Friday, December 24, 2010

Who's woods etc., etc...

My parents' woods....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Where I live....

Sheboygan County's economic development committee commissioned this video. Two young brothers from the area (Leclerc Brothers) have their own film production company, and made this. Pretty good:

The Promise of Sheboygan County from Leclerc Brothers Motion Pictures on Vimeo.

The Promise of Sheboygan County, from Leclerc Brothers Motion Pictures on Vimeo.

Makes me want to live here...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nice day...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Various updates

Ivanna (2 weeks ago) and Val (last week) are doing great down at MD Anderson. Great results.

Kevin rode his cycle off into the sunset, so to speak...a well-earned peace, at last. Godspeed, Kevin! Thanks for all the advice you (and your lovely wife) gave me and countless others....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Terminally Illin' -- World's Awesomest Cancer Comic Book

Watch this video about this 23 year old woman's cancer comic book project, then go to the link to make a pledge to support it if you want! Just a buck or two if you can. Or just to watch additional interesting videos on the project....

Here's the link to pledge or see other materials on this project, through Kickstarter:



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards

When I was in the thick of it, I drew inspiration from where I could get it. That may sound sappy. But two sources in particular were very helpful--Lance Armstrong and Elizabeth Edwards. I've written about Lance Armstrong before, but not about Elizabeth Edwards. She passed away of cancer, rather suddenly it seems, after a long, long battle. If that makes sense. Armstrong wrote about survival and recovery, the "return;" Edwards became more of a model for temperance and grace when faced with a seemingly hopeless prognosis.

I listened to a segment about her on NPR on the way to work this morning, it was a recording of her talking about her childhood remembrance of the Japanese festival called Obon, which honors the deceased. She remembered in particular the custom of releasing floating lanterns into a river.

(Photo credit:

Sometimes I think we lack in good ritual ceremony to remember the deceased here in the U.S. Firing guns into the air doesn't quite cut it for me....

Anyhow, bon voyage, Ms. Edwards, enjoy your ride on the Cosmos Mariner, and thank you for your help. Here's a link to a more eloquent eulogy: You have to read the quotes about her philosophy in the face of cancer and the death of her son.

Speaking of class, please check out Kevin is one of the original gangstas of PMP.

Okay, the best way to honor these people is to remember what they have taught you, incorporate those lessons into your life, and then to move onward, live fully, and enjoy! So, thank you Elizabeth, Kevin, Lance, and all the others, and on to the holiday season!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Leaving Tokyo...

...back to the little monsters...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

But wait there's more...

It gets even better. Just bought a sake from the very pleasant train "stewardess." Suck it, Amtrak.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Wabash Cannonball

I am continually amazed at how good they are at moving people around in Japan--buses, taxis, trains. This is the Narita Express train from downtown Tokyo to the airport.

This and the bullet train I took to Kyoto last time here make me feel like the finest train ride in the U.S. should involve a hobo stick over my shoulder.

Yet U.S. politicians routinely block any train projects. Go figure.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Positive Attitude (xkcd)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Waiting for my flight to Tokyo

I'm a little tired and cranky today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Wishing all my long-time friends, and all the new and fascinating friends I've made in the past year, a happy Thanksgiving Day, and thank you all for your friendship! I have so much to be thankful for, that I feel a little overwhelmed by it all and find it hard to express in words. So, all I can really say is "thanks." 

Have a peaceful weekend...



Daniel W. Eck

Thursday, November 18, 2010


My trip to Houston is postponed. I'm in insurance purgatory. I think I finally got it straightened out yesterday, but it was too late by then. Insurance in this country if effed up. Don't get me started on how disgusting it is to hear politicians and pundits call insurance "welfare."

On the bright side, my doctor said that given my prognosis and history to date, delaying my check-up until January is fine. So that's cool.

Back to work.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Year of Blogging....

Hi friends and strangers.

I started this blog on November 13, 2009. Since then, I have had 16,705 visits to this site, from 10,402 individual users. An average of 44 visits each day, with an average of 18 new individual users each day. Why? Who knows. Many are friends or PMP patients looking for advice, or people researching M.D. Anderson. Lots of people searching for Uncle Pecos images, for some reason. Go figure.

Still never had a hit from the elusive 7th continent, Antarctica. But thanks to all you others for checking in occasionally. Back to Houston in a few days.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kevin again


Friday, October 29, 2010

audio interview of Drs. Fournier and Mansfield about appendix cancer

This is great listening. Well, if you like this sort of stuff. Click HERE for the link to the audio of this interview, conducted by M.D. Anderson. (Note you can download this via iTunes, too. Put it on one of your playlists.) Lots of discussion about diagnosis, treatment, etc.

Fournier is my homie.

Back to M.D. Anderson on November 17, I'll do some posting then.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kevin's blog update

Pretty amazing guy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tokyo pictures....

Some pictures and short videos (all videos are less than a minute long).... Captions are available on my Flickr site, if you click on "show info" during the slide show....

Compare the franticness of Tokyo to the zen temples in Kyoto....

On the Tokyo subway...

Texting, reading, thinking....

Kyoto street scene...

Zen temple in Kyoto...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


At the LC, in Tokyo

Believe it or not, only two American colleges/universities have branch campuses in Japan. Thanks to our in-country Japanese partners (NIC) and the U.S. and Japanese governments, Lakeland College is one. Temple University is the other.

Will work for food...

Good company, good food. Believe it or not, I am working hard. But I am also being fed well by my new friends in Tokyo.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I feel like I've been shutting out the disease. I'm not sure why, I'm really busy and all, but I think I've been subconsciously avoiding PMP. But then I'm also almost obsessed with it, checking the BellyButtons site first thing in the a.m., and checking the caringbridge sites of all the cancer buddies I have made... I have to strike a better balance emotionally on this.... Next scans are mid-November. Think the other day I pulled a muscle or tore some scar tissue around the site of my first surgery, and it's still tender. The pain is discomforting in more than a physical way....

Here's an idea for replacing the mitomycin in the HIPEC wash-- Hot Wisconsin Cheese! (Sheboygan County Fair, a few weeks ago...)

Anyhow, some updates on what else I've been doing:

Backpacking to a remote camping site with the daughter.

Kids have soccer (the girl in blue!) and tennis (the boy) and that keeps me hopping.

Also took the kids up to a neighbors cabin. Some other fun and interesting stuff too, more on that later!

And then working quite a bit. Very busy, a few hours most evenings too. Not keeping up, but still moving forward. And helping start an organic food co-op in downtown Sheboygan. WTF, right?

I'm off to Tokyo Sunday morning. I'll take some good pictures! I should wear the cowboy hat I bought in Hardin, MT, to Tokyo. I'm 'Murrican, you know... F*&k yeah.

Keep moving....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Anniversaries, and REALLY How to Pick a PMP Doctor

[UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments to this post, and I've added a new video at the end.]

August 10 is forever "Tumor Day" for me. Don't bother to look for a card.

One year ago today was the worst day of my life. I had been experiencing strange abdominal pains for a few months, and finally I saw a doctor. She scheduled a CT scan, which was initially denied twice by my insurance company. My doctor was heading out on vacation and said she'd call me about 3 or 4 days after the scan. I had the scan over lunchtime on August 10, 2009. My cell phone rang at about 2:00 p.m. that same day, and it was my doctor--the one who was on vacation! "That can't be good," popped into my mind. She told me the scan revealed some sort of mass, and I had to see a surgeon, she had made the appointment for me already.

Anyhow, the day sucked. I don't remember much more about it, it was kind of an out-of-body experience. I remember my face feeling numb, and not sleeping that night and a few others....

This morning my son asked why I want to remember this anniversary--didn't I just want to forget it all? I said I never wanted to forget that day, because it marked a new life for me. And I've met so many new friends, and I've also realized how incredible my existing friends are, as a result. Every cloud.... :) God, I hate that sappy stuff, but it's true, and if I don't say it, it is a disservice to my friends.

Okay, enough of that. I want to write about finding a doctor to treat PMP. Hopefully this may help a few people in the future. Google searches lead a lot of people to my blog.

A few days after the CT, I met with a local surgeon here in Sheboygan who wanted to operate on me right away. No diagnosis other than an "abnormal mass" or "neoplasm" (other words for tumors). This doctor was an excellent general surgeon, his reputation was impeccable. A couple of friends (cancer survivors) talked me into getting a second opinion down at a cancer clinic in Milwaukee. The result: I had my first surgery on August 31, 2009, at Froedtert Hospital/The Medical College of Wisconsin, a first class cancer clinic and hospital. During the weeks leading up to that first surgery, the doctor (an excellent oncological surgeon) said he was pretty sure I had PMP, so at least he put a tentative name to the neoplasm. He was not experienced with that disease. The surgery removed the tumor, about 50 cc of mucin, and some intestine. Good surgery. Confirmed the diagnosis.

Then, I finally "woke up" out of my shocked state and started looking for a specialist with experience with PMP. I liked my Froedtert doctor, and liked the one other doctor there who had some training and experience with PMP. But by then I had found many of the websites I link to on this blog, and many fellow patients reached out to me. I'm glad I took their advice. What I learned was: So what if I liked those doctors? They weren't right for me. Great doctors, just not for my specific condition. And that's okay.

I did my research, talked to 4 doctors, and found Dr. Keith Fournier at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He's my doc. January 8, 2010 was my MOAS. That will be my other new anniversary to celebrate. Maybe it's more of a birthday.

So, here's how you find a PMP doctor, in my opinion: Use one of the reputable PMP patient sites to find a list of specialists. Most people agree that 150 MOAS/HIPEC surgeries would qualify a doctor as a specialist. Some people would argue that number could be lower, but probably NOT below 100 surgeries.

In any event, you should find 3 EXPERTS to review your case before deciding on one. Do NOT believe that any doctor who treats colon cancer or some other form of cancer can also treat PMP. They are different. You MUST see a specialist. You wouldn't use a colon cancer specialist to treat pancreatic cancer, for example. The problem is that PMP is so rare, and is often confused with ovarian cancer in women, and colon cancer in many others. Even when distinguished, some doctors try to treat them all the same. There are many good PMP specialists to choose from:

Don't let proximity to your home be your deciding factor. It is relevant, but only one of several factors. And all doctors are different, some prefer different types of patients, so don't lose hope if the first doctor doesn't wish to take your case. Just go to the next PMP specialist on your list. Seriously--you wouldn't hire the first contractor you met to remodel your kitchen, would you? You'd probably get 3 quotes. And you wouldn't hire a plumber as an electrician. So why wouldn't you interview more than one doctor--a specialist in PMP--for something FAR more serious than a kitchen remodel job?

Also, consider the experience of the rest of the hospital staff (nurses, techs) in caring for patients who have had this extensive surgery. That is very important. So an experienced doctor moving to a new hospital may require an extra line of questioning.

Note that we PMP patients all love our own doctors and will defend them tooth and nail, and you need to find the one you love too. If you do your research, and ask the right questions (the above websites have lists of questions to ask, too), you'll know when you've found your doctor.

To drive these points home, I'm going to quote some people I've met along the way. The first quotee is Laurie Todd, PMP survivor and "Insurance Warrior" (I'll explain that below). Quoted by permission from the PMP BellyButtons Club website (PMP patient advocacy site), Laurie explains why you need a PMP specialist who won't just try to treat PMP (appendix cancer) like colon cancer:
What do we mean, when we say, "Do not treat appendix cancer like colon cancer?" The traditional treatment for colon cancer -- and appendix cancer -- has been to do a "debulking" surgery," and then to give systemic chemotherapy. The purpose of a debulking surgery is to remove the large tumors. 
The new standard of care for appendix cancer is cytoreductive surgery, combined with HIPEC (heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy). Cytoreductive surgery differs from debulking in the following three ways: 
  1. The goal is not just to remove the big bulky tumors, but to remove all tumors down to 2mm. 2mm is the size of tumor nodule which the HIPEC can penetrate; it is not effective on nodules larger than this.  
  2. The peritonectomy procedures are performed. If the cancer is seeded into the peritoneum, and the affected peritoneum (lining of the entire abdomen) is not removed, cancer cells remain.
  3. The goal of cytoreductive surgery is curative, not palliative.
A review of the literature over the past forty years tells us that the traditional "colon cancer" approach of leaving large volume tumor behind and treating it with systemic chemotherapy resulted in a nine-year statistical survival rate of zero. [Dan's note: read that last sentence again if you have any doubts about which course of treatment to follow. ZERO.]
Before cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC came along, appendix cancer was considered to be a uniformly lethal condition. ("Systemic review of the efficacy of cytoreductive surgery combined with perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy for peritoneal carcinomatosis from colorectal carcinoma," T Yan, D Black, R Savady et al. Jrnl Clin Oncol; Vol. 24, No. 24 Aug 2008).
Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC should also be the standard of care for selected cases of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma in the abdomen. Leaving in large or small tumors and treating them with systemic chemo doesn't work all that well for ovarian or colon cancer patients, either. They deserve the same chance at a good outcome that we appendix cancer patients can now have.
If removing all tumor down to 2mm and treating with HIPEC is a possibility, it should be done. 
How many of us diagnosed with PMP over the years have been told by our local doctors, "Wait and see ... we'll treat it like colon cancer ... no other treatment for your disease ... repeat surgeries as it grows big ..." Many of our local doctors have even said, "We got it all, you don't need any more surgery, you're cured ..." 
How many times have we seen patients follow this regimen for years? By the time they get to a surgeon experienced and qualified to perform cytoreductive surgery, their chance of a good outcome has been reduced by damage and scar tissue caused by previous surgery and other treatments, and by disease progression over the years. 
A "specialist" in this context is always a surgeon. A G.I. surgeon -- one who specializes in cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC. [End of quote, thanks, Laurie.]
Laurie is known as the Insurance Warrior because she has made a name for herself by fighting insurance companies on behalf of client/patients. Very successfully. Her link is along the right hand side of this blog. I'm sure her work--both in insisting people see specialists and filing insurance appeals--has saved or at least prolonged lives.

Okay, another friend to quote--Rachel. I'm going to again quote extensively, as you never know when someone chooses to delete their blog. I'll link to her blog too. She is incredible--wife, mother, morning radio personality. Follow her blog and send her emails, she's smart, funny, and intense. Anyway, again, if you have any doubts about finding a specialist because you think your local oncologist can read up and handle PMP effectively, read these two posts:
Sunday, July 18, 2010
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
My CT scan showed that the three 'tumors' (basically clumps of mucous) amongst my small intestine have shrunk slightly since May when I started the new chemo. The layer of mucous hanging out on my liver and other places, no change. OK news.
But, [my doctor] doesn't think I should wait until October to have the MOAS. She thinks I should have the surgery as soon as possible. Meaning the first of August- 4 week minimum wait after Avastin. That means... No Missouri, I probably won't be present for Iris' birthday party, no New York and probably no Italy. 
Honestly, I'm pissed at the world. I didn't want to go on a rant, but if I'd have had the NECESSARY surgery 1 year ago... 4 months ago- I wouldn't be dealing with this SHIT right now. Instead of doing 2 minimal surgeries and not removing the cancer. I COULD have had ONE surgery that would remove all the cancer. If I'd have just known that the surgeries weren't INTENDED to remove ALL the cancer. They don't even do the HIPEC surgery @ OSUMC. The whole time I thought they would remove all the cancer and when they came back to say "There was too much cancer to remove." I thought- "I'm screwed." The fact was: They don't do the surgery I REALLY need(ed) there. That it would be more involved. A year older and much wiser having taken the idiot path. Possibly at the cost of my life. I would like to think my surgeon did all he could do. But that doesn't take away from the fact that he more than likely has heard of the HIPEC surgery with TOTAL debulking before the chemo wash- and he didn't say that's what I need, didn't suggest other surgeons, other procedures, didn't point me in the right direction. Just said I should look into clinical trials. And the Oncologist at OSUMC didn't say shit either.
They SHOULD have realized that they were in over their heads and passed me to someone better able to TREAT ME. I don't know if it's a pride thing or an ignorance thing... Doesn't matter. I'm feeling SCREWED. It's my LIFE and they SCREWED ME! I should get a damn refund and should punch SOMEONE in the friggin' face.
If I'd have gone directly to the Cleveland Clinic or another hospital that HAS the HIPEC, I wouldn't be in this position right now, maybe I wouldn't have had to do 15 fucking rounds of chemo and have had ineffective surgeries.
I'm pissed as hell... And I've held my tongue about it, thinking I didn't want to slam on amy doctors... But this last year of 'treatment' has been a waste because I didn't know any better and the surgeon that DID was irresponsible and not forthcoming with information. Fucking around with MY LIFE is not something I'm going to be quiet about.
And a second post:
Monday, July 19, 2010
Tired of being Optimistic.
Kind of appropriate that this is my 100th post...........
It's been over a year since dignosis. Approaching one year since the start of the hell that is chemotherapy.
In less than 18 months I've had 3 major surgeries, 1 minor surgery, almost 2 months total in a hospital, 18 weeks of recovery, an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, 5 CT scans, 15 rounds of chemotherapy and endless needle sticks.
To this point I was trying to be a little PollyAnna and trying to be totally positive- taking up for anyone doing my treatment. 
I really didn't want to believe that someone might be dropping the ball when it came to my treatment. It would piss me off to hear "Do they know what they're doing?" Because 'Of COURSE' they know what they're doing. Why on earth would I be here getting sliced and diced? Surely not for the fun of it. And Don't Call me Shirley.
The reason this is all pouring out now is because it's like a slap to the face... a cold shower... a shot of double espresso... I'm going to miss out on a LOT of shit I had planned because I put my trust in someone who didn't deserve it. I should have asked more questions. I SHOULD have taken a page from my almost 4 year old's book and asked "Why?" about a million more times than I needed to. Why were people diagnosed AFTER me getting ONE MOAS and I was getting the 'Diet' version of it... TWICE?!? I can promise you next time I go to OSUMC, I'll be taking a shark with me. (Amber) And I'll let HER ask the questions... I'll be taking notes. I'm tired of being intimidated by big shots. Tired of just going along with whatever anyone wants to do to me in hopes that SOMEONE will eventually have the right answer. Cancer patients BEWARE.
I REALLY thought I was getting top notch care. That the lack of answers was because this cancer was tricky and rare and blah, blah, blah. Bullshit.
There were answers, there ARE answers and there are more answers than "You should look into clinical trials."
Thanks for screwing up my body to the point that all the scar tissue may cause complications with the surgery I should have gotten a year ago that I will be getting soon. I'm sure it will be good for my HEALTHY insides to have been subjected to chemo washes THREE times instead of ONE or even TWO.
I WOULD have been fine if after the first surgery I was told "You will need a much more involved surgery that we can't do here." Since they pretty much knew that then. But nope- All I was told was "There is too much tumor to remove." Again- BULLSHIT. THERE ARE SURGEONS WHO DO REMOVE ALL THE TUMOR... There was too much tumor for YOU to remove. I know that now. 
How DARE you fuck with my life?
To lighten the mood a bit... simply insert my OLD surgeon's name where Clark's Boss's name is....  
End of quotes. Rachel's blog is HERE. Spend some time on it. She's scheduled her surgery with Dr. Sardi in Baltimore in September. Good doc, a PMP specialist. There is hope!

So, to review.... To find a PMP doctor:
  1. Look at one of those lists of PMP specialists.
  2. Interview at least 3 of them, ask questions, ask other patients, ask around!
  3. If you are STILL considering a doctor who is NOT a PMP specialist, read Laurie's post and Rachel's two posts AGAIN.
  4. Then repeat step 1 and 2 until you find a PMP specialist you like. 
I'm going to circulate this to my PMP friends, and solicit edits and comments, to improve this post.
Thanks again, Dr. Fournier. A few weeks ago I took my boy camping up on Rock Island, and next weekend I'm going backpacking with my daughter. I may not have been in shape to do those things, or any the countless other meaningful and fun things I have experienced in the past several months, if I had not found the right doctor. 

Happy Anniversary to me. I feel good about it. Going to celebrate tonight with my kids. 

[UPDATE: Karolyn from the PMP Bellybuttons Club sent me a link to the below video from the 2010 PMP Research Foundation Symposium. Please see the page at: The video includes three respected specialists, Drs. Ahrendt (UPMC), Lambert (UMass), and Sardi (Mercy), discussing how to pick a hospital/doctor, etc. Valuable commentary!] 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Because I can't stand myself when I'm serious...

Are you prepared? What an interesting future it is that awaits us. Sharpen your long wooden sticks, strap on your Mad Max battle gear, and click HERE for this article.

Still a relevant article, if you read my last post.

August 6, 1945

Today is August 6, and back in 1945 we dropped an atomic bomb on Japan. Read this short article at and pray that no one ever uses such a weapon again.

This is relevant because in the aftermath, researchers claimed that Japanese who ate miso fended off radiation sickness. Same with Chernobyl. With all the CT scans I get (each scan is equal to about 400 x-rays), I'm trying to work more miso into my diet. I've never really been in to homoeopathic cures, but it can't hurt.

The image above is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial--the former Shima Hospital that was ground zero of the first A-bomb drop, and the only building to survive the blast. Dr. Kaoru Shima, the hospital's founder, was out of town during the blast, but returned that day to treat survivors. Here's the same building,in the distance, a few days after the bomb.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tree of Thanks

Outside of the chapel at MD Anderson is this "Tree of Thanks" to which people attach handwritten notes of thanks.

The notes make good reading, some inspirational, some heartbreaking, written by adults, some by kids, in several languages, thanking their families, friends, doctors, and various deities. On every visit to MD Anderson I make sure to stop by and browse the tree.

Today before my doctors appointment I found my favorite one ever.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

All clear....

Scans are clear, all good news.

Like any cancer, you are never sure, and PMP is a notoriously sneaky bastard that surprises people years down the road. But this is as good as can be!

I'm not going to live like I have cancer. I got rid of it and I'm moving on.

Heading home!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Holcombe Blvd,Houston,United States

Monday, July 19, 2010

The flip side of that last post....

I was just riding the elevator down in the M.D. Anderson hotel along with a couple (late 60s or 70 is my guess) and some other folks. After few floors, a doctor entered the elevator (I'm sure he was visiting a patient at the hotel, which is connected to and part of the clinic). The older gentleman grabbed the doctor and gave him a huge hug, and the doctor called him by name and hugged him back.

The older gentlemen then turned to the rest of us in the elevator and said, with his hand around the doctor's shoulder, "This is the man who saved my life a few years ago." The older gent was tearing up and the doctor had a big smile on his face. Pretty cool to see.

I can't help watching these little scenes and then writing about them. I want to remember them all someday.


Yet another sad x-ray waiting room chat--that crowded, little room where you change into scrub shirts and wait with 2 or 3 other guys for your chest x-ray.

Last time I walked into it by being chatty. This time it was Bill from Beaumont, TX, who looked about 60+ years old, who started the conversation with the standard question. I showed him my scar, talked about my surgery, and that I feel good and was hoping for continued good news tomorrow. Pause. So I had to ask: "What about you?"

And....of course he found out last week in Beaumont he has about 5 months to live and just had that diagnosis confirmed this morning down here at M.D. Anderson. No treatment plan. I was not quite at the loss for words today as I was last time. I asked him, "So, what do you do now, if you think you only have 5 months left?" He said, "I'm not sure." Nothing prophetic or profound. I wasn't going to slink away and mumble "good luck!" like I did last time. At least this time I looked the guy squarely in the eye, shook his hand, and wished him well and said that whatever happens, I hope that he does well and stays strong and that I don't forget meeting people like him. He didn't look sad or scared, it was either all too new to him, or he's got a grip on it.

I feel like the freaking grim reaper. I'm just not going to talk to people in the x-ray waiting room anymore. (Of course, odds are that 20% of anyone in any room here at M.D. Anderson are looking at short time.)

But as I reflect a bit, checking work emails and typing as I wait for my CT scan, maybe it's not as much about his next few months as it was about his previous 60+ years. There, Bill from Beaumont, there's your answer. Or at least that's what I'm taking away from meeting you--people should live with that ratio of months to years in mind.

Off to drink some barium phosphate now.

Traditional post vampire visit picture

They took 6 vials this time! I should be a cheap drunk tonight at the Club Big C.

Rodeo finals....

Okay, so that rodeo was full of awesome. Definitely going back next year, and bringing the kids. At Saturday's finals I wandered over to the staging area. I'm used to all the "off limits" stuff of the "real world," but there it was kind of go where you want, just don't get in the way. I felt like one wrong turn and I'd end up in a chute, then being forced out on the arena floor, where I'd get roped up.

Right before the finals, a storm rolled by. Not much impact, but dramatic clouds, and then a rainbow all across the horizon--you could see both ends. Couldn't get a good picture of the rainbow, it was too big.

Cowpokes. These guys were the real deal.

I'm in Houston now, getting ready for my tests. It was great to have the distraction of Montana and Wyoming before the procedures, and to see my cousins and aunt--it's been way too long.

Here's a slideshow of the pictures. I also visited and got a tour of Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, Montana (a great little place with big plans:, located on a Crow indian reservation, they invited me back for the big Crow Fair), and the last pictures in the set are of Little Big Horn Battlefield (a/k/a Custer's Last Stand) in Montana.

And thank you for all the emails, yes, I do look good in a cowboy hat.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Little Big Horn Battlefield

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sheridan, WY, for the big rodeo....

WYO Rodeo, 80th anniversary year, pictures from last night. More info about the rodeo HERE.

Taking a breather at a nice cafe in downtown Sheridan. Click on any picture to fill your screen with Western Goodness.

Too tired to type anything long and introspective. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.  Below are the indian relays...

Rodeo stuff going on below (my cousins know all the lingo, I don't). 

Below is my nephew Zack (Minnesota), me (Wisconsin), and cousin Randal (Montana). 
Only one real cowboy in this picture, I'm not telling you who it is.
My cousin Randal and me at the rodeo. 

Sister Nyra, and her boys Joe and Zack.
At the street party in downtown Sheridan after the rodeo. 

My nephew Joe (Minnesota), Amy (Erik's wife), cousin Erik (Hawaii), me, and my dad (Minnesota).

The famous Mint Bar, over 100 years old. 
Mayhem inside the Mint Bar....

Cousin Randal and old friends inside the Mint Bar.

Me trying to figure out what the heck I was drinking in that shot glass. 
Randal assured me it was reasonably safe. It was tasty; a Polish liquor distilled locally in Sheridan. 

World famous King Ropes store and saddle museum.

Tonight is the finals at the rodeo. 

Montana back roads....

Taking the scenic route....

Friday, July 16, 2010


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Houston, coming up....

Well, my six month check-up is on July 19-20. I don't feel as nervous as I did for my three month check-up. I'm not sure why. Should I? (That is, feel nervous, or know why I don't?)

I had a blast on the 4th of July. A ton of friends came by my house to watch the parade. I live on the parade route that runs through downtown and "desirable northeast Sheboygan," so I have a popular yard that day, but I still think they are my friends! That's my front yard, above.

The neighborhood headed down to the beach to watch the fireworks that evening. My kids are in the far left of each picture here. Yes, Gaby and her friends are part of the myspace/facebook poser generation.

A comment by a buddy who now lives in Illinois brought my mind back to last year's 4th of July. Not so much fun then. I was still keeping it to myself then, but I felt increasingly like something was physically wrong with me at that point.

It wasn't until August 10 that my suspicions were confirmed, as they say.

It was weird to remember that it was over a year ago that I first started feeling weird pains, and losing my stamina. What a difference a year makes. I feel damn good now.

My friend Mark came home from his MOAS on the Wednesday before the 4th. He's been wisely resting up....

Houston. Nervous? Sometimes. I'm not sure. Doesn't matter if I am, really. Tagged on a little side trip, more on that later. You know I'll be good for pictures of it. (More 4th of July pics on my Flickr page if you are interested, see the link in the right hand column of this blog.)