Thursday, June 30, 2011

He Failed The Blood Test & Hadda Get A Drip...

Poor ole Cowboy Willy. He thought he was just dropping by the chemo clinic for a quick check of his blood, and then home again in half an hour.


His magnesium had crashed and burned--even though he had a GIANT drip just a week ago. He was all out of it again, and had to be admitted, put in a bed, and given a half day drip of magnesium and whatever they squirt in there with it. No chemo though.

He got the somewhat disheartening news that it will be six to twelve months before he feels right again, can taste food properly, isn't nauseated, can catch his breath, and so on. Yikes! He was hoping to be in a golf tournament in early August...I guess he'll be lucky if he feels good enough to ride along in the cart!

The better news is that Boone Oncology is going to give him continued monitoring. We were afraid they'd cut him loose, and we'd have to drive two hours every time something came up (to Wake Forest, where his MAIN Oncologist is). But no. He will get checkups every couple of weeks or as needed to monitor his blood and health, for, it sounded like, the rest of this year.

He will still, though, have his scans at Wake. Those are the scary things, as they can flip our world in one hour. The next one, as I've said, is something like late July, but we don't have a date yet. Could be August.

I'll continue to post on Sundays while the drama factor is low. If I forget, don't worry about him as your first response: it's probably just that I...well...FORGOT! haha

Thank you for loving him through this last long haul, which actually started in October 2010 when they found the liver tumors. We are just now at the end of the chemo which THAT event started.

Gratefulness and love to each and every one of you who has taken the time to read this, and to care. To quote good ol' Dickens: God bless us, every one!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Ooops. I forgot to post on Sunday!

I remembered, at about 11:15 pm, on Sunday night, that I hadn't posted on Sunday like I said I would.

That's why I am practicing remembering. Which is different from remembering. It's called "forgetting with an excuse." HA!

Bill is having a severe nausea day today, but not a pain day.

This post is written in GREEN in honor of Bill's trying-not-to-toss-his-cookies. (Ooops! I'm testing the Google Chrome browser today, and it is DISOBEYING my command to make these letters green. Dear Google Chrome Browser Inventors: Score 1 for Firefox, GoogleChrome: ZERO!)

Dr. appointments coming up: Thursday June 30, we see the Boone Oncologist and Billybob gets blood work. We'll see if he needs platelets or anything else at that time. So, hmmmm, I guess I will post on Thursday afternoon and report on that doctor visit.

Also, on that day, I'm imagining we'll get our marching orders for what to do next: the summer scan, and whatever else they do to check his progress. I'll announce that, too.

Meanwhile, happy summer day to everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

All Better!

As of this morning, Friday morning, Bill feels fine! All his pain is gone, and he has no symptoms at all. Truly amazing! No idea what that was all about.

Next time he goes to the Bronco Onco is Thursday of this coming week. I'll try to remember to post just a little something two days from now, on Sunday, so I can get into the habit of Sunday posting while he's in remission--as long as back pain dramas don't kick up and make me post more often!

Love to you all, and thank you for your emergency prayers and concern!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hmmm. What is THIS all about?

Our battleship boy suddenly came down with EXTREEEEEME bone pain last night (Wednesday night). It wasn't related to his shot of last week, the oncology place said, but he thinks it WAS related to a shot he got last week.

They said no way.

He said, "Way."

There you go.

He could hardly sleep even with pain meds. By this morning, he was literally YELLING in pain! We got to the clinic for his magnesium drip, and the oncologist w-a-s-n't t-h-e-r-e, so his bone pain has not been addressed.

So we don't know yet what the bone pain is all about. It's his pelvis, lower back mostly, and his chest bones.

So they took his blood at the clinic, and it's all goofed up.

His magnesium was the lowest ever, and he had to get a double drip! I asked if his blood problems could have caused the bone pain, and they said absolutely no way.

Cowboy Bill: "Way."

His blood was messed up in the following areas, which I have yet to google and am clueless regarding these terms: Red cells: too low. Hemoglobin: too low. Something called HCT: too low. HGB: too low. MCV: too high (WAY too high); MCH: too high. MCHC: too high. Platelets: too low.

And none of that means squat to me, until I google those letters.

Anyway, he is surviving by pain pills, which he also ran out of today, but a different doctor (thankfully!) signed an RX so he could have pain meds.


We're going to just ride the trail tonight and see what the bones do. If it gets crazy, I'm taking him to a doctor, whether he whines or not.

If it goes away, I stand corrected and so do all the chemo center employees--maybe the shot had a delayed effect from last week.


But I will post tomorrow, so you can know whatever we know, in case you're following this new little drama.

Love to all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maybe a Magnesium Drip on Thursday?

We have TWO more trips scheduled to the Chemo Palace, but not for chemo (thankfully!).

Trip one is tomorrow (Thursday, June 23), during which he gets his blood tested and will probably receive a magnesium drip (which only makes him feel better, so no worries there).

Trip two is set for one week later (the following Thursday, June 30) wherein he gets his last meeting with the Madame Boone Oncologist, and finds out if he needs anything else before we are cut loose from Boone and the world of chemo, until the next scan at Wake, later this summer.

I think what I did last time we were on cruise control, during a remission, was to post each Sunday, so folks could check in if they wanted to, for a reliably regular update. I guess I'll do that again, after we're unleashed into the joys of remission.

Thank you for helping to bring this gift of remission into being! It definitely beats the odds, and wasn't "supposed to happen" according to medical prognostics and such.

We are SOOOOOOOO grateful, and we believe that prayer and love and the goodness and inexplicable mercies of God are to credit.

We are thankful also to the mothers and fathers who raised up their children to be intelligent, disciplined, educated and responsible enough to become doctors and scientists and researchers, such that those brilliant minds chose to use their gifts for the good of mankind by developing treatments, machines, and drugs to help fight human suffering.

And we are thankful, also, for Medicare, without which we would have been very financially banged up by this illness.

We find much to think about here and have learned many unexpected lessons, ourselves...

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Bill and I would just like to wish a HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all of you out there who are biological fathers, step-fathers, spiritual fathers, uncles, grandpas, brothers, or who care for other people, animals, or even cute little plants in a fatherly way. Fathering is a big word, and there are lots of ways to be one.


Thursday, June 16, 2011



HALLELUJAH MY SWEET LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It's a Maybe-Chemo day...

It's Thursday, and a big one for us!

If he passes his blood test, today will be the LAST CHEMO in his 6 cycles--a truly amazing achievement. Two different oncologists have told us that "almost no one" can make it through all 6 cycles!

Yesterday, Bill's general practice doctor told him that he'd never even known of a person to go through so much chemo and not lose weight, and Bill didn't lose any.

Neither did I. Can I please blame chemo for that? I have a few to get rid of these days...

The doctor also had difficulty believing that Bill made it through teaching the whole spring semester with THAT kind of chemo.

Say what we will about our cowboy, he has the constitution of a battleship!

So I will write again tonight and let you know if he gets the chemo or gets sent home to build up strength till next week.

Tons of love from Beth and Battleship Billy

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

He's Better!

I didn't want to bum everyone out for the last two days with more of "He's horrible," and "He's awful," and "Nothing is helping."

At one point, I wanted to park my chair outside his door, as he needed help so often, and he was trying to stumble around on his own being a hero. But then he fell asleep for most of the day, so I didn't have to set up shop in the hall. He has bells he can ring if he can't call for me, and he can call the house phone on the cell phone. But you know him: he likes to do it all on his own.


He looks better, was smiling, had better color, and is walking around s-l-o-w-l-y.

Thank you for anything and everything you did to be part of that. We are SO GRATEFUL!

He is supposed to have his last drip on Thursday, but we'll have to see if his blood work comes back showing that he should have more. Maybe he'll get another week to recover.

We love you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How Can Sumthin HURT So Much If It's HELPIN?


POOR Cowboy Bill is in the WCE today! (WCE=Worst Condition Ever)

He says he is having the worst reaction he has EVER had to the chemo, and is so sick he can't even LOOK at the television screen.

He's taken every possible medicine, done every possible thing to feel better, and just BAM! Lying under the covers and can't move.

I'll post again as SOON as he starts to improve.

We knew today would be bad, as each chemo round is cumulative in its side effects. So today he has six rounds of chemo working together to knock the living starch out of him.

I have bells by his bed so he can call me, and I'm sitting nearby listening for them to ring, in case he needs something.

Thank you for your prayers and cares and invisible hugs.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

All is Well! Sorry for the Late Post...

All is well, all went normally. Bill feels fine, and won't feel the miseries till sometime this afternoon or Sunday. In fact, he's still asleep right now, and it's after 9 am as I type this!

His next chemo is Thursday, the 16th, and that should be his very last dose of chemicals, tho he'll need some other kinds of stuff around that time.

Hooray for how close he is to the finish line! Thank you for being a great cloud of witnesses!

Again, apologies for the late post. Many reasons! None of them bad.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Chemo: Nothing Weird Happened!

Nothing weird happened! Can you believe it?

Bill got his methotrexate and vinblastine and left, and except for the air conditioning then completely breaking in the car, and then a certain personal "appliance" Bill wears virtually exploding while he was standing with the air conditioning repair man, at the car repair place while I walked home in my cowboy boots, and then during dinner, while we watched TV, the remote control for the TV going psycho and rewinding an entire episode of Monk without our doing it, WHILE we watched the whole show backwards helplessly, it was a perfectly normal, uneventful day!

Tomorrow is an all-day affair, so we will barely be home in time for supper. That's IF they have the drug Cisplatin available. Since Cisplatin is made with real gold (hence the name sounding like platinum), it has become so expensive that insurance companies are going mad, and the drug has become nearly unavailable in some parts of the country, and there is no substitute.

So I SHOULD say that tomorrow will PERHAPS be an all-day affair--if the drug is there.

You know I'll write when we get home!

Thanks for thinking of us! Tons of love!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Apricot Nectar, Anyone?

If you were to compare this apricot nectar:

to this picture of the platelets that Cowboy Billy received today through a tube and needle:

...would you EVER EVER EVER want to drink apricot nectar again?

Bill doesn't.

And it WAS one of his favorite juices...until today.

And when they first put up the bag, it was SO HUGE that I asked the nurse if the donor was Kirstie Alley.

Well, anyway, it wasn't Kirstie, but God bless you, anonymous donor! Bill made it through, and no side effects, and he feels just fine.

"Would you say you feel just fine?" I just asked him.

"Yeah. I feel okay," he said, in his typical chatterbox fashion.

Leaving ME to figure out how to amuse you on the topic of PLATELET TRANSFUSIONS.

OH, WAIT! One of the funniest emails we ever got came in this morning from Anna B, another mountaineer and dear friend of ours. When you live on the mountain, you just feel...well...SUPERIOR TO EVERYONE IN THE FLATLANDS! That's just the way it IS. The flatlands people come to US for their vacations. We do NOT go to them.

So with that in mind, listen to what Anna sent us this morning by email, when she read that he had to have his platelets driven up the mountain from the flatlands. We about died laughing when we read this:


No way to top that for an ending.

Happy apricot nectar weekend!

Wishing you kisses and hugs and "the light of God" ("light of God" is from one of our favorite Swahili hymns, Sisi ni kutembea katika mwanga wa Mungu, which is Swahili for: We are marching in the Light of God.

Our family used to sing the Zulu version, called Siya Hamba, in 4-part harmony, a capella...back when the children were speaking to us. Maybe they'll come back some day, and we can put up a Youtube of our family version.

Till then, here's a link to a Youtube of a Malaysian choir singing the exact version our family sang: CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE SONG IN ZULU AND ENGLISH

Love to all!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cowboy Billy Went On A Trick-Nic


Poor Cowboy Bill thought he was going to the Oncologist for a quick checkup. Instead, he ended up in a hospital bed, not getting home until five hours later.

He was purty mad about it.

In short, you could say he failed his blood test.

His magnesium was at Ethiopian drought level. So he got a whoppin' bag of that.

And his platelet count was...well, let's say it didn't take the lab worker too long to count the straggling few platelets he had left, so he has to go back for MORE infusion tomorrow, once they ship platelets up the mountain from the flatlands.

The Oncologist said that these things were causing some of his symptoms--irregular heartbeat, exhaustion, breathlessness, super pale face, and other stuff.

So we postponed our errands for yet another day, and made the best of it. At least it was air-conditioned in there. And the cafeteria is staffed by real southern cooks. So the food at this hospital is unbelievably good. Well, if you like southern cooking, which we both do. Today's dessert was home-made banana pudding, complete with vanilla wafers and meringue.

Gotta try to cheer the boy up SOMEhow!

I'll write again tomorrow afternoon, when we get home from the platelet transfusion.

Love to all, and thanks for checking on him!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Doctor Tomorrow for Mister Bill

Early for us--a 9:15 a.m. appointment with the local (Boone) oncologist--tomorrow (Thursday). She will see how his blood looks and just check him over to okay him for the following Thursday's beginning of his very last round of chemo (that last round will begin a week from tomorrow).

I'll write once we're back home tomorrow, but it's expected to be just a routine checkup.

Bill has continuous nausea problems, and feels faint, is quite pale, and breathless and very fatigued, but he sometimes has a good appetite and feels halfway decent. At least we feel good knowing that these symptoms are from the chemo, and not from something crazy in his liver!

Thank you all for your love and your care and your notes and your everything!

More tomorrow.

Tons of love,