Dear Loved Ones,
My 23rd New Year’s Resolution (Can you believe a quarter of the year is already gone? Is there such a thing as “quarterly resolutions addendums?” Time passes fast when you’re having fun!) is to blog with greater frequency…and less verbiage. I have been rather remiss of late, but in my own defense, I have been watching Dennis up his mass. I’ve decided that putting on weight can be a beautiful thing…and yes, you can be too thin. But he is eating with increasing regularity and gusto…real food that must be chewed, swallowed, and digested, not just absorbed. And just as nature had intended, his weight has gone off the scale. (Well, that truth is a little varnished. Actually he weighed in at a whopping 114 yesterday…not buck naked. But “whopping” is in the eye of the beholder!) He has become visible from any angle, and it demands less and less mousse on his beard to make his face appear filled out. He no longer hides bubble gum balls in his mouth to look robust. These cheeks are the real thing!
I could hardly wait for our appointment on Friday with Dr. Jones. It was actually our “day off” from the gemcitabene infusion, but she wanted to do a general check-up to see how he’s doing. I was thrilled. In retrospect, I probably seemed like I was promoting my entry in “Best of Show.” I kept repeating, “Just look at him!” She patiently smiled and continued to listen to his heart and lungs. (Or maybe she was using her stethoscope to muffle my chatter…Dennis does that all the time! Hmmmm) I wanted her to see him from every angle. I was especially proud of his chest. He actually has one! And it has hair again! And that hair obscures the “tatts” that directed the rays that attacked the cells that shrank the tumor that Dr. Mulvihill resected that made us all so happy. (So much for diminished verbiage!) And then Dr. Jones said a word of indescribable beauty. She said “curative.” Cur-a-tive! And she said it twice: once in reference to the surgery and once in reference to the current protocol of chemo therapy. For the first time since entering the exam room, I was silent. (Whoa! Try to visualize that!) I could hardly wrap my mind around the concept. I was overwhelmed! (Dennis remained composed, as always. However, even his beard could not conceal his smile. But I could tell he was whelmed.) Fortunately, I was able to recover quickly, and in a moment of unmitigated exuberance, I nearly launched into a lusty rendition of “Happy Chubby to You,” (I guess “mitigated exuberance” is actually an oxymoron and smacks of insincerity) However, I stifled myself in order not to disturb patients in other exam rooms or cause Dennis any further chagrin. I guess I had come to the appointment anticipating a bunt, and ended up with a home run…a grand slam at that. Now I know the game is not over. We’re merely at the 7th inning stretch. But we are still IN the game, and that’s all that counts.
Dennis has made such progress that it is hard to imagine the joy of doing every-day, simple, routine things. For instance, circumstances have dictated that I assume some of the tasks that he has always done, and that I took for granted. They’re the “guy” things of life that must be seen to, but are not really fun. But it has provided a certain amount of personal empowerment. I can belly up to the bar and demand a six-pack of Valvoline…Stat! I can rotate the tires, change the filter, flush the system, and discuss the price of oil with any testosterone-charged Bubba in the joint…and cook breakfast at the same time! Fun as that is, it can get tiresome. Sometimes I just want to go back to our old way of doing things. And yesterday, we did. Yesterday, Dennis got the gas(petrol)…and I did not. Minor accomplishment…great victory. It does make us want to celebrate the small things…so we decided to go to
There is so much to celebrate. So many small miracles and mercies that seem to defy logic. Besides his weight steadily increasing, his blood pressure is wonderful, and his oxygen level is 99. His temperature is slightly cool, but there is always a warming trend in the afternoon with a high around 98 (Winds, SSE) His albumin is increasing, and his ANC looks wonderful(1.4 up from 1.0) I do not fully understand any of this stuff, but I do understand that he is improving and getting healthier. His voice is less garbled and much easier to understand. No one could mistake his meaning when he says, “Don’t even THINK of blogging that!” (Of course, it’s one thing to “understand,” and another to “comply.”)
Now we know we are not out of the woods, but we’re on the edge of the forest, and we can see the clearing. You have all been such a part of that ever-increasing light. Because no one could stop the storm, you simply sheltered us, protected us, and gave us hope. Cancer is a dark thing…a modern plague that exceeds Biblical proportions. There is no one who will not be personally acquainted in some degree with this insidious disease. The Huntsman Cancer Institute is an inspired facility where hope and technique are readily available. Because of HCI, we were able to hear the most beautiful “C” word of all…”curative.” With this in mind, the “Willowcreek Clot” is sponsoring a fund-raiser for the
From Dr. Kathy O'Mara:
|"Welcome to the Willowcreek Pediatrics LOTOJA fundraiser for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. For the unintiated, LOTOJA is a bike ride/race (depending on your accumen) of 206 miles from Logan, Ut to Jackson, WY. We are raising money in honor of our own Dr. Dennis Ashton who has been fighting a superhuman battle with pancreatic cancer since October '07. We are happy to say that he is currently beating the big C. The goal is a round $5,000 but more is better in this scenario."|
We will also post the website on the side of the blog.
Our love to you all,