St Patrick’s Day

I’ve been working on a theory about time; specifically, the passing of time and the perceived passing of time.  I know I have the same number of hours in a day as everyone else, and the same number of hours in a day as when I was younger.  I think the hours were somehow fatter when I was younger.  I could accomplish a lot more in those fat hours.  My hours seem much thinner these days.  They stack tighter and can be passed quicker.  It’s hard to get things done in a thin hour.

Everyone is busy.  We all have things to do on weekends, and things we’ll try to get done after work.  There are things that need to be done before you go, and things to finish before they arrive.  I have indoor projects best suited for dark, rainy winter days, and projects postponed until the longer, warmer summer days are here.  Lately I find myself considering a vast, new scheduling option: “soon after retiring.”  It appears to be wide open.

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Taken recently on the way to visit my brother, Mark, in Salem

Today is St Patrick’s Day.  On St Patrick’s Day 2011, I had prostate surgery.  I’ve never been zealous about the holiday, but the night before, I asked my wife to find a green ribbon I could tie in a bow attached to myself where my surgeon would lift the blanket and be surprised to see I was celebrating St Patrick’s Day.  That might have been fun, but I had just recently met my surgeon, and that could have made me appear to be irresponsible, or a weird-O.  So I didn’t.  Looking back over our seven year relationship, the doctor and I have shared a few laughs, and I’ll bet the green St Patrick’s Day ribbon likely would have made a unique and memorable surgery.


Sticks and Stones may Break My Bones – but Needles…….

The van is due for an oil change.  It’ll wait.  I should dehaze the headlight lenses, but that can wait.  I really need to organize the video’s I’ve been transferring from VHS, but there’s no time for that now.  There are leaves to rake, gutters to clean, and power steering to find and install in the Toyota (and that rattling rear window is really wearing on me); but those things and more will have to wait.  I am making Christmas presents for my grandchildren, and for my sons.  They must be finished and mailed in time and, HURRAY!  I made it.

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I made coloring books


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Coloring books with pictures of them

I suppose now that I’ve dusted and organized the surface of my desk, I can no longer complain about not having enough time.  I did reach the point early on Christmas Eve when I’d checked-off enough lines on my to-do list that the ascending graph line of “this desk is an utter mess!” crossed the descending graph line of “time sensitive Christmas things that must be done.”  It will be nice to end and start the year with a clean desk, like that feeling of slipping into a bed of fresh sheets.

I sit here now in the afterglow of Christmas day.  Christmas was most always at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  We’ve only had one official family Christmas at our house, and that was the year Diane gave me a 57 Chevy; so when she announced we were having the family Christmas this year, I thought great!  Maybe I’m getting another car!  She shortly relieved that suspense explaining there would be no surprise car under the tree or in the driveway this year. But, among my gifts from her was a very nice office chair in which I am comfortably sitting now as I type, no longer needing a pillow to sit on to counter the seat cushion flattened by years of use (I’m passing on the opportunity to comment here on the weight or rigidity of any posterior frequenting the now previous chair).

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She even decorated the bird bath

Diane really enjoys decorating every room and every part of our house for Christmas.  And, she did a wonderful job this year of almost singlehandedly orchestrating Christmas day arrivals, snacks, seating, background music, cats banished, gifting order and balance, Christmas dinner (Breakfast), leftovers to go with goodbyes, and directing cleanup triage.

This Christmas was very nice, but last Christmas may have been the best ever.  Diane and I met Robin and family at Brandon & Emily’s home in Michigan for Christmas week.   It was a grand experiment, and everyone survived – hopefully leaving the door open to a future Christmas with all of us together again.  On the way to that family Christmas, our flight from Chicago to Marquette was cancelled due to snow.  We decided to rent a car and drive the 370 miles.  Brandon called ahead and reserved a car for us, I hopped on the rental car shuttle bus, and Diane began the 90 minute wait for our luggage.  There she met an old couple (older than us!) who also would have been on our cancelled flight to Marquette.  In a moment, Diane phoned me and said, “Get a bigger car – I’ll explain later.  What a joy it was to meet, travel, and visit with these wonderful people.  Isn’t it funny how God works?  They said we were a blessing, but really, they were the blessing for us.

I had surgery in October to repair my incisional hernia, also referred to as an umbilical hernia (also referred to as a sticking-out-belly button).  It is so very nice to no longer have that little door knob on my stomach.  I’m glad I didn’t get the eyeball tattoo that was so tempting.  I also had the regularly scheduled quarterly cancer tests for my oncologist in December, along with a PSA test for my urologist, and a cholesterol test for my general doctor, and another test for my heart doctor.  I thought it would certainly be efficient to get enough blood for all this with one needle, but when the “draw” was finished that day, I had four little “badges of courage” on my arms and hands.

For more than six years, my PSA numbers have been rated as undetectable.  The urologist’s office called me the day after Christmas.  My latest test showed an increase in the PSA.  He wants to see me.  I suspect more needles.

I remain thankful to God for a life overflowing with blessings.

Time Is Speeding

I am really enjoying this summer and this partial remission. Time is speeding, and so am I. I’m rushing to do what I can while I am able. I got a few things done since my last posting here and a few more things nearly done. How do I feel? I feel the best that I have since starting this cancer journey. Last week I had my 3 ½ year post prostate surgery check up. The PSA test came back with the word I love to hear, undetectable. I was showing my urologist the chemouflage on my stomach from the bi-weekly Velcade shots and also my turkey timer belly button, a result of surgery he performed. He said, “That belly button can be fixed, but it’s another surgery.” I told him my thought about tattooing an eyeball on it. He liked the idea but said it would be even better if I tattooed a fish on my stomach (motioning vertically with his hand) and let that be the fish eye. We agree that either tattoo would cost much less than surgery.

Wadia Dooin?

Wadia Dooin?

This summer our younger son, daughter-in-law, and grandson stayed with us for a while. During that time, we watched Kellen go from almost crawling to crawling almost everywhere. I asked Diane if we could make him some chaps and gloves out of dust mop material.

We got to spend a week with them and extended family at Seaside. It was a wonderful vacation.  If you’d like to see some wonderful vacation pictures, click here.

There is a father-son resembelence

Robin and Kellen, I think I see a resemblance here.





I was able to attend an event this summer where I love to take a special kind of time exposure. They are low light, slow shutter speed, moving target, and moving camera photos.  If you would like to see more of those time exposures, click here.

MacGut 2010 (52)

I put a complete set of Dakota gauges in the Chevy. The speedometer broke for the third time (in ten years, that’s not bad for a 57 year old car) and it was time for a more permanent and programmable fix.

New Gauges

New Gauges

Diane and I remain thankful for your prayers and kind words and eternally grateful to God for our every blessing.


Closer to Normal

Summer 2013 in Oregon is circling the drain. I took the box fans out of the upstairs windows and put the electric blanket back on the bed. My summer was a paradox, creeping along unbelievably slow, moment by drawn out moment in the hospital and in recovery, but then I looked up and suddenly the summer days are gone!

I’m feeling closer to normal and farther from death; although I know it could be waiting in the next crosswalk. But, it could be waiting for anyone there and has nothing to do with cancer. I just had my six month visit with my urologist. He said my PSA (indicator for prostate cancer) is non-existent, that’s great. He said I’m halfway through the danger zone….. If the prostate cancer doesn’t come back within five years, it’s highly unlikely it will come back.


Working full time and ready for high water

I doubled the dosage of my B complex vitamins and it does seem to be helping with the chemo nerve damage / pain in my feet. My oncologist said next visit, three months from the transplant, they will test for cancer indicators. I thought, with all these vials of blood you’ve taken – what have you been testing for?

We were clicking through TV stations the other night, looking for a reason to stay up ten more minutes, when I saw an eerily accurate representation of my hair style: it was little Ralph Wiggum on the Simpson’s. Image

I’m afraid I won’t be able to identify with him for long because in the mirror I see little black seedlings sprouting among the wispy white survivor hairs clinging to my head. This could get interesting.

I remain, as always, thankful to God.


Just A Quick Note

I’m about half way through series three, about eight weeks on chemo.  It is beginning to wear; I’ve left work early a couple times, just very tired.  I should be modifying performance curves for segments of pavement, but it’s becoming difficult to concentrate.  The items on my short list of symptoms so far have politely taken turns, one at a time temporarily taking position at the top of the list.  The doctors say I look good and my blood looks good, so we continue on.


More Waiting


Stability Is Constant (at least for now)

I left work yesterday telling my co-workers I was going to “spin the wheel” again at my oncologist’s office.  The wheel appears to have stopped once more on, “stable.”  I tell everyone that I would be happy to remain stable for the rest of my life.  I won’t get tired of that word, stable, I hope you don’t mind my repeating it.  Thank you for your prayers.

The blood draw yesterday was easier, but held much less hilarity than the last.  I posted about that one on Face Book.  I never laughed so much giving blood.  The current test results that were available right away showed no notable change.  The results for the test that really tells what’s going on will not be available for a few days.

During the exam, the doc asked if I was experiencing any pain or numbness, or anything unusual.  I told her that next time I see my urologist; I was going to ask him about my belly button.  It’s been “weird” since the prostate surgery.  There’s a little skin bubble where the button used to be.  She took a look and said it’s herniated.  She said it won’t be a problem unless some “bowel” gets into it (or, unless a head with slime dripping fangs pops out of it).  I wondered out loud about the rare opportunity to incorporate that little bubble into a three dimensional tattoo; an eyeball tattoo would be perfect there!


Maybe something like this?

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Also very rare, our cats sitting quietly together. Probably resting up for the late night cat races


Hello friends!

My wife and I at our son’s wedding, September 2011

By way of annual exam, in 2010 I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer.  In 2011 I had successful robotic surgery and was headed down the road to recovery.  A few months later I was diagnosed with another, unrelated cancer, Multiple Myeloma.  I started letting some friends know through email what was going on.  With each update, the mailing list grew.  My son suggested I create a blog instead of sending out emails, so here we go.