Category Archives: medical news

Congressman: top-tier boor

Ronny Jackson has a bottomless pit from which he draws his boorishness and his uncanny ability to make an utter ass of himself.

The two-term congressman from the Texas Panhandle — a former White House physician to two presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — says President Biden’s doc is engaging in a “cover-up” of Biden’s actual health.

Jackson said — yet once again — that Biden must take a cognitive exam to prove he is mentally fit to run the nation. President Biden recently underwent a physical exam and was deemed fit and able to govern.

That ain’t good enough for the Republican fire-breather, Jackson. He continues to diagnose the president from a great distance, having never seen his medical history or providing a shred of evidence to back up the defamatory comments he makes about the commander in chief.

I just wish Ronny Jackson would shut his pie hole. That won’t happen. I just have to get this demand off my chest.

I also want to admonish my former Texas Panhandle neighbors and friends — many of whom voted for this dipsh** — for the mistake they made in sending him to Congress.

No one is alone

Those who have been following my recent journey through a medical challenge, through anxiety and now through grief will understand what I am about to write on this blog post.

It is that the passing of my dear bride, Kathy Anne, to cancer has shattered my heart into a million pieces. Maybe more. The diagnosis of malignant brain cancer came on Dec. 26 and her struggle ended just this past Friday.

We had reason to hope for a positive outcome. Then it became, well, tragic.

What I am learning through my grief is something that I have known intellectually for as long as I have been able to process such things. Which is that I am far from the only person who has lost someone so dear to me to a merciless killer such as cancer.

We started our life together more than 51 years ago. We chose each other to be our partners in life through every peak and valley that our life would confront. We aren’t the first couple to make that pledge. We won’t be the last.

I have to remind myself of that undeniable fact as I grapple with my own grief. I have to tell myself — and I have been doing so frequently in the past 48 or so hours — that I am truly not alone in this struggle.

As near as I can tell, that means this level of grief and sorrow has been with humankind since the very beginning … of time.

My word of advice, therefore, to others who will endure the heartache I am feeling at this moment is that you, too, should keep in mind that if others can get through this unbearable pain, then so can you.

My pain endures, but so will I eventually find the light at the end of this dark journey.

Love is overpowering

I feel a compelling need at this moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who have reached out to my bride and me in this most challenging time in our life.

My goodness, the outreach has come from many quarters, some of them I didn’t expect. Just today, a neighbor approached my son and me as we were walking toward our home in Princeton. She asked, “Where is your wife? I have missed seeing her.” I told her what you already know, that she is in the hospital recovering from a setback she suffered the other morning when she was stricken by a seizure.

My neighbor started crying while offering her prayers.

We continue to look forward to her beginning her treatment for cancer, which will come when the top-notch medical staff at Medical City/McKinney gets her seizures “under control.”

The love my family and I are feeling has been overpowering and, of course, so very welcome. It is coming from former colleagues of mine and of my wife, people I know only through some vague social media connection, from actual friends of both my bride and me and from total strangers.

This outreach helps buttress my belief in the general goodness of humanity.

As for those who have reached out and who have extended their hope for a positive outcome — which my family and I embrace — I hope they see this brief blog post and know my thanks to them comes from my overflowing heart.

My gratitude extends far beyond any measure.

Recovery isn’t always smooth

Well, today my wife and I received a stunning lesson about life and the journey one must take to full recovery.

It is that the journey is full of unpleasant surprises. One of them arrived this morning with full force. We were told it was possible that it could happen and today it did: my wife suffered a seizure that rendered her incapacitated.

She is back in the hospital. Back in the intensive care unit among those who cared for her in late December after she underwent surgery to remove a tumor from her brain. She is being treated by the best medical team I have ever witnessed.

We see this is as a bump in the road. Radiation and chemotherapy await. First, though, she must regain the strength she already had gotten back after her surgery. Knowing this woman as well as I do, I am convinced that her constitution will compel her to regain that strength.

Our journey will continue.

Reconnecting is so rewarding

We returned to a place we called home for more than two decades and — if you’ll pardon the cliche — had the time of our lives reconnecting with some dear friends we continue to miss.

Our visit to Amarillo’s primary mission was to wish our son a happy birthday. We were able to do so. But along the way, as he was working during the day, we caught up with a man who helped pastor us on our faith journey and then visited with a dear friend of my bride and her husband.

Oh, and then — at dinner — we reconnected with another good friend who happens to have become friends with our son.

Not bad … you know?

To be clear, we have many more friends in the Amarillo we were unable to see. Our time back was too brief to visit everyone we know and love. We had to scurry back to our home in Princeton, where treatment for my bride’s medical challenge awaits.

That is what we have done.

This quick-hit trip back to the High Plains, though, will be one for the books.

My wife and her dear friend had lost contact in recent times. They hugged and reminisced about the old days; my wife got her pal caught up on her current medical challenge. As we have heard throughout this trying episode, my bride has found her way onto many prayer lists.

Our pastor friend has been in his current job for 33 years. He is good at what he does, which is that he serves as “outreach” pastor at the church we attended in downtown Amarillo during the time we lived there. He, too, has become a dear friend over that time and we were able to catch up with his bustling family’s activities.

The doctor who insisted that my wife make this trip — even if it would interfere with her cancer treatment — appears to have been spot on … that she would get as much out of this journey from the Metroplex to the High Plains as any treatment she would receive.

He is correct. The reconnection had a restorative value that I will be hard-pressed to define.

On the road … safely

I am delighted to report that my bride and I drove 360 (or so) miles from Princeton, Texas to Amarillo.

Furthermore, I am even more delighted to report that there was nothing out of the ordinary occurring on that trek. Why gloat about that? Because my dear wife is recovering from brain surgery and I have been sharing the start of her journey back to good health with you on this blog.

Our son, who lives in Amarillo, is going to mark a landmark birthday very soon. We are thrilled to be able to help him celebrate.

Indeed, we had planned to make this trip even if her treatments for cancer had begun. The rehab doctor had all but insisted we make the trip even if her radiation and chemotherapy had begun. “She’ll get as much good from that trip as she would from the treatment,” he told us.

The treatment hasn’t yet commenced. It will begin soon … I hope.

She continues to show remarkable improvement in her strength, equilibrium and coordination as she continues to recover from the four-plus-hour procedure to remove a cancerous tumor.

We’ll enjoy our time with our son then skedaddle back to Collin County, where we will continue to prepare for the next leg on our journey.

She makes me so very proud.

Team is ready for fight

My wife’s medical challenge is being met with a stellar team of doctors and I want to sing their praises in this brief post.

You know about the tumor the surgeon dug out of her brain two days after Christmas. It was cancerous. He sent the tissue sample off to be tested, then it went to the Mayo Clinic — yes, that Mayor Clinic — for further analysis; we have yet to hear back from the brainiacs in Rochester, Minn.

But we now have a team of oncologists assembled here in North Texas and they assure us they are ready to wage all-out war against the tumor that remains inside her brain.

We have a medical oncologist who will administer the chemotherapy treatment, which will come in pill form. Then there is the radiation oncologist who will develop the strategy to burn the daylights out of what’s left of the tumor. We also have a neuro-oncologist who will oversee the chemo and radiation treatments.

The past few days have been hectic as we have visited doctors throughout McKinney and Plano. To be brutally honest, my head at times feels as though it will explode. We are seeking to process a lot of information as we await the final pathology report on the tissue being analyzed.

Then the radiation will commence simultaneously with the chemo pills my bride will consume daily.

There will be more MRIs, CAT scans and seemingly countless other tests to take along the way. I’ll be candid about one more point: My lovely bride is as ready to commence this fight as the team of docs that is surrounding her.

I have never been as proud of her over the course of our nearly 52 years together as I am at this moment.

She is ready for the fight.

Her independent streak is alive and well!

Pssst … I want to let you in on a little secret, so here goes.

The therapists at Medical City/McKinney (Texas) Hospital prepared me thoroughly to be at my wife’s side every step on her recovery from brain surgery. She came home early this week, and I was ready, willing and oh, so very able to be there as she took her baby steps back to full speed.

The secret? She doesn’t need me to be there to the extent the therapists had prepared me.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I still flinch and get the nervous jerks when she gets up to walk from one room to another in our house. She insists that she’s doing just fine. I believe her. I do not, though, want to get complacent about it … you know?

The surgery that the doctor performed to remove part of a cancerous tumor was successful in this important regard: It restored her balance and her ability to walk without the constant fear of falling. It was the series of falls she took that prompted our son and daughter-in-law to insist that she visit the hospital ER the day after Christmas.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Now the rest of the journey is about to begin. We are seeing doctors and are getting a full rundown of what lies ahead for my bride.

She fancies herself as an independent sort, and she is all of that. What I am learning in real time is that not even the kind of surgery she endured will change that aspect of her character.

She is truly amazing.

Now comes the next leg

Well, we now have arrived at the starting gate for the next leg of our amazing journey through life.

My cherished bride is home with where she belongs after spending three weeks in acute care. The Medical City/McKinney (Texas) emergency room team found a mass in her brain, the surgeon cut most of it out, the labs determined it is cancerous, she spent some time in ICU, then she went to rehab.

Now she is home to be with Toby the Puppy and yours truly.

Treatment for the disease they found will commence in a few days. I just have been utterly amazed, astonished and will be grateful for as long as I live for the care she received at all levels … from the ER, to ICU, to rehab.

I realize they are just “doing their job.” I realize they are trained and instructed to be nice to patients and to not let the stress of their jobs show on their smiling faces.

However, when you’re on the receiving end of that kindness and compassion — at least it’s true in my case — you might feel the need to offer serious shout-outs to the medical pros who tend to your loved one’s needs.

They answered the call.

Now comes the next step in our challenging journey through the marvelous life we are forging together. I believe we are ready.

They’re like family … almost

I didn’t think it was possible to grow attached to a team of medical professionals who would answer the call to care for my bride.

But I have … become quite fond of the men and women who have worked tirelessly at Medical City/McKinney to assist her as she begins her recovery from brain surgery.

I will declare that I likely will shed a tear or three in a couple of days when my wife leaves their care and comes home to Princeton, Texas — to Toby the Puppy and me.

My wife told me something today as well that softens me up for the emotional goodbye that awaits. She said the nurses told her they often cry when patients leave. They shed tears when their favorite patients depart their care and venture out to begin their own journeys back to recovery.

I suppose I need to share with you this bit of intel: My dear bride has become a favorite among the nurses, techs, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who have cared for her. She doesn’t ask for much from them, as she knows how hard they work, given her long-ago experience working at an acute care hospital in our hometown of Portland, Ore.

That was then. The here and now is about to bring us a flood of emotion as we depart their care and venture into the next challenging chapter of our long life together.

I have to get ready for this.