Day 38/39 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Saturday, June 25th, 2005 by | No Comments

God is good!

I don’t know why I say that. Maybe it is to affim it in my own mind. Certainly I need that truth affirmed. I say I believe it, but at times I find myself acting in disbelief!

Kay and I just finished a book Your God is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan and published by Multnomah Press. It is a wonderful book and we both highly recommend you read it if you haven’t already. Kay’s sister Martha gave it to us. (Thank you Martha!) Anyway, Mark Buchanan says several times “God is not safe, but He is good.” How true, even when we don’t understand, when we wonder what in the world God is thinking and doing, or is He thinking? When we are sure that He must be asleep, God is good! He always does what is best for us.

That is a hard truth to comprehend when we are in the midst of the fire. (I wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had moments when they wondered about the safety of being a child of God? Daniel 3:22-23) It is, none the less, true. God is good. It is easy to say with our mind, but hard to comprehend with our heart. God is good! The sooner that we come to that realization, the sooner we will be able to accept the”gifts” that He gives us and thank Him for every gift! Whether it is the “gift” of multiple sclerosis, the “gift” of a heart attack, or the “gift” of prostate cancer. God is good!

This is the verse that I have “camped on” since the fall of 2000.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11

Multiple Sclerosis? Heart attack? Prostate cancer? No, God is not “safe.” But, God is good!

Thank You God!

Day 37 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Thursday, June 23rd, 2005 by | No Comments

This should be day 38! I went in for a treatment yesterday morning and the x-ray machine in Gantry 3 was down. That meant that they could not check the allignment of the patient so they couldn’t do proton treatments. Since Thomas, Austin, and Jackson were here, we had reservations at 10:00 AM on the Catalina Flyer. So…..rather than wait, I rescheduled for an 8:30 PM treatment and we left for Santa Cantalina Island. At 5:00 PM they called me on my cell phone and told me that they were behind 4 hours and could not give me the treatment as scheduled. They shut down at 10 PM. My treatment for Wednesday was cancelled! That meant that one day before next Friday I would have to get two treatments on the same day or stay over until Monday, July 4th, and they are closed then! That means I would not finish until Tuesday, July 5th! Bummer!!!

I went in this morning at the regular time for my treatment and afterwards I asked for a time to “make up” the lost treatment. I was told that I would have to see my doctor to get two treatments in one day. No problem, Thursday is doctor visit day. Kay and I saw Dr. Luu at 3:30 PM and he OK’ed a makeup treatment. Whew! This means that one day before next Friday I can get two treatments on the same day.

Next, back to Gantry 3 to talk to the technicians who run the gantry and schedule the treatments. The best time would be tomorrow since I would have two full days to recover from two treatments in one day. They were very accommodating, as usual! I now have two treatments scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, June 24th. It would be great if the gantry didn’t have problems tomorrow and I could get my regular 6:45 AM treatment and also get an 8:30 PM treatment. So that is my prayer request!

Now as for the events of this week.


Sunday; We were all together at the farm for Father’s Day!


Monday; Austin and Jackson at the Denver Airport.


Tuesday; on the nature trail at the top of San Jacinto Mountain.


Wednesday; Tom, Austin, Jackson, and Kay on Santa Catalina Island. What fun we had!


This one is for you David!


Thursday; Jackson, Thomas, and Austin after climbing the foothills!

Day 35 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Monday, June 20th, 2005 by | No Comments

After today’s treatment I am in “single digits!” Only nine more treatments to go!

Kay and I left for Oklahoma City last Friday at 11:45 AM. We arrived tired but without any problems at 6:00 PM.

Friday evening we had “catch up” things to do at the house. Saturday we arrived at Frontier City for the Annual Kimray Employee Picnic at noon. I think there must have been 700 or more there! It was wonderful to see so many friends, co-workers, and family members! We stayed at the park until about 4:00 PM. Sunday we went to church at Western Hills (what a treat) and then to the farm for a Father’s Day celebration. All the children, grandchildren, my mom, and my brother as well as a good friend, Virginia Scott, were able to be there. They fished, went swimming, rode 4-wheelers, and in general had a great time. It was great fun to be with the family and to love on the grandchildren a little bit.

This morning Thomas, Austin, and Jackson picked us up at 7:15 AM and it was off to the airport again. Now here we are at Loma Linda! We are looking forward to 3+ days with Thomas and the children!

The Lord is too good to us!

Most of you have seen the rubber wristbands that many people are now wearing. There is an organization called USTOO that produces a blue wristband. If you are interested and would wear one, contact me and I will send you one. The purpose would be to increase awareness about prostate cancer. Why is that important? Because early detection is the key to successful treatment and long term survival. There are statistics one the USTOO web site that every man should be aware of.

PROSTATE CANCER STATISTICS

  • Every year over 232,090 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 30,350 die. If detected early, prostate cancer is often treatable.
  • 1 in 6 men is at a lifetime risk of prostate cancer
  • A man with one close relative with the disease has double the risk. With two close relatives, his risk is five-fold. With three, the chance is 97%.
  • Two men every five minutes are diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • African American males have a prostate cancer incidence rate up to 60% higher than white males and double the mortality (death) rate of white males. Every 100 minutes an African American male dies from prostate cancer.
  • Men with a body mass index over 32.5 have about a one-third greater risk of dying from prostate cancer than men who are not obese.
  • rostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American males today
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States
  • Prostate cancer is mainly found in men age 55 or over with an average age of 70 at the time of diagnosis
  • Majority of deaths from prostate cancer are related to advanced disease with metastases

Day 34 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Friday, June 17th, 2005 by | No Comments

Day 34! Only ten treatments left. When this started, I thought nine weeks in California would be just shy of eternity! But, the time has absolutely flown by. You would think that when all you have to do is get a proton treatment weekdays at 6:45 AM, you would have lots of time on your hands, surely enough time for an afternoon nap! Only once has that happened! Actually, the only time that goes rather slowly is while I am waiting for my turn in the morning (15-30 minutes) and when I am in the pod waiting for the proto beam (2-5 minutes). I spend the first visiting with other patients and the second praying. I figure that the God that made the universe can guide the proton beam! So, I pray during the treatment that God would direct the protons to the cancer cells and spare the healthy cells.

This last week has gone extremely fast. Too fast! Saturday we picked up our good friends, the Pattersons, at the Ontario Airport. Ken had photon (X-ray) treatment of prostate cancer last winter.

Sunday we drove down to Saddleback Church to hear Rick Warren speak. The Saddleback Campus is huge! Parking lots, buildings, semi-permanent tent-like buildings, and LOTS of people! We were warmly greeted as we proceeded to the main auditorium.


Tom and Kay with Mary Jo and Ken on the way to the main auditorium.

They have at least three worship services going on simultaneously. They have the music service first and then Rick speaks. His message is simulcast to the other venues.


We sat toward the back where we could see better.

As you can see, at the front they had two large screens on either side and then three smaller screens at the top center of the auditorium. There is also a choir and a group of musicians.

We enjoyed Rick Warren’s sermon, a very practical message about Time: Use It Or Lose It! They used a lot of visuals and the last part was a time of commitment to take specific steps in 4 areas of your life to make the best use of your time and to be best used by God.

Monday, our dsl and phone went dead! No dial tone, no nothing. After several calls to Verizon, they promised to have it working by 6:00 PM Thursday! The final outcome appears to be that another resident had requested telephone service and the Verizon technician had moved our phone line from C-102 to C-201. So much for attention to detail!

About mid-morning Monday we drove north to Lake Arrowhead with the Pattersons. It is a beautiful lake and resort community up in the San Bernardino Mountains. All the property around the lake is private, and there are many beautiful homes.


Lake Arrowhead in the background.

Tuesday took the tram to the top of San Jacinto and enjoyed a .75 mile nature trail. Tall pines, peaceful meadows, and an ice cold steam running through the middle of the valley.
This will give you an idea of the size of the trees!

Later we went to the WWII Air Museum but it closed at 3:00 PM. :-( We were able to visit the gift shop but not the museum. We really want to go back!

Wednesday we went to the Mission Inn in Riverside. They give a wonderful guided tour of this beautiful old Spanish Inn and the eclectic collection of art and artifacts that Frank Miler collected during his lifetime. Many movie stars and presidents have visited including Teddy Roosevelt and/or been married there including Richard and Pat Nixon and Ronald and Nancy Reagan. The exterior walls of the mission are covered with bougainvillea vines and flowers of various pinks and reds.


The Bougainvillea flowers were gorgeous!

We returned in time to go to the Wednesday night proton radiation therapy group meeting. They serve free vegetarian sandwiches and yummy cookies. It is always fun to meet the “newbies” and see who is graduating. We even had three former proton patients who had returned to LLUMC for a visit. We sat across the table from the speaker, Bill Vancil. He was treated at LLUMC about a year ago and then wrote a book, Don’t Fear the Big Dogs, describing his experience at Loma Linda and how it became a platform that led to a wonderful experience with his 13 year old daughter.


About 150-200 attend the Proton Support Group meetings.

Thursday we said “Good-bye” to the Pattersons. We were sad to see them leave. The time passed just too fast to get all our visiting done. :-(Now it is Friday, Day 34, and we are on a plane to OKC! We are excited to see our family and friends! Tomorrow is the annual Kimray Picnic at Frontier City (with 800+ employees and family members) and then Sunday we will attend Western Hills Church in the morning and celebrate Father’s Day at the farm with all the family in the afternoon! We expect about 34 immediate family members to be there! We are excited!

These are just a few of the smiling faces that greeted us! Can you see why we love being home?


Kay holding Avery, Garman, Tom
Tate, Bridge, Jackson, Austin

Monday we return to Loma Linda with Thomas, Austin, and Jackson. More about that later!
To all the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!

Have a blessed weekend!

Day 29 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Friday, June 10th, 2005 by | No Comments

Three weeks left! If I were in Marine Boot Camp at San Diego (as I was in 1961), we would be allowed to “blouse” our dungaree trouser legs at the top of our boots! That is the ultimate sign that you are in the last few weeks of boot camp! Everyone then knows that you are a short timer and barring an accident, you will be graduating soon!


Notice the “bloused” trouser legs at the top of the boots.

The indication you are a “short timer” here is a little different. Before your first treatment, you receive a guest pass with your first name in large letters that you clip on while you are on the hospital campus. They also have colored paper “dots” that you can put on your pass and then write the number of treatments that you have taken. There are only three colors, one color for the first three weeks, another for the middle three, and a third for the last three. I start using the third color after today’s treatment! You may wonder why this is important, but, the first question after you learn a man’s name is, “How many treatments have you had?” The conversation then moves to, “What were your numbers?” (PSA and Gleason) And then to, “Have you had any side effects?” So you can see that the color of the dot and the number (just like blousing your trousers above your boots in boot camp) tells people a lot of the information of particular interest to them!Today our schedule was considerably different. Fridays are “graduation” days. Many men receive their last treatment on Friday. Instead of starting the day with a treatment, I was scheduled for a 12:15 PM treatment. The person normally scheduled for 12:15 was “graduating” today and desired an earlier treatment time so he could get started home early. I was happy to change times with him, I know that someone would do the same for me.

Since I did not have a 6:45 AM treatment, our day started a little later than usual (I still woke up at 5:45 AM but I was able to go back to sleep for about an hour.) Praise the Lord for a little extra rest.

Later in the morning I received a phone call from a pastor in South Carolina that was diagnosed with prostate cancer last Friday. He had received my name and number from another pastor who is a friend of Wes Cantrell. We visited for a time and I was able to review some of my research on prostate cancer with him and give him a first-hand account of what it was like to be here at Loma Linda University Medical Center as an outpatient in the Proton Radiation Treatment Department. I am thankful the Lord gave me this opportunity and I am happy to speak to anyone who wants to know more about what is available here and what it is like to receive proton radiation for prostate cancer.

After my treatment we drove down to Irvine and met with the Lozano family that have a non-profit organization call LifeLegacy. They are originally from the Philippines. LifeLegacy does financial planning seminars (they don’t “sell” any financial products) and Character First! Seminars. They have been doing this about a year and wanted to review where they were and if they were on track and moving in the right direction. Kay and I spent about five hours with them and I think they were encouraged and the Lord provided them with some additional direction. They have one 17 year old son who also participated in the meeting.

Saturday Ken and Mary Jo Patterson arrive from Atlanta. We will pick them up at the Orange County Airport about 10:45 AM. They are dear friends of about 20 years (we were in ATI together) and we are excited to see them and spend a few days with them.

Now for a commercial. :-) Kay and I are reading “Your God Is Too Safe” by Mark Buchanan. It is a wonderful book with a fresh perspective on our relationship with God. Mark Buchanan is also one of the most descriptive writers I have ever read! I think you would both enjoy and be encouraged by reading it.

Our thoughts and our prayers are continually about you and we pray God’s continued blessing on each of you and your families.

Day 28 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Thursday, June 9th, 2005 by | No Comments

I cannot believe that I received my 28th treatment this morning! And, I can hardly believe that I have not blogged since Day 25! This has been an incredible week! We have had a LOT of fun!

David, David, Jr., and Lauren arrived last Monday at 1 PM. We enjoyed each others company Monday evening and then it was off to the races Tuesday! :-)

David went with me to my treatment Tuesday morning. They allowed him to come in Gantry 3 with me and he saw all the preparation and received a short explanation of the equipment and the procedure. I think that he was duly impressed with the care and the accuracy of the proton team!

David then left for Bakersfield to work with our distributor, Jess Ring.

David, Jr., Laren, Kay, and I left for Disneyland! We arrived about 11 AM and stayed until 9 PM. It is the 50th Anniversity of Disneyland and Kay was there 50 years ago during the year it opened! We have been there a couple of times since then with some of our children and it is as fun as it ever was! We had a GREAT time!

We enjoyed it all and here are a couple of highlights.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


Buzz Lightyear says, “Hello!” to David and Lauren.

Wednesday we went to Palm Springs and took the tram up San Jacinto Mountan and had a picnic lunch on the observation deck. David and Lauren especially liked the tram ride!

After the tram ride, we returned to the apartment to meet David, Sr. when he returned from Bakersfield. Then to Irvine to have dinner with the Greenes and meet their rats.

That’s right, RATS, two of them! David and Lauren were very brave and let them craw all over them .:-)

Thursday (today) it was off to the airport and they left for OKC. We had a great time and we will miss them! :-(

Weekend – Again! 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Saturday, June 4th, 2005 by | No Comments

I cannot believe how the time has flown by! We have now completed 24 treatments and have only 20 left! The Lord is good!

For anyone that has ever been in the military, I am now a “short timer!” Less than a month to go. If I were in the service, I would have a calendar hanging up in plain view of all and the first thing I would do each morning would be to cross off one more day!

Kay and I have been learning not to “just get along,” but to help, support, and encourage one another 24/7. It has been fun. You would think that after 42 years together we would have that all worked out. :-) But you can always learn more about one another. I am glad she is my best friend as well as my wife!

We have been really encouraged by the flowers, cards, and emails we have received. Everyone is so good to us! I almost feel like we are on vacation! The temperature is perfect, the flowers and trees are beautiful, and Kay’s cooking is delicious! I have to remind myself every once in a while that I have cancer!

The side effects continue to be minimal and controlable. One side effect has been getting up about every hour all night long. That has probably contributed to the tiredness I have experienced! Apparenty the radiation to the prostate causes irritation and inflamation. This week we increased my Flomax to three pills a day and I started taking two Ibuprofen twice a day. Results? For the last three nights I have only been up once or twice! I had forgotten what it meant to sleep all night! As an added bonus, I am not nearly as tired during the day!

I received some pictures of the new Kimray building under construction in OKC. I will post a couple of them. The building fronts on Sante Fe on the East, runs along the alley on the South, and ties in to the old RJ’s Cafe on the North. The new building will be used for Kimray Sales and Service-Oklahoma/Kansas, and RJ’s Cafe will be used for Customer Service. We really need the space and I know that everyone at Kimray is excited about getting it completed


Kimray Sales & Service – OK/KS

This is a relaxing weekend. We have nothing special planned and no visitors. We are going to drive about 76 miles to go to Grace Community Church in Sun Valley Sunday. John MacArthur is the pastor there. We are looking forward to that. Then David, David, Jr., and Lauren arrive Monday and will be here until Thursday noon. We are excited to be able to spend some time with them!We miss all of you terribly and look forward to seeing you soon!

The Lord bless you and keep you:
The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you:
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

Amen

Day 23 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Thursday, June 2nd, 2005 by | No Comments

Yippee! I am over the hill! I received treatment number 23 today! Only 21 to go! also saw the doctor today and he confirmed that I would finish up on July 1st. Assuming that the synchrotron doesn’t go down! But that is in the Lord’s hands!

I have no significant side effects from the treatments. Nothing that ibuprofen won’t handle! The doctor seemed pleased.

I received a beautiful bouguet of flowers from the Kimray Family yesterday. Beautiful pink and purple flowers. I had no idea that there were so many flowers in those colors. (Thanks Kathy!)


From the Kimray Family

When we were home for Memorial Day, I told my grandchildren how Tom McCormick and I had ran into some bears at Big Bear Lake. Kay managed to get my picture surrounded by bears! Look at this David, Jr.!


Not all bears are dangerous!

Have a blessed day!

Memorial Day Weekend 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by | No Comments

What a weekend! The word that best describes it may be, “Whew!” Really it was a wonderful weekend, and we were able to do everything that we had planned on and more! I received my 20th treatment on Friday morning. At 12 Noon we were on our way to the Ontario Airport and off to Oklahoma City via Denver. We arrived in OKC on time at 9:09 PM. We went grocery shopping, and then Karen and Troop came by to say, “Hello!” Then we had a good nights rest in our own bed, which was wonderful! On Saturday morning we went to Troop’s and Karen’s to help get the children ready for Hannah Beth Bullard’s wedding. Two of the little girls were in the wedding. A quick bite of lunch, and then to the wedding (which was beautiful and very unusual) and the reception. Afterwards we had dinner at Johnnie’s with the Thomas Hills and the Bullards. Sunday morning to church at First Southern to see Scout Bullard (our youngest grandchild) dedicated and then to Western Hills Church. After church we had lunch with the elders and their wives. Dinner Sunday night with Kay’s dad and the David Hills. Monday about 10:00 AM we went to the farm and ALL our children, grandchildren, our parents, my brother, and some friends (33 in all) came out for lunch, an afternoon of fishing, four-wheeling, playing, and dinner. Then home to pack and get ready to leave for CA. Monday, up and to the airport. We arrived at the Ontaio, CA Airport at 1:00 PM, and participated in a conference call with Retired Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles Krulak. He is a great advocate of Christian character and we have invited him to speak at the International Association of Character Cities Conference at Oklahoma City in September. He seems to be open and desirous of doing this if his schedule permits. Back to the apartment, shopping for some groceries, fix and eat dinner, and then to LLUMC for my 21st treatment. See what I mean? Whew!


The Bullard Family at the wedding of Hannah Beth and Derrick Garber.


The dedication of Scout Bullard to the Lord.


Scout’s immediate family


Enjoying lunch with the grandchildren!

We are so grateful to our children, grandchildren, and everyone else that made this weekend possible. We were able to see and spend some time with all the family! What a blessing!

The Lord is good!

Day 20 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Friday, May 27th, 2005 by | No Comments

Received treatment 20 this morning!

We saw the nutritionist and the doctor yesterday. Everything seems fine. I was told to expect some “red” spot on my hips. “Suntan” from the radiation. I also learned that the proton radiation goes right through the hip joint. That is why I have experienced some pain (mild) right in the hip joint.

We also heard a presentation by a radiation physicist. We learn more and more as we go along. After seeing the presentation from the physicist, I was really happy to be at Loma Linda receiving proton beam treatments rather than X-ray.

Look at these statistics:

230,000 men will be diagnosed with proctate cancer this year!
One out of six men will have prostate cancer!
More men have prostate cancer than women have breast cancer.

Early detection and action produces the best cure rates.

PSA alone doesn’t tell you anything.
PSA acceleration is more helpful.
PSA + DRE is even better and a must for men 45+
Biopsy is a must for high PSA, an accelerating PSA, and /or a positive DRE

I care about you and your prostate health! That is why I have included the above statistics and the following information in this posting. You may need this information later or you may know a man that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

We are learning more and more about the long term results and the side effects of various treatments. We see men first hand that have had other treatments, their cancer has returned, and they are at Loma Linda for salvage treatment.

As I learn more, research more, and talk to more men, I am beginning to wonder why anyone would choose RRP (radical prostatecomy). It is the most highly touted but I think that is because almost any surgeon can do the procedure with training and hospital previledges. In addition, it now costs about $100M to put in a proton beam radiation system, even so, MD Anderson will have one up and running in about a year!

RRP is basically useless if the cancer has escaped the prostate, and if it is contained, proton radiation is best and X-ray next best both for long term results, long term side effects, and quality of life afterwards.

For just a quick bit of research, click here and look at Table 10.

The Univ. of PA doesn’t have a proton treatment center but they have researched proton treatments and punlished three reports. One covers how proton treatments work, one covers the history of proton treatments, and the last is the article above that compares proton treatment with X-rays and RRP.

If you have anny questions I would be happy to respond.

Contact me by email: tomhill@kimray.com


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