Saturday, March 15, 2008


Hello, Dear Clottters,

Well, yesterday was a fairly momentous day for us, so I just wanted to keep the up-dates current. We had a day packed with appointments and possibilities. Our first stop in the drill was to get some blood drawn. It seems everyone wants surveillance over all of Dennis’ precious bodily fluids. He no longer has a PICC line or a port, so every time tests are run, he gets stuck. He doesn’t even wince these days, but I have scrupulously maintained my ability to fall in a heap at the mere thought of needles. Dennis and I are both glad I’m on the other side of the syringe.

Anyway, the next stop on our Friday excursion was with Dr. Mulvihill. And he had some good news for us. According to the labs, Dennis’ albumin number is up. In fact, it is a 3. Yes, a 3! Apparently that means that the level of his nutrition is increasing. Normal is 3.5 or 4. We are cruising in the neighborhood of NORMAL! Fasten your seat belts! Talk about rarified air. The rest of his counts look real good also. So I am validating those numbers. Numbers are our friend. In addition, his vital signs are wonderful. This is all good. However, his weight is about the same number as his blood pressure. (Some numbers are not our friend.) This is not good. So Dr. Mulvihill wants to see him again in one month instead of the customary three. That’s ok. I always enjoy visiting with him. But I did vow that the next time he laid eyes on Dennis, he would see a consummate chub! I mean cheeks filled out (the upper and the lower) inflated chest, chiseled biceps, and thigh implants. (I still believe in miracles, but I hope I didn’t over-promise my capability to deliver!)

As always, Dr. Mulvihill has an immense power of the positive. He declared that Dennis was “satisfactory” to begin chemo that very day. And then he delivered his standard “Mulvihillism.” He said, “There is no question in my mind that Dennis will get better.” I was euphoric. I wrote it down verbatim. I committed the comment to memory. I recited it like a mantra. I tried to suck it into my nostrils. I clung to it like a life raft. I was going to have it “inked” on my navel, but Dennis seemed to think that was going a bit far. Dennis has always been restrained by discretion. When we next met with Dr. Jones, she agreed with all that Dr. Mulvihill had said, and then announced, “Let the gemcytobene begin!” We were so excited that we tried to do our ceremonial chest thud…but we missed! (There is a shocking lack of “chest” in our family these days!) So we settled for holding hands with great gusto. That sufficed.

When Dennis was finally hooked up to that bag of chemo, and as we noticed the precious liquid entering his body through the IV, the Clot cheered. Even Dennis was excited. How do we know that? We could see trace evidence of a smile just to the side of his nose hose. Whoa! That’s borderline hysteria in our book.

Today is March 15…the Ides of March. It is also our anniversary. I won’t say how many years because those of you who can do higher math will be able to calculate that, according to my acclaimed age, I must have been married several years before I was actually born. (The only thing we cook at our house is the books!) But those of you who are into lower math and tabloid sensation…it’s plausible. However, the years are measured in units of days, and there have been thousands, days so pleasant I wish I could recall each one individually. In that time, we have gone from pre-med, to raising daughters, to welcoming grandchildren.

Why did we choose to marry on the Ides of March? Because we didn’t want to wait till the Ides of June. I am not exactly sure what “ides” are, or why they cluster in plurality instead of existing as a single “ide.” Perhaps it’s for the same reason people prefer to marry as opposed to remaining single. I understand that. Actually, on that day so many years ago, “I came to marry Dennis, not craze him.” (Great distortion of Marc Antony's famous speech at Cesar's assassination). Frankly, my dear, I’ve done both.

Today we went to the hospital yet again to have Dennis’ nose hose replaced. For those of you keeping score, this is the third time in a week. I was reduced to such irrational displeasure at the frustration, that I began making empty threats and hurling vacuous ultimatums (ultimati?) at no one in particular. Talk about “March Madness!” I was sorely tempted to order a hamburger and consume it in one fell swoop, but I am still so embarrassed by my shameful display of carnivorous indulgence, that I opted for self-restraint…but only with great reluctance! This is not how we might have planned to celebrate our anniversary. But it’s all OK. Our lives right now are what they are. And nothing can put asunder what was joined together on our wedding day. So we commemorate the occasion and celebrate the day. There will not be many gifts or tangibles…as is our custom. We’ll raise a can of Promote in Salutation. “Etu Den-e!” The Ides of March are only unlucky for Caesar and soothsayers.

Our love to all of you,

The Clot


Dave and Sandy Ashton said...

Dennis, that's great news. And now for the chemo that will make you both sick and better--what a combination! Hopefully, not too sick, BUT lots better in the eating department. (like to see those chubby jowels again!! Like when did he have any of those in the first place--oh, that's a figment of Joni's inagination!)
Keep up the great work.
May God hear our prayers all the way from AZ.
Love ya bro, Dave and Sandy

janet said...

Happy Anniversary with wishes for many more. God bless, Joe and Janet

kate o said...

Happy Anniversary, St Patty's Day (no turning green, yellow was more than adequate) and Gemcytobene day. So glad to hear Dr Mulvahill's quote "I have no doubt". Love Kate O

jane said...

Dennis! I loved you in those tight pants -- very sexy!! And those girls, well, they don't get any better than that!

Happy St. Pat's to you all -- may this be just the beginning of the last leg of the get-well totally wagon as you spring into these rounds of chemo.

As always, you are all in our thoughts & prayers.

Love, Jane & Tom

cristie said...

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings". - (Quote Act I, Scene II).

Jerry and I both were in this play during our oh so far away college years. Our Laurel was born on the 15th of March as well. Nice to hear that you are both celebrating this sweet day with some serious hand holding.

Yes, your news is wonderful. We continue to cheer for you and send our love. xox

Paul said...

Chimo Schmimo,

The ides of March are here again. Happy Anniversary to both Ashtonians.

Great news from Dr. M! May the chimo fairy only dust you with the slightest discomfort as she ladens you with her gifts of "genocide to any errant cells within".

Paul & Danelle