Wednesday, March 13, 2013


     May 2, 2010 was an important date for me.  My real birthday was Feb 26th.  59 yrs old and more alive than many still believe (or possibly would like).  But to me, March 2nd is a more important date.  In March 2nds, I'm 3.  That's my 2nd birthday.  That's the date of my bone marrow/stem cell transplant at UCSF (can I consider it my alma mater with a degree in "practical medicine") that really brought me back to life.
     So, there I was, Sat morning, March 2nd not feeling very well but in fact remembering what day it was when Dale knocked on my bedroom door with an offer to make breakfast.  That's not so momentous, as she does that not infrequently. I just replied, "No thanks. I'm not feeling well so I think I'll just lay in bed and read a little" (The March Madness Sports Illustrated special issue.  Riveting).  A few minutes later another knock on the door...then it slowly opens..."Are you sure you don't want anything?"  I was reading & not really paying too much attention .  Casual disinterested glance, then BOING, neck snapping double take.  IT WAS HILLARY!  She had driven up the night before to celebrate my birthdays and somehow got in without me hearing her.  I don't sleep to well, and I did hear a door squeak a little but just figured it was a breeze.  What a wonderful surprise they all pulled on me.  Candice, Darrell, Dale, maybe even some of you knew, but never let on.  I'm slipping.  We had a great time together Sat with the whole fam damily, with the evening ending in my personal favorite, bbq pork ribs, and lots of them, and something else, and other things too.  Thank you to the Fam.  It was a great day.  I'm 3 by the way.  Did I mention that?  Dale made a cake.  Yellow with dark chocolate creme frosting.  Great.  A client had baked me some toll house and M&M cookies.  But the best.  The greatest (sorry Dale), was that Tani Blackwell, my friend for life and wife of Michael Blackwell the Physicians Assistant that diagnosed me & gave me my first priesthood blessing, brought me a HUGE pan, double deep no less, of my favorite food in my entire dessert group classification (which has been known to breach the breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, cheating and hors d'ovre classifications as well). Home made, to die for LEMON BARS.  Someday Tani, I hope my wife can save your life.  But until that time...keep those lemon bars coming.  Wistful sigh.
     So, my checkup with Dr Malone in San Luis Obispo on Monday was momentous.  I brought a huge bag of candy (As fresh as Walmart can supply & not left over from Halloween as SOME people claimed).  Snickers, Twix, regular M&Ms and peanut M&Ms, again fitting in 3 of the 5 primary dessert groups and satisfying all but 1 man in the entire office, waiting room & infusion center.  So here's the poop as they say (which has particular meaning to chemo patients).
     I am getting a full skeletal survey, plus x-rays on my right hip on Fri at 1pm in SLO.  Looking to see if the IgM myeloma fairy left any masses that have eaten through my bones yet.  Particularly the already compromised bones, hip (previous mass),  ribs (previous masses), vertebra, shoulder blades (holes the size of dimes), etc.  I'll let you know how it goes. 
     3 years post transplant is the average time frame when the cancer comes back, but it's hardly exact science and like the good Drs say, "When have YOU ever been 'normal' with this cancer.  You're my special patient".  The signs say it's getting closer, but, Dr Malone feels like it's not time yet.  We'll see what Dr Wolf says when he sees the labs this week. Dr M pointed out that sometimes, the  signs go up, but then even out for a while.  So we'll see.  When I know, you'll know...ish.  You know how bad I am at this.  But I'm getting to it just 2 days after my visit.  I think that may be a new record for me.
     I'm already looking forward to my May 2, 3 UCSF appointments.  So far labs, Dr Wolf, Dr Burch (orthopedic surgeon), Dr Henry (pain management) with possibles with pulmonary, neurologist, kidney & liver docs if the numbers go up any more.  What's one (or seven) more miracle after the thousand I've already received, right?
     Please remember in your prayers our friends Shauna Sorenson (who is fighting breast cancer), Lundy Smith (who received a donor bone marrow transplant for leukemia 2 weeks ago), Mark Farish (who was cleared of his throat cancer but is still having terrible pain from lesions in his throat), and another young lady, Evelynne Griffith (who just started her 1st chemo treatments for breast cancer last week).  I know there's a lot of them out there, but I also know how prayers are delivered in times of need and they are strengthening.
     Thanks for listening.  You've been a good crowd.  And family.  And friends.  Buried another friend, and a friend's father last week.  Not going to talk about it.  Maybe later.  Cancer.  Cancer sucks.