Friday, May 24, 2013


I am so happy to let all people know I am in remission and my prospects for a full life are great.  I know it has been a long time since I posted last, but  have been enjoying life and getting back to work.  I will never be able to full thank all of the wonderful friends and family that helped me and my family through that dificult time, but I will never stop saying thanks.  If any of you are looking for me you will probably find me driving my family around the NW pulling our travel trailer.  We love to get out and enjoy all that this great world has to offer.

So thank you again and good night.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Doing well.

I realized the other night that it was a little over a year ago that I had my life changing news. while I still have much to recover I wanted all to know that I am getting stronger everyday.

my last scan showed that my tumors had gotten smaller so that is great news. I am working hard to build up strenght. I have another scan in May and lets hope for continued improvement.

My email is if anyone would like to catch up.

Good Night.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A long pause

Freinds and family,

It has been a really long time since I posted last. The reasons are numerous. But mostly I have been really busy healing. I have been healing with my health. Radiation was really hard on me and it really kept me from being my normal self. But I am happy to report that at this time all is looking good. I can not say that I am cancer free because it is not possible to tell whether I am or not. Since they were not able to remove two of the tumors back in Feburary and because they were so large they still have some activity on the PET scan. What the doctors are not able to tell is whether the activity is cancerous or just physiologic. They believe that I am currently cancer free but I will have amuch better idea if I am or not when I have another CT in November. They have taken VERY detailed pictures of the tumors and they will look at them again to see if they have grown or not. If they do not grow or if they shrink that is great news that I am still fighting and winning this battle. But today I feel good and am very happy to be alive.

I have spent most of my time healing the relationships with my children and wife. They have endured so much as they were with me the whole time I have been battleing this disease. I have built some wonderful memories with my family over the last few weeks. My priorities have changed a lot. I now cherish every moment I get to spend with my kids and wife. I really have been working on supporting Em. She has been through so much. She has been so strong. It has taken so much for her to emotionally be there for me. She has had so much stress with maintianing her job, raising our kids as a single mother for the most part, and dealing with her own sadness and loss.

Well I need to go and live my life. chat later

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hello ... anybody still out there?!?

Sorry for such a long time since my last post. With the end of the school year, the passing of my grandmother, and all of the issues with my health I just haven't been able to sit down and write.

I guess the first item I need to update is my current treatment.

A couple weeks ago I began my radiation therapy. So now every weekday I am driving from Pendleton to Kenniwick WA. For those of you not fully geographical inclined , Kenniwick is about 65 miles north of Pendleton. The first few days the trip was actually a nice drive. Now it is a pretty tough chore. There is not much too look at and the radiation therapy is starting to get the better of me.

Radiation therapy is ... ... ... well ... ... I don't mean to sound alarmist ... but ... way scarier than chemo. I go into a room with a door one foot thick. Lay on a table surrounded by the plaster molds of other cancer patients.

The molds???

Well let me try to explain. To keep the patient in the same position everyday they make a mold of the persons' body where they are receiving treatment. I have a mold of my torso since my tumors are in my chest, but people with head and neck cancer have molds made of their necks and heads. So along the walls of the radiation room are all of these busts of the different cancer patients. The busts are not just some simple mold. They really show most of the facial features of the patients. None of them look happy. They all just sit on these shelves staring out into space. It's really creepy.

Another item that I do not like is that I feel like a rotisserie chicken. As I lay on the table I am radiated with large doses of x-rays. Yep, the same kind of radiation that we all get a little of everyday from the sun. But my dose is similar to standing out in the sun for twelve hours. How long does it take you ask. The entire radiation takes less than a minute. I receive 26 second of radiation directed through the front of my chest and 22 seconds of radiation through my back. I know because I have counted. The freaky part is if you were to put your hand on my chest after treatment, like Emma Lee has, your hand would be warm. Basically they are baking me with a lot more than a little light bulb like in an easy bake oven.

Also unlike chemo that goes in cycles, radiation therapy just gets harder to deal with everyday. There is no getting a little better before you get another treatment. With radiation every day gets harder and harder than the last until you are finished. So I worry quite a bit because I am already having problems with side effects and I am only one third of the way done. The fatigue with radiation is at least twice as bad as it was with chemo and because my therapy is directed at my chest my esophagus is getting pretty torn up, my lungs burn, and my skin is getting fried.

If you can also imagine I have been doing much of the driving so far. I have driven as much as I can because I know that very soon I will not be able to do it. It is such a long way and I am so tired and I do not want to get in a car accident because I drifted off at the wheel. It is also no short trip. Getting from here to there is over 130 miles a day. It is very exhausting and expensive. Em has been there to help keep me on the road and to get all of my appointment in line. I am hoping that I might be able to get some people to drive me over and back. I am getting pretty tired and want to be safe on the road.

On another note I had an accident at my house. I fell off a retaining wall and got a few good scratches, bruises, and one really good gash behind my knee. I am on antibiotics because it was not wanting to heal up and the doctor was worrying a bit about a serious infection. So visualize this ... me hunched over from fatigue, walking with a limp, and with a shinny head (cuz my hair is just now growing back). If a picture of Quasimodo is what you imagined your not far off, all I need is a bell tower.

I want to give an update on Emma Lee as well. This has been really hard on her. Now since January she has been the main one to keep everything together. She is moving into a new role with the Department of Agriculture. She is going to be moving into farm records. This is a job she is going to do great at but is a tremendous amount to learn and has a lot of responsibility. She isn't sleeping too well. I guess that one should expect that lack of sleep would be a natural consequence of all of our stress but it certainly makes things tougher. What she really needs is a break. I see ads on the TV for "Merry Maids" but there isn't anything like that in Pendleton.

It was very nice that Em's parents took the kids for the weekend to let Em catch up on house hold chores a bit. But what she really need was some rest. This family needs to find a way to get a vacation. Another thing that is coming up is that on August 14th Emma Lee and I will have been married for ten years. We have been dating for almost seventeen years but this is a major milestone anniversary. I really want it to be great. I hope we can find a way to celebrate it in style.

I hope that if you get a free minute that you drop me a message. Email, phone, carrier pigeon, or even snail mail would be great. This family is pretty down and could really use some messages from our friends.

Thanks for everything again and I hope to see you soon.

PS Youth and Government Crew. You should really have a reunion!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009


This past week has been of tremendous emotional strain.

This past Monday, my grandmother past away. To begin to explain the roll that she played in my life you have to go back to my birth. "Grandma Clark" was always there. At every birthday, every holiday, school functions ranging from "Arts and Tarts" to band and music concert. My grandma was at little league games and boy scout courts of honor. She would come over in the afternoons to help my parents out by watching us kids after school. My grandma valued music and life experiences. She bought my tenor saxophone so I could follow my dream of music and sent me to the Boy Scouts National Jamboree back on the east coast when I was 13 years old to broaden my horizons. I would spend hours at her house in the summers building little houses and forts out of the scrap lumber that my father stored in her old carport. She would pick me up after school in Junior High so often that I only road the school bus twice in my junior high school years. Once on the way to school on my first day in seventh grade and one on the way home on the last day of ninth grade. Most days my dad would take me to school because I had Jazz band at 0 period but my grandma was there almost every day for the ride home.

Grandma Clark was so giving. It wasn't until I was in high school that I began to realize the amazing truth that was my grandma. My grandma worked so hard to give me and my brothers and sisters a life that most people only dream of. We did not only have our parents who loved and supported us in all we did but we had our grandparents. My grandmother was constantly giving to us kids. We were showered not only but her love and support for the activities we chose to do but she made sure that we had the support to participate in every opportunity that came our way.

My grandmother had been ill for quite sometime and it was really hard to see such a strong and proud woman who had given so much struggle so hard near the end. Her passing has left a very large hole in my life. These last few months have been exceptionally hard because I was not able to visit her as often as I wanted to. I had to be careful of being exposed to illness and she had been admitted to a nursing home because she was no longer able to care for herself. But I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to tell her that I loved her very much. She taught me so much about life and how to work hard in the face of adversary. People have commented about how I have continued to work through my cancers diagnosis and treatment and been impressed with my determination to continue to live my life even when I do not feel well. To this I attribute to my grandmother. I learned that life is not easy but it is better to work hard and persevere instead of letting life conquer my character along the way.

Grandma I will always love you and thank you so much for being so wonderful!

This week was also marked with the uncertainty of having a job for next year. As with most school districts across the nation, the Hermiston School District is grappling with a budget crisis. Being one of the newer hires I have been quite nervous about losing my job. This week was filled with sobering meetings from my union, building principal, and superintendent. Where at every moment I had a lump in my throat that I would be dire financial strain at any moment. More than anything else I have worried about losing health insurance. As I continue to wage my battle against my cancer I have been thankful for my medical insurance. It has allowed me to get the best of care and has brought me a long way in beating this disease. I really feel for those without insurance. Especially when I look into my children's eyes and realize how much they need me around.

On a good note, my hair has started to grow back. It itches like heck but it is so nice to start getting my hair back. Also my good friend Volus is visiting from Pittsburgh. It has been such a long time since I got to see him. He will be dropping by tomorrow morning and I can not wait to see him and to catch up with him a little. Another thing for the good news column is that I have a job for next year as far as I know. I was not notified by administration that I was losing my job and then this week my union voted to cut some paid days to hire back the positions that were going to be eliminated. I am proud to be a part of a union that is so concerned with all of its members.

Well I begin radiation treatment next week. I am pretty nervous about how that will go but only time will tell and today is not the time to worry about it.

I think this has been enough for tonight. I am tired and ready to get some rest.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New informaiton

Well, I guess I need to make a comment about the last post. I am really embarrassed that I made that post. It was made at a real low time where I was overwhelmingly feeling weak and helpless. It is a mission of mine to have strength and courage as I battle this cancer but there are times where the realities of this disease get to me.

At work and around others I always try to show strength, courage, and a positive attitude. I want people to think of me as a really hard worker and a nice guy. One who can carry his own weight and then some extra. Not one who needs help but the one who gives.

I guess in a way, I always want to be like the kid back on the play ground in elementary school who gets picked early to be on someones team or is call out on Red Rover. You know what I am talking about; somebody who makes a group better because they are a part of it. A person who lifts others up instead of weighing them down. That is the root of my current problems. I feel like I can not carry my weight. I mentally understand that I have cancer and I can do only so much, but in my heart I feel like a failure. Emotionally I am really down.

This cancer has placed a financial strain on my family, has kept me from visiting my grandmother much who is gravely ill in the ICU at the hospital, affected the quality of teacher I know I am, robbed some of the innocence of my children at an early age, and has strained all of the limits of my wife and I where sometimes tears are all that remains.

Emma Lee has been such a rock for me. I am at awe with Em's strength during these times but behind her continuous love and support I know she has to be so tired.

This is the hardest part of the cancer on me. It has not really been the nights on the bathroom floor, the terrific pain I have endured, or the exhaustion that limits my physical and mental capabilities. It is seemly endless nature of our struggles and challenges over the last several months.

As much as I try to always hide my real feelings and worries in the presence of others the other night when I made that last post I guess it was a window into my real worries:



and really worn out.

I have recently had some good news on the progress of my treatments. One of the two remaining tumors that I have in my chest showed no activity on my last PET Scan. The other tumors activity was much reduced. Because of this, and my low white blood cell count, I am stopping chemotherapy because the doctors believe that the chemo has done all that it can do. I am going to proceed with radiation treatment in a couple weeks after my white blood cell count has an opportunity to recover a little bit. Then in mid July, I will have another PET San to see how I am doing. My oncologist was pleased with my response to the last rounds of chemotherapy and believe this is the best course of action.

I am so glad that I had my treatments in Portland. My oncologist works in an office that was rated as the best cancer center in Portland by Portland Monthly Magazine. This list is developed from the doctors in Portland and their patients. There are also two other oncologists in the office that specialize in my type of cancer and they all consult with one and another as they decide the best course of treatment.

Now the most important part of this blog is to say thank you to all of you that have helped so much. The last few weeks have been really tough and I have not really been able to stay up with the blog like I would have liked to. For those of you that have had me and my family in their prayers I want to tell you that I have felt your prayers and do believe that god is an amazing healer and has helped me recover so much. For those who have been able to give financial gifts to my family I am so appreciative. I am not sure how I would made it to some of my treatments if it was not for the gifts that helped pay for gas and occasional lodging when necessary.

So in closing,

Friends, thank you so much!

Monday, May 11, 2009



That seems to be the only word I have in my head right now. I get so scared about the continuing arrival of medical bills, I worry about losing my job next year due to budget cuts, I worry about being able to get the rest I need to get healthy. I have been so fatigued. If you have ever experienced true fatigue you will be able to appreciate crashing anywhere and anywhere. I am so tired... ... to you later