Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sleepless in Seattle......NO....Portless in Honey Grove!!

On the first week of February, I had the this port placed in my body. It was a blessing. It prevented my veins from collapsing and I did not have to wait for an IV drip. The nurses were able to administer my chemotherapy and other drugs straight into my body through this port. It was in my chest and the tube went through the vena cava into my circulatory system.

Our good friend and sister, by choice, Kathy Clark, who you can see on a previous blog, called it my "man boob." For some reason the port always bothered me. (Not that I have anything against "man boobs, manzeers, or bros") It burned at unusual times, my blood pressure was always extremely low, and it was a constant reminder that I was fighting cancer. I wanted to return to an active lifestyle quickly and a medi-port in my body was an obstacle.

I thank God that I have a doctor, my oncologist, Dr. Wyzynsky, who will listen to his patients. After the good report from the scans and tests, I asked if could I have the medi-port removed. He reminded me that I would be having monthly medication and I was not in remission yet. I guess he could read my face because he then said, "We could take it out and if we need another one, we can put one in, right, Kevin Von?"

We made an appointment with the surgeon who "installed" the port. He looked at us and said that we should not remove it. I was not in remission and this type of cancer, in his experience, always came back. Ports weren't a big deal to live with and they certainly didn't cause problems with blood pressure. Thanks to my beautiful partner, Chris, who has walked every step of this battle with me, who said, "Our doctor said Kevin should have this taken out. He's had problems ever since you implanted this port. Have you ever had one of these in your body?" Well, needless to say, the port's out! The moral of the story is..............DON'T CROSS MY WIFE!

If I need another medi-port at a later time, I will get another one! In the meantime, the following slightly used port will be for sale. You can stop by and look at it at anytime. I can't list it on e-bay, because it's classified as a biohazard. I also spsort a "sweet" scar, that I will tell everyone on the beach, is from:
A) Knife wound from saving an elderly woman from a mugger, or
B) Removing a bullet from my chest in battle, by myself, or
C) Misjudging the basket while dunking, and cut my chest on the rim?

I am trying to bring humor to all of this, but I cannot praise Chris enough for all of the things she has done for me the last 9 months. She is the most loving, beautiful, and unselfish woman in the world. She prays with me, holds me, chauffers me as my driver, lets me cry when needed, holds my hand while suffering and my head while puking, lets me be honest about the pain, dresses me, pulls me out of "the cave" when I'm down, laughs with me at highly inappropriate times (like when I learned what a catheter was!!), and always reminds me that we can beat this.

I love you, Christine Dawn!
(This is Chris & me in Colorado this summer!)

Friday, August 7, 2009


I believe that poetry, music, and writings, many times allow us to see
into the soul of the creator. Music has always been a big part of my life.
When I was training for marathons, running
sometimes 50 miles a week, my music was a big part of my runs.

Last winter, while I was in the tough part of my cancer treatment, my son, Ryan wrote a
blog and included this song. He called me and told me to listen to it.
It is a song by Jack's Mannequin. The writer and singer of the song is telling his story
of his life with cancer, the treatment, and life on the other side of treatments.

Mount Rushmore

Have you ever wondered how much discussion there must have been to decide on the four presidents that were sculpted on Mount Rushmore? President Coolidge insisted, that along with George Washington, there should be 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat. Can you say "Politics?" The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, chose Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt to join the image of George Washington. He said he chose these four presidents because of their influence on preserving the Republic and expanding its territory. Of course, the final choices were announced after funding was approved by Congress. (ha!)

So let's have some interactive fun, class. I am going to share with you my "Mt. Rushmore" choices in various areas. Post comments and enjoy!
*(The ideas shared on this blog are strictly the opinion of the blogger. They do not reflect the opinions of other Americans, Texans, or Fannin County residents, Microsoft, Macbook, basketball coaches, Republicans, or any other groups. If you don't like any of my choices................MAKE YOUR OWN DANG LIST!!)

Mt. Basketball Coaches - John Wooden, Red Auerbach, Bobby Knight, Roy Williams
(Why? Wooden = 10 championships and never wore a cap with "X" on it or told us how great he is. Auerbach=devotion to a team and players, helped break racial boundaries. Knight=beneath the crusty language and f-bombs is a great bb mind and loves his players. Williams=genuine, every time I have been around him, he has his feet firmly planted on the ground.)

Mt. Guitar Players - Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Lang, Tyler Dow Bryant
(Why? Buy some cd's and listen. Sorry, you will have to get out of the "Christian" genre but I know 2 of these artists are believers. Remember christian is a great noun!!) Honorable Mention...Dave Matthews, Phil Keaggy, and Chet Atkins.

Mt. Authors - Patricia Cornwell, Mark Driscoll, Dean Koontz, Max Lucado, Donald Miller, Mark Buchanan, Michael Connolly, John Grisham, Mark Twain, James Grippando, .....okay, so this is why I have a Kindle, we can't build this mountain!!!

Mt. Musical Artist - The Beatles, Chris Tomlin, Led Zeppelin, Charlie Hall.
(Why? Beatles- changed the world of music. Tomlin-great song writer & praise music -Grand Saline, TX. Led Zeppelin- cause I like to run to their music. Charlie Hall- another great musician and my nephew went shopping with him!! Shout out to ADAM!!)

Mt. Athletes - Mohammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Roger Staubach, Nolan Ryan
(Why? Ali, while one of the greatest athletes of all time, has now become a champion in saving lives. Jordan.....enough said. Staubach, great on field accomplishments & just a CLASSY gentleman. Nolan Ryan, continues to help my Texas Rangers compete. Always has time for the fans.)

Mt. Restaurants - Starbucks, Saltgrass, Marble Slab, Starbucks
(Why? I really enjoy food, but my dream day.........start the morning at Starbucks with a great cup of joe, eat a medium rare ribeye at Saltgrass (caesar salad & baked sweet potato), ice cream at the Slab, and then back to the Buck for a "Triple Grande, skinny, Vanilla Latte!"

Mt. Football Coaches - Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, Tony Dungy, Bud Wilkinson
(All four were GREAT coaches and CLASSY!)

Mt. Bicyclist - Lance Armstrong (in 4 different poses!) LIVE STRONG!!

Mt. "Places I Want To See" - New York City, Boston, Italy, Europe
(Why? Not giving up on my dream to run a marathon in NY or Boston, Italy for the food, and the rest of Europe for the history & castles.)

Mt. "Young Heroes of the Faith" - Jeremy Higle, Ryan Weaver, Adam Hendrix, Bruce Kendrick
(Who are these young men? Men who have found their passion and followed God in a way that amazes me! Jeremy is my cousin. He and his wife are missionaries in places that I cannot name for safety reasons. Ryan is my son. He and his wife are now planting a church on the east coast. Adam is my nephew. Adam and his wife are serving a church in Chicago that takes Christ to the streets in a way that is unbelievable. Bruce is a former player. He and his wife have begun a full time ministry for orphans. I will let each of these young men share more and with their permission will share web-sites later.)

Mt. "Best TV Shows" (after 1999) - Lost, Fringe, Boston Legal, The Office
(Why? Cause I said so!)

Mt. "Best TV Shows" (before 1999) - Andy Griffith, Seinfeld, Friends, Bewitched
(Why? Andy is my life and I learned to whistle while watching this show in my dad's lap, Seinfeld is truly hilarious, Friends because it makes me laugh, and Bewitched because Samantha always had a crush on me.)

Mt. "Movies" - Young Frankenstein, Sixth Sense, Apollo 13, Hoosiers
(Why? I really don't know!)

Mt. "Most Beautiful Women" - Chris Weaver (4 different poses)
(Why? Because it is true and I care for my life!!!)

Well, it's late and I am tired! Let the discussions begin!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fire & Rain

What is the hardest thing that you have ever done? Before this year, I would have quickly answered, "training for and running marathons." This has now changed. I have survived six months of fire and rain; radiation and chemotherapy. This process reminded me of a long-ago conversation I had with my dad, a pastor for 35 years. An elderly man in his church had suffered relapse with cancer, and this man had chosen not to receive treatment a second time. I remember quickly telling my father that I couldn't understand this - why would anyone not do everything he could to survive and prolong his life? I now understand.

I thank God daily for providing treatment for my disease, but the provision was a tough ride. On June 16th, I took my last chemotherapy treatment. In addition, I endured a day of tests and scans. While the doctors will not say that I am in remission at this time, they are encouraged that there are no signs of other tumors. My diagnosed cancer is multiple myeloma. Even the name suggests the biggest characteristic of this disease - multiple. Only 5% of those diagnosed with MM are distinguished as Solitary Plasmacytoma, and right now, I am a part of this five percent. Even the oncologists seemed shocked, yet elated, that no other tumors were detected. Praise God!

This picture shows a few of my care providers. They are my infusion nurses who have administered my chemo and medication. I still go once a month for treatment. What a calling these nurses have, not to mention they are the CRAZIEST people I have been around during this chapter of my life! They refuse to let you be sad or withdraw. It's a therapy that's been good for me. God has shown me laughter even on the darkest days through these "angels."

I look forward to another year of school, basketball, and time with my family. I look forward to seeing what other miracles God will bring my way. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on my blog. STAY TUNED!