Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fly Home

"Now my friends it's time to go,
And this love will live to grow,
And I want you all to know,
I'm going home."

Thanks to Pat for reminding me of this beautiful song by Arlo Guthrie which was in my head as we marked the one year anniversary of John's death this last Monday with the scattering of his ashes just out beyond one of his favorite surf spots in Morro Bay.  It seemed like the right time and place to do it.  John's sister JoAnna, his brother Frankie, and his donor sister, Lisa, and her husband Manuel, were all able to come to join us in a celebration of John's spirit on what couldn't have been a prettier autumn morning in Morro Bay.  His presence was felt as six to eight foot swells lifted the 72 ft. boat and our spirits with it. 

When the boat anchored (at latitude 35degrees 21.832 minutes north and longitude 120degrees 53.607 minutes west)the sun made a sparkling path across the water which calmed a little, and a big, brown pelican circled down and landed next to us and watched solemnly as we read some of John's poetry.  Then, his ashes were lowered into the water and after we each threw a red rose in to where the basket had disappeared, the pelican took off and flew away.  

I had chosen this poem of Malaysian poet See Fee Lee to share at the ceremony.  It was a poem I had sent to John when he was up at Stanford the first time and I was working here in San Luis Obispo.  I found it again when I was getting ready for our outing on Monday and it took on new meaning.  

Fly home there will be shine
with bright orange light
Fly home there will be sweet
with bright orange light
Fly home there will be caring
with bright orange light
Fly home there will be lovely
with bright orange light
Fly home there will be comfort
with bright orange light
Fly home there will be fortune
with bright orange light
Fly home there will be future
with bright orange light
Fly home Fly home to your nest
with bright orange light

My heartfelt thanks to those of you who thought of us and sent notes of support this last week.  I know there are many more who remembered John this week too.  There were nearly 100 views of the blog early this week.  Thanks for remembering and caring.
With love,

Back row: Young John, Mikey's girlfriend,Jillian, my sister Stacy, son Mikey, me, Stacy's husband Barry, John's brother Frank, Sue and Mike B, friend Jack, Lia's husband Bill with Lia.  Front row:  young John's girlfriend Laura, John's sister JoAnna, John's sister Lisa and her husband Manuel.

Mike and Jillian

Our surprise visitor

Frankie reads his poem
Mike B. reads a poem

Click on photos for a larger view.

( This last photo is Lisa and Manuel's boat in North Carolina.  Great name. )

Monday, March 14, 2011

For those of you who couldn't be there...

It is hard to believe four months have passed since John left us.  This week marked what would have been his 56th birthday.  I still can't quite believe he is gone and sometimes feel like he just might walk through the door, bringing his big energy with him.  

My son, John, was able to put the video of John's memorial up on the Vimeo site in two parts.  Here are the links.  Thanks to all who helped make this day such a special celebration of John. 

Here are the links:  

Part One:

Part Two:

Links to download the videos are at the bottom of each page on the right hand side.



Friday, December 10, 2010

Be Like Water

Dear Ones,
John's memorial service on Sunday was a beautiful thing.  It really could not have been more perfect. It rained a little, but then the day cleared up and we had a gorgeous view of Morro Bay, right at waterfront, with the sun shining through the clouds and onto the water. It looked like it made a silvery path just to us. (And yes, Cindy, there were pelicans.)

Family friend, Ellen Sheffer, guided us through a beautiful tribute to John.  The four speakers we chose, one from family, our brother-in-law, Barry, John's close friend, Mike Beauchemin, John King, from John's software days, but also a surfing, golfing, poker buddy, and Ben Fine, who worked with John at TEC and who was here with his new baby girl the week before John died, were all just wonderful and spoke from the heart. There was a great mix of funny John stories as well as a lot of deep sentiment.

Choir director, Paul Osborne, from the high school was able to pull together a group of current and former students to sing, and they were amazing. Their voices filled the room which was already filled with family and friends from all over. 

The highlight for me were our two sons, Mike and John, who were outstanding young men honoring their dad.  Young John read his dad's poem, "Be Like Water" beautifully, and Michael sang most beautiful version of "Danny Boy" I have ever heard, and I'm not just saying that because he's my boy. John would have been a puddle of tears, he'd have been so proud.  I am hoping to get a link up in the near future of some of the highlights of the service.

I know some of you who were not able to make it, were joining us in spirit from all over the globe.  Many said they felt John's presence there. What I know is that there was a warm cocoon of love for a unique, courageous, and loving man who will be missed by many, far more than he could have imagined.

We are still collecting donations to fund the choir and theater departments at the local high school.  These provided our family with so many beautiful memories over the years.  The fund will also help the student team that runs each year for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to raise funds for the cure.  Your donations are very much appreciated.  I think it is a beautiful way to honor John.

Please send your donation to:

The John C. Fiore Memorial Fund
at San Luis Obispo High School
1499 San Luis Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

The Tax ID number is 48-1295680

Thank you all for the love and support our family has received throughout the past six years.  We feel fortunate and blessed to have such a large, loving group of family and friends.  I haven't decided yet what to do with the blog.  Many think it should be turned into a book and I would love to see that happen at some point.  For now, I hope you will continue to post your comments and thoughts.  They bring comfort and smiles, as well as tears.

With love,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Honey, Cinnamon, and Mustard

John Christopher Fiore, 55, of San Luis Obispo, passed away at home with family on Sunday, November 14th, 2010. John was born in Providence, Rhode Island, but lived most of his life on the central coast of California after having earned an MBA from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. John worked in the local software industry but his life took an unexpected turn when he was diagnosed with leukemia in early 2005.

A gifted writer, John chose to turn what would have been a devastating experience for most of us into a positive force in his life and the lives of others when he decided to chronicle his cancer journey publicly in the form of this blog, “Holy Cow, I Have Leukemia!” His tremendous will and irreverent sense of humor, in the face of the unrelenting progress of his disease, informed, entertained, and inspired all who read his story.

Just months after bone marrow transplant in 2008, John finished the Santa Barbara half-marathon with the Central Coast Team in Training to raise funds for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. He was a “cancer warrior” who was proudly victorious in battle after battle, and only surrendered when he decided the disease had taken too much of him.

John was known for his generous heart and quick wit. He was a friend and mentor to many who knew him and worked with him. An enthusiastic wordsmith, he solved the Daily Jumble in seconds, beat most of us handily at Scrabble, and loved a good verbal spar. He was a poet and raconteur who left us a legacy of his writing and poetry. John loved games, be it a good game of backgammon, or cribbage with his friend, Michael, family games at holidays, or a hand of poker with friends or strangers. A natural athlete, he coached baseball and basketball for his boys. He enjoyed surfing and golfing, and he pitched a mean softball. John found comfort and spirituality in the majesty of nature and spent many happy days traveling, camping, hiking, and backpacking. He loved his family and raised two exceptional sons, of whom he was extremely proud.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Grace Fiore, of Rhode Island. He is survived by his wife, Dana, and his sons, John and Michael Fiore, all of San Luis Obispo; his brother, Frank Fiore and wife, Cheryl, of New Mexico; his sisters, Joanna Chapin and husband, Ted, of New York; Leslie Coletta and husband, Robert, of Rhode Island; his donor sister, Lisa Fiore Nunez and husband, Manuel, of North Carolina; and an extended “karass” that loved him for the unique man that he was.

A reception and memorial service will be held in his honor on Sunday, December 5th, beginning at 2pm at Rose’s Landing on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay. In lieu of flowers, please donate to:

The John C. Fiore Memorial Scholarship Fund
1499 San Luis Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

In his own words, John was "honey and cinnamon and mustard" and "the flash of lightning you didn’t see, except when the room lit up.” We will miss your light in the room, John, but will hold it, always, in our hearts.

Here is a link to some photos we are collecting.  Hope it will bring mostly smiles.

You can also sign John's guestbook and post photos at:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carry the Traveler

Dear Friends and Family,

John passed away peacefully early this morning. 

I have so much to say, but can't find the words now, so I will just post his.  I'm not sure exactly when he wrote this.  I found it this afternoon as I was beginning to feel the impact of the huge, empty space that his big personality once filled.  It gave me comfort.  

Be like water

I would like to be like water,
travel all around, go underground,
rise to the sky, see the world,
swim with the dolphins and whales,
save a thirsty soul,
pour off a sweating body,
fly to the sky,
dance with lightning and jam with thunder,
then drop like a rock in a hail of joy,
cover the earth with the
white pureness of my spirit,
feed the flowers and the trees,
carry the traveler,
never wanting, just being.


Friday, November 12, 2010

I Believe

John woke up groggy Wednesday morning but was focused on the promise we made him to get him down to see our boy, Mikey, in the PCPA production of Peter Pan.  He kept trying to get up, and wanted to get going, hours before the show started.  I was having some hesitation about it because he seemed so tired, but I could see how much it meant to him.  So son John, and good friend, Mike, bundled him into the wheelchair and off we went. 

I was in tears even before Wendy, Michael, and John left the nursery.  It was the "happy thoughts" that got me going and the flying did me in.  Our own Michael was terrific as Slightly Soiled, one of the lost boys, his hair wild and tousled before Wendy arrives, and combed neatly in the scene after she agrees to be "mother" to the lost boys.  It is really a wonderful production and the story has special meaning on many levels.  I was watching John closely and could see how he was struggling to even sit up, but now and then he beamed a smile and clapped his hands.  We had to leave after the first act because I could see he was fading fast, but our mission was accomplished. 

As soon as we got home, John wanted to go to bed, and the next day marked a dramatic change in his activity level.  He spent most of the day in bed and only made a few attempts to speak.  By last night, he was mostly sleeping and when he was awake, he was restless and showing the first signs of serious pain. 

Hospice nurses responded quickly, and family and friends gathered last night to make sure John knew he was surrounded with love.  He has been sleeping all day today.  His pain is managed but he has been unable to even open his eyes.   He seems peaceful but his breathing is labored at times. He has stopped eating and drinking and is unable to swallow.  We have had a quiet afternoon together which was welcome after so much activity over the last couple of weeks.  We listened to music, I talked to him, and read some of his poetry.  Mostly I just held his hand and listened to him breathe. 

He wrote these poems last month but didn't show them to me.  I found them as I was looking through some of his other poems.  Here they are.

Would that we could

have kept that angel,
the one that sat on our shoulders
as we wobbled through that toddler age,
missing table corners and open drawers
by whiskers, angel fingers taking the hits
for our soft little baby heads.
We zigged and zagged, the road
a mine field, trouble at every turn,
and yet here we are.
But now, the angel is gone,
and I miss mine at every fork,
every misstepped road.

Who I Was

There was a time,
in my youth,
when I was the flash of lightning you didn’t see,
except that the room lit up.
I was the scent of pine trees and sage
riding in on a hot wind from the south.
You smelled it and it was sweet but vague.
I was the river that you could not ford,
and the forest of Bishop pine and redwoods,
the paw prints in the forest by the stream.
I was all the honey and cinnamon and mustard,
fresia and roses and periwinkle, cats and dogs and birds,
but of course they all were consumed.
Now I am here, stripped of my nature,
just pain and bleeding and heartache,
reaching out to my death with
weak and mangled hands,
not wanting to touch it,
yet reaching and reaching.

I believe

If I could believe in
Heaven and Hell,
I would be very scared to die.
If God is within me,
all knowing, all powerful, all present,
should God be feared?
I was raised to believe
my soul will burn in eternal damnation,
what a thing to believe, I cannot do it.
I choose to believe
I will tour the universe, God within me,
freed of my mortal bounds.

John had often talked about "touring the universe" and not long ago I asked him if he was afraid of death.  He said he wasn't, without hesitation.  I think he believes as Peter Pan does, that "To die, will be an awfully big adventure."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

What is Real

John used to joke about throwing himself a wake while he was still here so that he could enjoy the party and all the stories and nice things people would say about him. In a way, the past few days have been a little like that idea. Though he has had mostly frustrating and difficult days and nights, there have also been some moments that were beautiful and happy. Family and friends have been stopping by, telling stories, bringing favorite foods, and just being present, making John the center of attention, which, as you all know, he loves.

Here are some highlights:

Having brother Frank, and donor sister, Lisa, and their spouses here, loving their brother, John.

A visit from friends with a brand new baby. John held Sierra in his lap and they smiled dreamily at each other.

Several trips in the wheelchair, over to the park behind our house with the guys, to throw the ball for Woody on delightfully warm fall days.

Sharing Danish pancakes with family and friends gathered round our dining table.

Reconnecting with old friends. The beautiful side of crisis is the way that it brings people together.

Watching home movies of happier times. Little boys, doing little boy things. Where did the time go?

A sing-a-long with Chris O'Connell, who indulged us with old favorites and had John clapping and smiling, and all of us laughing and crying.

And cuddled up, watching the rain, quiet and peaceful, and lovely, even if tears were flowing.

It's still very difficult to understand John, increasingly so. In fact, he has resorted to a thumbs up or thumbs down to answer yes or no questions, and to pointing to indicate he wants something, or wants to be moved. Even though he is suffering what most of us would consider worse humiliation in his weakened condition, I think the inability to communicate may be what is hardest for him.

He is able to stand briefly, with help, so that we can get him from the bed to the wheelchair, etc. but has lost much of his fine and large motor coordination.  He is most alert in the late morning but tires easily.  He seems to enjoy having friends stop by for short visits, and in spite of all the challenges he is facing physically, is able to let his spirit shine through. 

I have so many people to thank for thoughts and prayers, and special thanks to so many who have taken time out of their busy lives to make sure we are OK. To Mike and Jack for making John laugh, to Jen, Lisa, Jan, and Missy for wonderful dinners and treats, neighbors Bruce and Pat, Craig and Janice, Leslie, Patrick and Sue, also for dinners and treats, and making sure Woody gets his walks, to Ellen for providing a much needed break for me on Saturday morning, to Leti, (I suspect it's you that has been leaving flowers on my doorstep), to Daria and Gloria for shoulders to cry on, to my dear sisters Lia and Stacy, don't know what I'd do without them, to my son, John, who has put his life on hold and is here for both his dad and me, and to my teaching partner, Kim, and substitute, Penny, for holding down the fort while I am gone. I'm sure I have forgotten to mention some of you. Forgive me. I am feeling a little muddled myself and kind of running on empty, but know that your kindness is appreciated.

To all of you who have posted or emailed your kind thoughts about John and me, thank you. I read them to him daily. To Pat, and Mac and other faithfuls at the blogbar, thanks for following the yellowbrickroad. To manitooboo, Mo, and to whoever it was that posted that beautiful poem by Wendell Berry, thank you. Such peaceful imagery.

Here is a passage from one of my favorite stories, The Velveteen Rabbit. It just seems to fit.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side...

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

I know you all understand.  Love, Dana

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

John is Home

Dear Friends and Family,

We brought John home today.  He is resting comfortably behind me as I write this.  We have a hospital bed downstairs in our family room so that he can be as much a part of things as he is able to. We had a little bit of a rough start this morning transporting him, and maneuvering the wheel chair and the other equipment we're learning to use.  There were lots of people here trying to help, and he seemed to get very frustrated at the confusion and at not being able to express his needs.  But later, he and I enjoyed some quiet time alone together out on our back patio.  He sat in the wheelchair and I sat across from him, holding his hands.  It was an unseasonably warm fall afternoon.  The late afternoon, golden light played on the hill behind our house and made the leaves, already beautiful in shades of red and yellow, seem to glow.  Woody was at his feet, the birds were singing, a warm, gentle breeze was blowing, and there was no need to say much at all. 

My dear sister, Stacy, was here helping all day, and running out to get all the things we needed that I hadn't thought of.  We have a professional caregiver here helping too.  She will stay with me at least until our son, John, gets back here.  Dr. M recommended we have two people here at all times.  My sisters will be providing respite for us, and Hospice met with us today to get their wonderful support started as well. 

John has been taken off of curative care.  No more chemo.  The doctors say it would only make him sicker now.  He will be receiving care from the trained staff at Hospice to make him as comfortable as possible here at home.  He is still having great difficulty talking and with motor function. He cannot stand or even move his legs without assistance. He is eating and drinking very little, and sleeping quite a lot.

I had some good friends stop by today to help out too.  Thank you, Bruce, for helping get John into the wheelchair while I was napping, and for taking Woody out for a spin.   Manitooboo Lisa, who is in town caring for her aging mother brought me a delicious dinner, and she and Gloria perked John up quite a bit.  He was joking with them, and he seemed to enjoy his own jokes, even if we didn't always quite get them.

John's brother, Frank, and his wife are here, as are his donor sister, Lisa, and her husband.  They enjoyed some down time today and explored a bit of our beautiful central coast with a visit to Hearst Castle.  The Fiore family has had too much sorrow this fall, with the loss of their mother just last month, so I'm glad they were able to get away for a bit.

I thought I was mentally prepared for this, but it is clear I'm not.  After five years of Superman, I think this caught us both by surprise.  Thank you all for your warm wishes and kind words.  I will pass them on to John. 

With love,

Friday, October 29, 2010

Final Round?

Dear Ones,
Thank you for all the well wishes.  I wish I had better news for you. 

It's true that John has surprised us all over the years with his strength and resiliency, but it seems that this time, the hurdle is too high for even him.

I met with John's doctors last night, and though the MRI showed no cause for the neurological issues he is exhibiting, (disorientation, inability to speak, and loss of physical control) what it did show was new growth of the leukemia cells in his spinal column (C1 and C2 vertebrae for you who are medically savvy.) The doctor says this form of the disease has no effective treatment.  Rather than continue with the chemo regime he has been on, the doctor is suggesting at this point that we stop curative treatment, which makes him feel sicker, and begin to think about palliative, or hospice care.

He was not able to tell me how much time he has exactly, saying it varies from case to case, but he did say it would likely be a matter of weeks, rather than months, until he was likely to succumb. 

He remains at French Hospital (room 217) and will likely be there at least through the weekend.  We are getting things set up here to bring him home.

He is mostly sleeping, doesn't seem to be in much pain though he complains of occasional headaches.  He has to be coaxed to eat a few bites.  He can manage a few words sometimes but seems frustrated with not being able to express even his most basic needs.  He seems to appreciate visitors but tires quickly so if you go, keep visits short.

His sense of humor still shines through occasionally and he will make a witty comment just when you thought he had dozed off, but I think he is very tired of this battle, and why wouldn't he be?  His doctor feels sure that John would not want him to try to extend his life with heroic means if there is no quality to it.  He told me that John and he had had that discussion many times.

So we are bracing ourselves for this last chapter.  I am really hoping that his mental ability returns, and they say it still might, so that he can have the kinds of conversations I know he wants to have in these last few weeks, and who knows, maybe even squeak out a blog entry or two.  So if you pray, pray for that, and that he remains pain free and will find peace in these last few weeks.

Thank you for following our story and for your support and humor when it was most needed.

We love you all,
Here is a picture in happier times, in Yosemite, not long before the first diagnosis. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,
Dana here with difficult news.  John is back in the hospital.  He is fighting some sort of infection, and it has hit him hard.  I will write with more news when I have it but at this time, he is in and out of consciousness and is disoriented and unable to respond to even simple questions.  The doctors say it is too soon to tell if he will come out of this.  Please keep him in your thoughts.
With love,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The other guy was a truck

I went in for my neurosurgery on Friday at 6 am, filled out all the paperwork for the 500th time, and then waited in the pre-op area.  This big guy came in and had me sit up, and then slugged me right in the eye and knocked me out.  Turned out he was the anesthetist and he was out of juice, so I took one for the team.

What really happened is the surgery went fine, it was over before I knew they had started, done in an hour.  I had my own single room, no crazies except me since I am immuno-suppressed (wink wink).  I lay around Friday and Saturday morning, pondering the world on Narco (double Vicodin). 

The swollen eye came about Sunday morning when I went out to get the paper and walked through a couple of spider lines.  I must have been bitten; I felt the lines go across my face, but didn't feel anything, but later I started swelling up until my right eye was almost closed. 

I saw the doc yesterday morning, and he agreed it was not an allergic reaction, since it was only in one eye, so cold compresses took care of it.  This morning he tried out the Ommaya reservoir, taking out some CSF and putting in some methotrexate.  Piece of cake, done in ten minutes, much better than a spinal tap.  Stitches come out in a week or so, and the perfect Halloween costume will be ruined a few days early.

One lumpy-headed bastard.  Man, I do look like I have been through some @*%$%^! or what?

I love Manitouboo's suggestion for GPS and internet, but Blue Cross would not approve it, plus there is the no-fly-list thing.

A cheery poem from the Writer's Almanac for today:

by Ronald Wallace

Just once, you say,
you'd like to see
an obituary in which
the deceased didn't succumb
after "a heroic struggle" with cancer,
or heart disease, or Alzheimer's, or
whatever it was
that finally took him down.
Just once, you say,
couldn't the obit read:
He got sick and quit.
He gave up the ghost.
He put up no fight at all.
Rolled over. Bailed out.
Got out while the getting was good.
Excused himself from life's feast.
You're making a joke and
I laugh, though you can't know
I'm considering exactly that:
no radical prostatectomy for me,
no matter what General Practitioner
and Major Oncologist may say.
I think, let that walnut-sized
pipsqueak have its way with me,
that pebble in cancer's slingshot
that brings dim Goliath down.
So, old friend, before I go
and take all the wide world with me,
I want you to know
I picked up the tip.
I skipped the main course,
I'm here in the punch line.
Old friend, the joke's on me.

"Obituary" by Ronald Wallace, from For a Limited Time Only. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Disco brain

My doctor is the Yoda of spinal taps.  He curled me up like a little baby, poked around and found the right spot in my back and tapped into a juicy spot, and we were done in no time.  He was riding the sciatic nerve for the last 2 minutes, but nothing worse than holding a strong 9 volt battery on your tongue for a while.  Zinged right down to the toes of my left foot.

Unfortunately, the juice he took out was tainted with some leukemic cells, and so now I am getting an ommaya reservoir installed in my skull, for the administration of chemo and extraction of fluids for testing.  This should be easier than spinal taps, and more effective at getting the chemo to the area that needs it.

You can see in this picture that the doctor peels back a flap of skin, then puts a hole in your head and inserts the ommaya reservoir, which has a small tube that connects to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).  That is where they want the chemo to go. 

For an extra $500, I have asked for the plexiglas window in my skull, and 3 LED lights, red, blue and green.  If I am angry, the red lights up; depressed is blue; at peace is green.  The trick is to get them all going and create a disco ball effect. 

This guy cheaped out, no LEDs (nice zipper tho):

I have to go in the hospital Friday at 6 am, and they will knock me out at 8 am or so to do this, a short operation, but I have to stay overnight, in case I seize up or start running around nekkid.  I have arranged so I get a single room, i.e. no lunatics other than me.   I had tickets to see Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain, so too bad, I bought those for someone else. 

My meeting with the oral surgeon last Thursday was useless, as he wants the jaw to heal from the infection and extraction for a month or two, so I will see him in a few weeks.  It is healing very fast.  Mike B and I went up to the Jade Festival last Thursday, and stayed at Limekiln Park, 85 miles north. 
Jade Belly Dancers

Bruce M, me, AJ (Mike and Sue's daughter)

Patience shopping for beads

We took the Ford Econoline RV, which remains unnamed.  Sue and Patience and AJ came up Friday, and we hung around the Jade Fest, listening to the music and checking out the jade and other rocks, and the people and the cake and smoothies.  I was actually well-dressed in that crowd!  The refrigerator on the RV worked great, but we didn't test the wastewater systems with no disposal site nearby.

Monday I got a shot of cortisone deep into my left hip.  It felt great right away, because of lidocaine, marcaine, Caan and Abel, cane backed chairs, sugar cane, and all the other canes they dumped in there.  Once those started wearing off, I didn't feel nearly so Abel, but the cortisone takes a few days to settle in and get to work.  Doc even said I should able to golf.  Never could before, haha.

After meeting with the neurosurgeon, I was snacking on Chex Mix after lunch.  Next thing I know I am cutting my cheek as I eat a pretzel.  Apparently I cracked the edge off a temporary crown.  How do prisoners hide razor blades in their mouths?  I was getting shredded.  I called the dentist, and luckily the permanent (?) crowns are in and he can put them in tomorrow, moving up from next Monday.  Right now I have piece of xylitol gum draped over the sharp edge.  Where did the cracked-off piece go?  I hope I don't get torn up when it exits.

The big 25 year anniversary is coming up in November, so Dana and I are looking at Galapagos Islands cruises and visiting Ecuador.  Anyone out there knows anything about this area, tell me.