Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Big Day at Blue Springs, but 433, That’s Ridiculous

Tuesday February 26, 2014
Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, Florida



I keep forgetting to give an update on David since there isn’t anything to tell.



People have been asking me and I keep forgetting to put it in the blog because we don’t know anything but here’s the story in brief.  

David relapsed only 14 months after he was declared in complete remission and his myeloma is active once again.    If you did not read that post, you can see it here.  

His doctors did a second round of the regular tests to make sure and did a  bone marrow biopsy which should have given the percentage of involvement and information about his prognosis.  The regular tests came back and confirmed the relapse.  We waited and waited for the biopsy results.  They analyzed them twice and found them to be inconclusive.  They think it is a false negative since they know he has relapsed. 

SO, he had a hole drilled in his hip and they took a chunk of bone and aspirated the marrow but it didn’t test out.  Now we wait 3 months and see what the effects on the myeloma are from the addition of dexamethasone to his medications.   He takes it once a week on Wednesday.  It speeds him up – well sort of.  It speeds up his mind and his chatter. It probably actually slows him down in doing things.   It gives him insomnia.  He has to take sleeping pills to sleep for two or three nights.   Then he has 4 regular days and nights and then repeat.  

We don’t know yet if they will want to do another bone marrow biopsy in July at the 2nd year “anniversary” of the stem cell transplant.  Thank you all for reminding me that you are interested in all this business.  The summary is, we don’t know anything at this point except that unfortunately he has relapsed and fortunately he still feels fine.   I do wish I had more information about what’s upcoming for him and for us. 



On my walk to see the manatee this morning, I discover they are making progress on repairing the boardwalk.




I walk down the path and by pass the boardwalk since I know it is closed off.   When I check it from the far end I find they have the tree out.  I move along to the overlooks and the manatee are more visible though not greater in number.  By the I head back home for breakfast the crew has the broken boards removed.







It’s a great morning on the boardwalk.




There are eight manatee.  Small numbers compared to just recently but with the warm weather I’m happy I can see them pretty well especially when they rise to the top to breathe and stick their cute noses out of the water.













The one with the tracker around her “hips” is called Pixie. She was found as a 45 pound baby and just released recently at 800 pounds after two years. The work done by the Save the Manatee Club is just amazing. They are the source for all information Manatee including the sad fact that 829 manatee were killed in 2013 making it the deadliest year for manatee since record keeping began.




The manatee are heading down the spring run toward the river. 


They must be going out to eat their body weight in grasses for the day.   There is no food for them in the spring or spring run, just warmth to keep their body temperature up to the tropical level it needs.





Walking further down and looking across out to the river, it looks like it may well be a good day for a paddle.  They’ve pushed the rain predictions back another day to tomorrow and Thursday so I think we’d better take advantage.






In the spring area the great blue is at his fishing post as are the cormorants.  I watch them all for a while.  The Great Blue of course barely moves.  The cormorants jockey for position and seem to be trying to ignore one another.  














So what are they looking at???

When I look up to see where David has gone, I notice he is with a group of people intently staring up and across the spring run.   Given the direction they are looking I know what has attracted their attention.





There are two eagles who have a nest each year in this area.  I first saw them on Monday when I came down and they were swooping around fishing and then flew off.  What a great sight that was.   Now only one is here.





We walk on down to the end of the boardwalk and out onto the tour boat dock.  Looking in both directions, the river looks inviting.  It is quiet at this time of the morning.  I like that especially.  The day at the park hasn’t really started yet except for those of us campers interested in the early morning activities of the animal residents.







The ticket booth for the boat tour is open and the agent’s dog comes to work with her. 


He’s a fabulously handsome dog.  I think a Bernese Mountain Dog.  Very calm and happy to be petted.  I wonder how he likes it here in July assuming that he lives here year round.   I pet his head and scratch his ears.  He seems to smile but as soon as someone in the ticket booth behind us rattles some paper, he is up and in to investigate.  Just as well, I have spent the morning












Walking on down the boardwalk toward home I see Bobbi in her interesting jacket. 

People ask her about it everywhere she goes.  Her entire right arm is covered in Florida State Park patches but she has many many other places too, lots of which we have been to.   Her jacket is a wind breaker and she has sewn all the patches on herself.  In fact this is the 3rd jacket they have been on.

She and her husband live in Michigan and if we don’t get to go west this summer and want to do the Great Lakes, she has promised to share don’t miss spots in Michigan with us.







Someone’s rapping at my window pane.



When we get back to Winnona I sit down at the dinette to take my pictures off my camera and I hear a tapping at the window next to me.  I look up and just then wings flutter and a tufted titmouse grabs the window frame and looks in through the screen.  Clearly he can’t see me but I can sure see him.  He then flutters up and pecks again, drops down and holds on.  I can’t figure out what he’s doing unless he sees his reflection somewhere up there but not through the screen.  He does this over and over.  We stare at each other for quite some time.  I can’t take my eyes off of a bird less than a foot away.  I hope he doesn’t tire himself out.  But it’s great to get such a close look at him.  I wish he had picked the side of the window without the screen.

It reminds me of the window bird feeder we had in the farm kitchen.  It had one way glass and was installed inside the house actually so the birds would come in to get the sunflower seeds and we could see them as clear as day right there in our kitchen between the Hoosier cupboard and the stove.






Yes it’s ridiculous! No wonder it takes forever to do a blog post.


Between this morning and our afternoon paddle, I took 433 pictures today.   Now that’s ridiculous.  The lighting kept giving me fits and I have a lot of trouble with my eyes.  They don’t like bright sun but if I wear sun glasses they don’t like the dimmed light.  I just can’t please them which means I’m never sure that I got the picture I wanted so I take eleventymillion of everything.  

And so it seems I have done an entire post just on our great morning here at Blue Springs.  The wonderful paddle on and around the St. John’s River that we did in the afternoon will just have to wait for another day.


  1. That's a whole lot of pictures for one day! After a certain point, ALL of Gary's bone marrow aspirations came back as "inconclusive", so we don't do them any more. His numbers have come down considerably with this four-month regimen of chemotherapy and radiation, so another transplant is probably in the offing in a couple of months. The dexamethasone is a problem, but David seems more bothered by it somewhat more than Gary. So far, no sleeping pills required, and he naps frequently throughout the day. He's taking his third nap today right now - before dinner. Dexamethasone day is tomorrow - so we start all over.

    Virtual hugs,


  2. Thanks for the update...you two are always in our thoughts!! So glad the manatees were there to visit you this morning. It has really gotten cold here in the pan handle...in the 30's by morning. So perhpas, the manatees may return for a little longer to warm in the spring!! I take 300+ photos on an average day. I then manage to get 30 that I like;o)) But I love taking pictures...just processing them takes so much time!!!

  3. Thanks for the update. It is difficult to wait for information especially when it isn't conclusive. You both remain in my thoughts and prayers. I admire your ability to go forth and LIVE each day. Not everyone can as some become bogged down in the what ifs. Continue to go for each and every day!!

  4. David a remarkable man, strong and determined to enjoy life no matter what the obstacle. He is an inspiration, as are you, Sherry, for your positive outlook, despite the frustrations from the testing. Know that we are always with you, you both are in our thoughts and prayers through it all.

  5. We found Michigan to be a lovely state with so many great places to visit, I'm sure you will have a blast if that is where you end up going this summer. I can relate to your picture overload, I do the same thing. We hope to see you soon, even if only for a short time.

  6. So glad to get the update...always on my mind when I read through your posts..prayers July brings good news! Lv to see you get West....but MI is also a "wow" place to be!

  7. My walk sure was ruined this morning and will be tomorrow morning. I just don't do 30's.

    That is a lot of photos. But you have to take a lot of them in order to find the very best.

    We loved michigan. There is so much to see and do. Lots of trees to hug, trails to walk, places to kayak.

  8. We haven't been to MI yet but quite a few people have told us we should go. Too bad the bone biopsy wasn't more informative.Just hope David continues to feel well and you get to visit some new places.

  9. That is a lot of pictures. If I took that many in one day I think I'd have the camera up to my eye the biggest part of the day! I hated to hear the news that David's remission didn't last longer. If tests don't match then I wouldn't know what to think or which test to trust.

  10. Over 400 pictures, now that's a chunk of pictures to go through. I think I got close to 200 once, but 100 of them pertained to tests I was doing trying to learn the camera better. Thanks for the update on David...sure wish you the best. 19 years ago my mom was diagnosed with Stage II, Low Grade Lymphoma..they gave her 3-5 years. She will be celebrating her 84th birthday in April, no signs of a relapse. Hope David has even better results than that. --Dave (Marcia and "Service Dog" Skruffy and "temporarily absent" Bubba - GoingRvWay.com)

  11. Too bad about the relapse. Glad David is still feeling good. I just read an obit in the paper the other day saying this person succumbed to multiple myeloma after 16 years of deaing with it. So take heart.
    We are getting our TIAA-CREF retirement analysis tomorrow, so we'll see how soon we are going to retire. Can't wait. I want to have fun like you two are!

  12. I'm glad David is feeling better despite the relapse. Wow, over 400 pictures is a lot. Then again, there are so many things to see!

  13. Thinking of you and David. Sending prayers your way.

    Sounds like a wonderful relaxing morning. We had a cardinal that visited while we were in Big Cypress. John nicknamed him "Stanley." He was beautiful but not to our MH. He could see his reflection in all parts (our MH has lots of black) and continually pecked at himself. Not good for the paint.

  14. Sorry about David's relapse, hoping you hear better news soon. I'm not sure Dave has gotten to 400 pics in one day but he sure does take a lot, so nice he's able too. Spent some time in MI too, went in the fall, went to a Renaissance Festival there, Henry Ford Museum, Mackinac Island and lots of beautiful fall scenery along the coast, reminded us of VT.

  15. It is tough not knowing. Dad puts up with it and so do you by moving forward day to day...such strength. I think it's good you are staying active. Just wish remission had remained longer :( Manatee, eagles and a titmouse so close. I call that a good day. 433 pictures! Wow ...not sure I have ever achieved that!

  16. I did had some great pictures days in some of our favorite parks out west taking over 500 pictures a day several times in Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce as I recall, so by association, 433 puts Blue Springs in good company.

  17. Thanks for the update on David. I had been wondering, but hesitated to ask. Glad to hear he's feeling pretty well, but that medication must be a drag.

    I think you may have even topped my record for the number of pictures in a day. Wow...433! When we used to dive a lot, I took tons of underwater pictures and back in those days, we had to pay to develop them. Sure was glad when they invented digital photography.

    I shared a link on Facebook that I think you would like. It's pictures taken of Kings Bay at Crystal River. I thought of you when I saw it. David should be able to find it. I think it was taken with a remote controlled helicopter... (sure would like one of those)

    Enjoy your stay at Blue Springs.

  18. Sorry to hear about Davids health problems. Hope all goes well for you both and I will keep you in my prayers. Sounds like you are enjoying the walks, manatee and eagle sightings and your ever famous picture taking is amazing. Take care and safe travels.

  19. Thanks for showing us that park, it is 78 miles from our Cabana and we had wondered where it was and the name. We had been going over to a place North of Tampa to watch Manatee. People had suggested many places around here, but most have been fenced off to protect them from humans, power plant heat exchangers make a lot of warm water and had been popular spots to go in the past. We will drive over on Monday and learn about the park for next Winter Manatee viewing.

  20. Thanks for the update. It is great that the two of you continue to move forward and enjoy each day. I'll continue to hope that the meds will be worth the loss of sleep and that they're actually doing some good. You certainly pack a lot in and even have time to edit all those photos. I guess that's why you get so many terrific photos!

  21. So much to comment on ... LOVE the little Titmouse! how cute is that! love the manatees... Michigan is a very interesting beautiful state ... especially the Upper Peninsula... just the bomb!

    What a love that dog is .... love big ol dogs ... and well, David.. yes, I think of his health each time you blog and how you two are moving right along with life ... more life than a lot of people will ever realize... day after day .... gooooood stuff!

  22. I concur with the others about Michigan. We did the east coast of Wisconsin, the UP of Michigan and the west coast of Michigan as one of our first summer adventures several years ago. I was finishing up my career and had to spend two weeks in Chicago so we started out from there. Our friends thought we were NUTS for choosing Wisconsin and Michigan, but we want to see it all and that's part of it. We were charmed, surprised, fell in love and can't wait to return someday to explore further. I so love the pics of Blue Springs as so many are shots I recognize. Keep it up!

  23. Good to hear that David is still feeling well. That’s what’s important…it allows you to live each day to its fullest, and we all know how well you do that. Love all the pictures. Naturally, the pup and the manatees. The titmouse is a funny little bird. I have an ap on my phone that does bird calls. When I was in Charleston one year, I heard one and turned the ap on. The poor little titmouse got confused and landed right on the phone in my hand. It scared me and I scared it and it flew away. Of all the bird calls, the tufted titmouse always brings the real ones around. Lots of fun. Oh, just love the Eagle pics. Those are my favorites. What magnificent birds.

  24. That is a lot of pictures. I wish we were better about remembering to take pictures.


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