Thursday, February 28, 2008


Hello, Clotters,

My, how time flies when you’re having fun. It is hard to imagine, but today is our four-week anniversary since the Whipple. I wonder if we will measure the passage of time from that event…like BCW (before classic Whipple) and ACW (after classic Whipple). Instead of observing the occasion with a moment of silence, the Clot is going to celebrate with a day of vociferous, raucous cheering. (Dennis will just smile under his beard, which is as raucous as he gets.)

I thought I would give an up-date on our latest doctors’ appointments, because, as you know, the terrain changes quickly, and it is best to blog before another “Ralph” enters the race. (see previous blog for clarification)

On Wednesday, Dennis and I met with Dr. Kim Jones and Dr. Chen. His vital signs were dang good, and for once his weight was greater than his blood pressure! In fact, he weighed in at a whopping 118 pounds. (We prefer to register his body mass in pounds instead of kilometers…because his velocity has decreased of late.) Anyway, Dennis was saying that 118 lbs. was probably not accurate because a lot of that was fluid retention in the tissues. I asked Dr. Jones if that mattered. She said no. Personally, I don’t care if it’s turkey poop and rainwater, 118 is 118. RACK IT! Now in the interest of accuracy, the man is not exactly abdominally endowed. But if it becomes necessary, we can always have ab implants to mitigate the “gaunt” factor. But that is an issue for another blog.

Dr. Jones and Dr. Chen decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest (mostly Dennis’) if we wait to begin chemo until March 14th. Even at 118, Dennis is still a little diminished (which is the diplomatic way of saying he is way skinny) But we are cool with that because we need bulk time. In fact, Dr. Jones gave him a “scrip” for pancreas enzyme meds which will help his body tolerate actual food in-take. The girls suggested getting enough for the whole family to ease the stress of my Sunday dinners. I didn’t think that was funny, and from now on, they can make their own gruel. Anyway, Dennis will begin a regimen of a chemo called gemcytobene, which he had pre-op. This chemo is fairly well-tolerated, and it was effective in shrinking the tumor. It will be given in a stronger dose since it will not have its little “fufu” friend to assist. However, Dr. Jones feels he can handle it. Both Dr. Jones and Dr. Chen reiterated what a big surgery the Whipple is. Of course, we all knew that. But when I saw both doctors express awe at the magnitude of the procedure, I was very glad to be looking back on it. I actually experienced a moment of “post traumatic Whipple anxiety.”

Dennis’ night went without incident, and that is a tender mercy in itself. His feet are less swollen, and he just seems better. He is much less gaunt-looking, and there is more pink apparent. I looked up the exact quote about the grapes and the sun and include it because I love it. Galileo said it. “The sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the universe to do.” There’s something that resonates about that image. The other morning I went for an early-morning walk when it was dark, and the wind was blowing in mighty gusts. At first I thought the conditions would prove prohibitive. But that was not the case. I wonder if there is such a meteorological phenomenon as a wind “warm” factor. In fact, the wind was at my back as I was going uphill. I still had to make the ascent on my own, but it helped to have the assist. The sun is lighting the sky earlier each morning in preparation to ripen our grapes. There is not so much darkness these days. This is all good.

We send you all our love,

The Clot


New York Sims said...

I have never heard that quote. Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad you are feeling the "warmth!" =]


Anonymous said...

This is GOOD news.
May that wind continue to be at your backs.

Love you two.

Jim said...

Dennis and Whats-her-name: We're delighted to learn that Dennis is still subject to gravity and the earth's rotation (Galileo)and has not simply floated off somewhere to avoid further medical intrusions. I've met Galileo and he's not a bad sort if you don't get him talking about the sun (never shuts up about what revolves around whom and with whatever.

I've also seen Gencytobene around the campus but never particularly enjoyed dealing with the Greek arrogance about naming democracy and such. But give him my best anyway.

As for grapes: we all know their biblical purpose - at least those of us who've wandered in the Napa Valley - which leads to the question: "Has the blog author been nipping at the grape..." Can't imagine that's the case but then recent weeks suggest a medicinal sip or two may have overwhelmed moral certitude. If that's the case please don't get the bottle with the screw off cap; buy it by the cardboard cartoon and use a bendy-straw...much cheaper and more efficient.

We send good thoughts and hopes for easier days. Whatever rotates around whichever - we wish for a little sunshine on your faces.
Diane & Jim

Kate O said...

I am thinking fat thoughts. Drink lots of coke, fruit juice and eat fast food. Maybe we could get you a video game and a bag of chips and you could watch Supersize Me for some tips? And of course no matter what else - don't exercise! It seems to work for much of the nation..........
Love your way, Kate O


I read your Blog but haven't taken time to comment. Needless to say, I'm really happy reading your Feb. 28 entry, and learning of your improvement. You and your family are a model for the rest of us for dealing with a challenging situation. Thanks for keeping us up to date with humor and optimism. Keep that sun in your face and wind at your backs.

Hadleys said...

You've made us feel better so many times and we wish we could do the same for you. Glad you're doing so well. You are in the kids prayers. See you soon!

Mom & Dad