Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Best Strawberry Pie!

It's that time of year again...time for fresh strawberries! I love the fruit stands that are popping up all over town to sell fresh strawberries, but more than that, I love to go strawberry picking. I clearly remember the days when our three were young...seems like they always ate just about as many as made it to the scale, but that's the joy of going with children. Tara and I went along for the fun as we watched the Nats and Sams pick strawberries for our delicious strawberry pies! In spite of the many berries that were ingested, we came home with quite a haul. This first picture was probably taken just before Samuel took his first bite, after all who could resist such a big, beautiful strawberry?

And now for the Best Strawberry Pie, here is the easy recipe:

1 pie crust (homemade or in my case, the Pillsbury one you simply roll out onto the pie plate)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
4 cups sliced strawberries
3 oz. package of strawberry jello

Preheat oven to 450. Roll pie crust onto a deep pie plate, prick with fork and bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

Heat water, sugar and cornstarch on medium until it begins to bubble. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly with a whisk. Make sure you get rid of all the lumps and it begins to resemble the consistency of pudding. 

Remove from heat and add jello and strawberries stirring well.

Pour strawberry mixture into cooled pie crust and chill until set (at least a couple of hours). Slice and garnish with whipped cream (or Cool Whip). Enjoy every morsel! Think I'll go make another one...

(Of course if you don't want to make a pie, you can't beat a nice bowl of sliced strawberries with a little whipped cream, yogurt, or ice cream for that matter!)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday - 18 Months Post Transplant

On March 28th it was that time again...time to head out to the Duke ABMT Clinic for a visit with Dr. Gasparetto. Though deep down you are always a bit anxious, praying for continued complete response and no detectable M-spike, we also always look forward to seeing the same familiar faces we came to know and love during the whole transplant process. From the ladies in the lab, to the nurses at the desks, to the physicians assistants and coordinators, to the oncologists, we are grateful for their care and dedication to helping those who are battling blood cancers.

And...WE GOT GOOD NEWS once again. Thank you Lord! All lab work looked good, with the last bit of good news coming at the end of last week in an email from Kerry, Dr. Gasparetto's Nurse Practitioner. Here is a snapshot of what she said:

Here are a few more readings for those in the MM world who can relate to the importance of these numbers:

Hemoglobin - 13.2
Hematocrit - .39
Red Blood Cell Count - 4.29
White Blood Cell Count - 4.7 
Platelet Count - 154
Creatinine - .9
Calcium - 9.3

EZ remains on 10 mg. Revilimid every day, as well as Lyrica, Metanx, Valtrex, Oxycontin, and Hydocodone (as needed). Dr. Gasparetto decided to add Celebrex to see if that would help alleviate some of the sacral pain and/or peripheral neuropathy. He continues to receive an Aredia infusion every other month at which time he sees Dr. Kritz. Otherwise, he simply has labs done every month at the CCNC.

In addition, a six month dental check-up this week revealed no cavities, no gum problems and no concerns. This is always good news when it comes to MM and the fear of ONJ associated with the use of bisphosphonates.

And so, we breathe a sigh of relief and feel extremely grateful for good reports. Though life for EZ in this "new normal" is wrought with uncertainty, ups and downs, change, sleeplessness, and most definitely pain, we remain hopeful for our future, and count our blessings. Researchers are working tirelessly for a cure, strides are being made with new treatments, and we continue to have confidence in EZ's doctors and their decisions. The prayers and words of encouragement from our family, friends, and even those who read the blog that we have never met, mean the world to us. Thank you so much for following along in this journey.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter Everyone!

Today is Good Friday, a day to remember all that Christ did for me, and for you, on the cross. I shudder when I think of the pain He endured, not only on the cross, but in the days leading up to the crucifixion. Torture hardly begins to describe it. It is unimaginable to me, and yet it shows me how very much He loves me and what He was willing to do to insure victory over sin and death for those who believe. He was obedient unto death, uttering, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mathew 27:46) He became sin and was separated from His father; it broke His heart.

But the Good News comes on Easter Sunday...the RESURRECTION! "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." (Mathew 28:6)  Because of what He did, hell and death hath no power over those who believe in Jesus, and therein lies our hope. Thank you Jesus!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

We Just Had to Visit Key West!

We just couldn't be halfway to Key West and not take a trip down. My mom has always wanted to go there, so after our wonderful boat ride on Saturday morning, we headed south! It was a beautiful drive with aqua colored water on both sides of us. EZ was totally fascinated by the many former railroad bridges alongside US1, and had read quite a lot about their history before we saw them firsthand.

 No trip to Key West is complete without pictures at the Southernmost Point of the USA:


There are lots of different ways to get around in Key West. You can walk, use a scooter, rent one of these nifty golf carts, or you can enjoy a trolley tour!

Of course no trip to Key West is complete without at least catching a glimpse of Ernest Hemingway's house and the lighthouse, tasting some Key Lime Pie, and snapping some pictures of famous landmarks.


We were beginning to feel hunger pangs, so I did a little research on my phone and found out about a place that is known for it's fantastic grouper sandwiches:  B.O.'s Fish Wagon. As you can see, I don't think we ever would have stopped here had we not read about it, but boy were we glad we did! Outstanding fresh fish sandwiches are served on fresh-baked Cuban bread with B.O.'s famous Key Lime sauce. they also offer burgers, conch fritters, french fries, hot dogs, and other finger foods. Delicious food, nice local feel, VERY casual, laid back and fun!

Conch Fritters

Soon it was time to head back to Duck Key so we sadly bid farewell to the historic Key West seaport.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Our Private Boat Tour of Duck Key!

Many thanks to Van for our own private tour of Duck Key in your "water taxi"!