Hello and welcome to my blog. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Merle Hamburger. I am 42 years old; have a wonderful wife, MaryBeth, and three great kids: a 12-year old son, an almost 11-year old son, and a 4-year old daughter. I work as a behavior epidemiologist in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control. When not at the CDC, I run a part-time wedding and photography business, teach karate at American Kenpo Karate in Tucker, GA, am a boy scout leader in Troop 549, and teach the “Our Whole Lives” comprehensive sexuality eduction curriculum at my Unitarian Church.
Last week (April 22nd to be exact), an MRI showed a “fairly substantial mass” on the head of my pancreas. Though I have not yet had a biopsy, three separate doctors have concluded that the mass is “very, very likely malignant.” (The radiologist even said it as an adenocarcenoma on the pancreas — pancreatic cancer.) While I have been relatively slow to embrace this whole blogging ‘fad’, I thought blogging represented a perfect method through which to share my story with others and keep people abreast of my condition.
Over the next several days, I will post the history to date of my journey to this point — and then try to post information about me, my family, my life, etc. regularly moving forward. I am hoping that this record of my experiences will be helpful to those who would like to learn more, while also serving as a cathartic release for me.
I want to warn you, however, that many people have commented that I have a very — odd sense of humor. That will come out over my posts, but is most clearly evident in my choice for the name of this blog: INDY = “I’m Not Dead Yet!” If you are a fan (or at least have watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you’ll understand this quote (indeed, the YouTube clip below this message is of the very scene from this movie from which I have drawn this blog’s name). If you are unfamiliar with this movie, however, you are likely shaking your head in wonder at my oddity.
Thank you for joining me on my journey.