Friday, October 30, 2009

Free Book Friday, and My Dad's War on Pancreatic Cancer

I love Everyone!

It's Free Book Friday. Find out at bottom how to enter.

1. Team Tamale Update:

Goal: 25,000 words in 14 days

Progress after 2 days: 4,000 words

21,000 more to go. Kapow.

Team Gluten-Intolerant is kicking butt as well, although she did waste three words doing this:
Go Bree Despain, and Team Gluten-Intolerant!

2. Pancreatic Cancer Update

I hate Halloween.

I've probably mentioned this, but 2 years ago, doctors discovered a tumor in my dad's pancreas on Halloween night. Cancer. Anyone know the numbers they throw at you once you've been diagnosed with pancreatic Cancer? It's not a pretty cancer. (As opposed to those beautiful cancers that look like fractals).

But a rock star doctor up at Huntsman Cancer Institute performed a complicated surgery called the Whipple, where they basically took out half of every organ. (The Whipple sounds too pansy. I since renamed the surgery: THE BEASTMASTER or THE VORTEX OF FIRE )
(Sis Erin, Dad, Me up at Huntsman Cancer Institute)

Anywho, against all sorts of odds, he's made it to the two year mark. Every three months, he gets his blood tested for the CA 19-9 protein... AKA "Tumor Marker". So every three months, the specter of cancer hangs over our beds, threatening our sleep, our sanity. We're always just one blood test away from life-changing.

For a year, the tests came back normal.

Then three weeks ago, the test showed an increase in the dreaded Tumor Marker. (Remember that one Friday, three weeks ago, where it took me forever to answer comments? Wait, what am I asking...? that my blog readers remember posts from three weeks ago? Seriously, get over myself!)

I probably don't need to tell you that once the cancer comes back... it ain't good. But I guess I did just tell you.

Sorry. Rambling.

Moving on, they decided to wait three weeks and then repeat the blood test.The day before Halloween. The dreaded Halloween results. Again. ARGH.

Last night, the results showed that we're still in the game! Tumor Marker came down! If the cancer was back, you'd expect it to go up steadily. It came down to funky town.

*Punches fist in the air- imagining she looks like Bruce Lee, but admitting she probably looks more like Cloris Leachman reaching for her next drink...*

So, I had to resurrect one of my favorite videos. The video shows two cats reenacting my Dad's battle with Pancreatic Cancer. My dad is the orange cat. Pancreatic Cancer is the black cat.

Funny cat fight - Watch more Funny Videos

3. My kids went to a Halloween party the other night, where they won three goldfish. Real, live, actual goldfish.
(Kid C as the Grim Reaper. Kid B as Winnie the Pooh. Sorta looks like the Grim Reaper is about to capture the Pooh, doesn't it?)

The goldfish came in little plastic ziplock baggies, and every time I tried to grab hold of Kid B's bag, he'd step back and shake the bag at me in a very threatening gesture. I'd say, "Be soft," and he'd start sqeezing the bag. I shadowed him all night, trying to keep that stupid goldfish alive.

He even ate while holding onto the bag. At one point, he reached for a donut and forgot he was holding the fish, and the bag went splatting to the ground.

Against all odds, all three fish are alive and swimming around my mixing bowl.

My Dad. My Goldfish. Despite the numbers, everyone's alive!

On a related note... anyone know how to kill goldfish and make it look like an accident?

Free Book Friday
To enter, leave me a comment and shout a big giant woo hoo for my dad! Those of you who left a comment on Bree's blog per Monday's request are already entered, but give me a woo hoo anyway.

Happy Halloween. What are y'all going as?


  1. Wow, this post has made my day. I'm so glad to hear about your dad, I've been worrying about him (and all of you, really) since that dreaded cold day at the park. Your dad just Chuck Norrised his tumor marker. POW...take that sucky cancer.

  2. Cancer sucks but he is a fighter. Last night was a good night. Nothing better than the grim reaper and Winnie the pooh. They make a great combo! Enter me in for free book Friday. Hopefully I will win.

  3. I literally just BURST Into TEARS!!!


    i love you
    and I love you brodi's dad.

    and I wish I could give you a hug right now. here's my very best eHug though


  4. Thanks everyone! eHugs right back at you. Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks to your own personal tumors. Love all around!

  5. I have been worrying about your dad since I saw your mom's post a little while ago. Thanks for the update! We are rooting for you guys :) Your dad is a trooper (that's what he always calls my kids!!) Tell him GO BYU from the Ballou's!!

  6. I'm so happy about your dad's test results!

    And keep up the pace on the novel!

  7. Cam- Thanks. I'll pass along your message, but who knows what being a BYU fan would do to his numbers?

    Thanks, Matt! I can do 1,800 words a day, right? Right??

  8. Yea! Yea! Yea!

    I've been thinking about your dad all week. Thanks for posting the results.

    Keep up the incredible word count.

  9. I'm so happy to hear your dad is doing okay. Cancer is such a nasty disease and your dad is kicking BUTT! Way to go him! :) I'll keep hoping and praying he stays on the up and up.

    Way to go on writing 4,000 words! That's a lot! You can totally meet your goal.

    I love the picture of your kids. They're way cute in their costumes. As far as killing goldfish and making it look like an accident. (I can't believe I'm saying this because it hurts me to even think it.) Just have one stay on the floor until he's dead. Then, tell the kids he jumped out of the bowl and you didn't realize it until it was too late. I actually had a fish commit suicide that way.

    My costume consists of a brain slug on my head. I did this last year (

  10. Yeah for your dad! And your book too!

  11. Go Dr. Dad of yours!!!! I'd hate Halloween too if it were for such nasty things like that. However Halloween has a special place in my heart (it's the day I got engaged).

    So goldfish. My friend convinced her kids that the goldfish needed more room to swim and the fastest, best way to get them to the Utah Lake was to flush them down the toilet. The kids thought it was awesome and totally were happy to send them on their way. I dont however know if it'd back up your system. :)

    Oh and I think you need to carve Echo in a pumpkin and then take pictures of you and Bree smashing each others pumpkins. GO teams go!

  12. On Cancer - Has your dad read The China Study?

  13. Thanks everyone for the mutual "right back atcha" woo hoo's.

    Jenni- fish suicide? Due to economy woes? Brilliant. Although I don't think I could watch the whole flopping on the floor thing.

    Debbie- am I the only one naive enough to think all drains really do lead to the ocean and the fish can survive the trip? Good idea on the smashing pumpkins. I'll have to contact team gluten- intolerant about it.

    Thanks again everyone.

  14. Congrats to your Dad!! Always happy to hear that good news! And keep up the good work on your book. You're gonna be finished in no time!

    The pics of kids C and B are adorable! I love that Kid C always wants to be scary for Halloween!

  15. Wahoo to your dad! :)

    Once we accidently killed our fish when we didn't feed them for a month, which they survived fine, but when we decided to finally get them food and feed them again... THEN they died from food overload!

  16. What is it with cancer and holidays? My brother won a battle with leukemia after being diagnosed on New Year's Eve. Congrats to your dad.

    As far as killing fish goes, I have a tried-and-true method. Wait until the fish bowl is really gross. Eventually, your kids will leave you a note asking you to clean it while they are at school. In the meantime, you need to injure your hand in such a way that you can only clean the fishbowl with one hand (I sliced the tip off my finger but I don't advocate anything that drastic). Since you can't use both hands, you'll need to find a sponge to help you scrub the bowl - one loaded with household cleaner works best but even a brand-new sponge has plenty of toxins. Clean the bowl and introduce the fish to their newly-cleaned home. They will jump around (very energetically) in the bowl. Tell yourself that they are just happy to have a clean bowl and walk away. Come back in an hour. Deed is done. All you need now is the burial at sea.

  17. Hi Brodi and Bloggers,
    Thank you all for sharing our joy. We do not pay attention to numbers, but 45 tumor markers suck. We love the word "normal," woohoo, and "love." We just got a fix from all the comments. Our love to all of you.
    Brodi's Mom and Dad

  18. Ah super sweet your mom reads your blog. :) hehe.

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  20. Schweet! I'm so glad his count went down. Cancer sucks.

    Great job on the word count! Keep crankin out the pages!

  21. Woo-hoo! Brodi, what a relief for you. Thanks for sharing the great news.

    And nice job on the coordinating costumes! That can be tricky. One mom in my neighborhood was all set with Tinkerbell and Peter Pan for her kids until one of them bailed and wanted to be Cinderella. But now I know that the grim reaper goes with everything! We'll have to try that some year.

  22. Lulabell- Thank you!

    Suey- I learned that lesson from Gone With the Wind... Don't eat too fast after you've been starving for awhile. Thanks for the tip.

    Mom/Anon- Thanks for reading my blog. And I won't tell everyone that I typed it for you. And pressed publish comment for you.

    Melanie- you've actually tried that method? Too funny. Unless you all were heartbroken. In that case, I'm sorry. Now to grit my teeth and slice my finger...

    Leisha- Thanks. Cranking out pages as we speak!

    Nikki- "grim reaper goes with anything..." ha ha!

  23. I've totally tried that method. And now I know why there are little warning messages on the packaging saying that sponges are not intended for use in a fishbowl.

    Was that big enough? I could go on and on and on. Hurray for your dad! I love you, and I love your dad even though I haven't met him yet.

  25. Phew! Glad to hear the counts are good again. As my mom says, it's awful to feel like you're waiting for your death sentence every 3 months. I'm relieved to hear that counts can indeed go back down.

    As for Halloween, I'm going as Jessie, to complement my little Buzz Lightyear boy.

  26. Hey you are hilarious. Happy for you and your dad. Just read last Friday's post. That blood is gruesome and I wish I could have threatened Bree, but enter me for the free book anyway please.

  27. WOO HOO for you dad!
    you know i am THRILLED!

    p.s. if you flush the fish down the toilet, that is sort of an accident, right?

  28. I give a double, triple awesome WOOHOO to your dad. *sends huge hugs* I am so glad to hear the results came back clear, sending lots of positive vibes his way!

    I think it's really sad that I had to google what a tamale is. I've heard it mentioned so many times before and thought "WHAT THE HECK ARE TAMALES??" I think I've been living under a giant mexican rock all these years.

    LOL long live those goldfish! You try to kill one and the other will sue, however much you make it look like an accident. Fish are smarter than we realise... underestimating them will the greatest downfall of the human race.

    Congrats to you and Bree on your genius writing skills. Really, hurry up. Blog posts are like teasers into your writing world, I need to read your book. Now. Anyway, rambling too much... that's what happens when I lurk forever then decide to comment!

  29. Melanie- So funny.

    Bree- that was just the perfect amount of exclamation points. Go Team Gluten-Intolerant. Thanks sistah.

    Heids- Your family definitely knows what I mean about those stupid tests. Jessie and Buzz... That will be so cute!

    Mary- Thanks for reading! And it's never too late to threaten Bree/Team Gluten-Intolerant.

    Dorien- I think I'll carry the bowl into the bathroom, and then accidentally "trip" and pour them down the bowl.

    Brodie- So funny you had to look up Tamales! I would think most people in Australia wouldn't be as familiar with them, right? You probably found the definition, and were thoroughly unimpressed, thinking, "They named their team after a Mexican burrito thingee?"

    As for the fish, that's why I'll have to off all three at once. Tie up all the loose ends, so I don't get sued.

    Thanks for rambling. Ramble anytime you want. That's what this blog is for.

  30. Woo Hoo seems inadequate. But I don't know what else to say. So glad for your family, Brodi!

    Halloween was bad luck for my family last year also. And good luck this year. :) Do I sense a trend?

  31. Oh, geez. I know all about that test. You had me scared for a minute....I may have started speed reading at that point. I AM SO RELIEVED!!

    We love you "Uncle Denny!"

    (He's not my uncle, really, is he? He's more like a second cousin, or somethin' like that. We still love him, and I like the sound of 'uncle' or 'Doc A' over 'Cousin Dennis!" ) =]

  32. Kim- Here's hoping for a Halloween good luck trend! Let's make it so.

    Mel- Yeah, we've basically been freaking out these past three weeks. Erin almost had our tickets to Germany bought. (Supposedly they have an expensive experimental treatment there... and we thought if the tumor marker was still too high at the end of the 3 weeks, we'd do a big family trip.)

  33. A biiiggg whoooo hooooo for the Ashton's! So glad those numbers are under control!

    You can always go out of town and forget to have someone take care of the fish for you -- been there, done that!

  34. Thanks Margaret! That is a great idea about the fish. Then I get a trip, and the fish get to sleep with the fishes. So to speak.

  35. Woo hoo for your dad! I just finished a really beautiful memoir about a cancer survivor. Worth a read, if you're up to it: Between Me and the River by Carrie Host. Keep up the good health!

  36. Thanks, Melissa. I'll look at the memoir. Ever since "The Last Lecture" (that guy had PanCan too) I haven't been able to read them, but sometime soon, hopefully I will. I think my mom's even writing one about my dad...

  37. So glad to hear your dad is doing ok! That is so great! What a relief and what great news!!
    I wanted to let you know that I too have two, formerly three fish that have moved into my house much to my chagrin. They were won at a 4th of July celebration. I thought they would last a week....

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