Friday, July 30, 2010

Don't Read This Unless You Think The Stuff That Happens In North Korea is Bizarre And Entertaining But In A Not-Ok Kind of Way, Of Course

by Barney Henderson
Telegraph dot Co dot UK

North Korean football team shamed in six-hour public inquiry over World Cup

North Korea's football team has been shamed in a six-hour public inquisition and the team's coach has been accused of "betraying" the reclusive leader's heir apparent following their failure at the World Cup, according to reports.

The entire squad was forced onto a stage at the People's Palace of Culture and subjected to criticism from Pak Myong-chol, the sports minister, as 400 government officials, students and journalists watched.

The players were subjected to a "grand debate" on July 2 because they failed in their "ideological struggle" to succeed in South Africa, Radio Free Asia and South Korean media reported.

The team's coach, Kim Jong-hun, was reportedly forced to become a builder and has been expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea.

The coach was punished for "betraying" Kim Jong-un - one of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il's sons and heir apparent.

The country, in its first World Cup since 1966, lost all three group games – including a 7-0 defeat to Portugal.

The broadcast of live games had been banned to avoid national embarrassment, but after the spirited 2-1 defeat to Brazil, state television made the Portugal game its first live sports broadcast ever.

Following ideological criticism, the players were then allegedly forced to blame the coach for their defeats.

Only two players avoided the inquisition - Japanese-born Jong Tae-se and An Yong-hak, who flew straight to Japan after the tournament.

However, media in South Korea said the players got off lightly by North Korean standards.

"In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps," a South Korean intelligence source told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Update One Day Late (Again)

Ooops! I forgot to post on Sunday! I'm so sorry!

But there's nuthin to say! Everything is fine. It's ferociously hot here, even in these high mountains. My son JP is here for a week or so. Bill feels great, sleeps great, his "machinery" aka post-surgical gear works SOMEWHAT well, allowing him a LITTLE bit more socialization time, but there are still surprises that wreck everything in an instant (it's something you just have to slowly get the hang of), and in other news, I still talk ten times more than Bill does, and he wishes I'd hush, and I wish he'd yap. Same old story...


We really aren't up to full socialization yet.

We thought we were.

But we aren't.

Because of the equipment not being reliable.

So if we aren't as visiting-friendly as we oughtta be, it's that, and takes a while.

So our current rule is this: we aren't really having anyone in (except the children), and we don't go out except for brief errands (Bill goes out a tiny bit more than I do).

But we want you to know: It reflecteth NOT upon our luvs for thee!
Or, do I mean, reflecteth not our luvs for thee, or is not reflectethed IN our luvs for thee? Shoot.

Next post, Sunday, August 1st!

Giddalong lil cowpokes...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday, July 23: Xray of Cowboy Chest Clear as A Prairie Dog's Howl On A Texas Evenin'!

I have only a vague idea as to what the title of today's blog post means. But, hey, it goes with the picture.

But I DO know that Wake Hospital called and said that Bill's heart has NOTHIN WRONG WITH IT. Totally normal x-ray!

Heeeeeeeerayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! No more checkups till the end of October!

So our next post will be this Sunday, July 25, just to keep things regular.

See ya then, cowpokes!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22: Just Got Home--Bill's Great!

This might be short because we just walked in the door at about 7 pm, and found out by phone that some company is showing up heretofore unexpectedly tonight at 11, so we had to clean the house and make beds, get towels ready, you know the now we're kinda pooped.

But here's the news!

1. Dr. Torti agreed with the radiology reading of the PET scan, that Bill has no cancer anywhere, including the swollen lymph node. Hooray! Halley-looyuh!

2. Dr. Torti's office took care of the Medicare letters and the PET scan will by paid for, saving us six thousand George Washingtons!

3. The only possible problem is that they are a little concerned about Bill's heart. He had swollen ankles today and for a few days past, and yesterday, after he hit 85 golf balls at the range, then drove in his car for 10 minutes to meet me at Goodwill, he was panting and very out of breath, even after the 10 minutes or so of driving. So Dr. Torti was listening to his heart for a long time, and part of the time Dr. T had his eyes closed and adjusted his stethoscope positioning in his ears, like he was trying to hear something tiny. And then he said Bill needed to get a chest Xray right then, before we left. So we went up to the 4th floor and he went in and got that Xray, while I watched Ellen DeGeneres on the waiting room TV. I missed one of Ellen's guest questions on a game she calls "Know or Go"--the question was, "In the Christmas song, O Tannenbaum, what is a tannenbaum?" HOW DUMB AM I NOT TO HAVE FIGURED THAT OUT? Some poor woman on the show didn't know either and, as a result, fell through a hole in the stage and disappeared. I was luckier.

So tomorrow they call us and tell us if his heart looks okay, but Dr. T said in the future, if Bill has any weird symptoms, just call his office and, "We're always here for you!" he said, in his movie-star-looking kind of way.

So I'll post again tomorrow with the news about the Xray.

I hope SOMEONE out there reading this ALSO doesn't know what a tannenbaum is. Because when I asked Bill what it was, as we walked to the parking garage, he looked at me like he thought I was kidding about saying that I didn't know, and I had to practically explain the law of thermodynamics to him on the way home from Winston before he believed I hadn't lost my entire IQ somewhere in the waiting room.

That didn't even make sense what I just wrote about thermodynamics, and he didn't really think I was THAT stupid. Well maybe a FEW miles short of an oil change.

Till tomorrow!

Love all!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Government Shut Down 73,000 Blogs Today: If it Happens to This One...What You Should Do

In today's news, the government today shut down the ENTIRE "WordPress" blogging system because of copyright violations involving (although no one is sure why) perhaps, illegal movie streaming by some people's blogs.

This is a shocker because 73,000 people were keeping their blogs on WordPress and now they have lost their entire blogs, all their data, all their old blogs, everything gone, not to be returned to them!

The story said that other blogging systems could be next. My system, this one, is called I suppose that if the FBI finds movie streaming violations anywhere on this system, or whatever they found on WordPress, the same thing will happen, and this blog system will be lost forever.

I regret never keeping copies of this blog from the start, but I never imagined that entire sites would be wiped out by the government. This is truly horrifying.


If that happens, and if you want to continue getting 'blog' posts about Cowboy Billy, then AT THAT TIME (no need to do it now) SEND ME AN EMAIL asking to be put on an emailing list. At that point, I will send out reports by email to the group of addresses that asks for emails.

So we would lose this blog, but you would still get the posts by email.

The only way you would know that this blog is shut down is by coming here and finding only a notice from the government saying they've taken it down. (I would not be able to put up a post that says "This blog has been shut down." There simply wouldn't be the blog anymore, and you'd see just a government notice.)

THAT is when to send me an email request to continue getting posts by email only.

How likely is this? I would guess pretty likely! has probably hundreds of thousands of people keeping blogs on it, and the chances that some of those people are streaming illegal films, or doing whatever they shouldn't have been doing, seems strong.

Meanwhile, if still exists on Thursday, July 22, that will be the next post, I expect.

Love to all yall...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday July 18th


I got nuthin to report about Wild Willy!

But check back beginning Thursday evening, July 22, because that day, he gets a blood test and meets with Dr. Torti who will (a) tell Wild W. if he (Dr. T) agrees with the radiologist that the lymph node is nuthin; and (b) tell Wild Willy When he Wants him to Weturn to Wake for his next Wownd of Wexways (90-day checkup). (See what happens when I have nothing to say? I Wax Weird and Write Widiculous Words.)



Diamon' Lil

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Top 10 Cool Things You Didn't Know But Should've About a Certain Over-the-Counter Medicine


Bill and I are major googlers of all things medical these days. Today, we found out some stuff that is so amazingly cool...


...that we (a) couldn't believe we could be THIS old and not know about; and (b) couldn't resist the temptation to share with you--even though it's not directly related to cancer, unless one has insomnia (struggling to justify this post, in other words, thematically). tee hee.

The following over-the-counter medicines are what we're talking about:

Tylenol PM
Advil PM

A. All the above have the exact same active ingredient: diphenhydramine HCL.

In fact, Benadryl and Sominex have nothing BUT diphenhydramine, and are the same product under different names. (Did you know THAT?) The tylenol and advil versions are, again, the same product, only with tylenol or advil added to them.

B. DIPHENHYDRAMINE is the coolest drug ever.

C. Top 10 things you should know about the WONDERFULNESS of diphenhydramine:

* * * * *

1. OVER THE COUNTER: It's all over-the counter. Except in Russia and the Republic of Zambia. If you show up there with Benadryl or those other meds listed above, you can face PRISON!

2. NON-ADDICTIVE: It's non-addictive. Some pages claim you build up tolerance fast. Others claim they never build up tolerance.

3. FIRST ANTI-DEPRESSANT: Did you know that diphenhydramine was the first anti-depressant? It is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, also known as SSRI. You know how many people take SSRI anti-depressants these days? And here's this humble medicine over-the-counter since the 1930s. PROZAC is nothing but diphenhydramine with the sleepiness removed from it!

4. PAIN KILLER: Diphenhydramine is exactly as powerful as Lidocaine for killing pain when applied or injected.

5. ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICINE: Yes, it stops anxiety. Of course, if you're asleep, you don't know what you're worried about, so that's part of its charm. haha Also, it is sometimes used in surgery to cause skeletal muscles to relax.

6. SLEEP INDUCER: Makes you really sleepy, and you wake up calmed in the morning from its anti-anxiety qualities.

7. STOPS NAUSEA: Can you believe this drug?

8. STOPS ITCHING AND ALLERGIC REACTIONS: In fact, per Wikipedia, there is NO prescription anti-allergic that works as well as diphenhydramine--even in hospitals, it is the first choice for allergic reactions!

9. ENHANCES THE STRENGTH OF PAIN KILLERS: When taken with certain opiods, it makes the power of the pain killer much stronger and, claim many people, seems to help the pain killer "locate the pain."

10. DOSAGE: In the US, the FDA requires boxes to say that you shouldn't take more than 50 mg dose. But in every other country, the dosage is recommended at 50-100 mg.

Well, yeah, there are some things you shouldn't do with diphenhydramine. You shouldn't use it for trout bait because it won't work. You shouldn't give it to kids because it can make them hyper. It can also do this to the elderly. Don't take it if you're a nursing mother. And you shouldn't purposely take a major bunch of it to get high, because it creates delirium and hallucinations.

Oh, I know SOME of you will say, duh, Beth and Bill, we knew this since we were like kindergarteners. But if you didn't know this, aren't you glad you know it now?

Talk to you Sunday! God willin' and the creek don't rise...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm updating on Sundays unless something happens, then more often.

Last update was written yesterday, Monday, July 12 (one day late, ooops). It's below this post.

On July 22, there will also be an update after we see Dr. Torti at Wake Forest that day.

THANK YOU for following the plot! Love and Light to you!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday's Post A Day Late

Ooops. Forgot to do the Sunday update. But somewhere in the world, it's still Sunday, isn't it? No? It's already TUESDAY IN JAPAN? Oh, dear. Ummmmm, is it still Sunday on, like, the moon?

Okay, then, I'm just plain late...

Bill is doing so wonderfully well that you wouldn't believe it. He has played golf and gotten the best score of the group on some holes, even, and he says his drive (is that the word he said?) is getting really good.

He remembers, he says, lying in his hospital bed thinking that he'd never golf again. Oh, I think I told you that already.

Also, he has begun spending hours researching bladder cancer issues, and joining several groups of other folks who have had their bladders out for cancer--they're called Ostomy mates. MATES? Isn't that cute?

But some of their stories are horrible. He read me one post about a very good-looking 34-year-old man whose bladder cancer has returned to his bones and liver, and his young girlfriend caregiver writes that it's just NOT FAIR. No. Fairness isn't the thing going on there.

Oh, the "whew" of not being in such a situation...and the wish that someone would fix it for that poor man...


Bill is doing two things that I think are going to really have an impact on his cancer staying away.

First, he has completely given up all forms of tobacco and even nicotine patches. Tobacco is the number one cause of bladder cancer, as one of its chemicals sits in the bladder working its evil between trips to the bathroom. So, after 40-some years of being SEVERELY addicted to chewing tobacco, he is done. It ended during his hospital stay, and he never felt a thing from stopping it. Now, seriously, THAT is a miracle.

Secondly, he is taking green tea extract. Now, you might think I got that idea from some aging barefoot patchouli-drenched hippy in a groovy health food cooperative. But no. My dear friend and young intellectual, Ale, sent me an article with the highest medical research supporting it, major medical magazines and studies, showing that green tea extract completely kills bladder cancer tumors. This is considered a dramatic discovery, and is very recent, and Ale may have saved Bill's life. Ale, I love you!

Now, as for Bill's BAD habits, he still has a few.

Such as a COMPLETE AND TOTAL aversion to vegetables and fruit.

Okay, Bill, I know you'll say, "But I like green beans and apple sauce!" There you go. He likes green beans and applesauce. But everything else is meat, cheese, and gravy.

And he's terrible for getting him to exercise or lift weights. I have recently forced him at gunpoint to meet me on top of a hill (at the Cone mansion) and walk downhill in the woods to the lake for a mile or so. That he will do. If you have a gun. Otherwise, good luck.

In my next post (if I remember) I plan to share a tip with you, in case, God forbid, you ever have to go through a complicated medical treatment situation. It's called the Medical Binder. My beloved Sandy Roney told me about this at the very beginning of Bill's illness, and it has turned out to be the single best advice I've gotten from anyone anywhere about how to manage a complex illness.

Till then...hoping everyone has cooler days in July than we had in June. Bill is giving me a Russian Lit course this summer, so it has helped with the heat, reading about the blizzards in Siberia and the shivering political prisoners carrying buckets of water which freeze solid between buildings. Next books up: Sholzenhitsyn's (yeah, like I know how to spell THAT) Warning to the West and Gulag Archipelago Vols I, II, and III--although, you're correct, those aren't novels, but they're still literature, aren't they? (Shhhh...I also just ordered two children's books about Andy Warhol, written by his brother...Uncle Andy's and Uncle Andy's Cats. Well, wait, Andy Warhol (Andrew Warhola) was Slovakian. Does that count as Russian Lit?

Love to all...the CowDrennans

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Going Back to Dr. Torti on July 22

On July 22, we were scheduled to go back and see Dr. Torti, although maybe Dr. T will cancel now that there is nothing to see him about.

He did, however, want to see the PET scan results HIMSELF, to see if he agreed with the radiologists' readings, but I'm sure he will agree. Maybe we will still have the meeting just so that he can tell us the plan for future checkups.

By the way, before Bill could get the PET scan, he had to sign a paper acknowledging the following bizarre thing:

PET scans cost SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS and Medicare will NOT pay for them, unless the doctor sends two letters. One letter says why the PET scan is needed, and the second letter explains the results and shows Medicare how the PET scan saved them money--for example, Bill would have had to have a surgical biopsy of the lymph node, etc., all of which would have cost much more than $6,000.

BUT, what Bill signed says that IF Dr. Torti were to MISS the deadline with the second letter, Bill agrees to pay the six thousand dollars out of his pocket.


So in THAT department, it will be worth going to visit Dr. Torti and making sure he has written the letter!

Isn't that weird about that one test and that weird rule?

I'm all for Medicare being careful with its dollars, heaven knows! But to be THAT careful with one test, and to be so profligate with everything else. Mystery.

One can only imagine how much money Medicare lost with the Duke hospital fiasco lasagne--as in layer upon layer of stupid moves by the Dukesters--ending with an ambulance trip from here to Durham, three hour tour, because the Duke medical staff FORGOT the procedure for taking a person off intravenous nutrition water and putting them on cheeseburgers five minutes later. Good heavens. Imagine what THAT little adventure cost Medicare.

Medicare, if you're reading this: SEND SPIES TO THE DUKE HOSPITAL!

Anyway, we are just so happy here with the 90-day reprieve.

I'm calling it a cease-fire. Ah, the peace and quiet of it all!

Cancer free! (Until my friend JD used that term the other day, I hadn't realized that that is what he really is--cancer FREE!)

And in that one sense, he is better off than any of us. Because ONLY Bill knows, at least for now, that he has NO cancer anywhere in his body!

Can any of us be sure of that?

Well, he EARNED the right to know it, as my other friend GS pointed out, but I'm still a little bit jealous of such a nice piece of knowledge, myself being a hypochondriac.


Wild Willy and Diamon' Lil

PS As for the continuation of the blog, I am thinking I could update on the same day every week, like Sundays or something, so folks would know when to check, even though there might not be much to update about. Any other ideas appreciated. I kinda really like writing this blog, so I'll miss slowing down. But I'm glad there's no more drama to report for a while.....Unless Kim Jong-Il starts acting up......

Friday, July 2, 2010

ALLLLL CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


They just called us with the test results and they found NOTHING! Even the questionable lymph node was not cancerous and doesn't even need a biopsy!!

What a weekend for fireworks!

We are free for 90 days without worry--his next checkup is in 90 days--what an experience! GREAT SUMMER AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thank you for rooting for us, praying, thinking, caring, all of it!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Home (Finally) From the PET Scan--No News Yet, But We're Scared


We just got home from a nearly all-day trip to Winston Salem for the PET scan.

Strangely, we're both really kind of scared or freaked out or something now.

Everything was fine--no one was nervous--until Bill started talking this morning about the PET scan being the most intense look inside him, by far, of all the tests he's had, and about the "what if" factor--like, what if it finds something totally unexpected, and that if anything were to find a surprise terrible thing, it would certainly be THIS test, more than any other he's had.

Oh my gosh.

It was like a switch flipped in my brain.

Suddenly I was terrified.

And while he wouldn't call himself "terrified", he certainly got at least 10 times more worried than he's been before, ever.

I don't know how to explain it, but we both just kinda simultaneously went to our panic corners in our thoughts, and now we're sitting here all bummed out, wondering what this scan result will be.

Either we freaked each other out, or we both subliminally did the math and realize that, because this test will really be the first time they've come even close to being able to see really micro-itzy-bitzy metastasis stuff in his SOFT TISSUE (PET scans tests soft tissue, not bone like the bone scan), then this is the most dangerous moment we've experienced so far, as far as waiting to hear test results.

We've just never really been scared before like this...probably SHOULD'VE been, but never were.

I know I'm not being...or I am being...or I'm just saying one thing repeatedly, or not even making sense but.


I'm scared to the point of stupid!


It was just one too many tests.

One too many goll-dern tests.

Well, they gave us a CD with all the pictures on it, but warned us that we might get upset if we look at it because a lot of things will show up as problem areas, in bright colors, even though they are not problem areas, and we won't know which ones are okay and which aren't and (stopped listening........AIN'T NO WAY I'M LOOKING AT THAT CD!)

So I guess we're just waiting for the phone to ring tomorrow. And trying to think about other subjects.

Ummmmmmmmmmmm. Oh, here's one!