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Oh how I miss John Ward

Many of you supporting me will not recognize the name John Ward.  John Ward was the voice of the Tennessee Vols for twenty-five or thirty years.  He was an sports announcer legend known across the country for his creative way to verbally paint a picture with his radio voice.

I can hear him now. 25. 20. 15. 10. 5-4-3-2-1.  What did he do?  HE SCORRRRRED!

 Tom’s at the five.  He’s at the four.  He’s at the three.  Yes. What has he done? On Tuesday Tom passed the ONE MILE WALKING MILESTONE 7 days after surgery.  Yeah for ole Rocky!

Now it’s Wednesday.  He’s at the 5-4-3-2-1.  What did he do?  He took a call from Dr. Chang’s office that the pathology report WAS NEGATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!       The really important part of that is nothing in the lymph nodes.

Now I’m at the goal line.  The next play called is - cancer free up the middle! AND. HE. SCORES!!!

So on Thursday we return to the hospital clinic at 9 a.m.  Out come the two stents going to each kidney.  The  32 stainless steel staples ‘really?’ come out.  Hope there are no ouchies!

Thanks for your prayers.  Keep sending them.

Next steps in a few weeks are teaching the neobladder to pee when I SAY PEE.  And not before.

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Day two PBO / hijacking

Caution!  This site has been hijacked by dad scribe.😟 

Today, has been somewhat of a laid back day.  We slept in only as retirees can appreciate.  Do WHATEVER!

 I’ve embarked on the six treat meal plan.  Come to think of it, with all the water, hunger is not as prevalent.  But eating, well you know me.

We are really really focused on healing.  So much so that our apartment AC is out and will take two days for the replacement unit to come.  It’s now 80 degrees in here.  The option is to move I suppose, but what’s the point for a day?  I’ve heard sweating is terrific therapy.

I’ve walked again today.  Strolling the hallways of this place is pretty easy.  One meets almost no one during the day. Maybe I should start counting my steps.  Then retrace my path walking backward to count the same number of steps. 

We did go outside into the courtyard this afternoon.  Beautiful blue sky with pleasant breeze and temps.  So I hear, the bottom falls out now and we drive back to Murvle in the rain on Thursday after the appointment to remove all 32 staples and two stents from kidneys.  Don’t ask.  I have no idea if it hurts or not.

However, during this entire process, the only pain medication I’ve used is Tylenol.  Make no mistake every pain med known to mankind, I suppose, was made available to me.  But really, when they moved me to the room from recovery I was asked “what is your pain level on a scale from 1 to 10.  Still a bit groggy, I took inventory of my body, and said I have no pain.  But eventually I said circle 1-2.  Now think about this.  Thirty-two staples, two more incisions for stents, a JP port and eight hours in surgery.  Thank you who pray. Thank you.  It worked.

One last musing and reflection. I personally lean toward natural therapies rather than traditional western medicine.  On May 25 I retired from Elsevier, a company most of you have never heard of before.  It is a small company now essentially 436 years old.😂  If a pharmacist, you likely rely on Gold Standard.  Those working as attorneys or with insurance will recognize Lexis Nexis.  Doctors and nurses used our textbooks to earn their medical degrees, and they maintain their certifications through our 2000 plus journals.  New England Journal of Medical comes to mind.  And yeah, Gray’s Anatomy is Elsevier as well.  

But the company real claim to fame?  They printed Galileo’s research and findings.

So, while still employed and with access to all the company libraries, I significantly researched bladder cancer.  Nothing real popped up.  Boooo.

Yet I did learn about Nobel Prize winner Dr. Otto Warburg’s cancer research in the 30s.  He found a cause but no cure.

Another thing I learned is NO cancer can live in an alkaline environment.  What is urine and the bladder environment?  ACID.  Get your bodies in an alkaline environment.  Yes a lifestyle change for certain.

Now you know why I chose what I did, the bladder cancer gold standard.  Four months of chemo followed by removal of bladder and prostate.  I’m fortunate to have found Dr. Chang as the best of the best.

Keep on keeping on for those who pray.  I pray for courage to step into tomorrow.
Love to all.


First day post-breakout

Monday in the apartment was a happy sad day.  We said fairwell to Leah when Mr. Uber arrived to shuttle her to the airport.  So, now anyone following this site gets a huge dose of reality with updates.  No more creative easy to read reports.  As Dragnet star Jack Webb used to say, “just the facts, ma’am”.
The really good part of the day was a visit from Jack and Connie Jackson, driving all the way from Murvle.  We had a wonderful visit and lunch with really good friends.

Babe and I have settled in to life outside the hospital, but still in arm’s reach to Vandy if something unexpected pops up.  So far all continues on the same blessed trajectory.  Thank all of you for your prayers. They’ve worked, so don’t stop.

We have an appointment with Dr. Chang Thursday at 9 to remove staples and stents.  In reality it means we get in at 10-10:30 and see Wilson an intern.  Dr. Chang is out of the country likely on a speaking engagement about his world renowned bladder reconstruction procedure.  He does good work.  Assuming all goes well, we leave for home.  Blessed home!  Babe is in first chair; I’ll be the navigator out of Nashville.

Also, Thursday is the scheduled day the path report should be available.  We expect cancer to be present in the bladder and prostate but they’re gone.  All reports have been positive, via visual inspection and CT scan, relating to the removed lymph glands nearby.  One day and one step at a time.  I for one, expect to freely use the words, “cancer survivor”.

On a humorous note, just before rolling into surgery, I was asked if I wanted to donate removed human parts, assuming they are, to research with no personally identifiable track back to me. Just age, sex, statement of health etc.  I suppose the team was immediately shocked when I responded, “no I’d like to take them home with me in a jar.”  It did lighten the moment.

I’m doing well, feeling great, very thankful for all the prayers.  If anyone ever asks you, does prayer really work, just tell them hell yeah.  Then send them to me.

Last night, my iWatch informed me I had walked 0.9 miles.  That’s two trips through the hallways here, and whatever movement inside our apartment. What’s left but breaking the magical mile barrier, right?  

My protocol is eight 8 ounce glasses of water daily.  Gatorade, coffee, soft drinks etc don’t count; try it!!!  Three squares are also off the table, instead it is determined that 6 smaller meals are preferred.  Therefore, breakfast this morning was a fruit smoothie Babe and I shared.  We will surprise ourselves with brunch, but maybe, for me anyway, that will be a scrumptious can of Ensure.  I believe it is an ‘age’ thing.

So, today-day two PBO (post break-out), the day is reported to be the nicest of the week.  I want to really break out and, assuming the chair one and navigator system works as planned, a trip to the Parthenon sounds really tremendous to me.  Maybe another stop or two can be integrated, we’ll see.

I always receive a Quote of the Day on my phone.  The quote for today ‘really’ was - “The elevator to success is out of order.  You’ll have to use the stairs . . . One step at a time.  - Joe Girard. 

Oh scribe Leah, how we all miss you.


Bustin' outta jail!

We are checking out of here in an hour or so. 😀 Dad is dressed (no more green gowns and footie socks!) and disconnected from the many IVs and tubes/bags that have been hanging off of him since the surgery. It makes my heart sing to see him looking as if nothing ever happened. He will have to keep the catheter for a few weeks, but they will remove the staples and stents on Thursday. We should also have the biopsy results (to see if the cancer spread) by Thursday. Assuming everything is still going according to plan, Mom and Dad should be back in Maryville that same day or the next. I'm flying home tomorrow...I'm sad to leave them, but I feel really good about how I'm leaving them. 

The resident doc even said she'd like to keep Dad around as an example of how the perfect neo-bladder surgery/recovery should go. Thank you again for all the thoughts and prayers...you are all amazing friends/family members. 



Dad was up and at 'em this morning after a much better night of rest. He freshened up and shaved, and we went for a walk around the floor. He's supposed to start soft solid foods like oatmeal and thicker soups today. His digestive system is back on line, and he's starting to feel hunger, etc. 

Dr. Chang's residents came by, and the senior resident told Dad that he was doing better than any neo-bladder recipient patient she'd ever seen! 😁 She also said he has achieved all of their milestones, so they're still projecting he can check out tomorrow if he wants to (they're not pushing him out the door if he's not ready, though). Dad did mention to her that he didn't want to rush so as to avoid any infections or complications, and she explained that since this is such a big surgery, roughly 50 percent of patients do encounter some setbacks. However, they typically happen two or three weeks after, and it is incredibly difficult to predict who will be affected and how it will manifest. In other words, keeping him at the hospital an extra day or two wouldn't exactly mitigate that risk, and they would not let him leave if they didn't think he was ready. Mom and Dad are planning to stay at the apartment in Nashville for several more days after leaving the hospital to see how things go. 

When I left to pick Mom up from the apartment, Dad was sitting up in his chair, and the nurses were coming in to do their thing. Mom seemed MUCH more rested than when I dropped her off last night. She definitely needed to recharge her batteries. There's something about being in the hospital that just drains you. Plus, while we are overwhelmingly relieved, there are still ups and downs that are emotionally draining. I'm back at the apartment to shower and refresh, and as I write this, I just heard from Mom that he is seeping from his stent a little bit. 😕 While I don't think that's any reason to be alarmed, we are not entirely out of the woods yet.

Please keep sending prayers and good vibes for the following:
  1. That Dad is not part of the unfortunate 50 percent who experience an infection or major setback.
  2. That the pathology results come back clear (and hopefully sooner than later). Dr. Chang sent off everything he took out, just to be safe. 
Thanks again for all the kind messages!

Leah and fam



Today has been a little more challenging, especially since Dad didn't rest well last night. Starting at 6 a.m., it has been Grand Central Station with doctors and nurses and housekeeping and training professionals and one visitor. He's having more soreness and pain today. The nurse said the first day is the "honeymoon," and then reality starts to set in on day two. Dad is back to three laps, two-three times per day, so we don't repeat yesterday's setback. 

I'm staying at the hospital tonight so Mom can get a good sleep, and I told Dad I would slather him with essential oils if necessary. The nurses are planning to give him melatonin as well.

Starting today, he's having his first "clear liquid" meals (coffee, juice, jello, broth), and they're allowing him a lot more water. This makes him happy because he drinks a lot of water regularly, and the pain medicine makes him thirstier than usual.

A lady came to train them on irrigation and catheters and whatnot, and it's all a little overwhelming right now, especially since they don't feel rested. Fingers crossed things become clearer before he gets discharged; they're saying the absolute earliest would be Sunday.

We'll keep you posted. Have a great weekend, everyone!


Baby steps

Dad is still doing great by all accounts! However, he walked another 10 laps in the early afternoon, and we think he overdid it a smidge. His pain is still less than anticipated, but the soreness is starting to set in. He had some bleeding as well, and he was pretty snoozy as the day progressed. However, I just read that could also be a side effect of the Gabapentin, the painkiller they have him on.

We've been reading him everyone's comments, and they mean so much to all of us, but especially Dad. You're playing a huge part in keeping his spirits high! I just read this quote on Kris Carr's Instagram ad for her Healing Cancer World Summit, and I thought I'd share:

"Having love and support in your life can literally modify the way your genes behave down to how your cells function."

-Lorenzo Cohen, PH.D.

Have a great night! 💜


Speaking of overachievers...

Dad is doing GREAT! He looks great...normal except for a little bedhead! 😂 He rested well last night. No more double-vision...they attributed that to the Lidocaine, so they have him on some other pain pill. Whatever it is, he's comfortable AND coherent. He's been up walking laps...two early this morning, and then he did five more around 9:30 (they only asked for three)! He brushed his teeth and is sitting up in the chair and even had a little trip to the bathroom (?!). By all accounts, he is hitting milestones early.

In addition, Dr. Chang came by this morning and said he couldn't have asked for a better surgery. We are so pleased.

Mom is back at the apartment resting and refreshing. I'm keeping Dad company at the hospital. He's delightful company, as always. 

Dad wanted me to share that he appreciates all the prayers and thoughts. He says your support made a difference!