San Gimignano, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

No, I haven’t not fallen off the earth. Just a very busy summer that is now winding down here in Maine. A lot has happened since my last post, so I will update you all soon!


colors, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it sometimes does. I have some news to share with my readers… My mom and I have been through tough times the past 2.5 years. She is battling papillary thyroid cancer and is having her radioactive iodine treatment this week. She has had to be on a low iodine diet for two weeks, which has been really tough. Iodine is in almost everything! But hopefully she will have great results with the ablation of another thyroid cancer cells.

Well last week, I received some bad news myself. After having some “stomach” problems over the last several months, I went to my doctor for some testing. Turns out, I have very large mass growing in my pelvis, which could be ovarian cancer. I am shocked and saddened. After Ct Scans, Ultrasounds, and MRI’s they are still not sure if it is malignant or benign. So I will have it all removed next Tuesday May 8th. I am still stunned by all this and have tried to remain focused on my mom’s treatment as well as my own. I will keep you posted cyber-friends.  In the meantime, I will look forward to traveling to Italy in June! 🙂



DSC06602, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

April 16th. Today is my mom’s 77th Birthday. She means more to me than she will ever know. I lost my dad when I was 15 due to a massive heart attack when he was 44. She became both mom and dad. Both comforter and discipliner. That was over 30 years ago.

Almost 3 years ago she survived a stroke that damaged the right side of her brain. In February she was diagnosed with Stage II Thyroid cancer. But she is still here and today we will celebrate her birthday! Happy Birthday to my mom and my friend. Even though we sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye, she keeps me level headed and on my toes. She makes me strive to be a better person every day and she loves me unconditionally…she is my MOM.

Mom and emma, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

For every good moment in life there must be a bad one. I am struggling with life an its harsh reality. I ask why, but get no answer. And I want to scream. My mom has been ill for the past 2.5 years after surviving a stroke. Then she lost the sight in her right eye permanently and will have to have the eye removed at some point. Then last month she was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. On February 28, 2012 she had a total thyroidectomy and lymph node exploration. We thought things were ok on that day, as the surgeon came out and said it looks good, “its not in her lymph nodes”. She would then be scheduled for RAI or radioactive iodine ablation therapy in 6 weeks.  Or so we thought.

It is amazing how quickly things can change in life. You can get sucked up into a vortex any day and things will be never the same.  A week after her surgery we received a call form the surgeon, “there is a problem with the results of the specimen. The pathologist needs further testing to rule out another form of thyroid cancer. Potentially a rare much more aggressive anaplastic thyroid cancer.  “Wait, that’s not what you told us!”  I cant believe this is happening…the dreaded “C” word.  My mother is what is left of my childhood, she was the one the cured all my illness, listened to my rants, always made things better for me or at least it seemed that way. Now as a “middle aged” woman I have become the “mother”, our roles are reversed. I no longer have my “mom” or at least they way she was three years ago. I am now the caretaker. I am the mother, the one that makes things better. And it sucks. I am angry. I am so upset to have been dealt this hand that mother has. But it is not about me.  I only want to protect her from the harsh reality of life, as a mother does their own child.  I have always been able to control the situation but now I can’t we must wait for the plan from the surgeon and endocrinologist.  I still want to scream.

The pit of my stomach, or what is left to it is in fury. It agonizes for strength to stay strong and not cry. I must be the mother, I must the strong one.

DSC07332, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Happy 15th Wedding Anniversary and Valentine’s Day to my husband, travel partner and best friend. I love you.

All those years ago, my dear,
You made my world complete;
You became my perfect partner in life,
And you’ve been a world-class treat!We’ve loved and worked and made a home
That fills me with pleasure and pride,
And it’s all because of the wonderful one
Who has lived through the years by my side.Thank you my treasured and cherished love;
You’ve made my dreams come true.
Your loving and caring have made our marriage
A blissful adventure for two!


Day Dreamin’


salty dog, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Life is bound to get better…right? Life does have the tendency to throw us curveballs…but we must get by them. Three in one week, is a bit too much though.


enjoying the sun, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

What a horrific week. My mom has had an enlarged thyroid, which has been being checked since October and last week she had a FNA Fine Needle Biopsy of it. The news was not good when my phone rang on Thursday. The endocrinologist stated that she had “Papillary Thyroid Cancer” and need a complete thyroidectomy and Radioactive Iodine Treatment post op. I am devastated as is my mom with this news. We had no idea that she would get his diagnosis. I am sick over it. As her caretaker I must remain strong for her…but I am not strong. We have had so many set backs since she had her stroke 2.5 years ago. What a horrific diagnosis to have to deal with. We are still in shock and waiting to get things set up for her surgery and other appointments over the next few weeks. I will leave you with this info to read…..

Papillary Thyroid Cancer

What is papillary thyroid cancer?
About 44,670 Americans are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Thyroid cancer incidence is increasing at a faster rate among American men and women than any other type of cancer.

Papillary thyroid cancer, which accounts for about 80 percent of these cases, is a cancer of thyroid follicular cells. Most people diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer at an early stage can be cured. About 1,500 Americans die from all types of thyroid cancer each year. This relatively low death rate is due to successful early detection and treatment in most cases.

Who is likely to have papillary thyroid cancer?
Women are three times more likely than men to have papillary thyroid cancer. Most cases afflict individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. Associated risk factors include radiation exposure, a family history of thyroid cancer, and too much iodine in the diet. Less often, papillary thyroid cancer is associated with having a goiter, or benign thyroid nodule or multiple colon growths (familial polyposis). Also, papillary thyroid cancer has been linked to nuclear weapons testing in the western United States and to accidents in nuclear power plants and atomic weapons production facilities (eg, the Chernobyl nuclear facility accident).

What characterizes papillary thyroid cancer?
Papillary thyroid cancer is characterized by its papillary architectural growth pattern, but more importantly by the changes in the appearance of the nuclei of the tumor. Any cancerous nodule can become life-threatening by spreading via lymphatic spaces or blood vessels to lymph nodes or nearby bones and other organs. However, among all malignant neoplasms, there is a low death rate for papillary thyroid cancer.

Nodules can be detected when your primary care physician checks your neck and throat and feels the thyroid for lumps. Otherwise, early thyroid cancer does not have symptoms. If the cancer grows, symptoms may include a lump in the front of the neck, hoarseness or voice changes, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, trouble swallowing or breathing, or throat or neck pain.  http://www.mybiopsy.org


Cappuccino, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Making cappuccino!


1-1/2 cup Strongly Brewed Coffee
1 cup Skimmed Milk
1 tsp Sugar or Splenda


Put the sugar in the milk and thoroughly heat it in the microwave oven.
Pour the milk in a blender and blend till it develops a thick layer of froth. You can also use an electric whisk for this purpose.
Brew the coffee till it is strong, and fill only 3/4 of your cup with coffee. Pour in the frothy milk and sugar mixture.
Add in a pinch of cinnamon for a spicy flavor, or garnish the drink with some chocolate.

You have 2 cappuccinos ready to go! Freshly ground coffee can give your cappuccino a fresh and smooth flavor. If you want to add a delicious twist to your cappuccino, add 2-3 tablespoons of caramel or 2 tablespoons of chocolate, or both together, just before pouring in the frothy mixture.

A perfect way to stay warm this winter!


ice on cedar, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

I have not yet felt inspired to blog about the new year yet, so I will leave you with a winter photo for now! Hope you all rang in the New Year in Peace!


gingerbread!, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year! I hope your days are filled with good family friends and food!