No Spring Chicken #16
It's almost over, and I can't wait. If I were writing verses for a song, I don't know if I'd include this year as a very good year or not. It is true that I'm well, again. But it has been a bit of a tough road getting here.

The CAT-Scan of my body trunk showed no remaining swollen lymph nodes, all the masses gone and things back to normal, as I said in the last No Spring Chicken message. But I've got the radiologist's reading of the chart confirming that now. So only one more treatment (next Friday & Saturday) and I'm done with chemo. In a couple of months (when all the chemicals have settled out) we'll do another PET-Scan of the entire body to make sure they are gone everywhere. That should be the end of it for 10-15 years, except for periodic checks for new activity. I guess the original mention of "cure" was not entirely valid. Like all cancer, you go into remission, you are not cured. But it should be many healthy years before anything crops up again. Whoopee!

I had a visit last weekend from Jeff & Olga and Tish. Tish didn't believe my tales of wellness, so she just had to see for herself that I wasn't really dying at this point. Jeff had been planning to come up sometime soon anyway. It seems Tish thinks my sunny disposition (she calls it "dancing on clouds") would cause me to belittle my illness and fudge about my state of health. I pointed out that I had been out rowing twice that week (I'm taking the opportunity of another coach working with the masters men to get back into rowing again) and that I was even good the week after a treatment the last time. We had a good weekend of gaming - several games of Dominion, two games each of Antique & Grande and a couple of others, as well as some good discussions. I even showed Tish how she could use the video on her laptop to communicate with me via video link and see for herself that I wasn't fudging about my state of health.

I had planned to wait with the next letter until after the final chemo treatment. But between Tish's concerns and several comments that people hadn't heard from me in a while and wanted to make sure I hadn't passed on without mentioning it, I thought I'd better do another "No Spring Chicken" letter just to alleviate fears. Although, with me out rowing with the masters crew I guess I'm not so far over the hill, even if I am not a spring chicken. So, to all my concerned fans out there: Yes, I am doing fine. You won't be getting rid of me that easily. As I said originally, if you had to choose from all the cancers to have this would be your second choice, so it isn't surprising that it was beaten so easily. Easy being a relative term, here. I'm sure attitude had a lot to do with it, as I have always had a positive attitude. We all read "Love, Miracles & Medicine" when dad first got cancer, so I have that to fall back on, too. Plus, I had a lot of support and well wishes and prayers going for me. I've also got a pretty good life that I don't want to miss out on a minute of. Lots of singing yet to do, lots of fishing yet to do, hundreds of web pages to code, miles of rowing yet to go, months of sailing, thousands of games yet to play, hugs and kisses and puppy lovin' yet to do. I can't quit any time soon.

It has been a pretty cold and miserable spring around here, not much sun and in the last couple of weeks it has rained almost every time we went out to row. Until this Saturday, that is, when we finally had good weather (but it rained later in the day). Because of the rain the ground is pretty well saturated with water, and some areas are having troubles with mudslides. The weather has also kept me from doing a bunch of outdoor chores, such as chopping up the two trees that came down (one fell, the other we had taken down), cleaning roofs & gutters and sawing up fallen branches (they make good kindling). I keep hoping for better weather. I've also been busy with many web pages. I've got the Northwest Historical Miniatures Gaming Society web pages up and running, and have a version of the Dragonflight pages up and ready for them to deal with, but I don't know if they have turned it on yet. I've almost got the Court Reporter Continuing Education Units web site in a position where they can input lessons, then I need to do the user interface (not much good without the lessons). That last one should bring in some money, not just be for fun. I also need to tweak a few things for the Harmony College Northwest web pages. I've still got to update my own web pages, too. I've got the No Spring Chicken pages working, but haven't finished putting the philosophy section together. I've a number of monographs/op-ed pieces that I wish to include. Fishing season is rapidly approaching, too. I've got to find more time! Ooh, and it is time to begin updating the crew coach blog again. Sheesh. Where will I find the time?

Chocolaty Clair is my chocolate lab "puppy". Labs are puppies until they die, I'm pretty certain of that. She still loves to play hard, and won't quit retrieving until I quit throwing, even at 9+ years old (she is now older than I am). She is really possessive of us. If one of us isn't home she stays downstairs to wait for the other to come home. If it is daytime and we are both upstairs she will usually come upstairs and sit with one of us. That is why there is a sleeping pad (just dog sized) in my room as well as in the living room. She seldom sleeps in the bedroom with us any more, though, and when she does it isn't by my side of the bed (where he kennel has always been). I think it is the c-pap machine I use when I sleep making high pitched sounds as it pumps air, but she isn't talking. She is becoming more vocal with age, though. Mostly she will bark at things and people (more by way of greeting than anything else), but she has never cried to get out, and refused to learn to tap the door like we taught Jenny & Sam to do. Instead when she wants something she just sits there and stares at you. If you don't react within a few minutes she gets up and moves a couple of feet, then sits down and stares at you some more. Repeat until attention is achieved. It is up to you to figure out whether it is relief, play or food she wants. Of course, like all good retrievers she doesn't think she can go outside for either play or relief without doing both. Janet takes her for walks, but I only walk her as far as the mailbox for the paper or the mail. If we are walking and I even slow down she has started back so we can retrieve. That doesn't make for a pleasant walk, so I gave it up. She'll go for a normal walk if all three of us go, though. So we do those every now and then. It is amazing how much dogs pick up from the people they are with. When Clair is out with Janet she is much more timid than when she is out with me. She is also much worse behaved because Janet isn't the disciplinarian that I am. Sigh, I never wanted to be the bad guy. But dogs need to know the limits and need to push them now and again so you have to reinforce them continually. That seems to be my job. On the bright side, I get more puppy kisses. But is Janet is in the kitchen that is where Clair is. She knows that things fall on the floor when Janet is in the kitchen, and that most of those things are good to eat.

On that sweet note (both Janet's cookies, pies, cakes and muffins & my sweet little Chocolaty Clair) I'd end this episode and let you all get on with your life.

Tom the Lucky