click to see Ibrutinib article

Several of you wrote to inquire about Wally’s CLL and I wrote back to you. More may be wondering but didn’t want to ask, so here’s the update:

HE’s DOING GREAT! The clinical trial he qualified for in 2012 turned out to be a winner. I referred to it early on as ‘the PCI trial.’ It was later given its grown-up name, Ibrutinib. The Daily Mail has an article about it, “Doctors Hail Drug that Can Turn Off Cancer.” What a great title!

I know this isn’t the story for every cancer. Not yet. But here’s the thing: When Wally was diagnosed in 2008, CLL was a cancer for which there was no remission. THAT is changing. What was once impossible is now possible. 

I hope that helps you with your ‘impossibles’ today. It does mine.

Wally continues in a study of the long-term effects of this drug.


To read more about our cancer journey:

The CLL Posts

The CLL Posts

tangled mess
THE THREADS of the tangled mess that was my thoughts have been sorted and combed through, and now lie separate by a window in the light. I see them now in a way I couldn’t before.

Two-and-a-half years it’s taken! Yes, it can take that long. Sometimes longer, just depending. But that’s okay. We are not in a rush, right?

I’m a patient person by nature (except when I spot the perfect parking space). I believe in giving people all the time it takes, all the time they need. We are not in a rush. We are not. But, if you have a choice, be intentional about pursuing stuff. Health, reconciiation, peace. Go after it. It can take a long time, yes, but you don’t want to be found sitting still, waiting for it to fall on you. It probably won’t happen like that. You likely need to be moving in the direction of it, to begin with.

Christie Purifoy writes about being willing to look at the broken things. Most of us would rather be doing something else, but the willingness to look squarely at what’s broken is a key starting point. I’ve done a lot of it in recent years and it’s been worthwhile. Christie’s words resonated with me today. I’m glad she wrote them.

p.s. This is my first post in over a year.

Dumping My Blog

pencils at the ready

been thinking it a while –
but is it one more step away from writing?
Or toward it?

I admitted to these very thoughts
while riding to church a few weeks ago
and wouldn’t you know it?
The morning’s passage included
immediately they left their nets.”
I like that.
(Long before Nike’s “just do it”
were the first disciples.
They were more cutting-edge than me.)

So what’s the hold-up?

I will miss the friends I’ve met in cyberspace,
not that I won’t be in cyberspace,
but I think I’ll feel only half-in.
Now that I see that in print,
I realize my thinking on that is wrong.
This hadn’t struck me before.
(This is one reason writers write, says Joan Didion,
to find out what they are thinking.)

I’ve been blogging over a decade, so it’s a hard break,
like parting with a old sweater,
too tattery to be seen in
but there are so many memories attached.
Okay, my blog isn’t that tattered.
Still, sentimentality is often the obstacle to the uncluttered life, is it not?

But mostly the hold-up
is the cry of the platform-builders,
“You must blog.”
Must I?
Did anyone actually say that
or is that how it got twisted in my mind?

I wish to say something fabulously acceptable,
such as,
I’m working on my doctorate
or going to do third-world orphanage work
or donating all my writing parts to a needy person
and so – apologies, apologies – I no longer can blog.

But I don’t have a noble cause to give as excuse.
And my faithful readers do not require it of me.

It is enough to say
I have nothing to say,
that what I have to say,
the topic closest to me right now,
the one I dedicate my peak writing time to,
which is as it should be,
doesn’t belong here,
and I belong where it is.

You are nodding. I know it.

A few times in my life I wondered how to explain to a friend a decision I made, only to discover no explanation was necessary.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 5.29.29 PM
ICICLES THAW in the afternoon sun.
A squirrel watches me take a picture.

That’s the way it is with these late-season storms,
the dripping comes fast on their tails.

The incessant dripping,
it drives some people nuts,
even when it signals the very thing they’ve been waiting for.

I hear the drip
before I see it.
I turn my head to look,
then, as always, jump to take a picture.
There’s just something there.

I want to be like that,
a person who thaws quickly,
who does not hold on to anger.

I wonder if I will be.
I wonder if I am.

21 Days until Spring

The day before another storm is due, we go to the art museum. 

of the state highway
and the turn into the neighborhood,
there’s a sign.
Someone goes out every day
and changes the number!
A spreader of hope, that person.

(I think it might be my next door neighbor.
I’ll text her and ask.)

Another storm is coming
and we’re not sure we’re up to it,
but we’ve no cause to complain,
not compared to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey kin,
so we won’t,
but we will agree on the countdown,
that it makes us smile when we drive by.

(My neighbor says yes, she’s the one,
and today she’s taking down her winter decorations in the house,
hoping to advance the cause.)

Today again the roads have been brined –
but we shake our fists at tomorrow’s storm
and drive an hour
to the Art Museum
to see watercolors
and dream of Spring.

Crocus poked through the soil in last week’s thaw.


I Get a Pet

Since I can’t have a dog
I got a fish
at the pet store downtown
on the corner,
the store that’s been there forever
or at least as long as I’ve lived here.

The same woman is in there
who was there when I used to go in
and browse through the dog sweaters
and Wally kept tropical fish in a big, big tank.

While she rang up the items
we piled on the counter –
gravel, a small plant, fish food
and of course Mr. Fish himself –
two small children
asked permission of their mother
to go look at the guinea pigs,
then ran past
the man who stopped in for some pig’s ears.

His dog,
waiting in the car just outside,
refused to take note of us when we emerged,
so fixed was his gaze on the door
through which his owner had disappeared.
You’ve got to love that about dogs.

“Don’t forget to name your fish,”
the woman shopkeeper had said.

I’m naming him Benny.

chair and pillows
not that we can’t hear each other
from where we are,
but just because.

And I leave the chair like that
even after she goes –
the whole day long –
so that every time I pass through the living room
I remember our conversation.

Having everything in order, just where it belongs, is highly overrated. :-)

SHE LET ME make her breakfast.
and said yes to the Clementines I pulled from the drawer.
We sat there peeling them,
the smell of oranges filling the room.
I liked that.

I made more coffee than was necessary,
I was pretty sure,
considering half the time she comes in, announcing,
“None for me. I’ve given it up.”
Surely, I’d be dumping most of it afterward.
I turned the coffeemaker on
a few minutes before she was due because
there’s just something about the sound and smell of coffee brewing
when a morning visitor comes through the door.
This might just be a thing I think.

We catch up on her recent trip
and my finally taking a class
and our various church stuff.
We are knee-deep into her wondering what to do
about the most negative person she’s ever known
when my phone rings.

I decline the call,
but when it rings again,
she says, “You need to take that”
and she’s right.

She slips out.

after she goes
and after the call,
I wander through.

Dirty plates are piled high with orange peels,
the furniture is askew
and the coffee pot is empty.

You can’t buy this kind of happiness.


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