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October 11, 2010

Tháinig mé slán

The Dr is in

This is a long time in coming and I'm sorry for the absence. Thanks for the reminders to keep the interested informed.

I've been very busy. Taxes, SSDI, housework, the band (played our first bar gig in San Francisco on the 10th), and my internship have all taken turns day-to-day to grab my time and attention. I am living and very happy with being able to say that. The recovery from treatment is still slow going but I figure I am more than 80% back. I do everything I did before and have added cycling a couple times a week to the routine. Every day I feel stronger and happier.

I do, however, have a side effect from the treatment that is a bit of a hassle but nothing I can't deal with. My esophagus is completely closed. I cannot swallow even my own spit nor can I burp. While a barium swallow in August confirmed the closure, it also confirmed that the swallowing structures are intact and working perfectly. That is very good news.

I have a date with Dr G (same Dr who did my surgery in January) for an esophageal dilation. It is considered major surgery and I'll be under general anesthesia. Dr G figures it may not work the first time and it may need to be repeated a few times before they decide it wont open any more. He also figures that a stricture the likes of mine is a poor prognostic indicator for returning to normal eating - it is likely I will never again be able to swallow solid food adding, "I think you'll have that coffee, but probably not the steak." Being alive is the most important aspect of all of this. If I have to choke down smoothies the rest of my life, at least I'll have the rest of my life to learn to enjoy it. As the Irish might say 'tháinig mé slán' which in English means 'I came safely through'.

In the back of my mind is the question of a tumor as the blocking agent. Dr G says that's unlikely because of my awesome PET/CT scan in June, but added he wont know for sure until he gets in there and looks around and takes some biopsies. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime I have worked for the last month to open an SOS Counseling Services (my Santa Rosa based internship) office in Petaluma. I am happy to report we have an office! It is at 405 East D Street in the 'historic' Burdell Building (photo to come). I am busily getting furniture together and business cards and telephone and other stuff. I will be working with my two colleagues and good friends Noah and Lisa, supervised by the very amazing Dr Mark Doolittle, and together we'll start seeing clients by Nov 1. We're very excited to be bringing sliding-scale counseling to the very needy in Petaluma.

The kids are doing very well, each experiencing growing pains of different types. Claire is still amazing, working way too hard yet still can laugh and smile. We are looking forward to our long overdue return to Ireland in the summer and all the hugs and kisses that await.

Thanks for the continued thoughts and prayers for me and my family.



PS - If you're around on the 16th The Beets play the Petaluma Farmer's Market (in Walnut Park, 4th and Petaluma Blvd) from 2pm to 5pm. It is our last scheduled gig this year.

Posted by Michael at October 11, 2010 08:59 PM