Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday's visit to the clinic was uneventful--which is a good thing. My white counts, neutrophils, platelets, potassium, magnesium, hematocrit (red cells) are all where they should be. I'm doing so well that I don't have to return for 10 days, although Dr. Rifkin did give me the option of coming to the clinic this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday if I wanted. I graciously declined. So we wait for retesting, or as they call it restaging, i.e., testing everything under the sun once again such as bone marrow biopsy, bone scan, much blood work, and a few other niceties. No time scheduled yet for that exercise (last time it took 9 hours but I think it will be shorter this time). I hope it doesn't happen until after the holidays as the process will only bring to the surface the question of how well the transplant worked. Ignorance is bliss right now. I also asked Dr. Rifkin whether I could return to the health club to do light exercise. Request denied on the basis that I am only 38 days old and not yet ready to fend off all the nasties lurking about in the locker room. In addition to my walks (1 mile a day now) I am now lifting weights, but I feel I must clarify as it will give you all some sense of how much this transplant has knocked me back: the month before I was diagnosed last March I was curling 25 pounds per arm. When discharged from the hospital I was able to curl using 2 pounds per arm. I have now graduated to 3 pound weights--a 50% increase but a long long way from 25 pounds. Slow and steady, I know. I will report after my appointment on Dec. 1. Until then I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

We are going to our friends, the Richardsons, for Thanksgiving dinner. Chris Richardson and I lived together during law school and he has been an unbelievable friend during this difficult time--another friend who has become a brother over the years. He saw me at my absolute lowest this July and gave Susan and me great help and support during that time, something we will never forget.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and this year is no different. I am excited that our 2 girls will be home, we will be sharing the day with good friends, enjoying good food and giving thanks for all those blessings we have received this year. Despite all the difficulties we have faced, we still see ourselves as blessed and will give thanks this Thursday for all the gifts we have in our lives, including all of you. Happy Thankgiving to all. Love, Dan


Sonya said...

Happy Thanksgiving Dan. I wish you and your family the best. Do you think you can throw a bowling bowl for the Holiday Party?

Dan said...

Thanks Sonya. I assume you mean bowling "ball" not "bowl". The answer would be no. Bowling is apparently very bad for the back and my back is, well, hardly strong enough to carry the rest of me around. But I do know how to keep score and drink beer--which is a requirement for any bowling league I know of.

Richie and Stacey said...

Happy Thanksgiving Dan, Susan, Julia, Catherine from New Yawk :)
We think of you, pray and check the blog everyday. Pretty soon you'll be throwing the old pigskin around.
Richie, Stacey & Michael James :)

Arlene said...

Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

sigunjoe said...

Chers amis,

Thanks for the latest update, Dan. One mile a day, that ain't bad at all! Continue like that, continue like that!

Suz, I am glad you do not have to cook tomorrow! I will be making my first Thanksgiving dinner here in the last six years. I ordered a 'dinde fermiere' (a free range turkey) from my butcher on rue de Sevres, and will get all my vegetables from the open air marche on the rue de Saxe. It is so nice that you two know my neighborhood so well, because I know that you can 'see' my descriptions.

We're off to dinner at Eva and Paul's house tonight. There is another railroad strike; I do not know whether the metro is going to be running or not. Eva and Paul live near the Trocadero, so I guess we can walk there; but I wish I did not have to walk back!!

Enjoy the week-end with my girls and give them a big hug for me. Bises, Sigun.

Howie said...


Happy Thanksgiving to you, Susan and the girls. Also to Mom, Mrs. Joshwick and Timber Tom and the rest of the bloggers out there. All things considered, I'm sure this holiday will be sweeter than usual.
Things will be a little different for us this year here in the buffalo commons as we will be having turkey in Bismarck for the first time in 25yrs. Sue's dad is not feeling well and has landed in the hospital. So I suspect we will have the big doings at our place which will be a little strange as we're used to grabbing the shotguns and harrassing the pheasants before the noon meal. I don't think the neighbors will appreciate it too much if we do that this year.

The weather continues to be beautiful here in ND also, but kind of dry. I'm considering writing a book on drought in ND or was that trout in ND? What do you think?

Here's hoping everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Lynne said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Dan and Susan! Love, Spike and Lynne

Dan said...

I'm not sure why but today seemed like the right day to tell some of you fellow bloggers who Howie and Spike are. In addition to growing up together in Dickinson, ND (even though Howie was a southsider), Howie, Spike and I lived together in 1972 in Grand Forks, ND, while attending college. The house we rented, whose address Spike reminded me of the other day--107 Walnut--had quite a reputation for "good times". We all had long hair and were a bit wild and crazy. Some 10 years later, Spike and I found ourselves living in Denver and, of course, we saw quite a bit of each other. My daughter, Catherine, still remembers the great chocolate chip cookies Spike made. Spike and his wife Lynne, now live in northern Minnesota (apparently North Dakota wasn't cold enough). Howie and his wife Sue live in Bismarck. As Mrs. Joshwick noted, Howie was once known as "Horrible", but the name no longer fits. Once Howie learned of my cancer he first contacted Spike, then marshalled the forces of many of our high school friends, who are now either bloggers, or check the blog regularly. Howie has also sent videos of his annual fishing trip with some our friends and CDs of some of our favorite music (Boz Skaggs). The three of us shared a unique time together some 30 years ago and it is so nice for me to be back in touch with them. So that's who Spike and Howie are--true friends no matter how long we are out of touch or how far away we are. And on that note, Spike, Howie and all other bloggers...Ted is still waiting for your photos for the hard copy Blog Book. We all want to put those faces to the blog entries.

Dan said...

and once again, here is where to send your photos: digitally via email: tw8b@yahoo.com. Land mail: Ted Bettridge, 4296 Grove St., Denver, CO 80211. Thanks.

Mrs. Joshwick said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you,DAn,Susan,and the girls. Bob and I are in Texas with Mike and his family. Mike is just now getting the turkey ready. As for Howie,no one who still calls me Mom could be horrible. Besides he is on the board that controls my pension so let's not antagonize(sp) him. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Love, Mom(Dan's Mom)Mrs. Joshwick Actually this isn't Mrsl Joshwick but her mother.

John and Jan said...

Hey Dan -- Jan and I have been thinking a lot about you as you progress and gain strenghth and those good numbers. Folks at Shoshoni and Eldo send their love. Us too

sigunjoe said...

Looking in from across the ocean gives a little different perspective on your blog. For one thing, since we are following action as it unfolds on a stage in Denver, the feeling is like reading a living memoir of friends being acted out in detail that is not only intimate but dramatic. We know and love the main characters, all but one: the numbers, which come across as some unruly adolescent, with moods that swing from sunny one day to menacing the next, and back again.
Your story so far has an overpowering theme, at least to us: that the tiny pieces of daily life--those things most of us are blind to until we are forced to slow down--are the most precious. And possibly the most important. Most of us hurry through our lives looking for the big stuff. And we miss life.
The other night a French couple, friends and warm hosts, invited us to dinner to meet a new American friend they had made at a restaurant a few weeks earlier. A man from Philadelphia who is spending a couple of months in Paris. Turned out to be a sometime podiatrist/stock market day trader thrown out by a rich wife. He has spent the last number of years traveling in 70 countries looking for world class experiences. He ticked off his endless list—the night sky in Namibia, Iguassu Falls at the border of Brazil and Argentina, eating in New York restaurants (Paris, of course, is the pits), and on and on. He also is a self-styled expert on cheeses, the kind of person who can’t learn a subject without strangling it to death. He brought to dinner three cheeses carefully selected to tear our heads off, including one shaped like a turd, rubbed with something brown on the outside, and called Suppository of the Devil (Suppositoire du Diable). Disgusting, but he got our attention. Between boasts, a subplot seeped through: his wife of many years, with whom he had had two now-grown kids, one day out of the blue, or so he said, told him she was leaving him. He couldn’t believe it, although one wonders how she managed to get the message in between his non-stop sermons on himself. Now he continues to wander the world, pretty much alone and apparently desperately lonely. The point here is that this is a man who never listens to people and notices nothing that is not world-class, best ever and—this is important—likely to be unknown to most people. You don’t often come across such well informed cluelessness. We didn’t think of it then, but now we wonder what will ever slow this guy down. Our first thought: turn him on to ScoopOnDan.
More soon from your Paris correspondents.

Brother Ted said...

Like most of you I have to check this blog on a daily basis. Since I became involved in this blog I have spent time roaming through other blogs. What sets "Scoopondan" apart from the other blogs is the humanity that is evident in all the postings. The best of human nature is on display for all of us to share. Sigun and Joe's posting spotlighted, for me, the reason why this blog is so special. Dan and Susan! Unlike the clueless "stinky cheese man" Dan and Susan have always made those of us who have been part of their lives feel valued and important. They are always there for others. They makes all of our lives richer. This blog makes all of our lives richer. What a fantastic circle of friends.

Dan said...

Ah, so people don't like "the numbers". I must say I am in complete agreement on that front. But alas I will continue to report them as they are a part of the reality of this healing process. And while I love the fact that I only have to see my doctor every 10 days, the long wait between postings feels like I'm leaving everyone hanging, waiting for news. So I post today without any numbers or doctor's comments to report.

Here is my perception of why this blog has taken on a life of its own: Open Hearts. I have stated before that the most profound effect of this journey through cancer is that my heart has been jarred open by the overwhelming outpouring of support from friends and family. I literally can feel the love pouring in. That comes from a willingness on everyone's part to speak, loudly and publicly, from the heart. Just as my heart has been jarred open, so also it seems have many others of you had the same experience. That is rare. We (me most of all) often hide behind our personas. This blog, for reasons I don't completely understand, seems to have stripped many of us of our personas and allowed us to speak from deep inside. The partial anonymity may be an explanation (I think I am the only one who knows everyone posting on the blog) Maybe it's fear, for me or yourselves. Maybe it's empathy or sympathy. Whatever it is, we have all stepped into another realm and will never be the same. we all now know the truth of the saying, "the most important things in life are not things." While unfortunate that the lesson had to be learned this way, it seems the tough lessons always come with a price. The participants in Scoopondan obviously have learned that world class experiences are not found by searching the world over, but rather are those felt with the heart.

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

You are so right with your comments -- your illness has changed all of us. And, as you said, for the better.

Thanks, Suz, for the progress report on Dan -- he went from lifting 2.50lbs to 5lbs and now walks 1 1/2 miles a day -- that is fabulous!

The house must be quiet again, now that the girls have gone back to school. So glad you all had such a good time together. And you played scrabble, besides other things. Next time we are together, you all have to play it again with me. I'm just a beginner,I know, but I can learn!

We had a good week-end. Saturday morning we went to the Christmas Fair at St. George's (the Anglican church Joe likes, run by monks, near Ave. d'Iena), and we stocked up on home-made chutneys; I also talked one of the women there who makes fabulous home-made plumb puddings for the congregation's luncheon to sell me one. We were able to buy one five years ago, and Joe has been pining for one ever since. It is true, I could have made one myself, but I never got around to doing it. In the evening, after having gone to mass at Joe's church, St. Joseph (on Ave. Hoch, right near the Champs), we walked over to the Danish church which was having their Christmas Fair. We first bought our supplies of 'titi beeren'(a wild berry made into a kind of jam; the Danish -- and Germans -- eat it with game, Joe likes it on toast), red cabbage, herrings and -- my all-time favorite -- long strips of sweet and sour white pickles, the kind I grew up on. And then we treated us to such a tasty dinner, starting with a shot of Aquavit, then all kinds of smoked fish, washed down with beer. What a treat -- you two would have loved it. I love that Danish Christmas Fair; everybody is so full of good will and joy. and they do make such good food!

As you can see, we love those Christmas Fairs more for their food than anything else. Although at St. George I bought myself a great looking pink corduroy shirt for all of 3 Euros! I also bought two very delicate white with pink flowers Limoges 'demi-tasses'; not that I need any of those, I have so many of them. But I have dedcided to start collecting a few for my girls; the day Cate will hve her own apt., besides getting lots of your stuff, Suz, she'll get a few demi-tasses from me.

It is a cold and rainy day today. It is only 8.30 am, and Joe left already for a dental appointment. We have such a good dentist here, we just love him. Joe needs two crowns and so do I, so we will see lots of him in the next few weeks. He is much cheaper than ours in NY. Dr. Cronin in NY charged Joe $7,000 for two crowns a few years ago. Here it will cost us under $4,000.

Tonight we are meeting Christiane, Guy and the Morrisons on a 'peniche'(one of those boats in the Seine) for a cabaret evening. Suz, did you see years and years ago 'Jacques Brel is alive, well and living in Paris'? Well, that is what we are going to see. Will report on it manana!

My love to both of you. Bises, Sigun.

sigunjoe said...

Chers amis,

I wish you could have shared last night with us. It was absolutely magical. The 'peniche' was docked behind a bridge. Right above it loomed the back of Notre Dame. On a regular basis, a 'Bateau Mouche' or some such kind would glide by, illuminatinjg our own peniche and making our peniche rock gently from side to side.

Four singers and a pianist -- all Americans -- performed for us. They did some of my very favorite songs, such as 'Amsterdam', 'Mariek", 'the old people' etc. Some of the songs I did not know -- Brel wrote so many of them. Come to think of it, back in the US we have a video of a live performance of Jacques Brel, a very good one at that. If you are interested, we'll watch it together when you come and see us.

Our friends enjoyed the show as well. It is fun going to those Democrats Abroad evenings, because you always meet people you know.

More later. Bises, Sigun.

bri said...

hi fuzz:
hope you had a great thanksgiving. wasn't able to make it back to dickinson to enjoy with the bogner family, but we had the in-laws over and played some pinochle. the men won. (we hardly ever do) the girls went to a movie. the food was great. am sure glad to here you're getting better all the time. are you a bronco fan? they are doing quite well so far. but they still have to play my chargers one more time. well, for now, take care and talk to you soon.

Dan's Mom said...

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving,Dan and family. I have been remembering fondly my Thanksgiving with you last year. Little did we know what was in store for all of us. I am so proud of you for the way you are handling this dreadful cancer.

We had a great Thanksgiving with Mike(Mrs. Joshwick) and family. The older I get the more important family becomes. I am lucky to have such a loving and caring family.

I am also proud of Susan and the girls. They have been real troopers. I am sure it makes it so much easier for you to have them aligned with you to fight this battle.

I am with you all the way and love you so much it is hard to express. Mom(Dan's Mom)

Pam & John said...

Dear Dan,
I just read the note from Susan. I am glad to finally know your "goings on". We are honored to be on our knees with you in prayer.
Love, Pam and John

sigunjoe said...

Chers amis,

In case you want to read a good, small article on what goes on in the 'banlieues', look at Jane Kramer's article in Talk of the Town in the Nov. 21 New Yorker.

Am off to the 'Accueil' at the Cathedral where I am resuming my Thursday afternoon shift. I have to dress warmly, because it is bitter cold here. Heard on CNN that you guys have had a lot of snow... Winter is coming, I guess! Bises, Sigun.

Patty Nelms said...

I loved seeing you the other day Dan! As I drove away, I thought that didn't last long enough and wanted to circle the block to see if you were still there. You said your taste for coffee wasn't completely back yet so drinking coffee in a shop wasn't an option to waste away the afternoon . . . what about beer, or better yet Lola's has amazing tequila's? Just an idea to table for our next visit.

Take care today. It's brisk outside but at least no wind like yesterday. I am thinking of you and can't wait to see you again soon. Love to your 3 girls.
Love you,

P.S. I love hearing about Sigun and Joe's life in Paris! I feel like I'm right there.