Today, they drained 2 liters of fluid from Lori’s chest around her right lung. She’s feeling better and even slept lying flat for the past hour! They didn’t install a catheter for the chest yet for various reasons, but they scheduled one to be installed on Thursday if fluid builds up again.
I’m going to go ahead and make a prediction today that by March 1st Lori will be doing much better than she is today on Feb 1st. I think that’s a fairly bold prediction because the average observer would likely instead predict that she will be far worse. Certainly, her trajectory has trended downward over the past few weeks. However, I think she’s turning the corner, and there’s a good chance we’ll see another rally ala June 2015. I’ll explain why, and I’ll use an analogy that I can confidently predict will annoy a bunch of people.
I don’t usually commit to bold predictions because it’s too risky, and I can admit it, I’m wrong a lot! For example, prior to the end of the season, I wouldn’t have predicted that SEC football would steamroll the bowl competition (Michigan the outlier) because honestly there was just as good a chance that they would have been steamrolled instead. I’m not going to put myself out on a limb over something so tenuous as a conference’s chances of finding postseason success. It’s true that there really isn’t much separating good SEC teams from good teams of other power conferences, but I do think the SEC has an edge. If I wanted to be bold though, I could have looked objectively at the past couple of decades of college football history and seen that clearly over that time, the SEC has was the best in terms of overall success. I could have predicted that they would extend that success by decimating everyone in the bowls this year. But that’s too bold for me. I don’t make those kinds of predictions unless I really feel it. I’m getting sidetracked. SEC football dominance is not supposed to be the analogy.
The analogy is this: I can’t help but have the same two thoughts bounce around in my head all day: 1. Lori is turning a corner and moving towards vast improvement and 2. Kentucky basketball is doing the same. Now after you finish rolling your eyes, let me explain why you should also be thinking those two things all day every day. Let’s start with UK.
We’ve seen this happen before most notably under the Calipari era. The young teams need time to gel and find their identity. They struggle a bit early but eventually find their footing and subsequent success. This year, UK has been flat with the exception of the Duke and UL beatdowns. They have been on a downward trajectory, and they may have hit rock bottom when they lost on 17 Jan to lowly Auburn on the road. However, since that loss, I believe this year’s team has found its spark. As is often the case with recent UK teams, there seems to be a turning point at which seemingly busted teams turn around the season to find significant post season success. This is evidenced by their 4 Final Fours in the past 6 years in which two of those years they were a “4” and “8” seed heading into the tournament. They were undervalued in those years (fairly) due to early season losses similar to those we’ve seen occur this year. In 2014, they remained lackluster until “the tweak” during the SEC tournament. In that year lost to Florida in the SEC Championship game and ended up as an 8-seed barely making the field for the NCAAT, but you could see that something had changed (or tweaked). They were clicking, despite the loss, and a run to the championship game ensued. This year, despite a recent loss to KU in Lawrence, we’re seeing the same transformation occur. Now I will not predict that they will be champions this year, but I do think we’ll witness a meteoric rise from mediocrity back to prominence. It’s not a certainty of course, but if you’re a UK fan you know exactly what I’m talking about, and I’ll bet you sense it too. They’ve turned the corner.
In the same way, I think Lori is turning the corner. Her recent run of four ER visits in two weeks directly paralleled UK’s horrible losses to terrible SEC opponents. I don’t think she has quite turned the corner, but I believe it will happen. I think that all of this fluid retention was bad news. It was a sign that cancer cells were retaining fluid as they expanded and wreaked havoc. Her liver was massively diffuse a couple of weeks ago, but it may be recovering a bit. To the untrained eye (mine) her liver looks normal again on the scans. No doctors have committed to claiming that she is improving, but they never do. Who wants to get sued for the sin of being optimistic, right? Another potential sign of improvement is that she is no longer accumulating fluid in her abdomen. We drained it using that new fancy catheter the past two days, and we barely got any fluid to extract both times. I thought that perhaps the catheter tube (works like a weep or scavenge system with holes along it to collect fluid) was blocked and sucking against her insides leaving the fluid untouched. That’s not the case though, as today’s scans showed that there truly is no fluid buildup in her abdomen. It’s not a malfunctioning tube…it’s truly an improved condition. I don’t know if that’s a sign that her liver is working again and that cancer cells are being destroyed by the chemo, but it’s a good start. I’m praying that her chest follows suit and doesn’t fill up again with fluid. If her chest stays clear precluding the need for future thoracentesis, it could be yet another positive sign. She’s scheduled to have that catheter installed on Thursday, but I’m praying that she never needs it. Furthermore, I’ve noticed that the bumps on her skull may be smaller. That may be a stretch, and I may just be wanting that to be true because the difference, if any, is admittedly small. Still, those lumps are at the least not getting worse.
Do the stories of UK and Lori not seem perfectly analogous? UK’s worst losses and lori’s lowest points this year directly coincide as far as the dates are concerned. She was making her rounds hopping ER to ER as UK was losing to pitiful Auburn and a beleaguered LSU. However, both Lori and UK are showing similar signs of recovery, and they both have eerily comparable histories. Consider this: the aforementioned “tweak”, loss to Florida in the SEC tournament, and subsequent run to the championship game occurred at the exact same time as Lori’s story in 2014. She was diagnosed March 15, 2014, the same day UK lost to Florida. UK displayed a grit/toughness despite the loss, and what followed was another Final Four dash and runner-up finish. Lori displayed the same grit and toughness. This year, they are both seeing a resurgence occur simultaneously.
What’s more, UK is undeniably the greatest tradition in college basketball, and Lori is likewise an undisputed champion (bonus points if you caught that final reference).
Alibi: If UK loses tomorrow to Tennessee, I will gladly concede to being a UK “homer” and a nonsensical fan. However, I want to commit to predicting a turnaround for Lori despite the potential outcome because I think she needs to be surrounded by that kind of influence. It’s easy to get down when things are tough like this. I’ve seen that she’s had a bit of a letdown and is perhaps struggling to remain confident in believing she’s moving towards healing instead of running from it. On the other hand, I just asked her how she would describe her condition (big picture) and she said “good…very good”. So maybe she isn’t struggling to remain confident. I guess it’s that undisputed champion thing.