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Wow, this is probably the longest I have been without an update. Let's see, what has kept me so busy.. o yes, my wife had our first child!


Virginia June McDorman

She was born March 1st, 7 pounds, 13 ounces @ 20 inches. She is a true blessing.

What a difference having child makes!

June and Snow, the family dog.

I had my cancer screening last week and I'm still cancer free. Feels great!

In other news, Elaine Jenkins, a friend of my grandmother who introduced herself to me during my treatment, died this week of breast cancer. What a great soul, I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet her.

I am going to try and update this blog more often but it needs an overhaul and time is tight. For anyone going through the cancer fight, please do not hesitate to email me and I will share what I know. You can survive it but it will not be the greatest time of your life. Always, Forward and never give up, never, never, never, never, never...


I cannot believe its been 7 months since my last post. So much has happened since then, Katherine and I are now married. We are expecting our first child in March, its a girl.

I just finished my latest test at MD Anderson and I'm still cancer free! It feels great to I'm ok, but what I saw this week got to me. I don't know if I came at a bad time or a trend is starting but I saw more young people having tests and going through treatment than I ever remember. My young people, I don't mean children. The childrens area is located at a different part of the hospital and there is little interaction with them and the main body of patients.

The young people I am referring are kids in their late tens and early 20's (Yes, I now feel old enough to call people this age kids). A nurse told me that they have 12 have beds in her unit and at one point this week half of them were filled with adults under 30. She couldn't remember the last the time that had that many so young.

I was diagnosed at 31 but we believe my cancer, or at least the tumor, began when I was about 26. Although was relatively young when I went through it, its so hard to see so many younger than me going through the same thing. My prayers are with you.

Whatever your age going through this war, and it is war, here are some words that gave me inspiration.

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Time permitting, I'm going to try and add a little more to this post and add some pictures. Best regards and God Bless!


It has been several months since my last update and part of the reason for my lack of updates has been my Alienware computer has gone back forth to Dell (the owner of Alienware) three times since this past January. Since my October update, I have had two appointments at MD Anderson and both are showing me Cancer Free!

I have several pictures from my trips I need to update and am planning to get these up this week.

Also, in recent news, I am honored to announce the Eufaula Tribune has written an article about my cancer and I Really Hate Cancer. There is a quick excerpt online and I will be scanning in and posting the print edition also this week.

Check back soon for the new pictures and updates.



I had my quarterly checkup last week and I'm still cancer free! I have now officially been cured since October 17th of 2009, two years!!!!!


CNN's web site today has a story, " Cookbook helps make food appetizing for cancer patients". Good stuff!



I Passed the Bar! Not only did I pass, I blew it out of the water!


I wrote the majority of this letter the first week of August and, due to work + computer problems + life pulling me in a hundred directions, I am only now posting it. I am still hoping I will be able to put more time into this site once I have finished all the requirements of my education.

The last week of July I took the Alabama State Bar Exam. Tomorrow, yes, almost two months later, I will learn if I passed. The Bar was a three day exam, totaling 16 hours, covering 18 traditional subjects plus other select areas of the law. There were around 700 applicants taking the bar this time, most whom looked several years younger than me.

The first day of the exam was Alabama Civil Litigation, which was 6 essay questions to be answered over three hours.  All in all, everyone seemed pretty confident with this part of the exam. The second morning was the beginning of the day that everyone dreaded: the day was broken into two three hours blocks, the morning we had the MPT (Multistate Performance Test), which consisted of two essays, and in the afternoon we had the MEE(Multistate Essay Examinations)which consisted of 6 exams covering basically, well, everything.
The mornings essays were pretty straight forward compared to the rest of the exam. We were given two packets of a hypothetical legal case and asked to write an opinion on the matter. We had all the information needed to answer the questions, the test was to see how well we could learn and argue an area of law to which we had never been exposed.

The second set of exams were the ones everyone dreaded the most. The dread came from the 6 essay questions that were chosen from every area of the law and one question that could include multiple areas.
In the elevator the morning of the second exam, someone made the comment about how awful that day's exams were because of the sheer quantity of material for which we were responsible.  I instantly recalled that it was the end of July two years ago I was undergoing the worst part of my cancer treatment. It was the time that I was having multiple spinal taps of chemo injected into my brain along with my regular RCHOP treatment.
After hearing her comment, I instinctively blurted out to everyone's surprise, that the Bar is nothing compared to a spinal tap.  It was then I had an epiphany,  realizing for not the first but defiantly (is this what you mean? or do you mean definitely?) the most intense moment since starting treatment, I not only survived cancer, but also I made it where I wanted to while I was surviving cancer.

During my treatment Dr. Groves, my oncologist, asked what I wanted to do when I was finished with the therapy and back at home. He told me to imagine myself in that location and time and focus upon that place, because that was why I was going through the treatment in the first place, in order to enjoy and live life.  For the rest of my treatment, I envisioned myself back at home studying for and taking the Bar. I continued to see the Bar as the light at the end of the tunnel for my cancer treatment.

It was the moment that my fellow student in the elevator said how awful the exam was going to be that I realized how happy I was to be experiencing it. My entire mood changed, instead of taking an awful exam, I was living my dream. I instantly became the happiest of the 700 exam takers that day and still feel empowered from the experience today.

I am truly joyous and grateful to God, my Mom, Katherine, my entire family, my doctors and everyone who helped me stay alive to experience the challenge. I went through the next two days of the Bar  smiling at  every question (Ok, if I didn't smile at EVERY question, a part of me was at least happy). I'm sure that I startled my fellow test takers who thought I was way too happy for what we were going through. While everyone else was sweating the examination, I was truly enjoying the blessing of being there.

Pass or fail, and I hope I passed, I can say taking the Alabama Bar is one of the greatest achievements/experiences of my life.  I achieved my goal , the one that I imagined while I was surviving the most challenging time of my life. The perspective I obtained from the taking the bar continues to bless me and manifest itself in my life everyday. If I don't pass it, I am actually looking forward to taking it again and knocking the exam out of the park. Although I was studying 6-12 hours a day for two months leading up to the exam, I didn't feel like I really got into my learning groove until two weeks before test time. Now that I feel confident on how to prepare for the exam, a second shot at it feels encouraging.

I realized from taking the Bar that I am in control of my life, and with the grace of God and those who love me, I can survive and accomplish anything.  I may have set backs and I may not always get things on the first try but I can  perservere and accomplish anything life throws at me.

If I can offer some advice for those who are/were going through cancer treatment and for those who are starting cancer treatment, it is just this: look to the future. Think about what you want to be doing and where you want to be when it's over. When you are healed, make your dream a reality and then look back at this time in your life when you thought about being there. If you experience what I did, it will be one of the greatest moments in your life. For those who are in remission and/or close to becoming well, begin working on your goals and what you want to have in your life. If you can beat cancer, you can beat anything.

It breaks my heart knowing that some of you who read this are ill to the point where your future may appear certain.  For those who have not been as fortunate as me and/or still have a long way to go, DON'T GIVE UP!!! You are only beaten if you admit it and never, never, never admit it. The battle can be won! Keep fighting and keep giving yourself goals to live for. I have lost count of the number of people whom I have met in hospital waiting rooms who told me that when they were first diagnosed they weren't (expected to live long.  They were told this 5, 10, 20 years ago. While not everyone is this fortunate, many more people survive this disease than anyone, including the doctors, expect.  Attitude is very important, stay positive, look to the future and believe you are going to make it. When you do, look back at this time in your life, and feel the energy of  reaching the goal you set for yourself---and celebrate. It is one of the most overwhelming feelings in my life.

In Other News:

Katherine and I are planning to get married soon, still not sure of the when and where but soon. It is her call now.

Katherine and I have been talking with others about starting a Mentone cancer support group. I plan to pick a time and date for a meeting and see who shows up. Mentone is a very sparsely populated area but the disease has affected those in my community the same as everywhere else. But I believe it is harder for some to endure because of isolation from a support group. I hope we can provide a service to others to help alleviate that.

Love to all and God Bless,



Still Cancer Free! There was also a high speed police chace that ended in wreck, I took some pictures on the way home. Here is a video.


Hello all,

A lot has happened since my last updated, below is part of the big updated I promised so many months ago:

•  I officially graduated from law school May 24 th ! I am taking the Bar exam, which is my final permission slip to practice law, July 27-29. This is a 22 hour exam over three days. Studying for this monster is the main reason I am behind on updates as well as just about everything else in my life. Writing this update is a welcome break from the rigors of studying.

•  I was asked to give the invocation speech at my law school graduation dinner, which was the night before the commencement. Giving this speech turned out to be one of the biggest highlights of my recent life. There was a crowd of well over a thousand consisting of Judges, present and past Bar presidents with an untold number of practicing attorneys. I thanked my school for all the help and support and they gave me during my cancer treatment. A thank you which has been long overdue. I have placed a copy online, I welcome any thoughts and feedback. I am still overwhelmed to have been given the opportunity to thank those who helped me get through this period of my life in front of some the greatest minds in our state.

•  I am in Houston this week for my follow up screening. I had my CAT scan and blood work Monday and will learn the results Wednesday. I will post an announcement as soon as learn what the doctors say. I have no reason to worry about a negative result but these moments are always nail biting.

•  We scheduled the appointment at this time to give me peace of mind going into the Bar next month. Otherwise my next appointment was going to be the week after my test. Big tip to those going through cancer or follow up treatment: whenever possible, plan your treatment tests around the important events in your life. There is no comparison to the peace of mind you have before going into a big event.

One of the big updates I have wanted to post for several months is I met Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock from Star Trek, at an art gallery exhibit in February. He was unfortunately in very extremely high demand at the showing and the friends I asked to take picture couldn't snap it before someone grabbed his attention. But still, I have a picture of me and Spock! Live long and prosper.

•  I began playing web based online game, Ikariam, a few months ago. You start with one town and the object of the game is to build and expand your town while making friends and enemies of your neighbors. There is no way to actually win the game, you just keep expanding your empire, earning points while stopping others from raiding your town. I found this game a great fit in my life. It designed so people can long in once or twice a day to make some decision and leave the empire at it the rest of the day. It has become my smoke break from studying.

•  In other new my mom had open heart surgery at the end of March. They replaced her aortic valve with a pig valve. Her operation was a complete a success and she is doing great. Given that she is now part swine, she is boycotting bacon, sausage and all pork products due to cannibalism.

•  One bit of unfortunate news, Dave's cancer has returned. I haven't had a follow up in a while but he is undergoing a new type of chemotherapy and his doctors are still very hopeful. Please keep Alex and Dave in your prayers.

•  Love to all, Slate


Graduation Dinner, Left to Right: Simbo (brother), Father, Me



The Alienware's hard drive is dying and I have about half an hour befire this dies. Big updating still coming! Here is the quik version:

  • I'm still Cancer Free! All tests good!
  • Alison and Dave have agreed to help me with a new project, "Ask a Cancer Patient". We will share our expercience and support with those who need it.
  • I met Leonard Nimoy (Spock) during his art tour.
  • Katherine is getting close to setting a wedding date.

More coming soon.

God Bless,





Right now I am in the waiting room of the May's clinic Ct imagining room. I have just been handed my first cup of barium to drink for the scan, Pena colada without the alcohol. Recently, three friends asked in a two day period if I am going to continue updating The answer is Yes but I am obviously way behind on updates.

I finished all my core law school classes in December and between finals, Christmas, getting ready for the bar and planning a wedding (although most of the planning is not being done by myself) time has been tight. However, I have lots of updates, thoughts and pictures to add and have made a new friend from the site. I am planning to get these up this week.

I would like to thank everyone who continues to check on my site and progress. The amount of love and support I have received since first being diagnosed with cancer is still overwhelming and I thank you all for your continued wishes and prayers.

Please check back soon for a thorough update.


CT Imaging Waiting Room



One year ago today I had my last round of chemo. For those of you who have just been diagnosed or undergoing treatment, it does work and you will make it! Cancer is not fun and it might be the worst experience of your life. But you can survive it. When you look back a year later following your last treatment the view on life is amazing. Good luck to you or your loved one and God Bless.



I received word yesterday that Dave (my new friend from California who found me by this site) is now Cancer Free! Congratulations Allison and Dave, I know it was a long hard road but you made it. Believe it or not you both are now experts in cancer survival. Try to encourage and help others when and where you can.

In more somber news, my friend's Adam father's leukemia has taken a turn for the worse. The word is he has weeks to live if the chemotherapy isn't successful and maybe a year if it is. Please include them in your thoughts and prayers.

I have made little progress since my last post with the new IReallyHateCancer web site. The hardest part so far is figuring out how to move the old IReallyHateCancer over into the new format. I have learned how to setup RSS feeds to display news and add modules and themes to Drupal (all programming stuff). Hopefully after this semester I will have more time to spend on developing it.

Take care to you all, God Bless and Happy Halloween!



First, I want to say that recently had an article about cancer support sites. I'm going to be listing the sites on my Cancer Links page. I strongly recommend anyone who wants to discover more or to discuss their diseases to check out the support sites. One forum at has doctors and nurses who will discuss treatments and illnesses. I read several good stories from this network site and have included them on my Links page.

I traveled to Houston last week for my quarterly checkup. I had my tests on Tuesday and my appointment to go over them with Dr. Fanale was on Wednesday. But due to some network problems (and what I think is Hurricane workload overflow), my test results were not back by my Wednesday appointment. I received my test results today (Monday), and I am officially still cancer free!

As for our travel to Houston, we could not find a hotel room. The Holiday Inn was taking Ike refuges and contractors. My appointment was originally scheduled for September 22, the week of Hurricane Ike. My appointments were rescheduled for last week but we had a hard time finding a hotel room. When I called the last week of September they were not taking reservations until October. When I called the week before I went out, they had no rooms for three weeks and knew of no other hotel with space. We stayed with Penn and Margaritta, my best friend's father and step-mother.

We didn't see a lot of Hurricane damage but there were several businesses and homes with tarps over their roofs and a lot of debris still waiting to be picked up. On the interstate, a very large sign was completely blown over midway down its support beams (and this was a BIG sign on BIG beams). We didn't make it to Galveston, but the local pictures looked grim. Our prayers go out to whose life that has been affected by the storm.

I began working on an update for I Really Hate Cancer. I have been playing with a web application called DRUPAL. It seems like pretty good stuff and allows me a lot of flexibility in setting up a web site. I am slowly copying this site over and setting up the new format as time permits. If everything works, the new I Really Hate Cancer will permit me to take members, and it will allow everyone to have their own blogs, share their stories, and do much more. Please feel free to go ahead and check it out. You can sign up as a member and post in the blog and forum. Please remember this is a work in progress and all feedback is welcome!

I am about to begin putting Christmas Lights out in Mentone. Happy early Merry Christmas and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


Sunset from Mentone




I was supposed to have my three month check-up appointments this week. However, due to Hurricane Ike, my appointments have been postponed for a couple of weeks. MD Anderson is up and running, but the city is still a mess, and the hotels are still fully occupied.

Our prayers go out to everyone who was involved in this natural disaster. You can help by donating to the Red Cross relief fund.

In other news, I lost the Mayoral election but showed a block of 21%. Not too bad for my first election --considering I incurred my first political scandal: some humor based websites ( and were used against me to promote me as a “woman-hater.” Politics can be a dirty business!

I am working on new sections to this site –including a prayer list. Please check back soon for links to the prayer list, information/financial resources and a survival guide. I have a new page for cancer links started.

As always, my prayers go out to everyone who is suffering from the effects of this disease.  Hang in there, and never give up.




First, I would like to post my most recent email from Alex and Dave:

"We are on are 5th treatment & David is doing GREAT. The tumors are nearly gone- were just worried about the bone marrow being eradicated with the chemo..I never realized that both you  are so lucky to have been able to endure the chemo period. so many are sent home with adeath sentence because their bodies can't handle the toxins.So before his sixth treatment, the doctors have decided to do A ct scan early to check his progress -- I think they feel very positive. Again, thanks for your support- it has been invaluable. A Godsend is our friend slate.I'll let you know how everything goes- us"

Below is their picture:

Alex and Dave

It was around my 5 th round of chemo last year when I began experiencing my lowest point of the treatment. It was about this time last year I had pneumonia and was hospitalized for a week. Katherine and I are very happy Dave is doing so well and we are keeping you in our prayers.

As for myself, I am running for mayor of Mentone and enjoying the political process. Please wish me luck in my political endeavors.

If anyone reading this site has been recently diagnosed with cancer, you may write me and I will share my experiences with you.

God Bless,




My mother and I visited MD Anderson 3 weeks ago for my quarterly checkup. I am still cancer free! I started an outline of our visit for the site but kept putting I off. Then last week my grandmother of a 101 died. This has been my first experience with the death of a close family member. My mother's parents passed before I was born and my father's grandfather passed when I was 4. She was a magnificently wonderful, kind, loving, thankful, blessed, insightful, wise, charming, humble, sneaky, beautiful, stubborn, polite, generous, frugal, amazing lady who is best placed in a category by herself. I have created a at our McDorman web site in her memory and invite you to read a little bit about her life.

Around May, a couple from California, Alex and Dave, emailed me. Dave is undergoing treatment for Stage 4 Diffuse B-Cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, exact same type as mine. Except his tumors are more spread and is inside his bones. He is also on the RCHOP treatment and it sounds like the things are working. They found I Really Hate Cancer to be very useful and we have been emailing back and forth. I am going to set them up with their blog to start sharing their story.

If you know anyone with some web development experience and they would like to help me create an online cancer resource, I would like to work with them on doing so.

I am going to put up a donation link requesting any help for hosting expenses. It doesn't cost much to run the sites but anything you can contribute would be a great help right now.

More Soon…



My mother and I visited MD Anderson 3 weeks ago for a checkup, and I am still cancer free. I started a draft of our visit but kept putting it off and then last week my grandmother of a 101 died. This has been my first expercience of the death of a close family member. My mothers parents passed before I was born and my fathers grandfather passed when I was about age 4. She was a magnifificently wonderful lady who was in a category all by herself. I have made a full page about her at our web site.

A couple from California, Alex and Dave, emailed me around May. They found I Really Hate Cancer to be very useful and we have been emailing back and forth. I am going to set them up with their blog to start sharing their story.


My mom showed me a few typo's in yesterday post and since I needed to correct them, I wanted to let everyone know I made a 100 on my ethics midterm. This was my first law exam in almost a year. Again, thank you for stopping by and please pray for those who are scared, sick or hurting for whatever reason.



I visited Houston last week, March 23rd -29th, for my first 3 month check up. I received the results that Wednesday and my PET and CT scans came back free and clear. In other words, I'm Still Cancer Free! One slide on the PET scan showed a bright spot on my pancreas but the CT scan didn't show it. Since my pancreas wasn't near the area my cancer was located, wasn't the type of cancer I had and the CT scan didn't show it, Dr. Fanale wasn't worried. She explained blips in scans happen all the time and in her opinion there was less than a .02% chance of it being anything to worry about. Her first guess is that it was a gallstone, but just to be safe, she ordered a special CT scan for my pancreas. With this scan they will magnify the little booger a 1,000 times and examine it in microscopic detail. That test was run on Tuesday at the St. Vincent's Cancer Center in Birmingham. I spoke with the nurse Friday and the test came back negative, no sign of anything wrong.

In Birmingham I began seeing Dr. Cara Bondley at the St. Vincent's Cancer Center. Dr. Fanale recommended her for my at home care as that they are really good friends. They are sharing my tests and staying in touch about my progress and care between visits to Houston.

While waiting to take one of my tests in Houston, I met a very nice lady named Kelly in the Diagnostic Imaging center at the Mayes Clinic. Before I discuss what we talked about, it still amazes me how many dear friends I make every day when we are out there. I have expercienced nothing else like this in my life. The medical center area consists of several hospitals; all focused on treating cancer and some of the other worst illnesses imaginable. Eeveryone we meet then either: treats, has, had, or takes care of someone with a life threatening illness. When sitting in a waiting room, a lunch table, a bar (yes, these exist around the hospitals) or standing on the curb waiting for the shuttle, it feels comfortable to talk about your most life changing experiences with complete strangers. The conversations that make friends and family cry are the ice breakers when introducing yourself. I have lost count of all the new friends I have met since first going out there. Kelly, the new friend who I started this paragraph about, visited this web site and she sent me the following:


Just wanted you to know that I finally looked at your site.  I will read more in the morning...we just got home from Texas.  We live in Illinois...did you know that.  Anyways...My visit with the doctor went excellent.  It has been two years since I had my last treatment and Dr Kwak said, "We call people like you CURED!"  Hurray for me...very emotional!  I am glad I got to visit with you and your mom.  I will keep track of you on your blog...I really like it.  I will also tell others about it because I like your pictures of MD Anderson and the Lymphoma clinic.  I think people wonder what it is like.  I don't have to go back for 6 months!!!  Maybe we can all chat again!  Blessings, Kelly

Join Kelly in the fight against cancer!

I am walking the Breast Cancer 3-Day.  It is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days.  I must raise at least $2,200 in order to participate.  Please support me and join the global movement to end breast cancer forever!


Donate today at

Congratulations again on being cured and your positive report Kelly!

She and I also talked about my future plans for this web site. That conversation reinforced my motivation for succeeding and eventually expanding this into a Cancer resource for patients and care givers. I mentioned this before, but I envision seeing this becoming something similar to Where anyone with Cancer can setup a blog and seek donations to help with their treatment. If anyone with programming or graphic design experience would like to help, please let me know.

In my other health news, since resuming my normal life, I have had leg and back pains do partly to the inactivity I had all those months. Also, the nerves on the right side of my spine have become enlarged due to tramua from the tumor. Dr. Fanale wrote me an order for physical therapy and I started going to the Bruno Center at St. Vincent's. Their primary focus is to help with the tightness in my legs and back. Two of the same same physical therapists who helped me last year are working with me now. Tom and Eddie. They were both very happy to see me again and it's been great working with them again. I will try and get some pictures up in the new few weeks.

Finals begin at Law School week after next and I'm entering "cram mode". It has been almost exactly one year since my last final but I think everything is under control. I probably made a mistake taking a full load my first semester back. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead has always been my paradigm. I was stir crazy sitting out there and didn't realize how taxing the treatment was until I tried going full speed again. With so much pent up energy, I thought I could jump right back into my old life without any problems. I was fine the first few weeks but then my energy plummeted. I found myself needing 10 hours of sleep to feel rested and then needed a nap every 4 to 6 hours to keep going. Around February I began missing classes from exhaustion and was considering dropping out the rest of the semester. Around mid February I began taking multi-vitamins and got back into a daily exercise routine. A couple of weeks later my energy picked up and now I'm close to being back at full speed. Now I think about 80% of normal energy is back and I should have enough strength to finish this semester up.

Finally, this morning at my Mentone church, St. Joseph's, our Reverend, David Crippin, informed us that his daughter, Bekki Crippin, had been diagnosed with cancer and will have surgery this week to remove the tumor. Additionally, another member, Georgia, will have a serious dental operation this week. Please include both of these ladies in your thoughts and prayers in the upcoming days.

While in Houston, I took a few pictures with my cell phone but haven't figured out how to pull them off. After I get these off I will post them. I also have plans to add some more information about cancer and receiving treatment at MD Anderson. Please keep checking back every couple of weeks for updates.

Thank you for stopping by again and God Bless,

Slate McDormwan



Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

For those who haven't heard yet, Katherine and I made it back safely from Houston. We arrived back in Alabama on the 12 th after spending two and half days in New Orleans (this was a great stress relief after the past twelve months. For the final 200 miles of the trip I read the latest Star Wars novel to Katherine as she drove (yes, we are that geeky).

We had a kind of funny experience as we were leaving Houston that started the Christmas spirit for our Holiday's. After packing the car (packed to the ceiling with no space in the back seat or trunk. ) and leaving the apartment about 10pm, many hours later than we anticipated, I remembered a favor my brother asked. Several weeks earlier Mike had asked if we would look for a game, Rock Band, for my nephew Gibson. Rock Band was sold out in Birmingham and they couldn't even find one on the Internet. I asked Katherine if we could stop by the game store on the way out so I could at least tell him we tried. We didn't expect this store to actually have it because we had been trying for weeks to find a Wii for Katherine's sister, but every store was literally selling out within minutes of their arrival. However, it turned out they did have the game in stock. As we waited for the store clerk to pull it off the shelf, he looked at us and said it would take a minute; he had to go get the box from the back. He added off handedly that it was a big box. A few moments later Katherine and I made a connection, Big Box + Packed Car = Big Problem. I called Suzane, my sister and law, and she said they still couldn't find one so we decided to ship it back.

The Box was so big I had to drive so Katherine could squish it in her lap between her and the windshield. Remember, my license had expired so I was driving very carefully. We went to the nearest Fed Ex store, which was literally around the corner, and they were closed. It was 10:30pm on Sunday, who would have thought? For the next hour we are driving around Houston trying to find a 24hour Fed Ex to ship the box. After finding one and filling out the paper work, we got on the road heading out of Houston around midnight. This detour delayed us arriving in New Orleans until 5am but was worth every extra second after watching Gibson open it Christmas day.

Upon returning to Alabama, we fist stopped by Katherine's Mom's on the way through Tuscaloosa and then stopped by and saw my grandmother first thing in Birmingham. After a brief stop at my parents', we left Birmingham, drove to Mentone, and started putting up Christmas lights the next day. Our caretaker, John Fischer, already had a good start. We then proceeded to turn Mentone into a mini winter wonderland. We spent Christmas in Birmingham and then stayed a few days in Tuscaloosa. We then came back to Mentone and brought in the New Year.

If feels so great to be home that I don't know how exactly describe the feeling. Part déjà vu, part excitement, and a little sadness from leaving the home and life we had in Houston. Sometimes it is hard to believe we have been gone the last six months. When driving around Birmingham I saw buildings complete and occupied that were just being stated six months ago. After living in a large city like Houston, Alabama feels very small in comparison.

My hair is starting to grow back and my scalp has become warmer. However, having a 90% of body hair regrowing at once is a little itchy at times. Katherine says it looks like I have two new streaks of gray on and some of my hair is turning a little red. I have heard stories from a number of cancer survivors of how their hair grew back different colors and textures. I am very curious on what final color and shape my hair will be in six months.

Katherine and I visited my father's Sunday school class and everyone was excited to see me. There is a wall of pictures in the room from this web site. Seeing everyone was a lot of fun.

Now that I am cancer free I'm not really sure what to do with this site. I think I am going to turn this into an information site for cancer patients with information about MD Anderson. I will have a few more posts up before then. A friend told me he had a hard time reading my site with the white text on the black background. So the color will defiantly be changed in the near future.

Take Care,


Upon arriving in/on New Orleans.

Thats the dog in the Calendar

From our Balcony on Bourbon Street

On the corner as you approach the property

Entering the McDorman gates

Looking at the Old House

In this picture you can see the star.

Looking out from the Old House toward the river.

Steps to the river

Making a pre New Years dinner

Our New Years Fire





This will be my final blog entry from Houston, Katherine and I are leaving tomorrow for home! We have collected a sizable amount of stuff coming out here and will ship most of it back UPS ground. Unfortunately, Katherine will be doing all the driving back. My license expired in May. Since I haven't been home, I haven't been able to renew it. I'm looking forward to being able to legally drive again. Something else I have to look forward to on our way home will be relaxing in New Orleans. We might stay until Tuesday and take it easy. This will be fun since I was just given the OK to drink again.

My mom came out to help us pack and hear my latest doctor report.

This last week I had a PET and CAT scan, the results came back clear and I'm still cancer free! I will be returning in February for my first 3 month check up.

We spent Thanksgiving with Katherine's friend, Sandy, and her family. We had a huge feast and watched fireworks of the Houston Galleria after dinner. We thank them very much for inviting us.

We thank everyone for their love, prayers and support this past six months. I couldn't have made it without you.



Today I had a Fast Track appointment and they did a blood test. My blood counts were overall very good but my potassium was a little low. Not the first time that count has been low, they give me pills almost the size of my pinky for replenishment.

The day after they took the port out of my arm last week, Katherine and I discovered a crack in one of the tube lines. This means any fluid that was inserted into that port tube came out before it reached the end. Always fearing the worst, we took my used port by infusion therapy while we were at the hospital today. When we first met the Charge Nurse and told her our situation, she gave us a look of amusement and told us her boss said that those things couldn't crack. She asked if she could show the port to her boss and upon returning from that office she asked if they could keep the port to send back to the manufacture. We were a little heartbroken, that port had been inside my chest for the past six months and we were looking forward to keeping it as a piece of memorabilia.  The nurse offered to give us a new port in replacement of my used one. Always wanting to advance science and product quality we were reluctant but happy to turn over the port.

On a final note about the port, taking my first shower last week without it was a real treat! I had had that thing in their since June 9 th , and have been having to wrap up my arm up in Press-N-Seal wrap for every shower. It's great to be able to just hop in the shower again without a 10 minute preparation to make sure I didn't get my line wet.

Another fun thing…  Katherine and I got ourselves a Wii!  We're having a blast fun playing with it (Katherine hasn't played video games in years).

Last Saturday night, we crossed town to eat dinner with Sandy and Sloan Colt.  Sandy is Katherine's mom's oldest friend.  They grew up together here in Houston.  Sandy cooked a delicious meal, and we spent the evening talking and laughing.  They're a riot and so nice. 

Finally, Katherine and I are staying here for Thanksgiving. My parents and Katherine's mom and sister have colds and don't want to risk getting me sick. Sandy has invited us to her parents' for Thanksgiving and, unless I take a turn for the worse, we are planning on attending. Katherine feels like they're part of her family, so even though we won't be home, we'll be among loved ones for the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!




I had my last round of chemo today and feel GREAT! Katherine was even lucky enough to get a recliner for the 8 hours. Recliners are in the minority in the Chair Unit. But you never know what you might get unless you ask. So far so good though, my lowest period is usually in the second week. Immediately after they disconnected me from the machine, a nurse from the Infusion Therapy department, who are one of the busiest hardest working departments I have witnessed in action here, came down and removed my port. What a relief! The procedure lasted about 10 minutes or less, and they placed a bandage over the hole which is to stay there for 24 hours. Then, 16 hours from now, I can take a normal shower again!!!

The port was placed in the day I was diagnosed with the cancer being in stage four. I had my first treatment the next day. The device is essentially two IV tubes running through a vein in my arm and ending six inches from my heart. It's what they use to inject, chemotherapy, blood transfusions and other needed fluids. In a big way, having it removed is the most genuine feeling so far that this is becoming behind me, and my cancer is over with. Thank you God and MD Anderson.

We came across a little piece of waiting room gossip concerning these things while hanging out in the waiting room all these many hours. There are two basic types of ports, one they place in your arm and one they place over your chest. The chest version is of course better at direct delivery of fluids into the body, but most people I met were given the option between the two. There was even a video we watched about how the whole thing worked, and the video strongly recommended the chest over the arm. The majority of the people we met in the waiting room and the Holiday Inn Lobby who had the chest port, had had an infection. Few people who chose the arm port had had an infection. Even though not the most scientific way to make a medical decision, their experience plus not wanting a large bandage over my chest that I couldn't get wet was my deciding factor on going for the arm. Having met several other people who have had the same experience, I'm glad I went for the arm. If you ever need one, go for the arm port no matter how hard they try to sell the chest.

Katherine has had to do a bandage change and clean the site twice a week for the past six months. These normally took anywhere from 30-70 minutes depending on how well it needed to be cleaned, and, of course, we became more proficient over time. When she started changing my bandage we were both scared to death of messing something up. I told her if she was doing a good job it would show by me not getting an infection. No infection, Great Job Katherine!!!

Tomorrow I have my Neulasta shot to boost my immune system. For the next 5 days, I take extremely high doses of steroids to finish the chemo therapy. In 14-15 days, the chemo should be out of my system.

Thank you everyone for your continued letters and email. God Bless!


Last round of the Red Devil

The port
(Warning: Slightly Graphic)




I saw Dr. Fanale today and I will be having my last round of chemotherapy on Wednesday. My Long Arm port will be taken out immediately afterwards. I had no idea it would be removed so soon! I can then take showers without having to wrap my arm in plastic wrap and cover it in a bag. After my blood count returns to normal I am visiting an indoor water park in Galveston. The only downside to having it removed is that they will be pricking me for my blood work; right now they can draw it form the port.

Dr. Fanale also said she will test my blood counts next Tuesday to see if they are high enough for us to visit home for Thanksgiving. My next round of tests will be scheduled for the first week of December. More soon....





Tomorrow I meet with Doctor Fanale for a Fast Track and to schedule my last round of chemotherapy. Katherine, my family and I have talked about postponing it a week or two so we can go home for Thanksgiving. If I have the therapy this week, Thanksgiving week will be my bad week. However if I postpone it, we will have to come back and be here into early December. I am leaning toward going ahead and doing it, but we will see what the doctor says.

Dinner with Kathy, Barbara and Marry AnneOver the weekend, my Aunt Kathy and her friend Barbara drove down from Fort Worth and spent the weekend with us. Their friend, Mary Anne, suggested a great restaurant, Brady's Landing, a seafood place on Houston's ship channel. (In the picture of our dinner -from left to right we have Mary Anne, Barbara and Aunt Kathy. You know Katherine and me.) There was a large wedding taking place in the ballroom while we were there. They were all having TREMENDOUS fun! My appreciation for life really has me enjoying others' fun, too. ¡Viva la fiesta! Something also fun… Kathy sent me a funny cat cartoon you can watch here (you will need Windows Media player to play it). It was a lot of fun having them stay with us, and we're happy to say they had a safe trip back.


This morning, the Crown Plaza hotel was imploded at the Medical Center complex. We didn't make it to the actual implosion but somebody was nice enough to let Katherine and me take pictures of the destruction from a pretty great angle (THANK YOU, somebody). Below are a couple of pictures and here is the news video.

Also in the news, I spent some time working on I haven't put much up yet, but what I have is a picture John Lewis and Edna took of my grandmother at the McDorman Sunday school Room. I plan on posting information about the Sunday School and my father's law practice on the web site.

Thank you for stopping by,






On the Ground




Hello Everyone,

My white blood count at last Friday's Fast Track showed my white blood and other counts normal. My counts are doing so well in fact they didn't schedule me for a Fast Track this week. Monday I meet with my Doctor and we will decide when my last round of chemo will be. My nurses and I discussed pSostponing it a week or two so I can come home for Thanksgivings. If that is not possible, my parents and my brother Simbo will come out here to celebrate thanksgiving with us.

Since we couldn't do anything for Halloween, do to my white blood count being low, Katherine and I dressed up and went out Friday night. Unfortunately, the only haunted house we knew of that was still open decided to close early due to lack of business. We were fortunate enough to hang out with the monsters in the parking lot and had our picture taken with them. After leaving these ghouls, we drove around trying to figure out what to do next. By chance we found a local comedy club. I think we chose the right place, the management was so impressed that we were dressed up two day's after Halloween they gave us free admission! Katherine was wonder woman and I Lex Luther (the bad guy from superman).

Unfortunately, I cannot remember the comedian's name we saw but he was pretty funny. During the show there was one member of the audience who kept interrupting his show and even shouted out that the comedian before him was funnier than he was---we didn't see the comedian before him, but this guy was pretty funny---. Later during his show he encouraged the audience to heckle her and her date out of the club. It was the first time I have seen a stand up encourage the audience to boo someone out. Usually it's the other ay around. The crowd sung "nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah song hey hey hey good buy"She was being obnoxious and deserved to leave, it was great!


After the show we hung out with some of the local comedians at the bar and learned of an obscure local attraction. An artist has created statues of the Beatles 25 feet high and is working on creating every presidents head about 15 feet. We went and visited Beatles site after the comedy club; picture to the right. -->

In other news, This weekend, my Aunt and her friend Barbara are coming to visit. We should have a good time together. I have started the process of getting reenrolled in law school for the spring. I cannot wait to get back in and finish up, I should be through by next December.

Also, a couple of days ago, I sent an email out to everyone I know--- if I missed you, I apologize--- and have received dozen of congratulating me on my recovery. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It has been a long road but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have once piece of sad news to report. We learned last night that a friend whom we made has passed on due to her leukemia. Her name is Jessica Villalobos and she was 22 years young. She was diagnosed with leukemia a year and half ago was first told she wouldn't make it through last January. But do to the determination and strength of her mother she exceeded the doctors expectations by 10 months. I don't think I have ever seen anybody fight so hard after being told how much the odds were stacked against her. Our prayers go out to Jessica and her family during this time. She is no longer in pain but with Jesus now. I have provided a link to Jessica's blog so you can see who this wonderful person was. God be with her.

Thank You for stopping and god bless,


What you see entering our apartment Halloween night.

Can you name this president?

Hanging out at the comedy club. the Haunted House

The room and lady who takes my blood for Fast Track. Ms. Hiru






I almost forgot to mention that Katherine and my parents threw me a surprise congratulation celebration. Below is a picture of the cake they had. Thanks Again!



First, if you have written me congratulations on my diagnosis and I haven't written you back yet, thank you! My family and I are very thankful for everyone's prayers, love and support these past few months. Life is good!

The past week, since my last post, Katherine and I have been taking it pretty easy. I have spent time to organize the files on my computer and catch up on sleep. One task that has been time consuming is organizing the pharmacy receipts. I thought my insurance company automatically reimbursed me on prescriptions but I have to submit each one separately for reimbursement. We have spent a good part of the week going through six months worth of receipts to submit to blue cross. I finished entering August into the computer tonight.

On a very celebratory note my grandmother turned 101 this week, August 24 th . I wasn't able to see her but she says she is going to have a real party next year to celebrate. I'm going to hold her to it. Happy Birthday Grandmother!

Today I had a Fast Track. Overall my counts were good but my white blood cell count was the lowest it has been since I started chemo. It isn't dangerously low, but low enough where the nurse told me to stay away from crowds, children and sick people until the end of next week. This somewhat limits what we can do for Halloween but we still plan on finding something fun. There are few haunted houses that stay open through next weekend we plan to go to.

Again, thank everyone for stopping by. I put a few pictures below for everyone to enjoy.

Take Care and God Bless!

Watching the Alabama Tennessee game before my parents flight.

Mom and Dad

The amount of pills I take for 4 days after a chemo treatment.





My tests came back showing the cancer is gone! Dr. Fanale said I have been one of the healthiest most phenomenal cases she has seen. It has been a long road but it looks like I made it. I still have two rounds of chemo left in my regiment, this to get any stray cells that may be lingering and then another round of tests. But then I'm coming home! Hopefully before Thanksgiving.

For follow up, I will be visiting every three months for three years to have my tests rerun. This to make sure I am staying in remission. Then they will be rerun once a year for the rest of my life. Again, I am one of the favorite clients of my insurance company.

There is scar tissue where the tumor was, which will continue to give me some back pains. But besides this I have a complete bill of health.


Thank everyone who has prayed and given support. I couldn't have done it without you! God Bless!

Love Slate




For over the past week I have been having horrible head and neck aches. These are a side effect of my last Lumbar Spinal Tap. Dr Groves explained, a week after the procedure when I started complaining, that the head and neck aches can last up to two weeks. The recommended treatment is for me to lie flat on my back and drink lots of caffeine. So for the past week I have spent most of my time lying the couch drinking Diet Coke. The middle to end of last week was really bad, I had to cancel some appointments because the pain too intense to go anywhere. Fortunately over the weekend the headaches have gotten much better, but my head still hurts if I bend over too quickly or turn my head real fast. It feels almost like a bad case of whiplash.

I met with my Palliative care Doctor's yesterday, the Doctors who are responsible for my pain management and overall care outside of my cancer treatment, and they explained in more detail the science behind headaches. The first part of my spinal tap involves draining 1/12 th of my spinal fluid so it can be tested for cancer, which it is clean of. This spinal fluid is what my brain and spine rest in and functions as a shock absorber. Once this fluid is removed, the nerve endings connecting my brain to my skull can become stretched and pulled, due to gravity, until the body replaces the fluid. This is why lying on my back relieves the pressure. My Doctor went on to tell me she has had patients with these side effects for up to three weeks after their spinal tap.

I will be having my second to last---hopefully, please pray---Chemo treatment this Thursday or Friday. The plan is then, twenty-one days after this one I will have one more round then another series of tests run. If everything has worked, I will be in remission and can come home. If I still have a tumor and/or it has become immune to my current Chemo routine, they have already planned to put on another chemo treatment called RICE. However, I am feeling very positive that everything is working and I will be home before Thanksgiving. Once I am in remission I will still be visiting every 6 weeks to three months for tests to make sure I am staying in remission. I believe this frequency will last for one year then change to every six months for the rest of my life. Blue Cross Blue Shield loves me.

Also yesterday, the Doctors gave me an early report from my CAT scan from last Friday. The scans show no tumors in my Lymph Nodes, which means my cancer is not spreading. Woo Hoo!

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, I have Pet Scan at 6:00am which lasts two hours. I was supposed to have had this test last Friday but I accidentally drank the wrong kind of water before the scan, flavored water, and it had to be rescheduled. I then have a Fast Track at 12:00 and meet with Dr. Fanale, my oncologist or Chemo Doctor, at 1:00. She will give me the official report on how my progress and test results. My parents are flying in tonight to make this meeting. It is going to be great to see them, I have been incredibly home sick lately.

I received an email today from my Dear friend, Nancy Cammock who is also fighting cancer. Her CAT scan just came back showing the tumors as “smaller and showing signs of death”. It is great to hear this positive news, Go Nancy! I also received an email from a friend of the family, Elaine Jenkins, whose cancer has returned and she will be starting Chemo again next week. Please say a prayer for both of these ladies. It has amazed me how much more, and for how many people, I now pray for. Being diagnosed with cancer really changes a person's outlook. Go power of prayer!

Hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for stopping by and Take Care!



I had my Last spinal tap, or intrathecal chemotherapy injection, last Tuesday.  This was my 5th one. My Doctor, Dr. Groves, tells me he has done thousands of these without serious incident. But before every procedure I have to sign a release form saying, among other things, that I release them from all liability of pain, meningitis, headaches, nerve damage, paralysis and death. It is not a very comforting form to sign minutes before a rod is placed into the area of spine that runs to my brain.

In having all these spinal taps, I experienced one interesting example of experience trumping technology. The 3 rd procedure, the only one not done by Dr. Groves, was a guided procedure. This means a CAT scan was used so the Dr., whom in my case I think was younger than I am, could see my spinal interior during the procedure. After half-an-hour plus and attempting two different locations, she aborted the procedure because she was unable to draw any fluid. In contrast, Dr. Groves does his by first marking my back with Betadine, to bring out the contours of my spine and then choosing a location to guide the rod in. He says its “by feel” when he knows its in the correct position. The time of insertion to completion is about 10 minutes. This ability is a good example of who your doctor is making a big difference.

I don't know if they are related, but starting Thursday I began having headaches. I normally don't get headaches so this might be a result of the spinal tap. They have reoccurred every afternoon or evening since Thursday. They are not very painful --more annoying then anything else. But they, or the medication I'm taking to combat them, zap the energy from me. Katherine is worried and wants me to see Dr. Groves about them. She emailed their office last night and after speaking with the nurse today I learned the side effects from the spinal tap can last up to two weeks. She told me to drink a lot of caffeine and lie down.

Sunday we went to see the new Harry Potter at a $1.50 movie theater. Being in the theater felt like going back in time 20 years, before the days of the glitzy Mega Cinemas. The inside was dark, old and a little grungy. But it was clean. The theaters themselves had the old crimson red curtains along the walls and the seats were like cheap stadium sitting with no drink holders.  For those who are familiar with the old Bama 6 theaters, this cinema was a close twin. They didn't take credit cards or have an ATM machine so we were lucky Katherine had $20. We bought 2 tickets, medium popcorn, small popcorn, a large coke a bag of M&M's and had change left from the twenty. In the movie itself, the picture was a little dark and one of the speakers was blown. But, because of the price and the nostalgia, we felt like kids again and played like it, too. After the movie, Katherine and I played Ms. Pac-man on a genuine old arcade machine. I blew her out of the water!!! Still, I was disappointed not to place with the high score.

My tests to see how the treatment is working will be rerun on Friday, which will be a long afternoon: CAT cans, PET Scans and X-rays. I cannot eat after midnight on Thursday, and I'm supposed be on a low sugar low caffeine diet Thursday and Wednesday. The reason for the diet is that the PET scan can pick up the sugar and caffeine, which could create clouds or possible false readings if too much is in my system.

I will find out the results of the tests on Monday. Which is a lot faster then anything I experienced in Birmingham. It took about two weeks for me to learn the results of the MRI's and X-Rays taken at St. Vincent's. There is a chance, a very small chance, that if the tests show the tumor is completely gone, I might be done and can come home early. Again, this is a long shot but still a shot. Plus, Katherine says, “NO!” For some reason, she wants me to go through all 8 rounds of chemo to make sure we kill all the possible stray cancer cells. So, like I said it's a small chance.

Also in the news, Katherine got her new laptop from her dad today. It's a top of the line Eurocom (top of the line computer brand) that is a couple of years old. So, it is still pretty cutting edge and nice to look at. We were able to watch the Pay per View of Alabama vs. University of Houston game on our Direct TV system. Since its not too far, we have thought about going over to the University of Houston and putting up some Roll Tide flyers this week.

My appionment was at 12:30 but we started at 3:00

My back after the spinal tap.

Katherine at the pool. Hey!




I had my 6 th round of chemotherapy last Friday. We arrived at 12:00pm, were taken into the room about 1:00 and treatment started about 1:30. We left just before 9:15pm. Below you can see a picture of me lying in bed eating a late lunch. I had to go back on Saturday at 8:30pm for an immune booster shot; these shots have to be given approximately 24 hours after my chemo treatment. The side affects from this treatment have been pretty mild. The worst, so far at least, has been the nausea, which did a heavy dent in my appetite Saturday and Sunday. I am told this is a result of my body trying to get the poison out.

Today I have my last Lumbar Spinal Procedure. This is where they inject the chemotherapy directly into my spine as an insurance in case the cancer makes it in there. Given the shrinkage of the tumor, this has become much less of a concern. Of everything I have been through this procedure is probably the one I hate the most. Given that it involves a small rod being driven into my spine, and 1/12 th of my spinal fluid being drained while chemo is inserted. The side affects are usually a mild headache for a couple of days. I guess this procedure still makes me more nervous than I would like to admit. I didn't sleep a wink last night thinking about it. Again, thank goodness this is my last one.

I updated the “about my cancer” page with the history of my doctors and diagnoses. You can read the updated version here.



Sean left on Tuesday; we had a lot of fun times while he was here. We ended up playing chess almost the whole time. After three days we were tied 7 to 7. The unfortunate part is Katherine was extremely bored while we played. In fact, we literally put her to sleep more than once. Sorry Katherine.

Ms. Alabama dedicated a song to me at the Alabama Tourism Bureau's annual conference. I tried to upload her performance so everyone could watch in but it is a very large file at 133 megs. I kept getting error messages trying to upload it. Marylyn Stamps, who is a very close friend of the family and an employee at the Bureau of tourism, recorded her performance. I thank Ms Alabama for thinking of me enough to dedicate her song. I also thank Marylyn for recording the performance and reading my comments at the end (After she puts down the camera she stands up and reads comments I gave her).

Yesterday, I had a fast track for my upcoming chemo treatment. My port didn't work for drawing blood, and the lab technician had to use a needle to get it. I hate needles. The tests came back with everything normal; the most notable part is my liver counts went down. Last week those counts were a little high. The doctor said I could have a little bit of red wine sometimes, so I didn't think having half a beer would be bad. It's scary such a small amount has such a noticeable affect on my system... Won't be doing that again! With all my results being good I am ready for the chemo treatment tomorrow.

I was given one piece of mixed news; the bad is that I am scheduled for a Lumbar Spinal Procedure on Tuesday. The good part is that this will be last one. In my opinion the Spinal Tap chemo treatments have been worse than the liquid chemotherapy treatments. Having a needle stuck into my spine is a very unpleasant experience. I am thankful I have one of the best doctors at the hospital performing the procedure. I cannot express how much I am dreading this procedure and how thankful I am it's my last one.

After my Fast Track visit, since my blood wasn't drawing through my port I made a visit to Infusion Therapy, the place that installs and manages the ports. During this visit I learned that if my port isn't giving a proper blood return, it couldn't be used for my chemotherapy treatment. Which means an IV will need to be inserted for the seven hours my treatment lasts. Another needle! The good news is half of my port works fine. It flushes great, which means fluids can be inserted. In other words, you can put stuff in me but can't get anything out.

The nurse at Infusion therapy explained a blood clot had probably formed at the mouth (the part inside me) of the port, stopping the blood return. Yesterday they injected a drug, forgot the name but nurse today nicknamed it Drano, to break the clot. If it worked partially, opened only 1 line, they would replace the port, called an exchange. This wasn't an appealing option either considering it involved putting me to sleep and running a new line into my vein. Fortunately, today when I went back to Infusion Therapy to see if the Drano worked, it gave a nice blood return. So I am not going to need an IV inserted for chemo or be put to sleep for a new port. This was a big relief.

I created a page about my cancer and included pictures from my MRI, CAT and PET scans. If you don't like to see medical images I strongly advise you not to visit this page.

In other news Katherine has been an outstanding chef this past week. She has used her inside grill for Tilapia, Salmon, Orange Roughy and tonight Scallops. Dinner has been outstanding!

Thank you for stopping by, God bless.

This is an X-ray of the port that runs from my arm into my chest. On the left side of the picture are lines running from my arm into the center of my ches. These lines are the port tubes. This is what they use to draw blood and administer my chemotherapy.





My best friend, Sean, is visiting for a few days. His flight arrives at 3:30 today and he's staying until Tuesday. I'm glad he's visiting, and when Shean's around --everything's fun. It feels good to see old friends from home.

The past couple of days I've been doing some work for my dad to stay busy. (Silly me for asking for work.) He threw me a HARD case to research. It's a good thing I like a challenge and have plenty of time... Really, though, I've enjoyed working remotely and being of help. For a while, I've been feeling somewhat useless being stuck out here, and the work makes me feel closer to home. I'm glad to be doing it.

My Dr. appointment and blood tests were both good Friday. All my counts, my important counts anyway, are within their normal ranges. Life, literally and metaphorically, is good.

My next, and 6 th of 8 th , round of chemo is next Saturday. Given that I have chemotherapy every 21 days I should be done by early November. Or as the Dr put it, there is an 80% chance that this chemo routine will wipe out my tumor and I will never have to worry about it again. So, I guess there is an 80% chance I will be here through early to mid November. After chemo down time and the tests they have to run this will put me home mid November to early December.

There is a small chance, I'm told 1 in 1000, that I will be through with the chemo after the 6 th round (as far as Katherine's concerned, it's 1 in a million --she wants me to do as many as possible so that there's less chance it comes back). This is such a small chance it's almost not worth getting my hopes up… but I am anyway. It's going to depend on how my next round of tests, PET and CAT scans come back. I can only hope this tumor has responded to the chemo well enough that I am done after this next round.

Also in the news, my Mom left Tuesday, and I miss her. Her flight went well, she said there were only 10 people on it. Also, I'm priveledged to have had Miss Alabama dedicated a song to me at the Alabama Tourism Convention last Tuesday night. This was a surprise and I cannot thank her enough for doing so. Worth mentioning -Katherine has baked some sugar free cookies, which are surprisingly good. It's her Mom's recipe for all natural sugar free cookies. I also made a little Flash animation for the logo at the top of the page.

POST CLARIFICATION for 07/31/2007: Oh.. by the way, in an earlier posting I said I won cancer patient of the week and had a picture of me holding some flowers. This was a joke, the flowers were Katherine's, and I was posing with them. There is no cancer patient of the week award. Sorry for the confusion and false congratulations. We just thought it was a funny thing to say considering how I look in the pic.


Katherine and I with blue hair. I think she looks better than I do with it.

What do you think?

Us with a Staute of a man holding a bird

Wearing Masks at the Movies





Well, its been a week since my last round of chemo and the Crimson Tide Won. My Potassium was low this week so they had to give me some horse pills and an IV drip into my IV line to get my levels up.  The drip looked liked a baby bottle and went into the IV line inserted into my arm for three hours. Very weird experience to look at it but Katherine watched the time and I didn’t have to have in it there any longer than necessary. Another game today, Woo Hoo, its on ESPN too Can’t get much better than this.
The Hurricane wasn’t that bad, in fact we barely noticed it. Buggy survived the Hurricane after being thoroughly watered sitting on a towel on stone kitchen floor but minus a few flies.
My mom is still out here and supposed to be leaving Tuesday. She plans on returning before my next round of chemo in two half weeks. Overall its been a good week.

In other news I have been playing a computer game called Oblivion which my computer messed up today and I need to start over. Fortunately I wasn’t that far into it so it shouldn’t take me too many hours to catch up where I was. Update: the my saved game files were still there after I reinstalled the game. I didn't have to replay everything to get to back to where I was.

Katherine is doing well and all is good on all other front.

Thanks for stopping by.



5th Round of Chemo Today. Wish me luck




First part of the day was interesting; work crews cut the water main off to the entire apartment complex (over a 1000 units) to work on a telephone pole at about 9am this morning. No notice it was going to be shut off. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal except I needed to go Infusion Therapy to have my pic line bandage changed and I haven’t showered in 2 days (when all you do is stay in the apartment resting you can get away with this). Finally at 3 my Mom and I decided I would just have to stink and we were ready to go get the bandage changed. And as fate was sure to provide, as soon as we were walking out the door the water came back on. So I took a quick shower and we went to the hospital with me not smelling like a pig pen.

My mom has been an excellent chef and nurse. She has been cooking my breakfast, lunch and dinner and administering my heparin flushes. A heparin flush is used to keep my blood from coagulating in the pick line.  I cannot thank her enough for her time and effort in caring of me. Its time like this that true Love is shown.

Thursday, they are going run a series of tests on my spine to see how my tumor is doing. According to my schedule, I will be in the hospital from 12:30 to 8:40pm having tests run. PET scans, CAT scans, MRI’s, the works.

Friday, I have 8:40am appointment, 11:30 fast track and at 2:30 I see my Dr.
Saturday, If all my blood counts are good, I have my 5th round of chemo.
Overall I am feeling much better than this time last week. My fever hasn’t come back (knock on wood) and I’m breathing better.  Hopefully these antibiotics they have me on will work. Currently I am taking 91/2 pills before bed and 11 ½ pills in the morning. They are throwing everything that got at me and it seems to be working.
I was given a new blessing I would like to share:

God my father walk through my house and take away all my worries and illnesses in Jesus name Amen


Thanks for stopping by

Slate and Mom



I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, for a total of 8 days since I was admitted. I am still very tired and sleeping most of the time but doing well and getting better.  The Dr’s best guess is I had a very early stage of pneumonia which the antibiotics wiped out before they could get a good sample of.  But I had all the classic symptoms and responses so that what we are going with.  Some of the tests they ran to figure this out were not fun.

My Father and Katherine flew back to Birmingham yesterday, my Mom staying behind to watch after me. Katherine will be back Friday. She had to visit her grandmother who is also under the weather.

Do to my illness; they rescheduled my tests and chemo to Thursday and Friday. This will be my 5th round, 2 more to go after that!

Buggy or Buggsey(my Mom’s name) is growing fast and getting new heads everyday.

Thanks for stopping by.



I'm feeling much better, but it looks like I will be in the hospital until Monday at least. It looks like  they caught an early stage of pneumonia in my right lung. They’ve been giving me heavy doses of antibiotics, and I think it’s clearing up. Monday morning they are going to give me an X-ray.  If that turns out good and my fever continues to stay down I think I can go home. If not --more tests will be needed. If I continue to feel the way I’m feeling now, I should be going home Monday. I’m almost eating complete meals again!
Thank you all for keeping me in your prayers and thoughts. I continue to hear of so many people, churches, Sunday schools and other groups praying for me, and it continues to blow my mind. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Bless You!!!   Please know that I say a prayer for everyone to be ok, and for God to help anyone who needs it.
Love you all,



I still have my fever, 5 days now, so Dr. Fanale wants me to go to the emergency room and be admitted to the hospital before 8:30pm tonight. I am not looking forward to this but I have got to do what I have got to do. I just hope they can quickly figure out what is wrong with me.

All the tests they ran when I was in the emergency room came back negative for infection and my blood counts are all good. I have slight cough so I maybe I picked up some type of chest bug. Whatever it is, I hope they figure it out fast so I can get out of the hospital fast.

Once again, thank everyone for including me in your prayers and thoughts.

God Bless you and thanks for stopping by




Hello everyone,
 I finally have enough time and energy to post a blog. A lot has happened since my last post, most of it not good. My Lumbar Spine Procedure (where they stick a needle in my spine, take 1/12th of my spinal fluid and inject chemo) did not go well Thursday.  The Dr. who inserted the needle tried two different locations on my back with no success. Before starting I asked her to use the same location Dr. Groves had been using. I have a noticeable mark on my back from the previous three procedures. For a reason she didn’t explain, she wanted to go lower on my back for the fluids. After the second insertion failed, she asked if I could handle her trying a third time in the location Dr. Groves used.  By this point I had needles sticking in my spine for over half an hour and was on the verge of a panic attack. She aborted the procedure and would send a request for Dr. Groves to perform the procedure this week.  As I’m writing this, it hasn’t been scheduled.  

Saturday I woke up the sickest I have been since starting chemotherapy. I was so tired and weak I physically didn’t leave the bedroom until the next day.  Sunday I felt a little better but my temperature continued to hover around 100 degrees. Late Sunday night my temperature hit 101.5, which is the magic number for me to go to the emergency room. We arrived at the ER at about midnight and left at 8am.  They gave me fluids and antibiotics and took blood for testing. My blood counts came back normal, they measured that of a healthy person, so I didn’t need to worry about a blood transfusion. The Dr. prescribed me some antibiotics and told me it was going to take 72 hours for the culture from my blood to show if I had an infection.

Upon returning home, Katherine created a schedule of taking my temperature every few hours to watch for it spiking. Upon going to sleep Monday, Katherine set the alarm at 4am for my midnight temperature check. This reading came back as 103.3, so we headed back to the emergency room. One of the chief suspects for high temperature is an infection in my Long Arm Port, also known as a PICC line. My PICC is a tube that was inserted in my body to serve as a long term IV. This is so they don’t need to keep poking me with needles every time blood is drawn or when they need to inject chemo or other medicines. The port starts in my right arm and stops 6 inches from my heart.  They drew blood from my right arm and my left arm and are comparing the bacteria count of the two. If the bacteria growth my right arm is significantly higher than the left, this means my PICC line is infected and they are going to have to take it out and insert a new one. This is something I hope they don’t have to do.

We had a really awesome nurse dude this time.  His name was Raymond, and he really did a good job. When he said he was going to do something, he did it right away.  Plus, he’s the first person to actually fix an air bubble in my IV tube.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but those IV pump machines don’t like me.  Every time I have one, one of the fluids gets blocked by an air bubble, and the thing beeps just like an alarm clock!  So, Raymond fixed my IV, and it didn’t malfunction at all after that. (It may sound small, but those things can really get on your nerves!).   It’s always nice to know that your medical team is on top of it!  Actually, Raymond looked like he could pretty much take care of anything anywhere.  You can see him at the bottom of the page.

The Dr. prescribed me another type of antibiotic in addition to the antibiotic I was prescribed the day before. He told me that if my body is fighting something off it will take a couple of days for the antibiotics to kick in and see reduction in my fever. He told us that I will probably have a high temperature for a few days, but if the drugs are doing their job it will go away. He said not to worry about coming back to the emergency room for 101.5 temperature. He didn’t give us an actual number as a gauge but as long as I don’t feel deathly ill, I need to wait a few days before coming back to the emergency room for a fever. We left the hospital just before 10:00am this morning.

As of right now, overall, I feel OK, not great, but OK.  My temperature is still hovering around 99.5-103. My nausea for Saturday and Sunday was horrible, the worst it could be. I have eaten 2 bowls of rice and bowl of Chicken broth since Saturday and I’m still not very hungry. Today the nausea is a lot better and I haven’t had to take nearly as many pills to keep it under control. I am going to try and eat some Chicken Soup for Dinner. I believe I can do it!
In other news, My parents are flying in Thursday and are staying for a while.  Next week is test week, MRI’s, PET scans and CAT scans of the tumor. Buggy, our pet Venus Fly Trap, is growing fast. I found out yesterday that one of our neighbors borrowed him Saturday for their cook out. They had flies swarming around their burgers so they sat buggy next to the grill. She said he worked; the flies quit being a problem. Venus fly Traps are really neat plants, but you have to be careful. They will try to bite anything that gets too close to one of the mouths. I don’t want to find out what it feels like to be bitten.  

All in all, life is going good. I’m waiting for whatever is making my temperature spike to go away, but that is my only complaint at the moment. I am going to try and post another blog by the end of the week.

Thanks for stopping by, and God Bless.



Me and Buggy

Me and Buggy






The New Computer will be here Thursday! After it’s loaded and configured updating the site will be a lot easier again.

As for me, right now everything is going good. I believe I am past the worst of the side effects from my last round of chemo. Today was also the last night of my taking the steroid part of the treatment. For five days after the liquid is administered I take heavy doses of Prednisone. This the P in The R-CHOP program I am on. I have learned that heavy does of steroids make you hungry.

Thursday is Lumbar Spine Chemo Injection day. This time it will be fully administered by the Lymphoma department, no more Dr. Groves. One other difference, this one is supposed to be a guided injection, where there is a machine scanning me as they administer the injection. Before, Dr. Groves painted the vertebrae and inserted the needle between the correct ones.  I don’t know why we are using a machine this time but I am curious enough to ask.  I will post any pictures we get.

In other news, I am about three weeks behind on email. Katherine, the Love of my life, is studying hard and getting through her last week of grad school.  We have a new pet, a Venus Fly Trap named Buggy. More news soon, next update will likely be Friday.

Thanks for stopping by,




So far my fatigue isn't keeping me in bed much. For the most part I'm doing a lot of reading while Katherine works on her grad program. She is finals until the end of next week. Between her care provider time and finishing her classes she has a full plate right now. I couldn't ask for anyone to give more than what she is giving me right now.
We are still juggling computers and I am told my new one will be shipped no later than Tuesday. Until then, I am way behind on responding to email and this projects but will get caught up once it arrives.
Thank you for stopping by and take care,




Bad news!
We are having serious computer problems! 

The fan doesn't sound like it is running correctly and the bottom of the case is hot. Given this, and other problems I have been having, my guess is she is overheating and the emergency heat cut off is shutting it. She will stay on for about 10-30 minutes in safe mode before completely dying and loosing all power without warning --which has given me just enough time for this update. We are also having problems with Katherine's power supply. Her charger has a broken pin and it only makes a connection when plugged in the computer at a certain angle. We can still use the computer on battery but it is difficult to charge it back up. I called Alienware today, and my new computer might ship this week. I explained our situation and they said they would try to hurry the construction. I am probably looking at next week before I have my new system running. I will try to get another update up before the but I'm juggling here. In other news I have my fourth round of chemo on Friday. Thanks for stopping by, will keep everyone updated as technology permits.



Wednesday: We moved into our new apartment and love it. It’s amazing how much small stuff we have already acquired since moving out here. It took three trips from the hotel to the apartment to get everything. A large part of which are clothes and items my parents have left so they don’t have to carry as much when traveling back and forth.
Thursday: I spent most of the day resting from the move the day before and Katherine studying. My father began his road trip today to bring us Katherine’s car, leaving Birmingham about 12:00pm. He drove through storms and stopped twice on the interstate due to wrecks, one of which he witnessed. He arrived in Texas about 1:30am. Katherine and I are very thankful for him driving her car out here and that he had a safe trip.
Friday: Today is my Fast-Track lab visit and the only day of this week I have scheduled appointments. Below is my schedule.

8:45 AM FAST-TRACK LAB COLLECTION - Lymphoma Clinic 6th Floor near Elevator B.
10:40 AM LYMPHOMA APN FAST TRACK VISIT  Hematology - Lymphoma Clinic 6th Floor near Elevator B.
11:00 AM DEBRA SIVESIND, COUNSELOR   Palliative Care/Rehab Med Ctr 5th Floor near Elevator C.

As you can see, there is 20 minutes scheduled for my second Fast-Track visit before my next appointment. This visit usually lasts between 20-45 minutes depending on what I go over with the Doctors and/or Nurse. While possible if everything goes right, 20 minutes is not a realistic amount of time for the appointment.  I explained the time constraints with the Lymphoma staff and we worked it out so as long as I was back before 12 they would probably see me. If I didn’t make it by then, it would be later in the afternoon. They are very firm about the lunch schedule. 
From here, we headed downstairs to my counseling appointment at the Palliative Care Unit  (pal·li·a·tive n. Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure). Although my counselor who (I am meeting for the first time), Nurse Sivesind, was unavailable early.  Palliative was not busy given us a room to set up in. Which was very, very nice of them, otherwise we would be sitting in one of the two department’s waiting rooms. Katherine studied, I read. It was about 9:45am.
Walking into Palliative care is almost a cross between a Doctors office and Chucky Cheese. They have a monthly office theme, this month it is Hawaiian with streamers, flags and all sorts of Hawaiian colors draped around the office. Entering Palliative can be a festive occasion.
Their focus is not on the cancer but how the person is coping and responding with the illness. If a patient’s needs aren’t being met satisfactorily, they have the influence to work with the other clinics to make sure the patient’s needs are met.  For instance, if someone is still suffering severe or chronic pain and his or her regular doctors or Pain Management doesn’t pick it up for whatever reason, Palliative can contact the Dr.’s to help resolve the problem.
Katherine and I met with Nurse Sivesind around 10:30 and we discussed how I am holding up to my treatment and what affect my cancer, treatment and living conditions are having on my life. We went over the past 11 months of my life --focusing on my many misdiagnoses and changes everything has had on my life (Which is being written into a my cancer story page). The most important information that came out of our meeting is that I am now officially not clinically depressed (or ever was)! Woo Hoo!  Although, this is not the happiest time in my life and I have very depressing thoughts about my situation, I am physiologically holding up well. Our meeting lasted until about 11:30, then I headed up back upstairs to for the second half of my Fast-Tract
We arrived back in Lymphoma at 11:45 and my blood work was ready.
Part of this visit is receiving a list that shows about two dozen of my cell readings. The four they focus on are he White Blood Cells, Red Blood Cells, Hemoglobins and Platelets
Mine are as follows:
White Blood Cell Count 10.6   Normal Range (4.0-11.0)
Red Blood Cell Count 4.16 (4.5-6.00)
Hemoglobin   13.1 (14-18.0)
Platelet Count 173  (140-440)

While my Red Blood Cell count and Hemoglobin counts are I low, they are considered within a healthy range for a cancer patient. The Hemoglobin was the one my nurse spent the most time explaining. From what I understand, Hemoglobin is the part of the Red Blood cells responsible for carrying Oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. The low counts of my Red Blood Cells and Hemoglobin are likely the source of the fatigue I experience sporadically throughout the day. It makes sense that if my body is low on cells transporting oxygen I would be getting tired. In a nutshell, the big purpose for these Fast Tract visits is to make sure I don’t need a blood transfusion of these important elements. Which I don’t, I am a long way from it.
After finishing with my Fast-Tract, about 12:30, we visited the Eye care department on the seventh floor in hopes of rescheduling my Monday appointment. This would be my first visit with the eye doctor and learned he is semi-retired and only sees patients on Monday. The next appointment he would have available would be August 22nd, which is longer than I wanted to wait for this visit. For several days after my last round of Chemotherapy my vision darkened considerably and near- sight was considerably shortened. Which are not normal side effects of the chemotherapy I am on. Since my fourth round of chemo is scheduled for Friday, I want to have a complete eye exam as a base in case these chemotherapy drugs are having some long-term effect on my vision.
Being unable to reschedule the eye appointment pretty much locked down the days I can visit home before my next round of Chemotherapy, which is Friday but Thursday morning is when I have my Pre-chemo screening. Working with these dates would require us to leave Tuesday Morning and return Wednesday night. Which is a very short window for visiting. However, since to be on the safe side I will probably need a week of recovery following my next round of Chemotherapy I am leaning towards taking this short trip even if it is only for a day and half.
            In other news, I have had little time to work on the blog or web site this week. Katherine’s computer is down so she has been using mine for most of the week to finish her grad-school projects..
Also, I believe I have caught up with all of my email up to July 27th. If you sent me anything before this date and I have not responded, I somehow I missed replying to your email.  Please resend and I promise to try and get back with you ASAP. With so many letters, emails and phone calls from everyone keeping up with me, staying caught up has become a part time job. I thank you all and apologize if I have missed responding to anyone.
            Thank you for stopping by,



St Lukes
St. Lukes from the Holiday Inn Window our last night there. (Photographed by Katherine)


As I write, Katherine and I are packing up to move into our new apartment. This will be our last night at the Holiday Inn, which has been a great home for these past several weeks. We have made friends with many of the staff and their hospitality has been second to none. If anyone ever needs to stay at or near MD Anderson Medical, you will not find a more dedicated team of people making up a first rate service. They offer everything from a place to stay to full shuttle access to every part of the hospital complex. But we are very happy about getting out own place and once again having an oven to cook with.
My father is hitting the road tomorrow to bring us Katherine’s car, and hopefully my dog Snow, from Birmingham to Houston. We haven’t been able to find anyone to ride with him, but he insists this trip is nothing for an old road warrior like himself. I wish him a safe drive.
We still have not finalized our plans coming home… but it’s looking like Katherine may come Friday or Saturday and I Sunday or Monday. Then head back Wednesday or Thursday in time for my next chemo treatment on the 11th. More information as it becomes available.
The biggest disappointment of the week is my new M9750 laptop turned out not to be what was shipped. Turns out my friend Hunter ordered some computer equipment to the same address and we confused the orders. Oh well, getting new technology has always been the slow part.
I might have found a blog program I like that allows Katherine and I to maintain our own separate blogs. The only downside to this program is its not setup for pictures and having additional pages.  I am going to have to build a work around to keep things the way I like it but this shouldn’t be too hard. Time permitting I am will migrate the blog into the current site this week. If you visit and the site is down or looking strange I am probably working on it. Try back in a few hours or the next day and everything should be fine.
Ok, Back to packing, below are a few pictures of Katherine and playing with flowers from yesterday.
Thanks for stopping by,

Slate and Katherine

Slate Flowers
I won Cancer Patient of the Month! I would like to thank all the people who made this possible, my Mom, my Aunt and...
Katherine with Flowers
Katherine fixing flowers

MD Anderson Small picture
This is a Satellite view of the Texas Medical Center Complex. The buildings you see are hospitals, medical schools, research institutions and support centers for the various hospitals. There are about five hotels mixed in. Crosswalks and tunnels connect the majority of these buildings with 15-hour shuttle access connecting the rest. The building with the rectangle drawn around it is MD Anderson itself. The Texas Medical Center is almost literally is a city within a city.





Hello Everyone,
Here is a recap of our few days.
Thursday: The Birmingham School of Law posted my web site on the School Web Site.  Thank You to Dean Bushnell and everyone else at BSOL for including me in the school news. I have received many emails from my fellow students and thank everyone for taking the time to include me in your thoughts. I have a several day (or is it week?) backlist of emails but will respond to everyone.
Also in the news, we learned today we can move into our apartment August 1st (on time) and that my new Alienware M-9750m laptop is ready to be shipped. Katherine and I would like to thank my entire family again for your help and support during this time.

Friday: Today didn’t turn out exactly as planned. My schedule read as follows:

Lumbar Spine ImageThe 7:15 and 9:30 Fast-Track consist of a blood test at 7:15 and then meeting with doctor or nurse practitioner at 9:30 to go over the results. The purpose is to see how my blood counts are responding to the chemotherapy treatments. The Fast-Tracts are done once a week, but this was the first time an 8:00am procedure was listed between the two lab visits. The only information I had on the procedure is what is on my schedule. My guess, though, is it’s my every two-week lumbar spine chemo injection. Unfortunately, this turned out to be right. A page with the exact details of the Lumbar Spine Procedure will be coming soon, but, in short, the procedure is a spinal tap where the spinal fluid is first drawn and then a special kind of chemotherapy is placed into the Lumbar portion of the fluid cavity around my spine (see picture).

This is my third spinal tap and second injection using this treatment (I am on two treatments from two different departments), and when they first proposed it, it was explained as extra insurance in case the cancer progresses further. They say this is increasingly unlikely, but if it did, I run the risk of brain cancer. From one perspective, the procedure is like paying for extended rent-a-car insurance. You don’t really want it, you don’t think you are going to need it, but you are glad you have it just in case you find a big scrape down the side of the car after a movie. The entire procedure lasts about an hour and half and breaks down roughly:
Preparation Time: ~15 Minutes
Actual Procedure: 10 Minutes
Recovery Time: 45minutes-1 hour.

Dr. Morris Groves, who is Director of Neuro-Oncology in the Brain and Spine Center (a completely separate department from the Lymphoma department), is the one who performs my procedure. This appointment was in the Lymphoma department, so he had to make a special trip from the Brain and Spine Center, 6th floor to 2nd floor. Normally, the doctors or nurses in the Lymphoma department handle this procedure.  It’s considered fairly standard and routine, but, due to the sensitive location of my tumor, the Brain and Spine center began giving me the injections. I have been very thankful and privileged that Dr. Groves has been handling it for me so far (VERY, VERY, VERY THANKFUL –I have full confidence in every member of the medical teams working on me, but… IT’S MY SPINE!!!  Oh, have I mentioned I have a phobia of needles?).   This time they injected Cytarabine a different drug from the last spinal injection. Because of the doctor’s busy schedule, preparation for the procedure didn’t begin until after 11:00, so Katherine and I spent a lot of time in the waiting room reading. We also waited until after the procedure to finish the Fast-Track lab appointment. After marking my back up, injecting the local anesthesia, taking the spinal fluid, and injecting the chemo, we were done with the actual procedure by 11:45. I rested in the room until close to 1pm, and then we went over my blood work. My thanks to everyone who was involved in the procedure. Dr. Groves, APN. Monica Gilliam (who goes by Mona), and Nurse Goley Richardson.
A little after 1:00pm, we went over my Fast-Tract results with Mona. This was my first blood work since having my third round of chemotherapy last Saturday. The results are my white blood and platelet counts (the two most important) are well within range for a healthy person. This means the chemotherapy is destroying the bad cells without wiping out the good cells. Apparently, so far, I am still responding above average to the therapy. Because my progress continues to be good, I now have the doctor’s. permission’s to travel! No dates are set; Katherine and I are coordinating it with our families to figure out the maximum amount of time possible to spend with both, but we will be coming soon. Tentative dates are likely next weekend or early the week after. Coming news will be posted as it becomes available, but it will be defiantly be before my next chemo treatment on August 11th. To conclude our hospital visit, after finishing the Fast-Tract and the Lymphoma department, we left the actual hospital shortly after 2:00pm.
Saturday, I’ve spent most of today sleeping and working on pictures for the site. My plan is to get a few more pages up including the story of my 9 month adventure on finding the cancer. I am also looking at different software to help speed up my site updates. Below are various pictures we have been collecting. Enjoy, and

Thanks for stopping by,



Second round of R-CHOP Chemotherapy
Treatment (June 30th)

Lymphoma Waiting Room
Lymphoma waiting room
Groves and Mona
Mona and Dr. Groves performing the Lumbar procedure
Living Room Window
View from outside the hotel living room
Bed Room Window Day Time
Day time view from our bed room

Bed Room Window Night
Night time view from our bed room



Hello All,

I'm feeling much better following my last round of Chemotherapy from Saturday. Sunday was ok, but Monday and Tuesday were pretty much bad days. Today, I would say I'm about 80% back to normal but still fatigued and finding it difficult to concentrate on any one task for too long. For Monday and Tuesday, my nausea wasn't as bad as last the treatment --but I also hit the anti-nausea meds a lot earlier and harder this time! The doctors tell me I am still holding up above average but as the treatments progress, the fatigue and side effects will probably increase. The good news is the next treatment, August 11 th , will be my fourth, which means I will be halfway done!

What do the side affects of my chemotherapy feel like? The closest I can compare it to is the general yucky-ness felt after a bad case of the flue. Thirsty, tired, aching, depressed and that general not so good feeling that you just can't shake until it goes away. I have defiantly felt worse but the side affects tend to linger for several weeks following treatment.

My parents went home today, they stayed an extra day to make sure I was ok. Again, I cannot express how much their support and commitment to my health has meant the past several months. The same is true for Katherine. It's one thing to know someone is always there for you, its another to actually experienc

e them being there. All I can say is that it feels PHENOMENAL!!!

Below are a couple of pictures I thought people might enjoy. The Left: Katherine and I were… (“Oh, Slate, don't give the suspense up so quickly!” -- written by Katherine while editing on promotional set at Edward's Cinema. The 2 nd picture is of my father reminiscing with a distant cousin he ran into at the MD Anderson aquarium. Who knew?

Thank you all for reading; hope all is well with everyone!

Love to Blessings to All,






Hello Everyone,

Here is a recap of my weekend in the world of my cancer treatment. Friday, Katherine, my mother and father met with my Lymphoma Oncologist, Dr. Fanale. The following is the update:

•  The results of the scans show the tumor shrinking and pulling back from the spine. The treatment looks like it is working and everything looks great.

•  Even though the progress report is excellent, she is still anticipating my needing the full 8 rounds treatment to make sure it never comes back.

•  I realized how close this problem was to being a lot worse. The tumor has been sitting and squishing the second layer of my spinal cord. It had/has also been growing up the nerves leading into my spine. In particular, it was trying to grow into my cerebral cortex, the part that holds the spinal fluid that my brain sits in. She explained if the lymphoma made it into the spinal fluid, I would have been looking at cancer in the brain and the rest of my spinal chord. I learned if I had not started treated when I did, it is likely of the cancer would be reaching this stage by now. What's really scary is that I was trying to get help for 9 months before I ended up here. If I hadn't started treatment when I did, things would have been A LOT worse! Close call!

Saturday I arrived at the hospital at 7:15 for my chemo treatment. I didn't know the hospital was open this early. Around 8:15 we were in my room and ready to begin treatment. The treatment itself lasted from about 8:30 to 3:30. This consisted of three bags of IV fluid carrying the drugs into my body. [Pictures coming]. We let Katherine sleep in and she arrived at the hospital about 12. My parents were exhausted and we all pretty much slept during most of the treatment, me in the bed and them in the hospital chairs. After Katherine arrived we tried to talk them into going back to the hotel but they refused and stayed for my entire treatment. It's hard to express the warmth felt from

others giving up their day just to be with you, even when they don't have to.

I have noticed myself a lot more tired following this round of chemo. Today I have been sleeping a lot. At 5 I had to go to the hospital for a booster shot. This is one they stick in the back part of my shoulder, we have pictures. We parked in the parking deck and Katherine tried to validate the ticket before we saw the drs. The idea was that it wouldv be cheaper to validate now, then wait until we leave when the price goes up. It was a noble effort but the idea didn't work. We had to go back up to the validation machine and get a new ticket.

That's all for today. This week I am going to work on making this site look nicer and more functional.

Thank everyone for stopping by and readying,




Good News and more coming tomorrow. We met with the Dr. today and the therapy is working!!! There will be more posted tomorrow. We love you all, God Bless!


Guess what? is online for the first time! Guess what else? My name is Slate McDorman; I have cancer and hate it! But after living the past seven weeks in Houston while receiving treatment at MD Anderson Medical Hospital, I realize how fortunate I am compared to so many others who have similar stories. This site will serve as my portal to friends, family and the world on the latest news of my condition and what Katherine and I are up to in Houston.


My parents have flown in tonight and are now in the hotel room.

Tomorrow I get a progress report on my PET, MRI and CAT scan tests from yesterday

Tomorrow I receive my third round of chemo

Pictures, stories and more coming soon!

By Slate McDorman and Katherine Baker  Email Us

We just started this site, more information, pictures and stories coming soon!