Saturday, January 22, 2011

Road Trip to Tampa and the Florida Keys

Kenyon and James
One of many Spanish Mackerel boated this  morning with Cap'n Bill Whitney    

Hello to everyone from Duck Key, Florida.   How did I get here?  Well, I was sitting at the car dealership on Thursday, waiting for my truck to get serviced, and I called Renee and said, "you know, one of these weekends I should get in the truck with Kenyon and head down to Florida, drop Kenyon off in Tampa so he can see James (his bff that moved last summer from Raleigh), and then head down to the Keys and poke around, then come back and pick up Kenyon and head home."  Renee thought that was a great idea  (togetherness is a great thing, but we have been together A LOT in the past month!!!).  Not only that, but she deftly pointed out that this weekend presented an opportunity that might not come around again until spring break, because Kenyon was off for several days due to exam week.  Well, Kenyon was wild about the idea and within 18 hours(!!!), we were on the road.  It's the perfect trip - Kenyon gets to pal around with James, I get to see the Keys and catch a few fish, and Renee gets a few days of peace and quiet.  I think Renee may have been the happiest  :-).

Call me crazy, but we left at 5 am Friday, and I arrived at this resort, Hawk's Cay, at 10 pm, with over 1000 new miles on the odometer.  I've always liked road trips!! 

There is medical news as well and it's very good.  I had "labs" Thursday in Raleigh and my white cell count has dropped into the normal range - 8300.  That's amazing given that 10 days earlier it was 95,000.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!  I think I said before that we won't know if I'm in remission until mid to late April, but this first treatment has absolutely obliterated my cancer cells, so a great first round.  The side effects have dissipated to being barely noticeable.....I'm still not up to 100% of my workout capacity but I feel really good and normal almost all the time now.

The chemo does some collateral damage, so while my total white count is in the normal range, I still have a disproportionate number of lymphocytes (the ones that are being produced in cancerous numbers), but now I have a dearth of "neutrophylls" - specialized white cells that fight infections.  So the docs put me on some prophylactic antivirals and  antibiotics to keep infections away.  Hopefully those numbers will be up next week.  So right now, I feel great and the news is good.  It's still early in this journey, but Renee and I have already learned (and many of you have too) that around every corner is some new news or development and it can be something that lifts you up or takes you down - this is why it's so important to focus on the thing that never changes - God's love and care for us - as Jesus said, "I am with you always, even to the very end of the age".  These great truths of scripture are the anchor of our lives, whether the news is good or not.

I fished with Cap'n Billy Whitney today and he was outstanding and good company as well - if you're ever down here I highly recommend him - here's a link to his website.....

I hope you are well and encouraged.  Thanks as always for your prayers and support.   


  1. Dan, Glad that you (but, especially, Renee!) can have some relaxation. Good news about the white counts. I've got an employee who's been battling community-based MRSA (in and out of hospital) since November. She is "well" now, but your counts are lower than hers!

    As I was re-reading some of your posts, I had to smile. Wonder how often the hammer/nail analogy is used in hospitals daily? Was at UNC at the craniofacial-anomailies team review on the 20th. My daughter had just seen a cranio-facial surgeon who had suggested some early plastic surgery (others want to wai,until she's grown more, for surgery that is more "cosmetic" and less "restorative" in nature). Her next (out of 11 and all their trailing residents, et al) appointment was with the team social worker who, when told what the surgeon had said, commented "Well, to a surgeon, he's the hammer and....")

    Any way, in case you don't have your Bonhoeffer with you on your trip (or even just in your car in Raleigh), I wanted you to know that you can get a daily Tweet of a Bonhoeffer quote (yes, just because someone's been gone for 66 years doesn't mean he can't reach us through technotlogy): just follow @D_Bonhoeffer....My all time favorite is "If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction."

    When I had the finance team in Boeblingen reporting to me dotted line, I made them take me, on one visit, to the restaurant in Tubingen where, rumor has it, Bonhoeffer used to eat spatzle (I don't think this blog will let me use umlauts..just imagine they are there). It is comforting to think of Bonhoeffer...ascetic student though he was, eating the ultimate comfort food. (OK, I looked around the university, too, while I was there....but, the spatzle remains on my mind.)

    Glad you had a good time in Duck Key. When I was younger, my aunt and uncle ran a dive shop out of Duck and I used to do the occasional buddy dive with new divers. Great place.

    Keep staying well.


  2. Dan, glad to hear treatment is going well and your leave of absence is off to a good start!