Friday, March 30, 2007


I've been meaning to post some pictures from Bodega Bay and from my birthday but it's taken longer than I planned. I needed some help from Sarah to be able to manipulate the HTML. Anyway, here they are:

This is 90% of my family:

These are my friends from High School - unfortunately I don't have a group shot of everyone that came so were missing the wives, Sarah, Bev, Nancy, etc.

These are our friends the Stangels, the Hammonds and the Kreglows from when we worked in Benicia. We all have grown up together.

And last but not least all my neighbors came over on my birthday and surprised me with a cake.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Post Chemo Report

Well, the first day after my chemo on Monday was a more typical reaction I think. I ran a low-grade fever and was actually sick (first time since I got cancer). Napped a lot and didn’t do much. Today (Wednesday) I felt slightly better and managed to cut about ¾ of my lawn before having to rest. Slept most of the afternoon. Pump comes off tonight and I’ll be able to get a shower. Looking forward to that.

Verva has been my angel. I cannot say how much she means to me or how hard she tries to help me through this. She has a positive attitude and is a strong believer in healing by visualization. I’m very glad she walked into my parent’s kitchen in 1964.

Reminder to everyone – you may be able to avoid what I’ve been going though by getting an endoscopy. It’s painless and you don’t have to drink a gallon of liquid. It should be part of your regular checkups - especially if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux. If you haven’t had one recently, think hard on getting one soon.

One day at a time, piece of cake.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Good News

Here's a picture of my cousin, Dick, and me.

Verva and I met with Dr. Ajani yesterday (and three or four other people) and he shared the results of the cat scan from Friday.

The cancer on my liver has been significantly reduced as has the cancer on my lymph glands. The tumor is slow to respond to treatment and has slightly increased in size. The doctor is not worried about this. Verva has asked the doctor for more information.

Had we not seen significant improvement I would not have been allowed to continue in the clinical trail. As it is I’m good for two more months.

Verva and I are very pleased with these results – we believe the combination of chemo, positive attitude and the prayers and support of our family and friends will continue to whip the cancer.

On Sunday and Monday my cousin Dick and his wife Judy visited us from Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Dick is one year older than me and we spent a lot of time together when we were kids. It was great to see them. We toured the area and learned to play 4 handed cribbage. I believe the guys and the gals tied over the course of several games.

Chemo last night got started late and ended late – we got home about 11:30. Dick and Judy took off about 8:30 a.m. heading for Vicksburg, Miss. I’m going to have a quiet day.

One day at a time – piece of cake.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bodega Bay, California

Since I was computerless for a week out on the coast, I wrote three pages long hand with the intention of translating it into the blog upon our return. After looking it over I’ve decided to spare you the details of who came on what day and give you highlights.

From the kitchen of the rental you can see whales spouting and rolling in the ocean below. Who could ask for a better accompaniment to washing dishes? Bodega Bay is a healing place for Verva and me. The sea air and ocean vistas pretty well set aside any of your other troubles and concerns. My parents had a house here for many years and Katy and Sarah have been coming here since they were born. The beautiful thing about Bodega Bay is that it hasn’t been spoiled by tourists. Some things have changed considerably. The Tides Restaurant which was used in Hitchcock’s movie The Birds has gone upscale and lost much of its original character. However, next door the pink and white shop that sells salt water taffy is pretty much unchanged.

We had a total of 35 visitors over the course of our stay. They were divided up into family, high school and work. I appreciate more than I can say that these special people drove/flew to the California coast to spend time with me. I felt surrounded by support and positive thinking.

I did great on this trip, felt semi-normal most of the time and had no issues. The coast is a great place to nap, especially on a sand dune under the warmth of the sun, sheltered from the wind and surrounded by the noise of crashing waves.

Big stuff coming up – cat scan tomorrow – the first one since I started chemo. It will confirm that the chemo is working and that the cancer is being impacted. I won’t know the results until Monday and I have my fifth chemo session Monday afternoon.

Today is my 64th birthday and Verva bought me a bicycle. She says it’s better exercise than riding a lawn mower. Speaking of lawns – the good fairy that lives next door to me cut my grass and edged my lawn while I was away. Thank you, Jeff.

One day at a time – piece of cake.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chemo #4

I don’t think anything feels as good as a long hot shower after a couple days of sponge baths. When I have chemo I have to wear a metering pump that pumps one of the ingredients in over a 48 hour period. Needless to say, showering is difficult with a pump in a fanny pack.

My fourth session of chemo went real well. In preparation, on Thursday we had a great dinner and visit with Paul and Vicki who are on assignment in Hong Kong. Paul and I worked very closely together for about 6 years building stuff for ExxonMobil. It was great to see them. On Friday morning before heading downtown, I went out with my friend, Charlie, for a cruise in Galveston Bay. The weather was perfect and the bay was calm. What a great way to start my day.

No bad side effects from chemo (again). Felt better on Saturday than I did on Sunday. I think it’s the residual effect of some of the meds they give me along with the chemo drugs. Sunday was a little slower but I did get to church and the kids came over for dinner. In between, I mostly slept. I really look forward to having the kids over for dinner – it’s every Dad’s dream.

We’re flying to California on Wednesday morning. I’m not sure what will happen to the blog but I will try to make some entries at the local internet cafĂ© (if they have one). We’ll be back in town on the 21st of March for a cat scan and another round of chemo on the 26th. Chemo has been shifted to Monday so that I can enjoy the weekends with my kids.

Stay tuned and don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a while. I’ll update the blog on my return if I can’t do it while we’re out there.

One day at a time – piece of cake.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Yesterday I went over to Baytown and visited my friends and had lunch with my daughters and Peter and Rindy. It was good to see everyone and it almost made me think I should go back to work when I feel good enough. Fortunately good sense prevailed and I remain fully retired.

In the evening we had a good meeting of the Building Committee at church and worked our way through a major decision that will let us get started on detailed engineering next week. Unfortunately, I may have overdone it some because I had some issues later in the evening.

My issues involve pressure in my stomach and an inability to relieve the pressure. It’s like when you eat too much or drink too much beer and pressure builds up in your stomach. Most people just belch and relieve the pressure. I’ve never been a burper so I end up with something like the dry heaves trying to relieve the pressure. This has been happening less and less frequently but I still have incidents. I have been unable to correlate them with food or activities. They’re kind of random. The good news is now it happens ever other day instead of every 20 minutes like it was in January.

I still feel like I’m getting better every week and I look forward to my 4th chemo treatment tomorrow because it will continue the improvement.

Thank you, Geri, for the John Deere tee shirts. Perfect gift.

One day at a time – piece of cake.

Monday, March 5, 2007


I was going to make this blog a list of everyone who has e-mailed me or made a comment on my blog but when I counted the names and came up with 191 different people or couples I was overwhelmed. Many of you maintain an ongoing dialog with me and I really like that. I can’t tell you what your comments and e-mail mean to us. One thing it means is that we are not alone, that we have a large group of family and friends supporting us.

“You walk through the darkness with us, not because you are ill and have to, but because you choose to. We were drafted but you enlisted. We recognize and appreciate the difference more than words can ever say. YOU are our heroes, our support, and our reasons for fighting.” From “There’s No Place like HOPE” by Vickie Girard.

Today was a lovely day here in Texas. It started out cold but may have gotten to 70. I put six bags of fertilizer on the lawn (about 3 bags short of what I needed). Verva and I cleaned out the raised veggie beds and she got the bush bean bed ready to go. We planted some tomatoes and other things given to us by our good friend and ace gardener, Chris.

I’m still feeling pretty good. Last night I ate the biggest dinner yet without any problems and that was very encouraging. We continue to improve and move towards a more normal life.

One day at a time – piece of cake….

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Relay For Life

We had a great visit with Sam and Maryo Hammonds, our long time friends from California. We did 6 days down the Grand Canyon with them in 2005. Sam and I started working at Exxon on almost the same day in 1973. Dinner tonight with a bunch from the church and tomorrow we’re going to the theatre in Houston. We’re season ticket holders for the Alley Theatre and I haven’t felt up to it until now. Should be fun.

Bought a bunch of fertilizer today so Monday will mean more tractor time.

Feeling good, getting by.

Relay For Life

On April 27 and 28, there is an event called Relay for Life in Baytown sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The event is a fund raiser and consists of teams walking or running a track all night. There is special recognition laps for Survivors and remembrance of those lost to cancer.

Both of my daughters are participating in the relay and Verva and I will be there as well. If you’d like to contribute, their websites are:



For general information, the web site is

Thursday, March 1, 2007


This week is proceeding very nicely. Weather’s nice, I feel better than ever and we’ve had company for dinner and we are expecting visitors from California in about an hour.

One of the things I’ve done quite a bit of since I found out I had cancer (actually since I retired) is read. My reading tastes run towards entertainment. Here are the books I’ve read since January 11.

1) WorldWar: In the Balance by Harry Turtledove
Aliens invade earth during WW2

2) IWOZ by Steve Wozniak

3) Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
Old school science fiction

4) The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Sequel to Old Man’s War

5) Hawke by Ted Bell
Action story – hero’s a cross between James Bond
and Dirk Pitt.

6) Sharpe’s Eagle by Richard Cornwell
English rifleman against the French

7) Treasure of Kahn by Clive Cussler
Dirk Pitt’s latest adventure

8) Sanibel Flat by Randy Wayne White
Doc Ford adventure – entertaining

9) The Heat Islands by Randy Wayne White
Doc Ford

10) Everglades by Randy Wayne White
Doc Ford

11) Dead of Night by Randy Wayne White
Doc Ford

There are 13 books featuring this character – I’m going to read them all

12) Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane
The first shuttle astronauts

13) Aftermath by Charles Sheffield
End of the world story

14) Desert Solitaire by Edward Abby
A season in the desert as a ranger in Arches National Park

That’s it – I wouldn’t say it’s very intellectual or maybe even enlightening but I would say they’re pretty entertaining.

One day at a time - piece of cake