Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yay. All cheered up!

The morning after I posted my "sad blog"--I was sitting on the porch reading Psalms just after sunrise, and looked up and saw this!

Well, it wasn't quite that dramatic in the original--I did dink around with the image on my computer, to bring out the rainbow, but still. It was a pretty nice surprise!

Bill and I both feel much, much better, the last couple days. Going to Duke was jarring, but now we're back to our routine life. And we've discovered a component to make us laugh every day: America's Funniest Home Videos.

I can't believe I'm even admitting we watched that on Friday night. And taped it. And watched it Saturday night, too!

But so help me if we don't laugh so hard we cry at some of the things on there.

We are officially old.

But happy again.

Love to all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I can't post right now. I feel kinda sad.

Hey all.

Suddenly, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness, and I am a little bit paralyzed as far as being able to write anything.

Bill is doing really well. He just doesn't get upset about anything, but I'm falling off the horse every five seconds, seems like.

Of course, it is NOT about ME. It's about our Billyboy. But since I'm the blogger, and I'm a trifle messed up emotionally right now, ain't nobody here to post nuthin.

So I just wanted to say that if I don't answer your emails right away, or post here for a little while, it's because I'm kind of psychologically in a fetal position. Metaphorically under the covers (sometimes REALLY under the covers!). Hiding from all the scariness.... But *grin* (See? I can still smile. It's not THAT bad...) I'm just very surprised to feel so down. Not sure why.

I'll be back soon. I'll find them there dancin' shoes again; I'm sure of it.

Love to all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The news is pretty good! And we have a surgery date!

I'm so happy to be writing this! We are home, just minutes ago, and the news is good so far! Of course, when it comes to medical dangers, I see glasses as half empty, not half full. This makes me feel like I'm safer, because I feel like if I can hunt out the dangers early, I can fight back better. The downside of my attitude is that I appear, perhaps, not to take the proper amount of joy in good news, always thinking, "Well, yes, THAT news is good, but what about all we DON'T know?"

So please, you optimists out there, if you feel yourself taking offense at my yes-but qualities, know that I came by it honestly. :) I had some blindsiding fatal medical disasters happen in my family as a kid, so I always think a big boogie man is going to jump out. In other words, try to forgive my attitude!

Back to the plot.

First, they did NOT do a body scan of any kind, as we expected, so there is no news as to whether the cancer has done anything dangerous.

However! The small area they did scan, around his bladder, showed NO spread to the lymph nodes they could see! The Dr. said this was a very good thing, and that the chemo seemed to have held the cancer back.

But they won't know the answers to the deeper questions until after surgery. So I, personally,am not going to feel completely safe until that point. Bill, however, feels great about today and isn't worried about the future.

In short, they scheduled surgery! Yay! It will take place March 19 at the Duke Hospital, but Bill gets admitted on March 18 for preparation. I will be moving to Durham on the 17th, and expect to stay for 2 weeks, as Bill goes from Intensive Care to regular care. Then he has 8 weeks in bed to recover at home after the 2 weeks in the hospital.

Tomorrow, Bill and I are going to post our comedy version of what happened today at the doctor's office. We were SO anxious and SO scared that the only thing we could do was become ridiculously silly and start inventing scenarios.

So when you see that tomorrow, please be assured that we have not lost our ever-loving minds.

And now, in all seriousness, THANK YOU WITH OUR ENTIRE HEARTS AND SOULS for your love, for your thoughts, for your PRAYERS! We could FEEL THEM surrounding us, and it meant everything.

Love and love and more love,
Beth and Bill

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tomorrow is Journey Day

Here's Bill, starting the arduous road to Duke.

No, wait. That's a Russian monk. Well, he's a cool-looking guy, anyhow, and I bet he can say some amazing prayers.

Speaking of amazing prayers, that's what Bill needs. We have a bad case of the jitters here.

Got prayers?

If so, please perhaps shoot a few Bill's way on Monday and Tuesday.

In the alternative, good wishes, thoughts, light, and just plain ol' love will help, too.

I don't know how we can get access to the blog on Tuesday to tell you what the doctor says, until we get home. The hospital probably has wi-fi, but I don't know the pass and all that.

So let's say that we should be home by about 2-ish on Tuesday, and I will post first thing, so you can find out, along with us, what the future holds for our favorite Cowboy.

Wishing you all love and cool Russian monk hats.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Mountain Was Beautiful as Night Ended

Little things.

Our mountain was beautiful this morning at sunrise.

God is light.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Newest drama: Basement flooded.

We had just finished a very strenuous day, setting up dog sitters for Monday and Tuesday, and shopping for the out-of-town scenario, coming home, cleaning the fridge, putting away groceries, so tired, and suddenly i hear a strange sound in the basement.


Shooting out of a mysteriously disconnected pipe behind the dryer.

Ay yi yi.

It was pouring out gallons by the minutes, not just trickling, but shooting like a hose on full throttle.

Half the basement was under water.

I thought I was dreaming. I became, uh, let's say, not that much in control of my emotions right away. We called ten plumbers and none answered their phones. So we tried 911, then the fire dept, then a city worker showed up at our house. I practically venerated him, I was so grateful. We got the house water turned off, and after several more calls, found an angelic being of a plumber who is coming out tonight!

Then we had to get carpet cleaners to come out tomorrow to prevent mold.

I was so upset. I was sobbing into the phone talking to the people, not endearing myself in the least, I'm sure. The city worker tried to soothe me, saying, "It's just water! It's JUST water!" Still I couldn't stop weeping and apologizing for weeping.

And all the while I'm on the phone, the bitterly cold water is SHOOTING into the basement, filling it higher and higher, and it's ICE water, so your feet freeze fast, and it shoots all over you and you are drenched in ice cold water. [And sobbing. With quite a bit of vocal wailing thrown into the mix.]

Finally, once the main switch got turned off, we got out the shop vac and sucked up a lot of it, and laid newspapers, paper towels, and bath towels all over half the basement.

All I can think is THANK GOD this didn't happen while we were at Duke! I can't imagine how that would have played out.

My stress hormones are currently in a state of vast overpopulation, and I'm trying to regain my equilibrium. Bill stayed calm throughout, but he didn't know any more than I did about what to do. But he DID know how to get the shop vac out and at least reduce the Ganges river that was flowing through the various rooms down there.

So that's today's news report and dose of drama.

I hope I wake up at 6 a.m. and find out it was all some Freudian dream.

Love to all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bill and Beth: waiting, waiting, waiting...

Beth and Bill
Went up the hill
To await the cat scan scoring;
Writing to you
That nuthin is new;
In fact, we're rather boring.

Well, Billybob still has his thrombosisspiderbite on his arm, and now that the swelling is down, it clearly feels like a three-inch-long hard artery, even though I KNOW it's a spider bite. (Not.) Fortunately, we can have his doctor at Duke look at it next week when we are there. Spider bites usually require second opinions. Hahahaha.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bill is better. Metal mouth is only pressing problem.

Today, Bill has a bad taste of metal in his mouth, but his nausea is better, and his arm lump is still there, but he says that it's slightly better.

And I've learned to post photos on this blog.

Hooray for this day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Little update on the (snicker, snicker) Spiiiii-der bite.

Hey, this is Aunt Bea writing to you from my Mayberry kitchen. It's December 26, 1966, Season 7, episode 201, called New Doctor in Town. Episode plot summary: "Nobody in Mayberry wants to be the first to see if the town's new doctor is qualified, until Andy shows his faith in the young doctor by letting him remove Opie's tonsils."

* The doctor is played by William Christopher who later played Father Mulcahy on the television version of M*A*S*H."

No, wait. "Until Bethie shows her faith by letting the young doctor feed Magic-Cure Tarwater Tonic to her husband to cure his SPIDER bite."

What? There are entire law firms devoted solely to taking cases where doctors failed to correctly diagnose a THROMBOSIS?

Well, you get my drift.

The blood clot or infected vein--ooops, I mean the alleged spider bite (which, even under my magnifying glass, shows NO bite holes or red spot or central mark or NUTHIN), is still there. Swollen, red, hard.

But it hurts less. I think that's because he took the (I'm sorry I'm being so facetious, but I just can't believe the way this all went down) ANTIBIOTICS the doctor prescribed for the SPIDER BITE.

[Note to the reader: Antibiotics have no effect on basic spider bites.]

Well, he's better, a little, and we're watching it, so all is well for now. Except the twelve degrees outside and wind gusts of 80 MILES PER HOURS that we had all night long.

Love to all.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back from hospital. All might be well!

Hey all!

We tried to go to the Blowing Rock (more like Blowing Crack) hospital but (sigh) when we called there first, no one answered the phone, not the hospital, not urgent care, no one. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

So we went to Boone, and the roads were decent.

There was only staff there, mostly, so we got seen instantly by the oncologist doctor. Her determination is that she doesn't KNOW for SURE what it is, but she feels pretty sure it is NOT a thrombosis, but can't rule anything out, such as phlebitis, which is an infected vein. At this point, she gave him some medication, and he has to put heat on his arm and watch it closely and go back if it doesn't disappear or gets any worse. She even said it could be a spider bite.


Sorry. Not buying that one. There is no point of entry, no dots, no itch, plus it is dead of winter, and there are no insects whatsoever in our house. When I heard her say "spider bite," I briefly wondered if I had been transported into an episode of Andy of Mayberry. But, hey, SHE is the doctor.

Frankly, I thought that the low-panic send-em-home diagnosis approach was just the merest edge of questionable, considering the risks, but for the millionth time I must yell into my own ear: BETH! YOU ARE NOT A PHYSICIAN! I have about the same odds of being right on a medical diagnosis as I would if I threw a Diagnostic Manual across the room and went with whatever page it fell open to.

I'll post here if there is ANY change. Meanwhile, thank you all for caring, and we are very relieved right now.

Medical emergency: Bill MIGHT have a thrombosis

In the midst of this wicked storm with ice and high winds and snow, we are going to Boone in our 4-wheel drive SUV, because Bill has developed what almost certainly is a large thrombosis (blood clot) in his arm, just below the elbow. It is large, hard, and hot and his pain is increasing.

We called the Oncologists and they said, "Don't wait. No matter what it takes, get to the hospital."

Now, listen: IT MIGHT NOT BE A THROMBOSIS! I have a huge tendency to over-dramatize things, so this might be NOTHING! I don't want to cry wolf to you, so please know my tendencies and take the square root of what I say. But the thing in his arm matches the description exactly. That's all I'm saying. Plus, thrombosis follows chemotherapy very often, AND follows a high platelet count (high platelets can cause thrombosis) and Bill had very high platelets last week.

So we are leaving in a few minutes for Boone.

Bill is just this second reading another site on the Internet and saying that his arm doesn't EXACTLY match the symptoms of thrombosis. So that's another plus, another hope.

He says he thinks it is only phlebitis, an inflamed blood vessel. After listening to the symptoms, I think so, too! This would be fantastic, compared to thrombosis.

An untreated thrombosis can do several things: 75% of people with untreated arm thrombosis develop permanent paralysis in the arm. Twelve percent, the clot breaks off and travels. If it lands in the lung, it is a pulmonary thrombosis or is that an embolism? I'm not sure of the terms, but it can be fatal. If it lands in the heart, a heart attack results. If it lands in the brain, a stroke results.

We are scared. Pray for Bill. Thank you. I will post an update as soon as I can get to this computer, to let you know what is happening.

[Now Bill is saying that if I want to think of percentages, the chances of us getting killed driving to Boone in this severe storm might be as high as the chance he has something bad in his arm. Maybe we will just go to the Blowing Rock hospital, but then we lose the access to the cancer center in Boone. Hmmmm.]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Finished Chemo (Hooray!); Now to Duke for Tests


Cowboy Billy FINISHED HIS CHEMO yesterday!

I tried to find some way to say proper thanks to the nurses, but every time I said something, it came out wrong:

Me to the nurses: Thank you all so much! It's been such a wonderful experience!

Bill (interrupting): For YOU, maybe. You weren't the one getting weapons grade plutonium injected into your hand.

Me: Oh, gosh. That came out wrong. What I meant was, you've all been so nice. We'll miss coming here!

Bill (interrupting): YOU might, maybe. You weren't the one...

Me: Alright already.

I never DID get it right. But they knew what I meant, anyway. They actually seemed very happy for Bill, and said they love seeing their patients graduate.

I said an internal goodbye to the little birds, too.

But life has a way of saying, "Knock it off," when we get too sentimental: just as I was looking out the window, a huge, malevolent-looking orange and black cat came skulking out of the bushes. Just what the chemo patients do NOT need is THAT particular combination--tiny birds and one bad cat--right outside their picture window.

So Dr. Walther's office at Duke called today. Bill and I have to go over on Feb. 22 for a CT scan and lab tests to see what kind of success we had with the chemo. The next morning we meet with Dr. Walther, early, and get the results and, at that meeting, we will set up the surgery date. We still expect it to be in early March.

I'm more nervous about this upcoming meeting than I was about the chemo. I feel certain that we will get good news from the new CT scan, but it still rattles your mind a little. And I have some very high hopes for the report, which hopes I do not want to let go of--hopes like: "This is incredible! The cancer has completely disappeared! You don't need surgery! Later, tater!"

I can hope, anyway, right? :)