A note and a couple of pictures

I talked with my mom yesterday, a couple of times. There isn't a lot going on. She is getting an INR machine for home to measure my dads blood. The biggest deal about that is that it means less trips to the doctors. I think the chemo is starting to take a slight toll on dad, but nothing crazy. Apparently his mouth is hurting and some things like that. Uncomfortable things which are the worst. Mom bought a web cam so we can keep visual contact while we are on our trip. It remains to be seen if we can get it working.

Anyhow...here are a few pictures I have lying around the computer.

Trip post #2

Since there is nothing to report from Orion I will give a short update on our upcoming trip.

We have prepared, fixed, replaced and otherwise cleaned our house in preparation for the arrival of, we'll call them, "The Norwegians". Actually there are a super nice couple with a daughter who is a little younger than Sam. They are excited to get here and we are working out all of the details like using computer networks, the availability of coffee, and discussions on where to ride bikes and such.

We are leaving Wednesday night (2/4) at around 8:00 pm and flying into London. We are staying in London for a couple of days to take in the sights. For some reason Sam knows all about Big Ben and Beefeaters. We are flying from London to Oslo on Sunday, taking a train from one end of Oslo to the other, and then flying from Oslo to Alesund arriving Sunday evening.

Some interesting things have cropped up that we didn't anticipate. We had to call our health insurance company to allow us to get prescriptions for 6 months of medication. Sara is getting her braces removed for 6 months since she won't have an orthodontist to regularly care for her teeth. She is VERY excited about this. Sara will be attending school in Norway as our host family has set this up with the school down the street. She gets to go to school without the drag of actually being required to do the work. Don't tell her but we are gonna make her do the work and then some. Sam is sad to leave his school behind, but is even more upset he can't take his dog. All in all though we are excited and can't wait to get on with this adventure that has been months in the making.

More from Orion as it arrives. Hope for continued boredom from that front.

Shhh....you'll jinx it.

Told you I was running out of titles.

Just talked to Mom. All is well. Chemo #4 is done with no incidents. Sunny is in her new temporary home in Orion as a helper dog.

My mom reports that blood levels are at or around where they should be, so I won't bore you with the actual numbers. Rumor has it that dad is moving about without the assistance of, well.... assistance. I'm not sure if he has ditched the cane entirely, but Tim said he was moving around pretty well without it. They were in Alton yesterday after an overnight stay to pick up the dog, so there was also an adventure on the schedule. Sounds like the doctor has put a damper on my dad driving, but that is probably for the best for a while. Better to limit the opportunities for bad luck lately. I think that about covers it for now. Talk to you soon.


Larry's classmates from Galesburg

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Did anyone think they would ever see this?

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Gonna be a Sunny day in Orion

Sunny the dog is coming to Orion. Probably against my better judgement and being out of options, our dog Sunny is leaving tomorrow for Orion. I talked to my mom and dad and they both seem to have it worked out. I think my dad is looking forward to her visit. She kept him company over our Christmas visit. Sleeping alongside him during his naps and hanging out with him otherwise.

Monday is chemo day #4. Everything seemed good when I spoke with dad earlier. He is having some buddies from high school visit today. I don't remember who. Someone can chime in if they know. I'll talk to mom, dad, or both from the road tomorrow and find out how chemo and all the blood tests went. Until then.....heeeeeere's Sunny!

Message from Orion.

We want to thank everyone for their concerns, calls, and prayers. You all are very special and we couldn't be without your support. Keep the prayers going, as he has a long road ahead, but is improving. We are taking each day at a time and some are better than others, but he keeps plugging away. Thanks again Larry and Wilma

Trip post

Hi all...until I talk to Orion I don't have anything new, but in the interest of content I decided to give you some information on the upcoming trip to Scandinavia.

First, and don't even ask me details because it is a sore subject, we have to get our dog to Orion. It has turned into one of the silliest episodes of the trip. I am driving to Nashville, TN this weekend to meet my brother. There we are undertaking the old double secret handoff. He is going to turn around and drive the dog to St. Louis and eventually the dog will be staying in Orion as long as she doesn't pose a problem.

Second thing....to keep Sam from getting sad at the prospect of leaving his dog for 6 months, we had to tell him about a funny fact about our exchange in the Netherlands. We will be staying outside of an urban area and the family has some pets Sam needs to take care of. Chickens! Sam has been appointed "Animal helper". He loves the idea....for now.

We have almost completed our "How to use the Carroll home" manual. I had no idea taking care of a pool had so many steps until I had to write it all down, take pictures and try to explain how to do it considering the users of the document won't be native speakers of English. We heard from our Norwegian friends that their daughter Celine keeps asking how many days until they get to Florida and one of the main reasons is the pool. Lastly...here are some pictures of our Norwegian home for 6 months. I think you can spot some mountains in the background.

On this day things are good.

Just a quick note on an historic day. Regardless of your politics it is good to get a fresh start and a wake up call. 

My dad has always been an inspiration to me and I'm reminded today the many reasons why. Too often in the past few years I have encountered people who are only looking our for their best interests. This is not the way my father operates, not the way I operate, and apparently and hopefully, not the way this in this country will continue to be. I am glad he is getting better and is still here so I can tell him these things. I know that this blog is intended to be a way to communicate to everyone his condition and efforts, but as corny as it sounds, I wanted to take a moment to say "I love Larry". Today just reminds me.


If they can land a plane in the Hudson...

...then we can all keep positive and optimistic. Big busy day for mom and dad on Monday with a thousand appointments and places to go. I'm trying to think of something new, but I've mentioned the weather 50 times, appointments are boring, the run of bad luck out of Orion continues, but doesn't involve my dad....not sure where to go. I think I'll dig up a couple of pictures and add them to this post, that's always fun. 

I sent my mom a link to be an author on the blog since she said she tried to type a message to everyone here in one of the comment forms. I'm not sure when or if we will see a message from her, but keep checking. 

Trip stuff: We got the key to the Norwegians house yesterday in the mail and the list of things to do before leaving is dwindling. 17 days.


I know I keep talking about how cold it is, but it was 30 degrees in Tampa this morning when I woke up. I think I'm getting paid back for harassing you "below zero'ers".

I talked with both mom and dad yesterday and all is well. All of my dads "numbers" are good and recovering from the hit they take after chemo. He still has his hair, which is one of his main concerns. After a car accident in 2001 he apparently doesn't have a good looking skull. Since he never was a big hat wearer, eventually it is gonna be a tough decision. Message to you humorous Cub fans out there...DON'T send any Cub hats. That was for you Locander. I know how you think.  I don't think they had any plans today except to stay out of the weather.

Trip note:
We have finalized our plans and prepared to turn over our house to almost complete strangers for 6 months. I have cleaned and prepared our house better for these people that I have for myself. I was inspired by my visit to Orion to fix my garage and arrange my tool box since I saw that my dad had all of his screwdrivers arranged by size and type. We have a variety of contact options if anyone is interested.

Skype: jon.carroll01
Phone number that will ring wherever we are: 813-435-6241
jcarroll01@verizon.net, jon.carroll@apcc.com, jencarroll01@verizon.net

That ought to cover it for now. Typing about the trip reminded me I have to go get Sara's online school account setup.

Talk to you soon, Jon

Chemo #3

Hello all.

25% of the way thorugh chemo treatments and all is well so far. The biggest complaint I hear from Orion these days is the temperature and the amount of snow. They don't even complain about that as much as I cringe when I hear about it.

The doctor seems very pleased about my dads progress and I had to remind my mom where we were a couple of months ago and how much better things are. Please read a comment posted by Colleen on the previous post titled "Just checking in". She has a good run down of their visit and how my dad seems to be faring.

On that note....a couple of people have noted that they don't see the comments I'm referring to. Please see the picture below and click any title to show the comments for that post. There aren't that many of them, but they are there. The only reason I think people may not see them is that once you click the title you see the post again and would have to scroll down to see any comments.

That's it for now. Rehab today, followed by some newspaper reading and who knows what else.

Just checking in

I'm adding to my wide library of sayings and cliches that mean "Nothing new". Today's saying is: "Nothing to see here, move along." On that note I've added a number of blog links to the right hand side of the page. Most of them are blogs that I check when I need a good laugh or a trivia question for the bar. It will also make me feel better to have links to other sites when all I have to type about is, well, not much. 

I did talk to dad today and Paul and Colleen the day before that. Things seem to be the same as they have been. I'm glad someone stopped in to say hi. I think there have been fewer visitors lately and that's ok too. There's probably a happy balance between too few and too many visitors. When people come by I think he tries to take it up a notch  so they don't think he's different. I saw that during our hectic visit over Christmas that this type of activity caused him to talk, walk, and think more than usual and by the end of the visit he was doing better. Tired, but better.

As long as things stay quiet I've talked to my mom and a couple of people about using the blog to post information about our trip to Europe that starts in like 3 weeks. If this bothers anyone in any way, let me know. I certainly don't want to take the focus away from the intent of the blog.

We leave for London on February 4th, spending a few days there before we move on to Alesund, Norway for 3 months. Strangely enough weather.com had shown the temperature there to be 41 degrees the other day. Somewhere around April 25th we will be moving on to Middelburg, Netherlands, or more accurately, somewhere near there. We will be in the Netherlands for 4 weeks, travelling to Madrid, Spain for a week, and after that to our final destination, Gothenburg, Sweden. We arrive home around the beginning of August. Just in time for the kids to start back to school.

Again...if tales of "the trip" are a distraction to anyone, please let me know. I won't be offended and it will help me decide how to proceed. jcarroll01@verizon.net

Thanks for checking in. Chemo round #3 tomorrow. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Love, Jon

The man himself

Most of the time I call my mom answers and I end up using all of one or both of our time and I don't get to talk to dad. Today I called and lo and behold he answered the phone. Let's get all of the "How's he sound?" stuff out of the way. He sounds good, still trying to beat a cold that we probably gave him during our visit. He caught me up on what he has been doing which pretty much consists of reading the paper, listening to books, and being bounced from appointment to appointment. He told me he has chemo on Monday and that he hasn't gotten to the point yet that he doesn't want to go or that it is anything but an event. Hopefully it just stays that way. He gives me much more detailed conversation that before and it's good to hear him feel better.

On another note....with all the comedians in our group of family and friends I expected at least one comment on the family photo...chickens. C'mon Locander, I know I can count on you.

Seems dad was also expecting a visit from Pat and Leo, so I hope to hear from them and get some real, on site scoop.

That's it for now.


Nothing, Nill, Nada

There ya go. No news = good news.

Blood numbers bounce around here and there, but nothing serious or worth medical intervention. In fact, the level they are having more trouble with is just a matter of adjusting medication.

Rehab today, lunch out, and there was the possibility raised of going to the movies. Sounds almost like a normal couple huh? Things are going well enough that my mom is making appointments for herself and getting things done for her...a good sign.

Chemo #3 coming up on Monday. We'll see how that goes and go from there. I'll keep blogging little notes about everything, otherwise I will get out of practice, so bear with me while I try to find interesting things to say.

I'm scanning the family picture we had done over the Christmas break so you guys can have a little fun at our expense. (Pending)

2009 +

Since there isn't much to tell from Orion, I'll give you what I have and update where I left off in the previous post....

Making it through the weekend is a big deal anymore. There isn't much medically to do but sit and wait to see if Mondays blood tests are ok. That's where things are. Dad is doing fine, watching some football, reading the paper and checking why I'm calling a couple of times a day when nothing fun is going on. Blood tests and rehab...keep it nice and boring as far as I'm concerned.

My last post closed with a quick blurb about me and my family travelling to Europe come Feb. 4th. The only reason I bring it up is that I will have even more distance between me and Orion and I'll be relying on my brother and others for updates rather than getting them and giving them as much as I have. The other thing to note is that we will be gone for 6 months and if anyone is planning travel in and about Orion while I'm gone, then you have to fill in for me.   : )

See ya Monday!

2009 off to a good start

I'd love to write all sorts of new and interesting things here, but most of the time new and interesting equals something disheartening.

Dad is home and all blood levels and other medical jargon things are good. I talked with him the other day and he seems to have had a turn for the better in his speech and content. He has been content simply to repeat what you say back to you in an effort to avoid giving it much thought. I don't blame him. He has kicked the "stroller" (his name for a walker) aside and has chosen to upgrade to a cane. None of this sounds all that groundbreaking, but they are good steps that are encouraging.

We are a couple of days from a week into chemo treatment #2. I think that is the period of time that is most concerning to doctors. 

Couple of side notes: My family and I have had a 6 month home exchange trip to Europe planned for almost a year and we will be leaving in February. We leave Feb 4th and it will be quite an adventure. Details to come.