Well, it's begun to happen...yes, my hair is falling off my head like snow flakes on a January ski slope. At the current rate, I should be completely bald by Wednesday as it's coming out in clumps rather than individual hairs when I run a comb through it.
I haven't seen my scalp since I was a little boy so it'll be interesting to see how many bumps I've accrued over the years...perhaps there's a hidden tattoo or something under the mop. We'll soon all see.
I spent the past weekend with Brad, Autie, & Riley @ the Canal. We had a blast. George Van Boeven & Jim Hill joined in the festivities as well. We ate an amazing fish stew of fresh salmon, clams, geoduck and a ton of veggies all brewed in a clam nectar stock...it was to die for. Just gotta love what the Sound proffers up in the way of seafood dinners.
Hello my friend. How are you feeling? We have your blog up and read your updates all the time. I sent you a long letter about a month 1/2 ago but figured life was a bit on the "focused" road so didn't follow up. Did u ever get it? We sent love, happiness, strength, and gardens wrapped in a soft blue sky and tied with sunshine. It sounds like you are in Kirkland somewhere.
We would love to visit or just write e-mails if that works for you. You have a wonderful family, your children are getting so big and your friends are your healing helpers. You don't leave our thoughts very often and cause pause for great reflection with your daring and dashing attitude...a true warrior you are.
I feel a special connection with you...depth and ever evolving spirit, the gardens...perhaps we should write a book...Gardens of your Soul. It could be about the evolution of life or perhaps just watching the flower grow as we watch our children and ourselves. I hope the kimo isn't taking all of your energy...with much love and Gods healing hand.
Love, Charlie, Jordan, and Bel' ps...picture attached is Jordan a princess at Halloween...
For those of you who don't know Bel & family, I purchased the Grapeview house from them in'05. Bel is the most amazing gardener I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know. Chuck does all the heavy lifting...and of course Jordan is their wonderful and beautiful (not so little anymore) girl. She was 4 when I met her for the first time...as you can see, she is all the things Bel mentioned above that she sent my way...
Clearing the Air: Group fights lung cancer stigma By JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News
When 44-year-old Dana Reeve sang Madison Square Garden earlier this year, she showed no sign she was battling lung cancer. Two months later she died. Dana's death becomes a dramatic reminder that lung cancer strikes even non-smokers. In an emotional broadcast in April 2005, longtime ABC News anchor Peter Jennings revealed that he was ill. Four months later Jennings died at home. His passing put a temporary spotlight on the country's most stigmatized and lethal cancer. Even in Washington, where the number of smokers has dropped and cigarettes are banned from public places, lung cancer is the number-one cancer killer. Often overshadowed by pink ribbons and yellow wrist bands, the cancer has few advocates.
KING Peter Jennings died four months after announcing his illness. “There just aren't many of us around,” said one patient. “Since I’ve been in the group we've lost five people. And you can't keep enough people in the group… this is really unusual because the group is usually pretty small.” As the only lung cancer support group in Washington, smokers and non-smokers talk freely at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center. Just compare cancer deaths and you see how lung cancer out numbers them all. There are a couple of reasons for that. Medical specialists like doctors Renato Martins and Douglas Wood of the University and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance say diagnosing lung cancer early can be difficult because symptoms show up so late. “The symptoms depend a lot on where a lung cancer is -- a lung cancer that's near the central part of the lung may produce pneumonia, with cough,” said Dr. Wood. “On the other hand, a tumor on the outside part of the lung that is growing and starting to invade the chest wall , the ribs will produce pain.” Video Fighting the lung cancer stigma It takes the average smoker eight attempts before they can quit. This is the first day of a quit smoking class for Fred, Rich and John. Kicking the habit is the number one way for anyone to prevent lung cancer. But, there are no guarantees. Just ask Cecilia Izzo, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and now has difficulty talking and walking. “I have a joke with friends,” she said. “I tell them I’d love to go for a walk with them but I can't walk and talk…It is tough because I have just the one lung.” She smoked a little as a teenager, but that was it. “I smoked as teenager, I wanted to be cool, I was never a heavy smoker, so I don't know why,” she said. She was also raised in a family of smokers, “I have give siblings that are alive and everyone of them smokes cigarettes, which is the irony of this,” she said. “I am the one that preached for years: exercise, eat right and don't smoke. And I have these five siblings who continue smoking and they’re fine, not to say they won't be, they may very well have lung cancer in a few years because it has been shown that can happen.” Three years ago , while living in another state, Cecilia suffered excruciating pain in her right shoulder. It came as quickly as it went. It was a right upper lobe cancerous mass that went undiagnosed for seven months,
KING Cecilia Izzo was raised in a family of smokers. When surgeons finally found her mass and went to remove it, they took much more than anyone expected. “So I woke up to find out it wasn't just the mass, it was the entire lung,” Cecilia said. Months of chemotherapy came next, then a move to Seattle. Cecilia now cherishes every moment with her family and she doesn’t let two teenage daughters or a missing lung slow her down. But, look at her x-rays and you can see the ghostly, empty gap in her chest and the irregular curve of her trachea. “So when I breathe, it doesn’t go straight up…you know when wind goes around the corner and you get that wheezing and that high pitched sound?," she said. "That's what happening to me, because sometimes I hear this sound and I think it’s the trees and it’s me breathing.” Although she sometimes struggles to speak, it doesn't stop her from speaking out about lung cancer. She's the one who started the one-of-a-kind support group “I always felt I needed a lung cancer specific group because whenever anyone would hear I had lung cancer, the first thing they'd say was: ‘Were you a smoker?,’” she said. “So what if somebody did smoke and they quit 20 years ago ? Should they still be punished. If somebody tells me they have cervical cancer, the first thing I say to them is not ‘What sort of sexually transmitted disease do you have?’ You just don't do that. Lung cancer seems to be fair game for people.’”
I wanted to make you aware that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM). This is a national campaign dedicated to increasing attention to lung cancer issues. By organizing rallies, distributing educational material, holding fund-raising events, contacting Congress, and speaking to the media, those involved in LCAM bring much-needed support and attention to a disease that each year kills more people than breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancers combined.
So you know, I'm in the planning stages of hosting a major event in Seattle to support the research for a cure for this deadly disease. Details to follow but I'd like you to put an X in your calendar for that month as IT will happen for sure. I have the scope of my plan and will share once I begin to fill in the blanks. But whether you are near or far, I am hoping that everyone (and mean everyone) will attend this event. It will be one like no other and one you'll not soon forget nor regret attending.
Praying for you. Each day I pray for God to give you comfort as you go through chemo and sustain and give you physical energy and that you have time in God’s word and in prayer. There are many scriptures to share but I want to share this one: Philippians 4:19: I (God) will supply all your needs!. … I like that He means ALL.
I made it through the second week of treatment pretty well. The fatigue is beginning to creep in, my ears ring pretty much all the time, and the nausea is ever present. But considering what I've been through so far with the combined one two punch of chemo / radiation, I think I'm holding the fort together pretty well. I now have the weekend off from everything and hope the chill time will recharge me for what's ahead next week.
So you know, the radiology nurses call me their star & favorite patient. I told them they say that to all the boys but none the less, it felt good to hear. Again from the patient standpoint, I couldn't be with a finer set of people who are tending after me.
Each day this week after treatment I was able to meet with a friend and go on an adventure. Short & long walks, lunch, museums, etc. One of the true blessings of this situation is the reconnection of past friends. Kathy, Cindy, & Karin this week all stepped up and made my week a little brighter. We walked & talked and they have all been there for me and what a treat it has been to spend quality time with each and reconnect in a meaningful way. And of course Liam and Brad are omnipresent and guiding my emotional output every step of the way as well.
It continues to reinforce for me how big the little things really are...
Today I finished the next round of chemo. Six straight days and all in all, I can't complain too heavily about the side effects. Today was an all-dayer (6am - 4pm) but it is now behind me and I don't do the next round for more of the same for 21 days from now. Only daily radiation so I'm relieved as radiation only takes about a half hour from the time I arrive till the time I leave the hospital.
Still no real side effects other than the ringing in my ears. I still have my hair but am told that 'may' disappear within the week due to the type of chemo I've just been administered. We'll see. There are certainly worse things and if having a military corp cut walking the street, it may get a salute or two.
I've been staying more active during this go around and I believe that has helped tremendously with my stamina. I even went for a good 8 mile bike ride yesterday in lieu of Seafair and felt good accomplishing this task.
I'm heading out shortly for my evening walk with my walking partner Karin. She's been very diligent about keeping me moving and not allowing too much dust to settle on my fatigued body.
All for now but know I continue to appreciate your cards, letters, emails, posts, signs of encouragement and of course all of the prayers. It does help and I feel very strong God is working with me through this time and I've got much work to do here on earth before he's done with me.
Today is the end of week one and so far, fatigue is the only casualty of endurance. I will say although the week went fairly quickly, it was still long.
I'm getting my chemo treatments @ the UW Med Ctr in lieu of SCCA from here on out and it's fabulous. Not that SCCA wasn't, it's just the UW is smaller, less crowded, more attn., better accommodations, food, etc. I even have the nurses fighting over who is going to tend to me the following day...nice. And, it's right upstairs from radiation so the transition time is nil.
I still have my hair, my wits, and of course the sense this is going to all work out great in the end. The doctors are all encouraged and the treatment as I stated couldn't be going any better.
Next week only one day of chemo (albeit all day) and then I'm solely receiving radiation for the next 4 weeks. So far, little to no side effects with the radiation. Keeping my fingers crossed.