Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I verified with Bill the content of the conversation he had with Wake Forest, in case he had forgotten something, like "There is no need to wait by the phone." haha. He said he is sure he is recalling it accurately: They were disappointed to discover that they could not do the procedure they first thought they could, and now need to have several consultations to figure out what to do, and that they had not forgotten us (as they were supposed to call with procedure appointments on Friday, so when they called on Friday, it was to say that the whole procedure idea is scrapped).
So ve vait. (That's my German accent).
PS If you wrote or emailed or called or whatever, and I haven't replied, please know it isn't because we didn't both LOVE your encouragements and thoughtfulness. I drag my heels on some things, when they're hard to think about, and I only have little windows of time in a day in which I can get it together to reply. So worry not! We love and appreciate your love beyond your wildest imagination.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
UPDATEWe have heard nothing at all from Wake Forest. (I could insert here the photo of Janet Leigh shower-screaming in the movie Psycho if only that photo also showed a phone beside her that was not ringing)(just kidding. it's not THAT bad.)
But I've decided to post every day for while, even if it's just to say nothing has happened. This way, you will know that nothing happened that is SO HORRIBLE that I can't even post it on the blog! (We've never gotten to that point, and with my garrulousness, you know we never will.)
Interruption for true story.
I just now said to Bill, who is in the other room: "Bill?"
Me: "I'm making sure of the definition of 'garrulous.' Is a garrulous woman a woman who never shuts up talking?"
I could hear Bill put his newspaper down. "Yep." Pause. "Sure is." Pause "Yep, that sure is the definition of 'garrulous woman' is a woman who won't stop talking and asking people around her questions, and definitions of words, and then talking some more about the words; that would be your basic garrulous woman."
Well! My GOODNESS! Yes, I got the message. But for Pete's sake! Can a person not ask a definition around here and make a few followup comments without being called garrulous?
True story continues. Just THIS VERY SECOND, Bill said from the other room, "I took my pills, just so you know."
Me: "STOP BEING GARRULOUS!"
Bill: "I'm being loquacious."
Me: "And what is the difference between loquacious and garrulous?"
Bill: (Total silence)
Me: "AH-HA! BUSTED! There *IS* no difference between the two words, and you don't want to admit it!"
Bill (very softly): "No. Rather, I am, by my silence, demonstrating the meaning of being QUIET so that other people can read their newspapers. I was MODELING 'quiet' to give you an idea of what it is."
I said, "Well, that's real nice, while I'm sitting here writing your blog. Know what? I'm telling! I'm telling your blog readers that you are being mean to me while I'm blogging about you!"
And in the silence that is presently filling to capacity the room he's in, I can hear him happily turning his newspaper pages and mumbling complaints to himself about March Madness and the Republican party. Mumbling under his loquaciously garrulous breath.
Friday, March 23, 2012
I walked in the house today from seeing my analyst (Me? Needs an analyst? As naturally sane as I am? Yes, I know it must be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to believe!) hahahah.
Whoops. The blog is about the cowboy, not Beth's psychoanalysis (emphasis on psycho.)
So Bill scares the LIVING KUMQUATS right OUT OF ME by saying, as I walk in the door, "Beth. Come in here. Hold my hand. Sit down. Something has happened. Wake Forest called."
(Beth side note: And who do I call to get back the ten years he took off my life by saying THAT?)
So I sit down beside him. I go, "I really have to SIT DOWN for this?"
He goes, "Yes, you do."
Oh, Jesus, Mary and Oprah Gail Winfrey, World's First Black Billionaire!!!!
He scared me to DEATH!
And lucky for you, I won't repeat the same technique on YOU, because I'm gonna tell you UP FRONT that it wasn't THAT BAD, what he had to tell me.
Okay. So Wake Forest called, from Dr. Torti's office. Torti's assistant Dr. Stint called. She said that today, they took his radiology pictures over to the people who were supposed to do the radiofrequency tumor ablation (blow the crap out of his tumor by radio waves), and those people said, basically, "Not on a thirty-day drunk would we even try that."
Well, probably not those exact words.
They said something like (per Bill), "We are not even going to consider attempting ablating a tumor that close to his heart."
So, Dr. Stint is going to call back tomorrow and tell us more, but for now, they are saying that, unfortunately, Bill has to have a weird procedure in which they install a big THING FROM THE BLACK LAGOON down his throat, and go through that, down his esophagus to enter sideways into the tumor and try to remove it without damaging his heart.
REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL COMFORTING CONCEPT, GUYS AT WAKE FOREST!
Anyway, Bill is now rather upset, understandably. He was distressed that I wasn't here when the call came, because he likes me to handle those calls. It's kinda my forte, medical things, and medical things upset him, whereas I can remain calm in the face of medical drama.
But when the call came in, I was sitting in my analyst's Jungianly-upholstered patient chair, waiting for her to be 20 minutes late for our appointment.
So, I will post again tomorrow I guess, when Dr. Stint calls back with details. This procedure MAY involve an overnight at the hospital now.
But to me, there's a silver lining.
Bill's case is now handed over to a Wake Forest Gastroenterologist Oncologist, so now we can get all our Gastroenterology tests done at Wake, instead of in Boone ( Wake is my preference, not Bill's, because when they do things in Boone, on machines built in the 1920s, the resulting images tend not to show up on the 21st century machines at Wake Forest Cancer Center.)
So that's today's curve ball. Thank you for caring enough to read all this. We love you. Cowboy Billy and Diamond Lily
You can take the hat off the cowboy, but you can't take a cowboy outta his hat. Them ole docs might take something outta our boy, but they ain't takin his hat! Isn't this the cutest picture of our cowboy you ever saw? Nothin but love right there. Nothin but love.
PS Thank you with all my heart to the wishes-to-be-anonymous angel who took their time, which they have little enough of, to make this image for us, as a gift. Love is always beautiful. Thank you for yours.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
This will be blessedly short, compared to many of my entries (as you know).
The reason for its shortness is that I cannot seem to find anything online that explains what I want to know: what/where is the aortocaval system, and what happens when a tumor grows there, and how dangerous it it?
So looks like I'll be a day at least researching this until I get my answers.
But, wow, to go back to the beginning, Bill's radiology report contains two (in their opinion) significant changes:
1. A new tumor has appeared in the aortocaval area and appears to be metastatic cancer in nature. Don't know if it's bladder cancer or prostate or liver or something new. They will biopsy it before they take it out.
2. Low attenuation in the liver has decreased in size. (I think this is a good thing, but on the radiation report, it is listed with the bad things.)
2a. He still has a weird thing on his kidney but it isn't growing.
3. The Oncologist was very concerned about Bill's increasing nausea and extreme bowel problems, and now Bill has to see a Gastroenterologist for tests of his stomach, esophagus, pancreas, all those little lego parts, and get a colonoscopy to see if he has cancer in those areas. The CT scan wouldn't show it, and the Oncologist said there is no way something isn't wrong, with all the nausea and symptoms Bill is having, a whole year after chemo ended. He said it is definitely not from the chemo but from something new.
5. You should have seen me scribbling down his words and sweating at the same time. I was a nervous wreck when we finished getting all that info.
The GOOD NEWS is that some of the places it could have metastasized didn't show anything on the CT, but could show up with the Gastroenterology testing.
No rest for the weary.
We're in good spirits, though. We decided to focus on (by having me read out loud from the report, while we were driving home) ALL of the organs that did NOT have tumors on them. And there were a LOT. Then we ate at Applebee's in Wilkesboro, and actually had fun! No, we didn't order LIVER.
So when I find out what this aortocaval tumor is, I will let you know. The worst case scenario is that it is a reaction to a new cancer appearance somewhere in his esophagus or colon, or stomach area, that the CT wouldn't have shown.
We already know he has stage 4 cancer, and there is no stage 5, so it's kind of hard to scare us much. And if we keep knocking each little new thing back, it could really add on a lot of time for him.
Till next time, though, we are relieved that the report wasn't worse.
Will we be relieved after they biopsy it, take it out, and decide what else he needs? That I do NOT know.
But we're ready to fight! Bring it on!
Stagecoaches full of love to each one of you for reading this!
Cowboy Billy and Diamond Lil
We are up (early for us), and I just wanted to say that I'll post the news tonight. Unless I can figure out a way to call my brother and get him to post it on my page, so you'll know right when we do.
Hmmm. Seeing images of how non-tech-savvy I am. Ha.
But more than that, we both thank you with everything we are, for your love and prayers and care and compassion.
Bill isn't too nervous.
I'm the nervous one.
But I tell myself, "Hey, it's ONLY a test. It's not surgery!" and, "If he didn't have cancer 6 months ago because the chemo killed it all, from where could it come back?"
Then, overall, I try mostly to NOT think very hard about any of it. Like the split infinitives that may or may not have been in that sentence. :)
Mostly, may your love thoughts and your prayers multiply and come back to you with families of 20, so you overflow with what you've given to us.
We love you. Bye till then.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Hello, friends and devoted companions who have used your valuable spare time to come here and love us and check on our cowboy.
I am hoping that after March 22, when Bill has his body scan, I will have only one post to put up. It will say that Bill is all clear and still miraculously (really miraculously) cancer free, and I will be saying that I won't post again for 6 months. For this I pray.
There will be two points made in this post: (a) symptoms; and (b) Dr. Torti's letter.
Unfortunately, we do have a lot of "symptoms." Bill has struggled 7 days a week with debilitatingly intense nausea. Using every medication and a lot of things like Pepto, and such, he has managed to not miss one class all semester. My cowboy, my hero. But he has been so miserable. Abdominal pain, fevers, headaches, knee pain, hip pain, all-over body pain, and VERY EXTREME "digestive system" problems I can't really mention on the blog: We just rotate between these sufferings ever since that last bout of MEGA chemo. They told us this would go on for a full year. In June, it will be a year, and he has paid a mighty price for the chemo.
But for all that, thank God, he has lived FAR past his "expiration date." It is scientifically in the miraculous zone. No, I mean it. Empirically, even the Supreme Genius Dr. Torti told us he had only "months" left, in fall of 2010.
And look at us now! Beatin' the odds! Dr. Torti and God: the source of all this time we never thought we'd have.
LOSING DR. TORTI
Oh, sadness. If you're a follower, you know we've always said that this is the doctor of doctors--in one's life, one may never encounter such a soul as Dr. Torti--if Einstein and Ghandi had a love child, it would be Frank Torti.
He wrote a personal, hand-signed, individualized letter to each patient, saying goodbye. Check out his creds if you don't think we were lucky to have this guy: He was one-time head of the entire FDA, and now he has taken the position of Exec. Vice President of Health Affairs at University of Connecticut and DEAN OF THE UNIV OF CONN. SCHOOL OF MEDICINE!
omg! He begins there May 1.
Our new doc's last name is Thomas. I have thousands of relatives in Winston Salem on the "Thomas" side of my family, so I hope he's a distant cousin. :)
Here was Saint Torti's closing line to Bill: "...Know that I am thinking of you. I will miss you."
So between now and the 22nd, I may post, but not sure I'll have much to say.
But on the evening of March 22, please check here for detailed results of the scan. Pray for a full-lifespan miracle.
We love you all so profoundly. Beffie (and her cowboy)