Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cedar Rapids Visitors

by Keith

Tom and Dianne came to Cedar Rapids today! It was great to get together with friends from Rockport 35 RV Park.

They are camping for a couple of weeks at a CoE park near Thomson, IL. That's less than 100 miles straight east of Cedar Rapids, basically across the river from Clinton, IA.

The reported on the wildlife activities at their park: mom and pop geese with 13 young ones following, and another with 10, and another with only 1. Then there are the turtles who come up on shore and lay their eggs, with the nest locations promptly recorded by students of wildlife.

And then there are the bullfrogs: big and loud! And they croak all day and all night, according to Tom and Dianne. They're thankful that they have air conditioning so they can close the doors and windows and get some quiet to sleep.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Allison Update

by Allison, via Keith

Here's a detailed update of what Allison has been going through recently. I'm pleased that, even though energy-robbing, she was able to write this update for us. We all hope the process she is going through will have the desired affect.
Thanks, Allison!            kaw

May 23, 2012

I haven’t meant to leave everyone in the dark as to what is happening with Tony and Allison--just too tired!  Anyway, here goes.

I am very fortunate to have two amazing physicians: Dr. Seghal in Corpus Christi and Dr. Oki at MD Anderson in Houston.  They work very closely together to save my life.  I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkins and NonHodgkins Lymphoma, which is EBV positive with skin lesion cropping up even as we watched! So, this was/is a unusual challenge.  When I went to the hospital in Corpus Christi I was running a temperature of 101.5 and I was near collapse.  I was transferred via ambulance to MDA.  I experience 2 respiratory crises and the respiratory team wanted to insert a tracheotomy—I was alert enough at the point of question to say,”NO!”  In the emergency room, during one of these episodes, a Leukemia physician told Tony not to expect to have me alive more than 2 weeks.  Tony immediately called prayer chains and trusted prayer warriors.  I have been so grateful for those who are constant in prayer and care for me—both on the park, off the park, family and friends--& many I don’t even know!  I am so grateful to our Faithful God who answers those prayers.  Your prayers, truly are powerful and effective (James 5).

I underwent 2 sessions of CHOP chemotherapy for Stage IV Lymphoma—after a PET Scan—at the urging of Dr. Segha--doctors found the Chemo wasn’t working.  So Dr. Oki chose to admit me to MDA for 4 days/24 hours per day Chemo—a different Chemo nt prescription : RICE.  If this failed to work, the only alternative would be an experimental drug, which he said, “We really don’t want to do that.”  One week Chemo, 2 weeks off, 3rd week more Chemo.  After the first round the doctor said, “It doesn’t appear to be working.”  I almost had to beg him to continue with the second round:  “You said you would do two rounds and THEN do the PET scan…” so it was agreed that the second round would be done.  After the second round, my doctor—and each of his staff, in turn—came in saying, “REMARKABLE!”  A remarkable response to RICE—thanks be to God!  And thanks be to each of you for your prayers!

I want to tell you that Tony has been constant to care for me, Connie and Ron have been responsible (and volunteered) to take care of the office. The office hours are 1-5 Monday through Saturday.  Kathy Swanson puts the mail out each day, Carol Dietrich ensures the chemicals get into the pool and spa, Chet keeps the flowers beautiful and the drip water system working well, Ryan keeps the weeds and the lawn under control.  Those who attend church are helping Mackie keep services on time each week, Mackie is leading Men’s Ministry, Betsy is delighted to do the Bible Study at Gulf Point Plaza—you see, it really DOES take a village and we are so grateful to everyone who is helping. There are others, not named here who help from time-to-time when they see a need arise.  Last thing, Connie and Ron are leaving for 3 months on June 5—they gracioiusly chose to stay through the June Billing cycle.  Don and Janet Placek will be at the park on June 11 to take over.  So, in the meantime….

I am preparing for Stem Cell harvest and an auto transplant—that means taking my own stem cells whe immature, freezing them and eventually giving them back to me—the hope, the plan and the confidence is remission.  We are so grateful for God giving us this American Eagle MH.  I underwent 4days/24 hours chemo, ending on May 18, to prepare for stem cell collection. Now we are at Lakeview RV Park in Houston (4 miles from MDA).  We go to the hospital daily for labwork, Nupogen injections (to cause the stem cells to exit the bone marrow).  When there are 400,000 stem cells available collection will begin.  Today, I had a port placed into my left upper chest (kind of like for dialysis) into the subclavian vein.  It hurt and I cried.  I think I cried more for everything, rather than just that stick! Anyway, the plan is, as blood is withdrawn it will go through a machine to separate the stem cells and the blood is re-introduced into my vein.  This all happens out-patient.  We have Malakai and Sapphira with us so Tony does a lot of being with me and running to potty puppies.

Once the stem cell harvest is complete—which may be 4 days—I will be re-hospitalized and receive Chemo until my white counts drop to 0 and I am more tired than I’ve ever been.  At just the right time, my stem cells will be re-infused into me.  I will be hospitalized for 3-4 weeks.  During this hospitalized time, Tony can leave me if absolutely necessary (when I’m out-patient, he has to be with me 24 hrs x 7 days) in order to get me to the emergency room, in the event of reaction. He  was actually suppose to have me for the 30-days; but the insurance company insisted I be in-hospital for 3-4 weeks, instead   When I’m in-hosp, MDA wants him to be present for doctor rounds and whatever else comes up.  BUT, he is hoping I will be in-hospital between the time Connie and Ron leave the park and Don and Janet arrive (June 5-11).  That way, he can keep the office going and oversee some of the park necessities.

In the meantime, he pushes me all over MDA in a wheelchair (can you believe it?!), changes my PIC line dressings and flushes the lines—well today we changed from the PIC line  in the upper right arm; to the stem cell harvesting line in my chest.  He has gone through chemo side effect: constipation leading to nausea and vomiting to diarrhea out of control!  No appetite, weight loss, extreme tiredness, baldness—I mean not one strand of hair anywhere.  There are many warnings about safety with razors; but there is really no need for one—anywhere.  Do you know how fearfully and wonderfully we are made?!  God thought of everything.  I asked at clinic the other day,  “Why does my nose run constantly?!”  Because you have no hair to stop it.  Ordinarily, the hair catches the mucous and it evaporates.  How much we take for granted. 

Well,  I haven’t written before because I just did not have enough energy!  Now, I’ve probably written too much.  We are praying for all of you and so glad that Helen Fahlsing is recuperating from her stint and on her way today to see her sister!  We’re praying for Gayle and Jeanetta and so glad Gayle is tolerating his chemo—we’re praying for God’s blessings and healing to him.  We are so glad that Sonia Enmen is under a good doctor’s care and progressing toward health—and Dave, too, as he deals with peripheral neuropathies in his feet.  We’re so glad to have Bob and Kathy with us—I miss seeing Bob; but I know he knows he’s loved by me and the Lord Jesus. We’re praying for Dick Carlson’s health; these blood infections and then the tumor in his liver—Nothing is impossible with God.

 I pray God is blessing all of you REAL good and look forward to seeing all of you this fall.  We just thank God SO much for the beautiful friendswith which  He has graced our lives.


3-minute Video Update

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Official Site Back Up

by Keith

It took about a day-and-a-half longer than I expected, but the official site of Rockport 35 RV Park is back up and running normally, as of sometime this afternoon.


Monday, May 21, 2012

New Visitors

by Dianne

I'm so excited!!! Last Friday we bought several hanging flower baskets for the back yard and decided to hang the humming bird feeder, too, just in case. We did have one humming bird come through our back yard last year enjoying the flowers, but we didn't have a feeder out and he did not stay. Well, last night while Rick was grilling his recent catch of walleye (got his limit of 5 both times he'd been out), two humming birds came to the flowers and then found the feeder. Rick came in and got the camera and me. Of course, that is a sure enough way to put an end to the birds on the feeder. So, after supper I went back out, armed with camera and a glass of wine, and decided to wait for their return. Finally, one did come back. S/he was dark green with a black head and a white ring at the neck area. I know very little about humming birds except that they are so darn cute and fun to watch. I know lots of people have humming birds frequent their feeders, but this is a first for us. Did I mention how excited I am? We hope they stay for the season..

About the Official Rockport 35 RV Park Website

by Keith

The official website of Rockport 35 RV Park has been "off the air" for the last few days. I expected it to be available again this morning, but as of this moment it is not.

The official website,, is owned and webmastered by Allison, co-owner and manager of the park. It provides information on the park and is the only source regarding rates, maps, activities, etc., regarding the park.

This site,, is independently owned and operated. Its intent is to serve as a "daily newspaper" to those interested in life at the park. Most readers are current, past, or prospective guests at the park.

We try to publish articles and pictures of events at the park and in the Rockport area which will be of interest to those staying at the park. In the summer, when most of the winter guests have gone back north, it serves as a good way for friends to keep up with the news of their winter friends and neighbors.

Several readers apparently use the official site as a stepping-stone to get to this site. That's not at all necessary.

To get to this site directly, just type "" (without the " ") into your browsers address line and hit enter, as shown below:

I hope this helps make your life a wee bit easier!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Helen's Healthier!

by Helen, via Keith

Keith --      
Don’t you let all of those goldfinches, wrens, orioles fly away – I’m running a little late getting my start north for the summer but I think I have a good excuse!  
Just got out of the hospital on Friday – amazing how, after years and years and years of being treated for lung problems, the pulmonary clinic in Victoria says the lungs are improving – my difficulty breathing has little to do with my lungs (although they are some better, they will never be ‘like new’ again.) 
He recommended a cardiology work up and my doc here in Rockport shipped me off to cardiology in Corpus Christi.  After failing the stress test twice, being poked and prodded with sonograms, echocardiograms, CAT scans, being shot up with enough die I’m sure I was glowing in the dark and heaven only knows what else – a cardiac catheterization was recommended.  
Went in last Wednesday for that and……95% blockage of one of the coronary arteries.  So, I asked him if he would recommend someone in Iowa to do the stent procedure – really would like to have been with family!  WRONG!  7AM the following morning I was being poked and prodded again.  
I guess you need all of the coronary arteries functioning to get a good breath of air!  Feeling much better now – just need to work on getting strength back after basically setting all winter.   
Will be heading north the last week in May, so don’t let all of the birds fly away!
Parked the 5th wheel in Rockport TX
Forest River Surveyor - my summer home for Iowa!

And a from follow-up email:

I guess there is a moral to the story -- don't assume the problems you had yesterday are the same you have today - even if the symptoms are the same! 
I sure can't complain about any of the treatment/care I received down here -- between Dr Llompart at the respiratory clinic at Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Dr Toth at Cardiology Associates  and Dr Szalai and the staff at Doctors Regional Hospital in Corpus Christi -- Dr Maroney here in Rockport got right on top of it and sent  me off to some fine facilities.  

We are fortunate down here!

A Note from Canadian Friends

by Keith, from Pam

Pam & Geoff
I received a personal email from Pam. Here are parts which may be of interest to other Rockport 35RVers:

Hope this message finds you both well, as we are-
however extremely busy getting ready to list the house for sale next
week & yes you are right Keith when you said we would be really,
really glad when it was over- we are I think reaching that stage already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Keep looking at our photos of Rockport & thinking fondly of our "winter Texan" friends.
Blessings from
Pam--& Geoff too!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sonia's Progress

by Sonia, via Keith


Generally, things are going along pretty good.  My white blood count has continued to be a problem, but is getting better.  It was down to 1 and they held off chemo for awhile.  I went on the internet for some solutions which were dietary changes.  It suggested generally healthy foods, such as carrots and greens.  It worked as my count improved and I can now hop real good. 

This month, I'm scheduled for three weeks of chemo in row and then a week off.  It's a little tough because I don't have a chance to recover between treatments.  Dr. said if my count stays good and I complete this cycle for May, I will have reached the half way point for treatment.  Hopefully, I'll be done by the fall.

My hair has stayed with me so far.  It doesn't grow much and tends to stick out straight like the deadend kids but it's there.  I had it cut really short to fix the quirks. 

We haven't been down to the park much as the packing and unpacking tires me out.  Hopefully, my stamina will pick up soon and we can enjoy the summer.

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Arrival

by Bev, via Keith

     Just an update on the Nagelkerkes.  We were blessed with our forth great grandbaby this week.  Our grandaughter  gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Isabelle Ann weighing in at 6 pounds, 18 inches.  She had a rough time caring this baby as she developed preeclampsia  in her last month of pregnancy. Tell Pat she loved the baby afghan. This is Marv and I our forth great grandchild .  We feel very blessed. The Lord has been good to us.
     The weather has really cooled down the last week, but I'm not complaining.  At least no snow.  The birds are happy with our yards as we have everything ready for them, including plenty of food and water.  Marv has been every waking hour working in our yard.  I've been in the pool twice a week doing my exercises, trying to keep my mobility.
      We are so thankful for the blog, as it keeps us up to date on things that mean so much to Marv and I both. Thanks again.

We love you all. Bev


Birds Abound

by Keith

Happy Monday Morning to you!

I just thought I'd start off the work week (well, you know what I mean!) by saying, "HI!" and wishing that, as they would say in Texas, all y'all have a great week!

Ours started off colorfully. As we were eating breakfast, a male oriole was scouting Pat's little herb garden for some goodies for breakfast while a female was trying to figure out how to eat from the hummingbird feeder.

In mere minutes, Pat had some "juice" for the orioles cooked up and I had their feeder hung. The problem is, last year they couldn't figure out how to eat from it. Hope we have smarter birds this year!

Last week we saw, one time and one time only, an indigo bunting. It was a brilliant dark blue with black wings. Sure wish he'd stick around, but suspect he was just passing through.

We have a good number of goldfinches dining here. Ten is the most we've seen at one time. And we hear wrens but don't know that any have chosen one of our houses to be their home this year.

Life in Cedar Rapids is good. We hope that is true wherever you are, too!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Update from Allison

by Allison, via Keith

I have not been online for LONGGGGGGG TIME.

Initially, is was because we had a major storm in April which took out the Electric on the south side of the park--lightening struck a transformer, and CoBridge Communications went down for aout 3 weeks.  No Cobridge--no WIFI.  Once Cobridge got up and running we discovered their modems no longer worked and needed to replace them.  Now we can concentrate on WIFI--one of the electrical components was down on the main board in the office. Another was sent overnight and Tony installed it--still no WIFI. Tony went out to check the towers--looked like at least G1 was struck by lightenng. They said they would send a technician out from Austin on Tues 4/24--which they did. We were right then at treatement at MD Anderson. We all communicated through Connie or she put the tech on the phone with us--once he completed the job. So, he had to install a new piece in the office (that had juist been replaced) that would communicate with G1 and reset several of the other nodes; but WIFI was back up 4/24 for the park.  People were so wonderful, just drove down to McD or DQ to download email, etc.  They were glad for convenience restored!  The WIFI in my own office remained out until today because I just didn't have the energy to reconfigure it.  But, I finally did.  In the process I had to blow away approximately 23350 emails I just didn't have time to vew.  So, if you wrote me and expected to hear back from me and haven't, that's why.  I would ask you to resend.
While at MDA Anderson, I began to know that God IS healing me--perhaps not in the twinkling of an eye; but He is healing as I go along--so I began not so much praying FOR healing as thanking and praising Him for the Healing He is doing.  I had so many beautiful opportunities to talk with patients, nursing and care staff about the Faithfulness of Jesus.  One little girl from a Muslim background asked timidly, "Did you pray today?"  I said, "O, yes, I pray everyday and all day long"  She asked and I answered questions about my faith.  Then she told me of being in a dying woman's room, "...we all knew whe was dying...she wasn't my patient but I went in because her IV pump beaped. As I turned to leave, I heard her husband praying and I stood in the shadows and listened.  He was saying, 'You're going to be alright, you're going to a better place...'"  Then, with tears in her eyes she asked, "How could he pray like that when she wasn't even dead?!"  I told her that our God, Jesus Christ, loves us VERY much and He has promised: 'Your eye has not seen, you ears have not heard, it hasn't even entered your imagination the wonderful thing God has prepared for those who love Him!' We talked for a long time and she was very moved by the discussion.  The next morning, as she brought the new nurse to meet me at shift change, she said, "We had a good discussion last night, didn't we."  "Yes," I said, "we did!"   Later, I told Tonly, "That is why I am here--for her and others like her."  Through this, God will glorify Himself.  I'm so glad.
As you know, I had two out patient Chemo treatments (4 hours each) that didn not work. Now I've completed 2 treatments (in-hospital) of 24-hr per day, 4 day per week chemo.  I spent most of that time in bed--just because the logistics of walking with all the paraphernalia is bulky and I felt a might weak--I spent most of the time cuddled under my beautiful pink quilt Jeanne & Otto made for me--so soft and warm--like my own cocoon. I have learned to pray that God will not let the deadly poison flowing into my body harm me--but only do the good things to heal and bring my cells into HIS alignment.  But, I have learned what "foreceful, uncontrollable, involuntary diarrhea means (remember yellow mustard running down your infant's leg?--very similar, only adult size) and I have encountered pampers--well, they are called Silhouettes.  I dealt with that every time I attempted to eat anything--no matter how small and bland (I found the best thing to eat, for me, was mashed potatoes) until Tuesday. On Tuesday, I was able to drive the golf cart up to show Ryan how to care for the SPA; but on Wednesday, I put on my "Big Girl Panties" and took care of the office and later went to Gulf-Point Village Retirement Center to have Bible Study with the residents there--it's a mutual blessing.  I am weak, bald and have lost a lot of weight--I'm wearing clothes I was going to give away, thinking I'd never wear them again (It's a good thing when sickness comes, to have some weight to lose!)--but it was great. I collapsed on the couch when I God home. PRAISE POINT: My blood values have been terrible since the first of February so when my Hemoglobin gets to 7. or sometimes 8 I get 1-2 units of Red cells which brings it up to 10.2.(it never goes higher than that! then it starts down again)  When my platelets get low--as they did, the week prior to my trip to Houston I receive 10-units of Platelets--it looks like chicken soup...and so on.

Before I finished chemo, my hemoglobin dropped to 7.2--here came two units of packed red cells--I was amazed to actually see my hands turn pink!  Anyway, I had blood drawn Tuesday and it is now: 12.4! (within normal range! Amazing, since Chemo tends to drop all counts..."but, God....")  My hands are still pink; but I have to see the oncologist today and have labs drawn again next Tuesday.  Anyway, my strenghth is increasing--I actually cooked yesterday.

I am scheduled to be in Houston on 5/14 for a PET-scan to see the status of everything.  Tuesday I'm to have fast-tracked labs (just means it gets done quickly) and see my docotor--then that afternoon see the stem-sell transplant team.  Then hospital admission.  My pink blanket always goes with me.  God can take me through all of this or heal all of it beforehand.  To Him be all the honor, glory and praise. 
I continue to have cards added to my walls.  It's such a blessing to know so many of you continue to pray with and for me--God is so faithful and HE promised that YOUR prayes are powerful and effective. James 5

Jesus Christ!
Yesterday, Today & Forever
Hebrews 13:8