What’s in a number?
It depends upon what that number stands for.
If we say something is the best, the meaning is clear: It’s #1 in anyone’s book. When we refer to a person’s character as being first-rate, or they are superior at what they do, they’re considered A-#1.
The Outdoors Guy received a #6 rating last week. No, it’s not #1, but it might as well be. It’s a number he’s so very blessed and grateful to have reached because it is his Cancer Antigen 19-9 tumor marker test result. Any number below 35 is within normal range for a patient previously diagnosed with cancer. Bob’s #6 is STELLAR!!! Six months ago it was an eight. His outcome can’t get much better in anyone’s book!!!
Bob is enjoying life to the fullest, taking advantage of the years God has blessed him with since his devastating pancreatic diagnosis nearly four years ago on May 8, 2015. Whether it's hunting, fishing, golfing or just smelling the fresh air, Bob is always smiling.
The Outdoors Guy persevered through 37 of the strongest, most grueling chemotherapy treatments oncologist Dr. Paula Gill of Mayo Clinic-La Crosse campus would allow. Additionally, he endured 25 radiation sessions and surgery by pancreatic surgeon specialist Dr. Mark Trudy at Mayo in Rochester. Yes, the tumor took a hit, but at the same time, Bob’s side effects were relentless. Yet, he beat them back.
We continue to cheer on our Outdoors Guy after a fantastic #6 tumor marker result and as he nears his May 8, four-year survival date!!!   

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10.

Boathouse Bob and Junior

For the past couple of years, Bob has been the "keeper" of the boathouse belonging to one of his best friends, Junior.
It’s the old one-hand-washes-the-other antidote. The Outdoors Guy keeps an eye out for any problems at the boathouse, alerts Junior, and a solution is found. In turn, Bob appreciates fishing privileges from spring through fall.
These longtime friends also enjoy their daily fishing trips to their favorite spots in Junior's boat during the summer months. However, medical issues for both of them have limited their time on the water.
This spring, Junior and Boathouse Bob have been busy bees with their "watchdog" duties. Of course, you know why. FLOODING!!! The high water has kept them swamped attempting to keep the antiquated boathouse afloat and from drifting away.
Thankfully, Junior hired Derrick to do the "grunt work." He also checks the boathouse every day. If there are any problems, Derrick is younger, mobile, stronger and able to handle anything the two 70-plus-year-old guys can’t.
It’s a great relief for Boathouse Bob and Junior, who is awaiting back surgery. Since recovering from an ongoing fight against pancreatic cancer, Bob has been left with a few residual side effects, including a loss of balance from chemotherapy and a stroke on Labor Day Weekend 2017. Bob isn’t as stable as he used to be, especially in a canoe on high water.
Yet, even with high water and duties in store for the "good ol' boys," every day, I see the joy on Boathouse Bob's face when he announces, “I’m going to the boathouse.”
For my part, I have no desire to go to a skanky boathouse where spiders are as big as fried eggs, mean teeth-baring fishers (a member of the weasel family) have been encountered, and snakes and other unsavory wildlife abound.
Consequently, when Bob announces he’s off to the boathouse every day, I smile and remind him to BE CAREFUL!!!
Yet, at the same time I’m thinking…. EEEKKKKK!!! LET. HIM. GO!!!!!

If you wish to comment, send them to kathy@boblamboutdoors

Out the door!!!!

Do you remember? It was 12 months ago I was tired of my side of the closet bulging at the seams. I was guilty of keeping clothes for years that I no longer wore mainly because I couldn’t make a decision on what to keep or donate.
I visited the website, Hoarders Help. After reading the description of a hoarder, the first two traits struck home: “Indecisiveness and perfectionism.”
I read about a one-year challenge for clothes hoarders. It suggested switching clothing to face the opposite direction they normally do. As an article of clothing is worn and laundered, turn it the regular way again. After one year, whatever remains that has not been worn, and therefore has not been turned to face the usual way, donate those items.
BOOM!!! I was hooked and pledged to take the challenge.  
Wow! Those 365 days flew by in a hurry!!! I could hardly believe it when I pulled out my 2019 calendar. Yup, there was the Post-It attached to January with the reminder staring back at me.
Inspired by the challenge, I did not wait for the one-year deadline before beginning to eliminate a few articles at a time. It was a slow, arduous process, but once into it, I kept at it.
When the Jan. 28th deadline arrived, I leafed through my wardrobe looking for any items still turned in the opposite direction. To my delight, there were only eight turned about-face. YAY!!!
Those eight garments were added to my final donation tally. I am pleased to report Goodwill was the recipient of 42 tops/blouses/sweaters, 4 dresses, 6 blazers/jackets/coats, 8 pairs of slacks/jeans and 5 pairs of shoes.
Although this was MY self-imposed challenge and not The Outdoors Guy’s, at my suggestion, he went through his side of the closet… grumpy and halfheartedly!!! Tee-hee!!! It took him all of 10 minutes!! Still, he donated 28 shirts/sweaters and 3 pairs of slacks. I know he has more clothing hanging around that will never see the light of day, but it’s somewhere between unbelievable and a miracle he sifted through his things in the first place!
To that end, I’m pleased to report there is less clothing filling my space than his!!! Woo-hoo!!!
My enthusiasm spilled over into household goods as well, adding 27 items to the tally.  
When shopping, I have learned to be more discerning and now ask myself, “Do I really need this?” More often than not, the answer is a big, resounding, “NO!!!” The best part? I can walk away and not look back.
If you’re on the fence about taking this challenge, I emphatically recommend you get off it!!! During these winter months, while we are spending so many hours indoors, is an excellent time to go for it!
Whether you take baby steps or one giant leap to accomplish your goal, BE ALL IN!!! IT’S A GREAT FEELING!!!



Standing on their own

Last fall, in preparation for the cold winter ahead, I bought The Outdoors Guy a pair of heavy-duty jeans. Shopping in the concrete jungle is NOT on his radar!!
Cold weather affects him more since he went through chemo treatments for pancreatic cancer. And, he doesn’t always like to wear long underwear.
I didn’t realize how heavy those britches were until I pulled them from the washing machine for the first time. It was like lifting weights!!
Bob appreciates their warmth this winter and the fact that the wind can’t begin to get through their rugged fabric. But, he, too, comments on how hefty they are!
I thought they might soften up after being laundered several times. Ah…NO!!!
So, I started kidding The Outdoors Guy, telling him, “I know if I tried, these trousers could stand on their own!”
“Naw, they’re not THAT tough,” he replied.
“We’ll see,” I said.
Well, they did stand… from the knees up. However, when I tipped them over, they did a waist stand!! They actually stood at attention as if Bobby was doing a head stand!!!
You can see for yourself…
It reminds me of “Stand By Your Man,” the ages-old country western song sung by Tammy Wynette, with a few adjustments to the lyrics.
Stand by your man, give him heavy pants to change into.
They’ll be especially warm to cling to,
when the outdoors is cold and windy.
Stand by your man, and for all the world protect him.
Give him heavy-duty pants that stand.
Stand by your man!!

Similar to Duluth Trading Post’s advertisement for their men's Duluth BullpenTM Stay-Put Pouch Underwear: “Keep your boys where they belong,” The Outdoors Guy’s britches keep the winter weather where it belongs… out in the cold!!!

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Scanxiety turns into serenity

There was no need to question why The Outdoors Guy wasn’t his usual self earlier this week.
Tuesday, he was scheduled for his six-month labs, tumor marker test and CT scan as a followup for his pancreatic cancer diagnosed May 8, 2015.
After his last round of tests, Dr. Paula Gill, Bob’s oncologist at Mayo Clinic-La Crosse campus, said because he had so many clean scans, she could no longer warrant testing every three months.
Stretching tests out to double the amount of time between scans made Bob feel like he was up on a ladder with nowhere to go.
It was about a year ago when he read an article about the anxiousness before testing. It even has a name, “Scanxiety.”
“Scanxiety” is defined as “the tension which builds, particularly among those who have or have had cancer, as they move toward their regular checkup scan.”
After scanxiety, patients move into “hyper-scanxiety,” being the time they wait for results.
Aha!!! No wonder The Outdoors Guy suddenly becomes a little hard to live with during the pre-and-post test results. When you think about it, though, we all can be anxious while waiting for test results, even if we don’t have cancer.
This time, though, he seemed a little more at peace than he has in the past. I am sure his strengthened faith in God has brought him to a new-found confidence that, come what may, he always has been and will continue to be in the Great Physician’s care.
Our wait is over. Today Bob met with Dr. Gill to receive his test results.
The Outdoors Guy said Dr. Gill was ecstatic with his test results. His tumor marker remains at eight, the same as six months ago, and his CT scan was clean with no sign of the pancreatic tumor!!! His other labs, including his liver tests, were also great.
PHENOMENAL…INCREDIBLE…REMARKABLE!!! These are the best adjectives I can think of to express Bob’s test results and how we are feeling at this time. Yet, BLESSED rises far above and beyond these by a country mile in the Outdoors Guy’s thankful eyes.
2019 is off to a happy, healthy start for our family and we hope for yours, too!!!

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. - Isaiah 55:12