Thursday, April 17, 2008


Hello, Dear Ones,

In keeping with my tradition of breaking resolutions faster than I can make them, I am once again tardy but well-intentioned with my blogging. (Also, verbose. Reference Resolution 23.) But I was so glad Dennis felt well enough to contribute to the Clot blog, that I wanted his words to linger a little longer.

However, I do not want to delay relaying some good numbers, and in this current recessive economy, we can all use some positive digits. Dennis was scheduled to begin another round of three chemo infusions on Friday, April 11th. He had just had a week off in between cycles. In that interim, he added some formidable dimension to his contour…in other words, he gained some weight. But this weight is not just random bulk. These pounds are packed with power. I now know the source of his strength. (And trust me, it is not in the length of his hair.) They are giving him steroids along with his chemo and other fluids of unknown components. I am not sure exactly what it all means, and I doubt that Barry Bonds is lying awake fearing Dennis will usurp his homerun record, but no one is calling him “Mr. Cupcake” any more. I guess the performance enhancing drugs simply mean his performance will be enhanced, and he will keep on hitting the ball that’s pitched.

So here is a list of his latest statistics: (with a 4 point +/- margin of error)

ANC – is 1.6 This is up from last time, and means that he did not need a 20% reduction of gemcitobene allotment. He pounded down the full bag!

BLOOD PRESSURE – 103/64 Translation: barely conscious.

TEMP. – 96.3… and rising.

PULSE – 75…unless he has seen the latest revelations on the blog.

OXYGEN – 99 – I haven’t a clue if that is significant, but his lips are not blue, and that’s a good sign.

ALBUMIN – 3.4- 3.5 is considered normal. So he is just barely on the periphery of lunatic fringe nutritionally.

But here is the best number of all…his weight is 115…naked as a jay bird. He owns every registered ounce! I am so thrilled, I’m considering removing the drapes from the mirrors. In fact, I’ve already removed the drapes from all the windows so all who pass by can see his progress! (This is also known as “reverse voyeurism!”)

All these numbers make my head spin, so there is some degree of mental impairment as I go for my daily walks. But I also think there are some serious cosmic anomalies of late that have made my early morning forays into the unknown rather interesting. The birds are now beginning their activity before dawn, and their singing is a joyful sound. However, yesterday I was the target of an aerial assault by five hormonal feathered rottweilers flying under the mistaken assumption that I posed a threat to their nests. It was a little unsettling. I wasn’t sure if they intended to scare, warn, or to inflict injury. I felt like I was being held captive in a Hitchcock horror flick, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to call for help. I knew if I yelled “Robin! Robin!” the neighbors have me arrested for disturbing the peace…or flagrant stupidity. Actually, I was just glad they were birds, and that I hadn’t inadvertently walked into the another Hitchcockian nightmare…theNorman Bates Institute of Taxidermy. But then I had an even scarier thought. What if these birds had designs on my hair to help construct their nests? Then I would be forced to resort to a spirited defense. I paid good money for this platinum, and I do not part with it willingly. However, the birds passed up the opportunity to pilfer any strands. I guess they prefer to work with only natural fibers. Very wise. Only Dennis knows the hazards to living in a home with a surfeit of blond.

Dennis has been feeling well enough to get out and do some walking each day. And the other day we had our grandsons with us as we strolled. These two boys taught us some profound and unexpected lessons. I was asking Josh why he thought we loved him so much. After all, he is such a rascal. He answered with all the wisdom of a seven-year-old, “Cuz I make you laugh!” And he was right…I laughed. I remember his mother mastered the technique years ago, and it got her out of a whole lot of trouble. Still does! I also realized how enlightening humor can be. It provides a certain awakeness, a more acute consciousness …better than caffeine, and more healthy. Humor is born of the understanding that all is well. It does not mean that there is no tribulation. It does not extract pain or grief. It simply eases the burden…strengthens one’s shoulders. Humor is most definitely a coping technique, a lens through which things appear clearer and in more acute perspective.

Our other grandson, Carter, is also very funny. He is the family word-smith. He has boundless energy, and his favorite method of transportation is marathon running. We try not to stifle his exuberance, but when he began running down the hill to our house, I could see the sidewalk was steeper than his feet could handle. So I called to him, “Carter, slow down! You’re going too fast!” And he hollered back as he was trying to reduce his speed, “OK Gramma. I’ll slow down. I’ll only go ONE fast!” It took a moment before we caught the meaning of what he had said, but when we did, we burst out laughing. I loved it! So that’s where I’ve been making my mistake. I’ve been racing through the hours, sprinting through the days, going TWO fast in a frenzied rush to train for some kind of Olympic event. But then Fate stepped in, imposed some speeding restrictions, issued us a warning, and forced us to slow down… to one fast. This was a good thing. Especially now that it is April. Lilacs are about to bloom. Lilacs are only here for two weeks, and I don’t want to miss them. The days are longer now. The poet, Robert Burns was wrong in his “Pippa” poem. Morning’s not at 7. Sunrise is officially at 6:44 and sunset checks in at 8:09. That means there are over thirteen hours of light. Perhaps the most efficient means of fully utilizing that time is simply to slow down to one fast and laugh.

By the way, we are almost half-way to our fund-raising goal for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. (To check the stats and donate, click here). That is so exciting. I think of it as the lottery. Perhaps one of those dollars will be the exact dollar that funds the breakthrough that leads to the cure that removes this scourge from all future generations. The thought gives such hope. No one will celebrate louder than the Ashton Clot when that day arrives. And it will.

Our love to all,

The Clot


Anonymous said...

I loved the stories of your grandsons. We're in Colorado celebrating the birth of our first grandson. Oh, what joy in life. Hope Dennis keeps packing on the pounds and improving those numbers.
We appreciate your information and your words of wisdom.
Love to all your family,

deanna said...

All I can say is WOW!! I have been away and am just getting caught up on the blog. This is all such great news! WTF (way to fight) Denny. I like Carter's lesson that we all can more running two fast. I love you guys.....tons.

Kate O said...

Hi Ashton clot! We are nearly half way to the LOTOJA goal and I am sure we can reach it. Keep putting on pounds and we'll keep putting on dollars. Now, Doug and I have to start training...........
Love, Kate O

Anonymous said...

It's great to hear you doing so well. I wish I could be so happy about the 10 pounds I've put on recently, in fact, I'd give them to you if I could. We were in the office today for a well care check, this time for Jared and we saw Dr. Omara, a pleasant experience but still not our Dr. Ashton. I did get to talk to Anita for a minute and we were happy to hear your planning on coming back in July (all our well care visits for the year will be done by then but there's always the other times and we'll just be glad to know your back whenever we need ya) We're always praying for you and your family.

The Bowles Family
Michael, Kimberlee, Brandon, Kaylee, Jared and Lyndsee :)

New York Sims said...

What a profound comment from your grandson. I am learning to do just that, myself. =]

I am so happy about all the good numbers. Can't say that those have kept you out of our prayers, though. You're in our thoughts daily and we love your family so, so much!

Love, Mel (Pete, Kensie & Eric, too!)

Anonymous said...

I am the mom of the 4 smith boys, that have all been patients of yours for the past 27 years. Only Jacob left now, and he is 18, a senior. Your grandson (one fast) reminded me of OJ now 23, when he was but 4 or so. was battling with the brothers with plastic swords. He had only one sword in his hand and his battle cry was "one che' ". we were stumped at first then we knew "touche' " if he had had 2 swords.
Good going on the weight thing. I started out at 130lbs. and went down to 97 lbs. My father-in-law said "Alan must feel like he is married to a teenager". I said Grandpa IT IS NOT PRETTY. I am up to 117 now.I hope my body knows when to stop gaining. I am one year from all the chemo and radiation. It truely seems like a different life time ago. We pray for you daily and are so excited about your progress. TOUCHE'
Laura Longhurst and family