Friday, July 31, 2009

Marmot family in RMNP

Mother marmot out on
rocky ledge over a snow field, with a young one behind her, in the second photo

How many young marmots can you count in the top photo?*

A young boy standing next to me said that they were
"yellow bellied marmots". Of course that is something
a young boy would know.

*double clicking on the photo will allow you to view it full screen

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Father of Rocky Mountain National Park

Enos Mills, was 14 years old when he moved to Estes Park in 1884 and began exploring the area. He wrote many natualist articles and books describing the region. As an adult he split his time between the mountains he loved and the eastern states.

He became a strong lobbyist for the creation of the region as a national park. In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson dedicated the area as such, winning over mining and logging interests.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blue Mountain Toe

Rocky Mountain National Park is NOT the place to have a broken toe. Lots of hikes missed
and 4o minute miles around the lakes.

Being handicapped didn't help
me understand this sign.

This sign was in a small, 4 cars only trail head parking area.

As much as I respect the handicapped, this made me wonder.

Flowers of Rocky Mtn Nat Park

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Elk and people mix

Not sure it is a good thing. But the Elk don't seem to mind.

**Just a reminder that you can view the photos full screen by clicking on them.

Rocky Mountain National Park -Herds and Hordes

Herds of Elk graze on the tundra at the top of the mountain.

Hordes of people graze in the village below. On fudge and taffy and ice cream and BBQ and beer and burgers. Buying souvenirs and t-shirts. Amazing how the town can hold so many.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Santa Fe Window shopping

Lots of neat stuff in Santa Fe. But my best deal is window shopping. Also had a great chicken enchilada

On the Road Again!

GV to Sante Fe. on Day one.
Started with breakfast at the Apple Farm in Benson. Long day to Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Great as always.
Big festival at the square. Filled with tents
but days activities over. The square in not appealing filled with tents.

Window shopped. All we can afford.
Great Chicken enchiladas.

Of course drove through Hatch, The Chile Capital.

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's his birthday!

Ralph's birthday is today.
Celebrated last night with friends Pam and Dick.
Celebrate tonight with friends Mag and Marianna.

We leave tomorrow for Colorado.

5 days in Estes Park and 5 days in Steamboat Springs.

It will be good to get away.

Buddy is going to stay with Sadie and Mag.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Genetic Counseling -results and cost of health care

Refer to previous blog about genetic testing for the BRAC1 and BRAC2 gene mutation as cause of cancer.

Good news is that I don't have the mutation gene, lessening my chance and the chance of the women in my family for breast cancer.

Guess I will have to blame the wine and not the genes.

Bad news is that this test cost $3,120 and I didn't know this until after the counseling and agreeing to the test.

One of the biggest reasons that the USA spends more $$ on health care than any other country and have less quality, is too many unnecessary tests.

And I think I am an informed consumer.

Hindsight is 20/20 but it is hard to make a decision when pressured by the fear of cancer. And a system that pressures for more tests. Medicare paid for it (so I am told)
Cost effective-no. Who pays for it? We all do!!!

photo Chihul glass art, Phoenix botanical gardens in May

Size does NOT matter

It doesn't matter that I'm small
even if you are 6 feet tall

Poco Taco is my name
If I bite, you are to blame

So put that tongue back in your mouth
between us dogs, I own the South

Monday, July 20, 2009

Showers remembered

This is a photo of Bob, the Blue Footed Booby, in a total cylinder shower in a hotel in Quito Ecuador. Six shower heads.

The first shower I ever had was in nurses training.

The shower in a Las Vegas hotel after seven nights on a raft and bathing in the Colorado River.

The shower in a Northern Minnesota Motel after 7 days at a fishing camp showering by a portable sun heated water bag.

The shower this morning after "no showers" since my breast biopsy June 10th.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Friends Buddy and Poco.

Poco used to go back and forth from GV and Portland Maine in his owners purse, but now stays there.

I want to give many thanks to all my friends who supported me through this cancer journey.

Thanks for:
The prayers from those that pray
The good thoughts from those that don't
The rides to UMC and Az Cancer center
Company killing time
Food and flowers
And the many many cards and phone calls

Friday, July 17, 2009

Final Treatment day

Maggie is ready to boogie again!

The final treatment team. Lexi and Tiffany and Dr. Desai, delivered the last treatment of radiation, extracted the miserable ballon catheter and send me on my way. I look and felt like I took a "whoppin".

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Killing Time while Killing Cancer

The Arizona Cancer Center is a great place to hang out killing time between treatments.
A large waiting are where the gals in the second photo are there to register you and see you get where you need to go. Meanwhile there is coffee, a little Deli and if you are there at the right time you can have a made to order omelet. There is a computer room, a TV room and lots of shelves with books to satisfy anyones reading desires. All with a soft player piano providing music in the background.

And, if you happen to have money saved after eating in the great restaurants around, there is a gift shop with lots of neat things, not all having to do with cancer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Radiation Day 3

My Arizona buddies. Ralph and Buddy.

Saw "Ice Age" 3 yesterday, between treatments. Absolutely loved it. 5* animation. Crisp, colorful and detailed.
Lots of relationships: marital, mother child, siblings. Lots of adventure and action.
A few weeks ago, I watched one and two on cable and I think this is the best.
Ray Romano, Queen Latifa, John Leguizamo and Dennis Leary.

Not doing so good today. Bad night. Fever, drainage and pain.
Hope today improves.

Thanks for all your cards and thoughts,

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cancer Sucks - Radiation Day 1

(top)Dr. Yang PhD, Medical Nuclear Physicist checks all the attachments of the radiation delivery to the the ports extending out of the balloon catheter in my poor little (or not so little) boob.

(center)Dr. Cohen is the Radiology Oncologist in charge of my case and the team.

(bottom)HDR, high dose radiation machine holds the radiation. Here is one of the dosimetrists, Lexi, who does the hands on care and attachment of the 5 ports. In addition, behind the scenes, these professionals do the planning of the dose for delivery of the energy to the tissue that surrounded the tumor.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Books to Film

I love books and I love film.
Several years ago I started a book discussion group that discussed films made from books.

Members are discouraged from stating one is better that the other. Rather, discussion is geared toward examining why and how one is different from the other.

Here are two examples. "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly" was a great book based on a memoir describing a mans experience being so paralyzed that he can only communicate by blinking his eye. A great book and a great film. BUT different. Makes for a good discussion.

Today I saw the movie made from the popular novel "My Sisters Keeper". I have read several novels by Picoult. Although she is always a 'good read', I have been disappointed in too many twist and turns and a resolution that is not believable. IMO
The ending of "My Sister's Keepers" was changed in the movie. This might be a disappointment to people who want the the movie to be 'true to the book'. BUT this is something that is impossible if one wants a good movie made from a good book. Two different art forms -book and film- should be appreciated for what they are and can't really be duplicated.
In this instance, the movie held up and the ending was more satisfying and believable that the book. IMO

See earlier blog on how I define film versus movie. July 25 -Maggie on the Movies

Butterfly Sex

This photo was taken at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. A great place to visit in the winter months.

This week my treatments are at 9 am and 3 pm at UMC.

How to kill 6 hours in Tucson? We will find out. There are lots of things to do in Tucson but less in the hot summer.

Today 108 degrees.

This week 15 soldiers died in Afghanistan and Irag

My genetic counseling and testing -$3,120.

Unemployment is up.

Health Care Reform struggling. "Profit over People"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Contura Ballon Catheter

The day after the ballon was inserted I had to go UMC Radiology Oncology to check the placement of the catheter in the lumpectomy cavity. The Contura catheter has 5 ports so that the team can deliver the radiation in the shape or contour of the cavity targeting adjacent breast but staying away from the skin or chest wall. In addition to high dose targeted radiation therapy, this procedure is over in 5 days instead of the usual 35 days for standard radiation therapy.

On Monday we start treatment with procedures at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Friday, July 10, 2009

UMC Radiation Oncology Team

This is my team. I met them this morning when I went in with my balloon in place.
First I had a CT scan simulation. After the MD inserted contrast media into the balloon I went into the CT scanner to define exact location and size of treatment area.

From there we, the team, Ralph and I, went to another area for "Port Films" where the 5 ports of the balloon were measured and xrays taken to assure placement in the breast cavity. The size of the balloon is 50 cc's. For those of you not familiar with cc's, this is just short of two shots of your favorite______
More on the balloon and its function on tomorrows blog.

Team: On either side -radiation therapists. The blond in the back actually runs the machine, the two tall gentlemen are Medical physicists. The gal in the black shirt in the front is a VIP; a Very Important Person. She is a Dosimetrist. She calculates dose, energy and treatment fields.

After my studies, Ralph and I went to Mimis. These trips are very bad on my diet. While we were doing this, MY TEAM gets together and confers, looking at all the data and plans out the treatment program.

to be continued


Yesterday was a long one. Just a taste of the long
ones ahead of us.
Left GV at 12:00
Lunch at Beyond Bread =yumm
1:30 Az. Cancer Center - Ultrasound. Dr. Michele exam - "Good Cavity"
2:30 Nuclear Medicine at UMC. Met Dr. Davias -Resident in Radiology Oncology and a neat little red haired Scottish lady named Dr. Cohen.
4:30 Back to Az. Cancer Center for insertion of


home at 7:30 p.m. be continued

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Theater in Town

The Retreat on S. Abrego is GV's newest senior living community. And they have a real theater.
Better yet, they are allowing Olli to have their film classes there. In the fall semester I will be doing a foreign film festival and Alma will be doing documentaries on food and water.

I will also be leading my "Books to Film" series in this theater the 2nd Wednesday of every month starting in October.

Be alert to the dates of these fun film events.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Genetic Counseling

I went into counseling thinking that there would be nothing in it for me. No breast cancer in my family. Nada, Nunca, Zero. All died of old age and heart disease. But after the counseling session I realized that I did have a one in eight chance of having a mutation of these genes. Men can pass on the gene and it can show up in men as prostate cancer.

Long story short we decided to go ahead with the genetic testing. Medicare pays for it if you have cancer under the age or 4o and/or have a second cancer. I fill both these critera. AMEN to

The test is for mutations of genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes are present in both males and females and are tumor supressors. If you have mutations of this gene you don't have this protection.

photo: niece Heather, Maggie and twin sister Mary, in Puerta Vallarta

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cancer Sucks - Next chapter

Cancer sucks: time, money, gasoline

Today: 8:15 left G.V.
Bone scan UMC
9:30 IV Injection of radioactive liquid

Kill 3 hours.
-Bkfst at the "Egg Connection" at Winterhaven Mall
-Tucson Mall - Macys now has a covered parking area . Lots of sales. Out of business; Eddie Bauer and J.Jill

12:30 back to the UMC nuclear medicine for bone scan
45 minutes - not as enclosed as an MRI but nearly so. The hard part for me is being absolutely still.

2:30 Genetic counseling and decision about genetic testing. More about that tomorrow,
Total= 89 miles and 9 hours
Photo: 2005 Prague Astronomical Clock

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Maggie on the Movies

How I label movies:
*Films =Independent, story is essential, low budget, less distribution, unknown actors, theme begs to be discussed.

*Movies=Studio productions, wide distribution, well known actors, can be comedy or drama or dram-edy or animation.

*Picture shows= Big noisy block busters, lots of action, big name actors, directors and producers. Story doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Waltz Bashir - 2** Film -From Israel- Unique animation. Memories on war on Lebanon
Public Enemies 3*** Darn good picture show. Dillinger, the bank robber.
The Proposal 4**** Movie - Sandra Bullock, Betty White, a fluffy white dog and Sitka Alaska. What more could you want from a Romantic Comedy