Bill's Status

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hello to all,


I hope all in your world is good.


It has been well over a year since my last post. I needed the space. Our journey has been a good one and I’m happy to let you know that I am in my 46th month post-diagnosis.


My cancer markers and PET/CT scans are considered “stable” so we are very happy about that. The locations where disease remains in my abdomen continue to “light up” on scans and there are indications in my lungs that we are watching very closely. The mass in my chest remains stable as well. Breathing, strength, endurance are my focus and we are also doing whatever we can to deal with neuropathy in my hands and feet. It’s painful and is the result of long-term exposure to chemotherapy.


I continue to follow my recipe and rules for recovery:



Expert medical care

Lots of love and friendship

Faith and prayer

Exercise and training

Good sleep


Super low-stress environment

Understanding data, facts, and opinions

Strategy and vision


Judgment and decision-making

Continuous learning


Four Rules of Rebuilding

Don’t fall down

Don’t throw up

Don’t pass out

Don’t get eaten by a wild animal


My biggest challenge is breathing and it is hard to put into words the difficulty that it presents. Every movement and step involves breathing and it was something I probably took for granted far too much. It went down one notch after my first surgery and then another big drop after the second.


So there you have it. We are gearing up for our fourth Pink Vail, so check our Team Don't Go It Alone update. This year, Team Don’t Go It Alone will shoot to go over $100,000 in cumulative contributions over the last four years!

And don't forget to check out Today's Motivator.


September 16, 2016
Hello to all,

It only took an extra year, but I made it to Chile and back with Audrey for her training session.  Conditions were perfect and she and 17 other athletes experienced tremendous coaching and development.

I had a good meeting at The National Cancer Institute in late August.  PET/CT were unchanged from May with no new indication of disease, representing “stability.”  My cancer marker came down slightly after increasing all summer.  It remains at a level considerably above where it was last October before surgery.

They affirmed the continued use of maintenance chemotherapy so I will continue with treatments every 3 - 4 weeks.  The side effects have been predictable and tolerable with the first week being the most challenging.

We discussed the durability of my treatment (time between surgeries). I expressed my continued desire to anticipate tumor recurrence and get on more systemic drugs early, possibly experimental. They seemed to agree with that, so the plan is to stick to the plan, monitor markers, and re-scan in December.

I traveled from Bethesda straight to Vail for follow-up labs, a consult, and chemo. This all went smoothly with no surprises. My lab results confirmed what was found at NCI.

I’m happy with this outcome and feel like progress was made.

Breathing continues to be a major challenge.  My lung capacity is two thirds of baseline and I have worked with my physical therapist, strength, and cardio coaches to develop an approach to the problem.  Progress has been much less and slower than I would like but slow progress is still progress and I need to keep that in mind.  I will meet with my pulmonologist in mid-October and we'll go from there.

My friend Ken sent this link's just over four minutes long and really came at a good time for me.  It inspired me to ask some questions of myself so I thought it might be good to pass along: .  Today's motivator is a repeat and goes along nicely with the theme of the video.  It is what I constantly ask myself regarding my level of effort and can it be improved (of course it can.)

Mindset and perspective have been really important in this journey and will continue to be.

All the best!


Thursday, June 16, 2016
Hello to all…you are probably wondering if I have fallen off the Earth. I’m here and it is more like I have traveled the Earth (part of it) these past 90 days. I have consulted with doctors in six states. What follows is a summary of all that I have learned.

What we have done the past two years has been effective. The “recipe” as I see it is a combination of...

  •     Expert medical care
  •     Lots of love and friendship
  •     Faith
  •     Exercise and training
  •     Good sleep
  •     Diet
  •     Low-stress environment
  •     Understanding data, facts, and opinions
  •     Strategy and vision
  •     Discipline
  •     Judgement and decision-making
  •     Continuous learning

So that might sound like a lot, but it’s what we have done and what we will continue to do.  I have begun a third round of chemotherapy aimed at reducing my cancer level and extending the time between surgeries. It will get me through the summer and into the fall.  We will monitor along the way to determine the efficacy of our treatment choice.
So far, so good.

My intent in this update is to be brief. I have a more detailed discussion and can send that upon your request (email is OK.) It goes into some detail, with videos of the experts on the latest treatments and trials.

Thank you as always!


Today's Motivator

Friday, April 22, 2016

Family and friends,

I’ll begin by expressing my appreciation for your support of Pink Vail 2016 and The Shaw Cancer Center.  Through your generosity, many patients will now have access to an oncological nutrition specialist, counseling, massage therapy, acupuncture and physical therapy.  These services are vital components which support quality of life improvements and cancer survivorship.

Team Don’t Go It Alone raised nearly $13,000 this year bringing our two year total to over $34,000.  I would bet we will exceed $50,000 cumulative in 2017.  This is awesome…thank you!!!

For the group that travelled to Colorado, we hope you had a memorable experience.  I have some great photos and will find a way to put them in Dropbox and let you know they have been posted.  Thank you again to Riley and the staff of ”Hooked” for a wonderful and very artistic dinner.  Also, congratulations to Barb, Morgan, and Andy (1st, 2nd, 3rd place finishers) for your success in my game of SCHNAP (Schane’s Numerical Assessment of Pinkness) and thank you to all participants for your gamesmanship and creativity in rule-bending.

We also hope all who spent the day on Vail Mountain enjoyed themselves an had a memorable experience.  Special recognition goes to our gorilla (aka David) for the special entertainment.  It sure was fun!

Okay….on to the update.  Last week, I had a days worth of pulmonary and cardiology tests.  The end result is that I am very deconditioned.  I was cleared to begin ramping up my training which will help rebuild my body and immune system.  It will take time.

Today, Chelle and I met with doctors and staff at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.  I had met with them prior to my most recent surgery and we agreed to follow up six months.  It was a long and productive meeting.  Much discussion was centered on experimental drug trials and my eligibility.  Due to criteria which I won’t elaborate on in an email, it is not the time to enter a trial.  We agreed on a path forward which has two immediate steps.  The first is for me to rebuild my body from the chemo and infection.  Both have had a significant impact on my immune system.  A balanced approach to diet, training and sleep while minimizing stress is step one.  Step two will entail returning to NCI in late May for a PET/CT scan, labs and another discussion.

I have a follow up at the University of Colorado in mid-May and then an appointment with my surgeon and a cardio-thoracic surgeon at Baylor.  The information from those two appointments will feed into the late-May NCI meeting.

So, there you have it.  Thanks as always for your support, love and friendship.  It means the world to Chelle, Audrey and I.

All the best!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

*NEW* Pink Vail Update!!!


February 21, 2016

Breaking the silence…

For the last six weeks I have been finishing my final two rounds of chemo and dealing with a nasty intestinal bacteria infection.  I’ll spare details but it has been quite challenging.  Toward the end of my first chemo treatment in 2014, I had troubles as well.  My guess is the body can only take so much and there will always be surprises and setbacks.  Chelle and Shaw Cancer Center have been tremendous helping me through this.  For the most part, I have been housebound…lots of sleep…not much else…not my style.

Last week,  a new antibiotic was introduced and appears to be doing well.  I was able to go to physical therapy several times which is really was a breath of fresh air.  From what I can tell, we are turning the corner.

Many thanks to all who are including us in their prayers.  Also, thank you for your emails, texts and calls.  It all helps.  When the setbacks come, prayer, faith and love really do help and this time has proven that once again.

I will be posting and sending information on Pink Vail this week.

All the best!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Hello to all…

I have been dealing with some significant chemo side effects the last two weeks.  It seems that as we get further into the treatment, side effects strengthen and also some new ones add to the challenge.  That said, I am hanging in there.  Chelle has been an amazing support through all of this and it has been both physically draining and emotionally exhausting.  My next infusion is in a week so I have a few more days to build back up.

Not much more to add at this point.  Thanks as always for your prayers and support.


Monday, December 21, 2015

My update will be short and to the point.  Having finished the first week of chemo round five, the worst is past and the next two weeks will steadily get better.  Inability to eat, nausea, fatigue and sleepless nights subside as the days pass.  For me, it is a necessity to go through it so my approach is to take it as it comes, deal with it and not whine.  All who support me have been absolutely caring, respectful and gracious.  It keeps me going and brings about deep gratitude.  You know who you are and are nothing short of amazing.

Today’s motivator just put me on the right spot the other day.  It covers much of the ground I think about quite often.  One belief I have is that I can offset the aforementioned effects with the complementary treatments, diet, physical therapy, and training so anytime I perceive or sense a limitation, I look past it and do the work.

Round six will be on New Year’s eve and three weeks later, the seventh and final round will occur.  After that, it will be all about rebuilding my body.  It took three months to do that last time and I expect the same this go-around. More in 2016.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015
We are making the transition from post-surgery.  I’m getting into a follow-on chemo regimen and at the same time rebuilding the base of my body’s energy and immune systems. I’ve been going through chemo since early September now, and the effects of the surgery and early phases of chemo have had an impact on my body. The chemo will continue to have an impact, and what we’re working on now is what it takes to strengthen my system in order to be strong for the continuing chemo phase.

I’d like to acknowledge many people. The list would be too long to list everybody’s name, but there were so many who helped me and pulled my whole family through all the planning effort that started in the mid-summer, the pre-op work, and then everything through the whole operation.  Your phone calls, cards, all the people who came and visited or stayed with me, all the way through the hospital, including all our days in Houston all helped make a huge difference. I had one friend who picked me up every day at the hotel after discharge from the hospital and took me out to dinner, and checked in on me. I had somebody with me throughout that entire span while I was in Houston, so it was really good to have that kind of help.

One of the things I’ve reflected on is comparison of this surgery and recovery to my last.  I came to the decision to not do that, because although they were very similar, there are also some very distinct differences. So what I chose to do is to only take forward and focus on the lessons that we’ve learned over all this period of time and not compare much else to the past. That has really helped me to focus on what needs to happen down the road, to really keep an eye on the future and what steps we need to take.

I’ve been in the mountains, for about two weeks.  The move up to over 8,000 feet has gone well and I haven’t had any issues with my acclimation. I’m starting to work with the team at Shaw Cancer Center and the Minturn Fitness Center, and that has all gone extremely well and as expected.  They have done very well with helping me to succeed and move forward.

What we’ve looked at is some things about the overall condition, and one of the difficult things in this new phase is that my sleep cycle is super broken up. It’s getting better, but the combination of post-op, healing, and everything with chemo—there are drugs that I have to take to mitigate the side-effects of chemo, but they also impact my sleep—so we’re working at getting back to normal sleep, but it’s going to be notchy at best for probably the next month to month and a half.

As far as my cardio-pulmonary, my breathing and my heart rate, they’re pretty good right now. My capacity is improving, however it is not all the way to where it was—I started to diminish a little at the end of summer—but it’s on its way back and I can really feel that. My heart rate is up a little bit to compensate, but not to the extent it was earlier, so I feel good about that.

Eating has been a chore, and I have anti-nausea medication that is trying to help with that, but I have been really focused on trying to get protein in and add to the healing process. I’m doing the best I can.

My pain is subsiding, but I’m really starting to feel the presence of fatigue, and my hope is that what we are going to do from the training point of view will impact that through strength and endurance.  I have met with the physical therapist and my trainer; I think that is only going to get a little better with time. I have to be patient, that’s the mentally challenging thing for me.  

As far as my treatment, the chemotherapy is the big one. We have somewhere between another one and three cycles; it just depends on how my body responds, but right now I have enough capacity in terms of blood chemistry to keep proceeding with chemo, so that’s good news.

Next week I hope to resume acupuncture, which has been helpful with a number of different things.

We’re going to get back to the same nutrition program - I'm pretty close to that now, but I’ve been just kind of eating what I want and that goes against getting the best level of nutrition. Right now it’s more about getting the protein in. But soon I’ll get back to the same diet I had going before everything started back up.

I’ll ramp up my physio and training as we go, which includes massage therapy. All of that complements my main line of treatment. It seems counter-intuitive, but the strength and endurance training actually helps with the fatigue. A year ago, I was told to just “go rest.” That didn’t fit who I am, for starters, but it also wasn’t the right solution. It didn’t make me feel any better; all I felt was deep fatigue all the time. So I did a little research and that’s why I decided to come to Shaw Cancer Center, because they had some thoughts on how to address that. We had discussions about the effect that all the treatment and surgery had on my body, in terms of shutting down systems and lowering my immune system, and lowering my energy systems. So what we did then, and what we’re going to do now, is work to bring those systems back up, and do that with a very careful approach to physical training, nutrition, and rest. It’s a combination of all of those things, not just, “go rest.” You have to have the rest, you have to have the sleep, you have to have the nutrition, but you also have to have some level of physical exertion and bring that up steadily, and that is actually the best complement to help with the other treatments, and in particular chemotherapy.

And another big thing is just getting outside. It’s really nice to be up here right now, so I’ve spent a little bit of time outside, took a walk out up and around the woods and that’s great to be out and feel the cool air and enjoy the snow and feel winter coming on.

Down the road a little bit we’ll start to have some discussions about what my long-term management and treatment will be, but that probably won’t really take place until after the first of the year when we get through the chemo rounds and see what type of effect that has. That’s when we’ll know a little bit more, but that is going to take some time.

Our focus now is really turning toward the holidays, and that’s exciting.  I look forward to having a great holiday season, and I just hope that everybody who’s been supporting me knows how much I appreciate all of your intentions and prayers and support.  My hope is for all of you and your families have a great holiday season!

As far as website updates, I want to shift to more of an every 3-4 weeks schedule for updates and give a little sound bit of where we’re at, but if anybody wants to know a little more or just catch up they can always e-mail me at and I’ll be happy to correspond that way.

Please also keep in mind that Pink Vail in 2016 will be on Saturday, April 2nd, so make your plans to “Think Pink” and ski down the mountain with us and contribute to the great work of the Shaw Cancer Center.  I will include some info in my next post.

My special treat today was to go out and ski with Chelle, Audrey and her coach.  I was only able to do two runs with a big break in-between but that was enough for me.  It's only been 37 days since the operation so I think thats pretty good to be able to get out there and have some fun.  I'll admit that many breaks and side-slips were required but I did manage to make some turns.  Chelle took some photos and it I found one ok turn to include in the update.

I want to express my deep appreciation and say thank you as always for everything that you’ve done to help me and my family through a really extraordinary challenge.

Wishing you all the best!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Today's Motivator is a reminder from the great bard that everything starts with the proper mindset.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Transitioning From:  Post-op to chemo and rebuilding

Thanks to all who pulled us through the planning, pre-op, operation and our days in Houston.

New baseline being established.  Only taking forward lessons learned and not comparing to the past.  Looking down the road.

Move up to the mountains and Shaw Cancer Center has gone extremely well.

Eating and Nausea
Pain and fatigue
Strength and endurance

Next Treatment:
Physio and training (includes massage therapy)

Long term management and treatment


Website updates and communication

Thank you as always,


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I’m pretty happy right now.  Progress has been slow but steady.  Today’s Motivator is a great reminder to me to take it easy and remember that things take time and don’t all happen overnight.

Last Friday, I met with Dr. Urquhart at Shaw Cancer Center.  All is set to begin chemo on Thursday of this week.  I’ll have between two and four cycles over the next three months.

Today, I met with my physical therapist and trainer and the three of us discussed approaches to improve my physical condition.  We’ll do a formal assessment on Thursday afternoon and go from there.

Next week I hope to begin acupuncture again.  It was helpful last year so we’ll give it another go.

That’s all for now.  Thanks as always for your continued support.


Monday, November 9, 2015

It has been a good week since our return to St. Louis.  My time has been spent resting, eating and sleeping with some walks here and there.  My breathing is good and pain is lessening with each day.  My sleep is good and strength beginning to improve.

I will travel to Colorado later in the week and start chemotherapy on the 19th.  Physical therapy will begin after that.

Thank you as always for your support!


Today's Motivator

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chelle and I had a good meeting with Dr. Choi on Tuesday, caught a quick uneventful flight home to St. Louis and settled back in at home.

Today I spent the day resting, eating, and reading a book.  I am still very sore and working through the effects of chemo treatment but I’m continuing to get a little better each day.

We really appreciate everybody’s support.

All best,


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hello to all,

It has been a good weekend.  I haven’t done much other than rest and eat.  My buddy Eric has stopped over and taken me out to dinner which has been real nice.  Yesterday, I tried the treadmill but just wasn’t ready.  My breathing is pretty solid and I feel stable.

Tomorrow, will be more of the same and Chelle arrives in the evening.  On Tuesday, we have an appointment with Dr. Choi.  My staples will be removed (yay!) and we’ll have a post-op discussion.  He will have a thoracic specialist stop by and we’ll start mapping out what to do regarding my lungs.

Chelle and I will fly to St. Louis on Tuesday afternoon.  I am so pleased that we were able to mitigate the complications that arose the first time we went through this.

I will update you again on Wednesday once I get settled in.

Thank you as always!



Thursday, October 29, 2015

I hope you all had a great day...

Just a short update.  I had a restful night of sleep.  Hal and I had breakfast this morning and he left right after lunch.  I took a long hot shower in the afternoon and had a nap.
My buddy Eric stopped by and we had a cup of coffee.

Tomorrow and Saturday will be more of the same so I’ll refrain from an update until Sunday.

Take care and thanks as always!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Good evening everyone,

It has been a long day with a very good outcome. Our friends Jack and Trudy stopped in to visit and that was super nice.  I also received a great package from my colleague Mark. He, his wife and all of their children made hand-written cards with artwork and fantastic messages about faith. Completely unexpected but so moving. Faith matters and God carries us.

In the morning, my IV was disconnected and I was moved to a full diet. I took an early shower and it felt great.

In the afternoon, Dr. Choi and a colleague stopped by and we had a discussion about how I felt. My pain has shifted to something around my incision and overall abdomen, more towards the surface, not deep like the massive surgical pain that I experienced earlier. He asked if I was "ready to go” which I said yes thinking we were talking tomorrow. He meant today and I was comfortable with that.

So, my “pic” line was removed (ouch) and I was given a lesson on administering a blood thinner by injection. After that, discharge instructions were reviewed and signed.

Special thanks to Hal for being right by my side these past few days. He helped me get packed up and we caught a cab to the Hyatt where I will stay through Tuesday to gain strength and be ready to go home next week. We checked in and had a bite to eat and brought the day to a very nice close.

I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for all that has been done for me to get to this state. I was overcome with emotion thinking back on all that has happened in such a short time. Your prayers and support, messages of faith and well wishes for my medical care givers, my wife, daughter and I are so important.  

Understanding what has taken place medically is breathtaking and the Baylor Medical Center and St. Lukes staff were outstanding. I remembered going into the OR pretty clearly this time which was interesting because I knew what was going to take place over the next few hours and the days to follow. I made it through.

So now, I focus on rest and gaining strength. The pain will subside. Next is chemo in about thirty days and the fatigue. I made it to the next step…with your help.

Thank you!


Today's Motivator

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Had another good day.

Got a lot of good walking in, and otherwise rested.

Looks like my discharge from the hospital is tending toward this Thursday.

I'll let you know...

All the Best,


Today's Motivator

Monday, October 26, 2015

I met the criteria to remove my NG (nose) tube, which went down to my stomach.

Walked over two miles in circles around the floor over the course of the day.

Took a shower and shaved.

Ordered dinner comprised of clear liquids. This is the first that I have eaten in eight days.

Met with Dr. Choi…all is on track. Mesothelioma was found in the tumors and lymph nodes (as expected).  With that data point, we will begin chemotherapy as-planned in November.

My buddy Hal and I caught up over the course of the day…my sister Barbara headed back to NYC this afternoon. Thank you Barbara! I really enjoyed the time we spent together.


Today's Motivator

Sunday, October 25, 2015
Here is the latest:

9 laps total around the floor which is just over 0.67 miles.

My O2 level was very good so the pulmonary team decided to move me off forced O2.

Barbara and I watched a movie this afternoon.

Our friend Hal arrived to relieve Barbara tomorrow.

I continue to strengthen and improve my attention span.

I started thinking about PINK VAIL for 2016 so enjoy my first 2016 PINK VAIL pic!

To add to my focus, check out today’s MOTIVATOR!



Saturday, October 24, 2015

I talked to Bill this evening and got an update over the phone.
He's exhausted after a pretty full day.  His foley catheter was removed this morning, which was a very good step in the progression.
About mid-morning, Bill took a long walk with a physical therapist and his sister Barbara.  After that, he met with his physicians about what course to to take with pain medications. After some deliberation, and a follow-up meeting in the afternoon, he elected to be very selective about which pain meds and how much to use, to minimize the adverse effects on the colon restarting following the surgical procedure (because of the way in which opiates affect system function).

More tomorrow...

Friday, October 23, 2015
Got a really good night's rest last night.  I pretty much slept the entire night through.

Took a really good walk in the morning.  Felt strong.

Great meeting with Dr. Choi. He said he thought I was continuing to do well. We talked about remaining drains and lines and that the line in my abdomen would be removed this afternoon and the catheter in the morning. The extra line in my left arm would come out next week. He was also arranging for one of his thoracic surgeon’s to meet with me.

The Intensive Care Unit’s Physician's Assistant recommended my right lung be drained as a precaution.  We had a very good discussion about it and ultimately agreed to proceed.

Later in the afternoon, staff from radiology came by to perform my periocentesis. They did a great job. Minimal pain and they made me feel comfortable. More than 650ml was pulled off. They completed the procedure quickly and I experienced immediate relief.

Moved to the step down unit about 4PM. With the help of a great orderly, my ICU team got my IV pole organized for the move, helped me into a wheelchair, and we made the trip from ICU to a quiet room in 15 Tower.  Excellent coordination between the ICU nurses and my new nursing team made for a smooth transition.  Thanks to all in the ICU for taking great care of me.

Now settled in and resting in a comfy recliner.

- Bill

Today's Motivator

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Today was a challenging day, which is all part of getting better.

Bill had a drain pulled, walked twice as far as yesterday and overall feels stronger.  He is still in the ICU, pending passing a certain milestone.  He spent time calling friends and buddies at work and his sister Barbara arrived to help through the next few days.

We appreciate your continued love and support.

Kind regards,


Today's Motivator

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hi everyone -

With the help of two great physical therapists, Bill began the morning with a short assisted walk today.  He also started working on his breathing exercises.

Jack surprised him with a visit as did his buddy Eric.  Thanks for stopping by guys!

Dr. Choi stopped in this afternoon and seems to be pleased with our progress.

Chuck and Dana left today…It was so special to see both of them.

Take care…more tomorrow!

Today's Motivator

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Today Bill dealt with pain and

 breathing all day, and rested when possible. He sends a big thank you to Jake, Miles, and Bernie for the continued strength and cardio work.  You made a huge difference!

Thanks to everybody for your prayers and support.

Today's Motivator

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bill was in surgery for ~7 hours today, and is now in the ICU, resting comfortably. Dr. Choi was very optimistic following the surgery, as he found less tumor than expected, and after removing some scar tissue found that it was not necessary to resection any of the "pipes," as Bill would say. His friend Chuck will stay with him in through the night. The hospital staff will work to stabilize his electrolytes and manage his pain, and we'll see what tomorrow brings. As always, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. More updates soon.

Please see Today's Motivator

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Just a quick update today.  All is set.  Chelle and I flew to Houston this morning.  Showtime for surgery is 6:00 AM Monday.  I’ll spend the afternoon today prepping and getting my system all cleared out.  Not the most fun but necessary.

As we begin the next round of dealing with mesothelioma, I want to express my appreciation for your help over the past 18 months.  Without you, everything would be different.  Words are not adequate to describe how I feel about the care, encouragement, support, and love that you have freely given to Audrey, Chelle, Sugar, and me.

In the morning, I will go into the pre-op room and I’ll be happy and cheerful to set the tone with the OR nurses and anesthesiologist.  My next goal is simply to wake up and see Chelle.  Having been through this with a broken femur, open heart surgery and the first HIPEC, I know that’s all I need to do.  My good friend Chuck will stay the night with me tomorrow and keep an eye on things.

From Tuesday through release from the ICU, all I will focus on is breathing...ultimately having the breathing tube removed.  Once that happens, I’ll get my feet on the floor and take a few steps.  As with the last two big surgeries, I will walk under my own power from the ICU to the step-down unit.  My sister Barbara will help me in the last ICU days.  After that, my buddies Hal and Eric will stay with me through the day of discharge.  In the step-down unit, my focus will be on getting stronger by walking around the floor.  I’ll begin having food then, starting with ice chips and working up from there.

We’ll keep daily updates coming for the next few weeks.

All the best!


Today's Motivator

Sunday, October 11, 2015

This was a good week for me. I’m entering the third week of chemo cycle two and the side effects are subsiding. Food tastes like something and my energy is improving. That is good. I’ll spend the next seven days eating well, getting some training in and resting so that I go into surgery as best I can. Compared to how I was the last go-around it is night and day so that’s a good thing. My hope is to have fewer complications in the ICU and get through there without all of the excitement.

It was my last week at work and my teammates really helped me through a challenging time.  My 28 years at The Boeing Company,  McDonnell Douglas Corporation and Douglas Aircraft Company have been fantastic and I am grateful for a wonderful career. On Friday, I had two meetings, finished cleaning my office, turned in my computer and phone, had lunch with my assistant and left quietly.  When I got home, I took a nap. That’s it…on to the future.  I might get back there and I might not. For the next nine months my focus is family and friends and addressing my health head-on.

This week’s motivator sums up my mindset at the moment.  It is a repeat but a worthy one.  “No map, no rules, no fear, no turning back."


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Last Saturday morning, I got up early and went for a hike on the mountain.  The fall colors were beautiful.  In the afternoon I took the lift up and rode my mountain bike down…lot’s of fun!
Fatigue set in early on Sunday.  The second round of chemo has been a little more intense than the first.  Fatigue mainly and then some nausea.  All tolerable.  Today, the chemo fog began to lift a bit but I am still a bit drifty.  My friend Mike rode a Centurion to raise money for cancer.  Great job and thanks Mike! I flew to Houston late Tuesday, had my CT and labs, and then had a great dinner with my buddy Eric.

Dr. Choi and I met in Houston on Wednesday morning and completed my pre-op.  He moved the surgery to Monday, October 19th to allow this chemo cycle to complete.  Labs looked pretty good and Dr. Choi seemed generally confident.  Yesterday’s CT showed some improvement from the chemo and he was a bit more definite on what he was seeing around my small intestine.  It clearly seems to be his focus area and he thought he could see enough intestine upstream and downstream to reconnect the pipes after the bad spot is removed.  It all could change in the OR as it’s hard to see what’s really on the inside with CT.  He just needs to get in their and do his magic.  Headed home to St. Louis late in the day…exhausted.

My teammates from Boeing and their spouses hosted Chelle, Audrey and I for a going away dinner on Thursday evening.  It was super fun and special.

So that’s about it.  I’ll spend the next week closing up my work and getting details ironed out for a long journey.  It will be good.


Today's Motivator

Friday, September 25, 2015

Good evening,

Just a brief note to apprise you of my visit to The National Cancer Institute last week.  The nurses, nurse practitioners, and oncologists were all very well-prepared and engaged.  My lab work was generally good.  The cancer marker reduced to the level that it was at in April which indicates positive response to the chemotherapy.  My view is that our nutritional approach, physical training (especially strength) and sleep have recovered my body to a condition that helps the chemo do its job.

Some concern was expressed regarding the disease and possibility that it is in my lungs.  It was agreed to watch it closely over the next several months and then find a specialist to perform a thorough evaluation.

It was generally agreed that the upcoming surgery was appropriate which includes follow-on cycles of chemo.  We may not need as many as before.

Lastly, discussion of immunotherapy was productive.  It was agreed that we would reconvene toward the end of my chemotherapy and discuss alternatives that may be in a clinical trial setting, or, out-of-trial treatment.  I was very pleased about this.

So this week, I had a couple days of meetings in St. Louis and flew to Colorado last night for chemo round two.  Everything went according to plan today and my labs looked good.  I'll mountain bike tomorrow morning and enjoy the beautiful golden aspens and fresh air!

Next Wednesday, I will meet with Dr. Choi regarding surgery final plans.  I know that many of you have been helping me prepare for this and have also offered to keep an eye on me while in the hospital.  It is very much appreciated.  Chelle and I will detail our plan and needs out and follow-up.

That is all for now.  Thank you as always for your love, prayers, and support.

All the best!

Friday, September 04, 2015

Hello all,

I’m sorry for the delayed update but wanted to hold until we had more information.

First, Chelle and Audrey had a great trip to Chile.  Audrey’s training went very well and Chelle ascended one more time to “mom extraordinaire” and “queen of the mountain” status.  It was a BIG trip and I am very proud of them for taking such a tremendous adventure together.
Well here we go with my story...

I visited Dr. Kindler at the University of Chicago last week and we confirmed that things have changed.  My cancer marker ticked up again and the CT scan showed fluid around my abdomen.  Some thickening around my pericardium was observed but we don’t exactly know what that means.

The “nitro cough” has returned along with the referred pain in my back.  The ascites fluid creates upward pressure on the diaphragm.  I hope to have it drained next week.

My right lung is OK at the moment.  Left remains clear.  The fluid drained from the right two weeks ago tested negative for cancer.  My resting heart rate has finally returned to normal levels after being elevated for over a month.  Draining, lung expansion breathing exercises and training have all helped me return it to nearly normal.  Good news.

I met with Dr. Choi at Baylor in Houston on Wednesday and we agreed to repeat the surgery process from April 2014.
Yesterday, I began chemotherapy at Shaw Cancer Center in Colorado.  We will do two cycles and see what the effect is.

In mid-September, I will be evaluated at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.  We will discuss immunotherapy trials at that time.

On September 30th, I will have a final consult at Baylor and on the 12th, surgery with heated interoperative chemotherapy.   More chemotherapy will follow and ultimately, immunotherapy will be applied. 

This will keep me busy for a while.  Chelle and Audrey have a full calendar this fall so I hope to do my best and not disrupt things too much.  The good news is that I can be on the mend - ready for the holidays and to support Audrey's ski season…one must have their priorities!

Below is from dinner on  Wednesday night at Hooked in Beaver Creek…looking forward to Pink Vail on April 2, 2016.  Thanks to Tom Vose for sticking by my side the last three days!

This certainly has been a challenging month.  At one difficult point, I realized once again the importance of faith and today’s MOTIVATOR is about what moved me from anger, to action, and on to my normal character and focus.  I feel great about where we are headed.
Thank you all for your emails, texts, calls, IM’s, visits, thoughts and prayers over the last few weeks.  It wouldn’t be the same without you and illustrates the importance of “Don’t Go It Alone” just one more time.

More as we progress…the journey continues…let the wild rumpus begin!



Monday, August 10, 2015
Let me share two pictures that might put things in perspective.  The photo on the left is of my daughter’s Slalom and GS skis next to my GS skis.  All three pair were prepared by Ski Club Vail’s tune shop for our trip to Chile.  The photo on the right shows one pair left behind, mine.
Chelle and Audrey are safely in Chile.  Their first few days were spent in Santiago touring the city and getting to know our new friends Luis-Felipe, his wife Lorreto and their children.  We are deeply appreciative of your hospitality and helpfulness!  They arrived in Valle Nevado today for two weeks of Slalom and GS training for Audrey.  She will do well.

The better part of my last two weeks has been in the hospital.  I have been out for ten days now with no complications or recurrence.  Thankfully.

I have used my “found time” to re-evaluate the situation and plan.  The revised plan looks like this:

August:  Pulmonology follow-up and CT/Labs/consult with Dr. Kindler at The University of Chicago.

September:  Consult with my surgeon Dr. Eugene Choi at Baylor in Houston, TX and Dr. Raffit Hassan at The National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD.  I will end the month in Colorado with consults with my edocrinologist Dr. Adocio, oncologist Dr. Urquhart and a naturopathic doctor.

This will be a busy time but the concentrated effort should result in a good picture of my current condition.   We can build a plan to address it from there.

Throughout this time, I will ramp my training up as best I can respecting my other commitments.  Dealing with meso has become an added full-time job.

That said, I am not one bit happy about this.  I’ll contain my emotions for obvious reasons.  

Thank you to all who have called and checked in.  I understand that you’d all like to help in some way and that is appreciated.  For now, it’s for me to slug through it.  Your prayers and support are always appreciated.

All the best!

Today's Motivator

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hello all,

The last few weeks have been interesting.

I had a good meeting with the oncological nutritionist and we are doing well with nutrition. 
Thank you, Chelle, for all your effort to keep me on track.

Previously, I let you know about my cancer marker shift.  I had a good discussion with my oncologist and let him know what I had in mind over the next few months.  It was emotionally unsettling for Chelle and I to hear the news.  We had the cancer marker re-test, unfortunately, the result was up slightly again.

Last Tuesday, I suddenly experienced considerable abdominal pain.  It became more intense to the stage of being unbearable in just a few hours.  I went to the ER and was diagnosed as having a small bowel obstruction.  They admitted me and did a number of things to reduce the pain and help with the blockage.  Eventually it passed and tests were run to ensure all was clear.  Thank you to Tom Vose for stopping in to visit and encourage me!

It happened again upon my return to St. Louis.  I have been in the hospital for two days.   We now have something new to understand and keep track of.  It appears that the scar tissue in my abdomen causes small bowel obstruction.

I had several meetings with the social worker and she is a great support to my thought process.

I spent some quality time at Minturn Fitness Center.  In the first session, Jake walked me through breathing exercises to help expand my right lung.  550ml was drained from it two weeks ago.  I see the pulmonologist this week so we’ll get some good imaging and performance test results then.  I feel good about my lungs.  Miles took a look at my cardio plan and said that the “base” work has been completed over the last seven months and we’ll now be shifting to endurance and strength/power.  This is good….I love cardio.

Jake wrote a new training program that matches the equipment I have in my basement.  I went through it twice and feel like I have something that is useful to Chelle, Audrey and I.

With all that has happened, I took a step back and reflected on what should be next.  I had a phone conversation with the Executive Director of the Mesothelioma  Applied Research Foundation and found it helpful and encouraging.  She will get an appointment with the doctor who heads up research at the National Cancer Institute for me.  She also agreed to attend with me.  We also discussed a conference in NYC at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in late September.  They have experts from around the nation on two panels; one on peritoneal mesothelioma and the other on Chemotherapy/Immunotherapy.  She encouraged me to attend.  She also connected me to a private, patient-only, Facebook group of mesothelioma survivors.  When I joined, I immediately received over 25 welcome messages from others who are living a challenging life, just as I am..  This was uplifting after such a challenging time.
Finally, I set a new goal:  To compete at the USSA/FIS Masters series in Aspen this coming February.  It’s a target far and away from cancer but will give me the strength needed to deal with it.
The picture to the right is of Jake, Miles and I at MFC with my new Super G skis.   You’ll notice less hair on Jake as he donated it to children who need it.  
I couldn’t ask for more or better support from my friends, family, doctors, nurses, medical specialists and coaches/trainers.  Boeing has also been incredible once again and I was told “go sort it out” and that’s just what I have done.  I will be back at work tomorrow.

So all that said, here goes.  Please note that Pink Vail is on April 2, 2016.  Riley will prepare another all pink feast.  Yesterday, I watched Jake and his brother haggling over just who the one-piece pink suit Jake wore last season belonged to.  The energy is already building!

Next steps look something like this:
August:  Pulmonology follow-up.
September:  New tests; appointments at National Cancer institute, Shaw oncologist and endocrinologist, naturopathic oncologist in Denver; Seminar at Sloan-Kettering
October:  CT scan and a visit with specialists at University of Chicago

We’ll see what we learn and go from there.
Thank you as always for your support.

All the best!

Today's Motivator

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hello everybody,

Just a quick status.  We are in Colorado.  We had meetings with my oncologist and an endocrinologist.

My blood work was good overall, however, my cancer marker has elevated a bit.  The oncologist wants to repeat the test in two weeks and see if there is any further change.  No cause for alarm at this point, but we will keep a watchful eye.

I hope all is well with you.


Today's Motivator

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A quick update.  I have been quite busy with normal life.  Family, friends, work.  My training continues and I feel like I have finally figured out how to prioritize such that fitness fits in everyday.

I just finished Stuart Scott’s book “Every Day I Fight” which chronicles his 7-year journey with cancer.  Thank you Jack for the gift!  

Early in the story, he talks about some characteristics he saw in others that he applied in his life:  toughness, principled stance,  doggedness, resilience.  These resonated with me.  Later, he reflects and although not directly stated, I observed his thoughts leading to valued attributes or roles: mindfulness, stewardship, friendship,  fatherhood, appreciativeness, humility, and ability to be vulnerable.  For me, I would add husband, brother and son.  Maybe I’d add businessman and teammate but that’s about it.  I write this because I am being driven to reflect on life very closely at the moment and really weigh what matters most.  Something for us all to think about.

I hope that you find happiness in your day...


Monday, May 4, 2015

Hello everyone,

It has been about a month since my last update so here is the scoop…

PINK VAIL was an overwhelming success.  Over $700,000 was raised and our team was in the top ten exceeding our goal of $20,000.  Due to your caring and generosity, many patients will have access to the resources that helped me with my fatigue and guiding me into the first steps toward survivorship.  Way to go!
Team Don't Go It Alone 2015
Very Pink Friends
I returned to work.  My colleagues did a fine job when I was away and without that, I might not have been able to focus as completely on my recovery.  It has gone well and it feels like I am nearly caught up.  It has been necessary to make some adaptations to my schedule and the way I approach work to maintain my condition.  I had one week of travel and was able to participate and engage effectively while making the time to train, eat properly and rest.  So far, so good.

Chelle and I travelled to Chicago recently for tests and two meetings.   I had a CT scan and lab work drawn Monday afternoon.  On Tuesday, we met with Dr. Choi in the morning and Dr. Kindler in the afternoon.

Dr. Choi was pleased with his exam results.  He said the three spots on my liver were likely to be cysts.  He had looked at them during surgery and remembered that.  They haven’t grown in size.  He also said that the tumor that he saw in the CT scan was smaller than what he had seen in the December scan.  Basically, he said the disease was “stable” and that was the objective.  The medialstinal mass behind my esophagus (tested previously to be benign) showed no growth which is expected.  We’ll continue to keep and eye on it.The plural effusions were lower with one lung being clear and the other showing a small amount of fluid.  Lastly, he said my baseline physical condition and attitude were key elements of a successful beginning to treat my mesothelioma.  Beyond that, he said that those are both important elements necessary for when the disease reoccurs and a second HIPEC surgery would be required.  There is precedent for second surgeries which made Chelle and I happy to know that.  Maintaining my physical condition and strength are the entry criteria to be a candidate in the future which should not be a problem.

In the afternoon, Dr. Kindler spent a good deal of time going through some questions and discussing the way ahead.

Q:  How do we monitor going forward and how often? 
A:  Next check-up in October.  CT scan plus lab work.
Q:  What new/progressive/experimental treatments might be of benefit?
A;  Nothing to discuss at this time.  I may be excluded from clinical trials down the road since I also had the thyroid cancer.  Topic for a future discussion.  Not an issue now.
Q:  Should we do a second round of chemo? 
A:  Not at this time.  My cancer marker has gone down and as long as my body is dealing with the cancer and it is stable, no need to impact my bone marrow and immune system.
Q:  Are you concerned that I am on a nearly meatless diet? 
A:  The opposite.  She encouraged Chelle and I to continue this diet.
Q:  How do we improve my blood test results? 
A:  Keep doing what we are doing.  Albumin and lymphocytes are normal now so basically, labs are normal.
Q:  Do you have any concern with travel outside of US?  I am going to Chile in August. 
A:  Chile is OK.
Q:  How long can we keep the port in? 
A:  I can have it removed.  We’ll probably wait until after the October checkup.
Q:  Should we drain the remaining fluid in my pleura? 
A:  No.  It isn’t bothering you, your pulmonary function is normal.

She also answered some great questions Chelle had about the disease, it’s progression, and also my genetic tests.  Overall, Dr. Kindler was very happy with my condition and how Chelle and I are approaching things.  It was very good to hear this.

My physical training continues.  It seems relatively easy to get the cardio work done but I struggle with the strength training work.  Having great trainers keeps me accountable.  Last Saturday, I had a repeat VO2 MAX test.  This time, I did it on the treadmill which is a bit more difficult but yields more accurate results.  I had completed all of the specified cardio-pulmonary training sessions outlined in January and felt great going into the test.  Miles, from Minturn Fitness Center, walked me through the results.  Together, we laid out a progression incorporating swimming, road/mountain/spin biking, and on/off-road running that will take me through June and we will re-baseline early in July.
VO2 Max Test

So we move on from here.  We very definitely have an incurable cancer and know that.  We also know, and are extremely grateful for, having great family, friends, medical care, and athletic training support.  Much has been learned in a year and great progress made.  We have a manageable approach that will be effective until the next challenging situation presents itself.  Thank you all for your love, prayers and support during a very challenging year.  We’ll have another storm someday down the road but will enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.

Remember:  Clap your hands a tell everyone (out loud) you are going to have a great day!!!

Take a look at today’s MOTIVATOR…a simple way to say what it takes for success.

All the best!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hello to everyone,

Just a short note to express my appreciation for all of your support for Pink Vail 2015.  Team Don't Go It Alone exceeded our goal by over a thousand dollars...way to go!

The event was absolutely spectacular.  We began with a fun dinner hosted by Chelle and I on Friday night.  Then on Saturday, about 25 of us all made our way to Lionshead in Vail for a fun day on the mountain.  You all have probably seen this video, but I'm including the link just to be sure.  You can see our team at the end just after the survivors and supporters all cross the bridge.

It was great to have a fun day where we all just cut loose.

On a serious note, many took time to reflect upon their experiences, to remember loved ones and friends lost to cancer, and to think about those presently receiving treatment for the disease.  It was a great day!

All the best!


Friday, March 20, 2015
Hello to all,

I want to thank you for helping Pink Vail Team "Don't Go It Alone" achieve our goals of over 100 contributions (we have 113 to date) and $20,000 (we have $20,381 to date.)  This is fantastic and on behalf of Shaw Cancer Center, I would like to express sincere gratitude and appreciation for your generosity.  The overall Pink Vail effort has raised nearly $550,000.  This will benefit cancer patients tremendously by improving their quality of life and survivorship.

We had about a dozen friends and family fly in yesterday for Saturday's event.  Several more will arrive today and tonight we'll gather the group together for dinner this evening to begin the fun.

Yesterday, I competed in the Vail Town Series GS and it was a blast.  My skiing has a ways to go, however I completed both runs and felt good.
Also yesterday, an article ran in the Vail Daily paper about my journey.  Lindsey Vonn was on the cover (She just won the World Cup downhill title) and I was on page 2.  The interesting fact is that both of us trained at The Minturn Fitness about that!  Thanks again to Jake and MFC!!!
For anyone who still wishes to contribute, you can do so at

Thank you again and all the best!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Friends and family,

Just a quick update.  The date of "Pink Vail" is right around the corner.  Thank you all for your contributions!  Team "Don't Go It Alone" has raised over $12,000 so far with over 100 contributions.  We are nearly two thirds of the way to our target of $20,000...thank you for your support and generosity.

The Shaw Cancer Center Spirit of Survival Program really has been a big help to me in finding my way out of fatigue and to get focused forward on living and survivorship.  They were happy with my progress and recently asked that I support their efforts by making a video to encourage others to take advantage of what Shaw offers.  The video was just released is the link

Team "Don't Go It Alone" is registered at the Pink Vail website and new sponsors to sign on daily.  Basically, you just click on our team's name and scroll down and click again on "join our team."  From there, you can fill out your info, sign additional people up, and make a pledge if you would like to.  Any amount is helpful and appreciated.

My current status continues to be posted at

All the best!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hello Everyone!

I hope all is well with you.  I have some good progress to report.  First, my cold is gone.  My body took some time to kill it but did so with just over-the-counter medicine.  Next, I returned to work this week and it went great.  It felt so good to be back and see all of my teammates.  I am so proud and appreciative of them for keeping everything on track while I was away...thank you teammates!

The Shaw Cancer Center Spirit of Survival Program really has been a big help to me.  Thank you to very much for helping me find my way out of fatigue and get focused forward on living and survivorship.

I have had some tests and measurements taken.  My cancer marker has reduced a few points indicating stability.  This is good.  Also, my lean muscle mass has increased by about twelve pounds and body fat reduced by about five pounds.  All muscle group sizes have increased and my waist size decreased by just a little.  My cardiovascular system is returning to pre-cancer capacity and performance is improving constantly.  Yesterday I did four hard intervals on the spin bike over 40 minutes and ran a mile.  Special thanks to Jake at Minturn Fitness Center for all of your help, knowledge and encouragement these past few months.  Awesome!
Team Don't Go It Alone is doing great in support of Pink Vail.  This week we achieved the target of 100 contributors and have raised over $12,000.  This is a huge success and thank you all for your support!

All the best!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hello all,

Just a quick update.  First, I am getting over a cold and it seems like any other cold I've ever had. My body seems to be dealing with it nicely.  Next, I had a great visit with the doctor last week.  My lungs continue to clear up and at this point, I would say they are nearly normal with just slight amounts of fluid. My cancer marker test was slightly below December's level and this is a very positive indication. Fatigue is definitely on the decrease and all of the complimentary elements of our plan appear to be effective.  We are still transitioning to a largely plant-based diet and learning the best way to accomplish it. Chelle is a huge help here. Training is going well and my strength and endurance have improved considerably.

Last week, I had a slow start one morning.  I watched Stuart Scott's acceptance speech of the Jimmy V. award. It got me moving.  Here it is...worth a quick view:
Our Pink Vail efforts continue to do very well.  Thank you so much to all who have contributed.  To date, our team has raised nearly $8000 for the Shaw Cancer Center which is fantastic!

I return to work in a week and very much look forward to re-connecting with all of my teammates.

All the best!


Today's Motivator

Saturday, February 7, 2015
Hello to all,

The photo to the right was taken as I walked to the gym one morning last week.  The morning sky was so blue and the air was crisp and cold.

We turned a corner these last two weeks.  My energy level and ability to sustain exertion is improving noticeably.  It's hard to say that any one thing made the difference.  The combination of treatments, diet, rest, and training all seem to add up into an improved condition.  My lungs feel great and I look forward to the next x-ray to see what fluid, if any, remains.  One good indication is my resting heart rate.  It is getting lower and closer to pre-surgery and chemo levels.  It takes a day or so of rest to recover but it almost gets there.  Building rest periods into the plan seemed counter-intuitive but it makes sense to me now.  The other challenge has been getting sufficient protein in my diet but we have found ways to safely supplement and meet my needs.  Chelle and I have a meeting with my oncologist this week so we'll see what we learn then.

This week's MOTIVATOR helps me keep things in perspective.  All I need to do is think back to when all I could eat were ice cubes, or only lift five pounds, or just walk a quarter-mile on the treadmill. The work and effort adds up over time and as you may have heard me say:  "This leads to that!"  Sometimes a look in the rear view mirror is good and motivates me to know that I am headed in the right direction and to keep going.

Pink Vail continues to make progress and we have made it to 25 percent of our goal.  Well on our way and thank you for your support!

I will return to work in just a few weeks and really look forward to getting back and seeing my teammates.

Thanks to all who continue to write and call.  It means a great deal and helps me feel connected.

All the best!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Hello Everybody,

It has been a couple weeks since I posted a status, so here goes.  

First, your Pink Vail Support has been AWESOME.  Our team has 85 supporters, and contributions to date are nearly $4000.  I project we'll go over $5000 this week.  THANK YOU!

As for my regeneration, things are going well.  My thyroid surgery recovery is complete and I think the levothyroxine dose seems right (it was adjusted last week).  I feel pretty good.  The fatigue continues to be the issue.  High levels of exertion can only be maintained for very short periods.  I think our approach to addressing it is working.

The first part of my approach is to remember what Dickie Fox says: 

Shifting to a meat-restricted diet (plant-based) with the help of a nutritionist who specializes in supporting cancer patients has been a challenge in that we as a family need to re-align around it.  Chelle has done a great job getting this going.  She also found a good protein powder that I like (which has been a challenge).

The structured training with movement correctives, strength, and agility for 90 minutes twice weekly is beginning to feel '"normal" and I can actually do the work.  I do it on my own several additional days during the week.  I am doing cardio on the spin bike (my favorite) four days per week using a structured program based upon V02 results.  I have done recovery rides of 65 minutes and interval sessions of 35 minutes.  My trainer, Jake, keeps me in line...a typical session looks like this:

Complementary treatments of acupuncture by a naturopathic doctor and deep tissue massage help as well in getting my muscles to know "it is time to wake up!"

I visit with the social worker to discuss my emotional state relative to living with mesothelioma which is a key element of survivorship.

My sleep is good.  I get just under 8 hours now versus just over 5 hours in late November.

Weight is within a pound of where we want it to be.

My lungs are great.  No more cough!  I think the pleural effusions have lessened.  Minimal altitude effects.

I caught a cold this week but it is almost gone so maybe that is an indication that my immune system is stabilizing.  In addition to addressing the fatigue, my program is intended to strengthen my immune system and increase the "killer cells" in my body that deal with cancer.  It's like building my inner "Komodo Dragons" if you remember my chemo days.

Overall, I am happy with where we are at.  Thanks as always for your support!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hello all,

I am feeling good about the plan and want to share a bit about it with you.

My fatigue is real...more of a syndrome than a symptom.  I could feel it starting in late October and it took me down.  Hasn't changed or really improved much since November.  I found a textbook in the cancer library here purely focused on fatigue related to cancer.  They pretty much talk about the problem a lot but the ways to address it vary widely.  Our plan incorporates the most reliable concepts to address the fatigue with support from people who can help.

Some good news in that my cough is gone after 7 months of struggling with it.  My lungs feel great and that is a super feeling.   There is still some fluid in my left and right pleural cavity but it appears to have reduced.

The oncologist in Chicago just sent me a note saying that the December CT scan looked good so that was fantastic news.  There are a couple spots on my liver that are being watched but they haven't changed since September and are thought to be stable.  My colon seems to be functioning pretty normally now that the chemo is over and all the antibiotics from the thyroid surgery have cleared my system.  This is another first in 7 months.

Sleep is back to normal.

Adding up the improvements in my sleep, colon and lungs, we are in much better shape.  The fatigue has now been validated and isolated as the main thing to work on.  We have a plan now for that but it will take time, effort, and patience.

Taking the time away from work was essential.  It has removed stress and allows for focus.  I have started working with a very good trainer at the Minturn Fitness Center and that will help.  He ran baseline tests this week and we know where we are starting from and where we need to go.  I am in the gym quite a bit now.  

Chelle and I have met with an oncological nutritionist several times and are adjusting my diet accordingly.  I have begun acupuncture treatment as well.  Last is work on my head and I've had some talks with a therapist to help me "come out the other side" of all that has happened.

The oncologist up here wants to wait on my thyroid radiation treatment as it might interrupt our work on the fatigue.  He wants to see me get a bit stronger before we do that.

All this said, I believe I'll come back full strength and be ready to go the distance.  I should have better control of the thoughts about cancer an survivorship.  Not just in 2015 but for many years to come.  My gut feel is that I have had a very good result as a mesothelioma patient and time will prove that out.

BIG NEWS!  Pink Vail is underway and Team "Don't Go It Alone"  is approaching 80 interested or committed sponsors!  Our fundraising leads and we are approaching $2000 which is 10 percent of our goal.  Thanks to all...this effort will help others address similar challenges to what I am facing and is very important.  For more details, please click on the Pink Vail tab above.

This week's motivator addresses my view on fatigue.  I have surrounded myself now with professionals who are doing their best to see the issue from my perspective and help me to overcome the limitations I face today.

That is all the news I have for now.  As always, your support and encouragement are appreciated very much!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hello everyone,

We are at the end of a very special holiday season.  Our week ahead will focus on beginning the plan of the next phase of my recovery.  Chelle has started rearranging my diet.  On Monday, we'll meet with the oncologist as well as the fellow who will be working with me in the gym.

Our Pink Vail list continues to grow with 71 potential sponsors.  I will be sending a note out to the group announcing that "Team Don't Go It Alone" is officially set up and ready to go.

This week's Motivator is about the challenges we are given and what they in turn bring to us.

That is all for now.  I hope you all have had great holidays and wish you the very best in 2015!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hello everybody,

I hope all is well for you as you read this post.  My overall condition is good.  Recovery from the thyroid surgery has gone smoothly.  I have a radiation treatment in early January and that should settle matters for the thyroid.

Regarding the mesothelioma, I had a CT scan last week and await interpretations of the results.  Regardless, our focus is now on "integrative" therapies to regain my strength and endurance.  Chelle, Audrey, and I met with a nutritionist today for quite some time and laid out a plan to shift my diet to one which supports the immune system, lessens inflammation, and has a reduced effect in terms of aggravating the cancer or stimulating it's growth.  The end result will be a much more plant-based diet.

Other therapy options will start after the holiday and be in full swing for January and February.

I signed three books out from the Shaw library as well:  "Fatigue in Cancer,"  "Cancer Survivorship," and "Beating Cancer with Nutrition."  I try to stay away from the internet and read recommended material from the folks who deal with the disease all the time.  Needless to say, these aren't the type of books I typically would read, however, gaining a deeper understanding will help me incorporate important lifestyle changes.  What I have learned so far about fatigue is interesting.  It has validated the sense I have that I am "about 20 percent strength and endurance" level and helped me accept that as fact.  Knowing that as baseline, I can improve my level by implementing the plan we have.

Our Pink Vail sponsor roster is up to 69.  I'll send details on this after the holiday as well.  Thank you all for your interest to support!

We are settled in now for the holidays. Our Christmas tree is a beautiful noble pine.  On Monday night, Chelle, Audrey and I went to see Michael McDonald in concert.  He opened with a song about being at peace in one's life.  This will be an area for me to explore in 2015.

All the best to you and your families.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Hi all,

Just a quick update to let you know surgery went well yesterday.  Chelle and I were very happy with Dr. Rosenbloom, the anesthesiologist, and the nurses.  There were no issues with my breathing and the time spent in recovery wasn't too long. I am sore but that will pass. Chelle and I were home by about 2:30PM.

I also had a blood test yesterday that determines the amount of cancer in my system. Chelle and I meet with Dr. Bolger on Monday so we'll get his interpretation  then.

Our Pink Vail DGIA" roster of sponsors is up to 68...32 to go to the target of 100. 

Finally, check out today's MOTIVATOR...good advice from a kid who will never have a challenge being one!  We could probably all learn a bit from her.!

Thanks as always for your support and prayers!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hello all,

It has been two weeks since my last post.  Things have been steady.  My fatigue hasn't improved yet so I have been doing my best not to push too hard and get good rest.  One or two naps a day and in bed very early.

I had a check up with both my cardiologist and pulmonologist this week.  Everything with my heart is fine and my breathing performance has improved about 15 percent.  There was just a bit of fluid in my right lung cavity and none in the left so the result of having them drained a while back seems to be favorable.  I still have the cough but in a much diminished way.

I'll finish my last three days of work this week and have my surgery on Thursday.  After that, the plan is to help my body regenerate so we'll see how that goes.

We added one more sponsor for Pink Vail this week so our team is 65 strong!  I'll put a note out to the team before Christmas to let you know how it will work.

That is all for now.  I hope you have a fantastic week.  Thanks as always for your support!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hello all,

Happy Thanksgiving week!  It is a great time to take a step back and look at all we have to be grateful for. One thing for sure, is that Chelle, Audrey and I are so appreciative and grateful for all of your support over these past six months. The outpouring of love, prayers, and encouragement has been amazing.

We are at 63 sponsors for PINK VAIL. Not too much to report this post. It is the beginning of a transition time for me. A transition to survivorship.

I set three milestones out in my plan to regenerate. The first was "return to work" which was accomplished on August 19th, roughly three months after my surgery. In the time since then, I re-engaged with my teammates at Boeing and believe we accomplished much. It certainly meant a great deal for me to be back amongst friends at work giving me a sense that Chelle, Audrey and I were on a path back to the life we had before all of this started.

This week, we accomplished the second milestone which was "return to skiing." Audrey went first by beginning her training as a full time athlete on Vail's ski team. She transitioned nicely to her new group, coaches, and teachers for the winter tutorial.  She really had a fun week and seems happy. Chelle and I had our turn yesterday and made two runs off of Gondola One at Vail. My skiing wasn't pretty and I had to stop often on the way down. Never before have I enjoyed skiing cat tracks and "green" terrain so much, but it goes back to what we have to be grateful for. For me, skiing anywhere, anyhow, with Chelle is one of my most treasured joys in life. I did however, learn just how much my body has been depleted over the course of chemotherapy. With an upcoming surgery, more regeneration and adjustment within my body will become necessary.

So that brings me to the third regeneration milestone: "full strength survivor." Those three words say everything about what lies ahead. This week, Chelle and  I will meet with an oncologist here in Edwards, CO at the Shaw Cancer Center and their staff who focus on survivorship. Frankly, I do not know what this part of the journey will lead to, other than being emotionally able to live with mesothelioma for the rest of my life and physically getting back to where I was last April. I will also be prepared if and when the disease re-emerges and surgery like the one in May is required again. Full strength is key to that, so here we go onto the third phase of regeneration.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 7, 2014

OK gang,

This report is a bit long and if you can, please watch the videos. You will be inspired...I promise!

Not much to report last week so I made the choice to not post an update. Sometimes, no news is good news. There is plenty to report this week, so here goes.

First, I wrapped up business travel with two quick back-to-back trips. First to Seattle at the end of last week and then SoCal at the beginning of this week. Meetings went well and it is always great to see my teammates, who I am so fortunate to work with. Their support and encouragement have been just amazing.

During my trip to California, I stopped in to have breakfast at the Sugar Shack in Huntington Beach, where Chelle and I lived for nearly 20 years. It is a small family-owned restaurant and I continue to go there to this day. Friendly local atmosphere just can't be beat. Timmy Turner is there always. He is an inspiration and I'll share a couple movie clip links so that you may understand why I feel that way. He is a professional surfer and filmmaker. As you might imagine also, a son, husband, father and friend. Timmy is also an adventurer, pioneer, and contributor. His humility is unbelievable and focus on caring for others unimaginable. He is a survivor as well.   

In early June right when I was discharged from the hospital and we had started our stay in the hotel, I would watch movies on my laptop to pass the time. Of course that included skiing, motocross and many "behind the music" documentaries on rock pioneers of the 70's (call me a throwback). On one tough morning, I watched  "Tsunami Diaries"  which was filmed and produced by Timmy. It is a film in which he and several others (including his Mom) raised money, flew to Indonesia, chartered a boat, filled it with supplies and delivered food and medical care to people who badly needed it in the outer Indonesian islands. It is incredible to watch. Here is the trailer:

Upon Timmy's return, he somehow contracted a major staph infection that aggressively attacked his brain. In his 2012 movie "Cold Thoughts" he chronicled his journey to where his amazing life has led him to today. You'll notice his wife making decisions and taking great care of him Just like Chelle has done for me. Timmy and I are fortunate guys in that wouldn't be the same without them!!! Here is the trailer for that film:

I hope you have taken a few moments to see what Timmy is about because he is a tremendous inspiration. He's the MOTIVATOR in person and someone to regard as truly special. In June, Timmy was inducted into the Surfer's Hall of fame. A well-deserved acknowledgement of his achievements and contributions. Timmy - it was fantastic to see you this week and thanks for breakfast!

OK...on to PINK VAIL. We are at 62 interested sponsors and participants. Thanks so much for all of the interest. It looks like we'll get to 70 by the end of November so for you fence sitters, please jump over to the pink side!

As for me, fatigue is different now. The Kemo Komodo Dragons have done their job and my body is feeling the effects. Between now and December, I will ramp down on some things (work) and ramp up on others (rest, nutrition, training) to be in good shape for the surgery. My plan is to take a solid leave afterward and work toward being "Full Strength Bill", the person that has unlimited energy that allows his drive to get stuff done. I cannot describe what this fatigue feels like other than being in suspended animation on a planet with much more gravity than earth. If I require more mesothelioma surgery like I had in May, I must be at a condition to tolerate it. Right now, I am far from that, so being "Full Strength" has major implications and priority.

The last and final "Kemo Komodos" were released into my system on Wednesday. I will have had 6 months of it by the end of November which is when it should begin to leave my system and allow my body to recover. A bell is at the exit of the infusion center for patients to ring celebrating their last infusion. Below is a photo of Chelle, Audrey, Marianne (nurse who runs the show), and Dr. Bolger (the great one) at the bell-ringing. It was a moment to never forget!

Thanks to all for so much help and encouragement. Unbelievable...I see more every day what "Don't Go It Alone" means.

All the best!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hi everyone,

I hope all is well with you.  We are up to 57 interested sponsors for Pink Vail.  Thanks...we'll have a great fundraiser, I can feel it!

Just a quick update: 

The biopsy on my thyroid tested positive for cancer.  It is a common and treatable form of thyroid cancer.  The thyroid will be surgically removed and there is some after treatment to deal with the loose ends. We'll do the surgery in December and I'll take some time to regenerate like I did this summer.  Dr. Bolger explained the notion that this is treatable and much less worrisome than the surgery in May.

Chemotherapy's long-term effects have begun to show up as more fatigue. Each cycle is three weeks long, while each infusion takes four weeks to exit the system. The amount of medicine in my system compounds over time. The fatigue isn't insurmountable, but I am slowing down. It feels like extra gravity pulling me down and also just feeling tired or lethargic. It is hard for me to accept this, but finally at a point where I can't just power through it. One cycle is left, which finishes just before surgery.

I am sorry to send less than perfect news but "it is what it is."  Thanks as always for all of your support.  We'll get through this one, too.  Take a look at Today's has helped me this week.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Sunday afternoon!

It has been a good week. Round six of chemotherapy began on Monday.  On Wednesday, ultrasounds were performed to see what was happening with the blood clots.  Apparently they are gone, so we'll hope it stays that way.  A biopsy was performed on my thyroid - no results yet.  Fatigue set in yesterday and has continued on today.  It should subside tomorrow.

Not much else to report.  Spirits are good.  I will keep you posted.

All the best!


Today's Motivator

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hello all,

Just a few quick updates for the week.  First, I haven't heard the results on my thyroid ultrasound.  Second, and importantly, the fluid in my lung cavity was drained last Thursday and Friday.  The left lung had 500ml and the right had 700ml.  The doctor and nurse did a great job and the procedure went smoothly.  It's certainly not one of my favorites.  The lungs feel better and the Nitro Cough has lessened so it was worth it.  I did some cardio each day this weekend and also some functional work as well.  In the afternoons, I rested and had a couple good naps so I feel pretty good going into the week.

Tomorrow begins round six of chemo.  Only one more after this.  Chelle and I will meet with Dr. Bolger and are hoping to hear the thyroid test results and also whether or not the lung fluid contained any malignancies.

We added a few more for Pink Vail this week and are up to 54 interested sponsors.  Only 46 to go!  Thanks to all for your interest and support.

Not much else to report.  I hope all is well with each and everyone of you who reads this and provides encouragement and support.

All the best!


Sunday, October 5, 2014
Happy Sunday to all...

This was a good week.  We have made the decision to defer indefinitely the second surgery intended to remove the mass that is located behind my esophagus. This decision was based on recent testing, earlier biopsies that were either benign or non-diagnostic, and the discovery of an MRI from my 2007 heart surgery.  The mass could be seen in the MRI from 7-1/2 years ago with little to no change.  We'll leave it there for now as it appears to be causing no harm.

With that decision behind us, Dr. Bolger recommended the fluid be drained from my lung cavities.  We'll do one side on Thursday and the other on Friday.

Chemo round five has gone well with no new side effects or issues.  Two rounds to go!

Chelle, Audrey, Sugar and I are spending a few days in Beaver Creek.  On Friday, Audrey spent time at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy finalizing details for her winter school work.  She also met with the Ski Team's equipment manager to verify ski lengths and boot fit. On Saturday, Audrey went on a 3 mile hike up the mountain at Vail with her teammates. It was nice for her to have the opportunity to participate in an off-snow activity with the team.

Pink Vail potential sponsors stayed at 51. I stopped in to Fuxi Racing to meet up with my friend Franz Fuchsberger to check out speed suits for the event next March. Go ahead if you dare to the Pink Vail page and you can see what I'm talking about...I'll be as ready and as pink as anyone come March 21, 2015! I'm looking for 49 more sponsors so if you have an interest, please send me an email.

The weather up here has been just gorgeous. Chelle and I took a hike this morning. All the aspen trees are bright yellow and there is still a touch of snow above 9000 feet.

I hope you have a great week ahead...all the best!


Sunday, September 28, 2014
Hello all,

It was a great week this week.  Beautiful weather and some follow-up visits with doctors here in St. Louis.  No major changes to our plan have been identified so it is "steady as she goes"  for now.   There was a small blood clot detected in my right jugular at the site where the line was located after surgery.  It was decided that I go on blood thinners for a bit and re-test in a while to see that is has cleared.  Hopefully it will be clear my mid-November so that skiing isn't impacted.

I made an effort to rebalance how I spent time and specifically to focus on training a bit more this week.  I was able to do that reasonably well.  On Monday, I had a great spin and spent over an hour on the bike and completed 6-1/2 intervals.  I was able to get my heart rate well into the anaerobic zone for the intervals and I stayed in the aerobic zone the rest of the ride.  It felt great!  I also kept focus on my functional training elements including the first core exercises since the restriction was lifted.  I tapered intensity off as the week went on due to chemo fatigue.

Speaking of chemo, on Tuesday, I received round five of the Kemo Komodo Dragons!  There weren't any surprises in terms of side effects.  As in the previous rounds, my metabolism increased and along with it, my appetite.  Fatigue set in full force by Friday afternoon but I haven't let it hold me down as much this time.  I've worked the week and kept with training and feel pretty good about that.  A few catnaps have been necessary.  This week's MOTIVATOR came to me on one of my spins...I often talk myself out of action which is totally the wrong answer.  Does this ever happen to you?

PINK VAIL is now up to 51 interested sponsors so we are over the halfway point!  Thanks to all.  I head to Colorado this week and hopefully my friend Franz will have a sample of my speed suit that I can get a photo of and share with you!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my neighbor Mike was going to ride 100 miles in a fundraiser "Pedal the Cause" to raise awareness and funds for cancer.  Well he made the ride today and we rooted for him and many other riders as they rode past our subdivision this morning.  I believe he and his team raised over $30,000 which is fantastic.  The picture here is Mike taking a quick break at about the 75 mile point.  He's been training all summer for this ride and it is his first "Century."  Congratulations Mike and thank you to you and your team for your service!

That is all for now...I hope you have an awesome week ahead!

Hello all,

It was a great week this week.  Beautiful weather and some follow up visits with doctors here in St. Louis.  No major changes to our plan have been identified so it is "steady as she goes"  for now.   There was a small blood clot detected in my right jugular at the site where the line was located after surgery.  It was decided that I go on blood thinners for a bit and re-test in a while to see that is has cleared.  Hopefully it will be clear my mid-November so that skiing isn't impacted.

I made an effort to rebalance how I spent time and specifically to focus on training a bit more this week.  I was able to do that reasonably well.  On Monday, I had a great spin and spent over an hour on the bike and completed 6-1/2 intervals.  I was able to get my heart rate well into the anaerobic zone for the intervals and I stayed in the aerobic zone the rest of the ride.  It felt great!  I also kept focus on my functional training elements including the first core exercises since the restriction was lifted.  I tapered intensity off as the week went on due to chemo fatigue.

Speaking of chemo, on Tuesday, I received round five of the Kemo Komodo Dragons!  There weren't any surprises in terms of side effects.  As in the previous rounds, my metabolism increased and along with it, my appetite.  Fatigue set in full force by Friday afternoon but I haven't let it hold me down as much this time.  I've worked the week and kept with training and feel pretty good about that.  A few catnaps have been necessary.  This week's MOTIVATOR came to me on one of my spins...I often talk myself out of action which is totally the wrong answer.  Does this ever happen to you?

PINK VAIL is now up to 51 interested sponsors so we are over the halfway point!  Thanks to all.  I head to Colorado this week and hopefully my friend Franz will have a sample of my speed suit that I can get a photo of and share with you!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my neighbor Mike was going to ride 100 miles in a fundraiser "Pedal the Cause" to raise awareness and funds for cancer.  Well he made the ride today and we rooted for him and many other riders as they rode past our subdivision this morning.  I believe he and his team raised over $30,000 which is fantastic.  The picture here is Mike taking a quick break at about the 75 mile point.  He's been training all summer for this ride and it is his first "Century."  Congratulations Mike and thank you to you and your team for your service!

That is all for now...I hope you have an awesome week ahead!

Hello all,

It was a great week this week.  Beautiful weather and some follow up visits with doctors here in St. Louis.  No major changes to our plan have been identified so it is "steady as she goes"  for now.   There was a small blood clot detected in my right jugular at the site where the line was located after surgery.  It was decided that I go on blood thinners for a bit and re-test in a while to see that is has cleared.  Hopefully it will be clear my mid-November so that skiing isn't impacted.

I made an effort to rebalance how I spent time and specifically to focus on training a bit more this week.  I was able to do that reasonably well.  On Monday, I had a great spin and spent over an hour on the bike and completed 6-1/2 intervals.  I was able to get my heart rate well into the anaerobic zone for the intervals and I stayed in the aerobic zone the rest of the ride.  It felt great!  I also kept focus on my functional training elements including the first core exercises since the restriction was lifted.  I tapered intensity off as the week went on due to chemo fatigue.

Speaking of chemo, on Tuesday, I received round five of the Kemo Komodo Dragons!  There weren't any surprises in terms of side effects.  As in the previous rounds, my metabolism increased and along with it, my appetite.  Fatigue set in full force by Friday afternoon but I haven't let it hold me down as much this time.  I've worked the week and kept with training and feel pretty good about that.  A few catnaps have been necessary.  This week's MOTIVATOR came to me on one of my spins...I often talk myself out of action which is totally the wrong answer.  Does this ever happen to you?

PINK VAIL is now up to 51 interested sponsors so we are over the halfway point!  Thanks to all.  I head to Colorado this week and hopefully my friend Franz will have a sample of my speed suit that I can get a photo of and share with you!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my neighbor Mike was going to ride 100 miles in a fundraiser "Pedal the Cause" to raise awareness and funds for cancer.  Well he made the ride today and we rooted for him and many other riders as they rode past our subdivision this morning.  I believe he and his team raised over $30,000 which is fantastic.  The picture here is Mike taking a quick break at about the 75 mile point.  He's been training all summer for this ride and it is his first "Century."  Congratulations Mike and thank you to you and your team for your service!

That is all for now...I hope you have an awesome week ahead!

Hello all,

It was a great week this week.  Beautiful weather and some follow up visits with doctors here in St. Louis.  No major changes to our plan have been identified so it is "steady as she goes"  for now.   There was a small blood clot detected in my right jugular at the site where the line was located after surgery.  It was decided that I go on blood thinners for a bit and re-test in a while to see that is has cleared.  Hopefully it will be clear my mid-November so that skiing isn't impacted.

I made an effort to rebalance how I spent time and specifically to focus on training a bit more this week.  I was able to do that reasonably well.  On Monday, I had a great spin and spent over an hour on the bike and completed 6-1/2 intervals.  I was able to get my heart rate well into the anaerobic zone for the intervals and I stayed in the aerobic zone the rest of the ride.  It felt great!  I also kept focus on my functional training elements including the first core exercises since the restriction was lifted.  I tapered intensity off as the week went on due to chemo fatigue.

Speaking of chemo, on Tuesday, I received round five of the Kemo Komodo Dragons!  There weren't any surprises in terms of side effects.  As in the previous rounds, my metabolism increased and along with it, my appetite.  Fatigue set in full force by Friday afternoon but I haven't let it hold me down as much this time.  I've worked the week and kept with training and feel pretty good about that.  A few catnaps have been necessary.  This week's MOTIVATOR came to me on one of my spins...I often talk myself out of action which is totally the wrong answer.  Does this ever happen to you?

PINK VAIL is now up to 51 interested sponsors so we are over the halfway point!  Thanks to all.  I head to Colorado this week and hopefully my friend Franz will have a sample of my speed suit that I can get a photo of and share with you!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my neighbor Mike was going to ride 100 miles in a fundraiser "Pedal the Cause" to raise awareness and funds for cancer.  Well he made the ride today and we rooted for him and many other riders as they rode past our subdivision this morning.  I believe he and his team raised over $30,000 which is fantastic.  The picture here is Mike taking a quick break at about the 75 mile point.  He's been training all summer for this ride and it is his first "Century."  Congratulations Mike and thank you to you and your team for your service!

That is all for now...I hope you have an awesome week ahead!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hello all,

Chelle and I had a nice week in Chicago.  We stayed with our friends Sally and Mark and spent three days testing and meeting the doctors at the University of Chicago.  On Tuesday, we all went out for a nice dinner and were joined by one of our surgeons, Dr. Gnerlich.  It was an enjoyable evening with a little birthday celebration added in.

Pink Vail:  We are up to 48 interested participants/sponsors.  Awesome...almost to that half way point of 50!!!

A brief summary follows with what we learned from our visit:

Cancer Marker Test "CA125"   Reduced dramatically (nearly 75% lower).  Still a ways to go.   Dr. Kindler saw this as a very positive result.

Chemotherapy   We will have 2 - 3 more rounds and give it a rest to allow my body to stabilize.  It is working.

Pleural Effusions (Water outside the lungs)  Still there but reduced.  We received a definitive answer that this is the likely cause of the cough.  We'll monitor for now.

CT and PET Scans   The esophageal mass is still there.   Same size and unchanged.  It did show slight activity as did my thyroid on the PET scan.  We'll do a biopsy on the thyroid to rule it out or in as a problem.  Dr. Vignaswarren wants to remove the mass.  We agreed to meet again in December to decide.

Overall  Dr. Kindler said she was pleased and felt good about where we are at.  She will meet with Dr. Choi and Dr. Vignaswarren and follow up with me.  Chelle and I feel that we are in a good spot for now and will continue with our present approach to nutrition, sleep, training and balance.

This week's MOTIVATOR is all about learning and those of you who know me well know that I am all about learning.  This week, Chelle, the doctors and I all learned that great progress has been made but there is still much that lies ahead and that includes some very hard work.  We'll keep you posted.  What did YOU learn this week?

Thanks as always for your prayers and support.

Best regards,


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hello everybody,

Not much to report this week which is actually a good sign.  Our Pink Vail supporters are now up to 46!  I worked all week and had no doctors appointments. Fatigue from chemo lifted Monday night and I felt pretty good for the rest of the week.  Chelle and I go to Chicago this week and we'll have tests on Tuesday and doctors appointments on Wednesday and Thursday.  We will share the outcome next weekend.  Praying for good news!



Saturday, September 6, 2014


I hope you have had a fantastic week.  Not much exciting to report so I thought I'd give you an overview of where we are at and what is next.  We added to our Pink Vail roster and are now at 44 interested supporters/donors/participants.

Chemotherapy – Round four started on Tuesday.  The fatigue started last night and should subside tomorrow.

Pulmonary function – The Nitro Cough is still bothering me.  They did a function test Wednesday and I met with Dr. Shen afterwards.  Results showed that I do have asthma (which we knew) and he increased some dosage but nothing new discovered.

Sleep – Improving and nearly back to normal.  Getting good rest.

Weight – I am at my target weight of 170 lbs (+2/-1) so I am learning how to tailor my eating to maintain that weight as we increase training and caloric needs.

Training – First legit 60+ minute spin this week.  Bernie is increasing intensity in my functional training.  Balance and flexibility are coming along.

Chelle and I are set go to Chicago 9/15–18.  They will do a PET and CT scan along with labs.  We’ll get a good idea of where we sit.

Work is going well and doing my best to keep a balance.

That is all for now...have a great weekend!


Sunday, August 31, 2014
Hi everybody,

Pink Vail:   "Team DGIA" is up to 43 interested supporters and participants.  We are getting close to the first milestone of 50...thanks everyone!!!

I went on my first business trip to Seattle since returning to work on August 19th. This gave me a great opportunity to reconnect with so many of my teammates at Boeing. I also had a couple dinners with some friends. The picture to the right is of me in my seat on the plane heading out on Sunday evening.  All I can say is it felt good when the sensation of the engines spooling up and the airplane accelerating down the runway.  We had some discussions about the team and what it meant to "have each other's back" and "sharing and supporting one another's success" meant and looked like. All I could think about is all of the folks like yourselves who have read this website, prayed for Chelle, Audrey, and I, called/emailed/texted us, visited or helped take care of us and know that I know exactly what those two concepts look like.  They define the essence of "Don't Go It Alone."  Thanks again are awesome and we wouldn't be as far along without you and your support. 
I appreciate you having our back and hope you feel great about our shared success!

I have renamed the "Miserable Cough" to the "Nitro Cough!"  On my flight to Seattle, I let the fellow seated next to me know that I would cough and it was an annoying but not contagious. He quickly said, "not a big deal" and went on to explain that he was the starter for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) national races having just left the Gateway Raceway in Illinois. He said, he coughs all day  Monday after breathing the nitro fumes from the dragsters and calls  it  the "Nitro Cough."  I think that sounds much better than what I had previously named my cough. Fortunately, I will have the last two pulmonary tests run on Wednesday and meet with the pulmonologist right afterwards. Hopefully we'll get some answers.

On Tuesday, I get round four of the Kemo Komodos.  I am pretty pleased with how little impact chemotherapy has had in terms of not inducing nausea or lack of appetite. The fatigue is not bad but fairly constant.  It is something I have learned to accept and deal with. One thing my friend Carol and I discussed when I was in Seattle this week was "the judicious use of energy." This is something I will need to work on because before all this I would drink coffee and power through everything. Not anymore. I have achieved the weight goal established and now will work to maintain it as best I can. It will be interesting to see the internal impact the drugs have had on my cancer levels. One thing I can say for sure is that the drug has platinum so I truly am a "Platinum Blonde!!"  Ha ha!

Our next trip to Chicago is set for September 15th-17th.  They'll do PET and CT scans and some blood work on Tuesday, and we'll meet with the oncologist and cardio-thoracic surgeon on Wednesday and Thursday.  From these tests and meetings, we'll know what lies ahead.

That is all for now.  I hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hello all,

It was back to work for me this week and felt great reconnecting and getting back into the swing of things.  I was tired by the end of each day and fell asleep on the couch when I got home.  Fantastic work and thank you to my teammates for carrying my share over the summer!  Thank you!

Training was good this week.  Toward the end of the week I began increasing the intervals and intensity on the spin bike.  Bernie also increased the intensity of my workout a bit which felt good.

No doctors visits this week.  I am planning our trip and appointments to Chicago for mid-September.  We hope to hear good news on that trip.

Tonight, Monsignor Stehly will administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick tonight after mass.

Not much else to report.  Steady as she goes for now.  Thank you as always for you prayers and support!



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hello friends and family,

This has been an excellent week.

First, I learned that PINK VAIL will be on March 21, 2015 and I'll send out notes in January with details.  I am a few shy of 50 interested participants/sponsor-donors right now so please send me a note if you have an inkling to support.  I will share the speed suit design after we hit 50.  You won't be disappointed.  After 50, we'll go for 100 but let's hit 50 first!  Thanks for your support!!!

Next, my neighbor will ride a Centurion in September in a team event called "Pedal for the Cause" and I appreciate his efforts and leadership.  Mike's link follows as an FYI  THANKS MIKE!!!

On to the big news!  It has been a great start to chemo round three.  My blood work is looking the way the oncologist would like it to.  Good trends.  No nausea.  Limited fatigue which comes after a few days, usually Friday and Saturday.

I still have the miserable cough.  The pulmonologist called to let me know it isn't caused by acid reflux or aspiration from my esophagus to my lungs.  The pleural effusions (fluid just outside my lungs) have reduced slightly.  My resting heart rate has come down significantly to within about 12 beats per minute from my baseline.  My lung capacity test results are up to 3,000 ml, so nearing normal for my age and height.  Sleep continues to improve.

Weight gain is the big news.  I have put on 11.5 pounds of lean muscle mass and 1/2 pound of fat since returning.  The combination of Chelle's diligent focus on nutrition, my eating, and working with my trainer of many years, Bernie,  have had a very positive outcome.  So, overall, the healing and regeneration process seems to be going well.

Chelle and I are planning for a mid-September check-up at the University of Chicago Medical Center.  This visit will give us definitive data on where we stand and what lies ahead.

Last but not least, I will return to work at The Boeing Company on Tuesday and look forward to it very much.  I will work a limited schedule starting out and focus on maintaining my energy level and low stress.

I hope you are having and awesome weekend!

All the best,


P.S.  Please look at today's MOTIVATOR and look up the definition of "extraordinary" and see how that applies.  I will say for certain, that this spring and summer have been extraordinary...because of you!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Happy Saturday to all...

Another pretty easy week for me.  My training is picking up little by little and going nicely.  I would still say I am about 15% of the strength and 10% of the endurance levels as compared to last winter but I steadily improve week-to-week.  I removed the clip-in pedals from my mountain bike and installed platform pedals and went for a ride around the neighborhood.  A bit wobbly so I'll be working on some balance exercises in the gym this week so I don't kill myself.  Still a ways to go but I have a good feeling about where I am headed.  Patience has always been a challenge for me.

Nothing much to mention on chemo other than it is going well and I start round three on Monday.  The miserable cough is still miserable.  I had two tests this week to look at some possible causes but haven't yet heard from the doctor. My resting heart rate has reduced somewhat but it will take time.  My overall lung capacity is nearly back to normal for my height and age but I was 15% above that in March so still a ways to go there as well.

Chelle has been finishing everything to get Audrey ready for school and Audrey had "Cyber Camp" for three days this week.  They both had their first tennis session with their coach since April, so it was great to see them get back to that!

Not much else to add at this point.  I hope all is well wherever you may be.  Thank you as always for your prayers and support!



P.S.  This week's MOTIVATOR is one of my favorites...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Happy Saturday,

Another good week finishing up the second week in chemo round two.  Nothing major to report and I feel pretty good.  I have stopped using "physical therapy" and started using "training" in terms of rehab as much more work is now being done in my gym and on my spin bike.  I am up to 45 minutes on the bike and increasing the intensity of the rides.  I hope to be at 60 minutes next week.

I had a great meeting with a pulmonary doctor who will help me sort out the cough and high heart rate issues.  It will take a few weeks and he'll run some tests. I liked his approach and feel confident he will get to the bottom of things. The last issue has been sleep and I have had three consecutive "good" nights of sleep. It is encouraging to have this improvement and I hope that it continues. My sleep has been very broken and spotty for over two months so I welcome this change. I can't attribute the shift to just happened and maybe that is normal in recovery from surgery like I had.

Next week will be more training and working to build some strength and endurance.

I hope all is well with you.  Thanks as always for your support.


P.S.  Our Pink Vail roster reached 40 participants this week so we are almost halfway to the goal of 100...thanks for the support!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I apologize for the delayed update.  It has been a very full week.

Pink Vail...added one this week so we are up to 36 interested participants.  Appreciate all the support so far!

Great week with my recovery.  We are doing well.  On day five of chemo round two.  I seem to be tolerating the drugs well.  Have put a few pounds back on, and have a good appetite.  I am now working with a physical therapist two times per week and my trainer two other days.  That is helping me in many ways and I am able to get forty minutes on the spin bike.  Sleeping is my biggest challenge but slowly, I will return to a more normal schedule.  I met with my oncologist and we discussed my recovery at length.  We have tentatively set a return to work date of August 19th assuming we stay on track to the plan.

Last Sunday morning, my mother passed away peacefully with my father Eddie, sisters Barbara and Nancy, and my niece Anne at her side.  She had just watched morning mass and the benediction, then slipped away quietly and peacefully.  I have prayed that she transition without struggle.  One can only imagine what is next for her.  God has a plan.  What would your first hour or day in heaven be like?

Remembering some of the important things she taught me were faith, how to pray, and be direct.  She was as Irish as they come and a devout believer with deep faith.  Her obituary is at  I will miss her so, but know she's looking down on me at every moment.  The picture below is at Mom's 85th birthday last April.  Chelle, Audrey, and I flew to central Pennsylvania for Mom's viewing on Friday evening, and, mass and burial service on Saturday morning.  All was very beautiful.  

Thanks as always for all of your support.  It really helps!

All the best!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Friday!

Pink Vail at 35 interested participants...WOW!!!  Thanks!

I started training with the personal trainer I have worked with for years.  Bernie will pick up where physical therapy leaves off so we will transition over the next month.  This was a HUGE motivator for me to be back in the gym.  I have some sore muscles.  Today I was able to up my time on the spin bike to 40 minutes.  Soon I will be at an hour which will be plenty for what I need to do cardio-wise.

My cardiologist met with me for a post-op assessment.  I have been concerned with the significant shift in my resting heart rate as it has increased nearly 70 percent.  He ran a number of tests and all checked out good.  I was happy to learn that the blood clot in my left leg is now gone.  There is no fluid around my heart and all the blood tests looked normal. This opens up more options for training and rehabilitation.  I'll hope that the training and cardio work have an impact on the resting heart rate.

I have continued to slowly gain weight which is super encouraging.  It feels like I am eating all the time but it is worth it.  Hopefully this trend continues.

Audrey returned home from her training in Canada on Tuesday.  She had great conditions, awesome coaching, and loads of fun.  It is nice to have her back with us.

We have visitors coming tomorrow so it will be nice to have guests.  It feels like a little bit of normalcy has returned to our lives.  I have had a few breakfasts with some retired buddies from Boeing as well, and it's great to catch up.

Next week will be chemo round two.  I think the Khemo Komodos from round one have done a great job and they are due for a shift change.  We meet with Dr. Bolger on Monday and then they will do the infusion immediately afterward.  Hopefully there won't be much difference in side effects.  If it works out that way, I think I will be able to continue to get stronger over the course of treatment.

Well that's my story for the week.  All this goodness is happening for all kinds of reasons but your thoughts and prayers are a significant part of why it is working so well and I thank you for your support.  Chelle continues to be amazing in her help to me and I don't know what I'd do without her.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend and that your week ahead is a successful one.

All the best!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Hello friends and family,

I hope all has gone well for you this week.  Chelle and I have had a very simple time these last few days.  A bit of fatigue set in on Saturday and Sunday but it was gone by Monday.  My appetite stayed strong and I was able to put a pound of weight back on.  Physical therapy continues to be helpful in straightening my posture out.  I chose not to swim this week but might give it a go soon.

It was odd but for the first time in months we had no doctors appointments or tests.  It was an eerily quiet week that way but it gave us time to catch up on some things around the house.  Chelle ordered Audrey's books and will finish getting her ready for school next week.  Speaking of Audrey, she comes home on Tuesday after three weeks in Canada and we are excited to have her back with us.  Her training has gone very well in Whistler and she's made friends, had fun, and improved her skiing.  The picture below is 'Lil training Slalom on the glacier earlier this week.

Next week will be more of the same so we are at the point where these updates will be short and un-complicated.  If you need to hear something exciting, call me and I'll make something up!!!

I'm still receiving calls, emails and visits and I really appreciate you taking the time to think of Chelle and I.

Have a great weekend!

P.S.  We have 26 people on the Pink Vail list so we added another four this week.  Thanks for the continued interest!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014
Hello everybody,

I hope you have had a fantastic week!

Pink Vail - we now have 22 participants...thanks everybody!  about 79 more to go...

Last Weekend - I rested both days and also did  my physical therapy.  On Saturday, Chelle and I made it to church which was very nice.

Monday - In the morning, a special device was placed in my upper chest to allow easier access for chemotherapy infusion and drawing blood work. It is called a "Power Port" and basically eliminates IV use.  This makes it much easier on everybody.  After that, when went to the infusion center for my first installment of chemotherapy.  Everything went smoothly.  Chelle and I also met with a dietician to discuss my nutrition and eating habits.

Tuesday - This day was all about rest and seeing what side effects occur.  Fortunately, side effects were very minimal.  No nausea.  I came up with the idea that my chemotherapy needs to operate like a Komodo Dragon and just eat eat eat.  The picture below is one that my colleague Kevin took while we were in Singapore.  The menacing stare of this beautiful animal was intense.  So, my "mental picture" is that I have a little army of these dragons running around my system, "eating" my cancer, and just being something to observe.

Wednesday - I had physical therapy in the morning which is going well.  At night, the anti-nausea drug is keeping me up at night.  A bit frustrating but I'll work through it.

Thursday - Rest, Physical Therapy.  Simple day.

Friday - Today, I had breakfast with a former colleague from Boeing, Bob.  It was great to catch up with him.  Mid-morning, I spiked a fever so Chelle and I spent half of the day at the hospital having tests run.  Blood work was normal and nothing was found out of the ordinary so they sent us home.

This week should be more of the same.  Thank you all for your continued support!

Have a happy 4th of July!!!


Photo courtesy of Kevin Knudsen

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hello everyone,

I hope you have had a great week and are ready for an even better weekend.  Chelle, Audrey, Sugar and I all settled back in and really felt good about being home.  Thank you for all of the cards, letters and goodies!

First, we have over fifteen people "in" for Pink Vail so thanks for the awesome start toward building the team.

On Monday, Chelle and I met with Dr. Bolger and discussed chemotherapy and how that would work. On Tuesday, I had a chest x-ray done and also spent an hour in a physical therapy assessment. The physical therapist quickly saw areas to address and we agreed on a twice-weekly PT session and then I can do the exercises in-between appointments.

On Wednesday, we took Audrey to the airport early in the morning to make the long trip to British Columbia, Canada for three weeks of ski training. Her skating coach, Shelley, has graciously agreed to be her chaperone for the first week. They both arrived safely and made ready for summer skiing on Horstman Glacier at Whistler/Blackcomb. The photo below is Audrey (aka 'Lil) racing last season and she'll be working on her Slalom and Giant Slalom skills, techniques and some tactics at her camp.  Go 'Lil!!!
Thursday was a pre-op appointment for next week.

That brings me to today. I had an early physical therapy session and then Chelle and I met with Dr. Crane to discuss nutrition. Since I have an appetite and my system is stabilizing, we'll now make a shift from "eat as much of anything" to focusing on eating "the right things." We established a weight gain target and agreed to meet in 30 days.

I was able to go on half-mile plus walks and also started carefully riding my spin bike (staying in the saddle.)  Additionally, I made good use of our treadmill.

Mia, Craig, Liz, Darlene and Andy all came by for visits and it was sure great to see them. Thanks for taking the time to stop in!!!

The week ahead is all about starting chemo so we'll see how it goes. I have a short operation on Monday to install a semi-permanant "port" that will be used over the coming months to administer chemo, draw blood, etc.

My goal for next week is to swim Thursday or Friday so hopefully we'll have a picture of that to share with you.

Lastly, I found this TED talk on gratitude and thought it would be good to share.  It put some things in perspective for me when I saw it.  Please invest a couple minutes and take a look.

Enjoy your weekend.  I appreciate all of your support tremendously!



Friday, June 20, 2014
Hello all,

On Thursday, I spoke with Dr. Kindler briefly and she let me know my test results from Monday were "as expected" for the stage of treatment I am at.

Last night we had a visit from Dr. Gnerlich and Dr. Benjamin.  It was great to see them and they were two very important doctors in the surgery and day-to-day details of my care. Dr. Ferguson played a key role in my case management and at the end, Dr. In finalized the last few details up until my day of discharge. Medical students Stephanie and Sara also payed close attention to me over the course of my stay. I will say the care provided by this team of doctors and doctors-to-be was fantastic and I appreciate all of your efforts on my behalf, as well as communicating with my friends and family who were helping as my patient-advocates. One group also to recognize is the nursing staff who carried out the around-the-clock orders of my care.  They really took great care of me.  The one other group I would like to recognize is the pathologists. They operate in the background performing very detailed and technical studies of the tissues and cells removed from my body. Their work represents the underpinning of the data that supports all the work of the oncologist's and oncological surgeons.

Our Friday morning started with a visit with the surgeons. First,  Dr Vigneswarren discussed the approach to be taken regarding the mass near my esophagus. He would like to remove it but his conclusion was to get a PET and pulmonary function test run in a few weeks and he would finalize his opinion. It would be my goal to have the mass removed after chemo wraps up and I am a bit stronger.  Dr. Choi met with us and was pleased with our progress. I was placed on an unrestricted diet and he gave me some guidance regarding physical therapy.  Swimming, biking and walking are all acceptable now, so I'm happy with that as well. We finished up around noon at University of Chicago's Medical Center.  The picture to the right is of Dr. Choi and I this morning. I cannot thank him enough for what he has done for me and my family.

Our good friend Sally drove us to our appointment and then to the Midway Airport.  Our flight was a bit delayed but I am used to that.  While waiting at the gate, up walks our friend Allan who used to live two doors down from us. Small world and it was nice to catch up with him. Our flight was uneventful and quick. As we landed, I saw my office building and an F-15 and F-18 over by our final assembly area. It hit me a bit hard to be away from my co-workers this long. I really miss everyone very badly.

Our neighbor Marty picked us up at the airport and we had a nice ride home. After unloading, we went across the street to pick our dog Sugar up from our neighbor Judith.  Sugar was excited to say the least. Thanks Marty and Judith!!!

Marty snapped the picture below and it kind of says it all.  There really is no place like home and we have looked forward to this day.

Finally, I would once again like to thank all of you for your thoughts, prayers, intentions, emails, texts, cards, calls and everything you have done to provide us strength in faith, hope, and the ability to do "the next thing."  The last 45 days are just the beginning and there is much that lies ahead. For now, take a look at the Motivator which, in today's context, the end in mind was making it through surgery, recovering, and standing back on the porch of my home with my family.  We are blessed to have family, friends, Boeing teammates such as yourselves, and we are forever thankful and grateful.

The next part of our journey begins Monday when we meet with Dr. Bolger to discuss the chemo plan in detail.

I will reduce my updates to once weekly on Fridays and talk about the week past and what's in store for the next week.  I will happily receive visitors if you are in St. Louis and typically will do so in the afternoon around 1PM.  Just send me a note and we'll find a day. Also, if you email, I'll certainly reply and if you want to have a phone call, just email me and we'll arrange for that.

Have a great weekend!!!


Thursday, June 19, 2014
Hello Everyone,

The purpose of tonight's update is to make you aware of a fundraising effort for The Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards, Colorado.   I will likely be receiving chemotherapy there at least once this summer.  This regional center serves the local population in the Vail Valley and surrounding areas.  For the last two years in early April, an event now known as "Pink Vail" is held with the purpose of celebration, raising awareness, and fundraising.  All the lights in the trees in the town are pink that week and on Saturday, a celebration is held on Vail Mountain.  At the end of the day all the cancer survivors ski down together and I fully plan to be part of that group. 
I am having my friend Franz Fuxi make me a custom pink speed suit, which already has some folks very worried.

The link to the 2014 event is at so please check it out.  Make sure you watch the video and you'll get the picture of what this is all about.

I will form a team surprisingly named "Don't Go It Alone" and would like to make you aware of this and offer you an opportunity to support and participate.

To get a head start now, all I need from you if you want to be notified when I get things rolling (January/February) is an email indicating your interest.  Just shoot me an email at (you can click on the button below), saying "I"M IN ON PINK VAIL" and I'll keep your email address and send you info when the time comes.  Please send me your personal address if you are a Boeing employee so that I don't use the Company resources for an outside fundraiser.

Also, for those of you who didn't have my email address before, now you do, so feel free to send notes and I'll gladly correspond with you!

Tomorrow, we meet with the surgeons at 9:00 AM and fly home in the afternoon.  My next post will have a picture of my family on our porch, so look for that later tomorrow.

Thank you as always for your support!!!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Hello everyone,

Chelle, Audrey and I have had some great days.  Here is the summary:

Saturday - I did my physical therapy twice today and walked 0.6 mi on the treadmill. Audrey and Chelle spent the afternoon at an art fair and walking around Chicago. My friend and long-time co-worker Randy came to visit.  He has family in Michigan and has been there this week and he drove down and had lunch with me, brought me a great Oswald Chambers Daily, and we talked about things. It was so nice to see him and catch up. Very energizing. Thanks Randy for making my day!

Sunday - We repeated yesterday's PT and treadmill. For dinner, we joined our friends Sally and Mark at their home for a father's day dinner. It was a very special time.

Monday - I had blood drawn for testing which, amongst other things, will determine the new baseline level of cancer in my system. They also did a CT scan for the new baseline. I did PT in the afternoon which continues to go well. Late in the afternoon, Chelle and I went for a walk around the block (city block). As we approached the second corner, I saw a shop with little green awnings and a siren emblem - yes - a Starbucks!  So we took a  little detour and I enjoyed a short, double Americano.  It was an absolute delight!!!

Tuesday -  Another good day today. I did physical therapy in the morning and Chelle took a long walk and worked out a bit too. Chelle had some errands to run, so I tagged along. We must have walked at least 10 blocks so I'm feeling much more comfortable outside. It was warm and sunny so that helped and made it nice. This afternoon, I was contacted by a friend I haven't talked to in probably fifteen years, and it was great to catch up with him. He tracked me down after someone told him of our situation. Thanks was great catching up!!!  This evening, another colleague and friend from Boeing stopped in for a visit and we went to a local eatery and had a good chat for an hour or so. Thanks for coming by was fantastic to see you, and Chelle and I really appreciate you taking the time to check in on us!

Wednesday - Today has been a nice day. Chelle and I ran an errand in the morning. For lunch, I wanted to get out so we went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for a treat and we had a delicious meal.

A Funny Thing - So, I'm sure you can just imagine me checking myself over from time to time to see if things are healing up, etc. Well I came to notice, my former "outee" belly button is now a very definite "innee."  So, I'll bet there aren't too many folks that can say they've had that kind of belly button makeover. A good reminder to keep a sense of humor.

Tomorrow's Update - Please take a look at tomorrow's update. There is something I would like to make you all aware of and would like to ask for your consideration to help and support.

Thank you as always for all of your thoughts, prayers, and intentions. It's working and I can "feel the love."

All the best!


Friday, June 13, 2014
Happy Friday!!!

It has been a good week. I make a little progress everyday. A long way to go. The physical therapist says it takes a week of rehab per day in the hospital, so that helped set expectations of about four months to get my strength and condition back. I have lost about 20 pounds, and have some work to do because much of it was muscle mass.

The photo is in the workout center this morning.  I'm starting with 5 pounds and can't quite get that overhead. When I see the weight rack and the forty pounders that I used to lift it just provides motivation to get back to that.

I would like to wish all the fathers out there a very Happy Father's Day!  Enjoy your weekend everyone!!!

All the best!


P.S.  Update schedule:  I will make my next post on Wednesday and then one on Thursday and Friday when we get home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Recap on Yesterday's Meetings

Dr. Choi (surgeon) went over me quite thoroughly and we discussed my eating/nutrition, sleeping, bowel function, and activity.  He was pleased and felt everything was on track.  I received three vaccinations (pneumonia, meningitis and one other) to strengthen my immune system.  We set a next meeting for Friday June 20th with Dr. Vigneswarren and we'll see how I am then and have a discussion about next steps with my respiratory system.

Next, Dr. Kindler's Fellow walked Chelle and I through the pathology report on everything that was removed during the operation.  She went through what they have learned in detail and it was very interesting to me because this really gave me an idea of how technical this work is.  Dr. Kindler came in and spent about an hour with us and really gave us a good understanding of what lies ahead.  She discussed chemo and how that will work.  Follow up lab tests and a CT scan were  set for next Monday.


A physical therapist began her work with me  as well focusing mainly on breathing using my diaphragm.  She will be back again tomorrow and Friday.  I spent some time on the treadmill as well.

Our friend Bill who lives nearby came by for an afternoon visit, we had lunch at Einstein Bros Bagels and had a good talk.  Thanks Bill!!!!

Audrey arrived from St. Louis this afternoon which is something I have been looking forward to so much.  This was a great boost for me and she'll be with us until we go home on June 20th.  Audrey made this little sketch on post-it notes a few years ago at our kitchen counter.  It's really cute and says it all. 
Thanks so much to the Arnold and Franklin families for hosting Audrey these last few weeks!!!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update as it has been a long day. One thing first.  For exercise, I have basically been walking the halls of the hotel so you can just imagine how exciting that is. Yesterday, I asked Chelle if we could look at the hotel exercise room and she said OK.  So when we got up there, I got on the treadmill and we started it at 1.5mph and I started walking. We went up later in the day again and I walked a quarter mile. That was great! One more step forward.

Today we had a good meeting with Dr. Choi and Dr. Ferguson and all is on track post-op.  After that, we had an hour consult with Dr. Kindler and went through pathology and next steps in detail.

In summary, all went well. We also had lab work and a chest x-ray to do so it has been a long day. I will put out a little longer summary tomorrow, but suffice it to say we are on plan.

I hope you had a great day!!!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hello All,

We have had a positive weekend.  Many small steps throughout the last few days.  No major surprises and so far no stumbling blocks.

My sister Barbara returned to NYC this afternoon after an 8-day shift.  She was a tremendous help to Chelle and I and we very much appreciate her help. Over the course of my stay in the Chicago Medical Center, I was never without a friend or family member at my side 24/7.  Now it is just Chelle and I, but it's the way it should be, we are together all day and all night.  Chelle was able to take a walk today and get a little fresh air and exercise.

Our first visitor stopped by this afternoon for just over 30 minutes. He works here in Chicago at The Boeing Company and we've known each other for nearly 20 years. It was a great catch-up and he brought me the Boeing Frontiers magazine, which is just awesome, so I can think about our tremendous Company, our products, and especially our amazing teammates. I am truly blessed to be a member of the Boeing team. Thanks again John!!!

Tomorrow, my neighbor, Jon,  from our Colorado home, is coming to visit in the afternoon. Our families have become very close over the last two ski seasons. Next week he will take our daughters for the day and tour one of Chicago's major museums.

A physical therapist will come by tomorrow, so the process of waking my muscles up begins.  We have a post-op visit on Tuesday, so I'll prepare my next update then.

I hope you have all had wonderful weekends. I can continuously sense your thoughts prayers and intentions and appreciate them so much.

This week, if you are working on something challenging, just step back and look at today's motivator.  Small progress is progress and sometimes that is best.  This weekend has been all about small progress, and as my friend Al has said, I'm on "new ground" now and don't need to go back.

Have a great Monday and Tuesday....all the best!


Friday, June 6, 2014
Dear Friends and Family,

Please check out today's motivator.  I was discharged at noon today and my sister Barbara, wife Chelle, and I all moved to a small place in downtown Chicago. We arrived and had a small lunch and I took a nap.  Before leaving the hospital, the Church brought the Sacrament of Communion to Chelle and I, which was great spiritually.

It was surreal traveling up the Lake Michigan shoreline on such a pretty day. We are settled in for the next two weeks of strengthening and climbing up to the next step.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. Chelle and I can feel it big time. You are making a difference for us.

I will send an update on Sunday.  Have a great weekend!!!


Thursday, June 5 2014
Good day everybody!

I am sorry that it has taken this long to update you, but it has been a roller coaster.  I'll spare the details and let you know that my new system is waking itself up as Dr. Choi explained it would. Lately it has been about slowly building strength and understanding outcomes.

My sister Barbara has been with us for the last week and really stepped in on nights helping Chelle keep a balance. The one detail I will provide is that Chelle shaved the two weeks of overgrowth off my face and I got a real shower. Two more of the finer things in life beyond brushing our teeth that you really notice when they cannot be done. What a feeling!!

Tomorrow, it is likely that I will be discharged and stay the next two weeks in downtown Chicago, only retuning to the medical center for follow-ups, consults, and tests.  There is a possibility of a subsequent surgery so we'll be discussing that.  It will be months before we make that decision.

Hopefully as I settle in and strengthen, the updates will be coming. Thank you all very, very much, for your thoughts, intentions, prayers, and support.

All the best!!


Monday, June 2, 2014
First, credits on the headline "Hereditary Giddyap" go to Ed Schane.  Can you guess which one is Bill or Audrey?  Too funny...thanks for the laugh Eddie!

Next, Ihope that each and every one of you had a FANTASTIC DAY!!

Here is what we have been up to...

Mesothelioma typically affects the cardio-thoracic region (~75%), and the remainder is below that area in the abdominal region.  Ultimately it affects both, but initial treatment plans are heavily driven by the split.

I was of the "Peritoneal" or abdominal variety, so that is why our oncologist and surgical team chose to begin in the abdomen. To give a simple summary, I now have about 50% less large and small intestine, no spleen, and no appendix.  Many liters of Ascites fluid were removed.

I have been going through recovery from surgery day--which had some initial challenges--but most feedback indicated things were going well. Last weekend, progress took a subtle turn for the worse, and I was having breathing complications. This was originating from Ascites fluid generation in the upper cavity. All the lower fluid was removed (many liters) during the original operation on May 21st.

After much discussion and study, the team elected to install a semi-permanant drain so the the upper fluid cannot accumulate.

I feel much better now that the procedure is complete. The hitch with this is the patient is sedated with pain meds, but semi-awake when the installation is completed; however, the University of Chicago Medical Professionals got it installed quickly, correctly, and without too much additional pain.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hello everyone,
Long day...look for a mid-morning update tomorrow.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hello everyone,

There are some ongoing developments further along from yesterday:

- I am still having an issue with the pleural effusions in my lungs. Dr. Choi and his team will meet tomorrow with Dr. Vigneswaran, the cardiothoracic surgeon, and his team to go into that in depth.

- The outcome of that meeting could result in having surgery possibly as early as Monday to address this issue.

My sister Nancy flew home to Mechanicsburg today. Thank you Nancy, for all your support and love.

In her place, my little sister Barbara flew in from New York City to support for a few days.

We'll continue to keep you informed as these developments and plans solidify. As always, many thanks to everyone for your prayers and support; it means a lot.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Today was another good day for recovery and building strength. Bill slept soundly last night and started his day early, sitting in the chair for over three hours. He talked with Chelle on FaceTime. I took him out for a walk. Then it was time for his morning nap. Dr. Choi’s team came by early in the morning. They were very pleased with Bill’s recovery this morning. He is now allowed unlimited gourmet ice chips, gum, and hard candy. If things go well, they may add some additional items this afternoon.  

All the questions have not been answered yet, though. There is concern about the pleural effusions that keep returning. More studies and another procedure are scheduled for a surgery date Wednesday of next week. Bill will have a positron emission tomography (PET) scan done in the next couple of days, which will give the doctors an idea of how different areas of his lungs are functioning. MRI and CT studies give doctors an idea of the structure of an area. PET scans enhance that knowledge by giving an idea of function, such as blood flow through an area.

Dr. Vigneswaran (, a cardiothoracic surgeon, talked with Bill today. If Bill has recovered enough by Wednesday, Dr. Vigneswaran would like to remove the mass that was found behind Bill’s esophagus. That mass has been biopsied and deemed to be benign. He will also biopsy the lining of the pleural cavity. As with the surgery performed last week with Dr. Choi, the full picture of the issues will not be revealed until the surgery has begun, and as such, the course of the surgery will evolve based on what presents.

Bill is on a journey with many unknowns. He does know that he cannot go it alone, and is eternally grateful to all of you who have surrounded him, Chelle, Audrey, and Sugar, too, with love and prayers.


St. Louis Update:
Rejuvenation has been the focus here in St. Louis for Audrey, her dog Sugar and me.
We enjoyed relaxing, eating some of our favorite foods, visiting with neighbors and even running errands together.  Audrey invited a friend to the City Museum today as it was on her "to-do" list for the summer.
A mom’s love is very special and I have lavished it upon them!  We ended every evening praying the rosary for Bill.

Love and God Bless - Chelle

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Sister’s Walk

Bill came to visit our Dad earlier this spring, while Dad was recovering from a broken shoulder. I picked him up from the airport, and was immediately concerned. He did not look like our Bill. He was skinny and terribly tired. A few weeks later came the email “Pray for a Miracle” confirming my fear that something was wrong. Then came a diagnosis with big words and a knowledge that a big battle would need to be waged to stop its advance. Prayers began from near and far. We knew God is good and would send guardian angels to watch over Bill.

Lots of caring people in the medical profession checked Bill out and Dr. Kindler and Dr. Choi set out on their mission to help Bill wage a strong battle against this heinous disease. They are kind, caring and brilliant individuals who have a strong team to help them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014, surgery day. I thought about Bill every second of the day. I did not want to bother Chelle for details, but longed to know how things were going. Finally, a post to - the surgery was over and the surgeons were happy with their handiwork. I went to sleep.

Didn’t hear anything on Thursday, but did not want to bother those supporting Bill. I kept on praying. We have a physically challenged daughter who has an extensive medical and surgical history. I know there are guardian angels. I am convinced Anne would not still be here without them. Maybe she could share some of her contingency with Bill.

I prayed.

I sent Chelle a text on Friday to check on her and Bill. She told me about the bumps in the road on Thursday. She called and sounded so frightened. It was time to start thinking about mobilizing and heading to Chicago to help. Bill’s friend Chuck was there for the first few days. Thank you, Chuck. Dave was next in the queue, and was going to be there until Tuesday. Thank you, Dave. Chicago residents and friends Sally and Mark have been a daily presence. Thank you Sally and Mark.

A meeting of the sisters Friday night decided that I would follow Dave, and Barbara would arrive on the day I left. I planned to fly Tuesday afternoon or first thing Wednesday. Chelle texted in the middle of the night Saturday and into Sunday. She was clearly frightened and overwhelmed.

I booked a flight for Monday morning instead, before heading to church on Sunday. I arrived Monday afternoon. Bill was starting to rebound. Chelle had texted me that the breathing tube was out just before I got on the plane. One battle won, Bill was breathing on his own again. He was weak, but determined.

The progress over the next few days has been nothing short of astronomical. Lots of baby steps: standing up, sitting in a chair, walking a short distance, getting off the high-flow oxygen, losing the oxygen mask, all add up to huge strides toward recovery. Today, Thursday, was a giant leap. Bill left his nasogastric tube, catheter, one wound drain, arterial line, beeping monitors and oxygen back in the ICU, and walked a good trek to the next unit. We all know that Bill is a planner, and goal-driven. I admire his courageous attitude, which is going to help him fight this disease.

I also admire Bill’s willingness to accept help in this battle. He is right, we cannot go it alone. All of us that know and love Bill can continue to help him in this battle. He has been, and will continue to need support. Those of us who are with him at the hospital, will continue to watch that his needs are met and that all those involved in Bill’s care are working to meet his goals. He will need prayers from near and far.

It is a privilege to have a brother like Bill, and to be a part of his team to recovery. Thanks to everyone that it would take a book to name personally. You are all an essential part of Bill’s support team, and we are most grateful.

Nancy Luley

(Bill's eldest sister)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chelle sends her apologies for not updating the status -- she is exhausted and is returning to St. Louis today to spend time with Audrey for a few days!
She will work on a status update once she gets there (in the mean time, check out Today's Motivator...I'm sure you've heard Bill say it more than once!).

Monday, May 26, 2014
Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Sitting next to Bill on this day of remembrance has given me a richer prospective and appreciation for those men and women who have risked their lives for our country. Thank you…Words cannot come close to expressing my gratitude!

Bill was extubated today and is now asleep for the night breathing independently!  He has been patiently waiting for this opportunity and is doing great!

Nancy, Bill’s sister, arrived today to support us this week.  Her knowledge and love will be an enormous comfort to us both. Thank you for your generosity Nancy!



Sunday, May 25, 2014
Written by Bill Schane on 5/25/14
Photo Courtesy of Chelle Schane
Bill jotted down this phrase today while communicating with his nurses and I wanted to share it with you.

Recovery, just like training to be an elite athlete, is a process.  There is a final outcome to work towards and many personal/skill check points throughout the process.  The key is to stay focused on the process, let the passion emerge and allow the outcome goal to arrive at the appropriate time.

Bill’s efforts rewarded him today…He stood up for the first time after surgery and remained sitting upright for most of the day.  It was invigorating for him and a true pleasure for me!


Saturday, May 24, 2014

I’d like to begin today by wishing Kristina, Audrey’s lifelong friend, the best of luck at her regional gymnastics meet in Sunnyvale, CA tomorrow!  Bill and I have been close friends with her parents, Kim and Dave, since the fun and crazy single days, but that is another story!  After a family vote on Friday morning, they decided to book a flight for Dave to Chicago so he could help us out. Dave was able to watch the warm up session but will see her with the gold metal via Skype on Sunday.  We are rooting for you KK!!  Thanks for sharing your dad with us :-)

It has been a peaceful and restful day for Bill.  He is starting to wake up as I write this note and will be ready to tackle the next task on today’s plan. Yes, he begins every morning by requesting a daily plan and works it to the best of his ability!  My mission is to keep him positive and motivated and I couldn’t do it without all of your encouragement.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Our friend Chuck mentioned a toast that he received on his 50th birthday and I’d like to disclose it to all of you in my own words…
Imagine your life as an 18-hole golf course…a championship one of course!  Once you hit 50, your life reaches the back 9.  It’s not clear, however, which hole we are on.  Is it the 10th or the 16th?  How much time do we have before our game is complete?  This uncertainty, when spun positively, should light a fire within us to make the most of every day.  So what are you waiting for…Get out there and do it!

Kind regards,


Kristina takes gold on double mini trampoline at World Elite Gymnastics.
Photo Courtesy of Dave S.

Friday, May 23, 2014
Today our beautiful daughter Audrey completed the sixth grade at Visitation Academy.  We are so proud of her!  During an end of year celebration Mass she was awarded with a certificate and small medallion of St. Jane de Chantel.  My girlfriend presented a bouquet of flowers from Bill and I as a way for her to feel our presence. Thank you Amy.  Well, summer has officially commenced…Congratulations sweetie…We love and miss you very much!!!

A few minutes ago Bill and I bid farewell to our special friend Chuck.  He set aside his family and busy schedule to join us in Chicago and we will be forever grateful.  Bill may not remember the meaningful conversations they had into the wee hours of the morning but I will never forget ours. Thanks a million Chuck for lending me your ear and sturdy shoulder(s). I know we will see you again soon!

After a busy day of tests and follow up procedures, we ask that you pray for clarity on the challenges Bill is facing. There are many routes one can take to reach a destination and last night Bill took a slight detour.  I know he will be back on the ideal trajectory soon thanks to the amazing critical care team here at the University of Chicago!

As I reflect back on the past twenty-four hours something our friend Mark mentioned comes to mind…If you remove the “I” in ILLNESS and replace it with “WE” you have WELLNESS.  This is a team effort and we value each and every one of you!

With much appreciation,

Audrey in the Visitation Academy Chapel
Photo courtesy of Almira A.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I’d like to begin by thanking everyone for their texts, e-mails and calls yesterday.  The heaps and heaps of love, support and prayers surrounded me like a giant hug and comforted me throughout the day.  A special thank you to Sally for her unconditional friendship and words of encouragement during Bill’s surgery and to Chuck who spent the night with Bill allowing me to get a good night's rest!

Bill rested peacefully today as his pain management was balanced and fine tuned.  Dr. Choi and team reported that surgery went well.  He is continuing to give it his all and we appreciate your continued support.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just a couple thoughts on gratitude.  Here is something I like to do.  Without thinking much, just write down as fast as I can what I am grateful for.  It takes just a couple minutes.  Then, I jot down a couple problems that I am dealing with.  Quickly, I come to see that I have been blessed over and over again with a beautiful wife and daughter, my family, friendships, my physical and intellectual abilities, a great job at a fantastic company, and on and on.  My problems are always small in comparison.

This ten-minute process of introspection always puts me much closer to a good center.  It is part of how I take the power and fear away from a situation such as the one I face at the moment.  Add to this my faith, your inspiration through prayer and knowing that The Good Lord has a handle on this and it gets a bit easier.  I offer this as some food for thought.  

Make Every Sunrise Count...

Today's Daily Motivator comes from two friends of mine. First, a colleague from HBS (Dominic C.) took a beautiful picture of the morning sun shedding early morning light on the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. We saw this often during our two months at the business school. Added to it is the quote "Make Every Sunrise Count" which was taught to me by Fred B. who I worked with flight testing aircraft of various types for many years.  It taught me the importance of making the most and best of each and every day. Something to think about.  I am absolutely confident and grateful for the team who are working so very hard to restore my health today. Thank you very much Dr. Choi, Dr. Kindler, and team!

Thank you all...I will probably be busy for a couple days now, so Chelle will work with Les on getting you updates.


Wednesday morning, just before heading into pro-op prep.

Wednesday evening status update:
We are through surgery, and through post-op and recovery, and Bill is now in the I.C. unit for the evening and resting comfortably.
- Chelle

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hello everybody,

Our dog Sugar is the cover pic for the day.  She is a great little dog and goes everywhere with us.

Today was a good day.  This afternoon was an endoscopy with an ultrasound of the mass around my esophagus.  Biopsies were performed and there was a pathologist right there in the room to do a quick assessment, and then a more detailed lab workup will be conducted prior to Wednesday.  Preliminary indications are that the mass is a greatly swollen lymph node, but the tests preliminarily indicate that it is benign.  This is a very good indication, but we'll just need to wait for the labs.

The team that worked on me were absolute professionals and very impressive.  The gastroenterologist was communicating with my surgeon as she performed the procedure.

The actual procedure was pretty rough on me but I am becoming more steady hour-by-hour.

Tomorrow will be pre-op work, so not much new news will be learned tomorrow.  As it stands now, surgery is still on for Wednesday.

Thanks again for all of your prayers, good thoughts and well wishes.  It is having a tremendous impact, I can honestly tell you that.

All the best!


P.S.  The one picture below shows my true beauty so I thought it good to let you all enjoy that.  The second is the wrist band collection.  I was joking with them that if it were an amusement park that I would be able to ride tons of rides.  The response was basically:  "Buddy, the most bands you can get here is five and we don't see that often."  I feel special.

Sunday, May 18, 2014
We are in Chicago now.  Our friends, Sally, Mark and Maggie are hosting us again.  Audrey is staying with a family from her school and Sugar, our dog, is with our neighbors.  Thanks to all.

Last night was a little bumpy.  I suddenly developed some very deep shivers and shakes that just wouldn't stop.  I felt extremely chilled. Chelle ran me to the ER and they did some tests and I stabilized, got warmer and stopped shaking. All tests came back clear so we were happy to know that an infection hadn't started. That would have been the end to surgery on Wednesday. So, it was just a speed bump and we move on.

Tomorrow is an endoscopy and biopsy in the afternoon.

I received some get well wishes from my Harvard alumni around the world which was very special. Friends from the Bahamas, Great Britain, France, Singapore, Nigeria, the good ole US of A, Japan, Australia, China, Canada, India, Russia, and Holland all sent their support and well wishes.  I have many fond memories of the time we all spent learning together in Cambridge.

Not much else to report so I'll keep it brief.  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and look forward to a great week ahead.

Saturday, May 17, 2014
First, today's front page picture is our daughter Audrey skiing at 5.  I've always loved this photo and remember that day skiing at Winter Park like it was yesterday. 
We had so much fun and those trips were the beginning of things to come and her passion in athletics.  The previous picture was Beaver Creek last fall when we had the first snow fall.  

I worked a light schedule this week, coordinated my delegations, and tried to rest and save my energy.  The people I work with are amazing and I can't wait to see all the cool stuff they do while I am away on "special assignment."  

We received a call with a surgery date of next Wednesday, May 21st.  Chelle and I will travel to Chicago on Sunday for some tests on Monday. Then we'll pace all day Tuesday and be ready for an early rise on Wednesday.

Thanks for all the correspondence this week.  A special little package arrived.  A good friend remembered how much I like Elmo and guess who showed up - Elmo himself!  I always liked his character because he was just so "in the moment", joyful and happy.  I've kept a little Elmo in my office just to remind me to smile, have some fun and don't be so serious.  To that end, here's a clip for you!  Thank you Shari!!
Have a great weekend and thanks again for all of your support!

Saturday, May 10, 2014
With Appreciation

This being the first of many posts, I would like to begin by expressing Chelle's and my deep appreciation for all of your calls, emails, texts, IMs, cards, thoughts and prayers. 
I was told that having cancer teaches one to receive and I believe that.  Many years ago, I broke my femur and was in a wheelchair for a month and on crutches for three months after that.  I learned that I needed to be able to accept help from others with grace and dignity. It was a hard lesson, and this experience will take that lesson to a new level.  Thank you all.

The story
I had not felt well in the late winter (for about 6 weeks) and thought it to be something in my abdomen. My GI doctor appointment was for May 14th. When I was in Seattle on April 18th, I became abruptly ill and thought it to be food poisoning. I came home and rested and felt better.
The following weekend I had another episode which was much more intense, so I went to the ER on Sunday. The doctors thought at it was a GI problem, but my blood work was way out of balance. The ER doctor had the sense to order a CT scan. They found a mass behind my esophagus and admitted me.
The week of April 28th was testing and having various doctors visit and ask questions. They also drained a gallon of fluid from my abdomen.

My personal physician, Dr. David Crane, sat down with Chelle and I and gave us some good guidance on how to approach this. He conditioned us to be ready to make some important decisions.

An oncologist in St. Louis, Dr. Michael Bolger, determined that my body has developed a condition of peritoneal mesothelioma. It is a cancer in my abdomen caused by exposure to asbestos. He felt the next step would be to visit someone who deals with this particular form of cancer (apparently there are less than 500 cases of it diagnosed in the US annually).  She is located at the University of Chicago, and her name is Dr. Hedy Kindler.

We had an appointment with Dr. Kindler this past Wednesday, May 6th, and talked with her, one of the fellows, and her nurse for about 90 minutes. She agreed to take our case and went through many details with us and answered all of our questions. I asked if we caught this early and her response was “medium early.” She also said my age and physical condition are an advantage. Lastly, she wanted a surgeon, Dr. Eugene Choi, to talk with us and arranged an appointment for the next morning at 9:00 AM.
Dr. Choi and his nurse spent a good hour with Chelle and I and described the next steps.

A surgery will be performed which has two main components. First, a thorough exploration of my abdomen will take place and any masses will be removed. This may include parts of some organs, but, he assured us that will be only what is necessary. He might need a second operation on the mass by my esophagus, but he can’t say until he gets a look. He will then remove a lining from my stomach where the mesothelioma cells like to be.  

The final part is commonly referred to as “hot chemo” and they pump a 104-degree Fahrenheit chemotherapy solution into the abdomen, which penetrates areas that contain microscopic cancer cells that cannot be seen or physically removed.  From what Chelle and I gathered, this process takes between 8 and 14 hours, and Dr. Choi wanted to make it clear that this was a maximally invasive surgery and literally anything can happen once they start.  He said his experience is he rarely finds a situation where it was better than he thought going in (due to the way the cells grow).

Dr. Choi’s nurse set up a full day of pre-op testing and consultations for us on Thursday, so Chelle and I went to the lab for bloodwork, had a meeting with the anesthesiologists, and had one final CT scan from my pelvis up to my neck. All pre-op work is complete.

Dr. Choi will present my case next Tuesday to a board that peer-reviews the diagnosis and treatment protocol.

An exact surgery date has not yet been set as it takes time to build up the team and schedule them due to the length of the sugery.  We will post that date as soon as we know it.

Special Thank You’s for the week:

My colleagues at Boeing who have sent so many well wishes and offers of support. You have removed all worry about Bill’s work responsibilities so that he can focus on this “special assignment.”

Allan and Jodi for rides to and from the airport.

Gaye and Hoosh for taking care of Sugar.

The Arnold Family for adopting Audrey for the week.

The Gerrity Family for cutting our grass.

Les for getting the dontgoitalone website rolling again.

Sister Catherine for taking some quiet time with Audrey.

The Visitation Academy for supporting Audrey everyday.

Sally, Mark, and Maggie for opening their home to Chelle and I, getting us to/from the airport and hospital, and, friendship and long talks about the years gone by and fun we have had.  So many good stories!


Chelle and I made it home last night to catch the last part of the father-daughter dance for Audrey’s school.  It was the best way to wrap up a very long week!
Wrapping it up

All in all, Chelle and I feel good about where we are now and the next steps.  Bill will work a limited schedule in St. Louis up until the day before surgery.  That’s all for now…thanks again and have a great day