Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cancer Update, Dec. 2011

I had my regular visit with the cancer doc this afternoon. The cancer is continuing to show the same rate of very slow, but consistent, growth that it has demonstrated since discontinuing chemotherapy 18 months ago. The doctor knows and concurs with my treatment goals - to stay on my feet and working for as long as possible - so the visit was fairly short and amicable.

This approach of treating, but not attempting to eradicate, the cancer and then allowing the body to recuperate before fighting the cancer again, runs counter to literature published by pharmaceutical companies, but is hailed by some doctors and by many patients with myeloma and other forms of incurable cancer. Attending the funeral last week of a friend who died from myeloma was a somber, but not daunting, reminder of the high stakes being played here.

At current rate of cancer increase, my assessment (not the doc's) is that I should be able to continue to stay off of chemotherapy throughout 2012, but may likely have to resume at the start of 2013.

Thanks for your friendship, caring, encouragement and prayers. To say they mean a lot is a tremendous understatement.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Labor Day 2011

Last Monday, we packed 4 grandkids into a rented mini-van and drove 545 miles from Peoria, IL, to Dutch Fred Lake, MI, on Michigan's upper penisula. Check it out on google earth. We left 100+ degree temps in Dallas on Friday, 9/2, and it was 32 degrees at the cabin on Monday evening, 9/5. Dispite the apparent outhouse in the photo, we did have indoor facilities.
The cabin was 6.5 miles off the paved road down a dirt "road." Though the lake and surrounding land were public, we saw no other people on the lake or the 6.5 miles of dirt road for the week we were there. No electricity, cell phone coverage, television, internet, etc. We ran a generator off and on for a few hours each day, as needed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rangers 11, Angels 7

Rangers 11, Angels 7, and Daryl was there, along with Carol and bunch of other friends and 38,000+ other Ranger fans.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This is an update

I am ashamed that I have had so many fine adventures the last few months, and have done so little blogging other than cancer updates. In May, we went to Louisville and saw my son receive his doctorate from Southern Baptist Seminary. In June, I went on a mission trip to teach in Kenya for a couple of weeks. Next month, we take grandkids on an adventure trip to a cabin on Michigan's upper peninsula. Plus, I have started a new job with the same employer, managing materials testing technicians in our company's Dallas (rather than Arlington) office. Someday, I hope to blog about a lot of this and post some neat pictures, but until then, perhaps you can see them on facebook.

It seems hard to call it an update when it is the same news. Once again, the cancer-indicating M-spike increased by 0.1 over the past 2 months. It is now 1.1, up from 0.3 in May of 2010. What is news is that the cancer doc, Carol and I have set a number limit of 2.0 to 2.5, barring any sudden increases, before I resume chemotherapy. At the rate I am going, it could be 1.5 to 2.5 years before I resume chemo. This is consistent with advice Carol and I received in private conversations with leading myeloma experts at a conference we attended a few weekends ago, although it runs somewhat counter with conventional means of treating this disease. This is (hopefully) a marathon, and not a sprint.

As the cancer doc began yesterday to once again discuss the pros and cons of various treatment options, and how it all depended on your goals in treatment, I interrupted him and told him plainly, "My goal is to stay on my feet and working for as long as possible." He paused, then said quietly, "That is exactly what I would do," and we went on with the course set.

Thanks to all for the love, prayers and concern.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cancer Update 6/6/11

Hard to believe it has been 4/30 since I wrote a blog. It's certainly not due to a dearth of things about which to write; probably due to life being so busy there's been no time to write! Among the fun things going on was a week in Louisville, Kentucky, with Daniel and his family, culminating in watching Daniel receive his doctorate from Southern Seminary. Lots of fun times and lots of good pictures and maybe someday I can write some blogs about it, but until then, the Facebook postings will have to suffice.

Anyway, I went to see the cancer doctor today, and the news is the same as the last few postings (kind of like a Dallas weather forecast in the summertime - almost always the same). The cancer is slowly increasing, and the doctor anguishes over when to resume chemotherapy - a little increase doesn't warrant resumption, but have many little increases does it take...? Regardless, we will not resume chemotherapy now, particularly with the tirp to Kenya coming up, and will check everything again in two months.

By the way, this is pretty cool and high tech. I am sitting here in the infusion room, wirelessly connected to the internet via my new netbook, getting to redeem some of this infusion time with writing and other work. Now, if they can only come up with a wireless IV, maybe even one I could download over the internet...

Thanks, as always, for the love, prayers and concern.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Morning at the Zoo.

Saturday morning at the Fort Worth zoo with Carol, Emily, Alyssa and Brooke, 4/30/2011.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt 2011

Okay, Easter eggs have nothing to do with the resurection of Jesus Christ, but we had a fun time with the local grand daugthers after church and before lunch on Sunday.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anniversary Passed

Three days ago, on Good Friday, marked a milestone for me of being one year off of chemotherapy. On 4/22/2010, I completed cycle # 14 of Revlimid, which essentially marked 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy. Yay-rah!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Passport, Received

On Saturday, 4/16, the mailman delivered to me my passport. Two and a half weeks ago, I applied for it, thinking Carol and I would take some of our grandchildren on a brief excursion to Canada this summer. Then, the opportunity came for the trip to Kenya, and the Canada trip got re-scheduled to later in the year, perhaps when it will be cooler.

Anyway, if you received your passport by mail, did you have to again swear your allegiance to the United States, and run around the mail truck with your shirt off, flapping your arms and making a sound like an eagle, and singing"My Country, 'Tis of Thee," (all four verses), or did my postman take me for a ride?

Burleson Relay for Life, 4/15/2011

On Friday evening, 4/15, Carol and I attended the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Burleson, Texas. Carol did her duties as a health inspector checking the food booths, then we stayed for a portion of the evening festivities. As a cancer patient, I wore a purple tee-shirt. As my care-giver, Carol wore an orange one. This relatively small, hard-working community just south of Fort Worth raises over a quarter a million dollars annually for cancer research at this event.

Carol got "arrested" and I had to bail her out of the fund-raising "jail." It's impressive the wonderful relationship she has with the community. How many restaurant owners say to their health inspector (sincerely), "Now you come see us real soon, ya hear?"

The president of their chamber of commerce has also battled cancer. I met him at another community event recently, and promised him I would come and walk the "survivor lap" around the track at this event, if I could walk it with him, and not by myself. I went, and we both kept our promise, and had a good time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kenya, Here I Come

I want to let you know that I am planning a 2-3 week to Kenya this June. I will be going with Charlie Yates, another elder from our church, and Dallas Turner, a missionary our church supports. The purpose of the trip will be to teach local pastors, check on our sister church, and encourage an indigenous missionary that our church supports. It will be 30 years precisely this June since I have been to Africa, and I am looking forward to it very much. The last time was under much more rugged conditions, and on the opposite side of the continent, in French-speaking west Africa, just on the southern fringes of the Sahara Desert.

A Quick Cancer Update

Just a quick update on my visit to the cancer doc a couple of days ago. I had already received tests results from blood samples taken last week, so knew that the cancer was continuing to increase, but I did not believe it was to the point where chemotherapy needed to be resumed. Thankfully, he concurred. He described the cancer as "smoldering." It is there, increasing, and will need to be addressed someday, but not necessarily right now. Let's give my body a chance to build up some more strength before attacking it and the cancer again, and especially not have my immune system compromised for a trip I am planning overseas for this June. Unless there is a radical change, the earliest I would resume chemotherapy will be July 1. As always, thanks for your prayers, love and concern.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Truly Courageous Individul

I mourn th
e passing of Geraldine Ferraro, 1935 - 2011, and pay tribute to her as a truly courageous individual. Ms. Ferraro battled multiple myeloma (cancer in the bone marrow) for more than 12 years.

She also participated in a clinical trial for a new drug called Revlimid. Typically, people in clinical trials don't know if they are part of the group being given some new drug that may fight the cancer or may give them some horrible side effects, or if they are a part of the "control group," being given a blank pill with no medical properties whatsoever. These are truly courageous individuals on the front edge of fighting cancer.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Pics

On a couple of recent Saturday mornings, we got to have our local granddaughters over to the house for a while. They enjoyed the sheer delights of chasing bubbles, running around and around a tree, and playing in spring flowers. We enjoyed the sheer delights of grandchildren.

(Oh, and by the way, the last of the winter leaves in the front yard got raked up right after the girls left).


On March 1 and 2, I had to perform some 24-hour composite sampling and monitoring of the effluent from a client's plant near Bowie, Texas. Since all of my technicians were busy with other assignments, I took the job myself. Here's me on the west Texas prairie, near the end of the 24-hour shift (altogether, more like 36 hours because I had to get there, get set up, then rush the samples to a lab on the northeast side of Dallas). And here is the receiving creek downstream of my client's plant. The plant discharge proved to be clean, and the ducks (in flight) sure don't seem to mind it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cancer Update 2/15/11

Just a quick update, because many of you are so faithful to ask about how things are going with me. Last week I had a blood sample taken, then went to see the cancer doc yesterday. In the 2 and 1/2 months since my last check-up, the cancer has increased slightly, but is still low enough to not warrant resuming the chemo therapy. In fact, if I were to go in for a routine physical exam today, there would not be sufficient cancer to show up and send me on for further examination.

Overall, I feel fine most days, and just have to call it quits on some evening activities and get some rest. Every week that goes by off of the chemo, I am feeling better and stronger. I have been swimming 4 km (2.5 miles) per week, and hope to swim 5 km (3 miles) this week. I am also trying some new things to deal with lingering pain in the feet from past chemo treatments, and it seems to be going well.

Thanks for caring and praying. I am grateful to God for the 8.5 months I have been off of chemo, and am also grateful that I do not have to resume it for at least a while.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Pics

Here are some winter pictures of some grandkids that my daughters-in-law have posted recently.

In Texas, she says "COLD!"

Illinois Bennetts on skis.

Auggie the Eagle!

Safe and warm, mostly.

This year for our anniversary (#35) Carol bought me a pole mounted chain saw. It is cool, and getting some dead branches down from the front yard is an added benefit. Here's me with my truck parked in my neighbor's yard to reach and cut down one of her dead branches.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This year, TEAM Consultants, the company where I work, put together a calendar for use in what limited marketing we do. All the work was done in house. Selecting photos and doing all the design from scratch was done in a single day. Production took several days with the secretary working this in between other assignments. Here are the photos we selected, and it shows some the work we do / services we offer. Our letterhead and business cards read, "Geotechnical / Environmental / Construction Materials Testing."