Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cancer Training

This weekend, Carol and I attended a conference sponsored by the International Myeloma Foundation here in Dallas. It was very informative as we learned about current treatment methodologies and upcoming drugs, ways of handling side effects of the chemotherapy, and other good stuff.

Leading doctors in this disease nationwide were there, and it was good to listen to them, and chat with them between sessions, as well. Some of these men have been cancer doctors longer than I have been an engineer (that’s a long time), and their names are on testing procedures for evaluation of this disease. There also were very helpful sessions by a cancer nurse, and a myeloma patient.

The top question on every patient’s mind is what are current survival predictions for patients in their situation. One patient there had been in treatment for 19 years, and there was a report of another patient who has been in treatment for 31 years. These are the outlier data points, but praise God for outlier data points. Then I met a man who looks healthier than me, and has been in treatment for only 3 years, but his cancer is not responding to the drugs, and the prognosis is not good. It is all over the field.

All in all, it was a good conference, and I am glad we went.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father’s Day 2009

daddy color close upToday is Father’s Day, and I would like to pay tribute to my father, James Vernon Bennett, Jr., now deceased. It’s been a little over two years since Dad died in April 2007. The morning after we buried him, I went out to the woods behind their house to spend some time alone. I found an acceptable stump and sat down. It was cold spring morning in Arkansas, and I shifted my body so that my back caught the fullest effect of the sunlight to keep me warm, and remembered it was something my Dad had taught me to do as we worked outside in the cold together.

A father teaches his son many things. Among the things my Dad taught me by example more than words was the value of hard work and honesty in business dealings, and the importance of a man taking his family to church on a weekly basis.

I took this picture of Dad about a year or two before he died. It was autumn, and I had taken him for a ride in his truck, and we walked out to an overlook over the Little Red River just outside Heber Springs. It is my favorite picture of Dad.

Here’s to you, Dad. I hope all readers have had as wonderful a Father’s Day as I did.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Night Trains & Pianos

Some of you know my time-wasting dilema of a few weeks ago as I tried to find Lyrics, etc. to a particular song, which was incorrectly titled on an instrumental CD as "Night Train to Memphis." When I found the lyrics, I said, "No way those lyrics can go to that song," and the time-wasting began. Anyway, with only wasting but a small portion of your time, here is a link to the coolest instrumental (piano) version I ever found of Night Train to Memphis (This guy, Alan Dale, has some other neat stuff on You Tube, too).

And here is a really good version of "Night Train", though the version I heard and started this quest was a Bluegrass/Blues version with harmonica, fiddle, bass guitar and drums, and was incorrectly labeled on the CD as "Night Train to Memphis," rather than the boogie woogie version here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cancer Update

Results on the blood sample taken June 12 indicate that the decreases to the cancer have leveled out and actually increased just slightly over the blood sample taken last month. This month's M-spike is 1.3, still one of my lowest, but a little higher than last month's 1.1. The factors that would indicate a slight increase in the M-spike (and thus, the cancer), like total protiens and globulin (the type of protien where the M-spike is) all showed the same slight increase. This month's total protiens, like last's, remain in the normal range, meaning that if I were checked for a routine physical at this level I wouldn't be sent on for further testing to see if I have cancer.

I am hoping that the slight increase is due to the colds I fought and antibiotics I was on the past month. While I have no scientific basis for this hope, I also have no scientific basis against it.

In other aspects, my blood is looking much healthier. My red blood count is up almost to normal range, as are the HGB and HCT, which reflect the blood's ability to carry oxygen and iron.

Thanks for caring and praying.