Friday, December 16, 2011

Share Your Best Bob Story (or two)

Please comment below and share a Story about Bob...your BEST Bob story...if you have more than one...that's okay too. Happy Holidays!

What I'd Like for Christmas...among other things

Life in Chicago is busy and hectic. I work 50 hour weeks and my days consist of putting out fires, dealing with angry customers, and motivating unmotivated employees. I'm away from my family during a time when I want nothing more than to be there with them.  Luckily, we all have so many frequent flyer miles that I get to travel home once a month.  I will be home again December 23rd and spending Christmas at home.

So, I bet you are all's Bob?  Well...he's okay.  He finished ten sessions of radiation therapy for his bone cancer and the pain in his leg. This treatment wasn't meant to be a cure, but to help the pain in his leg. He will tell you that so far it isn't working very well. Hopefully, this will change in the next week or two.  He has helped pay for numerous salaries at his insurance company and at the local hospital that he spent a couple of days in recently.  Apparently one too many pain medications did not agree with my dad.  But not to fear, he is back at home and in good hands (with my mom and in his recliner).

For now, he is at home resting.  Which is probably making him mad since he has so much to do. Renovating the house, Christmas shopping, etc.  What can you do to help?  Send warm thoughts, nice stories, pray if you do, ... all of that stuff helps.  I asked my mom if she needed me to do anything this morning...and she said no. She thinks she's okay for now.  If we ever need anything from our big extended family, we will let you know.

What do I want for Christmas? I asked for an new iPod and some other stuff. But really, all I want is to be home, with my dad, and my family and to spend as much time as I can making more memories with them. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dear Abby/News is Usually Bad

So, as many of you have heard already, my dad's cancer has spread and grown to various organs, veins, etc. in his body.  He has started to have pain in his leg and is currently taking oral medication to alleviate some of the pain.  Bob has an appointment with the oncologist on Monday to talk about next steps for radiation treatments. I don't think he will be getting the chemo Dr. Allen recommended, but who knows.  He now has a noticeable limp in his left leg, but his hair has fully grown back. The alternative treatment in India has fizzled out, and despite all this bad news...his spirits are still high. He is painting and renovating the house with help from his neighbor, Harold, and some really good contractors. 

I flew down from Chicago for Thanksgiving and we had a good family Thanksgiving eating, playing Farkle, and singing old songs that my dad used to sing to/with us on his guitar. In that spirit, I created a new verse to the song Dear Abby. I think only the Keegan family will get this, but who knows:

Dear Abby Dear Abby
My cancer has spread
It's gone to my liver
but not to my head
The doctor from India
said "no" last night
what's a man to do
when this shit ain't right

Signed, Has Cancer

Has Cancer Has Cancer
you have no complaints
you are what you are
and you ain't what you ain't
so listen up buster
and listen up good
stop wishing for bad luck
and knocking on wood

Signed, Dear Abby


I know most people don't know what to do or say during this difficult time for Bob and his family. Your words of support, kind emails, etc. are always appreciated.  My dad is so lucky to have a support system like this.  We love each and every one of you.

I will try to post more pictures in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bob's Doing GREAT!

I have been horrible lately at keeping up this blog, and for that, I do apologize.  My dad is doing GREAT!  He stopped chemo in early August; he flew up to Chicago to visit me; he went to New York to visit family and the Baseball Hall of Fame; he went to D.C. for "work"; he visited family in Louisianna; and he even managed to remodeled the house!  The cancer is still there, but he is too busy living life!  The next doctor's appointment is coming up soon and hopefully we will have some positive news.  I promise to post more details and pictures in the next couple of weeks.

I just recently returned from Atlanta and I spent time with my family. My dad's hair is growing back and he's very proud of this.  We played football (Marcus, Dad, and I) in the front yard without managing to break a window.  We are no Manning family, but we are darn close!  We watched football, played Farkel (the new family favorite game), and we had a lovely meal together.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chemo Free Days

So, where did I leave off?  I went home on August 11th to visit my family for two really quick days. My dad picked me up from the airport Thursday night and I was greeted at home by my mom, my Aunt Alicia, and some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. What more could a girl ask for?

There were two things that my dad seemed really excited about: (1) the new windows in the house (I must admit they are nice) and (2) his new bird feeder with the upside down cone to prevent squirrels from climbing up it and stealing all of the bird seed.  We talked about these two things in great detail.

Friday night we had dinner at Marcus and Stacey's house and then had a rousing game of Farkel.  I almost won, but my mom came back and beat me at the end.  My dad however was Farkeling out of this world. If you have ever played any kind of game with him, you should know he is quick to give you advice...on how best to lose.

I left Saturday evening, but not before enjoying a nice dinner with the family at a neighborhood Mexican restaurant. It was a quick visit, but it served its purpose.

So how is my dad doing??? He's doing pretty good. He loves not having to go to doctors for chemotheraphy and other unnecessary activities involving needles. He has started biking again, with my mom of course, so I'm sure he's happy about that as well.  He is still pursuing alternative treatment methods, but some of the options may take longer to materialize than he had originally hoped for.

Oh, a belated shout out to our family friend, Carla, and her quilting group at St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church. They made two lovely quilts for "strength and support...with love, hope and prayers" that my mom and dad now keep on the sofa in the family room.  They make great napping accessories I might add.

Also, here's a belated picture of my dad and his new BFF (best friend forever), Abbott.  It was taken back in April.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Marcus!..and the quick and dirty update on Bob.

Today is Marcus' (my brother's) birthday!!!! Happy Birthday to one of my very best friends and the best brother a girl could ever ask for. He feeds me when I'm hungry, tells me my parents are crazy when they don't do as I wish, and always checks to make sure I'm okay.

So, I know I have been MIA as far as the blog is concerned, but as Marcus' stated in the last post, I just started a new job where I am managing people and I have no clue what they actually do every day. It's a great challenge and I am loving every minute of being super busy and bossing people around.  I talked to my dad a couple of days ago via email and I talk to my parents every Sunday (it's a tradition). He had chemo treatment on Tuesday, so I'm sure he's not feeling too well right now. I talked to Marcus this morning (to wish him Happy Birthday of course) and he said my dad was doing pretty good all things considered.  My dad doesn't have any plans (as of now) for any more chemo treatments since he likes chemo treatments as much as he likes the current healthcare system in America. WARNING: Please don't engage him in conversations about hospital bills and/or how much chemo treatments costs unless you have plenty of spare time on your hands. He is now very passionate about these things. And that's what makes him my dad :-)

I'm pretty sure my mom and dad have been entertaining visitors, remodeling the house, and going through their normal daily routine. Not much has changed.  My dad is still looking into alternative treatment methods and I'm pretty sure that this research is consuming most of his time and energy.  I know he can't wait to prove those doctors wrong! Every last one of them (except of course the good doctors that work at CDC). I would tell you all of the nicknames he has for his various doctors, but I would like to keep this blog PG.

I miss my family like crazy and think about them every day. Chicago is an interesting city and I'm slowly but surely learning my way around. Luckily, my dad has plenty of frequent flyer miles that he so generously shares with his baby girl. So...I will be in Atlanta next weekend to visit!!!! Lucky for me, my Aunt Alicia will be in town as well. I will make sure to take some more pictures of the family during my visit.  Until then...

A Throwback - Picture's from Father's Day

Sorry these are so late going up, but here are some pictures of my family celebrating Father's Day this year.

 Above picture: My dad taking pictures of the family he kept leaving behind on the Silver Comet trail.

 Above picture: Bob and his kids. Can't you tell how excited they are to be biking 16 miles????

 Above picture: The Keegan Family - halfway done with the wonderific bike ride!

Above picture: Me taking a picture of my dad and I while he is singing the "Happiness Song". I'm not very good at getting myself in the picture though. Look for the song coming soon on YouTube ;-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (by Guest Blogger: Bob’s Son)

We have heard from many people about the fact that the Blog hasn’t been updated.  Bob’s Daughter (a recent MBA grad) was honored to be selected into a management training program with a large company that required that she move to Chicago.  Between leaving the DOJ, moving her things to Chicago, making frequent trips to Atlanta to check on her dad, and going to a week-long training in Dallas, Bob’s Daughter has been quite swamped.  Luckily for you loyal readers, Bob also has a son!  So – let me fill you in on all the happenings for the past month and half or so.

In the midst of the moving, Bob’s Daughter made it down to Atlanta to spend Father’s Day with Dad.  We celebrated by driving out to the Silver Comet Trail and taking an 18-mile bike ride out to the Giant Trestle (I made that name up – but it truly is a very large old train trestle) on the Silver Comet Trail.  Dad loves bike rides and was ecstatic to go on this one because Lauren had not been on a bike ride with him in a number of years due in part to a terrible bike related fall she suffered shortly after our return from Thailand.  This time, however, there were no falls and Lauren had a great time.  Ok, a good time.  Ok, she only complained a little bit.  But most importantly, Dad had a GREAT time.  We celebrated that night with a great dinner at my house made by my lovely wife as well as an incredible cheesecake made by my lovely mom.

As Lauren has already told you, a great father’s day was followed up by a day of chemo on Monday, June 20th.  Lauren was a trooper and gave Mom some relief by spending the day with Dad while he got his treatment.  The chemo treatment was followed by several days of feeling like crap on my dad’s part.  Unfortunately, he feels like the days of feeling like crap have extended slightly with each additional treatment.  Dad was very disappointed that there was not more significant improvement from his CT scan results.  For quite a few days after June 20th, he wrestled with the idea of stopping the chemo treatments and just enjoying life.  After some serious discussions with several doctors, he ultimately decided to finish his last two chemo treatments.  He is continuing to explore alternative options. 

Dad did get to enjoy some fun over the 4th of July weekend.  My uncles Jim and Lawrence and my aunt Velma came to visit for the 4th of July.  In addition to the family time, the plan was for my Mom and Dad, Jim and Lawrence and I to complete the Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10k race.  Jim and I were planning to walk the 10k, Lawrence and Mom were planning to run it, and my dad was planning to walk it so fast that he may as well have been running.  Unfortunately, Mom had to pull out with an injury (but she’s run the Peachtree more times than anyone else in the family so she didn’t miss out on too much) and Lawrence had to run it alone.  True to his nature, my dad walked the whole thing about 20 minutes faster than my uncle Jim and I walked it.  It was hot and long but it was actually a lot of fun.  It’s quite an atmosphere.  All along the route there are people lined up in chairs cheering (sometimes jeering) and often drinking beers, mimosas and bloody marys and making you wonder why you aren’t sitting there drinking with them.  But our goal was achieved, as everyone who started was able to make it to the finish line.  Lauren picked Jim and I up from the train station with beers in the cooler….what a good egg.  After the race everyone gathered at my parent’s house, along with long-time family friends Ed and Andrea, to drink, eat and talk about the day.

A few weekends ago, my mom and dad and Stacey and I went to see the new Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris.  I thought the cinematography was great, the filming of Paris was done with the same loving touches that Woody used to give Manhattan, the theme of the illusion of a better past was a great one, and the standard Woody Allen characters you know and love were done well by Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson.  Dad fell asleep and only woke himself up when he began snoring too loudly.  So I guess that’s one thumb up and one thumb down.

On July 11th, Dad had his next to last chemo treatment.  He reported it being a little more painful than the previous ones, but he survived.  I think he would say that the basketball feeling in his stomach isn’t as big a basketball, but the overall crappy feeling lasted a little longer.  By the weekend, though he was back to his normal activities and got to spend some time with his former co-workers Steve and Melinda on Saturday.  He also got to spend some time with his brother Joe, his sister-in-law Nancy, and his niece Robyn who were in town visiting Dad and some other family they have in Atlanta.  On Monday, Dad’s sisters Eileen and Mary got into town and are here visiting for a few days.  Tonight, Stacey and I will be joining Eileen, Mary, Joe and Nancy for dinner at my parent’s house.  Dad has really enjoyed having a chance to visit with all of his family.  His brother Michael has work that brings him to Atlanta every now and then and has been able to visit with my Dad a few times over the past few months.  His brother Timmy and his niece Rashunda have also visited with him, not to mention numerous members of his extended CDC family.  The family visits are a pleasant distraction (for all of us) from the ugly business of cancer and chemo.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chemo Fun With Dad

Happy Belated Father's Day to all the fathers who read this blog. I will post some pictures and the story of Bob's father's day tomorrow.  Today, I am watching my dad sleep through chemotherapy session #4.  The doctor said that the results of his last CT scan (from last Wednesday) show that the tumors are unchanged and stable.  Whatever that means.  Since the original CT scans used to compare to the most recent CT scans were done in March, the doctor and my dad both concluded that there is no way of telling what actually happened between March and June.  However, the chemotherapy may be keeping the tumors from growing any further and so the doctor has decided to continue with the current treatment plan. I know secretly my dad was hoping to get out of having to continue with chemotherapy, but for now...we will continue on through this painfully emotional process.  Luckily though, he is physically feeling fine. He has gotten use to his nephrostomy bag, AND he is still able to take 2-mile walks, complete 20+ mile bike rides, and clean the gutters (much to my mom's disapproval).  It usually takes 5 days for my dad to start feeling back to normal, so hopefully, he will be up and at 'em by the weekend. I will be leaving to finish up things in D.C. on Friday and then I will be flying back to Atlanta mid next week to spend fourth of July weekend in Atlanta.  By the way, my dad had a GREAT father's day. Of course he would...he has some awesome kids and a great wife (if I do say so myself). Until tomorrow....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just Another Day...

So, I'm back in Atlanta for about two weeks spending some time with my family in between jobs. I arrived Tuesday afternoon and my dad picked me up from the airport. I will say there was a bit of a change in his appearance. He now has no hair. He has some little baby hair that he has decided to keep on the top of his head, but other than that...there is nothing there. Luckily, I saw a picture before I arrived so I wasn't in complete shock. We were both hungry so we went to Monterrey's Mexican for a little lunch. I love Mexican food and you can't really find cheap Mexican food or good Mexican food in the D.C. area. So I was in heaven.  We arrived home and both took a little nap. Mine was a little longer than his, but I had a long night the night before packing and gearing up for my move to Chicago. My dad, mom, brother, sister-in-law, and I went to dinner Tuesday night at this place called Technique. It was a three-course dinner that was prepared and served by student chefs. The food was quite good, but it took a long time. My dad was very concerned because the head chef was yelling at some of the chefs in the kitchen. After a nice dinner, we came home, watched a little baseball, and went to sleep.

Wednesday, my dad had to get up at 4:30am and 6:30am to drink a tasty beverage for his CT scan later that morning.  He then had an appointment to get a scan of his lungs, stomach, and pancreas to see if the chemo has had any effect on his tumors. My dad got a chance to speak to one of my cousin-in-laws, Thuy, later in the day about some of this treatment and results and was excited to get a very candid consultation. He also was excited to install the bird feeder that someone (he can't remember) bought for him on a tree in the back yard. Our across-the-street neighbor, and friend, Harold helped him to install the bird feeder with a rope and pulley. This afternoon, we had our first visitor. He starred out of the window for a couple of minutes like a little kid at Christmas. It was quite funny.

Last night my mom had Spanish class, so my dad and I had dinner on the porch. If you have ever been to our house, you know that the porch is his favorite place. We ate dinner, readjusted the bird feeder, and watched the storm come and go. Later on we watched some of the Braves Game on tv and just talked.  Life here at the Keegan household is pretty calm. My mom left for Albany this morning to visit her family. So, my dad and I are preparing to move some of the furniture from the basement to the upstairs part of the house.  Should be interesting. 

He should receive the results of his most recent CT scan by Monday, which is also when he has chemo session #4.  We have a big day planned for him on Sunday, Father's Day, so hopefully his mind won't be focused on anything but family and love.

Here is a picture from the bird feeder installation....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Pictures

The above pictures were taken on a bike ride my dad went on recently with his friend Santi.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Don't Worry

Hey all..sorry I have been a slacker in regards to the blog, but I've been pretty busy these days quitting a job, getting ready for my new job, and finding a place to live in my new location of Chicago.  My dad is doing well. His brother Timmy came to visit last weekend and they spent time riding bikes, drinking beer, and talking finances. I know my dad has his next appointment on June 13th and I will be arriving in Atlanta on June 14th, so I will update the blog with fantastic stories and wonderful pictures of his new hair style when I get in town.  Just wanted to let you all know that he's doing great, all things considered.  Better update next week I promise!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chemo Session Three...Check!

So today my dad completed his third session of chemotherapy. He handled the treatment in his usual cheerful fashion (*note sarcasm here*). My mom sent us an email while he was undergoing chemo, and he was sound asleep as usual. I don't know why he complains about this stuff when he gets to sleep through it?!?!? (Just kidding dad!).  My parents finally moved back into their house and my dad spent the weekend cutting down trees with Harold (the across the street neighbor and family friend) and getting the electricity fixed.  I called to check on him this evening and he was visiting with other people in the neighborhood and talking to babies instead of talking to me. I get it dad..I'm no longer cute and cuddly.

Next steps: my dad has a follow-up appointment I think on June 13th to check his blood and his body to see how the chemotherapy has effected the cancer.  He believes that he is already cured and that the next three sessions of chemo that are already scheduled are completely unnecessary.  Hopefully the doctor will have some form of good news at the next visit (*fingers crossed*).

My uncle Timmy is coming to visit my parents this weekend and my dad should be almost recovered by the time my uncle arrives.  I should be able to visit my dad soon as well.  When I do, I will make sure to get a picture of the new head piece he's been wearing.  Until then....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Update to the Update

My dad has been fairly busy lately, so I haven't really been able to find out what's been going on in his life. I think he's more busy now then he was before he had cancer! I will say that I have also gotten in "trouble" from multiple people for not updating the blog.  So here goes. He's lost, I think, almost all of his hair. My mom got him buff head gear to wear on his head. He said it looks like a do-rag. I was rather impressed that my dad even knew the term do-rag. He is so hip sometimes.  He's also been having dinner with a lot of friends. Every time I talk to him he is either on his way out or out already. He has been faithfully attending the Friday gatherings at Moe's. My parents spent the past weekend at a lake house with some friends.  My dad has been riding his bike. I'm sure he's doing some Gates Foundation work on the side. Probably saving someone from something and taking Abbott on 3-mile walks. If he didn't have a tube out of his back and the no-hair thing going on, you probably would never know he had cancer!

He's also gearing up to walk the Peachtree Road Race in July with my uncles and my brother and I'm sure my mom is going to be running in the race as well. I plan to be down there for the July 4th festivities and to welcome everyone home from the Race (I am not getting up that early in the morning to cheer them on).  This weekend they are going to another lake house with some friends.  And then on Tuesday, May 31st, my dad has his third session of chemo.  I should get to spend a significant amount of time in Atlanta in June, so I am excited about that as well.

On another note, Stacey's friend Susannah made this for her. Great gift!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No News is Good News

Since my dad no longer gets poked and prodded by different doctors every week, there isn't much to blog about anymore. This is a good thing! He had his last chemo session a week ago and when I talked to him by email this weekend he sounded much better. He even went for a bike ride this weekend, which I'm sure made him extremely happy. He spends most of the time reading, sleeping, complaining about health care in America, and visiting with family and friends. I probably won't get to see him again until June sometime, but hopefully, it will be a much longer visit. He has a doctor's visit next Monday to check his blood levels. I'm sure his antibodies will be fine. And then, he has his third chemo session the Tuesday after Memorial Day.  So far so good (I'm sure he would disagree with this statement since he hates chemo, like most people do I suspect)!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Don't Quit

I talked to my dad today on the phone and he kind of mentioned that I've been slipping on the blog. Mind you he just had chemo on Monday.  The five days (yes dad, win) after chemotherapy are pretty rough for him, so I try not to bug him too much. He's a little frustrated during these five days, understandably so.  I asked him how he was feeling yesterday and he said no basketballs in his stomach this time - he said more like a soccer ball. If you aren't a sports fan, this is an improvement from his last chemo session. I spoke with him this morning and he seemed a little groggy. He doesn't like chemo. I can't imagine that anyone does. But hopefully he will will be up and busy as a bee by Saturday.

Today is Encouragement Wednesday. My dad is not in the most optimistic mood during these five days, so I figured he might need a little pick me up. Sorry to say, I have no funny stories to tell, but I do have an inspiring one.  My dad met a young lady named Jordyn. Jordyn's father use to work with my dad at CDC and Jordyn is a cancer survivor.  She had been seriously ill with cancer and won a trip to Spain from an organization that supports cancer survivors.  Jordyn was able to watch the Barcelona football team (soccer, not American football) and have dinner with my parents.  She has been in remission for a year and is graduating from high school this year.  Recently, Jordyn walked in the Relay for Life marathon and carried a sign in honor of my dad. Probably one of the nicest things I've seen in a while.  So here's to Jordyn! Congratulations on beating cancer and graduating high school. You've probably overcome more in your young life than most of us have in our older lives (don't worry...I am aware that I am now older).  So dad, keep your head up. I expect you to be walking in that race next year or maybe we can get a bicycle race for cancer survivors started up!

One of my favorite poems is Don't Quit.  It is applicable to many things in life.  Don't worry, Keegans aren't quitters.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Author unknown

(A picture of Jordyn and her now famous sign. Thanks Jordyn!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Road Trip!

On Friday, May 6, 2011, my dad and my brother took a road trip to visit some of my dad’s brothers and sisters in Louisiana.  Friday, they drove to Mississippi and stayed at a hotel on the beach. They walked along the beach, got attacked by birds, and had dinner at a nice restaurant. The next morning they had breakfast and walked along the beach again and then drove to my Uncle George’s house for some eating and drinking.  My Uncle Jim, Aunt Mary, Aunt Eileen, and Aunt Margie were also there and my dad had a good time catching up with them and telling stories about “the good ole days”.  Sunday my dad and brother drove back to Atlanta stopping in Alabama for a picnic lunch, which I’m sure made my dad very happy. We always stopped for picnic lunches when we were kids going on roadtrips. I still remember the sandwiches and chips that my parents would pack, along with fruit of some sort and drinks. Some things never change.
I talked to my entire family (mom, dad, Marcus, and Stacey) last night on the phone as my mom opened up her gifts for Mother’s Day. My mom has returned from Barcelona after closing up shop and saying goodbye to the many friends that they made in Barcelona. My dad sounded pretty upbeat after his trip and was inquiring about how I did in my softball game, which he always does. I think my dad gets more excited about my hits then I do. Funny part is, he never asks about my fielding.  He has his second chemo treatment today. As a matter a fact, I think he should be at the doctor’s office right about now.  He has started to experience a little hair loss, so he has decided to stop washing his hair so it will no longer fall out. Logical thinking from a logical man.  Hopefully the side effects from today’s treatment will only last a couple of days and he will be back on his feet by the weekend.
I will keep you all posted!
Here are some pictures from this weekend’s trip:
 (My dad and my Uncle George.)
 (This is Marcus teaching my dad how to take pictures with a cell phone.)
(My dad on the Mississippi coast. Notice the Keegan Law Firm t-shirt.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pictures from This Weekend

The first picture is me, my dad, and Marcus before we hiked up Amicalola Falls. The second picture is of my dad as we are taking a break walking up the falls. The third picture is of the three of us at Keegan Falls.

He Has Antibodies!

Sorry for the delay in posting something new, but I've been in Atlanta since Friday and it's been nothing but nonstop fun.  I arrived Friday evening and my dad and my brother both picked me up from the airport in my dad's new car. He's very proud of this car because it gets great miles per gallon.  Saturday morning we woke up and went for a walk with Abbott.  We had lunch with Stacey and then watched the King's Speech (very good movie) once my brother returned home from his massage.  Later that night we had tacos for dinner and enjoyed learning about my dad's parents and their battles with cancer.  Sunday my brother cooked up a great breakfast and then we headed off to Amicalola Falls for a picnic and hike.  Amicalola Falls is about a 1.5 hour drive from my brother's house and my dad drove all the way. He was practicing for his trip to Louisiana next week.  We had lunch and then proceeded to climb about one mile straight up hill to the top of the falls. I will say, I was pretty embarrassed that a man with cancer and a tube out of his back kicked my ass walking up this damn mountain. He graciously allowed me to take breaks as we proceeded to climb up the last 600+ stairs.  Fun times.

We got to the top of the falls and enjoyed a snack while talking to my mother in Barcelona.  My dad was amazed at how far technology has come - here we are sitting on top of Amacalola Falls and we are talking on a cell phone to my mom in Barcelona.  My dad then had the great idea to drive to what he and my mom refer to as Keegan Falls (it's actually called Helton Creek Falls).  He told my brother and I that it was only a 30 minute drive away.  It was more like an hour through windy roads of the North Georgia mountains and then down a dirt road that seemed only fit for serial killers. Alas, at the end...we came to the falls. There was only one car there and we walked right to the bottom of the falls then to the lookout at the top.  It was really nice, but the smile on my dad's face from spending the day with his children in nature was even better.  We had a nice family dinner to end the evening and my dad was just glowing from all the excitement of the day.

This morning we took Abbott for a walk and then I finished reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". It was a great book. Both of my parents have read it and I wanted to finish it over the weekend so Marcus could read it next.  My dad had a doctor's appointment at 2pm, so we left at exactly 1:20pm.  We got to the doctor's office and waited no more than five minutes. He got his blood taken and then we went to the waiting room. Everyone in the doctors office knows my dad. We proceeded to the examining room and my dad got his blood pressure, temperature, and pulse taken. All of those tests turned out great.  We then talked to the nurse who administered his first chemotherapy treatment and he proceeded to tell her about the gasoline feeling in his stomach. She assured him that what she had given him was much worse than gasoline!

Dr. Allen (the oncologist) finally came in and told him the results of his blood tests. His white blood cell count was 4,400 somethings (normal is 5,000). He said this was great. He also said the rest of his blood was normal.  My dad then proceeded to ask Dr. Allen a list of questions and gave him a detailed run down of his after-chemo side effects.  Dr. Allen assured my dad that this was all normal and that the next round of chemotherapy will probably result in the same side effects (maybe a little less gasoline in stomach and a little more fatigue). My dad was extremely excited after we left the doctor's office. He shouted in the car as we left, "I have antibodies!" (fist pump in the air as well).  We drove to Kroger, the local grocey store, picked up some bread, wine, and ice cream, and headed home.

My uncle Michael came over for dinner and we enjoyed some good times laughing about cancer, doctor's bills, where doctor's stick things when trying to put in a kidney stent, Osama Bin Laden's death, and a host of other things. My dad tried to get us to measure the tube coming out of his back, but Stacey assured him that men always think things are bigger than they seem.  I return to D.C. tomorrow and I am sure I will be missing out on the many adventures my dad will have before chemo session #2 on May 9th. He will be driving to see his family this weekend and my mom will be returning home on Saturday...just in time for Mother's Day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back to Normal (More or Less)

I talked to my dad last night and he sounded great. We had a long talk about how much better he was feeling, how doctors and hospitals overcharge for stuff, and how the health care system in America is screwed up.  That should tell you that he is back to normal.  He said his eating is mostly back to normal; he hasn’t lost any hair (except an eyebrow hair that he pulled out himself); and he is still walking multiple times a week. He has an appointment with the oncologist on Monday so that the doctor can check to make sure his blood levels, etc. are okay.  He also had a list of things to talk with the doctor about, including whether or not the drugs he is receiving during his chemotherapy treatments are directly correlated to which pharmacy company supplies the doctor’s office with cake for the day.
I leave for Atlanta tomorrow night after work and I couldn’t be more excited. I am looking forward to a weekend of napping, watching TV, reviewing my TSP, and walking – lots and lots of walking.  Until then…

Monday, April 25, 2011

"They Poured Gasoline Down My Stomach"

I talked to my dad last night on the phone. We hadn’t spoken by phone since Wednesday. I was getting email updates about how he was feeling from my dad and from my brother. The day after chemo, he wasn’t feeling all that well. His appetite was barely there and he was just tired all the time. A tough adjustment for a man who likes to do 100 things a day.  The second day after chemo he was miserable. He had lost his appetite completely and compared the feeling in his stomach to what it feels like when someone pours gasoline down your stomach. I told him that most people (fortunately) don’t know what that feels like, including him.  Thankfully, when I talked to him last night, the gasoline in his stomach had turned into a basketball.  This is an improvement (in case you were wondering).  He was watching tennis with my brother and had to get off the phone because Nadal got broken in the second set.
My mom returned to Barcelona last night.  She already misses my dad.  Those two are so cute.  After 36 or so years and all that fidgeting you’d think she’d need a little break. But nope. She misses having him in Barcelona. 
And last but certainly not least, Stacey Keegan (my brother’s wife), deserves some praise. Not only has she graciously welcomed my entire family in her home, fed us, sent us heartwarming emails, and calmed my dad down from time to time, she has also selflessly given my dad a new best friend – her dog, Abbott.  We all love and appreciate you very much.
I probably won’t update the blog again until I am in Atlanta with my dad. I am also assuming that my updates will become less frequent since he is done with the marathon surgeries and doctors visits. Hopefully, he will return back to mostly normal by the weekend. That would make him so happy. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

How are you doing?
I am ok. Some days are better than others. I hate being in D.C. during a time like this. I want to be with my dad and my family.  I’m really looking forward to seeing my dad in a week.
How is Marcus doing?
Marcus is doing ok.  Some days are better than others. He’s been great at supporting all of us and giving us a place to live until my parents are able to move back into their house.  He and I talk by phone, by email, or by text daily.  I’m sure he enjoys my daily emails of “How’s it going”.
How’s your mom?
My mom is a rock. She has transformed into supermom. Between taking care of my dad and driving him to all his appointments, making sure me, Marcus, and Stacey are ok, and cooking meals and shopping for groceries, emailing family and friends, and exercising, she is fairly busy.  She returns to Barcelona on Sunday and has a good support of friends and coworkers there to help her through this time.
How’s your dad?
Tired. In shock. But good. Despite the kidney issues and the effects chemotherapy may be taking on him, he is in good spirits and good health.  He is still making jokes. My brother said he’s eating (apparently chemotheraphy makes you lose your appetite).  When I called last Sunday, he was looking up videos and articles on alternative treatments to combat cancer. I think that’s a good sign.  I talked to him on Wednesday night and he sounded tired but still upbeat. Yesterday we spoke via email and he was still exhausted.  So for all of you who are sending emails or calling, don’t be too discouraged if he doesn’t get back to you right away. He’s not 100%, but he’s trying the best he can. I’m sure he is overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the love and support that is being thrown his way. I know I am.
What can we do to help?
It is wonderful that my family is so loved that everyone wants to pitch in and make our lives easier. Honestly, there is really nothing at this time that I can think of.  My dad has already received dozens upon dozens of chocolate chip cookies from Pam Moon and his niece Robyn. He said he only wishes his friend from Spain, Kaya, were here to help him eat them.
I would say just keep sending positive thoughts out into the universe, praying, chanting, or whatever it is that you do when someone you love is going through a difficult time.  And if you have a really funny story or joke, I’m sure he’d love to hear it.
What are the next steps?
When I spoke to my mom last, she said my dad is schedule for chemotherapy on May 9th and May 31st. So until then, we just wait and hope that these chemotherapy sessions do some serious damage to the tumors.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chemo Treatment #1 is Done

I haven't talked to my dad yet, but my brother just sent me an email with the latest update.  My dad is finished with his first chemotherapy session. He did not have a reaction to the treatment and he is now eating chocolate cake and lemonade. He slept for three hours in his chair in the treatment facility. That is so him! I laughed at that part – the eating sweets and the sleeping.

If you know my dad, you know he LOVES to eat. He could eat most people under the table yet he’s been the same weight (for the most part) since I was zero.  My brother and I were just discussing how we hate that he hasn’t been able to eat as much as he would like to due to all the tests he had to take the last couple of weeks.  We want to feed him. Which reminded me of my great-aunts on my mother’s side of the family who use to always try to overfeed us whenever we visited them in Albany, Georgia.  I can just hear both of them saying, “Help ya’self”.  My dad does the greatest impression of this by the way.

Alright chemicals…it’s time to go to work!   

Go Away Tumors!

Dear Tumors in My Dad’s Body:
We’ve never met before. I’m Lauren, Bob’s daughter. I can’t say that I am pleased to meet you since you were forced into my family’s life by no choice of our own.  You are making my dad's life miserable. And, I just won't have it!  I really wish you would go away and never come back.  To help in that effort, today the doctors will be administering a cocktail of drugs through my dad’s body.  He starts chemotherapy today because of you.  Four hours of what I can only imagine is not fun.
I hope the drugs kill you. I hope the drugs shrink you down to a size so small that nobody can ever see you again.  I have never been a violent person, never been in a physical fight in my life, but I wish you physical harm and pain. 
I can’t believe that you have the audacity to come into a man’s life when he is clearly at his prime, with no warning at all.  Frankly, you should feel ashamed of yourself.  From all of the people who love Bob, please just disappear and never come back.  I will not miss you when you are gone.  You are not wanted here. You never were.  Please LEAVE NOW!
Best regards,
A loving daughter 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


My dad isn't on facebook, so I wanted to show him what my facebook profile picture is.  We've both aged a little since then, but not much.

Enter Curse Word Here

My dad had surgery today (his third) to try and put a stent in his kidney.  The stent is supposed to help relieve some of the pain he is experiencing in his back since the tumors have not been so kind to his kidney.  First, the surgery started about two hours late.  If you haven’t met my dad before, then let me tell you – he’s a timely kind of guy.  I told my mom, I think he will get over them being late as long as they get the stent in.  Second, the surgery didn’t work.  I got a very R-rated text message from my mom a couple of minutes ago, that the doctors were unable to get the stent in because the tumors are blocking where the doctors need to go.  He is not going to be happy when he wakes up.  He starts chemotherapy tomorrow – one session every three weeks for nine weeks. And then, a reevaluation.  I think he is done with surgeries for now.
So I decided that my dad is probably going to need some cheering up.  In honor of him, I am going to use a bulleted list of things he should be happy about, despite his seemingly bad luck with kidney surgeries.  (Don’t worry dad, I remember the three-bullet-maximum rule.)
Things you should be happy about:
·         Your daughter booked her ticket to come home and she arrives on April 29th.
·         Your wife got a $3 reduced parking rate coupon while you were in surgery.
·         Your son has learned to curse like your wife.
I know this probably won’t make up for the discomfort (I'm sure he'd use a stronger word) he is experiencing, but hopefully it will bring a smile to his face.

Friday, April 15, 2011

D Day

So, my dad met with the urologist and the oncologist today. The urologist isn’t really all that important in this story, so we’ll just skip that part.  The oncologist told my dad what we kind of already knew. They can’t find the primary source of his cancer. He has adenocarcinoma of unknown primary.  Final verdict.  His lungs, stomach, and intestines are clean.    So, they are going to treat him like he has pancreatic cancer.  He starts chemotherapy next week. 
In all of this, it’s amazing to me how strong my mother has been.  She is amazing.  My dad really lucked up.  His prognosis isn’t ideal. It’s actually the opposite of ideal. But I am guessing that any man who can bike across the United States can give adenocarcinoma of unknown primary a run for its money.  This cancer isn’t curable, but hopefully with some great medicine, some good doctors, a miracle or two, and some positive thinking my dad will be around for awhile.  If anybody can do it, he can.  Love you daddy!

He's on his way to his weekly gathering at Moe's (a local Atlanta bar and eatery). I think I'm going out to have a drink too. Just like my dad.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clean Colons are Good

So my dad is done with his colonoscopy. But he's kind of pissed that he can't drink alcohol or eat any fatty foods today. He hasn't eaten since midnight on the 12th.  The doctor said his colon and stomach look fine.  So now he has a visit with the urologist and oncologist tomorrow.  More waiting…

Quote of the day: “At least tomorrow they can only kill me with words, they can’t kill me with instruments.”

I think he’s over this testing thing.  For all of you that don’t get to talk to my dad or see him on a regular basis. He is his regular old self.  Making jokes.  Enjoying retirement.  And I’m sure if he had a pen, he’d be flipping that too.

Colonoscopy Thursday

So this afternoon my dad has his colonoscopy and upper GI tract exam.  I have attached an article about colonoscopies (is that the plural of colonscopy?) that my dad sent me last night.  Enjoy!

This is one of the funnier essays I have seen about colonoscopy.
By Dave Barry

... I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis .

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!' I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.
 I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon. The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative.

I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet. After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough. At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house. When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' has to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going  to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like. I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, Abba was shrieking 'Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine ...' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

ABOUT THE WRITER Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Kind of Cancer Does He Have?

A lot of people keep asking, well what "kind" of cancer does your dad have? I wish I had something easy to say like, “oh, he has bellybutton cancer”.  My dad has adenocarcinoma, currently of unknown primary.  I've been doing some research today on this disease. I figure it will help me be more prepared for what the doctor has to say on Friday and for the upcoming war on cancer. 

"Adenocarcinoma is a cancer occurring in the cell tissue that lines glandular types of internal organs."  Whatever that means.  To find the "primary", so far he has had a scan of his lungs and then tomorrow he has a scan of his colon and upper GI tract. I don’t envy him a bit. I can only imagine how nasty that milk of magnesia tastes and the nasty effects is has on the colon! But I digress…

My mom told me we shouldn’t google these things. I didn’t at first. But now, I think I am a little more prepared to handle it.  I am like my dad – a realist. Tell me what I’m working with so we can start the battle and fight. I hope he brought his good attitude for the battle.  Apparently, doctors say attitude can really affect the outcome of a cancer patient. I’m working on my attitude as we speak. On the taxpayers dime of course.  

If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I'd want to be in Atlanta.  I hope he knows I'm there in spirit. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Keeping People Up to Date

Three weeks ago I got an email from my dad. He said he needed to discuss something urgent with me. So, I gave him my work phone number and he called. He told me he was having problems with his kidney and that he didn't know any more information. We joked about how my mom always makes the biggest deal about things that are so small.  What's the worst that could happen?  He'd have to have his kidney removed. He has two for goodness sake, and worst case I'd give him mine!

On Monday, March 28th, my family's world was turned upside down. His kidney wasn't the problem. It was cancerous tumors that were really making things bad. I was shocked. We were all shocked. I couldn't breathe for a good five minutes.  My dad always joked about getting cancer someday. I just never thought someday would be now. 

He flew from Barcelona to Atlanta on Wednesday, March 30th to begin to see an army of physicians from every specialty imaginable. I never knew my dad hated doctors.  It was kind of funny to see him getting all worried about a couple of IVs.  My mom and I flew to Atlanta for the weekend and celebrated his 59th birthday with my brother and sister-in-law. It was a great weekend.  So far the doctors all seemed hopeful that my dad's cancer would be easily treatable with chemotherapy.  So, we waited.

The biopsy was on April 5th and my dad got the results back on April 7th.  Unfortunately, he didn't have the kind of cancer the doctors were hoping for. dad was scheduled for another series of tests to determine the root cause of his cancer.  By Thursday of this week (April 14th), he should be done with all of his tests and hopefully, we will finally know what we need to do to beat the big bad cancer that has invaded my dad's body.

Physically he looks the same. He's still walking multiple times a day with his new friend, Abbott (my brother and sister-in-law's dog).  It's amazing to me that a man like my dad has cancer. It just doesn't seem fair.  I have gotten a lot of phone calls from family and friends and friends of my dad all asking how he is doing. In true Bob Keegan fashion, I decided to start a blog. My mom might call this therapy.

If any of you know my dad even a little, you would know how in love he is with his family.  And if you know me, you know how in love I am with my dad. So instead of boring you with all the medical details (I thought a summary would do), I wanted to tell you a story about one of the best times I had with my dad.

Valentine's Day for single people sucks.  And one Valentine's Day I scheduled a work trip to go to Budapest for a week or so.  My dad, being my dad, flew from London to meet me there for three or four days.  He doesn't know this (but he will now), but he really helped me get through another lonely Valentine's Day.  Every day after work, I would get to walk around the city with him in the freezing cold for what seemed like five miles looking for food.  We toured the city. We went to a really weird circus.  We had some really great talks. And we had some fabulous meals. I thought it was so cool that my dad flew to Budapest to spend time with me. Who's dad does that?  Mine.  Best Valentine's Day ever.