Friday, November 28, 2008

Hat Pictures - By Request

I'm just saying, these hats make me feel almost 50 years younger. Check out the pictures and tell me what you think!

Medically, doing OK. In a weird way, looking forward to the next "chemo party" on Thursday of this week. Sleeping OK, but not perfect. I do get some pretty fierce headaches where my head joins my neck- may be due to weird sleeping pattern or some muscle loss in there. Going to call the doc today just to make sure.

Not going anywhere near a shopping area today except for drug refills at Kroger.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving: A State of Mind

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo of Muddy Creek Falls in Garrett County, MD by:

Crede Calhoun,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Stevo's" Grocery Cart Story

When Stevo was in Germany for an extended period of time about 10 years ago, he made his first trip to a local grocery store. As he got out of his car, he noticed a mother and daughter had finished unloading their groceries and the daughter was taking the cart back into the store. Being the swell guy that he is, he walked up to the girl and told he would take the cart back into the store for her. She began to freak out somewhat, upsetting Stevo. What Stevo didn't know was that in order to use a grocery cart at this store, you had to give the store a small cash deposit to use the cart and when you returned the cart, you received your deposit back (Any of you all that have shopped at Aldi's here in the states understand the system). I think that is one of his friends favorite stories from his stay in Germany. It still makes us chuckle.

Now, travel safe and have a great Thanksgiving (which is an event and not just a single day). I triple dog dare you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I'm Looking Forward To (not in any order of significance)

1) Making a sign with a picture of Frau Blucher from "Young Frankenstein" on it, taking it with me to the next Maryland football game at UVA and then holding it up when the mascot on his "noble stallion" rides through the tunnel and onto the field.
2) Marshmallow rabbits at Easter
3) The next time I eat "real" Buckwheat cakes (meaning the flour was milled in Preston County WV)
4) College Bowl Season
5) Attending the final Green Bay Packer home game of the season at Lambeau Field just to say I did it.

I'm sure there are others - and if you have some, post them in the comments section (Keep 'em clean....)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Other Things

I've always liked this: "The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the rose."(source: Isaiah 35:1) The reason I initially liked it was that I found out that it was the inspiration for the name of the area where I grew up in Maryland - Blooming Rose. I don't think it's on any map, but it's near Friendsville MD. I still like if for that reason, but I also like the inspirational nature of it.

Today - some improvement - still on the disabled list and won't be in any starting line ups yet. I'm no longer on some of the restrictions (Note: If you have to wear a medical mask in cold weather and you wear glasses, make sure you have a cloth to clean your glasses as you pass between outside and inside). I'm clear for no more visits to the doctor until my next "chemo party" - unless I detect a change in how I feel. Just getting used to what is the best time to go to bed and that if I have energy in the AM, realizing how much gas is really in the tank and spreading it out over the day.

After the doctor appt. today I was very excited about getting to go to the store and buy a scrub bucket (what a sad, pathetic man). However, it felt great to put on a pair of jeans that were baggy in the posterior.

Another note: I know you may be rushed over the next month, but be nice and return your shopping carts to the little stalls they have in the parking lots.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank You

Wow...some friends from work came over this morning and mowed my lawn, cleaned up leaves, cleaned gutters, made me laugh, all within 1.5 hours.
Some other friends stocked my refrigerator last night.
I have several invitations to Thanksgiving dinner if medically it is not recommended that I have guests to my house for Thanksgiving (I should know that tomorrow).
Other folks just seem to know when to call or send encouraging e-mails at the right time and check in.
I got a "shout out" on the Ralph Friedgen radio show on Wednesday night sending best wishes (You can hear it if you go to and click on "Multimedia." You will have to download some Microsoft Software. After that, you find the Ralph Friedgen radio show link and click on the Nov. 19 show. Go to the 35 minute mark and you will hear it. If it's all too complicated, call me and I will play it for you.)
I could list everything, but the orchestra is playing for me to end the speech and leave the stage.
You all are teaching me alot about how to respond to others in the future.
Right now, every day is Thanksgiving.
Feeling pretty well today.
Terp Field Hockey Team is playing for a National Championship today. UPDATE: "Maryland Downs Wake Forest In National Championship 4-2"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Economic Crisis

Reading a book yet? Are you finding yourself caring about the character(s) as a person? If so, you are on your way to helping fix the economy.

Another book recommendation (I read it a few years back and then reread it last year and will read it a third time soon): "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger. Another richly detailed, well told story.

Some of you have mentioned "Skippy" and his devotion to the blog. I won't divulge his identity, but he is a good friend I know from doing theatre in Richmond. I remember walking into an audition and seeing this guy that I didn't know wearing a shirt with the "SPAM" logo on the front. We were friends shortly after that.

Not much else to say today. Need to sleep off a headache. Other than that, my razor sharp wit is still intact.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hats and stuff

The Scottish hat showed up today (all of them are now here). I think it is my favorite because it just seems to have a bit of an attitude about it (plus it has Terp colors in it). fits perfectly!

Medically, things could be better, could be worse. Got to wear a protective mask out of the hospital today because my immunity is down. In addition to the good thoughts you are sending to me, also send them to the caregivers. I could tell they were disappointed. They are working on adding other items to my arsenal, so we'll keep punching back.

Right now, my attitude is November 10, 1984. Halftime score: 31-0. Bring it alien punk. I WILL get all Frank Reich on you!

Here's a link that you may find helpful:

Don't know why this popped into my head, but it's a fun quote from "Carousel":
Jigger Craigin: [trying to hit on Carrie Pipperidge] Oh, Miss Pipperidge, I'm just crazy fer you! Why, just to see your lovely smile I'd swim through beer with my mouth closed!

Tomorrow: My solution to the Economic "Crisis." Step #1 - Quit watching the news and read a good book. My current recommendation ( I was on this before Oprah - just ask my sister-in-law): The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's that sound?

Why it's me crowing a little bit. Some of the stomach distention is down today and I am wearing a button down shirt that didn't fit last week. It's a little snug, but every play doesn't have to be a touchdown; first downs are fine too (Still haven't gotten over Chris Turner's run on 4th and 5 against the Tar Heels last week).

There were two winners of the "Guess What Hat Shows Up First" contest. My friends Joy and Jackie called it. The stocking cap showed up Monday. The Irish hat showed up yesterday. Prizes to be selected and named later.

Overall, feeling good. I get all I can in (errands, work, calling clients) by mid-afternoon and then I chill.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blogs and Evolution

There is no intelligent design in my blog. It's a collection of what I have to tell you on that specific day. What I say today may be different than yesterday, a week ago, a week from now. All I ask is that you consider the most recent input from me. Hence, the lyrics from yesterday.

The hardest thing for me to accept from caregivers is: "This is about you. This is your own challenge. You will process things differently on a day to day basis. You will be ornery sometimes (now who of you does that surprise?). The next day you will regret it. Maybe you should get a "Mea Culpa" shirt (OK, they didn't say that, but I thought it was clever)."

So...the rules are, we need to be flexible and adjust (However, not the rules that some members of my immediate family use when playing board games - you know who you are!). I'm enjoying the calls and visits while I can. They may need to tail off. Until then, we are playing by the current rules..."Bring On The Fun!" The only rule that will need to be in place full time is I can't have visitors with any kind of sniffles, colds, exposure to viruses. If you have planned to come by and aren't comfortable about a sniffle, that's OK. I'll take it as you looking out for me.

Medically, some of the numbers were lower yesterday than previously, but that's not a setback. It's all part of this process and those numbers are being closely monitored by the caregivers. Next visit with the caregivers is Thursday of this week.

The first hat showed up in the mail last night. I don't think anyone guessed it correctly. It was the red stocking hat.

Do at least one fun thing today!

Monday, November 17, 2008


First things first...I incorrectly typed Tar Heel the other day. With apologies to my UNC friends, it is two words and not one. No slight intended.

I once saw Yul Brynner in a touring company of "The King and I." It was the first professional level show I ever saw. Love the lyrics of this song, "Puzzlement." I'll leave you with excepts of the lyrics for today. (There is health news and all is OK and I'm OK. The nurse practitioner told me I am OK physically and mentally. I gave her permission to look at me and say professionally what so many have you have said in regular conversation, "You are full of it." I'll forward the health details tomorrow.)

"When I was a boy
World was better spot.
What was so was so,what was not was not.
Now I am a man;
World have changed a lot.
Some things nearly so,Others nearly not.
There are times I almost think I am not sure of what I absolutely know.
Very often find confusion in conclusion I concluded long ago.
In my head are many facts that, as a student, I have studied to procure,
In my head are many facts..Of which I wish I was more certain I was sure!
[Spoken] Is a puzzlement......

And it puzzle me to learn that tho' a man may be in doubt of what he know.
Very quickly he will fight...He'll fight to prove that what he does not know is so!

If my Lord in Heaven Buddha, show the way,
Everyday I try to live another day.
If my Lord in Heaven Buddha, show the way,
Everyday I do my best for one-more day!"

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Contentment over the MD-UNC game yesterday (Hope none of my caregivers are Tarheels.). A great friend from Silver Spring MD was here yesterday to watch it with me (I just knew the Terps would score on that final drive. When they did, I told my friend that the Tarheel ensuing and ultimately, final drive would end in an interception). Credit to my good Tarheel friend for calling with congrats immediately after the game.
Movie recommendation - Watched it last night again after I have seen it several times and marvel every time I see it: "Waking Ned Devine." A well crafted and layered movie with excellent comedy, and character personalities that leave nothing on the screen.
We capped a great visit off with a visit to Joes Inn of Bon Air (here in Richmond) for their Sunday breakfast buffet. Confirmed that I have a great appetite right now.
Wondering who the following followers on my blog are: Karen,Blsgmsb,KSQ,BushMan. If I should know, forgive me and either post or shoot me an e-mail. Thanks for following! A friend of mine who follows thinks it's hysterical I have followers. I told her I don't, it's the blog that does.
Hoping it's a great Terps weekend overall and the Terps soccer dudes beat UVA in the ACC final.
Just chilling out today and going for a follow up appt. with the doc tomorrow to see if the platelet count continues to improve or hold it's own.'s Sunday afternoon. Take a minute, or 60 to sneak in a nap. I've already captured 30 of them so far.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Now to all you kiddies out there, that's a 70's cultural reference to some excellent TV programming from those days along with "In Concert." Good times! This is the Midnight Special blog because I was awake around 12:30 with hiccups.

If you hear me hiccuping when we talk, or that I am awake because of them, that's a good thing because it beats some of the other ones that are possible that I haven't had yet.

First person to guess which hat arrives first will win some sort of memorabilia from my collection of stuff. If you are unable to post a comment on the blog, you can send an e-mail to my home e-mail: The hats are: Nightcap, Bavarian Hat, Irish Hat, Scottish Balmoral.
Have fun!

Friday, November 14, 2008


From the opera, "The Tender Land," by Aaron Copland. Have a great day, my friends!

The promise of living
With hope and thanksgiving
Is born of our loving
Our friends and our labor.

The promise of growing
With faith and with knowing
Is born of our sharing
Our love with our neighbor.

The promise of loving
The promise of growing
Is born of our singing
In joy and thanksgiving.

For many a year I’ve known these fields
And know all the work that makes them yield.
Are you ready to lend a hand?
We’re ready to work, we’re ready to lend a hand.

By working together we’ll bring in the harvest,
the blessings of harvest.

We plant each row with seeds of grain,
And Providence sends us the sun and the rain.
By lending a arm
Bring out the blessings of harvest.
Give thanks there was sunshine,
Give thanks there was rain,
Give thanks we have hands
To deliver the grain.

O let us be joyful,
O let us be grateful to the Lord
For his blessing.

The promise of living
The promise of growing
The promise of ending
Is labor and sharing and loving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Some possible side effects of the first chemo treatment can be nausea, night sweats, jitters, wanting to do the Hokey-Pokey in the middle of the night, trying to figure out why the UNC football uniforms have Duke Blue in them this year (OK, the last two are me being ornery). All the alien could do to me last night was give me hiccups (I scoff at his efforts). Today's blood work showed some progress with platelet counts. My platelets yesterday were at 73 (the target numbers for platelets are 140-415). When I was donating platelets, I was reading 210 and that allowed them to take a double platelet donation. The spleen is the organ that pumps the platelets into the system and as some rogue aliens decided to go to happy hour at my spleen instead of attending the big alien party in the abdomen, my platelet output was being affected by the spleen being the unwilling host to the happy hour. Happy hour seems to have quieted down a little bit as my platelet count today is at 104. Good news. I get another reading tomorrow so we'll see how it goes.
When I walked into the chemo room today it was like Norm walking into Cheers. I will repeat what I said yesterday, the atmosphere in there is very upbeat and very supportive.
I have another blood work appt. and more fluids into the system tomorrow and then hopefully a break from lab stuff until the next chemo treatment on Dec. 4.
At this point, it's all day to day how I will feel and I know what my goal is, but I'll let my body be my guide. I've had a good week of energy and if a couple days of "blah" sneak in there, that's OK too. Don't hesitate to call to talk or set up a time to come over, I'll be honest about how I'm feeling. If I miss your call, leave a message and I'll call you back or send you an e-mail. As far as offers of food, favors, etc., I'm open to everything and am not going to set up the formal list until I get an idea of how this cycle goes so that no one has to do anything that they don't need to do as far as food preparation, etc.
Life is good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Here are pictures of the hats I ordered. I'm excited.


Started at 10AM or so and was there until 4PM. That was perfectly fine with me. The chemo room is one of the most upbeat rooms you can imagine. If there is such as thing as chemo room heaven, I was there today. The work that the folks there do in conjunction with their personalities is beyond words. When I was on the phone with someone today, they would ask, "What party are you attending?" They were floored when I told them where I was. Because of today's experience, I'm actually looking forward to the Christmas Eve treatment and being part of the fun.
The first round of the chemo cocktails are in there and the big bad drug is going to work immediately. I don't think the "alien" has anything it can do now except die a slow, painful death. I will have a follow up tomorrow, Friday and Monday to do another follow up injection tomorrow, blood work on Friday, follow up on Monday to review how it went today.
Some of you have mentioned that you want to post a comment and you are having trouble. If you are having trouble, send me any comments you want to post at my and I will post it for you.
To those of you who have posted comments, I read every one of them and they mean the world to me. Don't think that I overlook any of them. I consider them your written prayer for me.
I'm already looking at some cool hats to wear (because my thick and bountiful hair will start falling out sometime around the 2nd treatment) and have decided to honor my family heritage. I found an Irish patchwork driver style hat with Ireland and a shamrock embroidered on one of the patchwork panels, a Scottish version of a beret, and a German Alpine hat (complete with pin and feather). Then, just for fun, I found a nightcap that I will wear at Christmas. No matter what you think about my choices, that's what I'm going to do.
In the words of the great philosopher, Popeye the Sailor Man, the reason I'm fighting the alien is "I'se had all I can stand, tills I cans't stand no more." The reason I'm going with the cool hats: "I Y'am what I Y'am!" (I love using spell check and have it freak out with the Popeye words). Now in honor of Wimpy, I'm going to eat a hamburger for dinner.


At 9:30AM

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Tomorrow morning (Wednesday the 12th) at 9:30, the assault begins. I start chemo that will take place every 3 weeks on Wednesday and we'll go from there. There are no promises with the treatments, but...things are encouraging and I was told if it goes well, I would start feeling some relief from fluid retention and the stomach distention after the first treatment. It is quite the concoction they are putting in me and some of the treatment is intended to make me comfortable. How cool is that? There are side effects, but they are manageable. I asked when I would have the "stinky days" that you hear chemo patients have and they said those are usually the first 48 hours following the chemo cocktail and the main symptom is listlessness. I have a resource to help coordinate meals, and other things I may need, but I'm going to work through the first cycle just to track the days when it would be good to have stuff brought in and then kick in the "meals on wheels" and other stuff towards the end of the first cycle. In the meantime, feel free to call, stop by, check in and since it will be day to day, we'll play it by ear until I get through the first cycle. My family is coming for Thanksgiving, so I'll be OK for Thanksgiving. I've read all your comments and will get back to you within a couple days about any questions you have or offers of assistance.
I went to work today for about 4-5 hours and it actually felt great! Talked to some clients and even had lunch with a client!
Health Note to you: GET YOUR FLU SHOT! Got mine today.
Don't know if I said this in an earlier blog (too lazy to look), but before I go to bed, I turn on a Light Classical music station on my cable system to a real low volume and have that playing in my bedroom all night. It's very soothing. If you are ever experiencing any illness, and aren't sleeping well, I recommend it. Heck, even if you are sleeping well, I recommend it.
The following lyrics may explain my outlook on all this. They are lyrics from a traditional tune known as "Simple Gifts." The tune is used in Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring (my favorite piece of music).
'Tis the gift to be simple,'tis the gift to be free,'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be.."
I've been told in the past that I'm pretty simple minded. I'm OK with that.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Don't get scared, I didn't sign up for ads to be posted on this site. However, I would like to be a little serious for a minute and mention the importance of donating blood platelets. In addition to regular blood donations (which take less than 15 minutes of actual sitting in a chair), there is the option of donating blood platelets. It does take considerably longer but you can read, watch a movie on a portable DVD player, listen to music, etc (you can't take a nap, because they need you to squeeze your hand). They remove your blood, put it through a centrifuge device, remove the platelets and then put your blood, minus the platelets, back into you along with some solution to help regenerate platelets and keep you healthy. Your body regenerates the platelets you donated within 48 hours.
It's also a good way to get a mini-physical (pulse, blood pressure, platelet count) on a regular basis. Because of the donation/restoration process, you can go every 2 weeks rather than waiting every 56 days for a regular blood donation. I have been a platelet donor for over 8 years as my way of contributing directly to the fight against cancer. If you are already giving blood on a regular basis, great! However, I encourage you to explore the blood platelet donation process. There can be some discomfort, but the folks at the blood centers will treat you tremendously. It will also require you to give up about 2 hours of your time, but there are flexible time frames - some on Saturdays, early AM, after work, etc.
Advantages: Your platelets get used within 48 hours by cancer patients; With your permission some locations will retain your information and register you on the National Bone Marrow Donor list; Sometimes you are matched directly to a cancer patient (I knew I had been matched to a 13 year old girl, but today when I called the blood center to let them know I wouldn't be around for awhile, they told me there were at least 5 other people I was directly matched to in the last year); You do get a close monitoring of your platelet counts (they detected a month ago that my platelet count had decreased over the previous times and urged that I go to my doctor - I didn't because I diagnosed the situation myself using the internet. I was wrong and should have gone to the doctor sooner).
This isn't about me and my current situation, it truly has been a rewarding thing to me. I have never felt bad about and it really has been a fulfilling experience for me. When I thought I was being inconvenienced, I reminded myself of the people who would be receiving the platelets. Frankly, it helped me prepare to deal with the needles that have been stuck in me lately. Today, I had blood work and it was "nothing but a minor flesh wound."
To get more information contact the major blood donation center in your area to explore how to be a donor. In addition the process makes you chill out for about 2 hours plus the amount of "no heavy lifting, etc." time afterwards. If you can't do blood donations, encourage someone who can.
Errands and yardwork can wait when you are helping to save lives.
No post of mine is complete without some humor. Steven Wright is one of my favorites. "Ever notice how irons have a setting for PERMANENT press? I don't get it... "

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Football - Bummed about Packer/Viking game outcome
More alien origin ideas from a friend:
1. This is what happens when you swallow gum! 2. A watermelon seed has finally taken root. 3. I told you to stop wearing your cellphone on your belt! 4. It's everything you never said, but wanted to. 5. It's where belly-button lint really comes from. 6. There was no more room in your head for your brain. Constipation might result in a mental block. 7. It's where false-sneezes really go. 8. It's your other Vulcan heart.

Tomorrow is the day I find out the chemo schedule.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Took some self imposed Jedi Mind Tricks to tell myself to do it, but I went grocery shopping today. Felt good to get out knowing that I wasn't going to stuck with a needle or something. Life is good! Heck, I'm even watching SEC football.
I have a question from the Thursday night MD-Va Tech game. Why do they sell turkey drumsticks at Va Tech to help raise money for their athletic program? Something seems..well...a little odd, possibly cannibalistic about that.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Yesterday was "Name the Lymphoma", Consult for Chemo port insertion and a PET scan (they could have just asked, I have no pets - well, there are these Camelback crickets in my crawl space..). So...the question you all want answered is, "What is the alien's name? He is: T cell rich, Large B-cell Lymphoma. He is a stage 4 lymphoma that has also enlarged my spleen and liver (I figure if they can handle me drinking a Milwaukee's Best once in my life, they can handle this). The good news is he is highly treatable with chemo and potentially curable. I start chemo next week and will receive treatment once every 3 weeks for a total of 6-8 treatments. Small pity party time: One of the treatments is on Christmas Eve. The doctor recommended I milk the pity for that appt. for all it's worth. My treatments will take about a half day, so that's why I'm glad I bought a portable DVD player the other year. A good friend (the creator of the "origin list" has promised to go with me that day and watch goofy Christmas movies with me that day.).

The PET scan is a radioactive (My glow that I've always had was enhanced some yesterday - not really) test that helps pinpoint the location of all the bad mini-aliens for treatment. Today, I had the chemo port inserted. Lots of anxiety, very easy and simple procedure that was done in 15 minutes once they started applying anesthetic. The port is a state of the port ( By the way, that's the only time I will refer you to a web site. The oncologist recommended I tell my family and friends to not do any web research on my condition as every case is different, dosages are different, etc. You will find nothing definitive on me unless you have my medical records.

So....that's all there is for now. Thank God I get a few days of no appts. Although it was getting kind of cool to walk through the halls of the hospital and wave at familar faces.

See you soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I got this e-mail from a friend. There are political references, and even if they make reference to your side of the political fence, you cannot deny they are funny.

I had some thoughts as to the origin of the Alien, especially as it's malignant.
1. It's Dick Cheney's soul. But I haven't figured out why it's in your stomach.
2. It's Osama bin Laden! We finally found him!
3. It may in fact be Elvis. Have you been channeling Elvis lately? Can't figure out why that would be malignant, though...
4. Um, OK, your spleen foreclosed on a bunch of lymph nodes' homes, so they're all homeless and seeking shelter in your intestines. And they've been drinking to cope, which is making them rowdy. Bad economic times, dude.
5. Do you know any scientologists? The Alien could be that guy who founded scientology that they all worship. L. Ron Hubbard. That would definitely be malignant, and that guy was definitely from a different planet.
6. It's what's left of Eliot Spitzer's political career! (Oh yeah, I went there.)
7. Well, all this started as John McCain's campaign started to loose steam, and now the Republican party is kind of curled up in the fetal position, rocking maybe the Alien is actually the GOP! It's hiding in your stomach so that it doesn't have to explain why it thought picking Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate was a good idea.
8. It's the effect of a lifetime of musical theatre on a straight man.
9. It's the Flying Spaghetti Monster! (Google it, you'll appreciate it.)
10. It's Voldemort! He's back!
...That's all I have right now. If it pops out of your stomach and starts dancing across the bar singing "Hello, my ragtime gaaaaal," call me. =)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Most people say "What?"

Today was a MUGA scan (that's what people say "what" about). It's purpose is to examine the pumping chamber of your heart to determine if your heart is going to be able to pump the chemo. Ideally, a painless procedure. However, since Mr. Alien is very afraid, when I am laying flat, he puts pressure on my torso and causes this sharp pain behind the left shoulder blade. It hurts (especially when laying flat and dealing with it for 30+ minutes). I wasn't amused or very witty after that.

Tomorrow is 3 appts. and then UMD vs. vatech. So. I might not post until Friday with tomorrow's and Friday's details. I'll try to post something witty (or maybe even inspiring - probably from the Stuart Smalley school of motivation, or from the Steven Wright school of wit.).

Hey, we're up to over 300 hits in 3 days! end of week...1,000 (or 600 and a TERP win tomorrow night will be just fine.).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I will admit that in the past I have been told that someone was "gonna take a piece out of me." I never imagined that it would come at the hands of a nurse practitioner. Today's appt. was for a bone marrow biopsy. Purpose is to use it to further verify the "first name" of the lymphoma and also what stage it is in. They will use the information gleaned from the bone marrow biopsy in conjunction with the biopsy of "the alien" to determine how we not only take a piece out of "the alien," but how we send him away. How it's done is amazing. They numb the heck out of your backside and deep into your tissue, including your bone and go into your hip bone - which is connected to the leg bone - I love that I have that tune in your head right now. Told them I was glad it wasn't my rib, because the last guy to have some rib bone taken out ended up with a wife as soon as he woke up. Brag time: she said I had really strong bones. Then, they use this device that has a metal tip on the end that goes in to your bone, rotates around (I refused to let them do the Hokey Pokey - because THE TERPS ARE GOING TO COME BACK FROM BLACKSBURG WITH A "W!" ) and gathers a small piece of your bone about as thick as a filler in a pen and about 1/2" long. I told the nurse practitioner, "All that effort and that's all you got?" She was truly amazing. Honestly, the pain was the initial sedative needle stick - felt like a small bee sting and when she hit the bone the first time with the sedative. After that, the only way I knew the device was in me was that she was standing there with her hand on my hip. Tomorrow, the MUGA scan (a heart thing - I don't think they'll take anything out of it.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I possibly overstated a comment about contacting me. Feel free to call as you wish. I will take your call if possible. If I don't, leave a message and I will get back to you via a call or e-mail. Any and all e-mails are absolutely appreciated (especially those with hysterical cultural references).

Visits, of course. Just call me and check to see if I will be around. I will get back to you at some point to say, "Come on over" or "Let's look at an alternate date/time."

The more people taunting the alien, the better.
Fun Times at Results Appt.

First, I gotta tell you, the building (Virginia Cancer Institute at St. Francis in Midlothian VA)where I went for today's appt. is pretty cool! It looks like a ski-lodge!
Below, are the details from today's appt.

1) There is a mass that is a collection of swollen lymph glands that measures 7.5" x 5.9" in my abdominal area (Now I know what it's like to be in the second trimester of a pregnancy).
2) It is a malignant lymphoma.
3) There are multiple lymphoma types ( A good analogy is that we know it's last name, we don't know it's first name yet). They are still testing to classify the type. Once classified, they will know what form of chemo will be used to get it out of me.
4) I am scheduled to know the type of lymphoma by Thursday of this week.
5) There are various preparatory tests and procedures that have to occur prior to the beginning of the chemo treatment. The are a total of 4 tests and procedures and 1 consultation that I will be going to every day of the rest of this week. After I return from the test or procedure, I will post the details on my blog.
6) The goal is to start chemotherapy at some point next week.
7) Length and frequency of chemo treatments will be determined once we identify the type of chemo.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Mr. Alien is showing some fear!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

First things first

I'd been feeling very bloated in early October. As the 49th birthday was approaching, I attributed it to old age, etc. Went to the doctor complaining of stomach ailment, thought I had an ulcer (didn't have one) from taking too much pain medicine (brand name withheld to avoid legal action). Was prescribed Ultra-Strength gas minimizer (ditto, on the brand name). Took it for a week. Called doctor. Schedule CAT scan for Oct 29. 3 compassionate co-workers recommended/urged me to go to ER on October 27. Went, drank CAT scan elixir (it's not all that bad - you even wind up with frequent flier miles to visit the land of Montezuma multiple times). CAT scan and blood work detected some swollen glands in the abdominal area, enlarged liver and spleen which are strong indicators of lymphoma. When told of this by the doc in ER. I tried to change the channel on the TV to find a movie with a little more humor (that's right...TV in your ER bed. That's cool!).

Admitted to hospital (broke my string of being the only immediate family member to never have been admitted to the hospital - well, guess I was when I was born, but that wasn't my decision). Schedule for biopsy to look at a mass (hereafter referred to "the alien) that is inside my stomach (we're talking some serious bloating issues). CT guided biopsy took place Oct. 30 and I was home in time to answer the door for Halloween in my costume as a potential cancer patient (love them Embolism Socks!).

Biopsy results are scheduled for Nov 3 at 3:30PM. Results to follow.

A great friend near Warrenton VA has already told me, "You aren't sick. You won't spend the possible time off from work moping around. My fear is you are going to reload and come back a more intense individual and what scares me most is you are going to be even more ornery!" I don't know what she's talking about.

Feel free to post comments. Please don't hypothesize or paraphrase things. I will give you all the information you need. If you want to share my information with someone, forward them the link. I encourage not to relate anything without something I have written in front of you. Below is a list of seven items about how you can best relate to me right now:
1) Saying "I'm sorry" about how I feel physically is not necessary and actually...not recommended. 2) Saying "How are you"....ditto 3) Asking if I want company and understanding that a "no thanks" from me is not a rejection. It's me finally accepting my body has limits and I'm going to honor those signs for awhile. However, I have learned I love visits and they made my hospital visit very painless. It will take a lot for me to turn down your visit. 4) I'm not sick, I'm reloading and when I am reloaded, Greg Frazee will be back with a vengeance unmatched by anything you've ever seen from him. 5) Conversation topics...same old good stuff that always makes us laugh, ponder, etc. There is a moratorium on political discussions. 6) Asking if I would like a meal...Absolutely...there will only be two rules. Don't be offended if I don't eat as much as you think I should, but more importantly, you must be willing to sit down and share the meal with me if you can. 7) Personal medical assessments are taboo. I know I received excellent care in the hospital. Not all things were perfect, nothing is. That's why duct tape was invented.

Hold off on phone calls (immediate family excepted) until I get things under control. I will send info as I get it about how you can help out. I won't turn my back on your offerings. I met an Amish woman from South Central VA once who told me, "Greg, a gift not accepted is a blessing denied."

See you around! Shalom Dudes and Dude-ettes!