Hello from Houston, Texas. I arrived last Sunday for my visit to M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital. My tests at Vanderbilt Medical Center, a few weeks ago, indicated that my Leukemia was increasing in intensity and it was time to start organized treatments.
My Vanderbilt cancer doctors highly recommended M. D. Anderson as the best in this country and probably the best in the world. That is why I moved quickly to obtain appointments and get on out here.
It is hot as blazes and I have stayed inside at my hotel and the hospital. The hospital and surrounding medical complex is enormous. M. D. Anderson has 123 doctors and 2,300 support staff. Monday I was seen by 23 different staff, had blood drawn twice, signed all types of documents, agreed to donate extra blood and specimens for research and training at the nearby medical school, told 20 jokes, hugged my doctor, talked French, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic and had a major medical procedure of withdrawing my bone marrow.
My doctor is the head of the leukemia department at the hospital and the nearby medical school. He met with me on Monday and discussed a series of chemo and radiation treatments leading up to a bone marrow transplant that would come sometime in the future. He said I would be a candidate for such surgery.
On Tuesday I met twice with my doctor and numerous other hospital staff. It seems that all the tests from the previous day showed that I am in remission. Fantastic! The doctor has decided to back off the aggressive treatments he had planned. That will wait until later when the cancer becomes more active again. My doctor is hopeful that the cancer growth will be very slow. Of course that is fine with me! In the mean time I am anxious to get back home to Logan County. Plus I do not want to miss writing this column if at all possible.
Thank you to all those who have called, sent cards or e-mailed. Your many thoughts of kindness have been greatly appreciated. Your prayers have also been appreciated and without a doubt did help.
MEMORIES – As a child I grew up during the heyday of Judy Garland. She was born June 10, 1922 and died on June 22, 1969. Only 47 years old. She had a great voice both as a child and as an adult. She was born Frances Ethel Gumm and was part of a three sister act. I first remember Judy in the Wizzard of Oz and later in Me and My Gal, Meet Me In St. Louis and A Star Is Born. She was in many movies with Mickey Roonie. Both of her daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft went on to singing stardom.
In 1969 my sister Diane, my cousin Lois and I were in London, England. Judy Garland had married a much younger Englishman and was appearing nightly in his small club. By then the long use of drugs had taken their toll on this once great singer. Music critics reported daily on how she had done the night before. Some nights she could not hit a note and then on a few nights she sang beautifully. The night we went to hear her was one of those rare good nights. It was wonderful! Three days later she was dead of a massive heart attack brought on by drug abuse. What a terrible loss. Her birthday would have been next week.
PLAN TO ATTEND BIG 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION at the Red River Fish & Game Club in Adairville. The doors open at 5 p.m. Only $5 per car load to get in. Food and refreshments low price. Door prizes and raffles. Music and a giant fireworks display at dark. Fun and enjoyment. Bring the whole family for one low price. The public is invited.
The Logan County Fair will be here in July. The location is at the Logan County Extension Service grounds on the by-pass in Russellville across from the Marathon Station and near Wal-Mart. Admission is free and there is plenty of activities for the whole family. This newspaper will have the full schedule and you can also go on line and find details and prices for the events. (More details next week.)
NICE PEOPLE – Tommy Kemp works at Wal-Mart. He graduated from Russellville High. He is 27 years old, married to Tiffany Page Kemp and has a baby on the way. His mom is Linda Carol and dad Tommy Kemp. He has five sisters and three brothers. He hopes to continue working hard and one day move up in the Wal-Mart system. He loves music and hopes to do something with it in the future.
Nancy Boggs was shopping at IGA Grocery when I discovered this charming lady. She was born in Simpson County and graduated from Auburn High School. (Mrs. Eloise Haden was one of her teachers.) She was married to Joe Boggs and is now widowed. She has lived in California, Cincinnati and Louisville before returning to Russellville. She is retired from Logan Aluminum. She is a real charmer!
Xavier Grainger is 18 years old an employee at IGA. He is polite and very helpful to the customers. I observed him helping several different people who sought his help when they could not find what they were searching for. His mother is Tajwana Maskin and his dad Dietrich Grainger. He plans to attend BG Tech and study so as to go into automotive work. His goal is ”to make money!”
TIME TO GO – Good night Elizabeth Hall, T.G. Pitts, members at Mt. Herman Baptist, members of Second Baptist Church, Berea Christian Church, members of Adairville Methodist Church, Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Starks, Roger Davis, Charles Davis and his pretty daughter and Mrs. Calabash where ever you are!