Thursday, January 05, 2006

A New Year's Update

Thank you to everyone for the fine new year's wishes, prayers, and good thoughts. Despite the disappointing news last month, I stay strong in my conviction of the power of prayer and postive affirmations. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Although not much has happened I thought it time for a short update. As I had hoped, Susan and I have had the pleasure of spending much time with Julia and Catherine. Their long holiday break has given us time to just "hang out" together. They even watched the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl with me, cheering for my favorites along with me. What a treat--and we have 2 more weeks together. In my reentry to the social world, i.e., getting out of the house, I have picked up "the crud". While not usually worthy of discussion, given my low white count (it continues to drop--probably due to the myeloma) I have few resources to fight the bugs. So, this holiday season has given me a few trips to the clinic/hospital, chest xrays and sinus CTs, and antibiotics. I am scheduled to start on the velcade on January 16th and am looking forward to getting some chemical help in fighting this disease--provided the "crud" is under control by then. Our best to you and we'll let you know how things are going once the velcade treatments start. Love, Dan


Dorothy said...

Good Evening. Now that the decorations are put away and life gets back to some sort of “normal”, I too thought of a quick note to you all. We celebrated New Year’s in Utah! How exciting are we! Actually it did turn out to be quite a nice visit this time. We got to visit with family that we sometimes only talk to over the phone. My winter break ended Monday so back to the “grind”, Greg did take some time off, and Rebecca is enjoying her “play days” and sleeping until 11:00. She and Greg are going skiing tomorrow. She will go back to school on Monday. Then we have the count down to her 13th birthday! How did that happen! It was truly just yesterday that she was born! Then I really can’t comment since Catherine and Julia were little when we met. All three are such wonderful people and such joys to be around.

I would love to have a great discussion with you and Susan regarding our current “situation” involving our esteemed leader and his definition of “defending this country”. Need I say anymore of how I feel about him!!

Dan, as always you all are in our thoughts and prayers. While in Utah we light candles and asked family and friends to keep you all in their prayers and thoughts. Keep strong, as we know you will and again keep that family near you for strength. Talk to you soon. Love the Seals

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

So good hearing from you. Too bad about your cold (I don't know the word 'crud', but I guess that is what you caught). I hope it is getting better soon so that you can start on your new drug as planned.

How wonderful that the girls are still with you; I thought their break would be over early in January. That explains why I can never get you guys on the phone... I will keep on trying.

Keep strong. We love you. Bises to you, Suz and the girls, Sigun.

Dan said...

Two people have now commented to me that they are unfamiliar with the term "crud". So here goes, sorry for use of a slang term, (I'm not sure where I picked up that term) Here is what I mean: cough, cold, running nose, headache and generally a bad cold. NOthing very unusual this time of year--unless you don'[t have the resources to fight it. But, I am sure I'll get through it.

Arlene said...

Hi Dan,

Down home here it is actually referred to as "The Galloping Crud". You must have picked up the term - you know where!


Be well - Love ya!

Mrs. Joshwick said...

Well I'll be damned. Hard to imagine the word "crud" would befuddle some folks. It is in the dictionary with a couple definitions---1) a deposit or incrustation of filth, grease or refuse; and 2) an ill-defined or imperfectly identified bodily disorder. I believe Dan was using the latter definition. Crud is also used as an adjective like-- It sure is cruddy that Dan has the crud. It also has a slang use like--- That's a crock of crud! Anyway, I hope none of you have the crud or have a cruddy day because if you do that's a bunch of crud!
Affectionately yours,
Mrs Joshwick

Dan said...

Continuing in the vein opened by Mrs. Joshwick, the diagnosis is in and it is: Respiratory Syncytial Virus, which is defined as follows:
Clinical features: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under 1 year of age. Illness begins most frequently with fever, runny nose, cough, and sometimes wheezing. During their first RSV infection, between 25% and 40% of infants and young children have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and 0.5% to 2% require hospitalization. Most children recover from illness in 8 to 15 days. The majority of children hospitalized for RSV infection are under 6 months of age. RSV also causes repeated infections throughout life, usually associated with moderate-to-severe cold-like symptoms; however, severe lower respiratory tract disease may occur at any age, especially among the elderly or among those with compromised cardiac, pulmonary, or immune systems.

I suppose it makes sense that a person with a baby immune system would come down with a baby's virus. Have a great weekend. I plan to spend the weekend in my crib. Dan

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,
I was sorry to hear you were crudded up over the holidays. No laughing matter when your immune system is so delicate and there are so many things to get on with in the coming months. We pray for you every day.
Have you noticed how many words beginning with "cr" connote the unpleasant? My favorite is "crapulent," partly because you can say it to the queen and then tell your friends that you said crap to the queen. In fact, crapulent means feeling cruddy because you ate or drank too much. Then there is crudensence, the return of something that is medically cruddy. And creepy, crawly, cranky, etc. I looked up crud in our Concise Oxford Dictionary published in 1929. Crud was nowhere to be found. Neither was crap. We seem to have entered a new age of Chaucer, when people put a premium on short, blunt, in-your-face Anglo Saxon words, like the F word and its friend, fart. A bestseller last year in Britain was called "Crappy Cities," which seemed to include most of Britain. I saw an exchange somewhere between two people:
She: "I love the word 'crapulent."
He: "Why?"
She: "It is so cool."
He" "Sounds nasty."
Me: Precisely.
If you had started this thing by saying the medical term for crud, none of this would have happened.
One more thought: one definition of crud includes the feature that it describes something that is sticky. Another notes that crud is a corruption of curd, and curds are famously sticky. And so on.

If you have any interest in French politics these days, you might like to read the following e mail we sent to a friend in New York about Nicolas Sarkozy, a frontrunner to be the next president of France.
Love to Susan,Catherine and Julia,

Before plunging into French politics, I want to tell you about an experience I had yesterday while surveying some of Paris's best boulangeries with the Floridian named Stephan Sigun mentioned to you. It was our last stop, in the 18th arrondissement, a fringe neighborhood near the Porte de St. Denis on the northern end of the city, full of soulless apartment blocks like the ones we saw on TV when the riots were going on last month in the banlieues. We bought a long crusty pain de campagne that turned out to be the best in memory, plus a couple of other breads. The lady helping us, in her 50s, Muslim, friendly, told me as we were paying that the baker had won the monstrously prestigious maitre ouvrier de France award in 2004, making him by official designation the best baker in the country that year. She pointed to a large framed black and white photo of Chirac bestowing the prize on this very young man, still in his 20s, at the Elysee Palace. Then the lady smiled and seemed to glow as she said: "He is my son." And so, here in a country that has kept its Muslim immigrants distanced and ignored for so long, a young Muslim somehow excels at one of the most French of artisanships. Next time I'll bring Sigun and we'll find out how he did it.
Now to Sarkozy. It is essential to understand the context of the storm over Sarkozy, which was omitted in the Guardian story. (On this "major British newspaper," I have to note that every British newspaper I know, and every French one too, seems constitutionally incapable of balanced political reporting. The U.S. is blessed as being the only country that has a press that holds objective news reporting as an ideal, even at times attained. The rest put opinion and partisanship ahead of reporting, so we have to be careful to weigh and cross check everything we see in the foreign press before forming a judgment. The Guardian wears big leftist blinders just as the London Times wears big Murdochian rightist blinders. In fact, when I tried to think of a news organization parallel to the Guardian in the U.S., all I could think fo was Fox News--wrong side, but same narrowness. )
French politics is stuck in an ironbound stasis of fear and mistrust that must be broken in order to bring needed changes, including integrating immigrants from Muslim and subSaharan Africa. It is hard for Americans to understand how backward France is in this respect. The French hate the immigrants, who, like African Americans, have come to hate the majority because of their exclusion from national life. Le Pen and his far right Front National have profited from all this.
Breaking the stalemate requires not only gaining the trust of the immigrant groups. The French must also be assured that their security is being looked after. Back in 2002, in the first round of presidential elections, France was humiliated when Le Pen came in second and forced Socialist Lionel Jospin, who came in third, into retiirement. Jospin deserved it because he tried to ignore the subject of safety, including torching of thousands of cars a year, desecrating Jewish cemeteries and burning synagogues. Analysis showed that many working class people on the left, including Communist union members, voted for LePen because no other candidate was addressing their fears.
What Sarkozy is doing, among other things, is pre-empting Le Pen by being a law and order interior minister. (His term for the rioters, racaille, or thugs, was his signal to the French that he was reliably tough. Just the same kind of move Bill Clinton made when he trashed Sister Souljah.) French voters now have a choice. At the same time he has advocated bold policies of openness and inclusion that no one else, left or right, has dared to do, including affirmative action and subsidizing Muslim worship to pre-empt the Islamists.
On Monday the International Herald Tribune, owned by the NY Times, ran a long piece that supports the above. Some key quotes:
The piece refers to "a characterization, vocal on the left and among a group of showbiz and sports celebrities with distant roots in housing project misery--and murmured insistently on the anti-modernist right--that makes Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and 2007 presidential candidate, the one-size-fits-all guilty party for the troubles."
" 'Permanent daily lynching has become the national sport,' Franz Olivier Giesbert, editor of the center-right newsweekly Le Point, wrote in its current issue. 'Our society demonizes.' "
"As counterintuitive as it may seem to many Americans at least, the French left won't touch affirmative action because it is considered anti-egalitarian and potentially threatens, in an obviously less articulated way, the white power structire in the left's leadership."
So you can see how Sarkozy is being attacked by the left, the far right, and even his own near right because he he has abrasively defied Chirac in announcing his candidacy to replace Chirac, whose chosen heir, Villepin, has so far been unsuccessful in sidelining Sarkozy. Sarko himself was once a Chirac protegee but made the mistake of backing Baladur against Chirac in one of the presidential elections. Last week Sarko gave a long interview to La Liberation, the left-wing tabloid. This is tantamount to Cheney giving a no-holds-barred interview to The Nation. After a prolonged barrage of charges that he was a closet fascist and LePen wannabe, Sarko said to the reporter: "I believe that I am more open-minded than you are." The reporter was momentarily speechless, as sometimes happens when the truth is spoken.
Through all this demonizing, Sarkozy remains the most popular politician in France, left or right. By the way, the most popular one on the left has been for a long time a man who doesn't even participate in day to day political activity, Bernard Kuchner, the co-founder of Medecins Sans FRontieres. Like Sarkozy, Kuchner is demonized from all sides. It seems a safe rule of thumb that any mainstream politico in France who is popular has likely got some excellent ideas that, by their very excellence, threaten entrenched powers in politics and among the union leadership, which is more troglodite than Trotskyite.
Sigun told me she wrote that we would vote for Sarko if we were French and he were running today. I would just add that while he will certainly turn out to have his down side, there is simply no one else on the scene in France today who promises some genuine movement beyond the unbudgeable fear and depression that is the order of the day.

Jaike and Shawn said...

Just think of the football terms you are learning like weak side linebacker, cover two defense or slant inside. I am glad that you are widening your sports data base. Need balance to Joe's insightful [and very interesting] French politics piece. Have to be well rounded at cocktail parties. Me, waiting on the Patriots and the ACC basketball match ups. It is indeed a grand time to be a Boston/New England fan living in Chapel Hill.

Ingrid said...

Days go by so quickly.
I hope your "crud" is much better by now, or possibly over.
But I have to admit it is a pretty tough period right now. I am struggling with my dear diabetes, it derailed, which means high values all over the day, with no reason and especially not reacting to the much insuline I give my body. No big deal, nothing at all compared to your struggle, but just as an excuse, maybe it was the Moon, sitting in a bad position to the earth and therefore giving us some problem more. And as I have my first better evening since about two weeks I send you all my positive energy for YOU.

How cool the picture from the South Pole, that has to go in the book for sure.

Here school started again and everything is a little bit more normal (whatever that might be).
We had quite a few sunny days now in a rowe so I just want to remind you that Tuscany is still waiting for you.

Love you and Susan

Pattie said...

Hola, Dan!
I think I may have finally figured out how this blog system works... I probably sent my first comments to the wrong place- Lo siento! Yes, I am still teaching Spanish after so many years...
I first heard about your battle with "C" when I saw your dear Mom at Mary Ebeltoft's funeral last March... it has been a long time since I've seen you, but have such great memories! Then Howard Sage - I teach his smart daughter Katie - informed me about this blog spot in November... I'm finally responding! I am impressed with your attitude - you explain the challenges of this disease with the thoroughness of an attorney - so much like the man I've been married to for 30 years! (Susan, isn't it a "hoot" to win an argument with these guys!!!)
Above all, know that there is an aging Spanish teacher, who will stop in a little chapel at St. Mary's Central HIgh School in Bismarck, North Dakota, to storm the heavens on your behalf! With fondness, Pattie Hallowell Schmidt

Brother Ted said...

Round one begins on Monday and I know in my heart that by the end of round four you will have scored a knockout. Enjoy this great weekend. Ted

Ingrid said...

Thanks Ted for letting us know that "round one" starts on Monday.
I would not really call it round one, but maybe that is good, it is a new start and we look forward to great wonderful results.

So Dan, I hope you could gather again all your strenght and are ready for this round one. I keep my fingers crossed and uncross them only to pray for you. Together with that I send you AND Susan millions and millions of megabytes of power, strenght, luck, positive thoughts, and last not least smiles and hugs with one sentence:
I, we all love you, care for you and want you to win this war.
And I, we all know that you WILL win this war !!! No doubt on that.

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

Today is your big day; we are with you all the way!! Bon courage. All our love, Sigun.

Arlene said...

Love you all. Be strong. All our prayers are with you.


Shawn and Jaike said...

Dan and Susan,
We have been thinking of you and sending prayers all weekend. Hang in there we love you.
After the Patriots debaucle, I have become an ardent Carolina fan.

From your pals in Chapel Hill

Dorothy said...

Dan and Susan, just wanted to let you know that we are there for you all and will be thinking positive thoughts today and everyday. Love to you all! The Seals.