Posted by: donrhymer | October 19, 2012

Don’s Cancer Strike’s Back – This Time it’s Personal!

You guys didn’t think things were going to smooth out and get easier did you?

So, when we went in to see the surgeon he told us he didn’t want to do surgery to repair the two potholes in my neck, because he thought it was much more important to get me into a new, more exciting “stem cell” trial. One that he wanted me to start right away. But in the week we spent waiting to find out if we got into that trial, (which we didn’t), another tumor developed behind my ear. Yes, three weeks after removing one and getting “clear” margins, a second one pops up an inch or so away from the first.

What can I say? Don is a fertile land, where disease finds hearty purchase.

So, first thing Monday morning they are once again throwing me up on the rack for tumor removal. For those of you tracking the “over/under”… we are now at seven.

But we fight on! There is another “stem cell” trial at UCLA that we are looking into and we met with the radiologist to discuss a possible FOURTH time under the mask.  A lot of possible decisions lurk ahead which, quite frankly, we would just appreciate you guys making for us.

At first it was easy. There were standard, tried and true protocols backed up by mounds of research. Now… we are off the grid. There seem to be no “right” or “wrong” answers.

How does it feel? You know when you’ve been traveling a lot and you wake up in the middle of the night and you jump out of bed to go to the bathroom and you’re so disoriented you have no idea where you are? It’s like that.

Basically, most days I feel like I’m wandering around in the dark, hoping against hope that I don’t pee in the closet.

So, Monday they cut open my head again, then later in the week we meet with the radiologist to go over the tumor’s pathology to see if there’s a radiology option that may well put me in the radiology Hall of Fame, and then head out to UCLA to talk about the trial.

Are we hoping to get in? I guess? Someone asked me if I get disappointed when I get rejected for these trials and I tell them it’s hard to feel bad about not getting to be a guinea pig to a drug you’ve never heard of, that you have no idea how sick it will make you and no concept if it will help at all.

Hey, if cancer were easy, everybody would be getting it right?

Thanks for sticking with the Rhymer Family and for reading the blog. But if you find me over at your house with a glazed look in my eye… I would lock your closet just in case.



  1. Prayers for you and your family! We will send all we can and hope it helps! Hang in there. I know that’s easy to say when I’m not the one doing the “hanging” but there are a lot of friends and family pulling for you and a good outcome.

  2. I’ve decided you should go to UCLA. My wife went there and had a good experience. It wasn’t for treatment, it was for a BA, but still we favor it in all things over USC. Although, USC is number one in turning out White House criminals during the Nixon administration. And in producing Heisman Trophy winners who go on to kill their wives. I may be off topic. What’s this site about again?

  3. we have three closets, they are all yours…

  4. You’ve raised something quite serious, even alarming, that I’ve never enountered, even contemplated before. I speak of course of lockable closets. Other than condo owners who rent their units, who has lockable closets in their homes? Is this yet another cutting-edge design trend whose absence, like any stove manufactured after 1988, mocks the durables in our clearly-more-humble-than-I-feared abode? People now have LOCKS on their closets?! Are these subtle, flush key-hole types that tease the visitor with their provocative, “Try me, big guy, maybe I’ll yield to your touch, maybe I’ll shut you down cold,” or are these really brassy, ego-deflating Kryptonite padlocks that taunt the visitor with either “Yeah, you’re in, but you’re not REALLY in, are you?” or “You think you know us? Maybe it’s WE who know YOU…” I just have a feeling that we’re scratching the surface here — and I apologize if there’s varnish involved — but I for one will never look at a closet again without wondering…

  5. Clinical trials are like the “Let’s Make A Deal” approach to cancer treatment… just without Bob Barker to offer you the choice of door number 1, 2 or 3. And you don’t actually have a chance at an all-expenses paid vacation in Maui. I say go for door #2.

    • Monte hall. Not Bob barker. Hi like Monte hall.

      • I stand corrected. Bob was “The Price Is Right,” right? Had to love the wacky costumes on “Let’s Make A Deal.”

        Don, hope lucky #7 was successful.

  6. The Chinese believe the number 8 is very lucky. Therefore when you reach operation 8, things will look up. Trust me…it will. Stay strong and keep the faith.

  7. `The Empire (cancer) strikes back eh? Don — you are one tough hombre, my friend. I know I speak for everyone who reads this superb blog when I say we are SO proud of you and SO proud to know you. Your courage and strength are truly amazing. A lesser man might have lost his sense of humor. Not you.

  8. Well Don this is the wasy I see it. You and I are like shock absorbers for guys not tough enough to take the kickin and to keep on tickin. Or or we’re “vodoo” dolls for God’s pleasures.
    Since I was twelve, I’ve been hit by a truck, four cars, numerous big waves, drowned and been revived, been injured on a commerical fishing vessel in Alaska, numerous concussions, giant burniing red hives, lost functional memory for almost 5 yrs, three knee surgeries, one partial knee replacement, seperated shouder and I have a 12 inch scar on my butt. Now I have a body part that is supposed to be the size of acorn, but is instead the size of lemon. So, obviously I can’t sleep.

    As I have said before. Don, If God needed a poster picture of what a Christian man would look like, it would be you now, tomorrow and forever. May God continue to keep your clock tickin.

  9. Don, thank you for sharing your experiences with me and reminding me what’s important! I have a closet…a room…A BIG BOTTLE of whatever you want to drink in Charlotte with your name on it. You and yours are always welcome, glazed or glowing, lol. Sending prayers and hugs.

  10. Talk about a manly man…you’re so strong and so inspiring!!

  11. Since you probably glow in the dark by now, I’m hoping you can find the bathroom. And I don’t even want to know about Matthew’s lemon sized thing. You, sir, are one tough dude. They still say “dude” right? We’re rootin’ for ya.

  12. I so appreciate your words because this leves me speachless.

  13. Thinking about you, Don. You are in my heart.

  14. My world always gets brighter when I read what you have to say. Thank you for your honesty, your boundless humor, and for continuing to be such an amazing human being, regardless of what you’re having to deal with. We love you more than words can express — and we are rooting for you!

  15. Hey Don Ryhmer,
    I don’t know you well but I am your darling wife’s hairdresser, Deb Singleton. Just want to say you are always in our prayers and your light is still shining so bright through this blog. You are one funny guy as I’m sure you have heard before.

  16. One of your distant cousins in South Carolina logging in here, just to let you know there are closets all over this state with your name on them. So, in your midnight ramblings, just head South if you need a break from your current hidey-holes. We’ll leave the lights on. . . .
    May the angels surround you in your travels, Harriet in Lexington, SC

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