Stand By Your Man (He’s Got Brain Cancer)

        My FB Song of the Day a while back was “Stand By Your Man.”  Me and Marfar played it at a home visit with my Music Therapist, the lovely Megan Peeler of Nashville, Tn. Well, my wife has done more than just stand by me; she’s gonna cure her man of brain cancer, just wait and see. 

        I believe healing has many components. They include Faith, Family, Friends, the healing power of music (esp bluegrass for us) Art and literature help us too, and of course high quality medical care is essential. My wife saw to it it every component was maximized for me. As a Doc, I well understand there are no guarantees in medicine (or much of life for that matter) I have often said I am nothing but  professional gambler who tries to sort out the odds and roll the dice in my patient’s favor with each throw. Marfar has done just that for me. Think about it. If I were a homeless man with no love, food, shelter, or transportation, who had the best Docs in the world and no way to get there… well I feel for that man. It’s hard for  him to get much of  a good hand in a cancer Rx poker game.

       By the way, I am at work on a Kindle download/pamphlet kind of essay due end of summer that will flesh out this in more detail. (It will be very inexpensive item, just enough to cover production costs) I hope it will help patients everywhere overcome fear and learn how to navigate the system to play the odds in their favor.

          I am early on in my treatment process. Last week I got to where I could get up up on my own, take my own bath, dress myself, put on my own shoes (and reach over and tie them, (without falling out!)) and walk unassisted as long as I have proper footwear and a four-pronged cane and I’m on level ground. (Stairs unassisted are still a problem). That might not sound like much, but when this thing struck me I was unable to do any of those tasks. In those few awful early days I was rendered your basic 6’3′ 205 pound invalid. It It is small progress, but has moved in the right direction. I’ve always been a tortoise. If it moves forward no matter how slow, I can get there as long as I have time.

       It is to my wife’s credit I can do any of those tasks because she handled all of them for me with good cheer to get me to this point. My only prayer at the onset of illness was that somehow God not render me a burden and that if this illness left me with residual deficits I would at least be able to help my people in some way. I already see those doors opening. I am a pretty big lug to look after, and I am so thankful to not be rendered totally helpless. She protected me, and I know would have forever, but I am thrilled the first few weeks saw enough improvement that she doesn’t have some giant overgrown problem on her hands.

        She gave me two beautiful children and a Weber signed Gibson mandolin. She saw me through every tough case, and all the Home Study programs and Board Exams. After Mom turned me over to her, my wife gave me my life as a grown-up. We got here together and we’re gonna do the same in this brain cancer gig.

        And she’s always been that way. Back in med school they had an award for “Most Promising Family Doctor.” I finished runner-up. The kid who won was a very nice fine boy who had me about 3/4 a notch in the books. We are still friends.

        Anyway, when he won my wife cried and said, “They gave away your award.”

       “Ah don’t worry hon, If I’m #1 with you nothing else matters.”

         As it turned out, a year into residency he switched into a different specialty. So, maybe over the years as a county doc I won by default anyway, sort of like the the Miss America runner-up when the winner gets a better gig and winds up as PlayBoy Center Fold.

        But my Doc gig worked out for me. I’ve loved being a county doc and look forward to some kinda comeback. The biggest factor in the equation for me was Marfar. We have been faithful to each other the whole way, and she’s gonna save my life all over again.

         I married my wife because she was pretty and fun and smart, and I thought she would give me beautiful children. She did that and more. And in addition to all that, the one time I was I was temporarily rendered helpless by a brain tumor she again came to my rescue and saved me all over again. In a way I feel like an old cur dog she found at the pound and then nursed back to health. Old dogs wind up loyal because the experience imprints their good fortune in their psyche. I don’t understand why or how humans can forget these things so quickly at times. It will never be lost on me. I am loyal to her forever, even after I wind up in Eternity, which by all accounts seems a ways off. 

        I am a strong guy, but I don’t know how I would have coped if the brain cancer had gotten after her. I’m glad it hit me instead. We’ll get through it together. These things are very hard on family, esp your spouse. so say a prayer for her today of you will please.

        We have many hopes and dreams to live for and I’ll share some of them over time. Y’all have sent many prayers and concerns and this had a lot to do with my progress also. I will never be able to thank each one of you personally, but I will not forget you and never will. You are far more important than just my readers; you are now part of my heart and soul and inspire me to write for another day.   

        I hope my Marfar can get some well-deserved sleep. If she does when I hear her stir I’ll take her a cup of coffee in bed. I think it’s the least I can do, don’t you?

         See ya,

Dr. B

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15 Comments on “Stand By Your Man (He’s Got Brain Cancer)”

  1. kcleighton Says:

    Beautiful!!! Happy Father’s Day Dr. B.

  2. Remember those 4000+ hands with a prayer in each that we are laying on you – well we are laying them on my “Ninnie” pal too. She’ll know what I’m talking about! Illness isn’t good for anyone but when it gives a person an outlook on life like you have it makes you a blessing to everyone. Thank you for sharing your journey and making us all stronger. Happy Father’s Day!

  3. Bingo Bob Rupe Says:

    Yes, Doc I do think that is the least you can do. I take Diane coffee and toast every morning, she says she loves me, my whole life is complete.

  4. Het Doc ! Gald to see that you are doing significantly better and the prognosis is good ! I enjoyed the post here, and I am certain Marfar is a Jewel ! I feel the same about my wonderful wife. The first time we met, I thought to myself “now here is a soul who loves life and the people therein”. I was right, and have prospered for the meeting and friendship. Doc…..good ol’ boys never fade away. They just change strings ! The entire Cane Creek Bluegrass Band is praying and playing for your swift and total recovery. Life is a melody….play it hard !

  5. Teresa LeMaster Says:

    I read your blogs and I laugh, I cry, and I say “thank you, Lord for this wonderful man”. You are such an inspiration to all of us. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. Prayers to you and special prayers for Marfar.

    Pancakes or scrambled eggs would be good with that coffee!! Teasing you!!!

    • drtombibey Says:


      i’m a regular guy but I was always surrounded by Jesus and a bunch of fine people. I have been a very blessed man the whole way. I’m a pretty lousy cook but I’ll take her to The Waffle House soon.

      Dr. B

  6. guitar-ed and feathered friend Says:

    What a sweet post today! Marfar is one exceptional lady. Happy Father’s Day to you. Enjoy the day. You both are always in our thoughts and prayers.

    M and J

  7. newt221 Says:

    To have someone devoted to you is a precious gift. You nave never forgotten that! To see you write about how much she means to you is very touching. She is blessed to have you and you are blessed doubly to have her. Truly God put you on the path of life together!

    • drtombibey Says:


      You are so right. I’ve never been helpless and to be rescued like that….. Me and the girl are sure enough together on a path to Eternity (just not gone from Earth anytime soon as far as I can tell.)

      Dr. B

  8. Kathy Says:

    Wonderful post. That sounds like a great love affair you two have going.

  9. Angie Simpson Says:

    Enjoyed today’s post. I read them all but don’t always comment. I am still praying for you and will pray for your sweet wife and kids. Hang in there. Jeremiah 33:3, Isaiah 40:31

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