For lighter news, that is actually connected to music, please click HERE to see what I've been up to with New Day Mile (2005-2010).
To see how I got from 2001 to 2005, click HERE.
For anything earlier than that, call or send an email ...although you may be amazed at how little I remember!!
JUL 18 2011
Sometimes no news IS good news!
Sorry for being so absent from ...well, from everything lately! The fact is that I do find myself more and more tired, which leaves me doing less and less, so it's hard to come up with "news". However, I do want you to know that, even if the body is fading, the spirit most definitely is NOT!
I feel as strong, and as ready for whatever comes, as I ever have! No matter how often I've said it before, it still bears repeating that your messages, and just knowing that you are there for me, plays a HUGE part in that. Each one makes me smile, and I hope you'll keep sending them from time to time, even if I don't reply nearly as quickly as I should!
Christy also wants me to say that you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at www.facebook.com/christy.vogt.dolan. Her reply may be more prompt ...and very likely more pleasant too!
APR 7 2011
Even MORE Dolan stuff (well, you did ask!)
Okay, so not all of you did, but enough to get me back on my soapbox again!
My latest CT scan shows that the cancer has been forging ahead, seemingly oblivious to healing, earthly or otherwise. Not great news, but not the worst either ...I was honestly prepared to deal with being told my time was almost up, but Dr Polikoff tells me that, if I can avoid infection and keep my weight up, I could have another six months (yes, that's right, they're telling ME I need to eat more!!) .
If you've read my previous rants, you'll know that I was prepared for an Apr-May-Jun 'departure', so now it looks like I have more time! (hmmm, more time ...to live ...I know I've heard that somewhere before).
We've now decided to stop chemo (silver lining, yay!) and I will start radiation next week, purely to relieve the coughing. Apart from the coughing, I feel pretty good overall, and you know that you all help that in a BIG way!
PS I feel I must mention that, upon hearing the news, my very wise (NOT sarcasm) mother-in-law said "well, that's six more months to work on that miracle!".
MAR 17 2011
Dolans in Brazil: Part Two
As most of you know, Christy and I recently returned to Abadiania, Brazil, to see the healer/medium Joao (known as John of God) again. A lot of you have asked how our second trip went, so here's what happened.
I had a pretty rough first week (very little energy, no appetite, lots of coughing fits). I had an especially hard time in the mornings, and had actually decided that I would just skip morning sessions at the Casa during the second week. I tell you this, not to seek sympathy, but to set the scene for the first pause-for-thought moment, which happened at the start of the second week.
I say I 'decided' to skip mornings, but the truth is that I bounced back and forth all weekend, between "get over yourself, you wimp" and "don't be stupidly macho and let yourself get really sick in a town with no hospital and where you don't even speak the language". I ended up with a tenuous "take each day in turn; don't automatically exclude morning sessions, but don't be reckless".
On the first day of week two, I got up (slowly), ate a small breakfast (slowly), took my morning cocktail of pills (slowly) ...and then threw up (not slowly at all)! This seemed like a pretty clear sign that I should NOT go to the Casa, so I lay back down in bed. Decision made, right? Except that a few minutes later I felt that I really needed to go after all (no reason, just a nagging compulsion) so I went.
Shortly after I arrived, Joao came to the main stage and spoke for a long time, ending with an 'open' invitation to surgery. I felt like this was the reason for my earlier compulsion, so I promptly joined the line and had a surgery. Joao coming to the main stage and offering surgery is not uncommon (I had surgery on the last day of our November trip in exactly the same way). However, what was uncommon is that we were told that this was a very strong surgery and that we all needed extra recovery time, so we should not return to the Casa until Friday afternoon.
As much as any 'extra benefit' from this surgery, what struck me was that my doubts about whether to attend every session had just been wiped away. I had a clear instruction NOT to go to the Casa until Friday afternoon, which would be our last day there.
To set the scene for what happened next, let me describe what it's like to pass before Joao. If you speak Portuguese, you can speak directly to him. If not, you see a translator before you get in line, and your questions/requests are written in Portuguese, on a piece of paper. When you reach Joao, another translator takes the paper, reads it to Joao, and translates Joao's answers back to you. While this is happening, Joao doesn't really seem to "see" you at all. He has a glazed look and seems to slowly scan the room, rather than look at you.
I went before Joao on Friday afternoon, so I started by having my requests translated. I had three, but the one which is important to the story was "The doctors say I will die soon. If this happens, please help my wife". I made my way through the line, handed my paper to the translator, and stood while he read it to Joao. The first thing that was very different from previous times was that Joao stared right at me, very intensely. He then said (through the translator) perhaps the most important words I've ever heard.
He said, "I will help you. You will have more time to live".
The importance of those words obviously depends entirely on what you believe about Joao, about faith-based healing, about the whole concept of help from a higher power. Most of you know that I am not religious in any formal sense, but that I do believe in a higher power. I came home from our first trip to Abadiania convinced that higher powers are definitely at work there, and that 'miracles' have absolutely happened there. Much as I wanted to, I was still not able to truthfully say that I knew those powers would (or should) help me. My conscious mind still goes in circles about all of it, but I will tell you that the words "I will help you. You will have more time to live" hit me like a sledgehammer, and I left the room bawling like a baby.
I have no idea how to quantify "more time", and it is way too early to even guess as to whether the course of the cancer has changed in any way. I can say, with absolute certainty, no matter what happens, that going to Abadiania was the right thing to do!
So there you have it ...I'm sitting in the dinghy now, and with any luck it's headed for high ground!!!!
FEB 15 2011
More Dolan Stuff
I think all of you know about our trip to the Casa De Dom Inacio, in Abadiania, Brazil, to see the healer Joao (known as John of God), and anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be trapped in a room with me has surely heard enough already ...but there's more!
I received what I believe is a clear sign from Joao that I should return to Abadiania, so Christy and I are off to Brazil again on Feb 26!
To set the scene, let me recap the concept of 'surgery' (spiritual intervention). Surgery is a kind of directed blessing, given by Joao to some of those who go to him for help. If you are selected by Joao for surgery, you go into the 'surgery room', where you sit in silence, with eyes closed, while prayers are said over you. This is the second-most powerful form of healing offered by Joao (the most powerful is when Joao simply tells you that you will be healed, as was the case with Liam Burke, whose story compelled me to go to Brazil in the first place).
For those who cannot be at the Casa De Dom Inacio themselves, an alternate form of healing, known as 'surrogate surgery' is available. Someone may go before Joao and request that they have surrogate surgery for you, and if the request is granted, they go to the surgery room and are blessed, as described above. The belief is that the blessing is passed directly to you. This is not as powerful as in-person surgery, but there are many who believe that they have been at least partially healed in this way.
While we were in Abadiania, I was lucky enough to receive two surgeries, and a friend with whom we got very close (and whose instincts we quickly came to value), suggested that I try to have surrogate surgeries done after I returned home. Upon hearing this, Catherine, our wonderful innkeeper, promptly volunteered to be my surrogate (she has been doing this regularly, for several years).
About three weeks ago, Catherine went before Joao to request that she be my surrogate. As is the protocol, she had a picture of me in her hand, which she gave to Joao. Joao did not say yes or no, but rather asked her to return in a week for an answer. She did that, and this time the answer was quite definitive. She again had a picture of me in her hand, along with 4-5 others. Before she said a word, Joao took my picture from the pile and marked it with an 'X'. In the 'language' of the Casa, this means that Joao wants me to return to the Casa. When telling me the news, Catherine also said that she takes a great many pictures before Joao, and that it had been almost a year since Joao last marked one with an X.
To put my feelings about this in context, let me quote an old joke about a devout believer (let's call him Fred), trapped on a roof during a flood. A neighbor comes by in a dinghy, but Fred sends him away, saying "God will save me". Later, the local police come in a motorboat, only to be dismissed in the same way. That night, a coastguard helicopter tries to rescue him, but receives the same "God will save me". Eventually the flood waters rise and Fred is drowned. When he gets to heaven, Fred berates God, saying "I believed in you, and yet you let me drown!", to which God replies, "I sent a dinghy, a motorboat, and a helicopter; what do expect from me??".
The X on my photo is my dinghy, and I'm not about to send it away empty!
JAN 13 2011
The Dolan saga ...another gripping installment!!!
Several of you have asked how my most recent tests went, and being the lazy good-for-nothing that I am, I'm once again taking the easy way out and spamming you all!
Those of you to already know this, and those who weren't going to ask anyway, you may discretely leave now ...no hard feelings, I promise!
There wasn't any unexpected bad news, but no evidence of miracles either. The cancer has continued on its merry way, and there is no change in the prognosis, so we're still talking about Apr-May-Jun-ish. That, of course, is the letter-of-the-law interpretation, and most of you know just what I think of letter-of-the-law interpretations!!
I do want to be quite clear about how I feel, which is VERY positive. I have an amazing support system around me (you are all part of it!), and I have many more good days than bad days. I've also had a lot of time to think, and I truly believe (no brave front, no denial) that even if I get a year to the day (April 1 - how fitting is that??), I have been, and continue to be, a very lucky guy. I've had a LOT of good things in my life! Now if I could only cut down the number of brackets I use in a paragraph!!
The test results have changed my mind on one thing; I will start chemo again, at least for a while. As many of you know, I had pretty much decided to stop chemo after I got back from Ireland. However, the trips to Brazil and Ireland meant that I went the better part of two months without chemo, so I got a 'sneak-peek' of what would happen if I stopped altogether. The results show that the cancer did move faster, so it seems that the chemo was holding it back, at least a little.
There is no expectation that chemo will cure the cancer, but it might give me a couple of extra months, so I've decided to take it week-by-week, and hope that the neuropathy (pain in my feet and hands) stays manageable. If it doesn't, I can stop at any time. As a little nerd-geek aside, I'm having a port inserted in my chest. One of the many joys of chemo is that your veins basically disappear after a while, so each chemo session involves seemingly endless "exploratory tunnelling" to find an entry for the IV (this is SO much fun!). The port provides an entry-point for chemo and bloodwork and eliminates the 'tunnelling', so I'm very happy about that ...plus I get a cool bump in my chest, that I can pull out at parties!
Anyway, that's the story to date. Let me say again how much I truly appreciate all of you. Chemo is all well and good, but NOTHING beats the good feelings and friendship you provide!
AUG 12 2010
Some personal news
I have some news to share. It's bad news, and for some of you it may more than you wanted to know, but I have yet to figure a non-drama-queen way of bringing up the subject, so broadcasting like this saves me the stress of telling people one by one, and I hope you will indulge the "Internet CopOut".
I was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in April (April Fool's Day, would you believe??). It is stage 4 (which means that it has spread quite a lot) and the prognosis is for a year-or-so survival. I have had six chemotherapy sessions so far (every three weeks) and will likely continue for as long as I can tolerate the treatment.
I'm sorry to spit it all out in one big lump (pardon the pun), but there isn't really any way to 'ease in' to it. More importantly, I don't want to waste an ounce of energy hiding from it! It is what it is, and I am going to fight every inch of the way. I am NOT going to waste a moment wondering why it happened, and I am NOT going to give it power by talking in hushed tones! We have all heard stories of people who last much longer than they should and I am quite anxious to add my name to that list!!
You may think, knowing me to be 'thorough' (you probably have a selection of much less complimentary words for that particular quality of mine), that I will spend all day every day looking for the 'miracle treatment'. I have decided NOT to do that, because the last thing I need right now is an infinite task, one that can never be marked 'complete' and will keep me feeling perpetually stressed about what I might have missed!
I have two tasks ...to stay positive, and to stay open. Staying positive is self-explanatory; staying open means that I will allow things in that come my way naturally. I will not spend every waking hour looking for treatments etc, but I do welcome anything you may want to share. I have already had several significant 'open moments' which have (I believe) considerably improved my odds ...the stories are too long for here, but I will gladly share them when we next talk.
I completely understand that there will be an elephant in the room when we first meet/talk/email, but please help me chase it out the door as quickly as possible. I welcome any and all questions and suggestions, and (of course) any positive thoughts you have to spare. I do NOT welcome fawning, fussing, or any other similar 'f-words' !!!!!!
Talk to you soon (no whispering allowed!)