First, a quick update. Health readings continue to be good. Tumors are stable or shrinking. Still feel good and cherish every day as a special gift.

Back in August, I had a special delight — celebrating my birthday with very good friends and family at a Round Rock Express game at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. The game was sponsored by a pancreatic cancer research group called Pan Can. Part of the sale of each ticket went to pancreatic cancer research. Patti had sent word out to friends in Austin to alert them and invite them to come to the game — as a surprise to me. I didn’t know we were going until much later.

I have always enjoyed a baseball game as a way to celebrate a birthday.

So, it was a special surprise to get to the game and find our good friends the Appletons (Wayne, Jen, Maddie and Kip), the Rogers (Louis and Linda), the Macys (Jeff and Megan) join us for the game. So the camaraderie of visiting with good friends made the night a special one. Plus the game was pure joy.

At one point in the 3rd or 4th inning, the visiting team from Florida was ahead 9-2. If you looked around the stadium, you would notice people heading up the aisles thinking this was a lost cause. Well, as commitment, dedication, hard work and skill would have it, the Express came back to win in the bottom of the 9th — 10-9. What an excellent way to celebrate a birthday — with a win.

As an added bonus, good friends Randy and Terry managed to put my name up on the scoreboard as one of the many celebrating birthdays that day.

By the way, if you want to learn more about pancreatic cancer research, go to http://www.pancan.org. There is also a walk/fun run for pancreatic cancer research on October 22 in Austin. If you want to join us, we will be there. Of course, I believe there will be walks/fun runs across the country on that day. You can support pancreatic cancer research by participating in a city near you.

In the meantime, here are a few photos from our night at the Diamond. Good health to you all.

The ladies in purple: Casey, Megan, Patti, Jen and Maddie

Name in "lights" -- also notice the time and temperature. Only special friends will show up despite the heat!

The Aldridges at Dell: Patti, Casey, me and JD

Another visit to the oncologist … and continued good news.

When we met with Dr. Trumbly this afternoon, I was a bit apprehensive. Recently, when Patti and I had been feeding and watering the horses on the ranch here, it was exhausting and I did not know how this exhaustion would affect the cancer numbers. And, I didn’t know whether the exhaustion was due to the heat (over 100 degrees for 30 days), the exertion (lifting and moving seven-eight bales of hay two-to-three times a day) or my age (60-year-old doing stuff that normally someone in their 20s would be doing), or whatever.

I don’t think I have sweat this much in years. I’m just a wuss.

But when we met with the doc, he had nothing but good news. The c-19 markers that he uses to determine spread and/or growth of the tumors in the pancreas and liver continue to drop. The last visit they were 190, and today they were 180. Months ago, they were at their highest — 212. Dr. Trumbly said that normally these markers run between 0-35 for someone without this cancer. So, my numbers at 180 are high, but more advanced patients have numbers that run in the thousands, so we pray for stability. But these marker numbers are dropping, and that’s a good thing.

How ironic is this? We revel and celebrate when we have LESS of something instead of MORE. Hell, imagine how much I would celebrate if these numbers were to drop to the 0-35 range. Drinks are on me!

And the good news continues. From this point forward, I will see Dr. Trumbly every THREE months instead of every six weeks.

Thanks to all of you for your good wishes, prayers and staying in touch. I love you all.

Cancer-boy may be lifting more bales and totin’ more water if it means these numbers continue to fall.

To God be the glory!

Today, I had my routine six-week visit with my oncologist. For every three months with Dr. T, I have a CT scan and blood test. At other times, I routinely have just a blood test.

When I have the blood test, they are looking at the C-19 marker to determine any issues associated with my pancreatic cancer.

So, it was a bit of a surprise to me earlier today when I met with Dr. T and he said, “Regarding the blood test you had last week, I have some good news and some bad news.”

I caught my breath. “Well, let’s have it.”

“Derek, if you look at your blood test, page one and most of page two is good news. But do you see anything unusual on the report?” ┬áHe handed the blood test report to me and I looked at it. Frankly, it was just medical report gobbledygook. Certainly, it would be a stretch to call this anything remotely close to English.

“Look at the bottom of page 2,” he said.

I saw at the bottom that there was a negative for the C27 antigen, not the c19.

‘I thought you checked the c19 antigen, right?”

“Yes. That’s the bad news,” Dr. T said.

“What bad news?”

“The lab company made a mistake. They should have checked for the c19 antigen, but they checked for the c27 antigen instead. Our mistake,” he said.

‘And?”

“And, this is a routine test to determine breast cancer,” he said, somewhat stoically.

‘Well, that’s not bad news. It strikes me that you’ve just cleared me of any symptoms of breast cancer,” I said.

I walked out of the office feeling pretty damn good.

Folks, Patti and I have settled into a care routine that involves working with the holistic doctor and the oncologist. Earlier this week (Tuesday), I had a blood test to determine my cancer markers in advance of a meeting with the oncologist today.

Well, to God be the glory. The cancer appears to be stable. Markers continue to be stable. No movement of them at all. Consequently, the oncologist suggests we keep doing what we are doing (the holistic treatments) because they continue to work. Putting this into God’s hands also is working, I believe.

So, I don’t need to see the oncologist for yet another six weeks. Good news to welcome the arrival of Spring.

To those of you who have been praying for Patti and me, our sincerest thank yous. We welcome and appreciate all your good thoughts and blessings. And, in turn, we return them to you and your loved ones.

To help you start a wonderful Spring weekend, here is a view of celibacy:

What is Celibacy?
Celibacy can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by circumstances.

While attending a Marriage Weekend, Frank and his wife Nancy listened to the instructor declare: It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.

He then addressed the men. Can you name and describe your wife’s favorite flower?

Frank leaned over, touched Nancy’s arm gently, and whispered, Gold Medal-All-Purpose, isn’t it?

And thus began Frank’s life of celibacy…