These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, September 08, 2006

dad update

i have talked to my sister and brother today and they have provided me with more information and in the process given me hope.

what happened is that the surgeons went in and removed his gall bladder, which they had to do in this type of surgery. they began looking around and noticed the cancer underneath or behind the left side of the liver. the left side was the side that was to sustain the liver since about 80 percent of it was to be removed. howeve,r since that part of the liver was "invaded" by cancer, they couldn't do anything.

my dad found out about what happened this afternoon. he was talking to one of the doctors there, who was interviewing him or askinghim questions. he asked "how long do i have to live?" the woman said that is not a question i'm asking.

the people at MDA in houston want him to go back home and start chemo. they think there's a chance if the chemo shrinks the cancer then he might be able to go back and get an operation. so i was mistaken to say that that option was out of the picture.

the woman told him he's a healthy man. and he is. he kept pretty busy, doesn't drink or smoke.

so while i am saddened by the news of more cancer, i see hope now. so let's see how it goes and what my dad has to day. i have yet to speak to him. i'll call him tomorrow to find out how he's doing.

they are to stay in houston for a week before they can return. perhaps more tests will be conducted and this new situation more defined so when he goes back home, they'll have a abetter understanding of what's inside of him.

more cancer found

as things go, this is very bad news.

my mom called at 12:30 (minutes ago) to let me know the doctors found more cancer inside of my father. it was devastating news.

we talked only briefly and i only got the facts i needed for now. but it appears the surgeon began the surgery and were examining the area before cutting off the portion of the liver. it was especially important since there were signs of a swollen lymph node near the liver, even though it was deemed swollen for other reasons than cancer.

mom said they started looking and they found cancer underneath the liver, maybe outside the liver. in essence, it had spread beyond the boundaries of the liver. the surgeon said he couldn't operate and that it would be more dangerous if he did since the cancer spread.

the scans that were performed on my dad showed no signs of the cancer spreading because the cancer was underneath his liver.

the surgeon came out much earlier than expected, my mom said. my brother thought it was done already. my mom said she knew it wasn't a good sign because she thought it was too early for him to have been out of surgery.

there is nothing else he can do at this point. they will remain there a few days before going back home. his suggestion was going back to the oncologist and see about more chemo to see if it would shrink the cancer. if not...then there is nothing left to do.

it had been going so well and the cancer shrinking, except for this past month and a half when a large tumor in the right side of his liver doubled in size. i guess there was only so much the cancer could be killed off before it just stopped shrinking.

we are all taking it bad. my siblings, who made the trip up to houston to be with my mom (thank god they were able to do it), were crying. i am defeated right now, little tears but completely deflated.

and can't even begin to imagine what my dad will feel once the anesthesia wears off and he's told that he has more cancer and they couldn't do anything for him. that's something you read about happening in movies. i guess you never expect it to happen in real life and to a family member.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


i woke up this morning when the alarm rang and dawn got up. i couldn't immediately go back to sleep, so i spent about 30 minutes running a whole bunch of nothing through my mind in an effort to try to go back to sleep.

it was all nonsense stuff, all of which i have forgoten...except for heaven-o.

the idea popped into my head about the thing some people in south texas wanted to change. i wracked my mind trying to think of what the change was. nothing, nothing, nothing. finally, when i woke up, it came to me. heaven-o.

here's the background. this guy named leonso canales jr. from kleberg county in south texas had a bee in his bonnet about using the salutation "hello" because it contained thw word "hell" in it. he started a campaign that culminated in 1997 with (get this) the kleberg county commissioners adopting a resolution for employees to (optional use the new greeting "heaven-o."

i remember when i first happened and i heard about it in the news. i thought it was the stupidiest thing i'd heard (or at least the top three). what was more astounding is that the commissioners adopted the resolution, unanimously. frightening.

kleberg county is only about 25 miles from where i grew up in duval county and it's the place i went to college and psent many years in classes there.

canales is quoted as saying that the "o" disguises the hell, but that it's there. when you finally see it, "it slaps you in the face."

tp his credit, canales does not want it to be a religious thing or affiliate it with a church. but i don't believe all religions believe in a heaven in the sense of the place like christianity does. so he's being a little elitist there.

in a piece of exchange with a man from san antonio, texas, canales says that if the pledge of allegiance said "one nation under satan, instead of under god, then it would be okay to use "hello." well, i hate to burst canales' bubble about the pledge of allegiance but the hallowed pledge was an advertising ploy in 1893 for a flag maker to sell more flags. he thought the little ditty he made up would help him sell more flags. and look where that little ditty has gone, to space and beyond.

i hope this link works. it contains a series of exchanges between mr. canales and another man.

i think the heaven-o thing is a bunch of hooey, for lack of a better, but perhaps more vicious expletive. ow anyone could spent time and energy dedicating himself to this effort is insane. i suppose wht it really says is if you want to pick something crazy to fight for, you can, no matter how bizarre, stupid or out of this world it appears to be.

i mean, when i say hello, i usualy say "he (short e sound) lo. i don't put an particular emphasis on the hell part of hello. it's stupid.

i must admit, maybe i'm missing the point, but i really never thought of hello as negative simply because it contains the word hell in it. it just doesn't matter. i have othere useless things to spend my time doing other than thinking of this.

caution to our fellow michiganians in hell, mich. you guys are in trouble, how dare ye mock the world and the sanctity of all that is good around us by having your forefathers call the town hell.

musical note to paul mccartney: you are damned for writing "hello goodbye." you should have thought it out more carefully before writing it. or did you? ah, now i understand the connection between the beatles and manson. it's so clear to me. it was all intentional. you sly lad.

"you say heaven-o, i say goodbye/ heaven-o, heaven-o."... han, just doesn't have the same ring, does it? you did the right thing paul.