Sunday, February 1, 2009

A special visitor

I felt too bleech! to blog today.

I wrote something to post this morning but it put me to sleep when I read it back so I swallowed up the text with the delete key.

But despite my physical and mental lethargy, today turned out to be eventful and I didn't want to hit the sack before sharing the reason why.

My brother visited me this afternoon.

The last time I saw my brother was in September 2007, in Tennessee. He had just moved to Colorado from California when our mother died, and we were both in Johnson City for Mom's funeral and to be with family.

I had planned to travel to Colorado last month for my eldest nephew's wedding, but my doctor and I were in hot pursuit of a diagnosis of my medical problem. At the same time I expected I would be in Fort Collins, celebrating, I was in the hospital for my tracheotomy and biopsy.

From my hospital bed, I sent and received scores of text messages from people at the wedding, so I felt like I had a digital presence there.

Today, my brother flew to California for a business conference in Ventura County, and he had time to visit me at home before heading up the coast.

The last time my brother saw me, my throat was intact, I had a voice and I could eat and drink through my mouth. I was also at least 30 pounds heavier, having lost weight by not being able to swallow food.

My brother didn't seem freaked out by my trach and G-tube, and didn't have a problem reading my handwriting when I kept up my end of our conversation today. And he has lost more weight than I have over the past few months, by watching what he eats more carefully.

One of the biggest treats of his visit was clicking through photos from the wedding celebration on my brother's camera.

My brother is confident that I'm going to pull through my radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and he told me about people he knows who are cancer survivors and in good health today. He has known me as long as anybody else, so it means something to hear him tell me that I'm going to be OK.

I'm beginning the week tomorrow with another appointment in Kaiser's Oncology Department, and I'll also be seeing my head-and-neck surgeon. I still have another seven days to wait before treatment begins, but that day will arrive.

A friend told me yesterday about a dream that he had: I had completely recovered, and my friend and I and my brother were eating at the International House of Pancakes.

I'm gonna do all that I can to make that dream come true.


  1. Paul -- Like you and your bro, I've been catching up, too. Missed a couple of days, but it's all here to read as time allows. "The Short Life" wasn't your story. I know yours, and it has a happy ending. -- Marvin

  2. Paul,
    I read your blog everyone morning. It has become my morning ritual; grab a cup of coffee, turn on the computer and log on. I feel like you and have become closer friends by having our mornings together.
    And I am so happy you have you in my life. I agree with Marvin - your story is not 'The Short Life' version. But I'm happy that the story gives you hope and inspiration - just as you do for me.
    OK enough of the mushy stuff - Tom Keep talked me into riding Topanga (is that how you spell it) on Saturday. Tell the truth - is this ride as bad as some people say it is?
    HUGS - Shirley