Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day - "Santa Claus is REAL!"

On Christmas Eve, I worked in Santa's sweatshop to produce two more Lego Star Wars creations:

It was worth it though; when Kyle saw all the kits sitting by the fireplace on Christmas morning, he yelled "Santa Claus is REAL!"

After quickly checking-out the Lego's Star Wars bounty from Santa, Kyle quickly unwrapped his other presents and discovered two more Lego's kits. Then I got to work in Kyle's sweatshop:

Again, it was all worth it. Kyle played with his new Lego's all day.

Merry (Lego's Star Wars) Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa's Sweatshop (Day 1)

Kyle asked Santa for several Lego's Star Wars kits. I was expecting to spend all of Christmas day assembling these kits. However, my friend Jonathon suggested that "Santa" pre-build the kits so that I would get a little more time Christmas day.

So today, I blew almost two hours building this:

Pretty cool huh?

Only two more (from Santa) to go!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm now officially in remission.

However, the "fun" doesn't stop here.

I need to get my ileostomy reversed in a couple of months, I need to undergo two PET scans in the the next twelve months, and I need to have my port removed in about a year.

Oh, and I also have to see my oncologist every couple of months for a year.

So even though I won't be seeing a doctor or medical professional every week, I still have a lot of doctor appointments in my future.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Story Time

Part of Kyle's "homework" from Kindergarten is that we read to him for 15 minutes every night. Usually, Kyle picks out a book and I read it to him, but tonight he let me pick the book.

I picked Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. We read "How the Whale got his Throat" and "How the Leopard got his Spots".

I really love Just So Stories. They are meant to be read aloud and, even though I stumble over some of the words (dyslexics of the world untie!), I love reading the stories to Kyle.

Nerd-fest Fallout

So, the major fallout from Nerd-fest is that Kyle wants lots Legos Star Wars sets for Christmas. Specifically, he wants seven different sets.

Santa will be supplying three sets and Marjorie and I will probably give him a couple more. This means I'll be building lots of Legos figures on Christmas morning. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's so wrong

My friend Anne sent me this this morning. It's evil, it's wrong, and it's hilarious.

When I showed it to Marjorie, I thought she was going to literally bust a gut.

Chemo Round #8

Good news: my oncologist, Dr. G, says that I do not need to have twelve rounds on chemotherapy, eight treatments should be enough.

So, the treatment I had last Monday, 5 December 2008, was my last one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chemo Round #7

I'm a total wuss.

This morning I woke up dreading this next round of chemo. While the nausea is more or less under control, it lasts longer and longer each treatment. I also had some stomach "issues" last week (which was supposed to be my "good week".) All of this makes me want to finish chemo as fast as possible.

Then I look at my friend Robert (who I bumped into during round #6 of chemo). A year and a half ago, Robert was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer of the colon, peritoneum, and appendix. He was told he had four months to live. However, Robert is a fighter. He tracked down a specialist, had several major operations, several scary sounding procedures (e.g., Interperitoneal Heated Chemotherapy with MitoMycin-C and Deep Vein Thrombosis) , and chemo - lots of chemo. When I saw Robert two weeks ago, he was on round #17 (that's right, seventeen).

This of course proves I'm a wuss. Here I am whining about eight treatments and Robert has endured more than double. He is a brave man. I suck.

However, I may have the chance to redeem myself: today Dr. G, my oncologist, talked about the possibility of doing a total of twelve rounds of chemotherapy (i.e., four more after the "last" one).

Honestly, I'm not thrilled by this, but if it will extend my time in remission, I'll do it. And maybe, just maybe, I can be brave like Robert.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anti-bucket List

Way back in April, when I started this blog, my friend John suggested that I make a list of all of the things I want to do when treatment is over. (John knows about this since he's had two rounds of treatment for testicular cancer.)

Sadly, my list always contains vague stuff like "watch my son Kyle grow-up and become an adult" and "grow old with my wife Marjorie."

Well, I finally have something concrete: "watch Kyle meet his grandma Vicki." Vicki lives in Australia and since it's a 24 hour flight to visit her, we haven't been yet.

A few months back, Marjorie suggested a solution: have everybody meet halfway in Hawaii. So, we are planning a two week vacation in early June of 2009 in Hawaii. I've been looking at renting a house in either Ka'a'awa, Oahu or Kailua, Oahu. This should be less expensive than staying at a resort and it should give Kyle and Vicki plenty of time to get to know each other.

However, I'm open to suggestions. If you have any advice about the Hawaiian islands (e.g., where to stay or what to see), I'd love to hear it.

Oh, and I'll try an add a few more things to my anti-bucket list.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Round #6 of Chemo

Yesterday I started round #6 of Chemotherapy.

The good news is I only have two more rounds after this; my oncologist, Dr. G., says we will not do the "bonus" four rounds.

The bad news is I started feeling queasy before I left the treatment room. Usually I don't get nauseous until the next day or later. I have a bad feeling this round is gonna be rough.

Round #5 was slightly better than round #4 - I didn't call Ralph, but I was really queasy for three and a half days (not much fun).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Round #5 of Chemo

For Round #4, I spent a lot of time talking to Ralph via the porcelain extension. I was trying find the right balance between being knocked-out by my anti-nausea medication and spending a lot of time doing the technicolor yawn. Clearly I didn't do a great job.

Part of the problem is that, for each new round of chemo, the side effects start sooner, hit harder, and last longer. (I can hardly wait for Round #8.)

The good news is my oncologist, Dr. G, has hooked me up with new anti-nausea medicine, so hopefully I will spend less time reviewing my meals than the last round.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nerd-fest Closes

This morning, Kyle and I finished watching the final Star Wars movie: Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith. In the previous weeks, we watched Star Wars II - Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Clone Wars (not the new movie, but the very cool animated series from 2003).

In general, Kyle wasn't as enthralled with the last two movies, but he really liked the cartoons. I think the political and dialog heavy portions of the Episodes I - III bored him a bit (as they did all of us).

In other Nerd Star Wars news, my circus buddy John was in town this weekend and he gave Kyle two new Lego Star Wars kits. So even though Nerd-fest is over, the Star Wars saga will still continue (in Kyle's room, in Lego form).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Clean colon

After my colonoscopy today, my surgeon, Dr. M, said everything looks good and that I'm healing nicely. Cool!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Isn't this how it started?

On Monday, 13 October 2008, I'm going into the hospital for yet another colonoscopy. Fun, fun, fun!

It's been almost three months since my surgery and Dr. M, wants to check out how everything is looking down there.

So, while downing your first cup of coffee at work, I'll be "swallowing" a camera. Enjoy your coffee.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Round #4 of Chemo

Round #4 of chemo started today. Only four more to go (unless I "win" four extra sessions).

Round #3 wasn't too bad, except that my anti-nausea medication made me sleep for three days. This time around I'll try a little less.

Also, my sensitivity to cold is getting worse. During my first treatment, I only got the "pin and needles" feeling in the back of my throat when I drank something cold and it only lasted three or four days. Now it's my throat, mouth, hands, and feet and it lasts almost two weeks.

Chemo is no fun.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sleep vs. The Phantom Menace

Sleep won, but it was a near thing.

We continued nerd-fest tonight by watching Star Wars I - The Phantom Menace. We started watching about an hour and a half before Kyle's bedtime, but I figured, "it's Saturday night and he can stay up a little late".

Kyle was all wide-eyed and full of questions at first and then he settled into just watching the movie after a few minutes. He perked-up for the pod race. (Future NASCAR junkie?)

Alas, when Queen Amidala went to the senate to plead her case, Kyle fell asheep.

I guess this means racing really is more exciting than politics. Duh!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Return of the Nerd-i

Well, you all knew this was coming - tonight we watched Star Wars VI - Return of the Jedi. Kyle didn't have too many questions, but the evil emperor scared him a little. Also the whole "saving Darth Vader even though he dies" took a little explaining.

So, now I have to go out and buy the "first" three movies (because I'm not a very good Star Wars nerd) so that we can continue "Nerd-fest".

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Nerd-pire Strikes Back

Continuing the damage I've already done, Kyle and I watched Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back tonight.

Not too many questions. That is, until Darth Vader told Luke that he was Luke's father. Then there were lots of questions: "was Vader really Luke's father (they don't have the same last name)?", "why was Luke running away from his father?", "how did Luke's mommy die?", etc.

Kyle was really struggling with the whole "Vader is Luke's dad thing", and I can't blame him. Way, way back when I first saw the movie, I had many of the same questions and concerns. (Yes, I'm a Star Wars nerd too.) I guess this just proves what Mother used to say, "the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree."

Especially if it's the "Star Wars nerd tree".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hurricane Kyle

Yeap, it's official: Kyle is now a hurricane. My son Kyle is totally stoked and is hoping the hurricane makes it to Category 5.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Round #3 of Chemo

I started round #3 of chemotherapy today.

Round #2 went way better than Round #1 (one "lost" day vs. four), so I hoping this one will go good too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life goes on: Nerd Synchronicity

I believe I have just condemned my son to a life of nerdiness. (Granted he was already genetically predisposed to nerdiness, but I had hoped for better.)

It started innocently enough; last month Kyle's pre-K buddy Nik invited Kyle to a birthday party. I called Nik's Mom about what sort of present to bring and she said Nik loved Legos.

So a few days later, Kyle and I headed off to Toys "R" Us. We picked out three small Lego sets: a medieval looking troll crushing thing, a Mars Explorer set, and a Star Wars Rebel Cruiser. I told Kyle he could keep one and we would give the other two to Nik. Kyle decided to keep the Star Wars thing. (No big deal.)

As we built the cruiser, Kyle asked me all kinds of questions about Star Wars: "who were the good guys?", "what's a rebel?", "what's a clone trooper?", etc. Again, no big deal. I answered his questions as best I could, finished building the cruiser, and then watched Kyle disassemble it and make his own creations (which I was very happy about - your own Lego creations are way better).

A week or so later, Kyle got a Star Wars Clone Wars card with Yoda on it in his Lunchables box. Again with the questions: "who's Yoda?", "what's a Jedi?", "is that a clone trooper?", etc. Again, I answered them and it was no big deal.

This morning, Kyle folded-up a piece of paper so that it looked like a capital "I" and asked what Clone Wars spaceship it looked like. This is where I really screwed-up; I told him it looked like a TIE fighter and TIE fighters came after the Clone Wars. "What's a TIE fighter?", "what happened after the Clone Wars?", "why were there clones?", etc. Again, I answered and Marjorie even pitched-in and found an image of a TIE fighter on the web.

Then I made huge mistake #2: I said, "we could watch the first Star Wars movie if you want" (and by that I meant "Star Wars IV: A New Hope"). Kyle quickly agreed and started watching: "who's that?", "is that the real Obi-Wan Kenobi?", "what's a storm trooper?", "what happened to the clone troopers?", and on and on and on.

Then, about the time Luke et al get to the Death Star, a strange thing happened: the questions stopped. He watched the rest of the movie with the laser-like focus that only a five-year-old boy can muster and when it was all over asked, "can we watch the next one?"

Yes, I have now hooked my son on Star Wars and condemned him to a like of nerdiness. Very Sad, but life goes on.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Round #2 of chemo

I started my second round of chemotherapy yesterday, 9 September 2008.

So far, so good. I'm trying to be a little more proactive this time - I started taking my nausea and diarrhea medication as soon as I got home from treatment. Also, the nurse said drinking lots of water would help.

We shall see.

Friday, September 5, 2008

One way to re-gain weight

My pharmacists had this poster in their work area:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eat your heart out Jenny Craig ...

... and then throw it back up.

Way back in September of 1991, I weighed 145 pounds. I had just finished working the Summer at Callaway Gardens with the FSU Circus where I performed eight shows a week, chased 7 to 15 year old kids around eight hours a day (as part of the recreation program), worked-out three days a week, and ate reasonably nutritious food.

Over the next 16 years my weight climbed up to 190 pounds.

Now I'm "happy" to announce that I'm almost back to old weight by using the amazing Colon Cancer Weight Loss Program. Through a combination of extreme nausea, diarrhea, and just flat out not eating, I've lost 40 pounds in five months.

A couple more rounds of chemotherapy and I should be lookin' like a supermodel.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bad news, good news

Bad news: my white blood cell count is a bit low today.

Good news: that and the fact that I got an infection in the lower half of my incision last week means that chemo has been postponed for a week.

I wasn't really looking forward to chemo this week and although my infection is healing nicely, it's still oozing and disgusting. So I'm happy to wait a week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Too Much Information man

Sunday, 24 August 2008, we went out to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. After telling the waitress that he wanted Chicken Chow Mein and egg drop soup, Kyle told the waitress that, “Daddy has a tumor in his butt.”

The waitress looked shunned for a moment while I very quickly explained that I had colon cancer and I was doing well. She finished taking our order and left. Then Marjorie and I explained the concept of "over sharing" to Kyle.

Lunch was good (I even ate a little) and we tipped the waitress very well.


So I thought chemo was going well, but I was wrong, terribly wrong.

Wednesday morning, just as the pump finished, I started getting queasy. Then it was downhill from there: nausea, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea - all of the fun stuff. I finally managed to keep some food down on Saturday, 23 August 2008, and I even had a little energy on Sunday.

Seven more treatments to go and so much to look forward to!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Day Monday (revisited)

Monday, 18 August 2008, was indeed a BIG day: Kyle started Kindergarten and I started chemotherapy. Overall, the day went pretty good. We had a small rough patch getting Kyle off to school, but chemo went much better than I expected.

The day started off badly. While getting Kyle ready for school, we couldn't find his medi-alert bracelet. (Kyle has asthma and he wears a bracelet that lists his condition, his medications, his doctor's name, and his doctor's phone number.) Normally the bracelet sits on a shelf in his room when he isn't wearing it. Alas, it wasn't there this morning. After searching the house thoroughly, we said we would fine it later and headed off to school:

When we picked Kyle up at after-school day-care we learned several things:

1. Kyle likes school
2. Kyle made "lots" of friends
3. Kyle already has homework (read a story every night)
4. Kyle's medi-alert bracelet got left at day-care last Friday
5. There is no school tomorrow, 19 August 2008, because of Tropical Storm Fay

Chemotherapy was probably not as much fun as kindergarten, but it was better than expected. After a quick check with my oncologist, Dr. G, I went to the "treatment room" where I sat in a comfy recliner, got a nice warm blanket, drank a soda, and had toxic drugs dripped into my veins for over two hours. They then hooked me up with a pump (literally), and sent me home.

The good news is the side effects of the chemo are pretty minimal so far: "pins and needles" when I drink cold liquids and a little diarrhea. No bazooka vomiting, no loss of appetite, and no hair loss (that I can see anyway). Additionally, I got a fancy manbag for my pump:

Of course, this is all I know about manbags:

So maybe chemo wasn't so great afterall.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Big Day Monday

Monday, 18 August 2008, is going to be a big day: my son, Kyle, starts Kindergarten and I start chemotherapy. Somehow, I think Kyle is going to have more fun than me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Power Ranger Port

Yesterday, 15 August 2008, I was back at the hospital for an outpatient procedure to turn me into a Power Ranger.

Okay, not really a Power Ranger (cool as that might have been). Instead I had a Power Port installed.

The port will allow my oncologist, Dr. G, to deliver the chemotherapy to my system more efficiently. Instead of sticking me with an IV and having the chemo go up the vein in my arm, then into the heart, and then to the rest of my body, the port basically sends the chemo straight to my heart. This will prevent long-term damage to the veins in my arm and it also means less needle sticks (and frankly, I've been stuck with enough needles already).

The port itself is under the skin on the upper left side of my chest. Right now it's very sore, so if you feel the need to punch me in the chest, please aim for the right side.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bag man

Warning: the following may be too much information (TMI).

In addition to the scar that runs from just below my sternum to just above my, ah, "equipment", I also received another souvenir: a temporary ileostomy.

Me and my bag

Ten inches on my colon had to be chopped out to remove Frank. The spot where my surgeon, Dr. M, reconnected my colon needs about six months to heal. So, I'm not allowed to "use" my colon for that time. Since I still want to eat, the good doctor rerouted my small intestines to my stoma bag.

Yes, it's a pain and yes, it's gross. However, it's temporary and I will do whatever is needed to be cancer-free. Even pooping in a bag.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where I'm at and where I'm going

I had my first post-surgery visit with my oncologist, Dr. G, today. He went over the pathology report from surgery:

1. The tumor in my colon was 20% of its original size. It was removed (along with 10 inches of my colon).
2. All 20 lymph nodes that were removed were negative for cancer.
3. The spot that was and then wasn't in my liver really was there. It was removed.
4. The cancer cells in the liver were the same cells as my colon tumor.

Dr. G said that my tumor was/is very sensitive to chemotherapy (which is a good thing) and that I responded very well to radiation too. He also said we need to keep an eye out on my liver and that I will probably need yet another MRI in the near future.

So what's next? Chemotherapy and lots of it.

In a little over two weeks I will start a chemo regimen called FOLFOX. Every two weeks I will go in for 2 hours of chemo via an IV. Then I will be given a pump that will administer 5-FU for 46 hours. Then I get to recover.

The current plan is to do eight rounds (i.e., 16 weeks) of this. If I do "good", I may get an additional four rounds. (Lucky me!)

Dr. G says that I will probably experience nausea and diarrhea, but I won't lose my hair. Personally, I'd be willing to trade the hair for less nausea, but apparently I don't get to choose.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Okay. I have finally wised-up and enabled anonymous comments for this blog. In other words, you don't have to register to leave a comment.

'sorry I'm so slow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stupid bureaucrats

On Wednesday, 23 July 2008, I was all set to go home, except that the hospital folks insisted that I have a visit from a home health nurse scheduled for the following day. Well, since they couldn't seem to make that happen, I got to spend another night in the hospital. (I'm sure my insurance company is gonna love that.)

Anyway, the next day they announced that I could go home and I asked, "what time is my home health nurse coming over?" I was informed, "oh, we don't have an appointment, but she'll call you before she comes over." Yeeeeeah, oooookaaay. I believe you all. Bye!

So, Friday, 25 July 2008, rolls around and, you guessed it - no call. No visit. No nothing.

I'm a bit chapped by this. Basically, I could have gone home a whole day earlier and received that exact same level of non-care that I got by staying an extra day. Stupid bureaucrats.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random notes from the hospital

1. My sister-in-law and brother are the best people in the world. They flew down from Chicago the day before my surgery. On the day of my surgery, Norman, my brother, went with me to the hospital for surgery while Kerry, my sister-in-law, helped Marjorie get Kyle off to school. After that, Norman and Kerry carted my family to the hospital every day, played with Kyle, and helped-out immensely. I don't say this enough, but love them both.

2. Thanks to everybody who dropped-by, sent cool stuff, or called. I really appreciated it.

3. Having a tube down your nose that sucks goo out of your stomach is not fun.

4. Waking-up from surgery is a good thing.

5. Waking-up from surgery with five different tubes going into or out of your body is not much fun.

6. Walking with all five tubes is difficult (at best). (Hospitals are very big on walking as soon as you can, even if it takes 30 minutes or more to get all of your attached gizmo's moved to an IV pole with wheels.)

7. Staples (instead of stitches) look weird and when you have over twenty of the little suckers, it looks like a freaky zipper down the middle of your belly.

8. Many nurses are bright, energetic, and proactive. Many are not. My nurse my second to last night fell in the latter category. She started her shift by telling me my blood sugar was high and that she would be back shortly with an insulin injection. Five minutes later, she came back and said, "sorry, wrong room."

9. Some nurses can be intimidated (usually the ones that are not bright, energetic, and proactive). When Nurse Wrong-room woke me up at 3:00 AM and said it was time for me to get IV's put in my feet, I yelled, "YOU GOT THE WRONG GUY. I'M GOING HOME TOMORROW!" and she backed-out of the room in less than a second.

10. IV's in your feet really, really hurt. Before my surgery, I signed-up for this study on a new blood thinner. In classic double blind technique, I got a "mystery injection" every day and only some dude in the pharmacy knew whether I was getting the standard drug or the new drug. On the last day they wanted to see how everything looked by doing a "veinogram", which involves sticking and IV in your foot, injecting dye, and taking lots of x-rays really quickly. (So Nurse Wrong-room wasn't entirely off base, but the order said to start the IV's around 8:00 AM, not 3:00 AM.)

11. Getting out of prison is easier than getting out of a hospital. When I was in the FSU Circus, we preformed a show at the Jack T. Rutledge State Correctional Institution outside of Columbus, GA. After the shows, we tore-down our equipment and loaded it in my pick-up truck. It took less than 30 minutes to have to guards thoroughly check my truck and its contents before I was allowed to leave. In contrast, it took nearly 18 hours (yes, I said "hours") for me to leave the hospital once the word "discharge" appeared on my chart.

12. Being on a "clear liquid" diet for seven days straight sucks.

13. Three spoonfuls of Cheerios will make you full if you've spent the last seven days "eating" nothing but water, juice, broth, and jello.

14. Coming home is the BEST THING EVER.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Life goes on: Pop-pop turns 97

Today is a great day because I finally got home from the hospital. But it's even more important because my grandfather was born on this day 97 years ago.

That's right people, my grandfather (who I always called "Pop-pop" for some unknown reason) turned 97 today.

That's three years short of 100.

That's way more than twice my age.

That's a whole lot of life.

Norman Randolph Lynch was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Irving and Charlotte Lynch, who owned a small farm near Berlin, MD. Norman was the first of ten children. He grew-up hunting, fishing, and doing farm work.

At age 16, he left home to work for a dredging company on the Delaware River. Over the years, he worked his way up from a deck-hand, to a hard-hat-diver, and to finally to a boat captain.

Norman Lynch in June 1942

Along the way, he met and married my grandmother, started a family, bought a home, and (as near as I can tell), lead a happy life.

Now, after 97 years, he's slowing down a bit: he can't see or hear very well, he needs a cane to walk, and he doesn't drive anymore. However, he's still mentally sharp and interested in the world.

I should do so well when I turn 97. Life goes on.

Finally home

So I'm finally home. It feels great to finally be out of hospital.

More news/posts once I get a little caught up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Small hiccup

Okay, we were hoping to bring Doug home today from the hospital but that has turned out to be an adventure in itself. Alright, adventure is an understatement. It's been more of a series of unfortunate events.

We ended up going home and we're currently waiting to hear from Doug.

They won't release him from the hospital until the home care arrangments have been made but the good news is that he may be released sometime this evening, so we're hoping that he calls to ask us to pick him up.

I will post another update as soon as I know anything.

- Marjorie

Quick Announcement

First of all, I apologize for not updating until now.
Doug has been making a lot of progress at the hospital and it looks like that he is tolerating the small amount of solid food he is able to eat, so they are talking about releasing him today.

I am not sure when today but I am guessing that it will be mid afternoon.

- Marjorie

Saturday, July 19, 2008

on the loose

Doug had his drainage tubes removed this afternoon and took his third walk around the ward for the day with Kyle.

He was tired out from the exercise but he is doing better and is drinking water without the aid of a green sponge on a stick.

I mentioned to him that I had been posting updates on the blog and he told me to mention that he's still waiting for the strippers that his friend Sam offered to send to cheer him up to arrive in his hospital room.

Um, yeah...I hate to break it to you but that's not going to happen in this lifetime...sorry, babe. *chuckling*

If he's making little quips like this...then, he's definitely showing signs of his old self. :)

- Marjorie

Does this hospital gown make me look fat?

He's amazing, isn't he? He still manages to crack a smile despite the fact that he's feeling like death warmed over.

The staff got him up twice yesterday to walk around the ward and he managed to do it without stopping.

nurse: "Do you need to take a break, Mister Lynch?"
Doug: "No. I'm fine."

Yeah...fine. Understatement of the century but he's determined (okay, stubborn) to get better.

He's currently on an IV diet but we're hoping that they will remove the drainage tubes in the next day or so and Doug will be able to have a drink of water.

The sponge on a stick is nice but it gets old after a while, especially when you're thirsty.

I have had a couple of folks call the house. It looks like the hospital is restricting calls to immediate family right now but he is allowed visitors.

I checked with the hospital and apparently any time after 10 am is fine.

I forgot to mention it in the last post but you need to take "Elevator A" in order to get to the ninth floor if you plan on dropping by.

The box from Oregon (Thanks, Jonatron!) and the fruit basket from the folks at work were a huge hit....with Kyle.

I think I heard Doug chuckle when a small hand snapped out and snagged a plum before he started driving the new electric green matchbox car all over the floor and furniture.

I've been impressed how well Kyle has been dealing with his father being in the hospital.
He's handling it better than most folks would in his position and Doug is thrilled to see him.

Right now, Kyle is the best therapy for Doug and if regular visits from his son is what makes him happy, I will continue to take him.

I've noticed that Kyle can be just as stubborn as his father.

Doug keeps insisting that there are no stubborn Lynchs but I'm not buying it anymore. *chuckling*

Me: "Kyle, if you want to stay here at daycare for a little longer - that's fine."
Kyle (gets mulish expression on face): "I want to go see daddy at the hospital."

Since I need to live with these two, I am more than happy to let them have their way in this matter.

I need to go for now and get Kyle organized but I will post another update this evening once we get back from the hospital.

- Marjorie

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Invasion of the Blog Snatchers - Update on the Slack One

I just thought I would post an update to let everyone know how Doug is doing.

The operation went well and Frank was removed as well as his sneaky little friend who was found hiding on Doug's liver.

Doug is currently recovering in his hospital room and despite some discomfort, is doing well.

The doctor is estimating that Doug will be in the hospital recuperating for roughly 7 to 10 days before he can be released.

Folks who wish to send flowers, call or visit - he is staying at the Florida Hospital, Orlando and his room number is 9238.

- Marjorie

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One week to go ...

... before the operation.

Not much is going on right now - I'm basically in hurry-up and wait mode.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008, I go in for my pre-op checks (chest x-ray and blood work).

Wednesday, 16 July 2008, I get to flush my system (oh joy!) and pick-up my sister-in-law and brother from the airport.

Thursday, 17 July 2008, I go the hospital for surgery at 5:30 AM in the morning. (What kind of evil sadistic morning person schedules these things?) I'm not sure, but I'm guessing I should be out of surgery sometime around noon.

I'm not sure how long I'll be in the hospital; I'm guessing three days but it could be a week.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Letter to Kyle: Months Two and Three

Dear Kyle:

So first off, I need to apologize for not getting a "Month Two" letter done. I'd like to claim it was because I was at the tail-end of radiation and chemo and that I felt worse than I've ever felt in my life (with the possible exception of the amazing three day hangover I once had), but the sad reality is that I'm a slack puke. 'sorry.

In mid-May, you, Grandpa Fred, Grandma Issie, and Mommy all went to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. This was your first ever visit to the Magic Kingdom and you had a great time. You even tried to pick-up a princess.

Kyle and Snow White.

Also in mid-May, you and Mommy took pity on my poor chemo-ravaged feet and gave me a pair bunny slippers. But not you any bunny slippers, you got me Monty Python and the Holy Gail killer bunny slippers which are very cool. Thank-you.

"Cruel shoes"

We also got a new addition to our family in May - Hoppy the Cuban Tree Frog. Grandpa Fred rescued Hoppy from the neighbor's house and let him go in the bushes in front of our house. By strange coincidence, you were studying frogs at school that week, so Mommy got Grandpa to re-capture Hoppy. She put the frog in a box and then ran out to buy a frog cage. By the time you got home from school, Hoppy was in his new cage happily eating crickets. You named him "Hoppy" and said that we needed to keep him.

The next day, you took Hoppy to school with you. He was such a huge hit that your teacher asked to to bring Hoppy back to school the next day. Now Hoppy lives in the kitchen and we buy him a bag or box of fresh crickets a couple times a week. He seems to like it with us: he's gotten noticeably bigger and he "sings" to us at night and in the early morning.

Early in June, your school buddy Jesiah hooked you up with a red shark "tattoo" just like Armando did the week before. This time however, I was smart enough to get a picture of it:

Kyle's tat

One of my old Georgia Tech buddies, Mark, dropped by in late June. You were a bit bummed that he didn't bring his three lovely daughters with him, but you were happy to have somebody new to "entertain".

In general, life seems to be going well for you. You still like school, you are still excited by all things dinosaur, and you are starting to eat (and like) new things.

This next month is gonna be rough because I go in for surgery in the middle of July, but Evil Uncle Nomo, Aunt Kerry, Grandpa Fred, and Grandma Issie are all coming down to help out while I recover. I think you will have a lot of fun even if I'm not in the best of shape.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Eviction notice

To: Frank the tumor
From: Doug (the landlord)
Re: Eviction from premises (the colon)

You are here-by ordered to leave Doug's colon on or before 17 July 2008. If you have not vacated your abode by that date, you will be forcibly removed by Dr. M (the rectal/colon surgeon) on said date.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gone baby, gone!

Way back in April, I had and MRI done and the doctors found a "suspicious" spot on my liver. Well, on 2 June 2008 I had a follow-up MRI to see how the spot reacted to the chemotherapy. If it got smaller, it was most likely cancerous and would have to be remove along with Frank.

Today I saw my oncologist, Dr. G, and he said the spot was ...

<insert drum roll>

gone! That's right, it's not even there any more.

This means either:

A. the spot was wiped-out by the low-dose chemo (very unlikely)
B. the spot was a "false positive" and wasn't really cancerous (more likely)

So that means the my surgeon, Dr. M, will not be slicing a bit off the top of my liver when he goes in to evict Frank. However, Dr. G will ask him to take a look at the top lobe of my liver and maybe "palpitate" the spot. Sounds fun, but it beats losing a chunk of my liver.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Feeling good

So my friend Jimmy complained to me today at lunch that I haven't posted anything for a few weeks. Well, there's a good reason - I'm feeling pretty damn good.

That last week of radiation and the week that followed were bad, very bad. But since then I've been improving a lot. I have energy, I can sleep through the night, the sores on my arms have healed, my hands and feet don't hurt, I have and appetite, and the food that I eat stays down and is fully digested.

This is the best I've felt in months and I've just been enjoying it (while it lasts).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Life goes on: Kyle's new tattoos

Like me, Kyle got a some "tattoos" yesterday.

Marjorie and I picked Kyle up from Pre-K yesterday afternoon and, as I was buckling-up his seat-belt, I noticed this black ball-point pen scribble all over his left forearm.

"Did you have an accident with a pen?" I asked.

"No, Armando give me tattoo," said Kyle. (Armando is one of Kyle's buddies at school.)

Kyle then proceeded to show me his tattoos: a scribble on the left arm, some dots on the right arm, a "tribal" tat on the back of his left calf, and a few dots on his right leg.

Apparently the boys decide to do the Miami Ink thing during "quiet time" instead of napping.

Sadly, all of the tattoos were removed during last night's bath, but that just leaves more free area for new creativity during quiet time today. Life goes on.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So, while I was getting radiation and chemo, my forearms were covered in sores. Having grown up in central Florida during the 70's (when there was no such this as "sun block"), I suspected this might have something to do while future skin cancer.

'turns out I was right. Last week, my oncologist, Dr. G, said the precancerous skin cells were being affected by the chemotherapy. The chemo basically killed off (my term, not his) some of the precancerous cells and this would at least delay the onset of skin cancer.

This is cool 'cause cancer sucks (even skin cancer).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Phase 1 is complete!

This morning I had my last radiation treatment and tonight I swallowed my last 1,650 mg of chemo - phase one of Frank's eviction is complete!

Now I get four to six weeks to recover before surgery.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doing "great"

Yesterday, 19 May 2008, my radiation oncologist, Dr. D, told me that I'm doing "great".

I said that I certainly didn't feel great. I'm queasy and tired all of the time, my arms are covered in sores, my hands and feet hurt, and I have non-stop diarrhea.

He said it's a matter of perspective; I've haven't had to stop my treatment, I haven't had to go to the hospital, and I haven't developed septicemia.

So, I guess I'm doing "great".

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The incredible shrinking Frank

I think the radiation and chemo are working. I think Frank is getting smaller.

"How do you know this?" you ask.

Well, the following explanation might be too much information (TMI), so you might want to just take my word for it.

Still here? Okay...

If I was a big city, then my colon would be the eight south-bound lanes of the interstate highway that runs through me (think I75/85 through downtown Atlanta). Frank, would be a seven car pile-up that was blocking six of the eight lanes of traffic. During rush-hour, traffic would trickle-by in the remaining two lanes (and I do mean "trickle").

Lately, traffic seems to be flowing (yes, I meant that too) a little better, so I'm guessing Frank is blocking a few less lanes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Good news (I hope it's true)

My radiation oncologist, Dr. D, says that I could be done with radiation and chemo as soon as 21 May 2008. That's a little over two week from now and, if it's true, I'm thrilled.

The radiation isn't bad, but the chemo totally sucks. I'm queasy all of the time and the last two nights I've felt like I had food poisoning. (You know, when your entire G.I. tract tries to empty itself in three hours or less and it doesn't care which "exit" it uses.)

Of course, this is just the low dose chemo - I can hardly wait for the "real" chemo.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My wonderful friends and family

If nothing else, Frank's "arrival" has reminded me that I have a wonderful family and a wonderful bunch of friends. Everybody has been very supportive and I've had lots of offers to help (which I'm sure I will eventually take you all up on). However, two of my friends deserve special recognition today: John and Elinor.

John is one of my circus friends and I've know him almost nineteen years. Even though John is ten years younger than me, he has gone through two bouts of testicular cancer. John has given me a lot of good information (e.g., "when I got diagnosed and started getting scanned, they found a variety of stuff with me that didn't turn out to be anything") and a lot of good suggestions (e.g., make a list of things that you want to do upon completion of the whole ordeal). Knowing that John has been down the same road that I'm traveling on is a huge comfort.

I've known Elinor a bit longer than I've known John - thirty years. (Although I recently found out her first name is "Lisa" - so I guess you never really know somebody.) She and I went to high school together and we've somehow managed to keep up with each other all this time. When Elinor read about my mother-in-law's gift for Kyle, she emailed me and said she had thought of a way to help too. Last Thursday, 24 April 2008, a big box of precooked frozen dinners arrived on our doorstep for those "times when the last thing you guys want to think of is cooking." The food looks delicious and the seafood jambalaya is mine, all mine I tell you! Back off! Grrrrrr! But I digress... Even under low-dose chemo, I already can see that there are going to be days when doing more than reheating something in the microwave will be too much work.

So thank-you all for your kind words and offers to help, but especially thank-you to John and Elinor.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A bit of good news (Revised)

A few weeks ago I got the results of my PET scan. I was told the cancer was limited to the "pelvic region".

Well, not exactly...

It seems there was a little spot in my liver that was "suspicious". So, last week on Tuesday, 15 April 2008, I had an MRI to check-out my liver a bit more thoroughly. And the official results are...

I still have a "suspicious" spot in my liver. Specifically, I have a one centimeter spot in the upper dome of my liver. My oncologist, Dr. G, explained that there is a lot of weird stuff (my term, not his) going on in the liver and that it could be nothing. Or it could be cancer.

So here's the plan. Once I have finished my radiation and chemo treatment, I will have yet another MRI. If the spot is bigger or the same size, it's probably not cancer. On the other hand, if it has shrunk (presumably due to the chemo), it's likely a friend of Frank's.

Either way, I'm probably gonna lose a bit of my liver when Dr. M evicts Frank. If the biopsy comes back as cancerous, then I will get "more aggressive" chemo after surgery (oh joy!). If the biopsy comes back as "weird liver spot", then I will just get "aggressive" chemo. Either way I have lots of chemotherapy to look forward to. Fun, fun, fun! (Not)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Letter to Kyle: Month One

Note: Once a month, my favorite blogger, Heather Armstrong (aka dooce), writes a newsletter to her four-year-old daughter. So, stealing a page from her book, I've decided to write my five-year-old son, Kyle, a letter each month.

Dear Kyle:

It's been a month since we found out about "Frank the bump" (as you call him), and you and Mommy (and everybody else) have been very supportive about it. You've been good about letting me get more sleep, you've been pretty easy-going when I'm feeling grumpy, and you've been fantastic about getting out of the house early every morning for my radiation treatments. In addition to all of that, you had a big day last Friday (18 April 2008).

Black Racer watching with Mommy

Normally, you don't like it when you're awake and I'm asleep (apparently it offends your wa). However, this last month you've let me take long naps on Saturday and Sunday mornings and you've even let me take naps after work. Mommy deserves some of the credit; after all, she's the one who plays cool video games or makes water balloons with you while I'm asleep. Still I really appreciate you letting me sleep. Although Frank isn't hurting me, he is keeping me from getting a lot of sleep, so any extra sleep really helps.

Getting more sleep keeps me from being so grumpy. Usually, I get the grumpies around your bath time; you are the master at dragging out the time it takes to get into the bath. It's not like you hate baths, you love 'em. But, you're busy playing with your legos and dinosaurs and you hate having to stop to take a bath. (If we could hose you down while you played with your toys, you'd be all over that.) So, once you have resigned yourself to having a bath, then you have to do all the other things you've been putting off: feed your fish, go to the bathroom, get your clothes off, etc. By this time, you've "wasted" a good ten or fifteen minutes and I'm starting to get grumpy with you. Still, you manage to get in the bath, get clean quickly, and charm my grumpiness away. Best of all, you don't hold my grumpiness against me. Thanks (and I'll try to be less grumpy).

The cool new shirt Grandma Issie made for you

The other thing you've been really good about is getting ready in the morning. Normally, you like to take your time in the morning: wake-up, have some milk, watch the Science Channel, think about breakfast, help make Mommy's coffee, wake Mommy up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and then prepare to get ready to plan to think about leaving the house. But now that I have radiation treatments every morning at 8:10 AM, you've been cramming your normal two-hour morning routine into less than an hour. (Of course, it doesn't hurting that the Cancer Center has free chocolate chip cookies made with M&Ms. That kind of chocolaty goodness would motivate anybody.)

In addition to all of that, you had Kindergarten Orientation last Friday. At first you were a little apprehensive about going, but once we got there, you warmed-up to the whole concept. You walked-up to and introduced yourself to the Principal without any hesitation and you had no problem going to visit your new classroom with your new teacher while Mommy and I stayed in the lunch room and learned about the school. When you got back to the lunch room thirty minutes later, you showed us the necklace you made:

Kyle's necklace

Yes, you even wrote your name. (In mirror-writing too!) I couldn't be more proud of you. I think you are going to have a great time in Kindergarten starting this Fall.

This year is gonna be tough on all of us, but we're off to a good start. Thank-you.


Monday, April 14, 2008


Today I started radiation and chemotherapy. Both were a bit on the anti-climatic side.

The radiation machine (here-after referred to as the "Zap-a-tron 3000") itself is pretty cool looking. It's this massive box about half the size of a walk-in freezer with a big armature sticking out of it. The arm rotates in a circle about a bed/bench that is next to the machine. (See this image.)

The therapist let Marjorie and Kyle come back and take a look before they started zapping Frank. Kyle was very impressed as the therapist put the Zap-a-tron 3000 through its paces.

After the demo, Kyle and Marjorie went to the waiting room and I laid down on bed/bench and got my first of many doses of radiation. The Zap-a-tron 3000 whirled and clicked and buzzed for ten minutes, and then we were done. No glowing green rays, no dancing blue electric pulses, not even a panel with lots of cool lights and switches. Very boring.

Chemotherapy was even less interesting (which is really a good thing). I take four chemo pills twice a day. No needles, no IVs, no ports. Very, very boring.

Still, even though I find it boring, I hope Frank the tumor finds it all very scary and leaves.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My new tattoos

Now he's getting a tattoo.
Yeah he's gettin' ink done.
He asked for a '13',

But they drew a '31'.

"Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)"
The Offspring

Last Thursday, 3 April 2008, I went in for my first radiation planning session. While we were getting ready, the technician asked me to sign a release form that said the Cancer Center wasn't responsible for lost or stolen property, blah, blah, blah, and also to granting them permission to give me tattoos.

I thought, "Tattoos?" Very funny. Everybody in this here is a comedian. Nope, she was serious.

Then I thought, "Tattoos!" Yeah! Maybe a dragon or a busty babe with a sword. Or maybe even a "Mexican cutie". This cancer stuff is way cooler than I thought!

Sadly, the nice technician said, "no." These tattoos are about the size of a freckle and are used to line-up the equipment for the radiation treatments. Very boring.

So today, 10 April 2008, I went in for my second and final planning session and yes, I got tattooed:

Not very exciting, is it?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Life goes on: Young Amphibians in Love

Note: In spite of Frank, life goes on. I'm hoping to write a bunch of these posts as my treatment continues to 1. lighten things up a bit and 2. remind myself that my colon and I are not the center of the universe.

A couple of nights ago, we here in Central Florida had a fabulously soaking rain storm that lasted all night long. In addition to bringing us the rain we desperately needed, the storm brought us something else - Young Amphibians in Love.

As spring arrives and young amphibians (toads in this case) begin to think about continuing their species, nothing seems to put them in the mood like a good rain storm at night. It's like a Barry White album for frogs and toads. Played over and over and over ...

When the mood hits the toads in our yard, they head for the nearest body of water - the swimming pool. They stay there all night long doing their utmost to ensure that there will be future generations of toads. When the sun comes up, they're still in the pool doing the toad nasty. You gotta admire their dedication (not to mention their stamina). Alas, there is a small problem. They couldn't get out of the pool even if they wanted to. The sides of the pool are too high for them to escape their watery den of iniquity.

So it's up to Marjorie and I to fish the love-struck couples out of the pool with the net and toss them back in the yard. You would think they would be grateful for this act of kindness. Not a chance. They swim to the bottom of the pool, they jump out of the net, they do everything thing they can keep their Cialis-fueled activities going. (Like I said, you gotta admire their stamina.)

On Monday, it was Marjorie's turn to be the Vice squad. She'd rescue two and three couples and then go back inside the house. An hour or so later, she'd glance outside and see more toads making the eight-legged, double-backed, pool monster. By the end of the day, Marjorie foiled the romantic notions of no less than a dozen pairs of toads.

In spite of (or perhaps because of) Marjorie, life is still very sweet for our toads; they were back in the pool again last night. Life goes on.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A bit of good news

I got the results of the PET scan from Doctor D, the radiation oncologist, today: Frank's minions have not set-up shop anywhere else in my body. This means we just need to concentrate of the colon and the treatment plan does not need to be changed.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A gift from down-under

My wife, Marjorie, is Australian. Naturally enough, so is my mother-in-law, Vicki. When Vicki found out about my tumor, she was very supportive, but let's face it, there's not much she can do from the opposite side of the world. Or so I thought.

Today, my five-year-old son, Kyle, received a package from Grandma Vicki in Australia. Inside was every five-year-old boy's dream: a Roboreptile. It's a robot that looks like a dinosaur. It's got a remote control, it makes noise, and it's got attitude. Kyle loves it and has named it "Fido".

Vicki was worried that Kyle might need a special friend while I'm busy getting Frank evicted from my colon. Now he has one.

Thank-you Vicki for all of your help.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The story so far...

On Thursday, 20 March 2008, I went in for a colonoscopy. (I was having a few "issues" and the doc said this was a good way to check-up on that end of my system.) As the anesthesia was wearing off, the good doctor told me he found a "moderately sized mass" near my rectum and that it was "likely malignant". The biopsy results on Monday, 24 March 2008, confirmed it - malignant.

On Thursday, 27 March 2008, I drank 1.35 liters of yummy banana barium smoothie and had a CT scan. (I'll post some of the pictures later.) On Friday, 29 March 2008, my wife an I met with the colon/rectal surgeon, Doctor M. Doc M said the tumor was "big" and that we would need to zap ol' Frank with a bit of radiation before Doc M could evict Frank.

On Monday, 31 March 2008, my wife and I met with Doctor D, a radiation oncologist, and Doctor G, another oncologist. They said that as long as the cancer has not spread to other parts of my body, we would:

1. zap Frank with a bit of radiation and a low dose of chemotherapy for 5 to 8 weeks
2. let me recover for a month or so
3. have Doctor M slice out a section of my colon
4. hit me with a high dose of chemotherapy (to kill off the cancer cells still floating around my body)

The whole process will take about a year. Also, since I'm "so young" (I'm 44), they can be very aggressive in their treatment.

To make sure Frank has not set-up house elsewhere in my body, I had a PET scan today (which strangely did not involve any of our pets). I haven't gotten the results back yet. Hopefully, it will be good news (for a change).

So, here's the Reader's Digest condensed version:

1. I have colon cancer
2. We are going to treat it
3. I am not going to die from this
4. I'm going to live a long and happy life with my wife and son