Bad news

We got some bad news last week but I waited a week for more information prior to posting. Joey went to an ear, nose and throat guy last week with a lump in his neck. The doc removed a lymph node which was subsequently – this week – diagnosed as Hodgkin’s disease – a cancer of the lymph nodes. He met with an oncologist today, so we’re happy with the rapid response. Joey has several good friends and customers among the doctors at the hospital and has donated cruises there for over a year so he’s a known entity rather than just a name. His doctor is Guisseppe Palermo so he’s a blood brother. I told him to be sure to tell him Uncle Tony from Jersey City was watching over his shoulder. He likes the doctor, a Sicilian with a real life Italian accent and a good sense of humor. At the meeting today they took a bone marrow sample which he said was unpleasant – not painful but you could hear the bone crunching as they poked in. Next week they do a full body PET scan and install a port for the chemo. Although the results from both the PET scan and the bone marrow analysis will take about 2 weeks, the treatment is fixed as to type of chemo that will be used. If I understood it correctly, it’s a combination of 4 chemicals referred to as something like ABVD. I’m guessing that’s the initials for unpronounceable chemicals. That may not be totally accurate but you get the picture. He will get a treatment every two weeks with each treatment being from 2-6 hours long. That is where the results of the testing comes in – if the disease is advanced, the treatment will be towards 6 hours; shorter if it’s at an earlier stage. After 8 treatments they retest and if the results are good, that’s it. If not, 4 more treatments – that means a treatment cycle of 16-24 weeks. If the chemo gets the job done, good. If not, then radiation follows. So it’s not a given that he will get both chemo and radiation. He’ll lose his hair with the first treatment which in his case is not a big loss. The Dr. told him that the good news is that when it comes back it will be thick and curly. Nancy says he has a nice head and that he’ll look just fine with no hair.

So we’ll probably be wearing out a path between here and Cocoa for the next few months. I know there’s not a damn thing we can do but …………………
On to more pleasant news. We have a great sunflower crop. I have to give my bride credit for this one. She has bugged me for years to grow sunflowers and I have steadfastly resisted. This year she even bought the seeds so I relented and planted them alongside the corn. They did well – 7′ stalks with 8” diameter flowers. Now the flowers have peaked and the seeds are popping through. I have to do a little research to determine if you just eat them right off the flower or have to roast them or something but for sure we have a nice crop ahead of us. Thanks Nancy.

Watermelons. We’ve got half a dozen or so and they are getting close to ready. I guess. We have meetings to decide whether they’re ready or not. Lots of thumping and sniffing but no one is willing to step up to the bar and say “pick it”. The plant biologists need to develop a variety with one of those pop up things you get with turkeys that tell you when it’s done. Hell if they figured out how to grow turkeys like that, why not melons. I built a spreadsheet calculator that provides an estimated harvest date based on planting date and the number of days to harvest listed on the seed pack. According to that, July 1 is the magic day. I’d like to say my calculator is always right or even that it is consistently wrong in one direction but that’s not the case. Even so, I think in the end we’ll use that date in lieu of thumping since it will be easier to blame the computer than any human who puts forth a go.

And it’s finally started raining. Not the same big storms as the rest of the state seems to be getting but at least something has started. Last night we got a 1” downpour- the biggest in about 4 months. That sounds like a big rain but we could use one of those every day or so for a couple of months. Right now the lake is the lowest I’ve personally ever seen it so it will take a really wet season to get to anything like normal. Better this than Cedar Rapids.

One thought on “Bad news

  1. My Mom called & told me about Joey yesterday; do they have a good guess as to what stage he is? It sounds like I or II if they’re going with Chemo only.

    I looked up ABVD and the chemicals are Adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine. It sounds like there are some secondary problems that could be caused by the treatment, but they occur most when combined with Radiation:

    Let me know if there’s something I can help with.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s