“I think you’d better call that ambulance”


Following a rough New Year’s Eve when Libby began vomiting uncontrollably, she actually slept well during the night and woke up feeling great on the first day of 2014.  We were confident that the suspected stomach bug had run its course, but then after getting dressed Libby developed a knee-buckling headache.

For the past 24 hours, Libby’s constant companion was a small pink plastic bowl that hospitals “give” to nauseous patients. Immediately following the crushing headache Libby was once again sick at her stomach.  I carried Libby, her pillow, her blanket and her pink bowl to the couch so she could lie flat.

The doctor had called in some anti-nausea drugs which Libby tried to keep down and I kept encouraged her to drink water and Gatorade so she wouldn’t become dehydrated.  By noon I had made the decision to take Libby to the hospital but she still couldn’t sit up, much less stand up and walk outside to the car.  Libby’s biggest concern was, of all things, her fear that she would ruin the seats and the upholstery in the car on the way to the hospital.

Lying perfectly flat on the couch and staring up at the ceiling, Libby was attempting some measure of control over the situation as she declared, “Call Miss Helen and see if she can help me get to the hospital.” Libby’s best friend, Helen Hawkins, had been  “Miss Helen” to our young boys and although they were grown, the habit remained.

To be honest I was a little hurt by Libby’s desire to have someone else help get her to the hospital so I asked a little too defensively, “What can Helen do that I can’t do?” Libby answered graciously, “Miss Helen will be able to hold my head in her lap on way to the hospital and I need you to drive us there…besides I want be as nervous if she is with me”.  I picked up the phone and began dialing, as Libby added “Oh yes, and tell her to bring some plastic Wal-Mart sacks and a change of clothes… this may get messy.”

Helen agreed to help but I was still wondering how we were going to get to the hospital, but Libby was still planning and she said, “Go into the basement and get that red ‘thingy’ that you use to roll under cars;  you can roll me off of the couch , onto the red thingy and then push me out to the car.  Then get your brothers to help lift me into the backseat like I’m on a backboard.”

mechanic creeper

I stopped laughing when I looked down at Libby’s face and realized that she was completely serious. I told her, “I am not about to carry you to the hospital on a mechanic’s creeper (red thingy) and the last thing you should be worried about is messing up the upholstery”. I was only half-way bluffing when I added, “If you can’t sit up in a car long enough to get to the hospital then I am just going to call an ambulance!”

Another 5 minutes passed as Libby tried, unsuccessfully, to sit upright on the couch and said “Barry I think you better call that ambulance…”

Because of some close calls while pulling out of our driveway over the years, I relocated our driveway to the top of the hill for better visibility, which caused me to have to move our mailbox. Moving our mailbox, in turn, resulted in a call to to an E-911 official who suggested that we should change our address because we were told that it could be difficult for anyone to find our house if we needed emergency responders (something I never thought I would need).

On New Year’s Day 2014 Libby and I both heard the faint sounds of the ambulance’s sirens within just of few minutes of my first ever 911 call.  I was in the bedroom packing a small bag “just in case” we had to spend the night in the hospital and Libby, who always looked to find the good in every situation (and in every person) called out to me from the couch,  “Now see, aren’t you glad we changed our address…everything is going to be alright…”




“Barry, I don’t feel so good…”

Pinkie Around Christmas 2010 372

A diagnosis of terminal cancer has a way of concentrating life, sunsets are more colorful, children are precious and family time is cherished above all else; but even with a renewed focus, life still finds a way to crowd out those moments the way it was for our family as 2013 was coming to an end.

The holidays had been hectic but Libby still managed to have more energy than all of us in spite of her diagnosis, all while starting on a new trial drug. Nathan and Bethany were planning to move from Augusta, GA to Rome, GA and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s was forcing my dad to move out of his house in Winchester, TN.

My dad was staying with us during the holidays and Libby had scheduled a trip on New Year’s Eve to a local assisted living center to see if he wanted to move there; following our visit Libby said, “Barry, I don’t feel so good, I think I’ll…”,  but before she say another word, she threw up.  My first instinct was to blame the upset stomach on the meal we had at the assisted living center but since no one else showed any symptoms we just assumed it was the stomach flu or a side effect from the new drug.

Pinkie Around Christmas 2010 183

A week before, Libby had been very excited about a sweater that she had bought for my Christmas, and I had been trying to convince her that the style of sweater she bought was better suited for an older person.  The “discussion” escalated when Libby explained that I was an older person and, in fact, about to be a grandfather. Now, in hindsight, my suggestion to return the sweater could have gone much smoother had I not mentioned that I saw Mr. Rogers wearing that same sweater on his TV show.

My dad, who rarely brags on anything, walked into our house on that New Year’s Eve and noticing the folded Christmas sweater on the couch he said, “That sure is a good looking sweater.”

Libby was glaring at me when she said,”You’re right Granddad it is a beautiful sweater and since you appreciate it, just consider it to be your Christmas present.”

Libby’s nausea seemed better after a nap so I decided to cook supper (OK, I microwaved some Campbell’s Tomato Soup opened a sleeve of Saltines), My dad was anxious to try on the sweater and get his daughter-in-law’s approval so he stood at attention as if waiting for inspection wearing “his” new sweater when Libby came into the kitchen to eat. Unfortunately instead of getting her approval for the sweater, Libby’s nausea returned with a vengeance.

Dad was having a difficult time processing the events through the fog of Alzheimer’s and he couldn’t be consoled as he kept looking down at his feet saying, “She doesn’t like my new sweater…it even made her sick… Maybe you’ll should just return it to the store.”

Later that day Libby was able to get relief from the nausea by lying down flat and I was eventually able to convince my dad that she really did think that the sweater looked good on him.

That night when we were ready to go to bed Libby said, “I’ll just sleep on the couch tonight because I am afraid that if I stand up, I’ll be sick.” Ignoring Libby’s objections and her fears that I would hurt my back, I carried her to the bedroom where she could rest comfortably in her own bed instead of sleeping in the living room.

Turning off the TV just as the crystal ball started to drop during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (oddly enough without Dick Clark) I lifted Libby into my arms. I started laughing as I carried her into our room saying,”Do you remember the last time I carried you across a threshold?” Libby giggle like a teenage girl and said, “Yes I do remember that night, although I was a lot younger and lighter the last time.”

On June 9th 1979 I carried Libby across a threshold and we slept in the same bed for the first time. The irony in this story is that tonight December 31,2013, almost 35 years later, I was carrying Libby across the threshold and we were about to sleep in the same bed for the last time.




Hair Today…Wig(s) Tomorrow

Libby always had gorgeous dark hair, it was one of first things I noticed about her during Coach Killen’s gym class at Chattanooga Valley Junior High School; well, her hair and the fact that no one really wanted to pick her to play on their dodge ball team.

Libby’s hair remained roughly the same length and style for her entire adult life (except for that teased, big hair, 70’s look). Libby spent a lot of time cutting, curling and fixing that hair, so and it was traumatic when a few days after her first chemo treatment, all of that gorgeous hair started coming out by the handfuls.

Libby snowshoing

Soon after her hair came out Libby said, ” The worst part of chemo isn’t necessarily loosing my hair, it’s that people treat me different without my hair because now I look sick.”

Libby in hat

Years later Libby’s opinion changed slightly and she said, “The worst part of chemo is not that my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows all fall out, its having to deal with all of that while still shaving my legs, because for some dumb reason, my leg hair is resistant to even the most toxic chemotherapy drugs known to man!”

In the five years that Libby dealt with breast cancer we spent a lot of time (and money) on wigs and they became a fun diversion because just as she did with so many things in her life, Libby made the best of a bad situation.

Libby had on her favorite wig one day as we were visiting my dad at his house on the lake; he had been feeling ill and like most southern ladies, Libby believed that home cooking could heal most any sickness. Using my mom’s recipe and her old black iron skillet Libby decided to made some cornbread to go along with the meat and vegetables that she had cooked.

It was difficult to determine if the cornbread was done by simply turning on the oven light and peering through the dark glass, so periodically Libby leaned over and opened the lower oven door to make sure it was golden brown.  After cooking, Libby decided to let the cornbread cool on the stove top and join me for a boat ride across the lake.

As we were walking back to the house after the ride I mentioned to Libby that she needed to check her wig in the mirror because she had a wind-blown look as if we were still flying across the lake in the boat. When Libby found a mirror, I heard a scream and uncontrolled laughter as Libby came into the living room with her wig in her hand explaining that the hairs had evidently melted from the heat of the oven and then cooled on the boat ride. The wind-blown look was permanent because the synthetic hairs melted together forming a cohesive wave and it looked as if she was moving fast even while she was standing still.

Later we decided to take a short family trip to the beach and Libby thought that she should buy a blonde wig because, “Blondes and beaches just somehow seemed like they should go together.”


It was rare that we could all get together as a family since Nathan and Bethany were in Augusta but the late fall weather was perfect and I was able to spend some time walking on the beach with my newly blonde wife.

Libby learned a lot about wigs and wig care, mostly through trial an error, for instance once you get the shape and look that you like in a synthetic wig, maintaining that look is easier if it is placed over a round object instead of putting it back in its box.

Unfortunately on our beach trip we didn’t take any of the styrofoam heads to hold the wig’s shape at night so Libby found a roundish lamp shade to support her new favorite wig.  The only problem was that during the night someone decided that particular lamp would make a good night light and synthetic wigs do not do well with heat (see cornbread story above).

Yea, we may have gone through a few wigs during Libby’s five year illness but with Libby life was never dull, just ask the lady at the wig store, we helped put her son through college.

nathan, bethany, libby


“Hey dad, what are you guys doing?”  It was just before Thanksgiving 2013 and Nathan was on the phone making small talk.  Now, anyone who knows Nathan, knows two things about him; first he doesn’t like to talk on the phone  and secondly, he doesn’t make small talk, so when he phoned me and didn’t state the purpose of his call within the first thirty seconds, I knew something was up.

Libby and I had gone out to eat with Helen and Kelly Hawkins at Chili’s downtown and the waitress had just arrived at our table to take our food order when my cell phone rang and Nathan asked, “Hey dad what are you doing?”

Libby had already given me a stern look because I had answered my cell phone in the first place but her face softened when I turned the screen toward her and she saw the image of our youngest son.  After a brief conversation I put away my phone and explained to everyone at the table that he wanted talk later when we were alone, that’s when Libby (and Helen) both gave me quizzical looks.

Libby was never good about hiding her curiosity whether it was gift that she had yet to open or a story that someone promised to tell and she did not suffer quietly.  When we finally left the restaurant Libby’s curiosity was at a fever pitch as she hurried us toward the truck grabbing my phone as soon as we sat down and dialing Nathan’s number.  The curiosity ramped up a little more when Nathan answered and said, “Hey Mom, Hey Dad, let me put you on speaker so Bethany can be in on the conversation……”

When Libby’s cancer resurfaced after years of no symptoms, Dr. Schlabach insisted that we take time away from treatment for a family ski trip and stay in his Big Sky, Montana cabin.  He explained to us the importance of long-term goals for the mental health of cancer patients.  Little did he know that we would soon be getting a phone call that would give Libby the ultimate long-term goal which would put a Rocky Mountain ski trip to shame.

I posted the following on the Caring Bridge site just after Nathan and Bethany’s call to us:

Great news!  Sometime this June, Miss Libby will be a grandmotherYes, Bethany and Nathan called the other night to tell us the news and we are beyond excited. We had been out to eat with friends when Nathan called and so we returned his call on our way home. I think everyone in downtown Chattanooga probably heard Libby’s squeals when she found out she was going to be a grandmother! 

As we hung up the phone after hearing the best news we had gotten in years, our emotions were all over the board.  Libby was beaming, she wanted to go to the mall immediately and start looking for baby clothes, then she wanted to fix up a nursery at our house (for the baby when they visited us) and of course she wanted to travel to Augusta as soon as possible to “make sure they are alright”. 

Then I watched that excitement fade as Libby began trying to remember the exact words that Dr. Schlabach used when he talked to us about about her medical prognosis.  Libby asked, “What month was my stage 4 diagnosis?”  I knew exactly what she was doing as she compared a typical nine month gestation period to her particular cancer’s life expectancy averages.  But even as I was saying, “Libby, you can’t think like that, everyone is different” the tears had already started as she did the math in her head.

Then, in typical ‘Miss Libby’ fashion, she glanced up at the makeup mirror, wiped her eyes, blew her nose, straightened her wig as she synched it down on her head and said, “Well, it looks like I have a new goal!  All I have to do now is stay healthy until June”.


Popeye The Sailor Man

By February of 2013 Libby’s tumor markers had dropped below 200 following a high water mark of over 2000, needless to say we were very excited with the results and life was good.

I like to go swimin’ with bald headed women;

I’m Popeye the sailor man,          Toot, Toot.

My niece, Samantha Gilley, battled cancer from the beginning of her life until it ended 21 years later.  As a child Sam loved to sing that modified Popeye song which was adorable for a 5 year old who had lost all of her hair (or at least it was adorable the first 50 times she sang it).

One day as Libby and I were driving back to Chattanooga following a business trip to Sevierville, Libby began singing that same Popeye song recalling some of the things that she and Sam had talked about while going through chemotherapy treatments; such things as, how cold it can get without hair, the strange metallic taste from chemo and how only very strong tastes are present after chemo, such as really salty, real spicy or real sweet things.

I had a date night planned for this particular evening which included tickets to ride the Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Valentine Dinner excursion.  Libby had gotten dressed for the evening before we left Sevierville, but now she was having trouble making a decision about which of the five wigs she would wear for our date.

As we traveled south on I-75, we were making good time until the traffic thickened just north of Cleveland and we began to wonder if we were going to make our train.  As we sat in the stop-and-go traffic I noticed that the guy in the lane beside us was driving a similar truck,  I nodded my head in his direction as is customary according to the guy-code handbook, signifying that he had good taste in trucks.  The driver acknowledged my greeting with a much deeper exaggerated nod of his head which, in guy-code, meant, ” You have a nice truck AND a pretty wife”.

Libby was in a silly mood after singing the Popeye song and oblivious to our head nodding; besides she was still preoccupied trying to decide on a wig color as she tried on each different wig and hat combination.  In the course of 15 minutes Libby alternated several times between red headed, bald, white haired, bald, a hat, brown hair, bald, etc. finally she settled on the white haired wig you can see in the photograph below.



The only problem was that our new friend in the truck one lane over was next to us nearly every time traffic stopped and from his perspective I was with a different woman every time he looked over!

Still oblivious to our neighbor’s stares, Libby’s humiliation was not complete because when the synthetic wigs are packed in a box they needed to be “fluffed up” before wearing, so following the lady’s instructions from the wig store Libby would place each wig over her fist and violently shake the hairpiece back and forth until all of hair fell perfectly into place.  It only occurred to us later, in another fit of laughter, that to someone unschooled in the fine art of wig shaking Libby’s actions could have seemed less than sane.

As Libby casually glanced to her right she FINALLY noticed the guy in the truck who was, by now, openly staring with his mouth agape and making no attempt to hide his shock.   Libby doubled over laughing (and hiding her now bald head) but the damage was done as she turned toward me and said “Pull up,  Pull up, the guy in the truck beside us thinks I’m a crazy woman”.

We tried to avoid stopping next to him again and we laughed harder when we began to speculate on the kind of conversation the guy would have with his family that evening around the dinner table as he told about the psychotic, quick-change, bald  woman in the traffic jam.

I wrote stories like the one above in my Caring Bridge journal during Libby’s illness for three primary reasons; one, because they really happened, two, because they were funny, and three because Libby liked to remind me,  “Barry you have to write about the funny stuff because some people think we sit around moping and fretting about our circumstances and they need to know that we are not going to let this define our attitude.”

From Now On…

After discovering that Libby’s breast cancer had metastasized into her abdomen in November of 2o12, our emotions began to rise and fall in an inverse relationship with the fall and rise of her tumor tumor marker results.  Even though we were warned that we should not let our emotions be driven by the results, when a blood test revealed the tumor markers were down, indicating fewer cancer cells, our excitement was high, likewise we were down when the markers went higher.


During one particularly sobering visit to University Oncology, Libby asked her doctor how many rounds of this new chemo were planned for her during this treatment series and Dr. Schlabach said,”Oh, Libby, I’m sorry, I must not have explained myself very well when we started these treatments.  You will be on some type of chemo to control the cancer for the rest of your life. As long as your tumor markers stay low we will stay with the current drug and dosage, if the tumor markers rise we will need to make changes.”

The realization that injecting Libby with toxic chemotherapy, from now on, just to keep the cancer at bay changed our thinking and our lives as evidenced in this Caring Bridge post from Feb 1, 2013

When this breast cancer journey started in September of 2008 our focus was on getting through the treatments and “getting back to a normal life”.  Many of you even attended a huge “NO MOE CheMOE Party that we had at our church to celebrate.  Things are different now.

We understand how serious this is; and short of a miracle from God (for which, by the way, we are still praying ) chemotherapy will be used in some form or fashion to keep the cancer in check from now on, providing us extra time that we have determined not to take for granted.

We don’t mean to avoid the question that is on everyone’s mind which is either “What is the prognosis?” or “What does the future hold?”  The truth is we honestly don’t know and, yes, we have asked those questions of Dr. Schlabach he said we are simply in uncharted waters.  When we asked what would happen if she didn’t want to take these treatments he said ” Oh you definetly don’t want to do that” and so we left it at that.  Dr. Schlabach told us to keep praying that the tumor markers will continue to fall then we will decide what to do after that.  To date the chemo has kept the Peritoneal Carcinomatosis symptons in check and for that we are truly thankful to God.

Libby has had so many tests run on her blood such as CA-2729 and CA-153 that Libby and I have developed a running joke; anytime one of us says something harsh to the other one, we say that a blood test would reveal that their DC markers (Devil Cell) count is up, likewise an act of kindness would indicate that the AC markers (Angel Cell) count is up.

As Libby fights this cancer enemy and the rest of us fight the enemy of Devil Cells markers, remember this verse:  The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’  (Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT)


Sweet Lips and Captain Hook

Dangerously low white blood cell counts were a frequent result of Libby’s new chemotherapy treatment and she went through a lot of sterile surgical masks and latex gloves during those periods trying to avoid infections.

During the times when Libby’s white blood cell counts were low she had a strict no kissing policy which could have worked to reduce the chances of infection except for the fact that she would forget several times a day about her rule, kiss me, and then somehow blame me because I didn’t resist.

When a Valentine’s party at church coincided with a low white blood cell count period I decided to “accessorize” a few of her sterile masks with some red plastic lips so I could give her a Valentine’s kiss.  In addition I “upgraded” her diamond ring with such a large stone that Libby had to wear it on her arm (see picture below).

lips and ring

One of the more uncomfortable side effects of Libby’s chemotherapy and estrogen suppressants were the frequent concentrated hot flashes, often as many as thirty or more each hour.   Those hot flashes coupled with some dramatic mood swings and occasional outbursts brought on by the steroids kept things interesting around our house.

We were on our way home one evening after having been out to dinner with some friends when Libby had a hot flash and snatched the wig off her head and flung it into the backseat with one hand while adjusting the truck’s air conditioning vents with the other hand.  As Libby allowed the cool air from the truck’s AC to flow over her now bald head, a puzzled look came over her face as she looked over at me and asked a little too harshly, “What?”

The scene just struck me as being funny and being the supportive-sensitive guy that I am, I started to laugh at our situation,  I said, “I was just thinking about what would happen if we were to have a wreck because I am really taking a risk right now, driving around at night, in the rain, with a bald headed woman on steroids!

Libby started to laugh and said, ” Can’t you just hear the paramedic saying to his partner as they pulled up on the wreck, ‘Hey Bill, something must have hit this poor woman in the head and scalped her, I found her hair in the back seat'”  Libby could not stop laughing and continued to laugh so hard that tears rolled down her face.

Then Libby remembered a line from the movie Hook where Dustin Hoffman played the part of Captain Hook and Peter Pan was played by Robin Williams when, near the end of last big fight scene, Peter Pan takes his sword and lifts the long black flowing wig off of the head of a bald Captain Hook.  With his wig held high above his head, and the lost boys mocking him, Captain Hook’s plea was “Please Peter… give me my dignity”.

I noticed the tears were still rolling down Libby’s face but there had been a subtle change in her countenance as Libby said, “The reason that I don’t want anyone to see me without my wig is because I am afraid people will react to me the same way they reacted to Captain Hook in that movie, they looked at him different after that, it transformed his image completely”.

When I told this story in my Caring Bridge post after Valentines Day 2013 I included this post note:  So, if you are ever driving along some night and come upon a wreck involving an F250, an old guy and an unconscious, good lucking bald girl, please stop and put Libby’s hair back on to “give her dignity back” before we are both taken to the hospital by the confused paramedics.




The Hardest Decision


Many who watched Libby during her five-year battle against breast cancer may have followed a few of the decisions that we were asked to make nearly every time we went to an oncology appointment whether it was trying a new experimental drug, agreeing to be a part of study or the eventual decision to stop all treatments. However, the most difficult decision that Libby faced in those five years was not a medical decision, it involved teaching.

On the advice of her oncologist, Libby has stopped teaching the children at church (although she is still running the program behind the scenes) he does not want her to have direct contact with children and risk infection.  It may have been the hardest decision that she has had to make in the 5 years she has been dealing with breast cancer.  She knew it was the best thing for her health but teaching children is her passion. 

Libby has been dealt several physical blows lately but having to give up teaching, having to wear a surgical mask when she is around kids and not being able to hug them is counter intuitive to everything Libby has done her whole life and in addition it is a constant reminder to her that she is sick.


How Are You Doing?

Libby and her mom Kathleen Willis20130712_180713

“Hey Libby, how are you doing?”  Libby and I both heard the question and immediately started looking around the crowded oncology waiting room in an attempt to locate the face that went with that question, eventually noticing a friend that we hadn’t seen in several years motioning to us from the other side of the waiting room.

Libby and I had just received some very troubling news from Dr. Schlabach and we had taken a few minutes to compose ourselves before leaving through the crowd of patients waiting at the University Oncology Center. Preoccupied with this devastating new information, we were purposely avoiding eye contact when we heard someone calling, “Hey Libby, how are you doing?”

Now before Libby’s cancer diagnosis when someone said, “How are you doing?” we both assumed it was the semi-rhetorical southern greeting, to which nearly every response was, “Good…how ’bout you?”  But ever since Libby’s diagnosis, people would inevitably ask Libby,  “How are you doing?” and they really meant it as a question with genuine concern for her health, not simply a greeting.

Libby recognized the face that went with the voice and after a quick hug she began responding to our friend’s question by answering,  “Well I’m not doing that great, you see …”.  Libby was interrupted mid sentence by our friend who began to tell us about a medical problem of her own (although in my opinion, her diagnosis paled in comparison to the news we had just received) then buoyed by Libby’s concern and compassion, the list of complaints and ailments grew to include other members of her family and her neighbor’s dog (Okay, I made up that last part).

Libby handled the situation the same way she had her whole life, although her eyes were still red and puffy following our conversation and prayer with Dr. Schlabach, she consoled her friend, hanging on every word, clutching both hands lifting and dropping them slightly on occasions to emphasize a point she was making.

Our friend was consoled and comforted by Libby on that day although she never asked why we were in an oncology waiting room nor did she notice how Libby’s voice cracked when she said, “I promise that I will pray for you, cancer can be a very scary thing.”

Just minutes before Dr. Schlabach told Libby that he was out of treatment options and she probably had only a few months left to live, so we were the ones with the bad news, we were the ones who needed comfort. I selfishly resented others wanting a piece of Libby, I resented people asking my sick wife to pray for them and console them.

Later that day, when we were alone, I told Libby that I thought she should concentrate on her health and on the time we had together instead of spending time and energy on other people, but my wife informed me, “We are not the only ones hurting, besides I can’t just stop caring”.  Libby’s very nature was compassion and those who knew her best will testify that she cared for others more than herself for the rest of her life.

Emotional Roller Coaster


It doesn’t matter if it is a heart attack, stroke or cancer, family members and the patient experiencing the traumatic medical event will almost always describe their emotions as if they are on a roller coaster. Whether its the inflection in the voice of the doctor during morning rounds or positive test results, we are sometimes flooded with euphoria at the mere hint of improvement.  But then, just as quickly, because of a hesitation in the voice of that same doctor or a bad test result, the climbing roller coaster takes a sudden turn downhill, pulling everyone down as the ride continues.

Libby and I had several of those ups and downs during her five year battle with breast cancer, even more in the final sixteen months, but I learned a few things over the course of time and I recorded one of those lessons in Libby’s Caring Bridge site:

By Jan 11, 2013 5:04pm

When I was a boy my brothers and I had a go-cart powered by an old Briggs and Stratton engine that we always seemed to be working on.  The motor had a mechanical governor which controlled the throttle and it fascinated me to watch as the engine was revved up the governor reduced the fuel flow to keep the engine from getting too fast and when the motor slowed too quickly, the governor increased the fuel to keep the engine from stalling

I was thinking about that old go cart the other day and how important that governor was to the health of that engine.  Now, this may come as a shock to some of you but Libby can be somewhat excitable, I, on the other hand have very few spontaneous outburst of excitement (okay none so far).   I tend to act like that Briggs and Stratton governor in our relationship because when medical tests come back with really good results (i.e. tumor markers at 893 down from 1300 earlier) I will talk to Libby about it being one test of many that we will need to monitor for the rest of her life.  Then when we have bad news (i.e. stage four peritoneal carcinomatosis) I will talk to Libby about treatment options and our many blessings.  If there is one thing I have learned in my life it is that the bad news we get is usually not as bad as we initially think, and the good news will probably be tempered later with other news that is not nearly as good.  I am certainly not a pessimist but I am a governor. 

Libby said to tell everyone that she is clinging to the Psalms 91 especially versus 14, 15 and 16.

Thanks again for your cares and concerns.