Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Greetings, Dear Clotters,

Just one question: What’s with all the rain??!!! Where’s the swelter?

Well, it’s June, and 2009 is middle-aged already. I figure that the new baby with the ’09 sash that appeared on New Year’s Eve in January, has passed through zit-infested puberty and is para-menopausal, raging hot flashes, mega-irritability and all. By the time the first symptoms of dementia become apparent, we will be heading toward October. And at full-blown alzheimers, I will be full of the Christmas Spirit and anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new child with 2010 tattooed on his (her?) bosom.

Where does the time go? We have another generation leaving carbon (not to mention muddy) footprints on our floors and hearts that just a breath ago were merely good ideas.

I am suffering deep blogger’s remorse because I have been so derelict in my up-dates. It seems that no matter how elaborately I prepare for my best-laid plans, time flies, life happens, scuttles my to-do list, and hijacks my day. However, chaos often imposes a higher order, so I go along for the ride, knowing that the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude.

It’s summer. That means those lazy, crazy, hazy days of…dental check-ups, mammograms, and colonoscopies. Oh, the indignities of being really old. Remember the days when colons were merely sentence punctuations, checked by English teachers…not procedures checked by a doctor, which begin by pounding down a tanker of Fleet’s and conclude with an entire garden hose up the wazoo?

And this was the week for our quarterly check-up with Dr. Mulvihill and Dr. Jones. Dennis is on regular surveillance since his chemo treatments concluded in August of ’08.

It is an interesting transitional phase to go from active cancer-fighting protocol to being a survivor – a little like straddling the Grand Canyon while balancing a stack of anvils. One hopes for strength to keep a toehold on both rims, but prays to locate the rip-cord in time should the grip slip. One foot-pound of pressure per second per second off in one’s timing, and you’re toe-tagged for identification by family.

Dennis went in for lab work on Wednesday so his results would be available for the doctors on Friday. It is a little like waiting for the verdict of a jury who is deliberating your fate behind closed doors. You anticipate and dread the decision.

But Dr. Jones called us Thursday night prior to our appointment, with the glorious news that Dennis’ tumor markers were 26. NORMAL! She thought she would spare us another night of anxiety. That was not just thoughtful. She deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor for compassion. NORMAL! We slept with a peace that we hadn’t known for a while. Rest made us giddy, and a little dizzy. This was a new experience for Dennis. It’s a perpetual state of being for me.

Both doctors examined his surgical site and mid-section, and found his liver to be smooth. (I’ve never been partial to bumpy livers.) His body is strong, but just a little on the lean side.

But...DENNIS HAS ANOTHER HERNIA! I tried to pass it off as just another ripple in his ab collection. The doctors, however, seemed to conclude that since this ripple’s linear direction was vertical instead of horizontal, it was most likely a hernia, not an ab protrusion that had fallen over.

Boy Howdy! We were afraid we’d have to go several months without an operation! But at least it doesn’t involve Fleets and hoses. So his belly button takes another shot with the laparascope, they insert chicken wire to hold in his guts, and we’re on the road again.

We are in the process of setting up an appointment to repair the damage, and this will be scheduled as soon as I can utter whole sentences whose entirety is not comprised of words consisting of only four letters. This may take a while.

But the good news is it’s not cancer-related. OK! We can do this. ok. But I can’t wait till all his hernias have been extracted and only his muscle-mass protrudes. This may also take a while.

Over the course of the past several weeks, I have been made aware once again how I loathe cancer. It is a merciless plague, and even as a survivor, there is always the vague, low-grade unease that the specter lurking in the darkest shadowy recesses may manifest itself once again to wreak its detested havoc.

At this juncture, I must blog responsibly and issue a viewer’s discretion warning. There is an ensuing tirade about to occur…in HD, no less. So, if your system is delicate and you’re prone to “the vapors,” leap-frog down the next few paragraphs…or fasten your seatbelts, and beware of whiplash.

That said, I am enthusiastically optimistic about the research being conducted and the advancements in treatment options currently available. There are so many trials and studies being conducted. Dr. Mulvihill and his team are trying to obtain a grant that will greatly assist further research. I am confident that will happen, because he is the most tenacious man I have ever met, Dennis being the only exception.

But the disease is ubiquitous, and strikes without discrimination, regardless of age, life-style, or circumstances. It is no longer a rare and isolated occurrence. And no one is off-limits. Its cruelty knows no bounds.

Oh, I do not doubt that this heinous affliction will be conquered. Our doctors are gladiatorial. I look forward to the day when “cancer” is an antiquated word whose reference is a mere historical footnote in medical books…like the black plague…only blacker.
OK. I’ve expended my vitriol. I feel better. You can open your eyes now.

Right after the next surgery, we are planning to do something equally fun. Although we don’t know right now just what that will be, we do know it won’t involve lifting.

Please come and visit us, and we will show you Dennis’ new incision. This could actually be a pleasant pastime. (And you thought we didn’t know how to have fun!)

Our love to all,

The Clot


A & M Ras said...

I so agree with you about the ugly C word. It knows no bounds and it is evil,vicious and annoying. I will always be indebted to our hero in battle for identifying the evil and thwarting it before it took hold. I am glad that you are still winning the battle.

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