Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Maybe a Trip Just for Fun?

Today, we're talking about a trip somewhere that there is sunshine and ocean and birds and lots of light, and happy things!

Bill has a ton of reasons that he doesn't want to travel, but I'm working on him. Yet not pressuring him, as he has several conditions that would make traveling really challenging for even the bravest soul.

And we do have a doctor appointment on January 6th.

Maybe just some day trips, then. Anything for a nice change of scenery before he starts teaching and chemo, both in January. We have to figure out our dogs, but would like to take them with us because we'd miss them. Then we'd have to winterize the house and especially the plumbing if we were gone more than a day. But it can be done!

Well, Christmas is behind us now...and we're looking forward to 2011, both so happy to be with each other, treasuring every day, so grateful for this gift of time, and this period of health--may it last forever--and for our senses of humor, and for all the people who love us, and all the people we love.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Things are Better

Just a word to say things are MUCH improved here, in terms of moods and emotions.

Sorry for those dreary posts: we were having a ton of bad things going on all at once, but now they are resolved. All our troubles have kind of just flown away!

Here's hoping I never post anything THAT depressing again! Sorry bout that!

Love to all,
The now-quite-cheery B&B

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Laugh a Minute Up Here!

Hey, we weren't cheerful enough, ALREADY, when suddenly, last night, the power went out.

And the phone.

And the Internet.

And half of our candles.

And the HEAT.

(Heat going out--best part--it's fun to worry about all the water pipes that might explode, as you feel the inside of the uninsulated SUMMER house converting in fractions of seconds to an Arctic tundra). And outside, it was about 5 degrees with wind about 60 mph. And the whole family and all the dogs sitting in a pitch-dark house the size of a postage stamp.

Oh, yes, I MIGHT have been in my Arctic tent, being happy about it all, but nooooooooooooooo. The CHILDREN thought the tent was FOOLISH, saw no humor in it whatsoever, and made me take it down several days ago.

Yeppers. No Arctic tent, after all that time of being ready.

The only thing that WOULDN'T go out was the entire collection of DOGS! Yeah. The roaring of the wind and the snow piled against the frosted-over doors SCARED them--but not to worry: they just used the rug instead. That was pleasant. To discover. In the pitch dark.

A great holiday memory, altogether. Oh, wait. No, wasn't!

Here's to 2011, and putting houses on the market, and moving to Costa Rica.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dec. 21 Appointment: Bill is A-OK!

Just back from the long haul to Winston, and Bill is pronounced to be fine. Yay!

Kind of a pointless trip, though. Understatement.

From the alarm going off until the time we got home was nine hours (!) and we only saw Dr. Shen for 8.5 minutes during which time he looked once at Bill's scar. No blood tests, nothin. What the heck???????

He's such a nice doctor, though. He has this grin that looks like he is right on the brink of laughing. It's actually the main thing you notice about him, and he is always grinning like that--even after the surgery. You want to say, "What is funny?" because he looks so happy! So it's hard to complain. Not hard enough, obviously, because I just did. haha

Anyway, in the optional reading section of this post, I demonstrated to Bill, on the way home, that a McDonald's french fry is nearly INDISTINGUISHABLE from a rolled up piece of McDonald's paper napkin, if the napkin is salted OR dipped in ketchup.

Bill actually went along with this demonstration. He keeps insisting we eat at McDonald's, a place that I find more frightening than a haunted house. This was only the third time in my adult life that I've agreed to step inside one.

Anyway, I was sitting there and decided to taste a french fry. But all I could taste was salt. I said, "These are known for being horrible fries, right?" He says, "No! McDonald's fries are supposed to be the best!"

So, having nothing else to do besides wait for him to finish eating, while I listened to the astonishingly thick accents of the people talking around us (how do they retain these ridiculously deep accents while owning television sets and hearing that OTHER PEOPLE DON'T "KEELS BARS EEN THE WUDS WIFF RAHFULLS"??

...wait, where was I going with this story?

...oh yeah, so I got bored and started tasting these french fries and could NOT believe they tasted so much like paper! Except for the salt. And the ketchup.

So I made Bill taste a plain fry, with just salt, and he agreed he could taste nothing but salt. Then I wiped the salt off one and he agreed that there was NO taste at all. Then I dipped a fry in ketchup, and we both agreed it was fantastic. Therefore, the McDonald's ketchup is seriously excellent.

Bill said, "I think McDonald's has simply devised a brilliant ketchup delivery system."

He ACTUALLY said that, and I almost slid out of my chair laughing.

But then I rolled up a piece of my napkin and chewed on it for a while. It was, and I am serious, better than the french fry--had MORE flavors going on! So I got him to try a piece of napkin rolled up, and he AGREED that it was better than the fries.

Then we dipped the napkin in salt, and it EQUALLED the fries.

Then we dipped pieces of napkin in ketchup, and they were BETTER than the fries!

A man at a nearby table was watching us, with a concerned expression on his face and, this is true...he held a french fry in had been on the way to his mouth...all during the napkin portion of our luncheon experiment.

So, in short: the trip was a worthless Medicare-billable piece of wasted time, EXCEPT that Bill and I are now Firsthand Witnesses to the fact that McDonald's napkins taste better than their fries. We invite--nay, encourage--you to try this yourself.

Next appointment: January 6th with Dr. Torti. That's when we get the prescription for starting the chemo, and then things will be moving again. I'll keep writing on Sundays, just to stay in touch.

Love to all, and kudos to McDonald's everywhere for the world's greatest ketchup delivery system, if you're willing to eat the napkins.


Monday, December 20, 2010

oops! Missed the Sunday post. Sorry!

It was a simple space-out. I forgot it was Sunday!

Now that will REALLY get some folks a-prayin' fer us! *grin* *love-wink*

Bill is okay, but having some strange issues.

TOMORROW, Dec. 21, we go see Dr. Shen, and I will make sure I tell him all these things Bill is struggling with, because Bill won't tell him. (D-e-n-i-a-l.)

I almost wasn't going to go tomorrow, since it's such a simple checkup, but then I remembered! My naughty cowboy will say everything is fine, and that would be a liddle biddy ****cowboy fib****.

So I have to go and act like a stage mother. The doctors always look like they sorta wish I weren't there, because I have allllllllll the symptoms on a list, and they have to hear them allllllll, and I have allllllllllll the questions I've built up by googling. I just know they are rolling their eyes when they see me coming.

But I'm nice about it--humble even! Bill? Tell them! I'm not pushy, rude, or weird. I just can't let things go by, but I say it nicely, very respectfully and politely, right Bill? Tell them I do!

[Here's Bill's voice, fake-overdubbed onto this blog's sound track: "Beth is very appropriate when she speaks to medical professionals." See? I told you! (Well, yeah, I wrote that, but you have to admit: It really sounded like him, didn't it?)]

Anyway, here are his symptoms:

1. His incision is KILLING him! He has really serious pain at the top of his incision.

2. He has unexplained cramping pains all around his abdomen, that strike him all day, even when he is doing nothing. They're BAD! He says, "OWWWWWWW!" out of nowhere, and scares me to death.

3. He is really, really, really exhausted by the slightest things. And that seems to be getting slightly worse, instead of better. You'd think, oh, it's the surgery, but he did improve at first; but now he is anti-improving.

4. He has something else wrong which he refuses under penalty of law to tell me about, and even says that I will have to step out of the room when he tells the doctor (OMG), and FURTHERMORE, he tells me to S-T-O-P A-S-K-I-N-G H-I-M W-H-A-T I-T I-S.

Ohhhhh, well THAT makes me feel better! NOWWWWWWWWW I'm not worried!


So, tomorrow afternoon (we should be home by, I'm guessing, god-willin-and-the-creek-and-the-ice-sleet-snow-storm-drizzle-rain-don't-rise, about 3 pm), so I will post to you and tell you how it went with Dr. Shen.

Till then, I'm hiding in my Arctic tent, which is, by the way, still set up in front of the fireplace and, when I'm not working, this is my favorite place to sit. I'm typing this blog from inside it right now! It's warm in here,'s my own little fort.

Love to you. Seriously, love. And MERRY HOLIDAYS, but I'll post before then.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

So-Called "Monster Storm" Might Knock Out Our Internet

If we don't post on Sunday, it's because we will have no Internet. I mean, we MIGHT have Internet, and then, we will post, but YOU might not have Internet, if you live in the northern 75% of the US, so then you couldn't read it anyway.

Bill is doing better every day. He even drove the car yesterday, and helped me in the yard a little today, getting ready for the huge storm. He is eating normal food, off the Ensure, and his biggest problem now is unending pain and cramps in his surgical area, liver area, which pain is still within the normal range. No fever.

Looking at a map just now, a radar picture of this storm: it looks like a gigantic hurricane, with its eye over Des Moines right now. It is spinning counter-clockwise, and the top half is snow, bottom half rain. It goes from Alabama in the south up into Canada. That's how BIG it is!

Here, all the reports tell us that Saturday night, we get tons of rain, then it quickly freezes into nice black ice over everything, then turns into snow, then into a white-out blizzard with hurricane force winds, cracking trees, downed power/phone/internet lines and not letting up till the end of Tuesday.

Well, we had to get ready in case that happens, but I sort of don't believe it will be that bad.

We have an Arctic (good to -60 degrees) (HAHA) (why is that funny, Beth?) tent set up in the house--IN the house--in front of the propane fireplace in case power goes out. We have camping supplies, water, canned food, matches, candles, and a grill out back and tons of charcoal for, eg, making coffee. If the propane for the fireplace runs out, both cars are full of gas, so we and the 4 dogs will move into the cars which sounds like actual fun to me. I love drama!

My favorite thing about ice storms is trees cracking. Unless they're anywhere near my house or the houses of people we like. People we don't like, who cares. JUST KIDDING! But you stand at the door and listen, and it sounds like lots of firecrackers going off, small explosions that crack and echo, as trees just kind of explode, when the ice makes them too heavy, then the 50 mph wind gets involved.

They're saying MINUS-20-DEGREE wind chill factor here, once the wind starts. Which makes a pretty GOOD Wine Chill factor, but a very BAD Windshield Factor, if you have to scrape the ice.

So, as I was saying, Bill is doing better, and if we don't write till next week, it means we lost internet. You can see why we might.

Love from the Tree-Poppin' Wine-Chillin' Arctic-Tentin' Cowpokes!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nothing like a silly Jib Jab Felice Navidad video...

I hope this works, when you click the link. I tried it, and it worked for me....if it doesn't, I'll take it down. Bill and the family dancing in Mexico to celebrate Felice Navidad! Have your sound turned on, too:


Monday, December 6, 2010

OOOO! Fun! We got the path report.

After about 5 different types of shenanigans on my part, to get the hospital to mail us the path report, finally plan #5 came through for me, and I received by FAX today, both the pathology report and the surgical report. (Always ask for these after an operation. Firstly, because you literally own them. Secondly, because the path report gives you the details, stuff the doctors don't even tell you (!), and the surgical report is like an ongoing dictation of everything that happened during the surgery and is fun to read.)


No negative surprises. Hooray!

1. The three spots were indeed tumors from his bladder that had metastasized. Since he had stage 2 prostate cancer also, I wanted to know if perchance the tumors were from that. No other tumors on liver, and they even held the liver up and did a scan of it during surgery to make sure.

2. They took Wild Billy's gallbladder out! We didn't know that. It was fine. Also, a lymph node came attached to the gallbladder, and that was fine, too.

3. The surgeon did a visual check of the abdominal areas he could see and didn't see anything else suspicious. Always good! They didn't seem to do a special check of that kidney thing, which I wish they had. But I think it might've been impossible to see.

4. Then they washed him out with warm saline solution (sounds cozy!) and closed his incision with some kind of dura-glue stuff. That's why no sutures. Oh, that Dr. Shen has tricks up his sleeves! Gotta love the guy.

But see, all of the above information, we wouldn't have ever known if we hadn't learned to ask for these reports. (And they don't love giving out these reports, so you have to get a hang for the strategy. Took me five attempts to get my victory. Ask me, if you ever need to know how to do this.) So there ya go. Info that I hope you never, ever need.

(Back at Duke, when I first asked Dr. Duke Surgeon, El Creepozoid, to send the path report, he LITERALLY said to me, "What does this look like, a FED EX office?" and wouldn't send it. Wow. I got it another way. Also left Duke.)

Love from the utterly snowbound, blizzarded, ice-cold, WhatGlobalWarming Drennans!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


It's Sunday. We're snowed in. The wind is howling.

Forgot to buy the stuff for spaghetti, and now I'd have to dig out the SUV to go buy it, so we're having leftover fried chicken, biscuits, rice, gravy; could be worse.

Our TV dish is also snowed in. No TV.

At least, so far, the computer cable is working, and the heat. Blessings counted. We've certainly lost those before. Mountain life.

OK: to the point. Bill seems better. He still won't take his pain meds, and his incision hurts, and today he felt dizzy all day, but he eats about a cup of food at a time, and is sitting up a lot more. So I'd say he is better. His color is improving.

But the better he gets, the sooner he starts chemo.

Ew. There went another roar outside, and the snow looks like white fog going sideways. I better hit "send" before more troubles befall...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Better! I Think?

I just asked Bill what I should say to describe his status right now, and he said to tell you he has "considerable abdominal pain" and "persistent fatigue." Ha. He always has to talk like a Prof.

So of course I said, "CONSIDERABLE abdominal pain?"

He said, "Well, it's kept under control by the pain pills, and I'm trying not to take the pills."

"Why in the wide, wide world of sports would you try NOT to take your pain pills?"

"I don't like to be sleepy all the time."

Ohhhhhhh, yesssss, lest you wonder: I have suggested talking to the doctor about DIFFERENT pain pills that would meet his needs.

"Nope. Don't wanna talk to the doctor."

Well, there ya go! If he were a woman, he'd be a Cat Stevens song: Lookin for a hard headed woman, headed woman...

As it stands, he's merely a hit single from Sufjan Stevens' new album: There's too much riding on that, too much, too much, too much love...

I'm not sure the above two paragraphs make any sense, but what does?

He's eating a little more food, is less Ensure-dependent. And right now, he is sitting on the sofa in the sunroom doing a crossword and talking to Raggy, our temporary auxiliary backup dog.

Tonight, we will watch last Sunday's episode of Dexter, and then a Netflix of MadMen--still on season two. Oh, hey, last night I dreamed about Don Draper. He was being a jerk because I borrowed a chair from him. Hmmmmmm. And what might THAT mean? I returned the chair, after all, and had to walk across a shallow ocean in India to do so. Stupid Don Draper.

Later, taters!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All's Quiet on the Cowboy Front

Bill is doing wonderfully.

He doesn't look REALLY ALL...but he is much less yellow, and he is sleeping a LOT, almost all day and all night. I think that seems like a very good thing. Seems restful, and he seems cheerful when he's awake.

He can eat a little bit, too.

I made the full menu Thanksgiving yesterday (Saturday) for JP, Emma, and myself, and Mister Bill drank Ensure. But by about 9 pm, he wanted a little bit of my homemade macaroni and cheese. Then he put in a "reserve" for a piece of pumpkin pie he saw in the fridge. Couldn't eat it last night, but is still looking at it with increasing enthusiasm this morning.

He is supposed to eat frequent small portions of high protein, to rebuild his liver, which will be completely grown back in 1 to 3 weeks. Is that not crazy??????

The future: Nothing medical is planned for Bill until, in 4 weeks, we go back to Dr. Shen for a checkup on the surgical recovery. I don't know when chemo will start.

I'll go back to posting every Sunday, but I might throw in some posts in between, if stuff happens.

Love to all and endless gratitude for your prayers and thoughts and wishes and love...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

He's Better! Crisis (Probably) Averted

We checked him through the night, and while his fever is still just under 100, that' still in the safety zone. And his color has come down a bit, too, to where he looks like a human and not an order of take-out Indian curry.

We're taking care of him right now, doing things, but I sneaked out to write this so you wouldn't worry.

I have a feeling some certain prayers didn't exactly hurt, bringing us around yet another corner. (You know who you are.) :)

Love and THANKS for letting us go thru this drama while you care WITH us!


Friday, November 26, 2010

PS to Post of 5 Minutes Ago

PS We did a skin comparison test, and all held our hands against Bill's to assess how yellow he actually is. Against MY hand, his hand looked like he'd been building sand castles out of French's mustard, but against his daughter's hand, his color didn't look so strange--so the consensus now is that we aren't sure HOW yellow he is, so we are going to set alarms and check on him through the night, and see what color he seems in the morning--if we aren't in the ER by morning.

As JP said just now, "You two get some sleep. I'll clear off the helicopter landing pad in the back yard for the 3 am pickup."





Uh oh. The Drama Begins at the Not-OK Corral

He's home, and, as his daughter put it, he looked better 5 minutes after surgery than he looks right now.

We are beside ourselves. "We" meaning Emma and I. JP will soon be beside himself when he gets back home and sees this.

Apparently, Mister I Will Trick The Medical Staff By Telling Little White Lies About How Great I Feel said whatever it took to get released.

And now he is, seriously, BRIGHT yellow--even his FEET are yellow--in rather large pain, has a fever of 99.8 (just .7 more degrees and we have to call Someone But Bill Forgot Who per his release papers--100.5 is the cutoff point for serious danger) AND a distended abdomen, AND can't walk without almost fainting AND can't eat AND isn't drinking AND doesn't have the correct pain meds because they sent him home with just a piece of paper prescription at 7:30 pm when the pharmacies are closed (we actually have a good substitute, left over from chemo, so we're okay with the meds), AND he just fell into his bed and conked out with complete and utter exhaustion.

Note to neighbors: If you hear sirens right about the middle of the night, it will be young William on his way back to Oz, where he obviously shouldn't have clicked the little red sparkly shoes QUITE so fast.

We don't know whether to hover over him and set our alarms for every 3 hours to check him, or GROUND him or take away his Kindle or SOMETHING because he was VERY naughty and should NOT have gotten himself released!

I'll tell you this: I am SOOOOOOOOOO glad beyond all description that there are THREE OF us here right now to collaborate on what we should do with this unbelievable scenario.

I will post again as soon as we see progress in any direction. I just hope I'm not posting from Wake Forest Medical Center at 3 am.





White Friday: Cowboy Comin Home!

Wild Willie called me this morning from his hospital bed and said that Dr. Shen said he could come home this afternoon!

But the weird thing about his recent phone calls is that, while I should be strictly happy when he tells me these things, instead, my emotions fly around like a deranged one-winged bat.

First, he sounds kind of terrible on the phone. But that's a vague example.

Mainly, I get upset when he tells me that Dr. Shen said, "In some ways, I want to keep you here another day because your kidneys function is disintegrating, but I'm just going to take you off Ibuprofen, which causes kidney failure even at the recommended dosage, and you can go home."



Those of you who know me, and my If The Slightest Symptom Is Suspicious We Must Push The Panic Button Right Now personality, I am NOT THE RIGHT PERSON to be in CHARGE OF SOMEONE who has been told that their kidneys are sort of failing.


Note to self: Put Dr. Shen's home phone number on speed dial.

Other note to self: Put Dr. Shen's home address into my "Favorites" section on my Garmin navigation device.

Okay, so back to the story.

Well......recalling that last time he came home from a hospital, he was back in an ambulance within the first five minutes after walking through our front, you could not say I am calm about this.

What, you might ask, are the symptoms of kidney failure?

Fever and nausea.

If you've been following along, you know that he had both of those....was it....DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY?

And yesterday, I noticed that his abdomen is extremely swollen. He then looked in a mirror standing up and was shocked at how swollen it was.

What does THAT mean?

Wahhhhhhhhhhhh! Should he REALLY be coming HOME?

Okay, deeeeeeeeeep breathing. Calllllllllmmmmmmmmmmmmming down.


Emma is going to drive down from Richmond, pick him up this afternoon, and bring him home to Blowing Rock. John Paul is still here. Sarah is still Somewhere Out West playing shows. We plan to do a full Thanksgiving Saturday night--minus Sarah, who had Thanksgiving with Some People Out West, whoever they may have been.

As you can well imagine, to avoid all that cooking on Saturday, I will be sneaking over to the nearest hospital cafeteria for takeout, then act like I worked allllllllll day long cooking alllllllllllll those dishes! Especially making the pie from scratch!


Stay posted. With this combination of facts coming together, there is bound to be some severe drama headed for us, like a cute little tsunami.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Styrofoam Thanksgiving Occurred!

We did it! Got Thanksgiving dinners--complete feasts!--in styrofoam boxes, took them to Bill's room, and he ate with us! Most meaningful, moving, happy and wondrous Thanksgiving maybe ever!

More news tomorrow. It was unbelievable!

By the way: here's a tip you can always remember. If you don't want to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, and you don't want to drop $25 per person at some fancy Thanksgiving buffet--GO TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL CAFETERIA! They are always open--even on holidays like Thanksgiving, and they make the most amazing, tremendous feasts for about $6 per person, if you get everything, including pie!

It has never once occurred to me to eat in a hospital cafeteria when most restaurants are closed....It's a weird idea, but....I'm just sayin! It's a major discovery!

Love and hope your Thanksgiving Day was fantastic!

Thanksgiving News: Home Tomorrow?!

Bill just called this morning with the nearly unbelievable news that he will probably get to come home tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving.

All of his problems suddenly resolved, and this morning he is having eggs and toast for breakfast, he is off hydration, off the pain IV, taking pain meds by mouth, and....WHAT JUST HAPPENED??????????

Not only that, but something about his surgery scar has approached the miraculous. Groups of students are coming in to look at it. THERE ARE NO STITCHES OR STAPLES. Apparently, even for Dr. Shen, this is some kind of wild scar situation. It looks exactly like the scar he got in March, and I mean exactly. Which, as you know, should have taken 8 months.

I've got some water in an earthen jug that I'd like Dr Shen to take a look at. (Couldn't resist; a little biblical levity).

I don't know. But this whole thing is kind of WILD! The fever, the abdominal swelling, all the issues, just *poof*?

So...I don't want to get TOO crazy with relief, but looks like tomorrow Cowboy Napolean will probably be doing the Victory March from the SUV to the front door arc du triomph style. I have no idea what I just did to those metaphors, but, well, the scary thing is, YOU FOLLOWED IT! hahahaha

Will write more tonight. Maybe he can try some turkey with us today now that the entire story just altered, mid-plot!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Night, Day 3 Report

This entry might be abnormally short. I'm so tired I can hardly think straight. Not sure why, but it's all so stressful, and yet I can't complain because it could all be so much worse.

Saw Bill again today, and he continues to sort of improve. He looks really good, and is still taking walks, and his scar looks amazingly good! His scar starts directly over his heart and goes down at an angle to the bottom of his rib cage and kind of starts toward his back. Unbelievably long scar!

His whole abdomen looks like he might have had a failed career that involved wearing a suicide vest. Scars and holes everywhere! :)

But he is having trouble with a fever that goes up to 102, which is more than a "low grade" fever, they said. And he is now having trouble with nausea and abdominal swelling. He is having to have extra shots every 6 hours for the nausea and the pain, and whatever else.

See, when I'm not there, he doesn't ask questions of the nurses much, so I end up feeling like I don't really know what's going on, because HE doesn't know.

Anyway, our big Styrofoam Thanksgiving plan is called off. How sad is that!!!!

Problem is that his nausea and inability to take in anything but a tiny bit of clear fluids, besides the IV drip, means that we can't sit in his room with food and eat it in front of him. So we've all called it off. We decided to have a Thanksgiving at a later date, when he is home.

So JP and I will go there midday tomorrow for a short visit (he still seems like he prefers to be alone, he said even moreso with the fever and nausea), which is understandable.

Then JP and I will probably traipse down to the cafeteria and eat whatever they're serving down there for thanksgiving, then drive home.

Thank heaven for JP staying here so long! He does all the driving, and gas pumping, and dealing with parking, and every little thing. Even figures out all the meals, and, I mean, just everything! And Emma would be here in a heartbeat if I needed her. She's trying to manage worrying about her dad, and working all at the same time, in Virginia, and now she isn't have any thanksgiving at all! Sarah is in Washington State, I think, so she can't be here, but would want to. I hope she has Thanksgiving with SOMEone!

Well, that's about it. Our boy is better in some ways, but the little weirdness with the fever and abdominal pain and nausea is worrying me. I don't believe it's part of the normal process, because the surgeon had to invent a plan to deal with it, so it wasn't expected, I assume.

I'll write again tomorrow, just once, in the late afternoon, after we pop in and see him for just a tiny while, so he won't have to be alone for Thanksgiving.

Love to you all, and count your blessings! They're there for all of us!

"In the right light, everything's a miracle." --Sufjan Stevens

HAPPY THANKSGIVING and huge wishes and prayers for happiness and love to everyone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

End of Tuesday, Day 2

It's almost 7 pm, and I'm writing this from home.

Those of you who know Bill and me, know that I'm always the one wanting to pay more attention to him, and he's always the one wanting to have less attention paid to himself, so he can do his own thing. Therefore, he usually ends up watching sports at home, while I do some crazy hobby and talk to him ONLY during commercials.

Well, that whole pattern is still the deal at the hospital.

When he is sick, I become a little bit of a hovering mother hen who wants to be at his side, kind of staring at him, and continuously checking his vital sign readouts, and oxygen, and tubes, and giving him straws, and water, and juice, and bla bla bla.

And he is always kind of smiling mildly and hoping I stop staring at him and at his vital signs. hahaha

So today I had JP there to help me interpret whether Bill wanted me to be there or not. After lunch, there was about a half hour discussion between Bill and me and JP, in which I tried to find out from Bill if he wanted me to go home but didn't want to tell me that, or if he wanted me to stay, but didn't want to obligate me. You should have seen me trying to read into everything he said.

Finally, Jp took me aside and said, "Mom, I'm 100% sure that he is hinting that he wants to be alone. I know you want to mother him, but I think he just wants to sleep today."

So that made me feel less anxious about leaving the hospital and driving back home (2 hours). Okay, yeah, I felt a little bit rejected, but the same thing happened during the last surgery when he really did need some space and a lot of quiet at first. I did eventually understand that. hahah

The "do unto others" rule does NOT work when you're me. If it were me, I would never want anyone to go home, if I were in the hospital alone, and couldn't move even my arms enough to reach anything--even the TV remote-- but Bill is the opposite. He's quite the loner, if given a choice.

So we left, and I guess it feels like the right thing.

Sort of. :(

At least the pups were supremely happy to see me get home, and even as I write this, they have plastered themselves to my body, and can hardly stop kissing me. See, that's how I think BILL should be acting! (hahahah just kiddin)

So tomorrow, I GUESS I'll go back and see him for a few hours, or call him and see what he wants. The next day after that, he can't get around having company, because it's Thanksgiving, and we are all meeting there for the styrofoam take-out cafeteria turkey at lunch.

No one has said when he can come home, but it seems like he is doing so well, that I'm guessing it will be within the 5 to 7 day expected time frame. Although he had developed a fever as I was leaving. (Yet another reason I didn't wanna go!)

I'll write more tomorrow after we see him.

Thank you yet again for reading all this! Galaxies of love to you all!

Day 2: Cowboy Waking Up!

I'm sitting right beside Mister Rhinestone Cowboy in his teeny hospital room right now! John Paul is here, too, and our Wild Bill is doing pretty well, considering!

He is wide awake, although talking a little slowly. He still has his Demerol button and is trying not to push it, because he wants to keep his, um....digestive system...moving along.

But the result of not pushing the button is that he has to yell from pain, every so often, because he is having cramps. He told the nurse that his pain level is between 6 and 7, and they told him he wasn't pushing his button enough.

He seems satisfied with not pushing the button, though. No accounting for taste.

They moved him from his bed into a lazy-boy type recliner. Then they told him he should try to walk a few steps.

So he got very VERY bold, and decided to walk in the hall, and he went 300 feet! No one expected it, and he wore himself out, but is back in bed recovering from the walk, and the pain it stirred up.

You canNOT tell this patient what to do. He gets these ideas, and that's it!

But of course, it's amazing that he was walking when barely 24 hours ago, he was becoming chopped liver.

While I was writing this, he yelled again, and I turned around and said, "SQUEEZE YOUR PAIN BUTTON!"

He replied, "Oh, yeah."

Ummmm, I think the pain medicine is making him forget to take the pain medicine. haha

About mid-afternoon, JP and I will head back to Blowing Rock. Right now, Bill just said he wants to take a nap and that we should go down to the cafeteria. So WE know when we're being kicked out! :)

I'll post again this evening, once we get home.

In general, he looks great, his color is perfect, he's still on oxygen, but even in the time it took to type this, he's had several major pain cramps. Well, that's how it is!

Love and gratitude to every person following this and caring for my darling Bill.


Monday, November 22, 2010

End of the Day, Monday, Nov. 22

I plan to tell you, eventually, all the hilarious things Bill said when we briefly visited him in person after surgery. But not till tomorrow. Today, the hectic-ness JUST ended, and I'm going to SLEEEEEEEEP!

But just so you know, he is in a private room (yay! we worried about his sharing a room), and pain is the WHOLE deal. He said he had never felt a level-10 pain, even after the last operation, but today he felt a level-12, beyond anything he had ever felt in his life! YIKES!

He's on the demerol drip, but it only goes every 6 minutes, and only if he clicks it, so when he falls asleep, the pain creeps up.

He couldn't open his eyes much when we visited his room (he's in a regular room, not ICU!), and he kept trying to talk, so we thought we should leave pretty quickly, as it seemed like he felt an obligation to entertain us, and we DID NOT want that! He has enough problems!

So if you want to imagine him, picture a little bitty room, with this cute cowboy in a little bitty bed in the middle. On both legs, he has air-filled wraps to keep blood clots out, then he has an air-filled wrap on his right arm, too.

THEN, he has about 8 wires going into his chest on the right side, monitoring the blood flow between his liver and his heart. THEN he has about 4 wires going into his hands, giving him pain reliever and electrolytes and water and a bunch of stuff, I don't know what all he's getting. He was begging for ice chips, which I fed him, one at a time.

He has an oxygen tube in his nose, and keeps pulling it out and putting it up on his forehead, and then his machine starts beeping because his blood level of oxygen level starts free falling, and we go, "Bill! STOP TAKING THAT THING OUT OF YOUR NOSE!" He goes, "I don't like it."

Somehow, everything he says seems hilarious. But he actually did say some funny stuff to the nurse.

She goes, "Okay, Bill, now I have to do a depression assessment. Do you feel blue often? Do you feel like life is meaningless? Do you have trouble falling alseep?" He goes, "No, no, no," to all those. Then she says, "Do you prefer to stay at home? Or do you like to do new things?"

There is this silence, and then, without even opening his poor little swollen eyes, he replies, "I like to do new things at home."

How can he be funny even in THOSE circumstances?

Well, there's more, but I'll end the day here. I'm in the hotel, but will go home tomorrow. The kids are working out dropping by the house in the night tonight, to comfort the dogs, then coming back or something. They're driving fools!

I'm not clear who is doing what tonight, but as for tomorrow, I don't think Bill will want long stretches of company tomorrow--even me! He likes to hold my hand when I'm there, and he gets a little bit sad when I leave, but he needs to rest. Still, I'll stay with him every possible minute I can tomorrow, as long as I can do it without tiring him. Then I will tell you all about it!

For now, we're all just so happy that that scary surgery is over. Who knows what troubles lie ahead, but we're just happy about TODAY, cause that's what we've got.

Such profound gratitude to every single one of you who was pulling for that boy. And extra special to TW and JW--you know who you are!--for helping LAST MINUTE with our dogs, and ending up doing a lot more than they signed up for, due to my lack of planning. Talk about friends.....

Love and more love,
Diamond Lil

11:15 am--It's All Over! All is Well!

Shocker: they're DONE ALREADY!

Finished just this minute--11:15. I got to meet with Dr. Shen, and he was grinning the whole time--that was nice!--and said they found nothing else but the three tumors and took them out, and no complications!


So we have to wait two more hours in the waiting room, then the desk will call our name and tell us what room to go to and see him.

I couldn't think of any questions for Dr. Shen, because I was so happy and so shocked to see him so early. Unfortunately, the kids just went out for Domino's pizza, so they didn't get to meet him and probably won't.

You should see him. He looks about 25! But that smile--that was a major spirit lifter. Not used to grinning doctors, I guess.

Meanwhile, I caught the grin and can't get it off my face! All I wanna do is type exclamation points now! HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I'll stop, but inside I'm still exclamation pointing.

I'll write again after we see the Hurtin Cowpoke. Oh yeah, Dr. Shen did say he will be in an amazing amount of pain, but they have him hooked up to Extreme Amounts of Pain Killing Substances.

I am so beside myself with happiness right now that I can't even type another word.

One more word:


Sorry, that was two words. Try again:


10:10 am Report

This is post #3 of today.

They called again just this minute and said surgery is continuing and going as expected. That's all we know.

We'll probably post again in two hours. THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US!

Beth, Emma, John Paul and the Sleeping William

Annoyingly repetitive reminder: Remember to click the title of the blog to make sure you get the most recent post.

8 am: Surgery started an hour early

This is the 2nd post of today. To see the latest post, always click on the white title of the blog, the box, where it says "The Urological Adventures of Bil,l" otherwise you'll see older posts.

They just called "The William Drennan family" to the desk, then once you reach the desk, they route you to these 4 phones on the wall, and they tell you to pick up line 1, which rings as you walk across the room toward it. WEIRD. Kind of like the phones people use in the movies to talk to prisoners.

Not being the calmest person in the world, as you know, I, Expecter of the Worst At All Times, am in near heart failure as I approach this ringing phone, not knowing why they are calling at 8 am, since surgery is supposed to start at 9 am.

Amazing the number of scenarios one can envision in the time it takes to walk across a room.

So you say "hello" and you hear, "Hi, I'm Heather, the nurse, and surgery has begun and everything is going well. I will be calling you every 90 minutes to two hours to give you updates."

So I thank Heather the Nurse, and that's it. And about ten minutes later, my heartbeat returns to normal from the shock of being called up to the desk.

I should carry a generator and two electric zapper paddles with me in situations like this. "CLEAR!" ZZZZZAP!

It's about all my heart can take, just being here, without the shocker phone calls. HALP!

Bless you for caring enough to be reading this. I feel you out there. I literally do.

The Easily Panicked But Comforted By Your Love Diamond Lil

7:45 am Monday from waiting room

We've already kissed our good cowboy goodbye, as he was rolled away in his little hospital outfit with 8 thousand wires in his hand. He was in good spirits and glad to be going back to sleep, I think. He seems so fearless; it's really remarkable.

He was most worried that they would catheterize him--something he really hates--not knowing that he doesn't have a bladder. We thought maybe he should write them a big note in that particular area in permanent marker sharpie. Well, we thought that was funny as heck until the anesthesiologist announced they were about to catheterize him.

"No! He doesn't have a bladder!" Mama Bear to the defense.

"Oh. He doesn't?" (HALP! They didn't KNOW that?) See? The sharpie idea wasn't all that bad!

Bullet dodged.

Anyway, back in the waiting room: So far, we haven't been able ("we" means John Paul, Emma, and me) to locate an electric outlet in the waiting room, but I did bring a reeeeeeeeeallly long extension cord. However, if we can't find an outlet, I don't know how often I can update. I'll write again, once this problem is solved.

If you look at the clock around 9 am, think of the valient cowpoke. :)

Love to all for now, and THANK YOU for the amazing emails you're sending!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday, November 21: Quick Note

Here's the Sunday message, just so you'll know we're still on schedule.

Important: When there are multiple updates in a day (as there will be this week), you might open the page and see the older message and not know there's a more recent one. I believe that the only way to be sure you're on the latest message is to CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THE BLOG, where it says, on the blog itself, "THE UROLOGICAL ADVENTURES OF BILL". That's inside a decorative white box, big title. I think by doing that, it will always give you the most recent page. But without doing that, you won't get the latest post every time. I think....

Anyhow, we leave at 2 pm today for a hotel, get up at 5 am tomorrow, arrive at the hospital at 6 am, surgery starts at 9 am Monday, Nov. 22.

I'll post all along. Bye for now. Thank you so hugely much for following this story!

Love infinitum,
Beth and Bill

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just Got Home from the "Pre-Op"

Gotta love the medical jargon: pre-ops. (Glad it's not Special Ops, I guess.)

All those "I'm in the medical world" terms: meds, temps, NGs (naso-gastric tubes), JPs (something something tubes?), vitals, path reports, mets, so much lingo.

And someone ALWAYS has to end with, "Well, Dr. Drennan, looks like you're good to go!"

I thought of an update for that: "You're set to jet." I just guess I'm tired of "good to go"--it's only been 25 years since I first heard it.

Wow, I'm already thought-wandering and haven't even started the post yet. Sleep deprivation. Kinda feels like 25 cups of coffee, even though you'd think it would be the opposite.

Beth! Focus!

Okay. So!

We left before sunrise, had to scrape ice off the car. Drooooooooove two hours to the hospital, got lost 5 times in the medical center, spent hours in offices getting questioned, advised, informed, consented, bled, EKG'd, bla bla bla. Everyone was super nice to us and funny. We laughed a lot. Too much, maybe. Got tired of laughing. Got tired of smiling. Then too tired to eat, drooooooooooooove home again. We were going to stop at store and buy porterhouse steaks and potatoes for a little feast. Too tired.

So, on the subject of sleep deprivation, we have to be at the surgical check-in at 6 am on Monday. Ay yi yi. That's too early!

I told Bill, "YOU get to sleep the rest of the day! I have to sit in those little chairs all day, worrying about you."

He goes, "Yeah, but at the end of the day, your liver will still be right where it started." HAHAHA. He kills me.

Tomorrow, Saturday, John Paul arrives here to keep me company and help me commute and so forth all week. Emma meets us at the hospital and we'll wing it from there on who's where, maybe keep a hotel room over there all week, depending on how much help Bill needs. He needed TONS of help last time.

Blogging Updates To Come:
Okay, starting Monday morning, from the waiting room, I'll be blogging "hell for leather" as they say down here in the south, meaning, "like crazy" and try to put at least a line in for every little development. Assuming they have wifi! They will. The hotel does, for sure.

Thank you so immensely for your prayers, your thoughts, your wishes, whatever you send upward or over-ward or however you do it. THANK YOU for your love.

Here's to a great weekend for everyone....

Diamond Lil and Cowboy Bill

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Countdown till Surgery

This is a strange week. Unless you've ever had a family member going into a big scary surgery, you might not know what it feels like in the week before.

It feels like a calm before a storm. Even though this coming surgery isn't nearly as scary as the previous one, there's still this pre-surgery mode of, hmmmmm, how to describe it....a lot of staring out of the window, a lot of not talking, a lot of not laughing, a kind of quiet reverence or respectfulness in the face of the seriousness of the situation.

Then again, here and there, there's still the incurable laughing. Bill and I can't help but laugh because that's just what we do. We're always looking for something absurd in the news or something silly in a book, or something insane that the 4 dogs do.

So the recipe for this week is: one dose of regular humor mixed with one large dose of somber pondering. That kind of captures it.

Next dates: Friday the 19th, we go to Wake for orientation, sort of.

Monday, the 22nd, 9 am, the surgery.

Every time Something Dramatic Happens, I'll post, but probably the next one will be next weekend. I'll have the computer at the hospital, and they have wifi, so I'll keep it up to the minute.

So this was a pretty boring entry, I know. But if it made you feel sleepy or quiet or like staring out the window, or like wishing you were somewhere else, then you got the drift. :)

Love to all as we fasten our seat belts for the ride ahead.

Lily and Billy

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No Biopsy Today

If you've been REALLY remembering details (bless you!), then you might be wondering about the biopsy that was supposed to be today.

They canceled it. Dr. Shen feels it is unnecessary, due to the certainty of the other reports, AND he said that biopsies often miss the tumor and bring up plain tissue, and it isn't worth it in Bill's case, to do something that will bring no more certainty, since there is already complete certainty that he has liver cancer and exactly where the tumors are.

Now here's where I get weird:

I found a little movie online that SHOWS DR. SHEN DOING A LIVER RESECTION! The same procedure he will do for Bill. I am usually squeamish but since it involved the liver I love so much (my beloved Billy's liver), I was able to actually watch it!

You can see Dr. Shen talking, and watch him do the surgery, AND listen to him give instructions to an assistant who is learning how to do the procedure. It does get a trifle humorous when Dr. Shen gets impatient with his assistant because his assistant is scared to shoot in the staples. Dr. Shen is like, "Shoot it twice. Twice. SHOOT IT TWICE!" ooops hahahah Heck, if you saw THAT bit of business close up, you could understand why a newbie might be a little hesitant to go firing staples into someone's liver arteries!

I couldn't watch the whole thing because Bill could hear it, and he said it wasn't his ideal background soundtrack for the novel he was reading. hahaha

Here's where you can see the liver resection:

In other news: I've been very sick this week with something like halfway between the flu and a terrible cold. Can't even get out of bed! I think I caught it from Bill, who had a very mild version, so he should be okay. If you are a pray-er, please pray that Bill doesn't catch it.

Best news of all: Our kids have coordinated their schedules (heaven only knows what they had to give up to do this; I'm so thankful to them, I could cry right now thinking of it), and will be with us THE ENTIRE TIME! I am so exhilarated by this that I can't express it. I was SO WORRIED about all the details of either commuting alone in the dark, when I'm stressed, and our cars are so old, and taking care of the 4 (gol-danged) dogs alone, or working out a sitter on the busiest week of the year for dog sitters (Thanksgiving), so this was a gift from heaven! (Even though Sandy, Watauga County's And World's Greatest Dog Sitter would have helped me out, I know! Bless you, Sandy!)

So the next update will be on Sunday, just to keep the pattern the same.

Dates: Friday November 19, we go to Winston for a pre-op and get all the info. Then Sunday, November 21, we go to a hotel in Winston so BillyBob can get to the hospital super early Monday Nov 22 for the big day.

Thank you for reading all this! Mountains of love, and I mean it.

The Cowpokes

PS Currently accepting liver-related humor such as the following, from friends this week:

1. "Cry Me A Liver"

2. Liver Joke #1, courtesy of MG:

Three men are in a bar having a drink. When a gorgeous woman comes up to them and says,

WOMAN: Whoever can use the words ‘liver’ and ‘cheese’ in a creative sentence can date me for tonight.

1ST MAN: I love liver and cheese!

WOMAN: That’s not good enough!

2ND MAN: I hate liver and cheese!

WOMAN: That’s not creative!

3RD MAN: Liver alone, cheese mine!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A little bit more on Bill's liver surgery

Now that I look at what I posted last night (see blog entry just before this one), I'm not sure what I should add.

Summary in case you can't access last night's blog:

Bill definitely has metastatic liver cancer, 3 tumors. Tumors in impossible locations for hot needle ablation. So Nov. 22, he goes in Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for a 4-5 hour surgery at 9 am; two doctors lift up his liver, cut out the tumors, put liver back, hospital 5 to 7 days, length of stay determined by getting his pain under control and him being able to walk. He'll definitely be in there through Thanksgiving and beyond. Kids are coming, drive is only 90 minutes from here, so we'll commute to the hospital every day, won't need a dog sitter for my 4 little dogs.

The kidney object of interest isn't of much interest to the liver surgeon, so they don't think it is cancer, pretty sure it's not, but they have to follow it; they're not sure what it is--it's bleeding, whatever it is, and that topic is on hold as they address the liver thing first.

End of re-statement from last night (WOW were we tired when we got home!).

Top 10 additional pieces of possible interest to you:

1. Dr. Shen repeated twice that "medical literature does not support this kind of surgery" but he is doing it because Dr. Torti insists, because without this surgery, the tumors are of a type (size and growth power) that cannot be knocked out by chemo, and without this surgery, Bill has less of a chance.

2. A team of experts still has to meet to okay this surgery, since it's unusual. They could still decide to forbid it, but Dr. Shen doesn't expect that.

3. It is rare, said Dr. Shen, that these kinds of tumors grow on the liver. These are bladder cancer tumors, growing on the liver, not liver tumors.

4. Possibly for that reason, they asked Bill to donate one of the tumors to a study being done at Wake. Well, we'd already picked out a spot for that tumor on the fireplace mantel, but I GUESS we can part with it.

5. The timing is fantastic: not only will Bill only miss a very few final classes for the semester, but our children will be here to help out, AND I ain't gotta cook no Thanksgiving dinner this year. I'm seeing styrofoam boxes from the cafeteria, all of us around Bill's bed, Bill doped out of his mind on morphine, mumbling incoherently at the Detroit Lions. Hey, didn't Norman Rockwell do a painting of that scene once?

6. After Bill recovers from the surgery, he will get chemo in Boone (6 miles from home), WAY more potent chemo than last time. As in, chemically identical to rocket fuel. Just kidding about the rocket fuel.

7 through 10. I couldn't think of anything else.

We're in really great moods, thankful to get this chance, which, apparently, not everyone gets.

Bill, ever the hero, is beside himself with remorse that he is going to MISS CLASSES at his job. He actually asked the Dr. if he could postpone the surgery till the semester was over! Can you believe that?

But the tumors had changed size in just 8 days, between the CT scan and the MRI--very fast growth, although one had shrunk (!!) (Anna, those would be YOUR prayers that accomplished THAT stunt)--so the Dr. said there was no way Bill could delay surgery.

November 10th: Meet with anesthesiologist.

I'll write more next time something happens. Bill feels NOTHING--no pain, no pinches, no aches, absolutely nothing--is hungry, energetic, has perfect color. Hard to believe he is that sick!

THANK YOU FOR CARING, PRAYING, SENDING LOVE, SENDING LIGHT, THINKING, whatever you are doing or have done. We think about all of you constantly, and feel so loved by your love. Not just saying that. It's a BIG HUGE deal that you love us.

Diamond Lil and Wild Willy "50 Ways to Leave Your Liver" or "Liver Come Back to Me" or "Liver, No Onion" Drennan

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ack! We just got home!

We JUST drove into the driveway, are totally exhausted, and can't write much. Will write all the details in the morning, so check back tomorrow. AND THANK YOU FOR CHECKING AT ALL! WE ARE SO COMPLETELY THANKFUL THAT YOU CARE!!!

Summary: Bill has to have major liver surgery on Nov. 22, will be in hospital at least 5 to 7 days, average, depending on his pain level.

The surgeon, Dr. Shen, will be taking his liver out of his body, with a 2nd surgeon, and cutting out the 3 cancerous tumors, then putting the liver back in. YIKES!

It's a 4 to 5 hour procedure and starts at 9 am on Nov. 22.

So he'll be in there right through Thanksgiving.

He definitely has metastasized liver cancer, but they still don't think the kidney thing is cancer, or they're not sure what it is, but are putting that on the back burner for now.

More tomorrow.

Thank you for CARING! We love you all!


Monday, November 1, 2010

MRI Results

Bill got home from work just before 7, and after a little everyday chit chat, he asked about the MRI results.

So I told him, and he wasn't upset, as I had kind of thought he would be. (!?)

Here are the results:

The MRI confirmed that the three spots on his liver are, indeed, metastasized cancer, and are the following sizes: 10 mm, 14 mm, and 16.5 mm. I googled millimeters, and discovered that a dime is about 14 millimeters, and a penny is just over 17 millimeters, so those are the sizes.

The woman who called said, with sudden perkiness, that the good news is that there were no other spots on the liver.

Ummmmmm.....yyyyyyeah.....that's some really swell news right there..... (on some planet, somewhere in the universe, I guess)...only THREE spots of liver cancer. Oh, hooray for such great news.......(not).

However, they have also discovered something on his left kidney. She said it is some kind of "complex cyst" and that they will need to "follow that."

So I googled that and found out that there are two kinds of cysts on kidneys: simple and complex. Simple are never cancerous, but complex cysts can often be cancerous, so we really don't know about that yet.

Bill was relieved just to hear the word "cyst", of course.

I asked the woman on the phone, "About those liver spots, is anyone talking possibly just cysts?"

She said, "No, no one is talking cysts."

I said, "So you mean everyone is talking liver cancer?"

She said, "Yes, everyone is talking liver cancer."

So that was farther than she went with me last week on the phone. At least, we're not in limbo on that point any longer.

Nor are we any longer in Kansas, Dorothy.

Fortunately, we only have to wait till Friday afternoon to meet with the Liver Oncological surgeon to find out what the future holds for treatment.

As for the kidney, I am guessing that will require a Urologist, so maybe more trips back to Wake for that.

Anyway, as Bill viewed it, things could have been a LOT worse, from the MRI. He didn't have bone, lung, colon, lymph cancers or a bunch of other kinds he could have had. (I think he's been drinking out of the same glass as the Perky Lady on the Phone who was So Happy there were only THREE Liver Cancers.)

Good ole Cowboy Willie--lookin' at the bright side.

Not exactly what ol' Diamon' Lil was doing today, let me tell you.

Many thanks for checking in on him, and on us. You know I'll write here the minute we get home Friday night.

Love and thankfulness to each and every one of you. Feel free to ask us questions, if you have any. We are still extremely normal in our behavior, and there's nothing you should be afraid to say or ask.

El Diamond and El Caballero

Saturday, October 30, 2010

MRI Friday Night

We don't have any interpretations of the MRI findings from last night.

Didn't think we would, since today is Saturday. But I think that on Monday, we might get a call with results.

Short summary: We drove to Winston Salem last night, strangely late for a medical procedure: The MRI was at 8:15 pm. Weird, eh? Didn't get home till midnight. That's LATE for us!

Bill went in alone--sometimes I go with him, but Emma was here and helped us drive over and back, so she and I sat in the waiting room.

(I got a little bit scolded by some of the people in the waiting room, because I was showing Emma my new $9 cell phone from WalMart, that has 300 minutes, and works for 2 months. You get a new phone number with every phone. So this lady across the aisle starts remarking about how cheap that is, and I said, yes, I found out about these phones because of reading that the terrorists use them, so their calls can't be traced, and therefore I call it my Jihad Phone. I thought that was funny, but the people in the waiting room all felt that they should suddenly pour forth unsolicited commentary, to the effect that I shouldn't be using words like that in public. I said to one lady, "Well, you can look at me and tell I'm not a terrorist, right?" Honestly? She looked at me like maybe she wasn't sure she COULD tell that. So when I got home, my other daughter, Sarah, heard the story and said, "Mom! You should never say those words in public! You need to go OUT more so you will know what the RULES are!" hahahaha Well, whatdya know. My vocabulary has now shrunk by two words.)

Anyway, the MRI took about an hour, and all the people coming out before Bill were talking about how much they threw up, and couldn't stop throwing up from the dye, and how their heads hurt. That rendered me scared to death about what Bill was experiencing.

But finally, about 9:30, he came out, bandaids and tape and cotton and plastic ID bracelets stuck all over him, and said he hadn't thrown up, but he looked like he just stepped out of a rodeo on the wrong side of a bad pony. He look just whipped. He did get nauseated, and he said it was very difficult to hold his breath for 20 seconds at a time, with very little breathing time in between. Things like that.

The machine completely encloses you, so that there is a space of mere inches between your face or body and the machine. It's very cold in the machine, but they put a heated blanket on you. Bill liked that. And part of the magnets' working requires extremely loud metallic banging. Then there are sirens and other strange very loud noises. Bill said they gave him earplugs, but that was pointless, given the loudness of the noises.

We don't know how much of his body was scanned, but they said they were focusing on his liver, obviously.

So now that two of the children are here, our lives will be hyper for a couple of days, so I won't post on Sunday.

But I will post anything we hear, good or bad, within minutes of getting the call--hoping it's on Monday.

And I hope they do call, and don't make us wait till next Friday when we meet with Dr. Perry Shen.

Thank you for thinking of us, and caring, and continuing to read this story!

We love you.

PS: Jihad phone. See? I'm incorrigible.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finally, an appointment with the famous Dr. Perry Shen

Just minutes ago, Wake Forest Hospital called with the appointment we were waiting for.

So, on Nov. 5th, a week from this coming Friday (and this coming Friday evening is the MRI), we meet Dr. Perry Shen at 3:15 pm at the 14-floor Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake. I hope that Dr. Shen will give us the MRI results at that time. I actually hope we get them before then, but oh well.

If you want to see a picture of Dr. Shen and read a very brief bio, click here. If you go to that link, click on the Research tab. Stunning list of published research by him. Probably why they call him "world-renowned".

Five days after meeting Dr. Shen, Bill will have his biopsy at the same hospital (Wednesday, Nov. 10th, early morning). Maybe that will be done by Dr. Shen. We don't know. Biopsy results take a week.

Bill, still the funniest man I have ever personally known, said, with a straight face: "That's a terrible name for a cancer doctor. Perry Shen. Sounds like "perishin'". I nearly fell down laughing, but he never cracked a smile. You know how he is.

Bill still feels fine, has no symptoms (or won't admit to having any), but every so often a cloud passes over him, and I can tell because his expression becomes gloomy. He won't even admit that he feels gloomy until I ask him about five times, then he finally admits it, to get me to hush.

He just left for the University--teaching Milton this afternoon.

Bravest man I ever knew.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Monday afternoon update by phone, just minutes ago.

The hospital called. They've scheduled Bill for a biopsy on Nov. 10th in the early morning. This is GOOD in that they must have decided that the spots are in a place where they can be biopsied, and presumably, then, also radio ablated or surgically removed. (Did you know your liver grows back 100% in 1 to 6 months, even if you take out half of it? How cool is that! Liver Love!)

We were panicked that the spots were in a location that couldn't be accessed and would then be considered "inoperable", the word you never want to hear--and all he would have left would be chemo.

BUT this new chemo--developed by our very own Dr Torti, and now a famous treatment, has CURED liver cancer! As in, it went away and NEVER CAME BACK! This was beyond our wildest hopes, but now we're hoping! HOPE RULES.

Bad part: The biopsy results take at least ten days.

AND, if she cant schedule an MRI and a meeting with Dr. Shen (sp?) the allegedly "world famous liver surgeon", then the whole thing gets moved back to December before we know anything.

*BANG BANG BANG* (Sound of Beth banging her head on keyboard) HOW can they let LIVER SPOTS that popped up in just 90 days--continue to develop their real estate holdings for 30 more days? It just makes no SENSE to me!

[INSERT UPDATE THAT CAME IN BY PHONE AS I WAS TYPING THIS: NOW HE HAS AN MRI SCHEDULED FOR THIS COMING FRIDAY AT 8:15 PM--AT NIGHT! So we will have THAT done. Tomorrow they call AGAIN and tell us when Dr. Shen will want to see us--after the MRI or after the biopsy--they weren't sure.)

I tried, in several creative ways, none of which seemed to strike the funny bone of the somber Assistant on the phone, to get her to HINT to me whether she thought these were possibly NOT cancer, but were merely little scars, little dings, little boo boos from chemo, little flea bites, little pieces of dog kibble that he might have accidentally swallowed--something OTHER than cancer. I tried SO hard.

I even said, "I KNOW you can't say it is or isn't cancer, but let's just do this: I'll say something and you say NOTHING if I'm wrong....Okay, so he has this super bad bladder cancer and suddenly spots pop up on his liver...looks like BIG RISK OF CANCER TO ME, but I'm probably wrong, so you can just say nothing."

She didn't apparently think that was amusing. Nor was she willing to play along.

She said, reeeeeeeally dryly: "All I can say is that the spots are small. They are small. That's the best I can say."

Me: "OOOOOOOOOkey dokey, well you can't blame me for givin' it a shot, I hope. It's kinda hard sleeping at night with a really sharp Paul Bunyan sized AXE hanging over our heads, but thanks for at least reminding me that they spots are small, whatever they may be."

"You're welcome. Goodbye, Mrs. Drennan."

Ohhhhhhhh boy.

So more tomorrow.

Love to all of you...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A little more information we got on Friday afternoon...

Hi all!

Well, we waited around the house all day Friday, staring at the phone, waiting for the Dr.'s assistant to call us about when the biopsy would occur.

But by 4:15 pm, no one had called.

I am not one for standing a lot of suspense, and I wasn't about to go through the whole weekend waiting for this info, so I courageously made Bill call them. (hahaha. That's the best kind of courage: make Bill do it.)

We did get through to the assistant, so, after two conversations with her, we got all the newest information.

Don't prepare to feel uplifted--it wasn't exactly bad, but it wasn't really great.

Wellllll, she says, nowwwwwww there's a question that has arisen as to the possible unfortunate location of the lumps on the liver. The (check out this title) Interventionalist Radiologist is concerned that the lumps are in a place that is so inaccessible that not only might we NOT be able to do a biopsy, but we might also NOT be able to do a needle ablation (I was spelling it wrong: it's Ablation, not Oblation), AND we might not even be able to do surgery.



Luckily, we had this in TWO conversations, and I was able to google like a wild woman between the conversations and grasp more of the situation, and be ready with questions during phone call number two, a few minutes later.

Ultimately, here's the boildown:

If they can't do a biopsy, then how can they know what the lumps are with certainty? Answer: Bill is getting an MRI to determine with more certainty whether the lumps are cancer or cysts. Also there are blood & chemical tests for determining facts about the lumps.

How can there be an unreachable part of any human organ?

Answer: The liver is positioned between a bunch of essential and delicate organs, veins, tubes, drains, whatever. A patient should be awake for a biopsy or needle ablation because they have to hold their breath, because if they breathe while the needle is in, it can drag the needle across the liver, or pierce other organs, etc. So some locations on the liver just can't be reached with sharp objects.

And all needle procedures on the liver are done with a guiding visual machine--either a CT or ultrasound--to guide the exact placement of the needle. If the lumps are not visible on at least ONE of the visual aid machines, they can't put the needle in.

So if it turns out he can't have anything done--no biopsy, no ablation, no surgery--then what?

Then, she said, just chemo.

So when will we know more, I asked, after thanking her PROFUSELY for talking to us on a Friday afternoon and not making us wait through a whole weekend...

She will call us Monday or Tuesday, but she can't do anything until these doctors reach an opinion about the location and accessibility of the lumps.

So there you go.

As always, THANK YOU for caring, especially enough to read these long ramblings.
We love you so much.
Yippee ti-yi-yo...we're gonna get along, little way or another!
God is good.
Beth and Billyo

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Um...How Do I Write This....Better Things Could Have Happened.....

Thank you for checking here. The fact that you care about this means everything to us.

We just got back from Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem. He had the big CT scan in the morning, and by 1:45, we were in Oncologist Dr. Torti's office.

I could personally tell right away that we were going to get bad news.

The Dr. and his assistant had stricken expressions on their faces, and Dr. Torti walked in, shook our hands, rolled a stool right up to Bill's knees, sat on the stool, put his hand on Bill's knee, and said, "There's no good way to say this, so I'm going to just say it. The radiologist just called me, and he is very worried about your liver. There are three lumps on your liver that weren't there 90 day ago.Yes, it could be liver cancer."

Wow. That's the kind of moment you hope you never have to live through in a whole lifetime.

Bill just sat there quietly. I got my pen out and started writing down a verbatim transcript of every word after that, because I went into shock, and couldn't think. I could only write words down. Kind of like I'm doing right now by writing this blog.

Here's the deal.

Next week (they're going to call and tell us when), Bill gets a liver biopsy to confirm whether it is or isn't cancer. Obviously, we think there's quite a chance of it.

Then, they "aggressively attack it." I loved that part, when he said that.

If it's positioned right, they put an electric needle in the tumors and burn them out. This is called oblation (I think). (You can imagine the googling I'm going to be doing.)

If they can't "oblate", then it just so happens (!) they have one of the world's best liver surgeons there--by chance!(?)--and he goes in and cuts the tumors out.

Then, Bill gets chemo for 4 to 6 months, DOUBLE the strength of last time, and with some new drugs that Dr. Torti was the inventor of. Ooops. Of which Dr. Torti was the inventor. Because the last chemo did nothing whatsoever to his cancer.

As for our emotional states, we are both in shock. Bill's doing a lot better than I am. I'm kind of wandering around picking things up and putting them down and wondering what I'm doing. Bill is watching Sports Center and coping, and even laughing sometimes.

When we find out the next bit of info, such as biopsy date or results of biopsy, I will post again.

If you talk to us, don't feel like you have to act weird. We are being really normal and trying to find humor here and there. We're not acting morose or freaky or anything like that. There's nothing you should be afraid to say or ask. So don't feel inhibited if you want to ask anything or say hi or whatever. We're still us. We're still laughing. We're still optimistic.

We are also realistic.

Bill says to write this: "We're still leaning on the promises."

You lovers of old hymns know exactly what that means.

Love and more love and GRATITUDE that you care for us.

Yer favorite cowpals

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cancer Joke Day

North Carolina guy walks into a Duke Oncologist & says: "Didja getcher MD at Duke?"

Duke Oncologist replies: "Yale."

North Carolina guy says: "DIDJA GETCHER MD AT DUKE?"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poor Rhinestone Rhinitis Cowboy

Our boy is soooooooo sick today!

Nothing weeweelogical, I'm glad to report, but a TERRIBLE cold.

[Place bets *here* for how fast he makes me delete the term "weeweelogical"...]

I gave him coffee, newspaper, and breakfast in bed, and brought him Dayquil and stuff, and he was grateful, but still so sick. Poor guy!


We get the results on Friday by phone.

So I will post here the minute those results are in.

Fairly irrelevant sidenote: I write a Twitter blog at (here) posting AS MY DOG MideyMulligan, the Boston Terrier, and Midey posts in dog language, with lots of spelling errors and wrong words, etc. So this morning Midey was posting a bunch of jokes about Cesar Millan (Midey doesn't like Cesar Millan, so Midey posts silly stuff like this: "You know Cezer Millan gettin a devorce? Iss true. I guess dem Rules, Boundries & Limitations dint go over so well when he try dem on his wife.") and now, switching to this human blog, I keep being tempted to spel theengs rong like Midey would.

May all good things blow your way on an elegant autumnal breeze today, and may that same elegant autumnal breeze make your leaf blower unnecessary, as long as said breeze doesn't blow 100% of your leaves directly into your neighbors' yard, if you have nice neighbors, like we do, but if your neighbors are mean...ALL the leaves RIGHT into their yards.

Diamond and Rhinestone

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh no! I really missed putting up the Sunday update. Ooops!


Here's a quick update on the cowpoke.

His next 90-day scan/checkup is on October 21st.

We will really (theoretically) have solid news by Oct. 22nd, telling us how he did on his tests.

But I'm kinda worried because it's only a CT scan and blood test. The last time he got a CT scan at Duke, just a week before surgery, TWO RADIOLOGISTS AT DUKE read the scan and the report came back that he was 100% cancer-free. (Then why did they do the surgery--that's another question).

But how WRONG can a scan be? He had three giant tumors in his bladder and a major honker in his prostate, plus a bunch of little lymph tumors, and skin cancer, and the CT scan missed 100 percent of them! Not only a CT scan, but a CT scan with DYE!

So how are we supposed to feel anything good if he gets a clean report after the 21st?


Plus, he has had a scary symptom this week, involving blood, but I won't go into details or he'll scold me when he reads this. hahaha Maybe he'll forget to read his blog! Hmmmm. Tempted to tell you....but, it was a brand new development--we've seen blood before, but this was completely new in its features--and shocked me so thoroughly that I had to lie down for quite a while and try to calm down. My thoughts go from zero to crazy so fast. Bill, on the other hand, was calm about it. As always.

At least the nature views in our mountains (see that quick subject change?) are glamorous outside today. The colors all peaked on the same day (today) which is kind of rare, and everything is blindingly, neonly BRIGHT yellow and red, and all the trunks look black, with a clear blue sky.

There. I left it on a positive note!

More this coming Sunday. We've HAD guests and BEEN guests almost non-stop for the last 14 days, hence my tardy post. And my laziness in trying to think of a better word than "tardy" right there. :)

Love and lassos,
Cowgirl and Wild Willy

Friday, October 1, 2010

Post for Sunday Oct. 3

I'm writing this early because, God willing and my 20-year-old car doesn't die during interstate travel, I'm going to be in a faraway town on Sunday, without my cowboy--a very sad thing! I can't stand to be away from him any more! *big frown*big tears*

Bill is doing great, except for one day this week when he lost 9 pounds in 24 hours. That was kind of scary! Otherwise, his weight is steady. He has no more pain this week, and nothing at all to complain about.

He gets his next 90-day checkup in about 2 weeks. Yikes!

We're on a new eating plan, because we found out from our friend, saint Anna, that carageneen causes tumors to grow REALLY REALLY fast! So we ditched all the food in our house with carageneen (obviously I didn't take the time to learn to spell that word) and found out that all we had left was pretty much vegetables.

We also read that the monks on Mt Athos are on some diet that has been shown to lead to the lowest cancer rates on the planet, almost zero, in thousands of years! So we got onto that diet plan, too.

They eat bread and tea for breakfast, and for lunch and dinner, vegetables (mostly raw), along with rice and pasta, fried potatoes, olives, olive oil. For dinner, a bowl of lentils every night, and whatever raw vegetables they can cram in during the reading of whatever the monks read out loud at night. They also drink this special Greek wine (red) and have some kind of watery sherbet for dessert. That's all I know about it. Oh, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they leave out the olive oil. And on weekends, they can have fish.

They're reportedly all thinner than Kate Moss.

No women are allowed on the mountain, ever. Prince Charles goes there several times a year. Thousands of men visit year round--approach by boat via Aegean Sea. Free to visit. If you go, tell me more about what they eat. hahah

So that's the news here.

Till next Sunday, your wishing-she-weren't-leaving cowgirl, and Wild Willy

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bill's OK

All is well here. Bill is fine. No problems of any kind. Hooray! (Except having 60-some essay exams to grade.)

I'm quite sad today, though. But only because a bunch of freaky things happened in the last 48 hours, none of which had to do with Bill.

Somewhere in my past, I guess I must have jumped into a time machine that wasn't working properly, and have accidentally ended up in a science fiction novel, scrambling over the ruins of a dystopian civilization, in an effort to evade a variety of scientifically postulated but highly improbable laws of nature.

This too shall pass.

And I have no idea where the commas go in "This too shall pass."

See you next Sunday.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bill's Great! Plus: World's Weirdest 2-Min Video

Bill feels great, looks great, is great. He hasn't had any weird symptoms this week, and his Gators won the football game yesterday, while he ate home-made tacos and brownies.

He went off to church this morning wearing an orange and blue striped tie.

I said, "Why you wearin' that tie?"

He said, "Gators beat Tennessee."

I said, "Oh, you're celebrating?"

He said, "No, I want to rub it in for the Tennessee fans."

I said, "At CHURCH? Wow. Seems to me if you were really a Christian, you'd wear a Tennessee tie to commiserate."

He said, "Tennessee people don't wear ties."

No, he didn't really say that last line. I think he said something like, "Well if YOU were really a Christian, you'd be coming to church WITH me to give all the Tennessee people kleenexes once they see my tie."

Subject change: I'm writing on here every Sunday now, in case anyone wants to check. I said I was going to, then I forgot, then I remembered, then forgot, etc. But now I really am. Probably.

And for your dose of humor today, here's a Youtube video you can click on. It is completely clean, inoffensive on every level, just pure funny and BIZARRE. And it even has a little religion in it, if you look at one of the pictures on the back wall. I think these two people are Irish, though the song is in Spanish and has Russian subtitles, for the ecumenically-minded among you.

Also? Pray for Bill, because I want to learn to do what these people in the video are doing.


Click this link to watch the youtube video right now.

Till next week!

God is love.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Better News About Bill...whew!

This morning Bill feels a little better. He is still going to teach his classes today. But he doesn't feel exactly right.

His abdominal pain continues. It's still that mix of nausea and--well, last time he said it felt like he swallowed broken glass--now he says it feels like he drank lye.

He shouldn't know what either ONE of those two things feels like. But he walks away when I ask him too many questions (meaning more than one question), so that's all I could get for you.

He can eat, though. So that's good.

Except for WHAT he eats.

(Shhhhhh. I didn't tell you this: he bought some SPAM! What???????????)

Gee, I wonder what could be making his stomach feel like he ate poison? (Isn't Spam made out of recycled car parts?)

But we did have a really good thing happen this week! A SRTTW! (Spectacular Return to the World) when Bill finally felt the all-clear for going to a little mid-week party moment with six of our pals.

We pretty much spent the whole evening laughing, then trying to eat Italian food in between laughing, then doing the Heimlich maneuver on each other while laughing, then laughing some more, then trying to drive home while laughing, getting home laughing, brushing teeth laughing, going to sleep laughing. Other than that, it was a somber occasion.

As for the dog photo in the previous post--that was unrelated to anything about Bill, and had to do with me not knowing how to post pictures on Twitter.

See, our dog Midey Mulligan the Boston Terrier has his own Twitter page in which he writes about his daily life--playing with crickets till they fall asleep, and telling about all the naughty things his evil brother Jack the Poodle does, such as digging up fish that were intended to be garden fertilizer, then biting their heads off (as seen in photo) then throwing up on quilts for the rest of the day to the delight of Mom (me).

If you're desperate for humor, and I mean HURTIN for it, you can see Midey's daily posts at

Love to you all for caring!


Pardon the Interruption with an Unrelated Dog Photo

I'll explain this photo in a minute.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oops. Missed Posting Sunday. Will Post on Monday!

Billy Boy was ill today.

Big frown!

I'll post in detail tomorrow.

Nothing where we had to go to a hospital, but in the gray zone--meaning I think he should be seen, but he doesn't.

Will post in the morning. Sorry to be late. THANK YOU for checking and lovin' our boy!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Billy, Bedbugs, and Bowling

So I'm posting every Sunday now. Even though there's not much drama. But this way, if some drama WERE to drift through, you would know about it by the following Sunday.

We missed Hurricane Earl this week. It passed by North Carolina and headed up toward New York. With all that wind, I was hoping it might help New York by blowing all the bed bugs out of there.

But I guess that's not a very polite thing to wish on the Canadians.

Canadian Mom: "Mon Dieu! Qu'est que ce all deez leetle teeny creetures dat just blew in and can lives for a year wizout food?"

Canadian's son: "They're from New York. They're called supermodels."

But anyway, Bill taught a whole week of classes with no apparatus breakages. He was so happy.

On Friday afternoon, we suddenly got the idea to go bowling at a real bowling alley in Boone. (I have to specify "real" bowling alley because so many of you may have Wii "pretend" bowling in your living rooms, where you throw an imaginary ball at imaginary pins on the TV screen, and when your ball repeatedly lands in the imaginary gutter, you yell out imaginary cuss words.)

Bill and I were absolutely HORRIBLE bowlers. In fact, I was so bad that my ball once actually went into the gutter of the lane NEXT to ours.

Not only were we bad, but we both blew out our kneecaps playing only one game.

Anyone reading this who has a need to engage in a sports-related activity that will make you feel vastly superior to your fellow human beings (me and Bill), consider meeting us at the bowling alley next Friday at 3. That's when the place is almost empty.

Well, call us first to make sure our kneecaps are working by then.

Love to all,

Diamond Lilly and Wild Mister Billy

Post Coming Later Today

It's Sunday! So I'll be posting something by the end of the day!

Thanks for checkin in, podnuh!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Belly Aches and Tom Robbins

Things were going pretty well until this past week when Wild Willybob Drennan came down with a bellyache.

That's what he calls it.

Which drives me crazy.

Because neither of the words belly nor ache are anywhere near specific enough to allow me to google-search a cure for him!

And when I start to "question him down," he gets mad purty dang quick.

Me: Okay, what do you mean by "belly"? Point to where you mean. Is it above or below your bellybutton, closer to your belly button or your ribs? Is it more in the center or the left or right, and when you say "ache" do you mean sharp or dull and if you say "sharp" do you mean like little pirhanas biting you or more like one piece of broken glass would feel if you might have swallowed it, or is it more like a burning cement block lowered slowly onto your stomach and by "stomach" would you mean literally your stomach as an organ, or would you mean your abdominal area in general and if...."


So being married as long as we have (21 years) and having developed certain skills with which to cope with the other's preferences, we rigged up a solution.

I can ask him ONE TIME per day how he feels, and for his answer, he has to use descriptive terms for no less than one minute.

That's our deal.

Okay, so you ARE on my side on this one, aren't you? You, too, want to know what I've gotten out of him so far, and "belly ache" would NOT do it for you, am I right? Wayyyyy too vague, right?

So here it is: It hurts enough to wake him up at night and goes on for some hours. It never really goes away. It hurts more after he eats. It feels like this:(and you can guess which one of us came up with this little description on the multiple-choice questionnaire I administered verbally this morning) It feels like he swallowed a bowl full of little pieces of broken glass and like they are rolling around in there halfway between his belly button and his ribs, in the very middle.

See? Now I DID get the kind of detail I wanted.

But I'm getting NO google results with the search: "feels like ate bowl of broken glass".

What!? People don't eat bowls full of broken glass and publish the results on the internet?

As for Tom Robbins...(who, speaking of cowpokes, did write the novel-turned-movie "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" starring Uma Thurman and Keanu Reaves)...


He was even born right here in Blowing Rock and lived here a while.

Here endeth this blog post.

And if you are waiting for me to somehow make a connection between Tom Robbins and Bill's bellyache, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I don't think it's possible.

Except that When Cowboys Eat Broken Glass, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

(How was that?)

Love to you. Thanks for checking on us.

D. Lil

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wild Bill and the Croc

That lovely poster should pretty much tell you what we're STILL doing for fun as summer winds down for us (there's a Lake Placid 1, Lake Placid 2, and Lake Placid 3--so far...) (and yes, the above-shown paleontologist did lose her cell phone signal at a key moment).

On a website devoted to reviews of very bad movies, I found this list which was written to help you fully enjoy the first Lake Placid film:

  • 5 mins - Sort of a large and still lake for beavers, oh never mind, they're just mops of hair pulled along on a string.
  • 13 mins - What sort of firearm is that again?
  • 26 mins - That pickup line worked? I am going to Maine...
  • 32 mins - Whole lot of love here, whole lot of love.
  • 35 mins - It carefully gutted and ate the moose?
  • 44 mins - Well, it just ate the only Grizzly living in Maine...
  • 52 mins - I never thought I'd hear Betty White say that.
  • 61 mins - Let me remind you, it recently tried to eat your helicopter.
  • 69 mins - Kelly was submerged for just under one minute. Not bad for someone who does not exercise and is full of adrenaline.


In what, to me, amounts to the most heroic act so far by our cowboy Wild Billy Drennan, he--Wild Bill--will be returning to teaching at Appalachian State University this week!

Yes, he is nervous--about certain possible things that could happen while he is in front of the class--and I'm wringing my hands on his behalf, wishing he hadn't decided to keep teaching.

But I am in such admiration of him that it defies vocabulary. I am the scaredest person in the world, and he is the bravest man I have ever seen. He simply awes me.

And the students sitting in the class will have no idea that they are witnessing something miraculous--no idea what he has been through and what it has cost him to be there--as he talks to them about the "First Half of the British Lit Survey--Beowulf through Milton."

Actually, in that sense, maybe we should all go up to the top of this post and look at that poster again.

In what isn't THAT big a stretch of the metaphorical imagination--that poster actually IS kinda like our Cowboy's life--he's swimming for it--and something big actually did try to get him.

And he got away.

And his students will think he's just another Prof standing there with a syllabus.

Glory to God. It's so amazing.

Love to you all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

THANKS for checking: no big news...except JARHEAD.

Apart from continuing to enjoy movies in which people's cell phones lose signal in deserts while monsters pop up in the back seat of their almost-out-of-gas cars, we have nothing much going on.

But to amuse you, because of our thankfulness that you came here to check on the cowpoke, I will put something below, from the news--something that you will probably enjoy knowing about:

This little bear in Florida--nicknamed Jarhead, for obvious reasons--got his little head stuck in a jar for at least ten days. He almost died because he couldn't eat or drink, but the animal dudes finally anesthetized his mother and got hold of him and pulled the jar off.

He's fine now.

We like good medical outcomes.

Love to all,

Your Cowpals

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Post: Couldn't Resist

I know I'm not supposed to post until October something, but I can't stop!

Funniest thing Bill has said all week:

I said to him, while I was chopping vegetables, "Hey, Bill? Wouldn't it be weird if, in our culture, when you got tired of your kids, you could break up with them and find other kids?"

Bill says, "Yeah. You'd write to your kids and say: Dear Kids, Mom and I think you should start seeing other parents."

WHY did I almost FALL on the floor laughing when he said that? He never even smiles when he says these funny things, and I nearly die of the humor.

Okay, in other subjects, he had an emotional experience: This past Thursday night, he started reading back posts on the blog--the ones from when he was in ICU and thereabouts, and he claimed that he either had completely forgotten them or never read them (or was ON MORPHINE?), and he seemed shocked at how out of it he was after his surgery. And how INCREDIBLY fragile he was when he first came home, with the home nurses whispering to me about HOSPICE and death and weeks to live and so on.

Then the very next day, after reading those blogs, (this past Friday) he went golfing with his friends and did 18 holes, no disasters. He was really moved emotionally when he came home, because he recalled thinking in the hospital that he would never golf again. I actually didn't think he would, either.

And now, you couldn't even tell he was ever sick. I'm not saying he doesn't have a handicap of 595. But still, he can make it through 18 holes on a hot day!

Purty purty cool. God is great, Sabu! (Line from "Out of Africa")

In more sobering news, he's been reading tons of posts by "ostomates"--people who have also had their bladders out and have ostomies from bladder cancer. There are hundreds of such posts a day one can read. If one wants to THINK about such things.

He told me one day this week: "Did you know that with my kind of cancer, I only have a 15% chance of surviving five years?" I said, "Bill! Point A: Those statistics do not take into account prayers. Point B: Don't tell me things like that!"

Then the next day, he read me the saddest post ever. A man in his 40s, seemingly perfect health, got bladder cancer, had his bladder out, got an ostomy, and so on, and had the same grade tumor as Bill had, but had a less bad stage. The bad news: the man had had his surgery only last year, and after several "all clear" checkups, one day they found it on his liver. Then this week, just one year after his surgery, he posted that this would be his last post, goodbye to everyone and thanking all his friends, and said, in closing: "I'm sorry. I tried as hard as I could."

If you're a praying soul, would you say one for that man?

And on that cheery note, I can't close without saying that despite all this, these are the best days of our marriage and our lives together. No question about it. Isn't that weird? I guess it's due to living with appreciation for each day and for all we have RIGHT NOW--what a trite and hoof-beaten cliche--and yet it turns out to be the whole deal.

Love to all!
Diamon' Lil