Update from Sam

Familiar face in foreign territory…

30 Dec , 2014  

Until this month, I had never stayed a night in the hospital. Never accepted a stitch. Never even had any kind of outpatient anything. So spending a few nights at New Hanover and now 3 different days in the UNC Cancer Center is obviously not something I’m accustomed to. As friendly as these places have been, and with my Pop and JoAnn there with me, I have still felt a bit anxious and uncomfortable.

So walking into the 2nd floor of Lineberger today and seeing my longtime, beautiful and big hearted friend Wendy Lucas Riggsbee was comforting to say the least. She knows the situation and actually wrote a few days ago, and I know where she works, but it just didn’t even dawn on me that I would see her there today. Too much going on in my head. She greeted us with hugs, smiles, humor, mojo and some Ritz and Graham crackers. The 2nd floor could step up their snack game a bit, no doubt. Wendy agreed. Thank you Wendy for making today much more bearable. Mucho happy to know an old-schooler from Chapel Hill has my back there.

Here’s the latest on my treatment: Didn’t get the chest tube out. Didn’t do the new biopsy today. They simply were not ready to do all this today…I did do an x-ray, which showed very little fluid left in my chest, good news. Next week the surgeon is going to do a Bronchoscopy, to check for lesions in my chest, and then also go in through a small incision the front of my neck, then go down to where my lymph nodes are (to the left of my sternum), get some of that tissue, as well as some from my lung. It’s called a Mediastinoscopy. This will then go to a lab at UNC, where they will see if I am a match for the immunotherapy.  Should take a week at the most. Also learned I was wrong about the PD1 treatment. Not a pill. It’s an infusion, like chemo. Once every 3 weeks, with a list of possible side affects 2 pages long. Sounded like the back end of a pharma TV ad where they list off about 27 things in 7 seconds. Joint pain, bloody nose, numbing in feet, bad taste in mouth…the list is funny to read.

Headed back over to UNC for a 1:40pm procedure to get all this done on Monday. 6pm or so before I’m out of there.

Here I am telling Wendy how much I want this tube out of my chest…and how hungry I am…


14 Responses

  1. Heather Gnegy Love says:


    You are such an inspiration. You can beat this!!!! We are all pulling for you!

  2. Larry Lakins says:

    Glad to hear you saw a familiar face! Keep fighting Sam. We are behind you 100%! See you tomorrow night!

  3. Ashlie Berry says:

    Slim, as long as I know you are talking about food, you are hanging in there!! When you say you are not hungry I will worry!!

    We miss you and Love you so much!!! I am so glad you did this, keeps us all connected!

    Honestly, I have no idea how you have stayed single, you have more love from more women than most men could dream about!!! I think it’s all about the bald head!!

  4. Diane Shelby says:

    Sam, We are so glad that you have your blog up and running. We will read every word beyond this entry and look at everything else tomorrow. Great photos! We love you so much.

  5. Jimbo Ratcliff says:

    Yo, What up Ikabod? It’s great to hear from you. Thanks for the update. We r praying for u hard bro! We love u dawg!

  6. Stacy says:

    I think the side effects you mentioned sound like a night out me, you, Shannon and Robert had in Scottsdale ;o) Thinking of you! Miss you!!

  7. Amber Grumbles says:

    I am so glad that you have this to keep us updated. Know that you have love, support, prayers and MOJO coming from Salisbury. ♡♡♡

  8. brooke allen says:

    You’re going to beat this nasty-ass thing I KNOW IT!!!!

  9. David Ledwith says:

    Sam so glad you got some good news today! I know there will be more to follow with you leading this fight. Stay positive brother! You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  10. Kathryn Westcott says:

    Hey, honey bunny! We are a quick shot up the road from UNC at our new farm in Snow Camp. If you need a shot of fresh air, home cooking (although I recall from your days living in Raleigh with GP and the boys that you could likely cook me under the table) and a whole mess of animals running around, would love to have you visit! Pulling for you, my friend!!! You got this!!!

  11. mark warren says:

    Thinking about you bro!!
    Be strong!! Let me know when in ilm. Ill bring some Pt’s to you!!

  12. Lindsay LeRoy says:

    SAM! What the heck?! I need you at the Alumni After Work – pronto! So get better my friend – you have this in the bag. Seriously though – you be tough (it’s not like I have to tell you). You are the man.

  13. Hey Sam – thank you so much for checking in on us this last week while Dunc was laid up at UNC. We’re so glad you have this blog so we can stay updated in all the details (we know where the Devil is). Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need anything!
    Meg & Dunc

  14. Reid Hinson says:

    You are aces on this Sam! Your great attitude and many great friendships are going to get you through this my man!! Looking forward to playing that doubles game that me, David, RG and you were supposed to play after you beat this!

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