonight we met a bridge friend, Marie, for dinner at Cafe Bernardo in the Pavilions Shopping Center. Conversation was lively with Erin actively participating. Erin had not met Marie before, but had seen photos of her, and liked Marie instantly. Marie was very patient at trying to figure out what Erin was saying.


Paco & Tommy – Sat. Jan. 14, 2017

This photo was taken last night when Paco and Tommy were eating out in Traverse City with their Haas grandparents, Mike and Judy.

Paco saw his orthopedist yesterday who said the shoulder was healing nicely. The doctor cleared Paco to bowl, but not to ski. Paco was bummed to have to wait a couple of weeks before he can resume skiing.

Erin is really enjoying having her aunt Patricia to talk to. When Erin hears our voices , she comes to the kitchen.


Lunch with Aunt Joan in Vacaville – Wed. Jan. 11,2017

Today we met Joan, Ralph, and Patricia at Fenton’s Creamery in Vacaville, and brought Patricia back to Sacramento with us.

Last night when the rain was pouring down, Erin didn’t plan to go with us. But, fortunately, today was bright and sunny. And, Erin was bright snd sunny, too. She spoke in long sentences, and conversed easily.

Aunt Joan and Erin

Ralph Patricia, Joan,Barb, Clark, Erin

We had shoved all of the dishes to one side to take the other photos. So, Clark wanted his picture taken with the dishes.

All but Ralph had crab sandwiches. Ralph had a chocolate shake for lunch.


Barb Clara Denise Patricia – Monterey – Sun. Jan. 8, 2017

Clark and I arrived home in the pouring rain this afternoon about 4 pm. Erin was by herself, but very cheerful. Colleen left yesterday morning to return to Boulder. In the afternoon Shannon came and took Erin to meet Vivian in Davis. They saw a movie and visited with Vivian afterwards.Then Brandon came and spent Saturday night with Erin. So, she seem to have been well-cared for.

When we left Monterey, the rain was pretty light for the first hour. But, then it really poured for the next hour to Alamo (south of Walnut Creek) where we dropped Patricia off to visit with my sister, Joan, for 3 days. Joan and husband Ralph are in their new home in Alamo which was formerly their daughter Janet’s house. Joan served us a hearty soup lunch. Then we left about 2 pm concerned about the weather. My brother Jim and Beate had been invited to lunch, but decided not to risk the slippery roads. We did see 2 spinouts on our way home, but fortunately, no flooding. I drove the Alamo to Sacramento segment, and I was very glad when it was over.

The photo below is of our bridge team for Friday and Sat. There is a glioblastoma connection. About 3 years ago we played with Denise and another partner of hers on a team. When Denise got home she was researching her cousin’s son’s doctor, Dr. Lallana, because her cousin’s son had been recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. When Denise googled Dr. Lallana, she was referred to this blog, and found a recent post of a picture of Patricia and me with our siblings. We had not discussed that our relatives had brain tumors, so it was quite a coincidence.  See the blog, Tumor world and bridge world get linked – Sept. 6, 2013

Then, the next tournament, Denise brought a new partner, Clara, to join our team. It turns out that Clara’s mother was one of the only other 2 women in my Physics classes at Berkeley 60 years ago. And her mother had been to my family’s house for dinner a couple of times. Small world.

Clara and Denise are a lot of fun. Clara is a go-getter and made dinner reservations for us at 2 restaurants we had not been to before in our 13 years of going to Monterey. One of the restaurants was the Sandbar & Grill. I had the sand dabs. They were to die for…. the best fish that I have had in a long time.

Denise is holding the 7NT card and Clara is holding the Redouble card. When you play tournament bridge, you do not verbalize your bids. Instead you make your bid with cards from a bidding box.