Thursday, August 7, 2008


Greetings, Fellow Clotters,

I have been aggressively remiss in my blogging lately, but I do have some really nice, if not necessarily valid excuses. We took our family to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach in July, and the sweltering humidity really retards one’s ability to conjure thoughts. ( In fact, about all I could conjure condensed in my arm pits.) Dennis claims it’s “aggravated chemo brain,” but that only works for him. I guess I could rightly claim “sympathetic chemo brain” from standing for prolonged time in too close proximity to the infusee. Whatever. But in an effort to avoid having bad blogs happen to good people, I will try to be brief. (OK. OK. I know what you’re thinking! Don’t say it.)

After spending a fair chunk of July in the South, I cannot understand how Scarlet O’Hara could possibly wear the drapes from Tara’s windows after June. It was mind-numbing hot. Oh, I guess I could understand plantation shutters, or possibly a valance and some tie-backs. But not full-blown portiers from the family mansion!!! And did I mention humid? We were in a perpetual state of “jock sweat,” no matter how much deodorant we applied. (Actually, in the South, the preferred term for ladies is “glisten”…we do not sweat, we “glisten.” But I’m a Yankee. Yankees sweat. There were times, however, that I “moistened,” but that is a subject for another blog!)

Ah, but I digress. Dennis’ infusions are being tolerated rather well, although he can get quite tired because the effects of the chemo are cumulative…of course, this fatigue usually occurs at the end of a day of non-stop physical and mental activity. I tried to explain that normal people are supposed to be tired at the end of the day. That is what nature intended. Nighttime is nature’s way of turning off the lights so we will go to sleep. He is definitely unclear on that concept. (Residual effects from medical school) However, we only have one more infusion scheduled with this last cycle, and then we are done. I mean DONE! Now, I am the one unclear on the concept. It has been a rather long road, and “done” doesn’t seem to register just yet.

The other day, Dennis and I again reviewed the inventory of his organ warehouse, and we realized that we cannot account for his appendix. Neither of us can remember its being mentioned by any of the doctors, or seeing it on any scans of ultrasounds. I’m not exactly sure if it should be considered on a strictly “need to know” basis. But still, I would like to be informed just exactly how many body parts he’s down. His incision site is healing nicely, however. In fact, his scar looks like a big smiley face on his mid-section. It makes us all happy just looking at it. (Keep that in mind if you’re having a bad day. With a little advanced notice, you can come over, and Dennis can flash his belly for you that will have you tossing the Prozac!)

When we returned from our vacation, Erin and Dave got a dog for their family. He’s a tiny adorable furball they named “Duke.” We had suggested “Bark Obama,” but Asher couldn’t say “Bark.” So “Duke” it is. They are training him to go outside to potty, where the whole world is his toilet. They are trying to do the same with Asher. We have noticed, however, that since the episode with the rat and the Physicians Desk Reference, there are new and creative threats of discipline being made to pets and grandchildren to keep them in line. Erin says, “I have a PDR, and I know how to use it!” I’ve also heard, “Get the PDR PDQ!” After editing and critiquing Brodi’s current manuscript with my red pen, she commented that the pages looked like an army of red ants had been marching across the paper when someone dropped a Physicians Desk Reference on them. (I guess I did get a little zealous with my corrections!) OK. OK. A giant book of prescriptive medications is not exactly a better mouse trap. But perhaps if Bush had touted it as a “weapon of mass destruction,” it would have sufficed as effective saber rattling, and the world would be at peace.

And now, another word about cancer. It is a loathsome affliction. It is a thief. It plunders and robs and violates all that life holds dear…health, joy, productivity, future, peace of mind…without discrimination or remorse.

Cancer has faces and biographies. For instance, take Dov. (His name is Hebrew for “bear.”) He is a young man battling colon cancer that has metastasized into his liver. He is married with two young children, and he is a delight. His infectious personality lights up the whole infusion room. The other day he came in with a tee shirt that read in big bold letters, “F--- Cancer!” The whole population cheered. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve actually said something similar, if not better. I’m not quite ready to have it inked on the base of my skull, but it is profound, nonetheless. And guess which of those two words is the biggest obscenity.

Dov is a “Cyrano soul.” He does hard things with panache!

We are getting so close to our fund-raising goal for the Huntsman Cancer Institution. What a terrific cause. There are so many faces and so many biographies. And each person we have met has touched our hearts, as have all of you.

We express our love to each of you.

The Clot