CT's, MRI's, and Red Corvettes - October 16, 2012

Family and Friends,

I am thrilled to say that there is nothing exciting to tell you. I've had follow-up lab work a couple of times since my last email, and my kidneys are returning to normal. Best of all, I've had no symptoms that the cancer is growing. Next month I'll have a CT and MRI, so we'll know exactly where we are then. I feel fortunate beyond words that I continue to have no growth in the cancer, and without treatment.

Let me put it this way. It's like finding milk in your fridge that is three weeks past the expiration date, and it hasn't soured yet. Only better.

There are many, many reasons why this is happening. You know who you are. I owe you my eternal gratitude.

That's it for the news. Read on if you want to hear a story that's more connected than you might first think.

When I was in eighth grade, I got the biggest thrill of my young life. It started in the place where I never expected dreams to happen: School.

I can’t remember the reason why my teacher asked me to leave the school and go with her, or even where we went. It might have had something to do with working on the school newspaper, since we were still back in the days when “cut and paste” involved scissors and rubber glue.

For whatever the reason this was happening, I left the building with her (awkward!) and went out to the parking lot. And that’s when I saw it: My teacher’s new, bright red Corvette. Even as we were walking toward it, I was sure she was going to walk right past it and use her key to unlock some puny teachermobile. When we stopped at the Vette, I was living a dream. Of course, I tried my best to act like I was getting on a school bus. I had an image to protect, regardless of extreme circumstances.

For me there were only two really, really exciting things in life at the age of 14: Cars and girls. I was getting one of them. This was even better than being with Farah Fawcett or Cheryl Tiegs, probably because this was the half of my dreams that I knew what to do with.

I was impressed by the bucket seats. They were nothing like the bench seats in my parent’s car. I was surprised when I climbed in and was so close to the ground. It felt like I was in a space capsule. This was real! I was riding in a FREAKING RED CORVETTE!!!!!!!!.

She turned the key. The engine responded with a deep rumbling VRMMMMM. It sent the feeling of power running through my chest, as if it was me that was starting up. As we backed out of the parking space I looked around, desperately hoping that some of my friends would see me. I wanted them to ask me about it later and beg me for details. No luck, but no problem. I was still living the dream.

As we drove, I didn’t know what to say. Luckily, she had the obvious small-talk topic at her disposal to cut the awkwardness. She talked about the car.

I can’t remember most of what she said, but one part has stayed with me for over forty years. She told me that with a Corvette, every now and then you had to take it out on the freeway, get up some speed, and blow the junk out the carburetors. That sounded exactly like what a person driving one of the hottest cars in the entire world would need to know. I had been given some new car expertise that I could show off to my buddies.

I have never owned a hot car in my life. In fact, I’ve never ridden in another car as hot as that red Corvette. But even without a hot car, that sage advice turned out to be far more useful than I ever imagined.

I think about this advice twice a day, every time I climb the seven flights of stairs up to my office. I go as fast as I can, and pretty quickly I’m breathing hard. By the time I reach the top I’m breathing really, really hard. Each time, it’s because I have a goal in mind.

I have to blow the junk out of my carburetors.

Here's hoping that all your dreams come true.