Rats!  Rats, I say!!

Rats, both literally and figuratively.  When we built our house at the edge of the desert a year and a half ago, we incorporated an outdoor spa into the landscaping.  The drain hose for the spa is located behind the access panel which is secured with something like five million screws.  I may have exaggerated that number just a touch, but it nonetheless presented a pain in the butt for me to remove the panel every 60 days when I change the water.  So the landscaper simply drilled a hole in the access panel allowing the hose to “hang loose” outside the spa.  The hole was covered up by the steps, it was a perfect solution…..or so I thought. One evening while scurrying in the adjacent desert, Mr. Pack Rat decided to check out our spa.  He discovered my drain hose, but decided that the hole needed to be enlarged so that he would have access to the inside. What a fine job he did!  

 I put out a “contract” on packy, so he should soon be gone, followed by a thorough cleaning up the mess under the spa. Fortunately it does not appear that he did any damage, he was using it to store all the stuff he picked up around the hood, including bait from a neighbors trap!  My friend Jeff, aka the Magical Metal Man, has constructed a metal shield that will fit very tightly around the drain hose.  It will be installed after the cleaning. Solution is in process. 

I began my third treatment today.  I reviewed the results of yesterday’s blood work with my PA.  My blood counts are normal, my kidney and liver functions are right on, my immune system is taking the treatments in stride……but the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) test shows elevated numbers (not good).  The CEA test detects protein associated with the growth of malignant tumors.  A normal CEA number should be less than 2.5 for a non-smoking adult. My CEA number after surgery was 9.3, just before my first chemo treatment began four weeks later it had increased to 10.8 and now, another month has gone by, it increased again to 11.5.  Rats!   Rats, I say!  It’s like I’d been given a placebo chemo regimen resulting in no side effects but no tumor reduction either. A sugar pill infusion?  “Don’t get excited Mr. Asbell, the CEA marker is not definitive.”   It is true that you can have a low CEA number and be riddled with cancer.  Also some initial chemo treatments can cause the number to rise temporarily due to the death of tumor cells and their release of protein into the blood stream. I have only had two treatments and just one with Avastin.  Avastin, the drug that starves the tumors, often takes about three treatments before the results show.  So it’s time for Jimmy to chill.   I will have a CT scan in mid July after my fourth treatment, the CT scan is definitive. 

But since my body is doing so well processing all the chemo drugs, I am allowed to have glass of wine with dinner every other day.  That’s ONE 6 oz glass of wine.  Well, at least it’s a start and we’ll see how it goes.  Tonight it will be a 2010 Atalon Pauline’s Cuvée from Napa Valley.  Chef is preparing filet mignon, with brussel sprouts bathed in Crumpy’s butter sauce and a blend of brown rice and quinoa. Life is good.


14 thoughts on “Rats!  Rats, I say!!

  1. Hoping that the numbers will decline after the next (fourth) treatment. Meanwhile enjoy your vino! We’re keeping the Evening Land LaSource at a cool 58 degrees in our cellar — ready when you are. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mr. Packy has picked on the wrong guy! As the song says, You don’t mess around with Jim.
    A glass of wine every other day is sooo much nicer than none. yippee!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love that you can now have a glass of wine every other day!!! What a treat. And I also believe, based on how well you have been doing with the chemo so far, that the numbers are going to drop dramatically……especially given that you are now going to be putting some really good wine in your body. Positive thinking and good wine will do wonders so let’s keep that going!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah, Mr Jimmy running with the “Rat Pack” got you into many of the finer clubs at night & your all to “Kool” collection of T-Shirts & wine knowledge lets you be
    the leader of the Pack. The songs pour out like 6oz can last forever. The “Birth of the Blues” runs into “Makin Whoopee” to “You’re Nobody Till Somebody
    Loves You” and we do Love you Jimmy. Thanks for sharing the “Good Life” Lee & you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. At the half way point of our Northwest loop road trip we are thinking of you guys. We’re taking in the glorious view of Pinot country from our B&B near Newberg, Oregon. There are so many vineyards and only three days to explore them. (Oh darn.)

    You must have a few favorite wineries in this area. What is your favorite?

    We’re enjoying a wonderful local chilled rose that pairs perfectly with the warm sunny landscape.



    1. I’m so envious!! We suggest you spend some time in Carlton, about a 15 minute drive from Newberg It’s a charming little town dotted with small wineries, tasting rooms and restaurants on the two block Main Street. Dundee on 99W has some great restaurants (Tina’s and Dundee Bistro) are our favorites. The Dundee Bistro is attached to Ponzi’s tasting room. Be sure to visit Argyle, also on 99w in Dundee. Argyle makes very good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but what sets them apart is there sparkling wines. They make the best ” champagne” in the country and it is affordable Domaine Serene and Drouhin are also interesting stops in the hills near Newberg.



  6. Keep the stiff upper lip James. Your reports are so interesting and we’re just glad you can at least have a glass of wine per day. Welcome to the pack-rat desert! They are so f…… busy!


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