Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Finding Chemo"

Just when you thought the Ashton Family couldn’t possibly have more fun, we were able to spend Friday afternoon once more at the Huntsman Cancer Center and Spa.

As you know, we are preparing to begin radiation and chemo next week, so it was necessary to meet with Dr. Chen and Dr. Kim Jones. They are such qualified women, and gave us a whole lot of information (most of which went right over my head.) They discussed multiple drug names whose root words must surely originate in some sort of Latin expletive. The ultimate cocktail deemed most effective under the circumstances will consist of radiation with two different kinds of chemo. This is designed to shrink the tumor and achieve negative margins.

What a learning process this is for us. However, we have had moments of levity. While we were waiting for Dr. Chen, Erin began regaling us with her most recent culinary cravings. Apparently she got up early Friday morning with a strong desire for anything sweet. After rummaging through the cupboard, she settled on a blueberry muffin mix. With unbridled passion, she began spooning the mix directly into her mouth with mounting speed. When I asked if she took a moment to add water and an egg, she said no, because she didn’t want to add any unnecessary calories. Of course, her dilemma is that she now has half a box of mix, and she is not quite sure just how to measure out half an egg to make batter.

By this point, Dennis was laughing so hard he nearly popped his “tender timer,” as were we all. And as luck would have it, this was exactly the moment Dr. Chen walked in the door. We tried to compose ourselves and resume some semblance of dignity. We failed miserably. I’m sure we have firmly established ourselves as “those unclear on the concept.” Hey, nothing wrong with a little tumor humor.

Dennis will have his tender-timer removed on Monday, and we are all going to miss his slosh bag. Tuesday will be a day of respite. Wednesday there will be a dress rehearsal to make certain all the tattoos are in alignment. And if all goes well, let the show begin. We can’t wait.

This has indeed been a learning process. If you overhear us discussing the mass, and the words resemble harsh language, please know that we are just using newly-acquired knowledge of ancient pharmaceutical terms.

Here are the new vocab words for Friday, Nov. 9. 2007:

1. Chemo: powerful drugs administered to sensitize the mass cells and make them more receptive to radiation.
2. Chemo-Sabi: Native American expression or “Tonto-ism” meaning faithful companion who is always equipped with extra barf bags in case anyone is inclined to toss cookies. (Probably best appreciated by those who grew up watching “The Lone Ranger!”)
3. Necrosis: The process by which one gets a stranglehold on the mass and chokes it to death.
It is true that the human voice and human touch have healing properties not wholly understood. Our Family can attest to that truth. Thank you with all our hearts.


Jen & Justin said...

This is Jen (Cowley) Chapman. Just wanted to let you know that many thoughts and prayers are coming from our home to yours.
Lots of love!!!
The Chapman Family

New York Sims said...

You cute people,

I am so pleased to know that I can finally claim to be like one of you in some way. I have, I am [now] proud to admit, eaten 3/4 of a box of cake mix in no more than one sitting. It's true, it's true. (And it had nothing to do with saving calories, I just wanted it.)

Now that you and the rest of the internet community know, I feel strangely liberated. Erin, call me sometime and we'll split a box of uncooked Stove Top. =]

I love reading your blog! You guys are amazing writers and even better people.

All our love,
Mel, Pete, Kensie & Eric

Amy Weech said...

Uncle Denny, Aunt Joanie, Erin, Brodi, and family--
YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING! Every one of your blog posts expresses gratitude to all the friends and family who are praying for you and cheering you on. But do you have any idea how grateful we all are to you for what you've given to US during the last 2 weeks? We've barely had a chance to absorb the inspirational testimonies of faith and humility and patience and love and courage that you've blessed us all with, and now you've gotten into the business of making us all laugh every day! I'm serious here, I know you initially set up this blog so that we could stay updated on Uncle Denny and your family, but your little experiment has turned into my daily fix of humor. Even as I read about the serious things that you guys are handling so bravely, your happy spirits and fun-loving hearts shine through in every word and I find myself smiling by the end. It's like magic! Don't even get me started on how impressed I am that you've actually blogged every day this week in the midst of all that's happening--I pat myself on the back if I remember to check my physical mailbox every day, let alone my email inbox or my blog. Anyway, I'm getting to my point here, which is: thank you. Thank you for letting all of us who love your family so dang much be a part of this experience--it is our honor and you are all my heroes.


p.s.--I think you might need to modify the Clot's mantra. "Fighting cancer with spiritual brass knuckles" sounds too mean and tough for you guys. How about "Fighting cancer with spiritual brass knuckles, super-huge Smiles, and classic puns that even Grandpa Ashton would be proud of." I'm sure he and Grandma are in the clot too!

Paul said...


In every way, every day, you are in our our bloggiest thoughts and prayers.

Paul, Danelle and Family

Anonymous said...

Hi Dennis and Joan and fam....

I have to say I was cracking up when I read this latest entry. "Finding Chemo"? That's hilarious! This blog is so cool I want you to know that you little professional writers and comedians had me busting up in the middle of the computer lab in the Union on campus with everything. Thank you so much, because that's not embarrassing. (Note the sarcasm) Now I'm "that girl" that everyone thinks is annoying for being loud in a "designated quiet area". But seriously the top 7 list and the tumor humor was great. I wish you the best Dennis and will be reading more later for updates. Love you guys....


Traci said...

Dear The Clot Family,
WOW!!!! You guys are amazing.
It is so nice to see so much positive. I look at your blog and think "I wish we were as clever and witty as you when we were going thru our simular situation."
If anyone can do it you surely can!!!
REMEMBER.....You all are in our thoughts and prayers!!(i have lit a candle and said aprayer for you. this is my religions equivalant to adding you to the list at the temple.) Keep up the positive attitudes and the good humor!!
Love always,
Irwin and Traci Green