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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Bubblegum Music

 

Bubblegum Music. This was the foundation of my interest in music as a young child. By the age of 8 or 9 I knew all the...

Posted by Darryl Curtis on Thursday, December 31, 2020

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Daily Trials & Tribulations

December 27, 2020

Sometimes it's a pretty good day, and I can cook an easy meal or go to the doctor. Other times it's a rather difficult day when I can't do so much. This was one of those days.

I was a whole lot worse this past summer for several months. And it will happen again. It's hard to say.



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Shooters

 


Small Shooter marbles. Most of them handmade. One is worn and deformed from my using it so much.















Antique Marbles

 The oldest marbles I have. I cannot remember where they came from or anything else about them.



Flint Shooters

 Handmade flint and chert marbles. Made in Celina, Tennessee for Rolley Hole players. I've seen them being made. I've played with them many times, mostly the dark one. They are small shooters, perfect for the hand. The championship Rolley Hole tournament is held at Standing Stone State Park every year. Most of the champion players are as old or older than me. The "junior" category is age 35 and below. I have never seen a kid in the game.

I used them some in regular schoolyard or ringer games with others using glass marbles, and the do fine. But someone with a strong shoot would break the glass marbles.
They usually sell for about $20 per marble.
The Kentucky Headhunters sang a song about Dumas Walker playing marbles in the area. Dumas Walker was a real person.
The not-so-real Charlie Brown won a marble championship at Standing Stone State Park in "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown" comic strip.




Crown Royal & Hand Blown Marbles

At some point in the past Crown Royal did some sort of promotion, I think in Canada, when they sold a small bottle of liquor in the bag and came with a plastic bag with marbles inside. Some of the marbles were different than the others and constituted prizes.
A couple of glass blowers got ahold of 13 of the marble bags and empty liquor bottle bags. They then took some marble-making glass rods from Germany and made 4 marbles for each set. Inside each marble design includes flecks of gold. Of course each marble is one of a kind. They put the whole package into a window box and sold them. I got one. It was a rather high price. Of course no one knows if the sack of unopened Crown Royal marbles have a winning marble in it or not.








Wednesday, October 21, 2020

My bag of Marbles

 These are the marbles I carried around with me in a marble bag in case a game ever came up. I carried around about a half dozen small shooter marbles to make sure I always had one that could be identified as mine and not get confused with someone else's shooter on the yard. The smaller player marbles came and went as games were played, due to marbles generally being a "for keeps" game. (And no it's not cruel to keep kids' marbles you win, because marble players of all ages understand that rule.)

Some of my shooters were made by Vacor de Mexico, a major marble company in Mexico. Almost all the marbles they make are collectibles and have names. In there you will see a "Blue Jay" shooter and a "Bumblebee" sitting next to an "oily steely", and a "hot air balloon" in the top left.
I would purposefully let kids win my collectibles as well as have "trades", when we would bargain with each other on marble trades if we like one someone else has.



Fall Creek Falls Shooter Marbles

 In 2004 Hurricane Ivan hit land and came through Tennessee as a tropical storm. It rained 14 inches or more, if I remember right. I was working at Fall Creek Falls, which flooded. Cane Creek got so high and turbulent that the cascades almost completely disappeared because of the height of the water. The road going out the north entrance to the park near the Nature Center was flooded; and the bridge and road were flooded that bypasses the Village area to get from the North to South entrances.

I drove to the FCF main overlook and took this photo. The main falls on the left is the one that comes from Fall Creek Lake; normally a waterfall that we could control how much water was coming off of, depending on the weather, or sometimes state dignitaries visiting. On this day the dam was fully open and water was coming through the spillway too.
The waterfall to the right is Raccoon creek, normally a very small and tame fall or only a trickle.
I took this photo and sent it to a marble company in Virginia, who used it to make the picture on the shooter marbles and added "Fall Creek Falls State Park Tennessee". These were his prototypes. For years the marbles were sold by the Nature Center. I think we ordered several thousand.
The old man who made them used an old fashioned marble tumbler to make his marbles. I'm sure he has passed on by now.
I paid for and kept the prototypes.






My peewees

 


Monday, October 19, 2020

Cancer Update

 The doctor is monitoring my left leg for possible nerve problem. Could be caused by spine compressing on nerve or from cancer growing into my spine. I will have a CT scan soon, and then maybe a MRI to get a closer look.

I've been out of the wheelchair and off the walker for about a month. I'm also off the oxygen. Things are better now than they have been for since early spring.
I hope I'm not headed for another big deterioration issue again. I still can't get the energy to walk next door to see my sister, but I can walk around the yard a little (as long as I can keep my balance).

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Two Years Ago

 Some of the photos I sent to Mason Simpson in bootcamp 2 years ago to help cheer him up. Includes his writings on my signature quilt, among others, and some of my newest handmade boulder marbles. Some have flecks of gold and silver inside of them. Some made from German glass rods used to make marbles that were brought to the US after the war.























Monday, September 21, 2020

Herman Park

 September 21, 2019

Houston Museum of Natural Science
Just a small sampling of the thousands of exhibits in there. Another beautiful day in Houston, TX.

Mason Simpson loves the science museums.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

NASA

September 20, 2019
My last trip to Houston, TX
Thanks to Mason Simpson who carried everything around, pulled me up out of seats and drove for me. The rain was cleared up this day, so we made a trip to NASA Johnson Space Center. It was a great day of fun and learning. Photos include road maps of everywhere we went that day, including my parents house to get them and go out for some Texas BBQ.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Hippie Love or The Love of God

I was alive and remember when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I remember a major desegregation of schools in McMinnville, by busing students across town to make it happen. I was an outcast and bullied by others, so was really never aware of what was going on around me while at school or how the school population changed. I was too busy trying to be invisible.
I remember the equality and racism movement has increased and decreased several times over my lifetime. I also read from the Bible and other books that it has occurred all throughout thousands of years, with no resolutions. It seems that about every race or group of people have had their turn as being enslaved, shunned, or looked down upon.
As a young teen and a college aged person I thought how easy it would be for everybody to simply love one another. I haven't lost those thoughts and still believe it would be so easy. It must be the hippie in me along with the foundation of Christ's teachings.
And in the same way I've had a plethora of friends all my adult life of various ages, looks, races and beliefs. I see some beautiful people who only run with beautiful people. I see young people who only run with other young folks. I see healthy people who only run with healthy people.
I also see people of all ages who cross those lines. I have friends who have friends of all age groups, healthy and unhealthy, races and all. It's nice to see a young person who loves and befriends an older person, suffering from cancer and unable to get around well.
Why can't everybody be like that?

Flooding

September 19, 2019
We were in Houston visiting my parents when remnants of a hurricane hit. I never knew how fast roads in a city can flood and then go away when the rain stops. The road had no water when we left the Galleria, then became worse than even what I recorded here before getting back to the hotel one block away.
Everyone had left work and was on the road to get home. We had to drive back and forth on various roads that were getting so bad. Manholes blowing and damaging cars. We ended up in a parking garage for a couple of hours until the water subsided.
In all my trips to Houston and even living there for some time, I never experienced a flood.

Mason Simpson was a trooper driving through all this.




Thursday, September 3, 2020

3rd Treatment Cycle at Sarah Cannon

I'm no longer in the clinical trial. The doctor said the negative side effects outweighed the positive ones. I will be going back to Tennessee Oncology in Murfreesboro to take Stivarga, the final option the doctors know to try on me.
There was some growth of my cancer, though not as much as each scan over the past 9 months. The doctor said it is not worth having a thoracentesis every week, having to be pushed around in a wheelchair and being on a walker just to walk around the house. I've not even been able to walk to my mailbox and am on oxygen. I am swollen from my waist down and cannot wear my shoes anymore. Fissures are developing on me from the rash side effect where clothes meet my body, around my waist and on the bridge of my nose from the cpap mask.
I don't know how the other subjects are doing in the experiment. When I started the doctor said they've been having some good results.
So here we are with my last resort and the doctor saying I have less than a year to live if we can't find something that works. "Quality of life" is the new focus in my treatment. 🔆

Thursday, August 13, 2020

2020-08-13 Treatment Day

The doctor discussed with me the options of continuing in the study or leaving it. He related it to quality of life and was concerned about how bad off I was last treatment cycle. I told him I'd rather keep going until I get my next CT scan and then use that added information to help make the decision. He lowered my test drug dose from 50mg twice to 40mg twice a day and kept me on my fluid reduction medication. 

I don't go back to see them this treatment cycle, so have to keep aware of my situation and call them if things start to go downhill intolerably. 

It's hard to make decisions like this. As each time I leave a treatment mode, I have fewer and fewer options. I'm running out of them as is. Only one more I know of, and that's Stivarga. 😱

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Treatment Day at Sarah Cannon

 Tuesday

  • I could barely walk and was using my walker.
  • Oxygen level was 78 when I arrived. They put me in a wheelchair and hooked me to an oxygen tank.
  • My blood pressure was high. The nurse said it was probably from my body having to work so hard.
  • Oxygen level went back up after being put on oxygen. But I still couldn't catch a breath.
  • They sent me for a CT scan. It showed fluid buildup around my right lung, not allowing it to expand to breathe.
  • I was scheduled to have the fluid removed the next day.

Wednesday
  • Fluid removal at hospital.
  • Going to be set up on oxygen for home and travel back and forth to treatment.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

2020-07-29 Treatment Day

 

  • Sunday 7/26 started breathing a little wheezy. Got somewhat worse on Monday.
    • April said start taking the pee medicine like I was before the dosage was cut down. Three of that one 20mg pill instead of two. And the 50mg instead of the 25mg of the other.
  • My lower back seems to hurt to the degree my wheezy breathing gets better or worse.
  • I went to dermatology today and they would not see me. The receptionist said that TennCare is my primary insurance (not Medicare), and that they do not accept TennCare. I told her that Sarah Cannon might be paying for it and would she call them. She said it was too hard to get through to them and I should get another dermatologist.
    • She will look for another dermatologist for me to go to.
  • Only take one test drug pill today and then keep taking them as normal.
  • She may change my schedule next week so that I can come and see the doctor while I'm there.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Latest Update

It's been a hard day. I actually cooked a meal to share with my mom, stepdad and sister. I also did a load of laundry. Mother helped me clean up as usual.

I'm worn out and am taking myself to my next oncology appointment this week, which also includes a dermatology appt. in a different place.

It was hard explaining to my mom that I must do all that walking, even if I'm using a walker, as long as I can before defaulting to a wheelchair permanently. And that each and every step I take for the rest of my life will be a struggle in itself.

I think the worst part of having cancer is having it in front of my own parents. I fight hard to keep what I've got, but as time goes by more and more of my abilities disappear. I'll hang on to them as long as I can.

And that's just how it is budrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

2020-07-23 Treatment

 The doctor said:

  • Stay on reduced level of lasix
  • He will have the nurse make an appointment with dermatology about my skin rash
April, the research nurse, said to make day one of my treatment cycle to be the day I go to clinic rather than the day before

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Information About Clinical Trial RM 610

Here is the detailed information about the clinical trial I am currently in at Sarah Cannon Research Center.


The drug has so far given me a rash and acne on my face, neck, head and chest. It's about as bad as the previous drug I was taking, except this one bleeds a lot. So I have blood running down my face often.

It has also caused me to gain about 2 pounds a day, for a total of 30 pounds during my first two weeks. Much of this is fluid, but has caused me to be unable to walk without a walker or to walk across the house without resting.

I have been put on a fluid pill to help with getting rid of some of the swelling. It has helped a lot, but I still need a walker. There are also other problems caused by this that are too difficult and embarrassing to talk about.

I think I mentioned that my second lung biopsy had to be cancelled due to an inability to breath without coughing and wheezing when lying backwards. It may be rescheduled or cancelled completely.

I have to be let out at the door of the hospital and pushed in a wheelchair and cannot walk around my house.

Any other symptoms I have are from the multitude of blood draws, EKGs and ECHOs. I will know if my cancer has been growing or not after my next CT scan in a few weeks.



Friday, July 3, 2020

Finally Back Home

I'm finally home after a week of terrible biopsies, tests and starting new chemo that doesn't even have a name. It's hard being a lab rat. I think they took at least 30 vials of blood on Wednesday. And I'm just getting started. And it won't even make the cancer shrink or go away. I'm so tired, scared and feel all alone.

Birthday Card from Mason Simpson