End of May Check In

It’s been almost 6 weeks without a visit to the hospital.  I continue to feel physically well; no symptoms of the cancer.  That’s a good thing.  However, my wife mentioned an analogy that seems particularly appropriate: I feel as if there is a bomb in the room — it may never go off, but it’s there and I cannot see the timing mechanism.  In a couple of weeks I will go in to have the “timing mechanism” assessed again (I have a re-staging CT scheduled for June 15 and will receive the results on June 18).

This past weekend, the family and I traveled to Florida to visit with my father and MaryBeth’s grandmother.  As I have mentioned previously, my father continues to have difficulty with his breathing.  He continues to work with his doctors to figure out why his breathing is so labored.  We hope for the best.  It was a good visit, though.  I was afraid for the worst after hearing reports of his continued trouble.  I’m glad things were better than expected.

Visiting with MaryBeth’s grandmother was similarly good.  Her mother, while physically healthy, is suffering from dementia, and while she recognized us (most of the time), she had a hard time remembering exactly which one of us was who.  She really enjoyed spending time the the kids though.  We visited in the morning for about an hour and then again for about an hour in the afternoon.  As with my father, it was a good visit and things didn’t seem as dire as we had imagined.

We also had the opportunity to visit Ft. Desoto state park and play on the beach there.  The surf was very mild and the kids had a great time playing.

Well, that’s all for now.  I’ll post again later; certainly when I get my scan results.


Hey J.J. — I’m available!

First, let me wish all the mothers out there a very Happy Mothers Day. This morning, my younger son and I got up and made breakfast (eggs, bacon, and bagels) in celebration of all the hard work that MaryBeth does every day. The day, in general, has been relaxed, with all of us doing what we can to make sure that MaryBeth did not have to do anything she didn’t want to do today.

To further celebrate Mother’s Day, though, MaryBeth and I went out last night….alone….without kids. We had a very nice dinner and then she wanted to go see the new Star Trek movie. I was doubly interested in seeing the movie, as Dr. Randy Pausch had a walk-on role (with a line) in the movie. For those of you who are new to the blog, Randy Pausch died from pancreatic cancer last July and is the author of The Last Lecture. During the initial stages of MY fight with pancreatic cancer, I took a great deal of solace in reading his blog about his journey.

Apparently, a couple of years ago, Dr. Pausch got an Email from J.J. Abrams inviting him (Dr. Pausch) to be a part of the cast for the new Star Trek movie.  Unfortunately for me, though, I did not realize that his scene was right in the beginning of the movie, so MaryBeth and I missed it.  I guess that means I will have to go and watch it again (which is okay, because the movie was great)!

So part of this blog is to say, “Hey J.J.; I’m a fan of Star Trek, too….and I have pancreatic cancer, too…and well, if you make a sequel, I’m available for a similar role as Randy.”  Unfortunately, I think I need to be a little more outspoken about my love of Star Trek and…well…probably be a little more high profile than I currently am.  Ah well, I can always wish, right?

I was just reading some posts on the Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer discussion board and someone had posted a question about where all the “old timers” from the board had been.  Someone reminded folks that most people do not live past a year from diagnosis.  At least I made it past THAT limit.  People continue to comment that I look good (and that my hair is growing back…indeed, several have pointed out that perhaps it’s time for me to get a haircut).  I feel fine (as long as I take my pancreatic enzymes).

I must say that I am enjoying my time free of the hospital.  I don’t go back until June 15 (my next CT scan).  <sigh>

Until next time,


Quick Check In

As I mentioned last week, my wonderful wife celebrated her birthday this past weekend. What I don’t think I mentioned was, like the trooper she is, MaryBeth did so camping out with a group of cub scouts. Yup; on her birthday weekend, MaryBeth camped out….in the rain….with 20+ 6-10 year olds. What more could a girl ask for on her birthday? Yes! Yes! I’ll be making up for this scheduling snafu for a while.

Meanwhile, rain-soaked camping not withstanding, we in the Merle Hamburger family are doing well. The kids are excited that school ends in about 10 days, in part, because we are going to go visit with my father and step-mother again. My dad continues to have difficulty breathing and, at one point over the weekend, there was some concern that he might have to be hospitalized again. Luckily, he is responding to the medicine that was prescribed. In addition to my family, MaryBeth’s grandmother lives in central FL and she is not doing very well either. As a result, our trip to FL will also involve a visit to great grandma’s place (if only for a short visit).


Happy BLOG-iversary

Well, I posted last about the “anniversary” of my diagnosis, and I was going to similarly post about the anniversary of this blog, but I was corrected. Apparently, in the blog world, the anniversary of a blog is called a blog-iversary. Whatever.

When friends and colleagues told me about their blogs, I was hesitant to initiate one, as I didn’t feel I had anything to really write about. When I was diagnosed with cancer, though, the blog seemed an easy way to keep people updated on my health / well-being and, thus, I started to blog (and blog…and blog…and…).

Though I don’t blog as much as I used to, there are still a reasonable number of people who continue to check on my blog fairly regularly. I continue to be humbled by their interest in me and my life. What’s even more mind boggling (bloggling??) is that I have had almost 57,000 visits (and almost 430,000 hits) to my blog in the past year, averaging about 170 visits to the blog daily. Now, I know in many circles that might seem insignificant, but it seems pretty impressive to little ole me.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying not going to the doctor every other week. I have been keeping busy with scouts and life (indeed, I’m getting ready this evening to go family camping with my family and the cub scout pack in which I am a leader). Rain? I laugh at rain…well, not really, but what can one do?

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish my wife of almost 19 years a very Happy 13th anniversary of her 29th birthday. I firmly believe that without MaryBeth’s support during the past year, I would not have done nearly as well as I have.