Posted By: kml I Will Survive! - 07/28/20 09:43 PM
Last thread: https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2893688&page=1

Naming my thread this time so we all will be reminded to hum along with Gloria Gaynor as we pass through 2020. wink

New drama on the WW2 illicit romance front (CMM thinks it would make a good premise for a novel).

I believe I have identified the man who cheated with my father's first wife. I have found birth record and an enlistment record that seems to match him (name including middle initial and "jr", plausible age just 3 years older than her, and prior occupation as a telegraph operator which would square with him being a warrant officer teaching the signal corps. in New Orleans during the war, as per his letters.) If this is indeed him, then he also got married in New Orleans in September of 1943.

Now as you may remember, two of the letters that I have were written by him to his lover in July 1943. Flirting, talking about strolling the waterfront after he saw her, and talking about his girlfriend being in Washington and says "I wouldn't want her to know I was going to marry someone else - I suspect she thinks things will be patched up". He also says "darling. I've had plenty of time to think about it and don't you think I know what I want?"

Sounds like a guy who still wanted her to leave my dad and go with him - even though she was 7 months pregnant with my father's child (at least my dad believed the second one was his, even though he read these letters, so I'm guessing when she got pregnant the second time they did not live near this guy). And yet he gets married at the end of September just two days after my half-brother was born. DRAMA!

Sounds like my father's wife broke it off with him - or the reality of her having a child with my dad finally hit him - and he went ahead and "patched things up" with the Washington girlfriend. Which would explain why he wasn't available to marry her when my father divorced her.

He doesn't appear to have died in the war either - he lived until 1977 and died in San Diego. (Lots of ex military here).

Fascinating. Hard to imagine what she was thinking. My dad, btw, was charismatic, extroverted, fun, good looking, smart, hard-working. Nothing about his life with my mother would suggest that he would have been a bad husband to his first wife in any really significant way.
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 07/29/20 12:28 PM
Originally Posted by kml
Fascinating. Hard to imagine what she was thinking. My dad, btw, was charismatic, extroverted, fun, good looking, smart, hard-working. Nothing about his life with my mother would suggest that he would have been a bad husband to his first wife in any really significant way.
Personally I believe that in many cases that the person who cheats has a decent spouse at home. One of the reasons they feel confident enough to go a-wandering is that they know that the home fires are well tended.

If the 1/2 dozen or so cheating spouses I personally know, I can only think of 2 where they were married to a jerk.

I have a hard time believing that it's a "thing" but I understand that there's a whole sub-culture of "predatory" people looking for happily married spouses to poach. An acquaintance of mine once said that if he were ever going to cheat on his wife that he would pick a married woman because she would have too much to lose to get attached. On the other hand I've heard of women targeting men who seem to be stable, good providers.

Ah life's mysteries.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 07/29/20 04:04 PM
I don't think this guy was that kind of predatory person (although perhaps my father's first wife was. it's entirely possible that she only married my father for her green card but misled him into thinking she was really in love with him in order to get it. ) The letters from the lover make it clear he's really besotted with her and would like for her to leave my father and marry him. She may just have been someone who wanted to have her cake and eat it too. Maybe she led the lover on making him think she might leave my father when she had no intention of doing so. Maybe she just needed to stay longer with my father until she got her citizenship (I have no idea how it worked in the 1940's, I think today you have to be married at least five years and any breakup in the relationship sooner than that would trigger suspicions that it was a fake marriage.)
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 07/29/20 04:05 PM
Also it's interesting that he avoids actually saying my father's name in the letters - presumably out of guilt. He calls him "what's his name" or "that man'. I guess if you're going to cheat with a man's wife it's too real if you acknowledge the husband as a person with a name.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 07/29/20 07:09 PM
Apparently a new act regarding naturalization was enacted in October of 1940, we are trying to find out the actual wedding date of my dad and his first wife, perhaps they rushed to get married before that act because it was easier before to become a citizen through marriage?
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 07/30/20 04:02 PM
I have also found that OM divorced his wife after 11 years of marriage, no children. Poor woman - she may never have known that she married a man who was in love with someone else.
Posted By: Dawn70 Re: I Will Survive! - 08/03/20 07:20 PM
Very interesting stuff, kml. I've been following along, but haven't commented because what could I possibly say, but it is interesting for sure.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/03/20 11:09 PM
Yeah it's quite fascinating. But then, it's very abstract to me. I can't begin to guess what my half-brother's reaction to finding out would be, which is why we are approaching it very cautiously and trying to find out a little more info first.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/05/20 08:41 PM
Can I just vent a little bit today? About my fellow physicians?

Mind you - most physicians start with the best of intentions, are very intelligent, and being a doctor is hard. Especially today when so many work in managed care and have to see too many patients in too little time - burnout is a serious problem for them. I get it.

Nonetheless - in the last 15 years it seems like I have witnessed a rise in stupid doctoring that I really didn't see in my earlier years as a physician. So much so it makes me wonder sometimes what they are teaching in medical school these days!

My latest experience - I saw a young friend of my middle son's (for free because he doesn't have the money to see me). He has absolutely classic symptoms for a rare (1 in 5,000 people) autoimmune neurological disease. It's something we ALL learned about in medical school (because the mechanism was understood even when I went to school, and it's a kinda cool disorder to study because it demonstrates some basic principles about nerves and synapses and how they work).

He belongs to a large staff-model HMO which generally provides good care and is one of the main providers in our area. He has seen his neurologist (who treats him for migraines) and has seen not one but two neuro-opthalmology specialists (because the presenting symptoms often involves the eyes). He had a single antibody test to rule out this rare disease. (He also had a brain MRI which was normal).

Now granted this is rare - I knew one woman socially who had it 20 years ago and think I might have seen a case in medical school - that's it. And I'm certainly not up to date on the latest info so I did spend a little bit of time looking up current recommendations. But even a cursory search shows that he is being completely mishandled by his doctors.

1) The antibody test he had is positive in 85% of cases. But of the remaining 15%, 1/2 have a different antibody. This test should routinely be done if the first test is negative (Labcorp even has a test that is set up to automatically do the second test if the first is normal). Yet none of his physicians recommended it nor would they order it. They simply insisted he didn't have it because the first antibody test was negative.

2) One of the doctors told him he couldn't have the disease because he wasn't female (most cases in his younger age group are female). Well - he's a transgender man who was born female and it's all over his chart! Plus things like that are never absolute.

3) One doctor told him he couldn't have it because his eye drifts inward instead of outward (even though it has also gone outwards on occasion and the general problem is caused by muscle weakness which can affect ANY of the muscles around the eyeball).

4) That same doctor told him it must be a problem inside the eye socket - even though he also has facial muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing and weakness in his arms! Please tell me how a mechanical problem in the eye socket is going to cause all those other symptoms?

5) There is an old bedside test for this disease (which is in all the medical textbooks and on the websites for this disease) called the Ice Pack Test. The muscles become weak on repeated use. A droopy eyelid can be tested by putting an ice pack on the area for 3-5 minutes and seeing if the symptom resolves. (This is just a temporary fix but a diagnostic test that relies on the fact that a particular enzyme is slowed in the cold, improving nerve transmission). So, I had him do some facial exercises to wear his muscles out, and we were able to produce the one-sided facial drooping and turning inward of his left eye. Then he put an ice pack on his face for 3-4 minutes and it all went back to normal. He took photos before and after which clearly demonstrate the change. (Really, they could be textbook illustrations). He sends them to his most recent neuro-opthalmologist who denies they have any relevance but finally agrees to send him to the neurologist who treats most of the patients with this disorder.

Honestly, this case should not be hard. The onset of symptoms, the pattern of symptoms, the history, the positive Ice Pack Test - really you could pretty much diagnose it clinically even without antibody tests or an EMG (which is the other indicated test). There's really not another good explanation for all these symptoms than this one rare disease. And the only thing that's changed since I went to medical school in the 80's is that there are more antibody tests for the rarer forms - treatments really haven't changed in all that time.

I'm smart but I don't have any specialized knowledge about this disease, only what I learned in medical school and what I could easily learn now by reading just a few things. ANY doctor SHOULD be able to do this. Simply listen to the patient, read a little bit, and do a good physical exam. WHY IS THIS SO F-ING HARD???????

Grrrrr. I'm glad he has me in his corner. I wrote a detailed letter about his diagnosis that I hope will light a fire under the doctors there. (Sometimes when an outside doctor documents in writing the need for certain tests they will do them because of medicolegal liability). But none of this should have been necessary. Even if his primary care doctor couldn't make the diagnosis, he saw THREE specialists in neurology who should have been much more familiar with the workup and diagnosis than I am.

Ok - rant over. I just had to vent. Any of you struggling with stupid doctoring, I feel for you. Keep advocating for yourself.
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 08/06/20 02:25 PM
Originally Posted by kml
Sometimes when an outside doctor documents in writing the need for certain tests they will do them because of medicolegal liability
LOL - This is the case in any environment.

We had an issue with tightening the caps on a particular type of container. For years. Because we didn't have the right wrench. The operator ended up using a hammer to tighten the cap which is - ahem - not ideal. We don't get these containers in very often but when we do there are always concerns about ensuring the caps are properly seated.

When I came on the scene I got an ear-full from the operator about this. He was very frustrated. So I made some noise. One of the engineers (yep - an actual engineer) took a picture to show that the wrench we had for similar caps wasn't the right size.

So - the next time these showed up to be filled, I went down to the plant, made a cardboard template and from that a set of CAD drawings on exactly how a new wrench (which I was assured maintenance could make) needed to be set up and sent that over to them. The next day I got some grumbling in an email from maintenance about buying a new wrench with poor links to wrenches that were the wrong ones.

I checked with the operator a day or so later and it seems that maintenance went out, cut some extra notches in the wrench he already had, bent the arms so that it could be used on these containers and it was all good. An easy fix that probably only took about an hour or so.

I figured that it took me - as the "outsider" pointing out that "hey - we can do better" to get them to do their job - which should have been done about 5 years ago.

I had no issue with the fact that the effort I took to make my template etc was all "wasted" - it got the right people off their butts and doing their jobs. So - not wasted at all.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/06/20 03:52 PM
Yeah - funny what we get used to and stop thinking about until someone else comes in and points it out. When n school I had a wooden coffee table with a round top and square base. I had it for years and honestly it never occurred to me not to line the base square up with the sofa. One day my then-boyfriend put it with the base diagonal to the sofa and it looked so much better! I just never thought of it lol.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/12/20 04:07 AM
Not much new here. I put the teal slip cover and new pillows on the sofa and it looks much better - I can definitely live with that for a while.

CMM got another monthís reprieve from chemo, which is nice - his CT scan showed slight enlargement of some nodules but they were less dense and radiology seemed to think it was due to a treatment effect.

Iím still advocating for that young man with the rare disease. We are trying to get his HMO doctors to order the next antibody test so that we can speed up the process of getting his diagnosis confirmed.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/13/20 12:34 AM
UGH - despite me writing a letter laying out all the reasons why they should order the blood test before his specialist appointment, the regular neurologist still wouldn't do it! I'm so beyond frustrated. This poor guy has to take two naps a day just to function as it is!

He belongs to the same large staff-model HMO that I get my healthcare through (ex used to work for them) and they are great at routine stuff and emergencies but can be bad at anything out of the box. My son had similar problems with them getting his own less-rare disorder diagnosed. As I approach Medicare age I'm thinking more and more about maybe changing to a (more expensive) plan that lets me go anywhere. Not that I need it now, since I'm quite healthy and can manage much of my own stuff. But having seen so many people I know go through cancer treatment recently, plus one friend get a heart transplant, I'd like to know I'd have the option to go where I wanted if something bad or rare did happen to me in the future. Staying with my HMO in a Medicare Advantage plan would be the most economical choice (especially in the next few years, since I'm still working my income puts me in a bracket where I pay more for Medicare). My costs would actually go down a fair bit from what I currently pay for my high-deductible plan and the deductible would go away. If I choose the more expensive course my costs would probably stay the same until I retire but coverage would be better. I have pre-existing conditions that make it important that I choose what I want the first time out, as I may not be able to afford to switch in the future (they can rate you for pre-existing conditions if you change plans more than 6 months after turning Medicare age. )
Posted By: DejaVu6 Re: I Will Survive! - 08/13/20 09:26 AM
Ugh. I think in this situations, I would go for whichever option ensures you will get the kind of care you need if your health should take a turn for the worse. Better to be safe than sorry.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/18/20 09:23 PM
Grrrr......getting more and more steamed at the doctors caring for my son's friend. After-visit notes on his visit to the neuro-specialist to his neurologist included (accidentally I'm sure) the specialist saying that the patient "apparently consulted with an outside doctor (I have no idea what type, but I'm guessing webmd)".......

You can bet I wrote her a scathing two page letter about my certifications and clinical experience, (no, I am NOT "webmd") about the ludicrously inaccurate things his doctors there have said to him, and thanking her for finally referring him to someone who should know what they're talking about but suggested that she should treat patients with the same respect that she would want for a family member.

Honestly some doctors are such jerks. And if this woman (looks to be in her mid-late 30's) has such a dismissive attitude to patients who are smart enough to research their own conditions NOW, how bad will she get in the future? (This kid is super bright and has accurately interpreted all the information on his probable illness online, understands well that it's not a definitive diagnosis yet, and can clearly see the stupid inconsistencies in what these doctors have been doing. For instance - the eye specialist writes that the problem with his eye is intrinsic to each eye but sends him for eye exercises that do NOTHING for that problem or the problem we think he has either. )

That old paternalistic view of medicine ("I'M the doctor and just listen to what I say - god FORBID you look anything up yourself") just ticks me off and to see that BS coming from a young female doctor is really even more infuriating. I'm sure she thinks she knows more about this disease than me because she's the specialist - and she SHOULD know more but clearly she DOESN'T!!!!!

It reminds me of an incident in my residency. As senior family medicine residents, we took turns being Chief of Service for the patients admitted to us in the hospital. One of my fellow residents was Chief that month. We had an old Japanese doctor in town who admitted all of his patients to our service, where the residents cared for them. Normally when patients were admitted to the ICU, they were under the care of the Pulmonary Fellow, but when they were moved to the floor they became ours if they were a patient admitted to our service. (The Pulmonary fellow is someone who completed their residency in internal medicine and is now doing years of further advanced training in pulmonology. Much higher ranking than a Family Medicine resident).

Anyway - one day the old Japanese doctor calls my friend and asks her - "would you go look at my patient? He was admitted to the ICU with chest pain but I don't think they know what they're doing with him".

She went to see him and as soon as she entered the room, the wife asked her - "Could this be tetanus? We have a lot of tetanus in Japan" (they were from Japan). My friend examined the patient, did a little reading, and came to the conclusion that this could, indeed be tetanus. But of course, SHE was just a lowly Family Medicine resident. The notes in the chart read something like this (more detailed, of course, but this was the gist):

My friend: Looks like tetanus!
Pulmonary Fellow: Ha! Nice diagnosis but I DOUBT it!
Infectious disease specialist called into the case: "Absolutely CLASSIC case of tetanus!"

Now, I often tell this story to demonstrate a point. I can pretty much guarantee that if you had given them both a multiple choice exam, the pulmonary fellow would have known more about tetanus than my fellow family medicine resident. BUT my friend had two skills he didn't have - she knew how to LISTEN TO THE PATIENT and how to LOOK SH!T UP! Extraordinarily valuable skills that too many physicians don't seem to have anymore.

I know it's a rare commodity today, but having a family doctor who knows you and will advocate for your care is really valuable. And I'm sorry so many doctors out there are insecure a-holes.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/23/20 03:29 AM
Worried about DNJ, his post sure sounds like he has Covid. Please everybody be careful out there. This virus is not anything you want to get.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/26/20 04:20 PM
Life is just rolling along here. CMM is enjoying his break from chemo and noted this morning that his mustache - which had been thinning from the chemo- is growing back in. We worry of course about the tumors growing but I think on the whole this break has been good for him. Too bad we can't get out and do things to make the most of this time, due to the pandemic.

Saw a new patient yesterday who at 62 is having signs of dementia. For any of you out there dealing with a loved one with this, there's a fantastic couple of books written by Dr. Dale Bredesen, a neurologist and neuroscientist, on his work reversing mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. I've read his studies and seen him speak - it's really great work. Ideal prevention too for those of us who carry ApoE4 genes.

This patient I think will fall into the "toxic" subtype - his work history suggests exposure to mercury and to various other toxic chemicals, which can trigger dementia. He's getting bloodwork to help determine what's contributing to his early onset. It's a good challenge to be working on. I do believe I can help him.

Whenever I think about retiring - which theoretically I could do now, if I cut back, although I'd like to be more financially secure - I think about how much I would miss working on cases like this. I'll probably never retire, just cut back to very part time eventually. It's good to have work that you enjoy.

(Of note - re: that patient - I had him draw me a clock face, a common test for organic brain disease. His, not surprisingly, was wonky, with 4 numbers on one half and the rest all squished into the other half. My sister pointed out to me that this test will be worthless in 20 years as the younger digital generation can't read clock faces!)
Posted By: Dawn70 Re: I Will Survive! - 08/26/20 04:31 PM
I had the very same discussion with my class about clock faces last semester. During our labs on mitosis, meiosis, and genetics, we talk about inherited diseases and diseases that are caused specifically by gene mutation. I even give them a list of diseases to select one to research, then we have a roundtable discussion about that disease, causes, symptoms and we even discuss whether a viable treatment option either exists now or will in their lifetime (supposition, but gives me insight into how their brains work and what really matters to them). I use a Nova science program that I found a few years ago about Alzheimer's and it gives a great explanation about the causes and actually ties right into my lesson on mitosis and meiosis. There is a part in the program where they show a woman meeting with her doctor and one of the things he does when he is going through some tests with her is has her draw a clock and correctly label it. Much like you described above, it is clearly not what most of us would draw. When that part came up on the video and we discussed it, one kid said he didn't know how to tell time on those and a discussion ensued about how that might affect that particular test when people his age are older. It was a very organic and interesting discussion. It had never even occurred to me.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/26/20 05:20 PM
Yeah! Me neither until my sister mentioned it. Don't know what we'll use in its place, its such a helpful test. (This was the test that first clued in the doctors of the woman who wrote Brain on Fire that she wasn't schizophrenic but was having some other organic brain disease, which turned out to be NMDA receptor antibodies causing psychosis in her case).

I LOVE genetics - it's what first interested me in biology in high school. In another life I'd be a genetic counselor or one of those genetic genealogy people who catch criminals. (If you haven't watched The Genetic Detective show on ABC you MUST watch it. ) It's truly amazing what we can do now.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/26/20 09:22 PM
On the clock subject - my friend who teaches guitar says her young students often don't know what she means when she tells them to turn a peg clockwise.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 08/28/20 12:19 AM
are these books helpful for someone with a lewy's body dementia diagnosis?

Originally Posted by kml
Life is just rolling along here. CMM is enjoying his break from chemo and noted this morning that his mustache - which had been thinning from the chemo- is growing back in. We worry of course about the tumors growing but I think on the whole this break has been good for him. Too bad we can't get out and do things to make the most of this time, due to the pandemic.

Saw a new patient yesterday who at 62 is having signs of dementia. For any of you out there dealing with a loved one with this, there's a fantastic couple of books written by Dr. Dale Bredesen, a neurologist and neuroscientist, on his work reversing mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. I've read his studies and seen him speak - it's really great work. Ideal prevention too for those of us who carry ApoE4 genes.

This patient I think will fall into the "toxic" subtype - his work history suggests exposure to mercury and to various other toxic chemicals, which can trigger dementia. He's getting bloodwork to help determine what's contributing to his early onset. It's a good challenge to be working on. I do believe I can help him.

Whenever I think about retiring - which theoretically I could do now, if I cut back, although I'd like to be more financially secure - I think about how much I would miss working on cases like this. I'll probably never retire, just cut back to very part time eventually. It's good to have work that you enjoy.

(Of note - re: that patient - I had him draw me a clock face, a common test for organic brain disease. His, not surprisingly, was wonky, with 4 numbers on one half and the rest all squished into the other half. My sister pointed out to me that this test will be worthless in 20 years as the younger digital generation can't read clock faces!)

Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 08/28/20 04:21 PM
They may be. Even though the books are aimed at Alzheimerís, most of the interventions are just about general good brain health, so I think it will end up being useful for other types of dementia as well. Even in severe Alzheimerís, where it was too late to reverse it, he saw improvements that made life much easier for their caregivers.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/01/20 04:50 PM
Update on my young patient with the probable neuromuscular disease. He FINALLY got to see the specialist neurologist in his HMO that treats people with this disorder. It was a TOTAL bust. She told him she could "recognize it across the room" and that he didn't have it. She did just a basic neuro exam but made NO attempt to elicit the symptoms (in this particular disorder if you ask a patient to repeatedly contract a muscle it will get weaker and weaker. ) Then with no further ado she declared his disorder as "somatoform" (all in his head) and when he asked about treatment was told curtly to just go back to his psychiatrist!

(Btw - if you only diagnose the cases you can "see across the room" you are DEFINITELY missing cases!)

I was so mad, I had steam coming out of my ears. So I called up a local private neurologist who is listed on the foundation list for people with this disorder to get a curbside consult. I asked her "I need to know if I'M crazy or they are?". I reviewed the case history with her and his symptoms. Her first question was "have they done a repetitive stim EMG?" which is the next logical step in the workup - which of course they will not. She said it really did sound like the disorder I think it is and agreed with my plan to go ahead and try him on the medication that is usually used for this to see if he improves (that would be diagnostic also). She was just as appalled as I was at his treatment by them. It was such a RELIEF to have my assessment validated. It;s pretty disorienting when something looks just like a duck and quacks just like a duck and the specialists are saying it's not a duck.

He'd have to pay out of pocket to go see her but if this works I'm going to fight to see if we can get his HMO to approve him seeing her.

It makes me so mad because I know what is happening here. It's a combination of arrogance ("how dare the patient look up their symptoms on the internet and ask for a workup for the disorder that EXACTLY MATCHES his symptoms? Doesn't he know I am the almighty poobah?") and prejudice ("this obese trans man with a bipolar diagnosis makes me feel weird so I can't see past that to see what a genuinely kind and smart person he is and treat him with respect").
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 09/01/20 05:59 PM
Maybe there's a secret "Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes" that they all belong to?

Given the number of secret societies you've got down there, who would notice one more? laugh

Glad you are advocating for your young friend.

CMM is about to go back on his chemo soon I would imagine?

How have you been doing? Still playing or just randomly percussing things around the house?
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/01/20 06:22 PM
No gigs so I've been lax about practicing but I'm gearing up to start taking some online lessons which would motivate me to play more.

CMM will find out about chemo at his next appointment which is in a week I think. I would expect they would start him back on something then but maybe not. He's still feeling pretty good except for his back pain which is a chronic problem from before his cancer, and his peripheral neuropathy which was present before but aggravated by the chemo. He had a poor night's sleep last night due to pain but when he got up this morning he found his evening dose of morphine on the floor so.....

As for my young friend - it's frightening to thin about where he would be without an advocate. Even though he's done a pretty good job of advocating for himself because this is not his first rodeo, he's pretty much come up against a brick wall with his HMO. I imagine he'd just have to wait until his symptoms are critical and he has to be hospitalized? It's really unacceptable. Even if they legtimately think his neuro exam doesn't fit and this must be somatoform, there's a kind, appropriate way to validate the patient as you tell them this, then there's a rude dismissive way. This was rude and dismissive and that's just not acceptable.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/03/20 05:02 PM
Today we raise the medication dose on my young patient. The way you dose this med, you start off with a low dose to assess side effects (can cause diarrhea, nausea, excess saliva and bronchial secretions) so you can add medications for those if needed. So far this has gone well, and he even seems to be having a slight treatment effect in his leg at the appropriate times (the drug kicks in about an hour after taking it, and wears off in 4-5 hours before the next dose). We will really know when we double the dose to the usual dose today - hopefully there will be a more dramatic change which will prove, once and for all, that this is his diagnosis. (This drug doesn't really treat any other disorder). Fingers crossed! I'm hoping we can get his double vision under control at the higher dose, and make some inroads into his fatigue.

Although this isn't really a disease I would wish on anyone, getting the diagnosis confirmed opens the way to many other treatments including some that may be needed for emergency life-saving treatment in a crisis.
Posted By: Dawn70 Re: I Will Survive! - 09/03/20 08:27 PM
Positive vibes for your young patient. wink
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/04/20 10:52 PM
Well CMM had his appointment with the oncologist today and he postponed chemo for another month or so. CMM will get a PET scan and CT after a month and then a decision will be made at the next visit whether any chemo is indicated.

It makes me and CMM a bit nervous, as the last time he had this long a break from chemo he ended up with multiple new metastases. On the other hand, I see where the oncologist is coming from - "hey, this guy has stage 4 cancer, chemo is only going to prolong his life, why not enjoy feeling good while he can?" We will try to enjoy the coming month (CMM is thrilled that his mustache is filling back in since he's been off the chemo lol) and just deal with the PET scan results when we get them.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/06/20 12:56 AM
Follow up on my young patient - heís on a low-therapeutic dose of the specific medication for the disorder I believe he has. Heís responding just as he should, with significant improvements in his symptoms, which follow the expected timing of duration of action of the drug. This is diagnostic since this medication doesnít work for anything else.

Heís made an appointment to see the specialist near me that was so helpful and validating on the phone, even though heíll have to pay out of pocket as she is not part of his HMO. Meanwhile I am carefully adjusting his dose.

Iím still completely baffled as to how THREE neurologists (and a neurology resident) could have missed this diagnosis. It has followed the typical path, I could provoke the symptoms with the typical bedside test (which none of the neurologists bothered to perform) and heís responding to the medication!

Iím so glad he happened to know my son so that I could help him. And so glad the local specialist took my call.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/09/20 08:23 PM
So as not to jump on any one person, I'd just like to reiterate my stance on dating and kids. Your kids should not be involved in your dating life. They really shouldn't meet your dates until you've been dating for at least 6 months. No matter how great the person seems, you cannot possibly know enough about a person to know where this is going until you've spend some real time with them. And kids DO get attached, no matter how independent you think they are. They don't need to go through the pain of loss unnecessarily when they've already lost so much in a divorce. Dating breakups can and do have an effect on kids, whether it's just giving them the impression that relationships are inherently impermanent or subjecting them to the pain of loss and abandonment feelings.

In the rush of infatuation it's so easy to think "this is the one!" but any adult relationship comes with baggage and potential pitfalls. Ex spouses or girlfriends come back into the picture , or people turn out to be more relationship avoidant than they seemed in the beginning, or they turn out to be hiding gigantic debts or addiction or gambling problems, or they end up like my crazy ex-boyfriend to be carrying on a relationship with an OW the whole time and hiding other things. NO ONE, no matter how savvy you think you are, can be completely sure in the first phase of a relationship and there's no reason for kids to be included in this part of your fact-finding expedition.

Some kids may be more sensitive to these things than others but they all will experience some effect. Heck, my kids were grown when I divorced and started dating nd didn't introduce them to anyone for a couple of years but they are still affected to some degree by my dating.
Posted By: Dawn70 Re: I Will Survive! - 09/09/20 08:29 PM
I agree! My daughters were all adults when Sparky and I started dating, as were both of his daughters. I met his youngest daughter around the 6 month mark, he met my middle daughter around the 8th month and then my other 2 after that. I still haven't met his other daughter (and that is a long, drawn out story unto itself), but even when they are adults, kids can still be affected. In some cases, I might even argue adult kids may be more sensitive to the whole thing because they are more aware of how relationships wax and wane and know there are real possibilities that this might not last, if that makes sense.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/10/20 12:26 AM
On another note - a wise quote from Nina Simone:
"You've got to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served."

I love that!
Posted By: Ginger1 Re: I Will Survive! - 09/10/20 01:13 AM
Iíve introduced my daughter to 3 guys in nearly 14 years. One 5 months in. One a few weeks in, but she had met him prior to us dating. And M I made sure to do everything right. 6 months in , gradual meeting. Making sure we both believed this was going to be a long term relationship. Only for 6 months later for him to break up with me. After telling me how much he loved me, how his mother loved me and my daughter, after his son thinking I was going to be his bonus mom.

So you never really know. I will day at 13, Iím not as strict. Sheís very into her own life. Meeting before I went out on a date is fine. But involving in the family life, I am hesitant . All kids are different, that is true. Some donít get attached. Some do. And my D doesnít get too attached. But she does hate when I hurt. When M and I broke up, her tears were actually for me and his son. It made her sad how much his son loved me and couldnít see me anymore. She knew how much I loved him and she thought he was very in love with me. That was hard on her.

I guess there is a different right for everyone. Itís hard to even determine whatís right for me anymore. Honestly, I do try to hold it off as long as I could, even if it makes dating more difficult
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/15/20 12:47 AM
Well my sister in Oregon had to evacuate a few days ago to our brother's house (with her 6 cats and a dog!) and my brother's dog had to go to surgery the same day after swallowing a rock that got stuck in his intestines (now my brother has to remove a whole back yard of nice river rock landscaping).

Meanwhile my niece near LA can see the fires there from her house (she's just one block away from the mandatory evacuation zone) and she might have to come down and stay with me if the wind shifts.

Little dust up with CMM this weekend over his repair skills. Honestly, he says he's done these kinds of things before - and as a long time homeowner I'm sure he has done some. but I'm not really confident in his abilities and this weekend did not make me more confident.

Background - while I'm not exactly Ms. Fixit myself, I am really good at following instructions (IKEA expert level) and I have good analytical and three dimensional skills. I also remodeled a couple of houses with my ex who grew up in a construction family (his father owned a home building company).So I have some knowledge and skills.

I have a drawer in my kitchen that needs repairing (new slides, old ones came off the back of the cabinet). It's a job that requires some precision and the temporary fix that was done before on it has failed because it was done haphazardly by previous boyfriend. I attempted to point out some things (like the need to ensure the slides were properly spaced at a right angle instead of "eyeballed" or the drawer would stick) and he gets all flustered because he's got his own way of thinking about things and I'm throwing him off by mentioning this. He's not a great communicator anyway, slow and has his own way of inflexible thinking and doesn't grasp what I'm saying well (some of this may be chemo brain). Later when I attempted to tell him something else he stopped in a snit and left the job to me and my son - which is a good thing because it turns out he WAS using the wrong screws as I'd been attempting to tell him (and it was very important to use the right flat head screws to attach tje slides to the drawer because the round heads would prevent the drawer from sliding). Now the job is unfinished because, although son and I successfully attached the slides to the drawers, there is still a problem with attachment to the back of the cupboard that I have to solve (but have a good idea how to solve it).

I'm mad because I wanted to hire someone to do this job, as I knew it was problematic and wanted someone with all the tools and skills to do it right. CMM insisted he could do it, and now here I am stuck in the middle of finishing it myself when that is precisely what I didn't want to do! What is it with guys egos that they can't stand a woman offering them (very) helpful advice on a project when she can see they are making a mistake? Grrrrrrr. (And no, I'm not some impolite harridan screeching at him, just very calmly saying thing like - "wait - we need a t-square and careful measurements because if the slides aren't perfectly square the drawer will stick" or "No - you needed the longer screws for the back of the cabinet, NOT for attaching the slide to the drawer".

Well - at least the dishwasher installation guy turned out to be a CHAMP ( it was difficult to do because the space was smaller than normal because of flooring that the previous owner installed, I though we might have to chip out some tile but he managed to get it in). Fortunately he also does side jobs and I will definitely be hiring him for some minor plumbing things (like faucet replacements).
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/15/20 12:56 AM
(It does, btw, remind me that this was another good thing in my marriage - ex and I could work on projects together without any of this type of nonsense and with the ability to communicate well with each other. Of course he had more construction skills - although not quite as much knowledge as he liked to think - and I could point out something like the screw problem and he would understand right away what I was saying and why it mattered. While currently I mostly remember the bad in my marriage, it's good to be reminded that we were a good match in many ways - I wasn't completely stupid for choosing him.)
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 09/15/20 11:40 AM
Seems to be the week for some of us to see things rose coloured. Must be the particulate from the US West coast fires wink

Even though there are a lot of similarities between the various stories, I think many of us who had long term marriages can look back with few regrets. But we also have firmly embedded ways of communicating and expectations. What one partner would accept as constructive criticism, another treats as disrespect and meddling.

My ex and I could rarely work on projects together. I am a very patient and methodical person and - well - she wasn't. Each doing the things we were good at worked well. I'd putter around the house fixing things and she'd sit on the couch eating potato chips. She was very good at that. Unlike S, there were rarely part bags left behind.

I can imagine CMM wanting to contribute in a "manly" way and feeling "less than" when you contributed your input which may have sounded like a lack of faith in his abilities. I don't know him at all, but I would imagine that some sort of "win" on something that he truly is good at would perhaps be called for. As I recall it, he came from a fairly abusive relationship so his ego has undoubtedly taken quite a beating.

You and I have a tough road in front of us. Especially when our expectations, as set by former partners, aren't relevant.


Stay safe - I presume the fires aren't anywhere close to you?
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/15/20 01:51 PM
There is a fire in my county but itís at the far end of the county opposite me. We have some fine ash on our cars and the sun is very red at sunset but we donít smell smoke, we have seen a little smoky haze in the sky. Probably the best air quality in the state right now though so weíre lucky here.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/15/20 04:43 PM
(best air quality in the state = Air Quality index of 101. still considered unhealthy, but nothing like other parts of the state and PNW)
Posted By: job Re: I Will Survive! - 09/15/20 08:13 PM
Keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers. Please take care and I hope all of your family will be safe.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/18/20 06:30 PM
So far everyone in my family is still safe from the fires, and rain has finally improved the air quality in Portland.

Iíd like to share some important information about Covid . We have had quite a bit of data over the last couple of months showing a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and severity of Covid disease. Now we have a study out of Spain showing cause and effect. Hospitalized Covid patients were given standard treatment with or without the addition of a special form of vitamin D that raises blood levels within a day (taking ordinary vitamin D can take a week to fully convert to active form). The amounts given were not huge - the equivalent of 20,000 IU on day 1, 10,000 IU on day 3 and day 7. (We give 50,000 IU once a week of regular vitamin D all the time for vitamin D deficiency).

The results were striking. Of the patients who received vit D, none died and only 2% (1 patient of the 50) required ICU admission. Of the patients who did not receive vitamin D, half ended up in the ICU and 4% died (2 out of 26). This is huge proof that by just keeping your vitamin D level up in a good range you may be able to stay in the milder range of Covid.

The big experts in the field have talked of making 2,000 IU/d the new RDA. Patients with low vitamin D often need 5,000 IU per day to bring levels up. I usually give vitamin K with bigger doses like this to ensure that any increased calcium absorption is directed to the bones where it belongs. (Note that people on warfarin cannot take vitamin K). Some have recommended 10,000 IU/d for the first month if youíre deficient, to bring levels up faster in this time of Covid.

People with a history of kidney stones, sarcoidosis or high calcium levels from hyperparathyroidism or bony metastases should consult their doctors and may be better getting their vitamin D from sun exposure without sunscreen (only 1/4 -1/2 the amount it would take to start to turn pink, 3 times a week - varies with how dark skinned you are) but this is not possible in the wintertime at higher latitudes like San Francisco.

This is exciting news because it is a huge effect for an easily modifiable risk factor.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/19/20 06:26 AM
Correction: 8% of the controls died, not 4%. And remember they still received standard therapy, just no vitamin D.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/19/20 01:57 PM
Btw you can read the actual study if you go to pubmed and put in calcifediol AND Covid in the search box.
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 09/19/20 02:16 PM
Perhaps not directly related but I recall an article that suggested that sunlight and fresh air were the best things for people during the 1918 pandemic. And an increase in vitamin D was specifically mentioned.

Of course, not being in a closed in Victorian era sanitorium with a bunch of other sick people was probably a good thing too.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/20/20 11:19 PM
Nice long chat with my middle son today. He did mention that his father called him recently, for the first time in several months. (Son had come to the realization that he was always doing the reaching out, so thought heíd sit back and see how long it took if he did nothing. Now we know.)

We talked about some practical fears he has about his disability and possible future pain issues (which I think were on his mind because of his fathers current chronic pain condition). We also talked about his budget and finances - he doesnít have much fat in his budget but we did talk about how buying certain food items at Costco might allow him to shave off a little bit. His fancy new chair that I helped him buy is working wonderfully got his pain when seated working.

In discussing budgets I spoke about how his dad and I really should have saved more during our marriage, although some of the bigger ticket items like trips and family dinners out were nice memories. He then reported some bad memories of family ski trips. (Apparently my ex took them to the top of ski runs they were unprepared for and then pushed them into going down them.) I told him how I started insisting we stay at a condo at the mountain instead of in town because it was so much pressure to get the kids up and ready and out in time for their dad to get ďfresh tracksĒ on the mountain. By staying within walking distance of the lift, he could just go and the kids and I could get ready at our own pace. If they got tired they could come back to the condo and not be stuck waiting for their dad.

He also relayed an interesting insight about his eating (heís had a longstanding eating disorder but is doing pretty well with it right now.) He recalls his older (Aspie) brother bring berated by their father for being a picky eater, so he felt he had to be the opposite. But now that he has given himself permission to dislike certain foods, his relationship with food is actually improving!

His brothers and I are going up to see him next weekend to celebrate his birthday; I havenít seen him in person since January due to quarantining. Iím really looking forward to that, and to finally meeting his new kitten (half grown now).
Posted By: job Re: I Will Survive! - 09/21/20 12:59 PM

Your son sounds like he's doing a bit better and is now able to give himself permission to dislike certain foods. This will be a far better solution for him.

I'm sure you and your sons are looking forward to visiting with him next weekend. I can't wait to read about his new kitten. I'm sure you will spoil the little one.

Please stay safe and healthy.

Have a great week!
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 09/21/20 01:00 PM
Originally Posted by kml
We also talked about his budget and finances - he doesnít have much fat in his budget but we did talk about how buying certain food items at Costco might allow him to shave off a little bit.
A key thing that I keep hammering on with S and the boys (and my own kids can recite) is that the most expensive food to buy is the food you don't eat. Right now we throw out an astounding (to me) amount of food that is bought "on sale" or in too large of a quantity to eat down before it turns.

So - for many things, I actually buy the smaller containers. Things I buy in "bulk" like breakfast sausages and bacon I re-pack into individual servings (lay bacon out on waxed paper and then accordion fold it up). Then I can have a couple of sausages and some bacon without opening a whole package.

I presume you have your son tracking his spending? It can be quite the eye-opener to see where the money is going. You've mentioned the envelope system before which can work quite well for some people.

You comments about your ex are interesting. I think that a lot of us don't realize what impact their selfish behaviours have had on developing minds. I do know that my daughter still harbours a lot of resentment towards her mother that pre-dates her cheating. I know nothing about whatever current relationship they may have but I think that for many of us, especially those of us with older kids, what we overlooked at the time is perhaps reflected in the children.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/21/20 05:03 PM
My son has a roommate now that shares meals, so they could buy some Costco basics, like eggs (2 dozen are the price of one dozen in the grocery store and won't go to waste with two people eating them), cheese, and non-perishables like canned tuna. Of course, the challenge is always to avoid the impulse buys. Even $10 or $20 savings a week could add up to some money over time.

Yes, I realize I spent much of my marriage shielding my kids from their father's unreasonableness - but they still felt it. I feel bad that their relationships with their father are not better, but it is what it is.
Posted By: Dawn70 Re: I Will Survive! - 09/21/20 07:24 PM
When I lived alone, I still bought some bulk things and non-perishables. Like Andrew said, I might buy a large package of bacon and portion it out and put part in the freezer. Rather than buying that already cooked bacon that you just heat up in the microwave, I would make my own. I would buy a big package of raw bacon and cook it all at once, then portion it out in one meal portions and freeze it then when I wanted bacon, just pull out the portion I needed and heat it up. It worked well for me. Don't know if it would work as well for young adults, especially men, because I don't know if their minds work that way.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/21/20 08:44 PM
Enlightening comment from CMM yesterday. He has a habit of wanting to do too much for me - I mean, it's great that he cooks me dinner, but he shouldn't complain about me doing some of the dishes after. Yesterday he let slip the real reason why - in his mind, he figures someday I'm going to be stuck taking care of him when the cancer finally gets him, so he's doing everything he can now to make up for it. I hadn't thought of it that way - it makes a lot more sense of his behavior.

Son #2 is pretty good at tracking his spending - he's got the spread sheet set up, although it doesn't come naturally to him, his math mind doesn't really work this way, but he's got it done. The biggest problem really is that he still doesn't make that much - not when you add in car payments and student loans and our expensive So Cal rent. Once he has enough clinical experience under his belt he can get his license and become an LCSW - his income will go up a fair amount then. Meanwhile he still has to keep to a tight budget. We discussed the peace of mind that comes from having savings. He's pretty frugal, really, good at finding things he needs secondhand.

Meanwhile I'm still mulling over my own estate planning. I need to go see a professional and I'm sure they'll give me ideas I haven't thought of, but it's kind of a thorny problem. I have roughly equal amounts of retirement savings, and house equity. Therefore, if I bequeathed the house to one kid, they would get an unfairly larger proportion of the estate. (My goal is for all three to inherit the same amount). However, since two live with me right now, being forced to sell the house on the heels of my demise would be incredibly stressful, especially since none of them would inherit enough to buy themselves anything other than a small apartment type condo at best.

I know my oldest son, if he was in charge of the house, would always provide a home for his siblings. He could also rent out a bedroom or two and bring in enough to make pay the taxes and payments on the remaining mortgage amount.

Would you:
Give the house to all three with the oldest having right of occupancy for say 5 or 10 years and then it be sold and split? Cash from retirement accounts split 3 ways.

Give the house to all three in equal shares and let them duke it out what to do with it? (Definitely the worst idea, given their personalities)

Give the house to all three with a year's grace period before it has to be sold?

Give the house to my oldest with the understanding that he will pay the costs, allow any sibling who needs to live there to do so, and split the equity three ways whenever he chooses to sell the house (which knowing him might be never?). Given the potential for roommate income, the costs of him maintaining the home would still be likely less than rent would be so I don't see the need to give him credit for that.

Give the house to my oldest and split the retirement accounts two ways between the remaining two? (Not an equal split of the assets so not my preference. It would however preserve the option of either of his siblings coming home to roost if they get in a tough spot - I KNOW I can count on my kind-hearted Aspie oldest to always make sure they had a home there. )

Buying more life insurance to even things out is expensive at my age. Hopefully I don't kick the bucket until my retirement accounts have grown more and my mortgage is paid off, but since anything could happen, I need to get this done. I just feel like I'm missing some obvious solution.
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 09/21/20 10:38 PM
One thing that happens here - and presumably elsewhere is sometimes when someone dies all of their assets go up for auction. If a family member is bidding then the auctioneer becomes rather tunnel visioned and only sees family members. Everyone else there is in on it and generally nobody minds. If someone really really wants grandma's blue plate, they can outbid everyone else.

One thought that I've had is to allocate shares. Each kid gets an equal share in the estate as valued by an impartial third party. Other than specific bequests, everything is up for grabs and they can bid on them - only using the shares from the estate.

In my case I have very little "stuff" and I'm sure neither one wants the house so it may be a way to divvy up what there could be questions on.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/22/20 03:39 AM
Iím not worried about any ďstuffĒ other than the house - maybe three pieces of nice art (not of financial value, but nice) for them to divvy up, and there would be my car - but nothing else that anyone would be emotionally invested in or if any particular value.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 09/22/20 11:22 PM
I like the notion of splitting the retirement accounts three ways, having the house in a trust of sorts with eldest being in charge and giving him a specified amount of time to live there, with stipulations to take in the sibs if necessary, and then when time to sell, split three ways or option to buy out siblings' shares.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 09/22/20 11:22 PM
this is assuming the other two kids wouldn't want to buy it.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 09/22/20 11:23 PM
and yes, CMM's thoughts have certainly be revelatory, and make his actions more understandable.
we so need a functional edit button.
Posted By: DonH Re: I Will Survive! - 09/22/20 11:45 PM
Originally Posted by bttrfly
we so need a functional edit button.

Well only for the last 3 or 4 years now. Just need to be patient smile the really sad part is it would take like 10 seconds to toggle this option from off to on in the site setup. Hopefully someday, because, yes, it really would make things so much easier for everyone.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/23/20 12:58 AM
this is assuming the other two kids wouldn't want to buy it.

None of them are likely to be in a position to buy the others out of the house, and my oldest is the one most likely to want to keep living there, my middle likes where he is and my youngest actually doesn't care for the suburbs.

I do think some kind of arrangement which allows oldest (and youngest, if he wants to) keep living here in the short term, with a plan to split it/sell it in the future. With any luck, I'll live a long enough life to help them all get set up in their own homes and downsize my own, but for the foreseeable future, this seems the best plan. Maybe a ten year term before it needs to sell?
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 09/23/20 10:24 AM
yeah, ten seems ok. so hard to tell, right?

I've got to do some fancy footwork here in this regard, and soon.

Don, very frustrating that the fix is so down and dirty but taking so long to implement!
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/23/20 03:52 PM
Yeah ten years seems like long enough for the kids to make future plans and/or ramp up their income, while still short enough that the ones who aren't living in the house can see their inheritance within a time span that's useful to them. Their share of my 401k would give each of them about 1/3 the cost of purchasing a house similar to mine, or 1/2 the cost of purchasing an apartment-type condo in my town - so if they are working and making some kind of reasonable salary, it would put home ownership within their reach, and the house equity would give them a chunk towards their own retirements. If they actually ever inherited anything from my ex they would be in very good shape but as I've said before I'll be surprised if he doesn't have the kind of trust that doesn't go to them until after his wife dies - and my kids are more likely to die before she does so that would mean they get nothing. Maybe I'm wrong and she only gets half but I doubt it.
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 09/23/20 04:58 PM
That is one of the tough parts of changing partners mid-life. I know that it's certainly on my own mind.

Even something like figuring out a funeral plot - which I've been putting off for a few years now is complicated.

I'd thought it was telling with the OM in my situation that when he buried his wife that it wasn't in a double plot.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 09/24/20 09:37 PM
i think you have the makings of a sound plan.

Good grief. So much to think about in this regard post D. For me, if exh has really re-married (i'm not convinced they aren't just living together, he has her and two step sons. Where does that leave my son?

So, like you I am working out what to do for him on my end.

File under more places I never thought I'd be, but you know, it's ok.

Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/25/20 11:04 PM
Not great news on CMMs PET scan today, but not terrible. He has a a new bony metastasis in his humerus, so heíll go back to radiation therapy for that. Activity again in his lung tumors, although not too much growth, so heíll be going back on chemo too. Not unexpected but sobering.
Posted By: job Re: I Will Survive! - 09/26/20 03:01 PM
I am so very sorry to read that his scan wasn't the greatest news. I pray that he can tolerate the radiation therapy and continue to fight this awful disease.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/26/20 07:14 PM
The radiation therapy to the arm should be easy, heís had much bigger bones irradiated in the past, no problem. My bigger worry is whether the chemo will work again this time.

He happened to get a flu shot in that arm a week ago and heíd been complaining of it hurting ever since - my guess is the immune reaction to the shot kinda woke up his immune system to notice the cancer was there. Or chance.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 09/27/20 01:39 AM
frown prayers that this new treatment helps
Posted By: Ginger1 Re: I Will Survive! - 09/27/20 01:54 AM
Iím so sorry the news was not good news. I hope his next course of treatment brings positive results
Posted By: devvo Re: I Will Survive! - 09/28/20 12:36 PM
I too am sorry to hear the news re CMM was sobering. I also think he probably has done a lot of thinking about how things will play out, and I am glad he's trying to do what he can now. I smiled when I realised he's just not the sort of person that tolerates owing anybody anything. I think there might be a few of us on this board who can empathise with him.

Re the asset split for the kids - maybe you could ask the oldest one if he'd agree to a valuation when the time comes, then for him to pay out the other two their shares after the 401 split has been done. That way your oldest won't be obliged to house anybody and the other two will be free to purchase whatever they want.

Like you, I have the problem of XH's OW being closer in age to my children than himself. I very much doubt my children will inherit much of value from him. I absolutely understand how much you want to be able to give your children just a bit of help when you're gone.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/28/20 08:09 PM
The oldest wonít get enough money to buy the other two out -1/3 of the retirement savings is equal to 1/3 of the house equity, so heíd have to take out a loan for the rest which would be difficult on his salary, not to mention property taxes and maintenance.

I think some arrangement for him to live in the house for five years if wanted would be enough for everybody to sort themselves out.
Posted By: devvo Re: I Will Survive! - 09/28/20 10:19 PM
Originally Posted by kml
The oldest wonít get enough money to buy the other two out -1/3 of the retirement savings is equal to 1/3 of the house equity, so heíd have to take out a loan for the rest which would be difficult on his salary, not to mention property taxes and maintenance.

I think some arrangement for him to live in the house for five years if wanted would be enough for everybody to sort themselves out.

Yes, that would work best if you were to pass away now. Hopefully though, none of this will be an issue. Chances are by the time this all comes to fruition all your boys will be middle-aged. I was trying to imagine a middle-aged Aspie who may or may not have a wife/family being obliged to house other middle-aged men with/without families on the passing of their mother. Sounds like the outline for a sitcom to me grin

I have no idea about the relativities between rent and mortgages, nor how banks work where you are, but I'd have thought most banks would mortgage if the repayments were no more than his rent at the time of application. Property taxes and maintenance are a fact of life. They are paid for one way or another whether you're a tenant (via your rent) or the owner.

Having to be responsible for maintenance is a bit of a nightmare though. I doubt either of my kids would know one end of a hammer or drill from the other. I think I'm going to gift them a Home Handyperson course each for Christmas this year!
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/28/20 11:03 PM
Banks here don't care what rent is - they just care what your income is relative to the mortgage payments. My Aspie son isn't likely to have a wife or family anytime in the next decade, I'd imagine - he's only really dated one girl (who turned out to be a bit of a nutcase) and while I certainly hope that he can find love (maybe with someone else slightly on the spectrum) it's likely a ways off. Of course if those things changed I'd probably change my will to reflect the altered circumstances. My Aspie son, though, would always be the one who would take in any sibling without reservation - it's just who he is. I can't say the same of the other two, for varied reasons, that's why he would be my choice to have technical control over the house. (He's also the one who would accommodate CMM in the unlikely event that my death preceded CMM's).
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/28/20 11:05 PM
My goal is to get the house paid off and to invest so wisely/live frugally enough in retirement that my retirement funds increase to provide a bigger nest egg to my kids than currently - OR of they get their income up enough, help them to buy their own homes while I'm still living. (Possible for 1 out of 3 at the moment).
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 09/29/20 12:12 PM
Interesting and important thread going on here. A good number of us are of "an age" where thinking of this sort of stuff is important. Sharing ideas and plans is helpful.

My plan for many many years - going back to even when I was married was to pay the house off and live in it a long a we could. This is a big place that needs a lot of on-going care. Given the right buyer we could get quite a bit for it. 4 bedrooms, 9 1/2' high ceilings, red oak wood-work, 1/4 acre of land in the middle of the village, commercial zoning.

The reality - as explained to me by a real-estate agent friend - is that the ideal buyer would be a young family with a bucket full of kids who are ok with doing a lot of handy-man sort of work on a regular basis in exchange for a big back yard and some elbow room. They would pay roughly 1/2 of what someone looking for what one friend of mine described as a "museum house".

One thing that has happened in this area is that there is a "lot" of one/two bedroom single story rentals townhouses being built. They are literally sprouting up everywhere. There's 4 of them going in around the corner in fact. Because of my ex-wife's growing mobility problems it was an ideal solution for us when down-sizing. The plan is still to take the money out of the house and turn it into a form of annuity to cover rent for probably about 10 years. If I stay here until I'm in my early 70s (reasonable I think) then that puts me as living independently still into my 80s essentially rent free.

Looking at a legacy for my kids is one thing but they don't expect anything, don't really need anything from me. And also like many of us, I would expect that there's nothing they would get from their mother and I don't include anything from there in any of my calculations.

I laugh whenever we have the pension meetings at work and they make the case for leaving a legacy for the kids in the case of an early demise. I have no plans on being dead and plan based on that assumption laugh
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 09/29/20 02:42 PM
In this time of Covid I donít feel like any of us can make that assumption. Longevity runs on both sides of my family but lasting effects from a Covid infection could change that.

Also, here in the States, the financial outlook for my kids is different than for yours (my kids, for instance, could never afford rent on a factory job like your son does). My middle son, who has a social work degree and is independently employed, will soon have to buy an individual health insurance policy that will likely cost about $1200 a month (lesser coverage is not an option because he has multiple serious health issues). My Aspie son and my youngest suffer from crippling anxiety. Not all of this is attributable to the divorce, but all of it was significantly worsened by the divorce and my exís behavior since.

Given that my kids do not have the advantages of good physical and mental health that got me where I am, I want to do what I can to make sure they donít fall on hard times once Iím gone. Iím not talking about wealth, just a home and not worrying about putting food on the table, and being able to retire in their old age.

I donít come from a family where anybody inherits anything (although my mom with her sudden death, god bless her, left about $25 k to each of her kids - money that was planned to pay for the rest of her life). If my ex and I were still together we would probably be helping the kids to buy their own homes.

I guess safety and stability is what Iíd like for my kids. Itís not all within my power but Iíd like to do what I can. Fortunately I enjoy my work and Iím in pretty good health so this doesnít feel like a hardship. Iím also good with money so if I can work a few more years and pay off my house, Iíd be able to live on less than my retirement income would allow, and increase my nest egg (and their inheritance). Iím not talking about suffering - my budget would still include travel! But Iím good at controlling the little meaningless expenses that add up.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/01/20 05:46 PM
CMM starts his radiation therapy for the metastasis in his humerus today. There's significant concern that he could fracture that arm (which will be weak at the point where the tumor is), and because of the tumor, it would not likely heal and could require surgery with rods etc. So no heavy lifting etc for him.

After he finishes radiation therapy he will go right back onto chemo. Hoping that it will still work for him and the cancer has not become resistant.

His lung cancer has a KRAS mutation but unfortunately I found it's not the specific KRAS mutation that is the target of a new medication in clinical trials, so that's not an option.

This might be the start of a downward slide but you never know - I thought the same thing in January and instead he had a good response. I do need to get him to start writing some letters or making some videos for his daughters, though. Even though they're not in touch, I would like to be able to give them something after he dies if they are open to it, it might at least give them some closure.
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 10/01/20 06:55 PM
Good luck to CMM for a trouble free treatment.

My own point of view is that closure isn't always a good thing to push through for. I never got any closure from my ex-wife for example or from my own mother who I was estranged from at the time of her passing (long story). And at this point in my life, I'm fine with that. There are perhaps thing that they could explain that would shed light on the events of the past but then again perhaps not.

What you may want to do instead - and this sounds a bit morbid - is do up something like what was done for my mother after she died but would have been more profound if done before. A retrospective. Vignettes, photos, stories - written or recorded that show the sort of person who CMM is. Where he finds his Joy. What makes him thoughtful. How silly he looks laying on his back and scrubbing the inside top of the stove perhaps. Moments that were important to him like perhaps the births of his daughters or the first time he cleaned the bathroom after they were playing in a mud-puddle smile

Then, that is something his daughters could perhaps access without any pressure and it could be something for those who care deeply for him to have as a remembrance. He may well be in favour of that if presented that way.

Just my 2 cents.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/01/20 08:29 PM
I feel like, their father has allowed this estrangement to continue in a way that might make them feel he didn't care about them - and at this point they probably wouldn't accept an effort from him since he has been so distant (he did not originate the estrangement, but also didn't put forth the persistent effort I would expect from a parent to repair that - kids can push you away but you as the parent should keep trying). But if they had regrets after his death, I thought perhaps something from him expressing his care might be helpful.

I certainly want him to write down his family stories so the girls can know their history - since they were teens/college when the rift happened, they probably had not absorbed some of the information about his parents/grandparents/family history that they might want to know in the future. And I can certainly put together a youtube memorial reel and send them a link so that if they choose, they can see some pictures of their dad's last years. They might not be interested but if they felt any guilt it might comfort them to see he was well cared for.

I also have genetic information that they might want to have, since we have sequenced CMMs genome. And I can summarize his medical history should they ever need that info.

There won't be any money for there to be a fight over, and I will have him put any mementos in a box that I could give them if they wanted them.

For those wondering, the estrangement came about when the marriage blew up - to hear him tell it, alcoholic wife falsely called the cops on him and he had to be the one to leave, after he had been trying to keep it together for the remaining teen at home. I don't have any reason to doubt his story, but who knows what the girls believe. And unfortunately, 6 mos after they split, he suffered a serious knee injury at work that sidelined him for a year, and resulted in everybody pretty much losing the nice lifestyle his income had provided (wife didn't work and never really had done much work). He did return to work after a year but never regained the good jobs like he had before (age discrimination, changes in the business environment, etc.) I'm sure the girls resent the change from indulgent suburban daddy to absent broke father. They might also resent him leaving them to deal with their alcoholic mom, I don't know. I suspect he was also rather difficult as a dad when they were teens, as he was strict about who they could date etc. He can be difficult with his OCPD.

It's a shame because when they were younger he seemed to have a close relationship with them, if photos are to be believed - they golfed together, he took them to all their sports games etc., he has many childhood mementos from the girls. That's why I would like to have something to give them when he dies. Anything else isn't really my business.
Posted By: DejaVu6 Re: I Will Survive! - 10/01/20 10:26 PM
I think it speaks to your big heart that this is important to you KML. CMM is really lucky to have you to help navigate this stage of his life. I hope he tells you this on the daily. I hope his daughters are receptive to the information you have for them when the time comes.

Hard to know what the truth of anyone's marriage is. I have found that it is usually somewhere in the middle and that both parties have a part to play in the early stages when things started to deteriorate. There is usually some truth to both perspectives although some behaviours are more honourable than others (ie. trying to work things out versus bailing by way of an OP).
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/01/20 10:47 PM
I suspect his OCPD and her drinking/possible personality issues as well contributed. She seems to have been happy to be a stay at home mom but let him do a lot of the work. (Maybe that was the alcohol, maybe it was her personality). He's a difficult person because of his OCPD and maybe that's why she drank, who knows? He used to take the girls on a summer vacation to Hawaii every year and after the first year, she stayed home - was that because she didn't want to spend that much time with her husband, or needed the break from being mom, or couldn't hide her drinking on vacation? I don't know but it seems weird. Apparently his friends did try to talk him out of marrying her. They saw something he didn't.

He held onto a grudge about some statement she made when their first daughter was born, maybe he poisoned the relationship from then on? (Something about her being upset or insulted when people asked questions about her black baby - well, sure, my white friend with a black husband used to get mad at people assuming she was babysitting or had adopted her boys - but it wasn't any kind of knock on her husband, she just wanted to be recognized as their parent too. It's possible CMM took something innocent like that the wrong way and held onto it to the detriment of his marriage. )

He to his credit tried to hold the marriage and the family home together until the youngest graduated high school. His wife might have been drunk or abusive, or she just might have been fed up with him and his OCPD (Although he did admit she would drink a whole bottle of wine during the day. He seemed more upset that she drank CHEAP wine than that she was day drinking! He's a wine aficionado and about had a conniption the other day when my son and I drank a bottle of Beaujolais that was past its prime lol).

Anyway - water under the bridge and not my circus or my monkeys - I'm sure there was fault on both sides, and no evidence of cheating on either side.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/06/20 12:29 AM
Quiet weekend, CMM started his radiation treatments to his arm on Thursday, he'll have to weeks of radiation then start back on chemo. I have to keep telling him not to lift stuff or put too much pressure on that arm, as it could easily break with that tumor there and that would be a mess to fix.

I did a bunch of filing and sorting through papers on Sunday and although that's not very exciting, it does feel good to have everything in its place and two bags of trash out of the bedroom! It was too hot out to do much else. I shopped at Costco and am incrementally trying to get more organizing done at home - some things that have just been let go a bit since CMM had all those medical emergencies this spring, and some things that just need a deep redo. (My closet for one - I'm rethinking storing my drum kits in there, I'm not practicing in there for a variety of reasons, I'm thinking of just letting the front living room be a music studio instead as it would likely get more use. ) I've been watching a too few many reorganizing shows lately, I'm getting motivated!

I'm trying to get the last stuff out of the storage unit (which was CMM's but ended up with a couple of my things too that really need to be given away). It was too hot to go out there last weekend but next weekend is suposed to be cooler, then we can get it emptied out and be done with it. (Storage units are the dumbest things ever, you never have enough things of value in them to make sense of the cost, but when CMM first moved in with me there wasn't enough room in my garage for his excess stuff and frankly, I wanted him to keep his kitchenware etc until I was sure I wasn't going to boot him back out .) I've made some more room in the garage and he's committed to reducing his stuff to fit in that space although he has a hard time letting go of some things. (Old VHS tapes, a box of National Geographics that he somehow thinks can find a better home than Goodwill)

I've also ordered a device that will help me with a BIG organizing project I want to tackle before Xmas. I have a large number of home movies from when the kids were little that are on VHS tapes and need to be transferred to digital format. So many that it would be REALLY expensive to take them to Costco or somewhere to be transferred, but if I'm willing to put in the time, I can do it myself with a little device from Amazon and save probably over a thousand dollars. (This assumes it will work with my computer - according to the reviews, sometimes it works with Windows 10 no problem, and sometimes it won't - worst case scenario, if it won't work with any of the several Windows computers I have access to, my son can do it with his Apple laptop). I want to give the digitized versions to the kids for Xmas (I think the happy memories within will be good for them too) and will even give them a copy to give to their father for Xmas (from "them:" not me!).It will be many hours of "work" but it's something that can just run in the background while I'm doing other things, and it needs to be done. I can also engage the kids in working on it although I need to make sure they still remember how to work with VHS tapes in the VCR without messing them up!
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 10/06/20 12:44 PM
Originally Posted by kml
Storage units are the dumbest things ever, you never have enough things of value in them to make sense of the cost, but when CMM first moved in with me there wasn't enough room in my garage for his excess stuff and frankly, I wanted him to keep his kitchenware etc until I was sure I wasn't going to boot him back out .
LOL - I can certainly sing harmony to that song. It's amazing how much the charge is for storage units. I've looked into them from time to time. They cost roughly the same per month as one of those tarp covered sheds do to buy. You do get a fairly secure dry area assuming the roof doesn't leak.

Originally Posted by kml
I've also ordered a device that will help me with a BIG organizing project I want to tackle before Xmas.
One of the things that I'm glad that I did was to make digital copies of all the pictures around the house before my ex left. The idea that you need to have a gadget with spinny things to review media is so very last millennia. It also allowed me to give the kids copies too. My ex had access to the cloud storage where they were stored but I think never made a copy before I shut that down.

I don't know about you, but other than a couple of times including right in the worst of in-house separation, I never went through the old photo albums but I do occasionally browse through the digital files. One of the things that I also did that you may want to consider is that since I don't trust backups nor "the cloud", whenever I would go and visit my daughter I would take her copies of all my digital files including things like my financial documents and she would store it on her computer and backups. That way if something were to happen to me / the house / the computers there is a backup.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/06/20 04:12 PM
Good idea about the backup - since I will send a copy through the kids to their dad, there will be backup of the videos there as well as at middle son's house.

I suspect I'll have some video of my mom doing grandma duties in there too, that's make a nice surprise for my siblings and nieces and nephews if I put together a grandma reel. Everyone is missing her a lot.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/10/20 05:38 PM
Brought a load of boxes home from the storage unit yesterday and went through them with CMM today. Itís emotional for him (killed me to see him throwing out old cards from his daughters but heís adamant in his stance that he wonít contact them and doesnít want me to contact them after his death. I think heís so hurt by their rejection that heís just pushed them away; this might have to do with unresolved trauma around his own parents sudden deaths when he was a teen.) Still he managed to throw out a bunch of crap and make a few boxes to donate. A couple more days like this and we will have it emptied out. The boxes he will have left will fit into my garage.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/13/20 05:37 AM
There is a new show on AMC that is interesting so far but ..... warning..... could be very triggering. I mention it here because WASs might see it as exculpatory.

The sci-fi premise is that itís 15 years in the future and new technology - a machine that identifies the ďsoul particleĒ- can identify your soulmate.

Complications of course arise. If youíre happily married, but surrounded by all these ecstatic new ďsoulmateĒ couples, do you start questioning your marriage? Do you take ďthe testĒ and meet your soulmate, that person that might be more perfect for you than your spouse, and blow up your marriage ?

What if your ďsoulmateĒ becomes a stalker? A lot of this is really a metaphor for MLC affairs.
Posted By: AndrewP Re: I Will Survive! - 10/13/20 01:13 PM
I do think that while the WAS / LBS stories all seem to unfold in seemingly predictable and consistent fashions, that there nuances to each of them. Undoubtedly many of them involve the existence of "soul-mates".

There was a hilarious series of youtube videos called SoulMate Schmoopies that you may have seen. Sadly the account they were under has become inactive and they are no longer available. Which is sad because I know for a fact that many LBS including myself found a lot of humour in them.

Personally I don't believe in the existence of a soul-mate nor that we are fore-destined for a particular partner. That's one of the reasons I think that I was content in my marriage despite the flaws that it had. I felt that you worked with what you had and were grateful for it.

The soulmate as a stalker is certainly a thing though. S has that pseudonym because she was originally referred to as "stalker lady". Going to muse about this on my own thread I think. I honestly don't know if my ex-wife thought that OM was her own soul-mate. She absolutely was a romantic and she chased after him with great vigour. I recall in my snooping days coming across some memes that she shared to her phone about how it was so wonderful to find someone who made her feel so good. I expect that after I found out about the affair that the predator became the prey as she then chased after him. They're together now, not sure how happy they are but that's not my issue. I just send the cheque every month.

As the movie perhaps explores, I think that they key problem is the creation of discontent and a yearning for a perfection that - at least in my own opinion - is unobtainable.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/13/20 09:06 PM
I donít believe in soulmates - even less now than when I was younger. Thereís compatibility , and attraction, and if you have both together in one person thatís grand. But ďsoulmatesĒ is often code for being caught up in stupid infatuation with no regard for anything or anyone else.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 10/13/20 09:19 PM
I absolutely believe in soul mates, but not in the way most think - to me a soul mate is someone you've got serious karma with which needs to be worked out in this lifetime. there are many types of soul mates: friends, lovers, spouses, children. thats just my esoteric take on it. has nothing to do with the balderdash they spew one these shows.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/17/20 05:54 PM
Radiation complete, chemo yesterday, going ok so far but the symptoms will really kick in tomorrow when the steroids wear off. CMMs shoulder still hurts but hoping that will improve over the next week.

Iím doing some organizing and cleaning at home today (reading about Andrewís travails sure makes me want to declutter!!!!)
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/19/20 06:22 AM
So Iíve been digitizing home videos today. Itís strange, seeing my ex through the rear view mirror. Although I really wasnít aware of it at the time, I see his angst and discomfort in his own skin so clearly now. The way he always made weird faces at the camera - not in a relaxed goofy way (although thatís probably how I saw it at the time) but more in a ďhiding your true self from the cameraĒ way.

In one video, heís playing with our oldest as a toddler at the lake house his family owned. And it hit me, it must have been uncomfortable for him. Remember he slept with an old girlfriend the night before our wedding, and unbeknownst to me, she got pregnant and had an abortion while we were in our honeymoon ( I didnít learn that part until about 6 years later). So I imagined him in that video, playing with our first child, with all his family around. He grew up Catholic, his father and siblings were moderately religious. Abortion is a big no-no for Catholics. And there he was, hiding that huge secret from me and his family - no wonder he had to hide his true self from the camera.
Posted By: bttrfly Re: I Will Survive! - 10/19/20 08:42 AM
wow. lots to carry and weigh him down. so much better to live an honest life
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/19/20 10:02 PM
One other thing - on that same video from 1998 at the lake, I was filming and I caught my ex's grandfather sitting by the lake watching the action. I told him to "say hi for posterity grandpa" and he turned and smiled his huge smile and said hi. So glad I caught that image of him. He was a lovely man, very sweet, (very unlike my ex father-in-law and my ex). He lived to be 95 or 96 - just died maybe 4 years ago. I'm glad to have that image of him, I'll need to snip it out and send it around to my ex-in-laws.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/19/20 10:35 PM
One other thing - on that same video from 1998 at the lake, I was filming and I caught my ex's grandfather sitting by the lake watching the action. I told him to "say hi for posterity grandpa" and he turned and smiled his huge smile and said hi. So glad I caught that image of him. He was a lovely man, very sweet, (very unlike my ex father-in-law and my ex). He lived to be 95 or 96 - just died maybe 4 years ago. I'm glad to have that image of him, I'll need to snip it out and send it around to my ex-in-laws.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/21/20 07:50 AM
Digitized a few more videos tonight, these from the era when I had three kids 5 years old and under. And my main observation is, boy, it was LOUD!!!! All the shrieking and hooting and crying and shouting and laughing! Lolol.

Saw a glimpse of a friend who died young of cancer almost 30 years ago. Footage of the house we raised the kids in and sold in the divorce. Me so thin and beautiful, itís a testament to my exís weirdness that he never thought I was thin enough when in reality I was bordering on underweight. And I may have been an earth momma without makeup but really, I didnít need a thing back then. Iím not bragging but just commenting on how skewed my exís vision of me, and the world, was. I didnít really take his negativity in, but itís still kind of shocking to look back and see how far from reality his perception was.

We had a beautiful house, smallish and unpretentious but casually warm and with a killer ocean view, ideal for impromptu dinners with friends. Three beautiful (if loud) children. It was a good life he later blew up. His inability to appreciate all that we had was such a shame.

But as I mentioned before, I can see now, in a way I couldnít see then, how he was always a little bit inauthentic in front of the camera. The studied casual air lacks a certain relaxed, genuine feel. Instead itís like watching someone playing a part (even though by now his big secret was out and I had forgiven him). Who knows what other secrets he might have already been carrying in his heart, what guilt and shame, or simply dissatisfaction and resentment?

Iím hoping the kids just see the moments where he appears as the loving dad he genuinely was when they were little.
Posted By: kml Re: I Will Survive! - 10/21/20 05:38 PM
Starting my new thread, Heading Towards 2021:

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