End of Cycle Six and Surgery Mode!

Sam received chemotherapy all five days last week.  It was definitely exhausting, but I think we have finally figured out how to make this whole cancer thing suck less.  Originally, this experience was off the charts on the Cancer Suck-O-Meter, but we’ve become experts at figuring this whole thing out.

We’re more versed in medications, doctor communication, scheduling, and Sam’s diet.  The five days of treatment went smoothly and we even got another visit from Maddie the therapy dog.  We’re ecstatic about getting a break from chemotherapy for awhile and will not miss going to the infusion center…no offense Maddie.

We’ll spend the next two days at Vanderbilt Hospital (five appointments in two days) going through pre-op, getting scans, and meeting with the oncologist.  Sam will be put through a couple of machines (a sandwich and a taco) and will be poked relentlessly.  Because Sam’s cancer is super aggressive, it’s important for him to get rescanned frequently.  A couple weeks after his surgery, we’ll have a good idea of how much progress he’s made.  I’d like to assume that his scans will be void of anything suspicious and they will look something like this:

Surgery Mode!

We are getting ready for surgery next week!  Sam’s surgery is scheduled for 9:30 am on Wednesday, August 3rd.  The last time we were in the hospital for a few days, we were totally unprepared.  We forgot a cell phone, computer, snacks, and a change of clothes.  In fact, at the beginning of our extended retreat, Sam asked me if I packed any snacks.  I confidently sifted through my backpack only to find a wet bathing suit and a pair of goggles.

We’re ready this time.  We are loaded down with food, have a squeaky clean apartment to come home to, our suitcase will be thoughtfully packed, and the bathing suit is staying at home!

It’s time to say goodbye to Sam’s right clavicle and other surrounding muscles.  It’ll be an adjustment for Sam and he won’t look as symmetrical as he once did, but we can’t wait to get this cancer-infected thing out of his body!  It’ll be a relief to have all of the cancer removed and begin the healing process.  The surgeon tells us that the clavicle is the most dispensable bone in the body.  Sam will not miss it and he’ll also have some funky movement capabilities once he feels better.  He’s convinced that he’ll be able to fit through a tennis racquet.  We will totally put this to the test as soon as we can!

The same doctor that diagnosed Sam (gave us the news that turned our world upside down)

will remove his clavicle and hopefully all the cancer from his body.  Can we get a Whoop Whoop for Dr. Halpern?  WHOOP!  WHOOP!

WARNING:  Giving blood and receiving blood causes big goofy smiles.

More Inspiration To Donate Blood!

You just can’t imagine how much of a difference the blood transfusion made.  Not only did it help Sam feel better instantly, but it also made him stronger for his five consecutive days of chemo.  He felt so good that he insisted that we swing by the grocery store on the way home from the hospital after getting his transfusion.  A steak was on his radar.  He carefully selected the perfect filet.  As we left the grocery store, a pizza also sounded appealing.  We picked up a large pizza with hamburger meat, pepperoni, and sausage.  When we got home, Sam cooked several pieces of bacon and grilled the steak and added to the pizza toppings.

Let’s Review:

If you’re able and are not terrified of needles, please donate blood.  It made an enormous difference in Sam’s energy, happiness, and appetite.

Google Analytics

Every now and then, we check to see where our blog readers live.  This blog is read in 24 states and six other countries.  Apart from the United States, it is read in:



We thank you all for reading this blog.  It’s provided us with an outlet and is a great means of support and communication.

Let’s Hear It For Sam!  Can I Get Another Whoop Whoop For Sam?  WHOOP!  WHOOP!

Sam has endured a lot of bad news and pain over the last three months.  He has never complained or once felt sorry for himself.  He keeps showing up at Vanderbilt Hospital with a good attitude and a smile on his face.  Occasionally during treatment, that smile turns into an open-mouth snore, but you know what I mean.  He is courageous, compassionate, and loving.  He’s been my rock for years and has continued to calm me and lead me through this turbulence.  He deserves all the credit and admiration in the world.  All of you have acted as heroes and saviors and I think we can all agree that Sam is the real Superman.

Audience Participation! 

As we approach a pivotal point in this process, we are reminded of all of the love that helped get us here in a calm (mostly) and positive fashion. To everyone, we wouldn’t be as happy and thankful as we are without you.  Your encouragement helps propel us through each day.   Please feel free to post a comment* (Don’t be shy; If an elephant can do it, so can you.) and wish Sam luck as we turn a page in this cancer-killing book.  We thrive because of YOUR support.  We sincerely thank you all for everything.

*If you’re not sure how to post a comment (cough…Momma Hackett…cough), it’s easy.  At the end of this post, click on the link that says:  Leave a Comment.

Mom, don't click on this one. This is just an example. Click on the link at the end of the post.

We will end this post with our good luck song.  Whether it’s getting through a long night plagued with some of those chemo horror stories proving to be true or trying to lighten the mood while we’re sitting in a chaotic emergency room, we’ve continually sung one song (chorus) to put us at ease.  It goes like this:

You are my sunshine

My only sunshine

You make me happy             

Though our kitty is gray!

We will update the blog towards the end of next week and let you know how the surgery went and how Sam is doing.  Thanks again for all of your support!


With so much love,


Sam and Leslie

24 Responses to “End of Cycle Six and Surgery Mode!”

  1. 1 Kiwi July 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Hey there LAH and Sam, or should I say Superman :-). I’m so glad things are going as planned. I will be thinking of you both on August 3rd. Sam, you’re going to kick major butt like you have been doing this whole time. I’ll even buy you a shiny, new tennis racquet for you to fit through after surgery!! Love you both sooo much. Stay positive 🙂 Love,
    Ki, fat P girl, Busy Bella B and Luca Man

  2. 2 Hunter July 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    WHOOP WHOOP! Bye bye clavicle!

    Have a good rest of the week – I’ll (hopefully) see you this weekend!


  3. 3 Jim Sobery July 27, 2011 at 2:41 am

    When people tell me they or relatives or friends are going through a hard time I tell them to look at Things About Sam and Leslie. Everyone appreciates the humor, sense, and wonderful presentation.

  4. 4 Whitney July 27, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Great work, you two. I’m so glad this first major round of chemo is behind you, and you now have an official countdown until clavicle removal. Can’t wait to see the tennis racquet tricks!

    I love the international Sams, and also the painting Thai elephant (you know I watched that youtube clip 100 times).

    Good luck with the surgery–I look forward to seeing you soon.



  5. 5 louise bilbro July 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Leslie and Sam-

    You’ve done a fabulous job on all fronts. Bill and I will be thinking about you next week and wish you all the best.


  6. 6 Ashley Clendenen July 27, 2011 at 8:13 am

    SuperSam and SuperLeslie! I will be thinking about you and sending positive sunshine vibes your way! Y’all are such an amazing couple and I am here for you all the way! Much love!!!!

  7. 7 Anonymous July 27, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Hello Super-Sam & Super-Leslie, and goodbye & good riddance stupid clavicle section! Forget the tennis racket, though; after all is said and done I want to see you guys on this show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va1xfvb343w&feature=related.

    I can’t believe cycle six is through and it’s almost time for the surgery. You guys have truly been amazing. I’m really proud to be related to you. Whoop whoop!

    So much love from everyone here:
    Kate, Amy, Nina
    Molson, Gracious, Henry, Sgt. Jackrum
    Vanilla, Elsa, and all the chickens

  8. 8 Suzanne July 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

    One day at a time…Whoop Whoop! Love you, Suzanne

  9. 9 Amy July 27, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I was going to leave the following comment on sam and leslie’s blog

    Hooray Sam and Leslie you are amazing. I look forward to your posts so much to see what visual adventure I will get to go on. (Now that I think about it is crazy to think I would ever write something that translates to I look forward to reading about Sam’s cancer.)

    Perhaps as a celebration meal post surgery you could explore the Bacon Explosion. http://www.bbqaddicts.com/blog/recipes/bacon-explosion/

    This log of pig and pig even got its own New York Times article.

    Kate, Nina and I are rooting for Super Sam and Legendary Leslie!

    • 10 amy July 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

      DOH!.. I copied one line too many after seeking clearance from kate about a comment. Sheesh…Now, at least, you have the peace of mind that I am running my comments by someone with a brain. Unfortunately it doesn’t help if the brainless one posts the comment…DOH! DOH! DOH!

      • 11 Kate July 27, 2011 at 10:09 am

        Oh, don’t count on my brain… I forgot to label my post with my name, preferring apparently to remain anonymous… MY IDENTITY WILL NOT BE REVEALED! (Except here, and also in my extensive signature on the anonymous comment.)

    • 12 Sam July 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

      I thought the comment was an adventure of its own – “She was going to leave the comment… but?! But what?!?!” Then BAM, you totally left it!

  10. 13 Peg & Bob Gilfillan July 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Leslie & Sam – We’re with youevery step of the way. Attitude is everything!!

    Bethinking of you as you tackle the next hurdle.
    Peg & Bob Gilfillan

  11. 14 MOM & DAD HACKETT July 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    You are MY sunshine and yes, you get a WHOOP WHOOP.
    I’m here with you all the way, every day—except Wednesday and I’ll be by your side. We are praying for strength, comfort and God’s perfect healing.
    And again I say WHOOP WHOOP!

  12. 15 Amanda Ray July 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Sending every positive vibe I have to you both! Your blog is inspiring and super funny. Never have I enjoyed reading about Cancer so much. Best of luck with your surgery and please know there are many, many, people (that you’ve never even met…)in your corner! Amanda Ray

  13. 16 Dad July 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I delivered some deer stew to Sam & Leslie last pm in the hope that maybe wild game will give them some good Karma; lean protein at least.(Pack the Snack) Is that Kate I hear? Don’t count on your four parents waiting until next week for an update.you both get Whoop Whoop.
    Whoop Whoop & Whoop Whoop.
    Sambo will be perfect for the Human Tetris competition on YouTube!

  14. 17 Bill July 28, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Greets from the land of socks+sandals!(http://www.bing.com/search?q=socks+with+sandals+guy)

    Great to see the “high negative pressure gradient meter” going downward. I think that the art in this blog is nothing short of fantastic, and really inspires my inner artist on a daily basis :). Or, it could be the courage, grace and humor by which you are both handling this “bump” in the proverbial road. 🙂 Either way, I’m all for booting out said clavicle as soon as possible. I’ll give you the standard advice I give everyone that I know who’s going to have bone surgery; HOLD STILL! 😉 Thoughts and prayers from the NW. .ub

  15. 18 Sandy July 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    WHOOP WHOOP from Wendover Glen!

    You continue in our prayers — with an extra dose planned for Wednesday.

    Sandy, Steve, Kasey, Alex and Addison

  16. 19 Curt, Laura Beth, Jacob, and Evan July 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    We are all so proud of you both! We are thinking of you guys everyday. If there is anything we can do, please let us know. Allour love!
    Curt, Laura Beth, Jacob, & Evan

  17. 20 sharon barnes July 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    You both are amazing people. Your great outlook and a few laughs in between will get you through this ordeal. I am sending you all my positive thoughts and prayers for your upcoming surgery.I look forward to visiting with you and Sam the next time I am in Nashville.

  18. 21 Therese July 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Another set of Whoop! Whoop! for the both of you! Sam – our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we have plenty of tennis racquets to donate to you when you are feeling up to it. Leslie – you, too, are amazing. I am so glad that you and Sam have each other. Know that prayers, good wishes, and lots and lots of good thoughts are with you both, and with your families, too.

  19. 22 Jeanne Gore August 1, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Christ’s hands on your surgeon’s hands; Christ’s heart in your hearts, Sam and Leslie; God’s love hold your body, Sam, like a soft pillow. You are in my and so many daily prayers.

  20. 23 Pam Parrish August 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Leslie and Sam, Best of luck on Wednesday. I know all will go well. You both have such good attitudes and I am proud of you. Can’t wait to see you. Love, Aunt Pam and John

  21. 24 Bonnie August 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Dear Sam, I was so relieved to hear you came through your surgery so well. Please know that I am praying for you and I Know you will be fine. But I have to tell you buddy, you look beautiful bald (but no, don’t stay that way…) You’re a wondrous amalgamation of your mom and dad shining out of your eyes. Bless you, and bless Leslie too. Your cousin, Bonnie

Comments are currently closed.