Posted tagged ‘brain tumor treatment’

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

June 19, 2011

        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


Tough Guys and Masked Men

June 12, 2011

        The first week of Rad Onc Rx was great. They treated me better than a long-lost brother and the prodigal son; the care far exceeded excellent.

         I must give you some back story to prepare you for today’s post. And one more thing. This piece is classic physician bluegrass fiction. It shows the truth but tells no facts in order to protect privacy.

         First off, let me tell you I was never a tough guy. I was OK in basketball and baseball, and had a little touch for golf, but wasn’t much at football. One time I broke a boy’s arm and I wanted to set it. The Coach was not impressed. I just had zero killer instinct and when they tried to beat it into me I’d just laugh, and they finally gave up. (it mad some of ’em mad they couldn’t break me) But, But I was smart enough to compensate for my weaknesses and by instinct surrounded myself with tough guys. Barry Graylord was a farm raised West Virgina mountain boy. When he  moved to Harvey County I became his first pal. We met shooting hoops on Chestnut Street. If he hadn’t broken his femur in his senior year of high school football, I think he’d have become a catcher for the Braves. They were scouting him, but the injury cost him about a half step on his first base jump.

         When I set up medical shop one of my first patients was a bearded fifteen year old fast-picking banjo kid named Moose Dooley. He rode his bike to the office, announced he’d graduated from the Children’s Clinic, and wanted to be  a patient at the new office as he now needed a Board Certified Family Doc for his Medical Home. Bright kid, huh? He was already on the rasslin’ team and a became a star Lineman for the Harvey High Mad Hornet State Champion football team.  We became instant picking buddies and he and Graylord soon became my dynamic duo personal body guards. The only game I could handle them in (or at least could before this illness) was golf. They are tough to this day.

         So, this story will not surprise you. On day two of treatment, two burly men showed up at Rad Oncology. “We are here to see Dr. B.”

        “Excuse me sirs, do you have proper identification?”

         “Tell him its the Masked Brothers. He’ll understand.” Moose then handed her a paper. “Here is our signed HIPAA form if you gotta be formal about it. He won’t sweat the formalities.”

        “So we’ve learned.”

         SHe looked it over. “OK. Your role?”

         “Personal bodyguards. You can send Security to Hardees. Here are the rules in Harvey County. They hold just as true here in the home of Earl Scruggs. “You don’t tug on Superman cape; you don’t spit in the wind, you on’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim. But above all, no one, and I mean no one, messes with Dr. B, and sure as hell ain’t no one gonna take that Bolo mask off him. Anyone tries to touch him, we take over. He never had enough meanness in him; that’s our job. And now he is weakened state. We will protect him at all costs.”

        “Can you handle it?”

        “Ma’am, we whupped Haystack Calhoun and The Kentuckians. We even kicked good guy Johnny Weaver’s a^^ one time when it was indicated. We were undefeated. No one took the mask off us. See that little man in the cage with the cane and the chair? Name’s Governor Homer O’Dell. He started with us as a Colonel and moved up the ranks.”

      One nurse appeared she perhaps might be older than 37. She moved over to take a look. “Hey, I used to watch World Wide Wrestling reruns after the Fred Kirby Little Rascals show. You guys are a but more pudgy than what I recall, but by chance are you the Bolo Brothers?”

       “Ma’am, if anyone demands an answer to that question, we are not allowed to answer but are honor bound to put the Eagle Claw hold on that individual.”

        “Would it kill me?”

         “We’d stop short of that but it’d make you wish you were dead. We seek no trouble though. Follow our rules and there will be no violence. The mask never came off us and no one shall remove the mask off Dr. B until approved by Dr. Angel H. Maddux.”

        ” Yes sirs, I appreciate your assistance. You are welcome in our institution any time.”

        The masked men handed her a card. “We are at your beck and call.”

         Moose turned to Graylord. Hey pal, better let Homer out of his cage. The way he’s flailing away with that cane he looks like an octopus trying to break his way out of a phone booth.”

“Got it.”

“Dr. B, you ok?”

(From behind the mask) “All cool guys, and feel even better with you on my team. I never was a tough guy.”

Yeah you were Doc. You’ve got a tough brain and the good sense to surround yourself with all the right people at every turn. You were always there for us and we’re with ya all the way.”

I have the best family and friends in the history of the world, and they are a major part of my hope for a cure.

Dr. B

The The Soft Hearted Tough Love Modified Military Music Therapy Intellectual Brain Tumor Cure Plan

May 31, 2011

        Ok guys, I have treatable brain tumor. It was diagnosed in the first seven days of symptoms. We have a plan.

        I have great docs and nurses and access to the most modern treatment on Earth. There are documented cures of my disease, and not just sporadic ones. But that is only the start.

       I have faith. I My only prayer from the start was God would clear a path for me to serve my people even if my capacity was changed in some way. He has told me says He is not through with me yet. I believe Him.

         I have the best wife in the world. Somehow Charlie Brown got lucky and married the little red-haired girl and never looked back. She curls up next to me and drops my blood pressure twenty points. Who needs medicine with a woman like that?

        My boy has me outfitted with his basic training Camel Back so his mama doesn’t have to follow me all over the house to get my water in me. He’s the tough love part, you can bounce a nickel off his chest or bed either one. “You drinking your water, sir?”

        “Yes sir! I salute my hero. You can count on me sir!

         He hands me a piece of paper. If you hair starts to fall out, here’s man for a class high and tight. I recommend him.”

        “Yes sir, sir.”

        I sent my boy home with my Country Telecaster and an amp. I can’t play it right now; too heavy and a little loud for a few weeks. He played “Sweet Home Alabama” and that baby kicked up a storm in the womb. We’re bluegrass, but we love classic county too. Another musician on the way!

        My daughter is a double major in the Intellectual component of the Brain Cancer War, Masters in both Social Work and Public Health. She grew up with my love of books. She handles all my paperwork. My close vision is off a little right now, so she reads it all and I sign.

        Then there is my extended bluegrass family. God Bless Darin and Brooke Aldridge and Wayne and Kristin Scott Benson. They all came to visit Sunday and we laid down a rough track of “Amazing Grace” on the back porch. It has a few rough spots ’cause I was the goofy band director, so any errors you hear are me. I plan to use it as is as the opening track to the mando duet CD Darin and I had planned this fall. Let the healing begin!

        And I check in with my personal Music Therapist, sweet little Megan Peeler of Nashville every few days and she cheers me on. She’s my little country music daughter.

        We have named the tumor “Long Gone” after the LRB song. Sammy, whenever you play it know you are part of healing old Doc. And folks, if you ever played a note of this music you helped me make it in my world, be it Sam getting me to howl at the moon when a favorite patient died instead of curling up in the grave with my pal, or Bill Monroe’s “Kentucky Waltz” letting an awkward two left-footed boy slow dance with the prettiest girl in Harvey County. (My wife)

        And thanks to all my blog pals, esp Uncle Ted and Aunt Irene, The bluegrass Blog and Cindy Lou for spreading the word and keeping the faith. Concern is fine and I sure need the prayers, but don’t feel sorry for me. Let’s save that for those who do not have my resources and are somewhat defenseless, like those strong little MACC children who are already my little heroes. If they can be brave surely an old knot like me who has already had a full life no matter what happens can do the same. Lets say a pray for them today. Pray for my Mom and Dad too. They are elderly and also on the warpath for my rescue with food and supplies. They don’t need this. Pray it doesn’t hurt them too much.

        Love you all. Together, you made my life. I God tells me Eternity is still a ways off for me but I will never forget you for all time.

        Sorry for typos, will clean up when the light is better.

Dr. B