Undisputed Champion

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.


  1. As a diehard TENNESSEE VOLUNTEER, for the first time in my life I’d like to loudly proclaim GO KENTUCKY!!!!!

  2. Such a great analogy and one I’m certain you’ll be right about. We’re continuing to pray for each of you, for stamina, encouragement, and wisdom of those working alongside her and each of your family members.

  3. S-E-C! S-E-C! … Prayers from the B1G loving Whites!

    We witnessed Lori’s turnaround last May and know that she can do it again, even if UK falters down the stretch!

  4. You lost me at the mention of basketball. Super bowl is happening in SF and I’m only aware of the traffic. Don’t even know who is playing. But sports behind us, you are an eloquent and usually (when it’s not about UK) interesting writer and I am all for RECOVERY!!!
    You have an earthy army behind you and a heavy army. We lame humans might met you down but God won’t. You stay strong UK fan!!! Lori too!!! Channel the Vegas ESPN sport zone watching UK with Ashley and Sara!! Let’s do it again this year! I’m ready to watch Blake and Sara can talk
    her way into any kind of awesome event! She convinced Lori to eat at In and Out for crying out loud!

  5. Earthly army I meant , not earthy! On second thought, The ones from San Francisco are earthy.

  6. Doug and Carol, Rachel and Justin spent a night with us last May when things looked so bad, and it was an amazing turnaround that we pray will happen again! Our small group continues to hold all of you up in prayer, and we appreciate the updates and details.

  7. Heavenly army. Apologies for my bad spelling.

  8. To quote the bible Donald Trump style as seen at Liberty University…….

    “Two “Kings 6: 16

    And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them

  9. Make sure you are eating and getting rest too. Caregiver needs care.

  10. Go Lori, Go! I believe in your theory! PLUS! Lori has better cheerleaders! So glad they drained that out of there and she’s getting rest!

  11. This is awesome!!!!!!! I was really tracking along w all the UK stats… The analogies are perfect and an undisputed champion Lori IS! This is awesome Mark and makes me smile. God gave Lori the perfect help mate in you. We will all keep that spirit and thank God in advance for all He has in store for our Lori!!!

  12. So one (of NUMEROUS) reasons I have always loved Lori is due to the fact the we were the only two UK flags flying prominipently in the midst of MIss St territory. Your analogy makes perfect sense and I followed it all the way through agreeing with everything. Glad to know both Lori and UK are turning it around. Even more thrilled that it’s coming from you, because since you compared the Cats to Lori, I feel much better about the rest of their season.

  13. Love it! Yes!

  14. The power of positive thinking!! Go team Lori!!

  15. Go Team Lori!

  16. Well . . . I now know what’s it like to laugh and cry at the same time! As I read this one aloud to John, he was nodding his head throughout the whole analogy totally getting it, while I could hardly read it coherently because I didn’t understand it enough to even be reading it. So, after he “interpreted” it for me . . . . I agree, amen!

  17. Thank you for the update! As an unabashed University of Dayton basketball fan I totally understand the analogy even though I disagree that the SEC is the best conference in the country!! What I do agree with though is that Lori is the true CHAMPION!! I have tickets for the First Four and will give them to the true CHAMPION and you if they ended up here!! Love, Aggie

  18. John & Paulette Colson

    February 2, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    I think I would loose Uncle John within a few paragraphs. LOL His love of sports is limited to his “coon hunting” competitions. 🙂 Although being a fighter and turning the corner he will understand all to well.

    We are continuing to struggle with his torn retina in the right eye, after five separate detachments over the last year and half, and five surgeries, we to are on the sideline waiting for the victory dance of the final. Over the last several months the retina specialist Dr. Matthew Thomas has elected to leave the “oil” inside the eyeball as long as the swelling remains down. John is limited to vision in his left eye only. His days have changed without the depth perception as two eyes afford he is forced to hire his cutting and skidding done of the timber. His chances for the “hunt” are few and far between because of his inability to navigate the woods at night. A life long passion, is getting to be more of memories now, and his devoted Walker Hounds wait and wonder when they will be released in the cold dark night again.

    Life is and has changed for all of us. Our book of life is in pencil, because our glorious Lord is allowing us to write our successes as we master them. Sometimes we need to “tweek” but that’s life.

    Love to all, and we look forward to our next time together.
    Uncle John and Aunt Paulette

  19. Such good news! Glad that Lori’s feeling some relief! Thanks for the update.

  20. Laughing out loud! with tears of joy and sadness at the same time. I am rejoicing that Lori is blessed with a MAN like you Mark. A man that keeps many of his thinking process boxes open at one time.

    The analogy is that each topic of thought fits into a box in the garage or attic. When you are discussing or thinking a certain topic, you get that box out, play with it, disassemble the theories, reassemble your own theories and have an intelligent conversation with comrades and cohorts. YOU on the other hand demonstrated the ability to get TWO boxes open at the same time and mix the pieces and construct a masterpiece train of thought. Eloquently supported and stated for even us non-sports fans to follow with ease.
    To me, it would be like using the pink and purple legos to help complete the Avengers’ fighter jet set. YOU are a perfect match to Lori and God made you both so creative! GOD does AMAZING THINGS! … for LORI and for UK.

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