May 2006

To: Tom
From: Art
Date: May 11, 2006

Dude,
Curtis says, you are feeling down about your predicament/illness.
Can't say as I can blame you. You are in a tough spot.

Interestingly, I was thinking of checking on you a few days ago but flaked
on the follow through. Sorry about that.

I don't have any quick answers or super lifting phrases for cheering you
up. Actually, I think that'd be an insult to your intelligence and condition.
I do know that your spirit/s play a large part in recovery. I don't mean some hokey "think happy thoughts" crap. I mean it's important to keep your eye on where you are/might be going. Keep up the good fight, it's important to steer toward that goal of recovery.

The other destination,,, we've talked about it some, I hope you keep my offer in mind; I am willing to spend time talking to you about it, all need to do is ask. Hey, and if you need anything else, a little help here or there, I'm up for that too.

There's a lot of folks here rooting for you, keep up the good fight.

Blessings and prayers, Art
To: Tom
From: Albert
Date: May 11, 2006

hey tom, sorry i haven't wrote to you in so long. i've been so busy with all the work they have been giving me, i'm finished with all my training and they are having me do QA projects and merging and whatnot. we really hope you're doing better and hope that your recovery goes very well. everyone here at the office is missing you and the "new office lingo" is still making me laugh. we hope you get well soon, so that you can feel better and be the swell guy everyone's been missing. hope you're feeling better and god bless.

Albert

To: Tom
From: Dave
Date: May 11, 2006

-And I miss seeing you around, so get yer ass back here soon, K?
And hang in there buddy.
regards,
Dave

To: Tom
From: Jim W.
Date: May 11, 2006

Hi Tom;

I don't know you well, but we have only spoken a few brief times about certain projects and said hello when we passed in the hallways. And, I don't know what you are going through, but I do know it takes a lot of courage for someone to undergo all of the medical treatments you are receiving.

I just want you to know that I hope to see you back at work soon and I
think of you and your family when I pray.

Best wishes --- Get Well Soon!
Jim W

To: Tom
From: Joe
Date: May 11, 2006

Tom,

I know this stuff is hard to endure and it's scary shit, but we're all
thinking of you and praying for the best. We miss you here. Is there
anything we can do to help you through?

My grandmother went through the same or similar treatment as what you're going through now. In the early stages of treatment it appeared the cancer growth was actually accelerating, then went into remission. To make a long story short, she lived nearly 25yrs after first being diagnosed with lung cancer. When she finally died at 80yrs, it was her heart that failed. She also never quit smoking and was a 2-3pack/day smoker.

Stay positive and hang in there. It's like cleaning out a closet. The mess
always seems to get bigger before it gets cleaned up.
Best wishes.
Joe

To: Tom
From: Joe
Date: May 11, 2006

Missing you here. Hope you are not feeling too bad. Still planning on
buying you lunch when you have time and energy.

Please let me know if I can help you with something. Curtis mentioned that
your bike is broken. I don't know much about them but would be willing to
lend a hand if it would help you out.

Joe

To: Tom
From: Keith
Date: May 11, 2006

I thought that you might get a chuckle out of these my father in-law went through the same thing as you they ended up having to extend his chemo and some surgery's but he is O.K. now and is getting to enjoy the things that he could not before and since he hasn't smoked in a couple of years now he say's that food taste's _ _ _ _ ing fantastic I hope this little message cheers you up because chemo sucks.. ..... you are in our prayers and thoughts.

To: Tom
From: Ronie
Date: May 11, 2006

Sorry to hear that your Harley is broken!

I told Curtis a story he felt I need to share with you. My brother was
diagnosed with colon cancer that metastasized to his liver. He was given a maximum 5 years to live. That was 13 years ago. Since then he has been divorced, remarried, bought a new house, traveled to Europe and Hawaii (3 times), took a Caribbean cruise, got 2 new cars, a new motorcycle and celebrated his 60th birthday in March. Through it all he always made long term plans.

Some days are better than others. There are lots of doctor visits,
medications, and injections at home. I believe part of what works for him
is always having something to look forward to. Right now my long time plan is for your return. You are in my prayers.

Come back soon,

Ronie

To: Tom
From: Tim
Date: May 11, 2006

Hey Tom, just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and
prayers buddy. I know you are having a rough go of it but your a tough guy
and will ride this out and prove the statistics wrong. Keep your chin up
and spirits strong, if there is anything I can do please let me know.

Your Friend,

Tim R_____

To: Tom
From: Jim
Date: May 14, 2006

Tom: Have not heard from you since April 16. We suppose you have gone
to Hawaii. Let us know how things are with you and how the trip went.
Had a stop in Hawaii but only got on land for a few hours. We did get to
swim in a very nice area and it was beautiful! Was a very long time ago.
Sally and I still have you in our daily prayers and will continue to do
so. Love Uncle Jim and Aunt Sally

To: Tom
From: Annette
Date: May 15, 2006

Hi Tom,

You really need to focus on positive things, NOT the internet "doom and
gloom" reports. Everyone's case is different and I really believe that
POSITIVE thoughts will go a long way! (along with prayers too). So, keep
up the good thoughts and good things will soon come your way!

My son, who turned 6 in March, rode on my husband's Road King for the first time a couple of weekends ago. He can reach the foot pedals and he just loved it!

Take care and remember, THINK POSITIVE!!!

Annette C

Production Department - TSB Team

From: Tom
To: All Data
Date: 5-16-06

Subject: I'm back from Hawaii....

....sunburned but smiling.

Thank you all for your encouragement and positive stories. It's true that I've been discouraged by what I've found on the internet and my apparent survival statistics. Planning for long-term survival requires that I continue working towards retirement age and carries the risk that I will miss out on my last opportunity to spend a few good years in Hawaii if the statistics hold true. However, assuming that I will only survive another 2 - 5 years just seems to invite fate to follow that path. It's very difficult to find the balance and to know which path to follow. No one can make that decision but me and I don't feel that I have sufficient information so I have scoured every source I can find to gather facts and opinions.

I begin my last chemo session tomorrow. Following that, I will have another CT scan to assess the success of the treatments, then I will meet with my doctor to discuss the results. Despite all I have read on the internet, I assign more weight to what my doctor tells me, so I will not make any decisions until after that meeting.

Again, thank you for the concern you've shown for me and for all the offers of help. You are surely God's own messengers.

Tom

To: Tom
From: Judy
Date: May 16, 2006

Hi Tom~~~
My name is Judy W____ and I have known Mary and Michael for many years. I understand you have lung cancer. So did/do I. Mine was a tumor about the size of a golf ball in the upper lobe of my right lung. It was the non small cell cancer.

When I was diagnosed I was in the Cancer Institute at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. I traveled there to see a famous surgeon but learned I was not eligible for surgery as I have COPD and a very advanced COPD. My lung had collapsed following a needle CT Scan biopsy. Actually it collapsed three times because every time I sat up the chest tube came out. Finally I told the guys "hey come on, your dealing with a 66 old lady with big boobs and when we sit or stand up everything goes south". So I was sitting in a bed when each of the doctors came in to tell me it was malignant. But each one had a smile and I decided, and so should you, that I was going to turn this whole cancer business over to God - because He is up all night anyway. I never lost a night of sleep except for the days of chemo and then I was up all night ready to go party. It is not easy but it is doable.

I did 7 months of chemo and then 7 weeks of daily radiation. Sure it is a bitch but ~~~~ Yes, I ended up twice in the hospital - once in PCU. Can you believe with a bladder infection. Ended up with two blood transfusions. Anyway what I am saying is hang in there. The chemo gets the tumor down to a size the radiation can attack. My radiation oncologist promised me he would zap it and he did. Understand that while you are going through radiation it will really cause you to become weak. I was doing both ~ chemo and radiation the last 7 weeks and I'm an old lady. If I can do it so can you. I ended up with a radiation burn on my back -- about a 3rd degree. And trouble swallowing due to the esophagus. But you know what that is all behind me now and it will be with you. Yes, we have to continue to have PET Scans or CT scans every couple of months but so what - they don't hurt.

One of the MOST IMPORTANT things that you can do is develop your attitude. Know that you are more important than cancer. and smarter. And have HUMOR HUMOR HUMOR. Humor helps heal. The Internet can be a deterrent to us if we go to the wrong sites. WALC (Women Against Lung Cancer) is a good site and also the Lung Cancer Alliance. www.lungcanceralliance.org. Both feature the survivors. And YES there are survivors. My 2 year remission is the first of Sept. Go to your Relay for Life it is also great to show you survivors exist. Maybe you will have to go in a wheel chair, I know I did, until this year. But you won't be alone. My husband is a 7 year survivor of colon cancer. So we kept it in the family. And bald was beautiful.

You will be so weak you can hardly walk a couple of feet but that will end. If you have problems with your esophagus like I did -- use Ensure. AND SMILE. My medical oncologist just smiles and laughs when she sees me. Plus I usually have the waiting room in an uproar. LAUGH LAUGH LAUGH. Feel free to e-mail me anytime you wish. I am here BUT an going over to my daughter's in a couple of days (a three hour drive) to see my one granddaughter in a gymnastic competition. And I travel with oxygen. That is the COPD and not the cancer. God Bless and stay positive.

Judy W.
Lewiston, Idaho
with
FAITH, HOPE, LOVE AND HUMOR

To: Curtis
From: Tom
Date: May 16, 2006

Curtis,

From all the email I've received, you seem to have been talking with people at work about my discouragement. Thank you for your concern. You are a good friend!

I went to see Carl about my heads today. It seems that Elk Grove Custom Cycles installed the valve guides improperly last time and cracked one of the heads around the exhaust guide bore. Carl thinks he can fix it by grinding and re-welding then cleaning up the bore and installing oversized guides. It will cost another $200 but that's still a lot less than new heads. It will take another week but I'll be whacked out from the chemo anyway.

How is your thumb healing?

Tom

To: Tom
From: Joe
Date: May 17, 2006

Hi Tom

Guessing the phrase "last round of chemo" feels something like the last leg of a race ... almost there. I'll say some prayers for you.

How was Hawaii? Any pictures to share?

Lets have lunch when you get your appetite back.

Joe

To: Family
From: Tom
Date: 5-17-06

I'm back from a week in Hawaii, sunburned but smiling. It was both a pleasure trip and fact-finding trip and it was quite successful on both counts. I was very pleased to find that, despite an increase in population and the related problems that brings, it's still very much the Hawaii I fell in love with during my first visit twenty years ago. Kinda like riding a Harley, it's impossible for me to describe it adequately to make you understand it, you must experience Hawaii for yourself. Breathing the unpolluted air and eating the island foods make me feel healthy. The slow island pace, the spirit of aloha and the friendliness of the people bring a feeling of peace. The beauty and vibrant colors that surround you, both on land and under the water, bring an appreciation for the finest parts of creation and impart great joy to the soul. It is simply the most amazing place I have ever been.

Duke, my good friend since 4th grade, went along with me. He had never been to Hawaii so I had the great pleasure of showing him around and watching his jaw drop at the beauty around every curve in the road. I believe he now understands my obsession with living there.

As for the fact-finding part, I visited my property and was pleased to confirm that it is indeed all that I thought it was. It's nearly level and has deep soil covered with tall grasses and smallish trees. I would be able to clear the lot adequately with a chainsaw and weed whacker. I also determined that the sub-division is not yet crowded (far from it) which means I am still able to build an un-permitted shelter, by-passing the costs of permits and conventional construction methods. In short, I believe I can achieve my dream of living in paradise, even with my limited resources.

But this was only the first part of the process. There are still questions to be answered, research and preparation to be completed and details to work out. And there are at least a couple of essential steps that can go wrong, but now I have the commitment necessary to follow my dream.

Aloha,

Tom

To: Tom
From: Art
Date: May 17, 2006

"And, perhaps you are serving as a herald right now.
Your words are making important impressions on me (and surely others)."

Dude, I can not tell you how happy I am (no matter how you take it) to see
the word "God" in your message!
Above is a piece of something I sent you a month or so ago...
I used the word "herald" (ja, archaic to be sure) you said "messenger"
guess what, they mean pretty much the same thing!
Ah, that's kinda outa context, I get that... still close enough to get my
attention.

So glad to hear you're doing well and had a vacation in the midst of all
this healing...
And, you are looking at things positively, that part about inviting fate...
Amen bro!
Do not submit to negativity,,,
Hey, if you have bible, read the book of Philippians, it's prolly the most
positive book in the whole bible.
It's a letter from the apostle Paul, he's in jail, still his words are all
about encouragement, joy and faith...
What could it hurt? Give it a read.

Blessings upon you Tom,

Art

PS. Obviously if you do not have a bible and want one, I would be honored
to deliver one/several!

To: Tom
From: Leonard
Date: May 17, 2006

Hey man - hope the weather held up for you in Hawaii!
Where did you go? Kona, I suspect...

This Saturday begins week 14 without a cigarette. Every time I want a
cigarette, I think of you and the pain and fear you must go through every
day.

Lenny V
Managing Editor of Process & Technology

To: Lenny
From: Tom
Date: May 17, 2006

Good on you Lenny!! I'm pleased that all of this is serving a useful purpose. Within 5 years of quitting, the odds of developing a lung disease drop to very near what they would be if you had never smoked. BTW, the cravings for a cig have now passed. I haven't thought about it for a couple of weeks.

 It rained at some point every day I was in Hawaii, even in Kona(!). But it was still indescribably beautiful. I had a great time and accomplished most of the tasks I had set for myself. As always, it was very hard to leave.

Duke, my friend since 4th grade, went with me. He had never been there so I had the great joy of showing him around and watching his jaw drop in amazement around nearly every curve. He now understands my obsession with living there.

To: Leonard
From: Tom
Date: May 22, 2006

Lenny,
Chemotherapy has given me an especially hard time this session. It's hard to say why but I've been feeling especially nauseous which has made me sleep for most of the last three days. Sleeping that much makes the mind restless and during my waking moments I've found myself searching for a purpose for all of this. I feel somewhat cheated to have to endure this at the tender age of 53. I'm trying very hard to believe that I will survive this long term. It happens, just not often.

Then I remembered your message that it had been 14 weeks since you had a cigarette and that when you want one, you think of me. It struck me that that is worthy purpose. Please continue to think of me whenever you have the urge to smoke a cigarette. In turn, I will think of you whenever I'm feeling cheated. My immediate goal is that I want to survive long enough to have you tell me, without reservation, that I helped you quit smoking for good. Then I'll go on from there.

Perhaps the purpose of my life really is serve as a bad example. *grin*
Tom

To: Tom
From: Leonard
Date: May 23, 2006

Tom,

I'm not sure if all you are going thru can be rationalized purely by my success or failure, but I do hope that it inspires you to beat this. Fact - you have been an inspiration to me.

What you are going thru scares the hell out of me. I saw both of my parents, some aunts and uncles and so far one brother die from cigarettes. You would think that would be enough motivation to quit and stay quit, but it hasn't been. I miss my parents every day. They were 45 and 46 when I was born and died before I reached 30. I feel cheated and don't want my children to feel the same. For some crazy-ass reason, the thought of you suffering thru this has struck a nerve. Perhaps because I find you one of the smartest and strongest people I have ever met. Or perhaps it is because you and I are close to the same age and I can relate to you. I think perhaps its a combination.

I know I've told you this, but once again I have to say that I am sorry that Dylan could not be with you at the office. I know how much that dog meant to you.

God has a plan for all of us. We can't change it and most of the time, we can't understand it. We have to have faith that God only gives us what we can handle and that whatever he gives us is given to us for a good reason.

One of the questions that as been burning in me since you were diagnosed is, "why am I here on earth and what's my purpose". Its a simple question that I'm sure many people ask everyday. I think most people REALLY start pondering that when they feel their days are numbered.

May God help you understand what your role in this world is and may you be an inspiration to others!

Tom, stay strong in spirit and body.
We continue to pray for your full recovery!

Lenny V____
Managing Editor of Process & Technology

To: Leonard
From: Tom
Date: May 23, 2006

I didn't know all of that about your family, Lenny. All things considered, it does seem crazy that you would finally find inspiration and strength to quit from my story. So much the better. I'm not trying to make you the reason for my trials, and I certainly can't claim to understand the peculiarities of this relationship, but people keep telling me how God works in mysterious ways. Given our individual histories, the fact that you have drawn inspiration from me and the fact that I truly want you to succeed in stopping smoking (now that I understand, for your children's sake), do seem to be connected in a most mysterious way.

Lenny, I hope I've demonstrated over the last several years that I don't hold it against you that I could not continue to bring Dylan to work. You were only doing what had to be done. The company had changed and Dylan's/my situation had changed and in fairness to other employees who also love their dogs, I understand that I could not expect to be allowed to be above the rules. But I will always have the highest regard for Rod for giving me the opportunity to provide for Dylan during his most critical time.

Tom

To: All
From: Tom
Date: May 25, 2006

Last Friday marked the end of my chemotherapy sessions, which is also the completion of the entire initial treatment regimen for lung cancers such as mine. It has been a grueling five months, requiring a great deal of strength, endurance and courage. A great deal more, I believe, than I could have possibly mustered had it been necessary for me to face this alone. I started writing this e-mail log (should I coin it an e-mlog, *grin*) partly as a means of updating my immediate family and a few close friends of my condition, and partly as a way for me to understand and deal with the flood of thoughts and emotions by condensing them to written word. Along the way, as I received messages of concern and support from friends who were not on the initial address list, I added them to my address book and included them in all future mailings. In this way, I hoped to limit my ramblings to only those people who specifically expressed an interest or concern for my welfare. A glance at the size of the address list will give you an idea of the flood of support I have received. Each name on that list has provided me with a bit of the strength, a portion of the encouragement that I have so desperately needed to sustain me throughout this ordeal. If there is a lesson to be learned from this, I believe it's to never underestimate the power of friendship nor the importance of expressing support for your fellow man in their time of need. And since so many of you have been praying for me, the power of prayer cannot be ignored.

Thank you all.

I met today with my radiation oncologist about a final procedure called prophylactic cranial irradiation, or PCI. This is still considered to be outside of the standard treatment regimen, but seems to be a recommended additional procedure for small cell lung cancer patients who have experienced complete response to chemotherapy and thoracic radiation. The goal of this treatment is to delay (not prevent) the onset of the cancer metastasizing inside the brain, a common secondary site for small cell lung cancer. This is done primarily to ensure an improved quality of life by preventing neurocognitive dysfunction (dementia) that can be caused by brain tumors but also adds a statistically significant 5% chance of survival at 5 years following treatment. But it is also a double-edged sword. During the time I was receiving radiation treatments, great care was taken to focus the x-rays on the tumor. Never the less, I experienced some burning of the skin and was warned that some additional radiation damage could show up 2 to 3 years down the road (maybe important, maybe not due to overall survival statistics). I have come to the conclusion that survival at the cost of the ability to care for myself (quality of life), is no bargain and I will keep that as my guiding principle when considering all treatment options. This concern led me to question the doctor as to how it was possible to irradiate the brain without "cooking" a portion of it, thereby inducing the very dementia that the procedure is supposed to prevent. The answer is, once again, all in the statistics. This is a very real concern that has been studied extensively. Overall (total) and fractional (daily) dosages have been compared and there has emerged a "safe" range which yields satisfactory long term benefits. I have elected to undergo the procedure which will begin in approximately a month and last about 2 weeks.

Some people have expressed concern that I have read too much about this subject. That I should simply focus on long term survival and not get bogged down in all of these depressing details. But I simply can't do that because of the type of person I am. I feel that I must trust my doctors but, at the same time, take responsibility for my own treatment options and doing so requires a great deal of learning that I wish wasn't necessary. But in the end, there will be no blaming the doctors for unsatisfactory results as I will feel assured that the best treatment practices have been performed. In that way, I will be able to accept my fate without regret and without assigning blame. Compared to the decisions I have had to make over the last five months, every other decision I have made in my life seems insignificant.

Tom
To: Tom
From: Steve
Date: May 25, 2006

Tom,

I would be the same way. I tend to want to know details which may seem useless or nonsensical to others. The reason for this is similar to your rationale, that being a cautious trust in those that are treating you. I also have an inherent distrust of anything I do understand at least somewhat. That said you’ve got to stack any positive options on your side of the table, keeping in mind your quality of life.

Speaking of options, did you make it to Hawaii? I assumed you did since you have not posted for a few weeks. If so how did it go?

So hang in there and use those brain cells for good positive thoughts and feelings, it does the body good.

Cathy, Cory and I wish you the best always. You are always in our thoughts.

Steve

To: Tom
From: Chris
Date: May 25, 2006

Hi Tom,
Good to hear from you, and that things are going about as well as can be
expected. You struck a note with me on the "insignificant" things in life.
As I age I'm beginning to discover the things that are important to me have
less to do with career and more to do with family and friends. Somebody
once told me to apply an acid test to decisions about direction that
basically says, "Will this matter in 25, 50 or 100 years?" If the answer
is no, then the decision is elective at best. As someone who survived
three tours in Vietnam, and two heart attacks so far, I wish I could give
you a panacea that would erase all your concerns. That's just not the way
life works, is it? I don't have any locked down answers other than to try
to accept each day as another gift. It seems to me you are taking a mature
and studied path, and that your decisions will be based on analysis and
fact, and that's about the best anyone can do. Take care, and please keep
me in the loop on your progress.

Chris

To: Tom
From: Dave
Date: May 25, 2006

Hi Tom, thanks for the update...I'll continue to remember you in my prayers. Near the last few paragraphs, I was struck by our similarities in thought -- I think it has to do with our being mechanics...historically I've always copped the attitude, "If it doesn't work, take it apart and see what's wrong". Unfortunately, while this is true for a lot of things, it doesn't work too well with other stuff. There's a time to just do what is suggested by either those who are better informed, or have "been there, done that", and know through experience what can help, or what has worked (or not) for them.

I have no idea what sort of Spirituality (if any) you have, or rely upon, but it should be obvious there must be, at the very least, a 'power greater than yourself' to have allowed you to progress this far --something to consider, and rely upon when you need it. Hang in there, Buddy, and remember to always keep the shiny side 'up'. -That applies to your spirits, too!
Dave

To: Tom
From: Dennis
Date: May 25, 2006

Tom, I understand your wanting to know and participate in the decision. It's the "mechanic" in us both. When I was in the emergency room with my first heart attack the doctor told me I had a major artery on the backside of my heart completely blocked. He wanted to use, what was then, a new method to open the blockage to some degree. This would be accomplished using a special fluid injected intravenously. Sort of a liquid roto-rooter.

Upon hearing that, I overcame the pain and reverted to "mechanic" and began questioning its effectiveness and side effects. He warned me that it can cause intestinal or brain hemorrhaging that he would be unable to stop but that the alternative was death. He said to me" if I was your brother or father I would recommend you try. Well, I told him to go ahead. Suddenly there were five nurses all poking me with needles in all extremities. right next to me was a little girl that was trying like hell to get one of the many IV's into my arm. The doctor was yelling at them to hurry that he need the IVs in immediately. That little girl couldn't have been a nurse for more than a day and she was crying - tears running down her face because she felt unable to help me. This made me completely forget the urgency of the situation and I told her not to cry that the doctor was a bully, that I could wait, and that she was doing fine. Well she smiled at me and got the IV right in.

Her simple act of crying because she was scared for me made me forget my troubles and I was calm through out the procedures to follow. I never saw her again and I sometimes wonder if she knows what she did for me that day by crying her first day on the job.

Dennis

To: Tom
From: Jim W
Date: May 25, 2006

Hi Tom;

I am encouraged with the progress you have reported about your condition.
Being a cancer survivor myself, for the last eight years, I can appreciate
your wanting to know all you can about your cancer and the various
treatments for it. Your courage and attitude are good examples to any of
your readers who may know someone who is fighting a similar problem or may face one themselves at a future time. I know that we are pulling for you to have a speedy recovery. In the meantime our prayers will continue to be with you and your family. We also look forward to the future time when as Isaiah 33:24 brings out "no resident will say, I am sick." Until that time, we will wait and do the best we can with our health and any other problems we may face.

Regards,
Jim W

To: Tom
From: Tim
Date: May 25, 2006

Hi Tom, having been a chronic pain sufferer for over 22 years (chronic
venous insufficiency, DVT, skin ulcerations, numerous reconstructive
surgeries on my back and leg) I can completely understand your need and
desire to learn everything you can about your affliction. Although my
condition is not yet a life threatening issue I to strive to learn all I
can about what ails me. I have come to the conclusion over the years not to put all of your faith in the "wisdom" of standard medical practices and to
explore all the options available to you for potential treatment.

When my leg was crushed long ago and they bolted, screwed and inserted metal rods and plates they said I probably wouldn't walk again. I walk. When I developed numerous blood clots due to the lack of blood flow in my leg they said I would probably have to have my leg amputated within 5 years. That was over 22 years ago, I still have my leg, albeit it's a damn
ugly one. When they reconstructed my knee and ankle joints with metal and plastics they said it would last a maximum of ten years, again that was
over 20 years ago.

I guess what I'm trying to hint at is, PROVE THEM WRONG!!! Tom, you are a strong man and can beat this thing! Please know that you are constantly in the thoughts and prayers of many of us and that if there is anything I can say or do to help you, please don't hesitate to
let me know. Take care my friend.

Tim

To: Tom
From: Jan
Date: May 26, 2006

Tom,

I just felt like I had to reply to the comment that you may have read too much. I don’t agree. Doctors have a lot of treatment options available to them, and unless we know what the options really mean, we are likely to become very expensive guinea pigs. (Hence HMO’s, PPO’s…) I think it is good that you realize that there is no completely safe treatment. Quick case in point: When I was 36 and pregnant, my doctor began requesting all types of tests on the baby (because I was an old mother). After investigating the pros and cons of the tests, I found out that, at my age, two of them (amniocentesis and ?) had much higher likelihood of harming the baby than of finding anything fixable! Result: I had to sign several papers saying that I had consciously elected not to have what had become routine tests for mothers over 35. Never-the-less, Ellie was a perfect baby (except for lousy eyesight that she inherited from me, my mother, …J)

I think you should read whatever helps you feel informed.

Thanks for the update.

Jan

To: Jan
From: Tom
Date: May 26, 2006

Jan,

Doing the research I have done has made me feel very much at ease with my doctors. I feel very confident that they are following exactly what is believed to be the best course of treatment and are aware of and concerned about all of the right indicators. For example, in the case of the cranial irradiation, the whole idea scared the hell out of me, but I read multiple reports and discussions about it and found a consistency in the recommendation of a small range target dosages. When I asked my doctor precisely what the treatment regimen was to be, he gave me back numbers precisely in the middle of the recommended range. That kind of thing has given me great confidence in the skill and knowledge of my doctors.

I think the internet is the greatest invention of my lifetime. I can't imagine the difficulty of doing the amount of research I've done "the old fashioned way".

Thanks for your input.

Tom

To: Tom
From: Jim C
Date: May 29, 2006

Tom,

My prayer is that the God of ALL mercy continues to bless you and give you strength. In reading this, it appears that some have sought to give you advice about how much research to do prior to making a decision – the only possibly explanation I can muster for someone being so stupid as to give someone else advice that is so bad is that they have your best intentions at heart.

I know that I personally struggle with not knowing what to say, or how to express friendship and support, and unfortunately, all to often, that limits my response.

It may not be politically correct for one man to tell another that he loves him, but tough shit – the Greek word philios means brotherly love, and that is what I (and a ton of others) feel toward you – so I say I love you brother, and I will continue to pray for you.

Jim C