Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Since it’s almost Halloween, how about a little something to raise your “spirits?” Dennis returned to work part-time after nearly a year sabbatical. (Actually, during that year, we really didn’t “sabbat.”) Only after a year’s leave, does one understand what a privilege it is to go to work, in spite of being “marked” by the precious bodily fluids that go with the territory of his chosen profession!

His patients have welcomed him back with open arms, (and clenched jaws) even though he is armed with his usual array of instruments specifically created to produce angst and discomfort in wee folk. He comes home tired but exhilarated, smiling and grateful. Returning to his practice is a pretty ambitious undertaking, but with the assistance of amazing colleagues and patients, he’s absolutely loving it.

Because his chest dimensions have been seriously compromised by the considerable physical down-sizing that has occurred of late, he may have to get a smaller stethoscope…one that doesn’t completely obscure the radius of his entire sternum. (The Latin-root medical term for this syndrome is “chestus minimus,” a condition currently affecting us both.) Actually, I think his stethoscope takes on the appearance of a large, Olympic-size medal, which is quite appropriate because, after all, he has endured a marathon of angst and discomfort. In fact, I’m thinking of having the hearing device engraved with “e pluribus unum.” Loosely translated, it means, “I da man!”

Halloween is not exactly our favorite holiday. It will mark an anniversary that haunts us still with the specter of last year’s diagnosis. However, in spite of everything, we have been planning what we ought to wear for the occasion. Dennis wanted to borrow my fake fat butt, if and when I ever felt like I was emotionally prepared to give up my “security cellulite” for a day. (I took exception to the term, “security cellulite,” as if it provided a degree of comfort that caffeine and chocolate could not!) I tried to re-channel his thinking to alternative costumes, but he kept insisting, until I was forced to confess that the fake fat butt I always wear... wasn’t fake. There! Now, was he satisfied??? We just barely started speaking again last night! (He has decided, for the sake of the marriage, to be a scarecrow. Most fitting!)

And just when you thought the stock market was more than you could “bear,” some numbers are actually going up. Dennis’ labs are definitely bullish, (with the glaring exception of his weight.)

Doesn't he look great?!! And just wait til you see his x-rays!

His glucose is 110, albumin-4.2, and his liver enzymes are good. I really don’t understand exactly what albumin is (I always thought it was some sort of spice.), or the confusing accounting system of a routine lab report. But I can gauge an upward trend by the doctors’ smiles, and today, I didn’t need a second opinion. The only number that’s down is his tumor marker – 25 – and that is very good.

Dr. Mulvihill says Dennis’ incision is looking good and still grinning happily. It has no nodules or asides. There is no edema or symptoms of diabetes or jaundice. His eyes are clear, he’s NED, and there is no pain in the ribs, back or spine.

And the Mulvihillism for the day is, “Things couldn’t be any better!” (We rap that mantra daily)

The economy may be crashing, but Dennis’ numbers are definitely our best investment. No headlines can bring us down. Sometimes the laws of gravity don’t always apply.

This afternoon we went for a walk and kicked leaves. It was a beautiful day. We accept the miracles with love and gratitude.

Love to all,
The Clot


Debbie said...

OH it's so good to hear that Dennis is enjoying his time back at work. As always Joanie you keep me laughing with your posts.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Back to work. That's amazing! Good for you Uncle Denny. We continue to think of you every day and we much prefer our new mental image of you doing rounds at work. Take care -
Love, Megan, Jesse, Harper, Quincy

Em said...

Dane and Scottie (Dr. A's super troopers) were happy to see their real doctor back on Monday. They have missed him. Emily Adams (Stan and Pat's daughter)

Deanna said...

Haven't checked the blog for a while-shame on me. Dennis, I love your story and I love to know a real true, brave cancer survivor! Love you guys--deanna