Saturday, May 28, 2011

At First, Bad...Then....GOOD!

Our cowboy started out HORRIBLE today. But after taking tons of medicines and resting and sleeping and eating a little bit, he's much better!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Six Doses of Stuff!

Our Cowboy Courageous endured six containers of chemicals today--small bags, big bags, colored bags, little needles full, big needles full, on and on for more than two hours.

But he's okay.

His platelets were bad, and the Onc was on the verge of sending him home, but they decided to give him the chemo if he would come back tomorrow for a Neulasta shot (which we hope won't give him bone-shattering pain!) to try to rev up his white cells and give him some immunity. He also needed a transfusion of Magnesium.

Right this MINUTE, he feels okay, but is SUPER UPSET that the local TV Channel Higher Powers BLOCKED the Phillies game last night which turned out to be (his words) "One of the great games in baseball history!!! 19 innings!!! Second baseman turns out to be the winning pitcher!!!"

Frankly, I'm glad his Phillies Irk has gotten his mind off his chemo. He sure isn't thinking about Vinblastine right now! Rather, he wants to VinBLASTine the entire organization called Dish Network right this minute.

Love to all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Me & Cowboy Bill Just Hangin' in There

He's feeling so much better today, it's amazing! Not a bad day at all!

In fact, no such thing as a bad day when you've got your sweetie nearby...

Monday, May 23, 2011


Today's blog will use the above visual aid to illustrate young William's progress through the day.

He started out sicker than a Nigerian village during an Ebola epidemic.

It was BAD. He said he felt like he could actually die if one more thing in his body malfunctioned.

But he took all his meds, and I convinced him to take his pain medicine, which is there to remove the edge when he has days like today. He was resistant, as it has side effects, but after he did, he felt so much better (see graph) that he could actually go to the grocery store with me briefly!

Right now, he's out of bed, sitting on the sofa, looking at his computer! A crash will hit later this evening, but for now, it's been an upwardly mobile day for Chemoboy!

Love to all...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cowboy Billy's No Good Terrible Sick Day


Yes, Cowboy Bill, you can has sick day.

Our Chemoboy is FEELIN' THE PAIN today...He has "the worst metal mouth of all time," said he. He is shaking all over, is so weak he can barely walk across the room, is extremely dizzy, and has a new symptom that we THOUGHT we all figured out on Friday (we all=me, Bill, the nurses at chemo), but we didn't, because it's back. His skin from his chest up, and all over his neck, face, and head turns bright, extreme red and slightly puffy and stays like that for hours and hours, then disappears. You'd think allergy or sunburn, but neither is possible. He looks like when you take a photo of someone hanging upside down by their knees, how their face turns red and puffy.

As symptoms go, it's not THAT scary; it's not like the theme from Jaws or anything (doomdoom....doomdoom....THAT theme), but it IS just weird enough to give us an undertone of slightly spooked.

He plans to not move from his bed all day, and I'm on duty. Right this minute, he's trying to sleep. He had a second night of extreme insomnia due to endless strong acid reflux, so I hope the dogs don't start barking and ruin his nap.

(We're still--all 5 of us--Bill, me and three doggies--living in the basement. Yyyyeah. At least it feels air conditioned down here. And we do have a TV. Last night, the feature film was the classic Oscar-winning Mongolian Death Worm. High quality film. For example, in one gun battle scene, the actors are holding different kinds of guns every time the camera points at them. Hope the continuity department got fired. Anyway, I think right now he feels like one of those Mongolian things has got a hold of him.)

Thanks for love and prayers and wishes for his good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Victory! First week DONE!


It took alllllllll day, and there were glitches, and hours of excess misery, but by the end of the day, although he felt out of breath, shaky, tired, and bombed out by chemicals, still--he was FINISHED and able to GO HOME!

None of his chemicals should really start to do him in until Sunday, unless things have changed due to the cumulative effect of the four prior rounds. But for now, we're okay, and nothing else gets dripped into him until Thursday!


Thank you for your love and prayers and good wishes.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Uh-Oh...Chemo was a LEEDLE bit worse than expected....


Bill got just the SMALL chemo today and...WHAM...he's melting!


He feels absolutely wretched.

It must be the cumulative effect from the previous rounds, because this methotrexate and vinblastine have never made him this sick before.

We were at the clinic for more than 4 hours, and the whole time, he was in a MISTER CRABBY APPLETON mood! (Are you old enough to know who Crabby Appleton was?).

But pore ole cowboy...I juss reckon he can act anyway he wants and we love him JUSS the same.

Tomorrow, though, I might bring a helmet in case he starts swinging things. It's a 7-hour session even if nothing goes wrong, and he isn't gonna be happy...


Will post tomorrow night. THANK YOU FOR CHECKING! Thank you just SO SO SO much.

Tons of love.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cowboy Chemo is a Go...Not Sure If We're Glad or Sad

We just now got the phone call.

Our Cowboy Courageous has to go for two more rounds of the dreaded chemo. Probably starting tomorrow.

As I write this, I'm sitting beside the phone, with the calendar on my lap, and a sharpie ready to write in the Dreaded Dates.

Truly, though, neither Willy nor I is (instead of "is" right there, I wanted to say "are"--but he said something about neither/nor constructions and antecedents so I stopped listening and just switched it to "is") sure whether we're all that sorry he will get the last two rounds.

My logic is this: If two rounds now kill so many cancer bugs that he can avoid a relapse and SIX MORE rounds down the road, let 'er rip.

His thought is: HALP!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Waiting (still) to see if more chemo will happen...

We waited a day or so, then finally called Wake Baptist Hospital and left a message for Diana S., Dr. Torti's assistant, to find out if our Cancer-Free Cowpoke is still supposed to finish his two last rounds of chemo.

Hope not! But I'll post the minute we know.

Not sure what to do with the blog while Bill's in remission. I think I used to post only on Sundays. Maybe I should go back to that? Hmmmmmm. I COULD post every day, but I might lose you as readers, because there would be precious little drama to keep you amused! Pondering.....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


We JUST THIS SECOND got the call!

"No evidence of disease!" That's what she said (Dr. Torti's assistant.)

Sometime tomorrow, we will hear back as to whether Bill has to have any more chemo. His assistant wasn't even sure he would need THAT!

Bill is out of his mind with happiness. I'm still recovering from seeing the words "Wake Forest" on the caller ID. I feel like I just got pulled out of the ocean as a great white shark had its mouth open over my feet. My heart is pounding as I type this.

We are soooooooooooo happy and relieved! Indescribable.

Thank you for your PRAYERS and LOVE and GOOD WISHES! And THANK YOU, DR. TORTI!



Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday 5:07 pm: Guess They're Not Calling Today (WAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!)

Well, we have officially given up hope of Wake Forest calling us today with the MRI results.

Do they REALIZE that people sit and stare at phones ALL DAY LONG when they're waiting for life and death NEWS???????

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday: Post-MRI 2-Hour Car Party Results In Horrific 4-Part Vocal Rendition of "McArthur Park" In Wildly Immature Drennan & Friends Celebration

That about says it.

Who would think that something as morose as a 90-minute MRI checking for metastatic liver cancer, for Pete's sake, could turn into a party lasting into the wee hours, involving a giant Italian dinner, followed by a two-hour road trip full of ear-splitting, howling renditions of a remarkable medley of horrific songs, performed in a variety of completely wrong keys, at unthinkable volumes, while Bill--BILL! MISTER SERENE!--not participating in the actual singing, quietly drove our SUV, containing we four long-time friends, all of us far too old to be acting like 15-year-olds, but doing so, nonetheless, along 421 toward home, as midnight approached?






As well as many portions of many songs from "Mame," a musical in which one of our car partyers will soon be performing at the Little Theater in Ashe county.

Well, we certainly didn't expect our evening to go like THAT, but we haven't had so much fun in a long, long, long, long time.

The MRI did take a shocking 90 minutes, and Bill's back, hands, and feet were speaking French by the time it was over, but by then it was 7, so our friends took us to Carrabba's in Winston for an Italian feast, and then we drove home in FINE spirits, even though it was wayyyyyyyyyyy past our bedtime.

We have no results at all from the test, not even little comments by the MRI conductor, from which to glean tiny inferences.

But we do expect a call on Monday with results, which I will post instantly.

Thank you for caring, and I hope you're enjoying your Mother's Day or Other's Day or whatever you're celebrating. I'm having one of my best Mother's Days ever, which I would never have foreseen, but it's because so many people knew that my children would be completely ignoring me today, due to their amazingly timed fit of pique, so these wonderful not-my-children individuals have sent me love notes, cheery cards, and even FLOWERS!!!!!!!!!!!!! and lots of love and reassurance that I was a great mom, and kids will be kids, and not to blame myself.

So if the MRI shoe falls tomorrow, Billyboy and I can certainly say that we partied right up to the last minute, and if the shoe DOESN'T fall, we'll keep right on partying: This is FUN!

Love to all.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday: MRI Day

Standing ovation for Cowboy William who got all his exams graded and grades entered and has FINISHED the semester that even I doubted he could ever get all the way through.

I hugged him about 25 times yesterday. I was so proud of him, and his faithful commitment to his students and his work.

This afternoon, we drive to Winston Salem for the MRI of his liver, and we hope to hear results on Monday. We're both trying to be pretty calm about it, and telling ourselves that this Mister Galactically Infamous Radiologist wouldn't have said he didn't think they were tumors if he wasn't pretty sure, and that the MRI is just a technicality.

A dear friend of ours (Bill met him on the first day of 8th grade) is driving with us, and we might all end up in an Italian restaurant after the MRI. Which will REALLY be spectacular for us since, having lived in the basement with one small microwave for almost two months now, we haven't been able to cook any italian food, because no way to make pasta.

As has become the pattern for us, we do still have a boatload of troubles (but who doesn't?), and a brand new scare--a hydrogen bomb of potential disaster--hit yesterday, via a letter in the mail, but I'll spare you the details. Gotta love the surprise ramifications of co-signing for kids. This one, which we now think won't materialize, would have made the whole $8,000 forced Nashville van payoff look like a walk in the park.

Also, if you're not eating, I'll note that, yes, I realized I was spelling abscess wrong when referring to our dog's continuing condition--it is a-b-s-c-e-s-s, not abcess, although the emphasis on "cess" and its echoes of "cesspools" kind of created a nice representation of the ambience we've been living through this last few weeks.

Bill and I have, via our hard-earned wisdom, come to realize that the saying, "This too shall pass," ends before it should. The correct saying, we now believe, is, "This too shall pass, but you better believe there's something ELSE coming behind it."

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there. Since neither of my children are speaking to us since Dec. 28th, 2010--except on the subject of the massive amounts of borrowed money that they regret to inform us they simply can't repay at this time--we'll have to do something special with, I guess, the puppies tomorrow.

But this too shall pass......oh, wait.....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bill Didn't Like Yesterday's Photo

It's Thursday afternoon, and Bill is madly grading final exams, but he thinks he will be finished on time.

I must say, things have not been library-like for him today.

One of the dogs came down with the Mother of All Abcesses which we were told by the vet to "let drain freely"--as in: no bandages--and how about I do NOT describe to you what that particular reality entails.

Allllllllll over the basement in which we are still encapsulated.

But let's just say this abcess situation is making me hope the Mayans were right about the end of the world, but that the date they MEANT was May 5, 2011.

Also, Bill was less than pleased with the photo I used yesterday to represent us hiking, even though I made clear it wasn't really us. He would prefer a photo that made him look a bit better than that. So here is today's improved representational photo of what Bill looked like hiking yesterday:

And now, for your total amusement, something which has nothing to do with cancer, MRIs, livers, dog abcesses, or any other things that decent people wouldn't be writing about on a public blog. I present a short clip which is, probably, the funniest thing I have ever seen on youtube. It is called "Two Dogs Dining" and it took me a while to even figure out how they filmed this: CLICK HERE TO SEE FUNNY VIDEO.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Between Now and the Saturday MRI

Beginning at 6 pm this evening, Bill will have 40 long essay exams to grade, and must have them graded, and all the semester grades calculated AND entered into the ASU computer by noon on Friday.

It makes me tired just to think about it!

Fortunately, he is still feeling better, at least a little bit. He still has trouble with nausea and what he calls "metal mouth"--but his color is much better, and yesterday he even walked a mile (a mile!) downhill, slowly, through shady woods, on a trail near the Cone Estate Lake. With me and two of our pups (the Boston Terrier and the miniature black poodle BabyJack).

This is the actual trail we were on, but it's not really us. We probably looked sorta like this, though, with poor ole Bill bringin' up the rear, and at least one naughty dog pulling on its leash, breaking all of Cesar Milan's foundational rules. Maybe I should have attached that dog to Bill and it could've helped his speed a little.

Love to all. More soon! B&B

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MRI Scheduled This Week

The phone just rang, and it was for the scheduling of the MRI.

The scheduler said to me, "I had a lot of trouble getting this appointment for you, because Dr. Torti's assistant said it HAD to take place within one week."

(Well. You can imagine where my pessimistic mind went with THAT. A WEEK? What's the RUSH? Why a WEEK? Rushing is what you do when you think something bad is growing! Meanwhile, here's Bill, Mister Relaxo: "I'm just glad it comes after final exams." Are you getting a clear picture of how opposites attract?)

So the appointment is at the bizarre hour of 5 pm on Saturday, May 7th, in Winston Salem.

I suppose we'll get the results on Monday the 9th by phone.

Otherwise, all joking aside about pessimism and optimism, Bill and I decided that LOGICALLY it would be better to celebrate until we have reason NOT to.

I suppose you could say Bill was able to REASON with me, or at least he has tried.


Unfortunately for everyone, on the subject of REASON, I share the sentiments of the butler Betteredge in Wilkie Collins' Moonstone: "I am (thank God) constitutionally superior to reason. Profit, good friends, I beseech you, by my example. It will save you from many troubles of the vexing sort. Cultivate a superiority to reason, and see how you pare the claws of all the sensible people when they try to scratch you for your own good!"*

*Due to my never-ending supply of angst, I am worried that you will read that quote as if it is meant to be taken seriously. No. Rather, it is the author making FUN of the irrational nature of the butler--and me making fun of myself. It is irrationality of which I am accusing myself by using that quote.

Love to all, and happy dancing while the sun shines!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prince William (the real one) and Napoleon Dynamite

This entry is completely random. To find the latest (great!) news about Bill, go to the right-hand column of this page and click on the entry called something like Monday: A Miracle--something like that.

Meanwhile, try TELLING me Prince William could have landed Kate Middleton iF William wasn't a prince, after you see THIS COMPARISON of Prince William and Napoleon Dynamite:

Monday: Is It A Miracle?

We just got the phone call from Dr. Torti's assistant.

Her words exactly: "The radiologist is NOT AT ALL CONVINCED that this is tumor showing up on the CT scan. It could very well be simply post-operative changes in the liver. But to be certain, they would like Bill to get an MRI here at our institution and compare that. So someone will call you with a date for the MRI, and we'll go from there." That was it.

So now, Bill and I are standing here going, "WHAT?!?!?!?"

Bill said, "It couldn't be much better news than THAT!"

I said, "I'm scared to get my hopes up!"

So there you have it. You optimists will think this is great; you pessimists will be wringing your hands and simultaneously jumping for joy.

If I die of a heart attack in the next few weeks from all this drama, somebody make sure my cowboy gets to his 'pointments on time, 'kay?

Monday Morning: So Far, So Good!

Bill seems to be feeling a little better every day, the farther he gets from his last dose of chemo.

This week, we are kind of staring at the phone, waiting for Wake Forest to call with their radiologist's opinions as to what those things are on Bill's liver.

The second we hear, I will put up an entry here. If I don't write anything, it means nothing has happened. Even if something unrelated happened, I would post it instantly, so don't worry your purty lil head if there's no post. ;)

Bill and I are playing a game right now of guessing what Wake will say: For once, we AGREE in our prognostications.

We both think they're going to say that one more test is needed to be sure either way--to be sure whether it IS or ISN'T cancer. And that the test will be at WF Baptist Hospital (they're changing their name to Baptist Hospital, so I shouldn't keep calling them Wake Forest.)

Anyway, that's our guess.

Bill remains always the cheerful optimist. I wrestle with pessimism pretty much any time I'm awake.

And I KNOW what many of you are thinking: Worry interferes with the grace of God. So of course I worry about that, too. (haha) And I hope that when God does the math, Bill's attitude cancels mine out.