I am so glad that the words “either” and “or” are in our vocabulary. Nothing can identify choice better than these two words.

Consider.

I either watch too many movies, or I have a too-active imagination.

Consider.

Earlier today, Patti and I went to Starbucks for coffee and a little breakfast. After we picked up our drinks and took a seat, we looked around at fellow Starbucks aficionados. Inside, there were seats for about 15 people. ¬†Of those in their seats, about five had their computers open to God-knows-what. Unless you were so rude as to hover over their shoulder and look at what they are doing, you wouldn’t know.

Oh, wait, that point-of-view doesn’t take into account the latest news sweeping our country. These individuals could be working, surfing the Web, or they could be some NSA employee hacking the content of the other computer users sitting comfortably in their seats — all the while the users not knowing whether their files are being hacked or not. Too many movies and too much unbridled imagination to prove this wrong.

I’ll never take a computer to Starbucks any more — even though I have nothing for anyone to hack.

But, after a few minutes, a young man came into the store. He was wearing a black suit and was as broad as he was tall — not a marathoner by any means. He had a white earpiece that started in his left ear and disappeared down his collar — much like you might see on a Secret Serviceperson. He moved to every corner of the store and just looked at the store from those vantage points.

He finally ordered a coffee and, once he picked it up, he placed it on a table. He returned to his car parked outside the store. When he returned to the coffee shop a few moments later, he no longer had the earpiece.

Either I have watched too many movies or have too active an imagination. For a moment, the earpiece didn’t look like anyone’s hands-free phone remote. So, I’m thinking a President is about to come in and order and this guy’s the Secret Service front man. Or, a Kardashian was getting ready to come in and order. Heck, it could have been a front man for Sandra Bullock or Matthew McConaghy, who have been known to spend time in the Austin area. It was just a bit unusual to see that kind of earpiece; especially since he did not have the appearance of anyone who exercised to stay in shape.

Well, part of “either” and “or” that we face every day can be either very exciting OR the very boring and not-unusual-at-all. I guess we want something very unusual to happen when we see something unusual, but when the guy returned without his earpiece, he took his coffee, set up his computer and then blended in with the other customers. Nothing at all distinguishable about him.

So, Patti and I finished our coffee and left. But as we were leaving, I could not shake the following song from my mind. Enjoy! By the way, where can I get a gig that pays me to slap my leg?

*****

Tomorrow, it’s off to chemo and to see what the latest CT scan shows. Thank you all for your prayers and messages of well-being. God bless you all.

“When the world says, ‘Give up’, Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.'” — Anonymous

Today, the family and I learned how quickly despair can turn to hope.

We were a bit despondent when we left the hospital on Sunday. It appeared that all the doctors at the hospital wanted us to meet with an oncologist to decide next steps. While they did try to give us choices, there weren’t many. Frankly, we thought the docs at the hospital just wanted to put the burden on the oncologist to tell us that we’ve pretty much done what there is to do.

So, we met Dr. Jerry at 8:45 am at Texas Oncology. If you are not from Austin, Texas, Texas Oncology is a very large organization that focuses specifically on oncology and nothing else. They have a whole slough of offices here. My friend, Bryan, who is recovering very well from throat cancer, recommended Dr. Jerry, so we made an appointment with him before last week’s hospital visit, just in case.

So, when we arrived, we had mixed feelings. We were expecting bad news.

After I filled out papers that seemed to want to know everything about me except my underwear size, we were shepherded into an office.

Dr. Jerry came in and introduced himself. From that moment on, we were just overwhelmed. Never have I seen such an optimistic, caring, confident, energetic individual with such enthusiasm and love for the work he does.

He was completely up to date on all the scans and MRI. He knew the outcomes from the hospital stay. When we had questions about chemo, or any of the next steps we may have, he let us know that hope was on the horizon and there were numerous options, BUT there were some priorities.

While we were in the room, he got on the phone to make appointments with his most trusted gastrointerologist. He was confident that the ERCP procedure that was not successful Sunday, was a temporary setback. “We can turn that around, I know,” he said.

Gemcitabine

Gemcitabine

We had discussions about chemo and the effects of gemcitabine on quality of life. He was straightforward and gave us straight answers to all our questions. Plus, from some recent research we had heard that there was a report coming out in January that claims that gemcitabine combined with another drug, Abraxane, had been experiencing some remarkable results in treatment of pancreatic cancer. He knew all about that and shared information with us about that combination.

So, after our visit with Dr. Jerry, we had appointments to meet the new gastro guy and to start the next step on removing the bile obstruction. We also had an appointment to learn more about gemcitabine and begin chemo treatment.

So, yes, chemo is on the near horizon, but we are strengthened by our faith and we know that we have not run out of hope.

“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.” Lin Yutang