If you have been following my progress on Facebook you know this has been a week with some troubling health news. As I put it in my post on Wednesday:
Thanks to everyone who posted prayers and best wishes earlier today. The news is (1) Round Two went fine, although I did have a minor reaction to one of the chemo drugs and was administered Benadryl via IV - it worked perfectly and no biggie overall; (2) the results of the bone scan show that the pain in my back is being caused by two small spots along the ridge of my left and right shoulder blades, both of which are evidence of spread of the cancer into a new region, but (3) the current round of chemo is attacking it, and the pain can be managed with slow-release OxyC.
After Round Four of the chemo we will rescan, reassess, and consider the option of targeted radiation. Bone cancer is slow moving, so we have some time and some options. In the meantime, I am back to feeling good (got the pain meds regulated) and continue to be oh so grateful for the love of my family and friends, as well as the care, compassion, friendship, support, and knowledge of my doc and caregivers in this Four Winds community.
The first sign of trouble with our air conditioning was on Monday and it was an obvious sign: adjusting the thermostat down to 78 degrees didn’t produce the usual start-up whir of a electric motor nor the reassuring whip-whip-whip of a fan. Adjusting it down further – to 75, then to 70, then all the way down to 60 met with the same aural absence and a gradual admission that, in fact, we had a problem.
In Arizona we respect air conditioning. It’s May but last weekend the temperatures hit 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This week we were experiencing a cool spell; daytime temps are still in the mid-90s. Yes, it is a dry heat. So is the heat in your oven.
Ah, the things we take for granted until … we can’t.
“Which are the magic
moments in ordinary
time? All of them,
for those who can see.”
--Tim Dlugos, “Ordinary Time”
This has been a week of good news, visits, gifts, a graduation, and much happiness. We are truly blessed and very grateful each and every day. And blessed also for the wonder of another starry, starry night.
The good news was reported on Facebook right after we received it from Dr. Robin on Wednesday afternoon – my CA 19/9 marker is reduced by half, from a high of 1900 to 908 – which is a good sign as this marker has been an accurate index of my rogue cells. This week’s treatment will be followed by another blood test in 11 days, just before the “final” treatment, by which time – fingers crossed – we hope to be cancer-free again and get a little time off from chemo.
This week we got very good news from the CT-scans – no growth in the tumors and no spread of the cancer. Combined with the good downturn in the CA-19/9 numbers and our desire to squeeze every bit of happiness out of life, Dr. Robin agreed to give us the week off chemo. We were hosting an Ethnogs reunion/festschrift preview on Saturday night and I needed to be my “full Dr. Bud self” for it. Or at least as “full Dr. Bud self” as I can be these days.
Between that good news from Dr. Robin and the festivities on Saturday night, I had one other task to complete. I promised to write the Foreword to Robin Boylorn’s first book,Sweetwater, which is her autoethnographic account of African-American women in a rural southern community. This project is close to my heart, as I “discovered” Robin back when she was an undergrad at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also directed her master’s thesis (the beginnings of this book) and served as the outside member of her dissertation committee at The University of South Florida (where she honed the theory and polished the narrative). Robin is now an assistant professor of communication at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, an award-winning writer and poet, and now a soon-to-be author of this fine book.
Writing a good foreword – by which I mean one that actually gets read – is never easy. In this case it was a little harder given that chemo brain sometimes makes focusing on a task somewhat difficult. Or I forget what I’ve just read or what I’ve written. Sigh. But I was determined to get this one right, so for three days I labored to write a mere 3000 words. But in the end I think I got it right. I only know that Robin and her editor, Mary Weems, seem pleased with it.
Today, June 16th 2012 is our 23rd wedding anniversary and it began with a hug and kiss from my lovely bride, Sandra, aka “the Supreme Bunny Being.” Then, after a short shared hour of sharing the news from our respective iPads and a cup or two of coffee, she headed over to our “real house” for final touch-up to the new paint and I remained, sigh, in the recliner to write this blog.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day. But Nic and Alyssa had a Father’s Day feast for us last night when we returned from a loooooong day getting new scans (details to follow at the end of this post). Alyssa baked my favorite chocolate cake in the style she has created – light texture cake, butter crème infused icing, just the right balance of goodness and sin. Yum! Nic procured my new favorite Cav – B. R. Cohn Silver Label – from a vineyard owned by one of the Doobie Brothers band members, truly a mouthful of red wine pleasure!
And this: Just this morning I opened Facebook to see the finished cover for Celebrating Bud, the tribute to my work and life put together by my pals. I’ll post more details about the book later, because here I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who had a hand in this volume and that I can’t wait to read it!
So much good news! I am truly blessed. We are truly blessed as a family. And you, too, I hope can feel the wonder in this life and accept with gratitude the goodness in it and all around us, just waiting for us to say “yes!”
But life is also complicated. It’s meant to be that way. It’s all part of the Cosmic Spaghetti.
Sorry, but that last referent made me smile. Crazy, huh?