Tuesday, October 13, 2009


In keeping with established policy, we are posting the latest results from Dennis’ most recent quarterly check-up. The news is good, for the most part. His labs look very nice, with the exception of one…the tumor marker. It is slightly elevated. That particular result was a little disappointing because it has held steady for a while. Now, I refuse to live or die by the numbers. They’re flukey, and fluctuate randomly. Yeah, like I’m going to get upset about that!

However, I did suggest to Dr. Mulvihill, that I wanted him to give Dennis some of the Michael Jackson sleep elixir, tip him back right there in the exam chair, and perform a total gutectomy…STAT! I thought a complete surgical purge, with titanium prostheses was efficacious, including implants and transplants. (The implants are for me, of course.)

After all this time, Dr. Mulvihill knows me very well, and accords me the courtesy of listening to me solve every problem that arises with my brains and his surgical acuity. Bottom line: NIP IT!

When I had expended the entire contents of my gray matter, (which didn’t take long, by the way), he said my plan had a certain amount of credibility. However, as usual, he countered my suggestion with a more rational proposal. (He has a way of trumping credibility with rationality.)

His idea was to wait.

WAIT???!!! Are you freakin’kiddin’me???!!! WAIT???!!! As in be patient, wait? Stay calm, wait? What kind of solution is that? Where’s the scalpel in “wait?”

Dr. Mulvihill explained that lab results are notoriously inaccurate. In fact, he said we could dismiss the numbers and re-draw them on our next quarterly exam. They are not necessarily “cancer specific,” and should not cause undue concern. We should make decisions based on reason. Yeah, like pouting isn’t a viable decision-maker?

Well, I confess I was persuaded by common sense. It’s just that an unexpected elevation in that particular number diminished my capacity for abstract thought. (or stract thought, for that matter.)

“Oh-Kay-ay! We’ll Way-ay-ay-it!” I replied in my most petulant whine…a technique I learned from my pre-pubescent daughters. ( But sometimes I question my decision to become an astrophysicist, instead of a surgeon.)

So, while we WWWAAAIIITTT, Necie and I are planning our Halloween costumes. She decided we are going to be “sister witches.” This was a much easier decision. Now, I love harvest time, but I have never been fond of Halloween. However, this particular invitation was delightful. I don’t know why it pleases me that my granddaughter thinks it cool for us to be witches and go out together to haunt the neighborhood. She is unaware that I do this on a daily basis just running errands.

We reviewed the inventory of what we would need to transform ourselves into scary specters…and I realized, (after significantly upping my dosage of prescribed mood elevators) that my make-up will only require a wart prosthesis for my nose. I already possess all the other paraphernalia for “coven couture.”

1. Bloodshot eyes – check
2. Facial distortion – check
3. Scrawny neck – check
4. Maniacal cackle – check
5. Green pallor – check
6. Black hair (root re-growth counts) – check
7. Spells, curses and conjurings – check (Just finished my “Double, double, toil and trouble” from the opening scenes of Macbeth that I recite daily)
8. Mischief – check – (Necie’s got us both covered on that!)

Necie loves to tell me scary stories. Her latest is “Monsters vs. Aliens.” She loves to hear me tell scary stories, too, So I stick mostly to sanitized Stephen King and Scooby Doo. I know more frightening tales, but they are better left untold.

There will come a day when Grandma is no longer “all that.” But for right now, I’m content to ride double on a broom and cruise the skies when the full moon rises, till the witching hour – which for both of us is about 8:00 p.m. (Our particular coven has a curfew.)

It is autumn – soup-making days, pear time, cool evenings, hearth fires and chimney smoke, squash and pumpkin spice, gusty winds and skeletal trees…and scary ghost stories.

We will duly note the 2-year anniversary of Dennis’ diagnosis with a tip of my pointy hat and a finger to the side of said wart. And then we’ll move on.

On November 1st, I will put away my wart for a year, and dress the house for Thanksgiving. I’ve always preferred pilgrims to poltergeists.

Besides, we have so much more to be thankful for than scared of.


The Clot


Julie said...

I love you Joan, you make me LOL (in case you are too old for that it means Laugh Out Loud! Tonight, and always when I kneel and pray for the Ashtons ,I will probably think of you again and have a little chuckle because even when you're shaking in your witchy boots, you can make a girl smile!

cristie said...

i'll be looking for two blonde witches! xox

Suzy said...

Tumor markers! We hate tumor markers at our house because when the numbers are good it's great and when they're not then the doctors say... "we don't treat numbers, we treat symptoms". Well, then what are the *$#&$!!! tumor markers for then? Let's just say if he's doing well right now, enjoy it. Craig's tumor markers were way down right before the last chemo and now they're up again and we've supposedly got dead tumors in there! We are pulling for you and sending lots of love your way. 2nd Anniversaries are something we wish very hard to reach! Love you Ashtons!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. It is amazing that they draw the labs and then don't want to use them. For what it's worth, my dad's test was up six months ago and we waited and the Dr. drew them last week and they were down. Maybe they should just draw them and make us wait for six months until they get the second set...would make life more livable and save on the Xanax!! I'll be thinking about you this week. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family. Chris C

cristie said...

read some very good things on Brody's blog! xox