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Sundance’s Last Post Before Surgery - “Final Thoughts and Stories”

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Well, the time has once again come for me to be making my way to the door to go and take care of some b’ness at my Staycation Condo very shortly – i.e. the hospital. . By now, most of you are aware that I’ll be getting “DaVinci’d” on Thursday, July 8th.

As always, the plans seem to change with which the way wind blows. Originally, they were sending me to the other hospital to have a wire cathetered through my chest into my lung. Yesterday, we got a call saying they now wanted to know if I had scheduled a CT and when we could do a PET scan. What?!!!

If there were anything lighting up, then the nodule would not be removed. To which I replied, “then why did we schedule the surgery?” You’d think with the 8-extra weeks I gave them, they would have their act together – and they wonder why we lose faith in the medical profession. One hand does not talk to the other:(

Besides, last time the tumors lit up and it turned out to be false, why would I believe what the scan showed this time. They’ve been wrong with needle biopsies on my liver and PET scans on my lung before.

I told them to keep the PET, I could not afford that test and no longer believed in the accuracy, – and they waited too late and should have been thinking about this many weeks before I filed for leave and told my manager I was going to be out of work. They agreed to this.

So, now they want to do a CT and see how big the tumor is and then decide to whether to insert the wire or not. I suppose I can’t argue with that one and am scheduled for that Wednesday afternoon after I do all the pre-op. I wish I could just skip that one. The doc and his office all acknowledge that they understand the financial difficulties I’ve been going through – yet at every turn, they are trying to add on more tests and more expenses. Dr. D even asked me how I was going to pay for all of this? I just smiled and told him, “We’re working on it” LOL:) We’re just going ahead with the surgery and everything and they will just have to work with us on another payment plan.

I’ve got my concerns and apprehensions about Round II with the new and improved robot. I’ve only got two arms and he’s got five, LOL:)

You know, I never take surgery lightly and am not flippant about it for any reason. . For me, it is always a time of personal reflection – where I’ve been – where I’m at – and where I’m going.

I liken it to pulling out the power plug on your computer and the screen goes dark – when you turn the power back on and “reboot the application”, you just hope that the files on your hard drive “initialize cleanly” LOL:)

I’ve had a lot of pain the last few weeks – sitting, laying down, sleeping and even standing can be such a torture now – the pain is like having a knife stuck in your ribs and then twisted.

It’s hard to find a position to get comfortable. Probably the tumor pressing on a nerve or something back there – it’s about the size of a golf ball about now, so there’s not much room to spare – don’t know how much the pleura will expand, it’s sort of like sticking a big rock into a balloon, you know?

I had to call Dr. D’s PA this week and request some Tramadol, just because I was getting to where I could not function anymore due to the pain. Face all contorted, body writhing in pain – people at work began to notice I was not right. I was embarrassed, but tried to remain stoic and paint a picture of being ok, but it’s just too far gone to fake it any longer. The body is hard to lie to, instinctively it knows something is wrong.

So, I got a small scrip to take the edge off, so I could hold on for the next few days until surgery gets here.

Apparently, “now” the doctors are concerned and think from my description and all the locations I’ve told them I hurt, that it might be cancerous and could indicate some spreading. That's why the now want to do a full CT scan: Chest-Abdomen-Pelvis.

I still tend to think it's not malignant, and that the tumor has just gotten too big and is now causing me this pain – the last 3-weeks things have really escalated. But, we’ll see what the biopsy reveals – this is the only tried and true test that I believe in.

Stay tuned…

I’ve got a couple of other updates for you.

About the magazine article – it’s between Frankie Valli and me, as to who is going on the cover! He’s a “Legend” and I’m just one “in my own mind”, LOL:)

Place your bets on who will win – I’ve been counted out before and have beaten the odds:) I threw some of my Texan Charm and Southern Mojo on her, so we’ll see how it turns out. The magazine and the articles are really professionally done and so they will do a real nice job with it – can’t wait to see how it all turns out for the final product.

I have spoken with the Foundation President about our group and told her the Semi; Colons are a bunch of fine and wonderful folks, who would benefit so much from having a copy of their magazine.

I explained that it would be an “investment” by their foundation, and that the money spent would be of tremendous value to our community, and that they could feel good knowing they helped out so many people in our global community with their part in this humanitarian project.

She told me that the St. Paul Foundation considers it an honor and privilege to help us with our project! So, the magazines are not going to cost one cent, the Foundation is paying for the extra copies. These are limited run editions and are only published one time a year, due to the cost of publication, so this is a pretty big deal for me and then, and all of us too.

I could not be more thrilled with how this turned out. It’s a tremendous feeling to see this “small grass-roots” effort come together for this project and blossom into a successful venture.

Our friend, Don (coolvdub) has graciously offered to help us with some of the shipping and handling charges for those members, who are having cash difficulties – he wanted to help people that wanted copies to get copies – I’m honored to have him onboard helping me with this.

As you know, I don’t offer to give you a gift and then charge for it – goes against my very principle of who I am. I like to give and not take, but, you guys being the great people you are, have also offered to cover S&H for your magazine. That’s great if you want to do this, but not necessary if you cannot. My only motive here is to just give you a copy – I just wanted to share this moment in time with you.

So, really this is turning into a community project and it’s got that kind of feel now – and it feels really good, doesn’t it? It’s giving me a buzz, I can tell you that. I’m just so proud to be working with all of you on this project.

So, while I’m out with surgery and recovering, I’m going to appoint Don as our “treasurer” and he has offered his PayPal account if any donations want to be made. At the end, he would forward me a check of what we collected and I’ll put in my portion of the costs as well to buy the mailers to put the magazines in, and for the postage to get it to your addresses. One way or the other, those that have requested copies will receive them. Magazine should be published in late August, and I would begin shipping them out thereafter.

And, I’m still going to work on my book. I’ve been busy trying to close out my work and home life, so I have not had much time to really sit down and work on it. Working through the chapters in my mind. And a title or two is bouncing around in my upstairs belfry as well. It’s going to take me awhile to write it, but you guys really helped me validate that I could write something that people would be interested in. It was your encouragement that put me over the edge and made me think I could do this and have it published and maybe make a difference for someone out there. I’ll be able to cross this off my “Bucket List.” LOL:)

Ok, enough about business – let’s just sit back and talk about life and I’ll share a few stories with you – I love a good story, don’t you? Stories are like the fabric that weave our collective lives together and form a tapestry of our experiences, unique and common to each of us.

I always fancied myself a pretty good storyteller (life has given me a lot of good material). So, I’ll tell you a few stories as we sit here and pass the time in the “waiting room.” Can you sit here with me until they come to get me?

Here’s an easy one to get us warmed up…

I was about two years old and had gone to see my pediatrician for a check-up. Good ol’ Dr. Gardner, who delivered me, btw. I was always a very inquisitive child, who always had a lot to say, LOL:) No surprise to any of you that know me:)

That day, the doctor turned to my dad and he told him, “Your son has got more questions than answers.”

Four decades and some change later…not a lot has changed…except, I think I know some of the answers to the quiz now, LOL:)

Here’s a good one – you’ll love this one…

Recently at work, we had to do a seminar where we grouped together. Then, the moderator would begin to list qualities like Honesty, Thoughtfulness, Attention to Detail, etc.etc.

The idea was if you thought those qualities suited you, you would then go to that corner of the room. This went off for several rounds and when it was finally over, we were in the final groups that best represented our traits and what we had to offer.

Now, guess which group that I ended up in?

That’s right! The group that liked to “Build Relationships.” LOL:)

Stop the presses, right? For any of you that know me or have read my posts, you know this is the essence of me and who I am. Relationships to me are the “Straw that stirs the Drink.”

It’s learning those little factoids about one another, that personalizes the relationship and makes it human – makes it real. Then, somewhere along the way, you give it back to that person and they realize that you were paying attention the whole time.

There is a certain warmth that comes from this, when you know that your life and what’s going on in it, is relevant and important to someone else, as well. This is probably not news to you, but it has been a revelation for me, since meeting all of you.

We share a bond, we share thing and we do things for one another, that no one else in my life has done or is interested in doing – that’s why you mean so much to me – that’s what makes you who you are – that’s what makes all of you so special.

Here’s another good story – 34 years in the making…

Recently, my dad had some long time friends of his (and now mine) come up here to see him and to see me – it had been 34-years since I last saw them. When I was a boy, we often used to go their house and he and dad would play the guitar and sing all nite long; those were really special days and I got to hang out “with the big boys.” Those were nights when my dad showed his human side, let his hair hang down, and stopped watching the clock – they were simple times – they were the best of times. (Circa 1968-1970) was what the calendar showed:)

Anyway, I had been in contact with his wife and she had known about my illness and trials – I told her I was all grown up now and wanted my “15-minutes” to sing songs with the band now, LOL:)

Not long after, dad emailed me and told me they were coming up for a couple of days and to come by “both nights” so we could enjoy their company. It was so great seeing them both again after all of these decades. Funny thing about friends – it’s been said that true friends are friends where you “pick it right back up where you left off” as if time did not matter – just like you were talking with them just yesterday or last week.

It was just like that! My heart filled with joy – he sang songs to me that I had not heard in over 40-years, that he used to sing to me on those nights we’d visit. What a great stroll down memory lane, but still making new memories today.

Well, he gave me my 15-minutes and more…we all round-robined and went around the circle singing songs and them playing the guitar and singing, just like the old days – no TV’s, no modern day crap-ola, just sitting around the living room building memories and having fellowship – what a throwback – what a concept – what wonderful evenings!

It’s the simplest things in life that are still the best – they don’t cost a lot of money, or take a big production – it just takes people giving from their hearts and making memories that will carry us a lifetime…how I hope we have another night or two like this while we’re all still together on this earth.

And he’s a storyteller – he knows how to tell a story – he knows how to deliver a line – he knows how to make you smile - you love it even though you’ve heard it many times before. He’s just a good ol’ boy:)

You know I’ve often talked about TIME – a lot of you might roll your eyes at this, but I’ve learned to be a patient mine and bide my time and then seize the day when I see it arrive. I doubt seriously if I would have survived this long, if I had not learned “Patience and Time” – those are arts that are all too quickly overlooked in todays’ “hurry up and wait society.”

But, I waited 34-years to see these good folks again.

I’ve been at my cancer journey now for 6-years.

And it took me 3-years out of my life to create, record, and send out my DVD to Jerry Douglas and Alison Krauss and write “THE PROMISE.” (Please check it out on my expressions – greatest story of my life).

So, Time and Patience is the key to Life – all good things come to those who wait. We have to dig in and “Never Give Up” as our compadre Bruce, likes to say:)

And now, for something completely different…

I’ve got something else to give you before I walk away from here – could not leave until I left you another little gift of expression. On my expressions page, I left you a song to listen to while I was gone.

It is titled, “Walk Through This World With Me”, sung by George Jones.

Listen carefully to the words…it’s a love song, and for me, it expresses how I feel about what my life was prior to finding this board – and what it has become, after I found YOU. It’s a very deep and personal message from Me to You, through George Jones.

Just a little goodie for all of you wonderful folks – I hope that you enjoy it and I think the words will resonate deeply within your hearts, as they have in mine.

I’m learning from ol’ George how to peel back the layers of our souls and reach that area of our anatomy, where our emotions and feelings reside. Once you get inside there, anything is possible.

Once we crack open that hard outer shell that surrounds and protects us all from day-to-day life, we release those inhibitions that let ourselves to be free and to allow ourselves permission, to experience the raw feelings and emotions that make up each one of us – that sort of release that we’re sometimes afraid to expose to the outside world – but are able to do so, among friends and family in a community such as this one.

The “Connection” I like to talk about lives there. It’s very hard to get there, when we’re adults, but when we pop the cork on that bottle and it begins to flow, it is an alive feeling that lets you know how human we really are underneath all of the façade that we build up to survive on a daily basis.

Whether it is Laughter or Tears, one thing is for sure – it is real – and it is wonderful – and the feelings inside there are powerful and mighty.

And now, I’ll close this post with one last little story…

I’ve been watching some biographies that I’ve recorded. I’m always fascinated by how someone’s life turns out – who they were and what they became – and what they overcame along the way.

I was watching the bio of the Mary Tyler Moore show the other night. In their last scene together, they were all saying their goodbyes to one another (right after their group hug and centipede walk that was so famous).

And then, Mary Richards said something so poignant and heartfelt, it resonated such a strong, emotional response inside of me – I wanted to share that with you now.

Mary turned to the group and said, “What is a family anyway? They’re just people who make you feel less alone, and really loved – and that’s what you’ve done for me. Thank you for being my family.” -- Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards

Ditto!

And with that, I’ll leave you all now – better for knowing you and having you be a part of my life. I’ll be thinking about all of you and will see you when I get back from the “Dark Side of the Moon.”

“Sundance has left the building…”

-Craig :)

khl8
Posts: 810
Joined: Nov 2009

Good luck, you are in my prayers!!
Kathy

Fight for my love
Posts: 1530
Joined: Jun 2009

Just wanted to leave you a PM,then I saw your post.Just want to let you know,my brother,you are in my thoughts and prayers everyday.I hope all the procedures go well and you will have a speedy recovery.Best wishes and best luck to you.Take care.

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Patteee's picture
Patteee
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

good luck and god speed

hugs and love from Mini-soda

Patteee

AnneCan
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

Thanks for taking the time to post this while you are in the middle of getting for your surgery. Thanks for sharing your thoughts + emotions + stories. Thanks also for your thoughtfulness with regards to the Medical magazine. I like Frankie Vallie but MY vote goes for you on the cover. I want to wish you all the best for this surgery. I will be waiting excitedly for you to "return to the building"; I sure miss you when you are gone. Take good care!

lizzydavis's picture
lizzydavis
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009

Craig,

I just wanted you to know I read your post and appreciate it. I am standing with you in spirit.

With warm regards,
Lizzy

coolvdub's picture
coolvdub
Posts: 410
Joined: Aug 2009

Craig,

Thanks for the update on what's going on. Jeez it sounds like they really can't make up their minds on pre surgery scans, a little more notice would have been nice for sure. It sounds like you straightened 'em out though. I have had to do the same from time to time in regards to appointments when I ran out of sick and annual leave at work. It seems like once you explain the whys of your paricular situation, things smooth out. I am wishing you all the best for surgery. I will be praying for you and your family.

To the group,

I will start a new topic on Monday with information on how and where to donate, to help with shipping materials and postage. And don't worry if you are short on money, we got you covered and we will just need to get your information so we can get you the magazine. I feel honored to be able to help Craig out in getting the magazine into the hands of this wonderful group of Semi Colons. With all that out of the way,here is hoping you all, have a wonderful 4th of July weekend and that if you a traveling you get there safely.

Don

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Hey, Craig.

I had kind of a funky day with the grandkids. They weren't being bad, just one injury and later a LOT of vomiting. Yuck to the max! And I was feeling a little sorry for myself tonight. What???? I can't even compare any of that to what you've already been through, and what you are facing now. You are such a very strong and wonderful person.

I don't want to get all maudlin on you, but the thought of you being in this serious situation and facing this big surgery again, just makes me anxious and sad. Promise me we're still putting off "going to France," please!

I will be praying for you and anxiously waiting for word that you are doing GREAT. You are not going down that hall alone, my friend. We'll all be with you in spirit.

*huge, big bear hugs*
Gail

Jaylo969
Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Craig, Just got home from my parent's to get more clothes and so glad I checked in and read your post. On July 8th I will be taking my Mom in for her 2nd biopsy but I will think of you and send sparks galore your way. I have been thinking of all of us lately and I am sad but I have NOT lost hope and I know you will do well.Please be well Craig, ok?

Love , hope, & peace always,
-Pat

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

No, you won't be alone in that hallway. We will all be thinking about you and praying for you. But we aren't waiting until then, you are in my prayers as the days click by up to Thursday; I pray you be comforted by God's arms around you as you prepare for this awesome adventure. Stay strong and we'll see you after the robot is done with ya!
mary

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Standing by you in spirit and hope.
Winter Marie

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2120
Joined: Oct 2009

I wish both you and Kim peace and comfort in the days and weeks ahead. It will not be easy for either of you but together, you will face and overcome this surgery.

Love to you both - Tina and George

PS - If there is any way you can let us know how surgery or things are going, please do so.

Paula G.'s picture
Paula G.
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2009

I'll be thinking about you and your wife. Can't wait to hear how it goes. You have helped so many. Love and my best to you Paula

Linda Z's picture
Linda Z
Posts: 25
Joined: Mar 2010

My thoughts and prayers are with you Craig. I read your posts all the time and so appreciate you. I'll be watching for your return

Aud's picture
Aud
Posts: 480
Joined: Oct 2009

you are in my thoughts. Holding you in the Light for a successful surgery, quick recovery, strength, and peace.
~Aud

sheri22
Posts: 278
Joined: Jan 2009

Craig

I will be getting my surgery done 2 days before you. I canrelat to what you are thinking right now talk about a rollercoaster ride huh? I cant wait til your book is done, Just take care and stay positive. You are in my prayers

Sheri22

Lifeisajourney
Posts: 217
Joined: Apr 2010

but our thoughts and prayers are with you....your posts are inspirational, can't wait for the book. Something to work on while you are recovering. Pat

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3346
Joined: Jan 2010

Craig,

Praying for the best results as you face this latest challenge.

Anxiously awaiting your return and more words of wisdom.

Marie

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

HI Craig, I have no doubt that everything will be ok, you will get through all this. I will keep you in my prayers and send positive energy your way. You are an inspiration. Petrina

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Can't wait for you to post and let us know that you are fine!!

Erinb
Posts: 295
Joined: Apr 2010

Craig,
I will be thinking of you. Thank you for inspiring me to be an advocate and better wife to my husband. Your posts are touching and insightful. May God grace you with a smooth and quick recovery.
Erin

Shayenne's picture
Shayenne
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

That's the sound I want to hear when this surgery is over, I am so saddened that you are going through this again, my lion, but hopefully, this is the last, and hope it will give you some relief!

I know you will make it through this with flying colors! I always enjoy your stories, it brings me back to my childhood as well, when thinking about it, how things seemed so much more simpler then. Those were the good ole days.

Huge hugsss to you, and I hope we talk before the surgery ;) I like hearing your voice rather then type what I want to say, you know?

We're all here for ya hun, and will talk soon :)

Hugssss My Lion!!!!
~Chicky :)

elizabethgd
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

in my thoughts and heart.. I have read your postings with the deepest respect.. wishing you a successful surgery , smooth recovery and strength .. Elizabeth

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Spirit hand holding happening here. We are all walking with you and have our best well wishes and prayers going your way.
Take care our friend.

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Will be thinking of you and praying for you, please keep us posted...Stay strong, things will go smoothly.
HUGS
Beth

theresa8's picture
theresa8
Posts: 61
Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you Graig for this wonderful post. The Mary Tyler Moore quote is so true.
You'll be in my thoughts come July 8, hope evertthing goes well. Can't wait to read you again.
Come back real soon
Theresa

SandyL
Posts: 220
Joined: Feb 2009

my friend, you know I wish nothing but the best for you. I will be praying for you and wish you nothing but healing vibes and as painless as possible. We are waiting with baited breath to hear that you are OK. God Bless you in this, your final surgery for this "thing".
Sandy

pluckey's picture
pluckey
Posts: 484
Joined: Jul 2009

Love and Light and Prayerw Be with You Sweet Wonderful Craig

Peggy

lesvanb's picture
lesvanb
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

Holding you close in my heart as you go through this, and wishing you didn't have too.

all the best, Leslie

DRenee
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2010

Craig,

You truly have a Gift with your words and thoughts and encouragement. You are OUR gift. I am hoping and praying for you, your family and your medical team. Come back and see us when you are able. We'll miss you.

baldwin
Posts: 25
Joined: Dec 2008

You will never know the gift of compassion and comfort you have offered to all that you have shared your story with. You words are poetry, your thoughts are compassion and your special way of sharing is love, pure, simple, love. You are a blessing to all and I hold you and your family in prayer for a speedy recovery and comfort and peace. Blessings to you and your family.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6528
Joined: Feb 2009

Just thinking of you both as you endure another journey in this life. So anxiously awaiting and all clear and thumbs up that you can only give when you are able. You are a driving force that keeps on and know that things will go well for you. Please keep us informed as we are all waiting for the outcome. Prayers, love and hugs to you.

Kim

just4Brooks's picture
just4Brooks
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

I'm betting on Craig. You hurry up and get back to the board because we need you. Good luck my friend. Now go kick some butt!!!

Brooks

Kathleen808's picture
Kathleen808
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

Craig,
I am praying for you and thinking about you! You are a wonderful man and you are strong!!!

Aloha,
Kathleen

taipei
Posts: 33
Joined: Aug 2008

Hi Craig: I read your post oftern, knowing you are a very special man, caring for other people, I just know you will come out OK, will pray for you.

Winnie

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Craig,

I felt quite emotional reading through your post. I believe you'll come through this surgery alright too. You have done SO much good, Craig, in so many ways, to so many people. Blessings to you, my friend. I will be thinking of and praying for all to go well this Thursday and in the days to follow the surgery as you recover. I'll also be praying for strength for your wife and family too.

Hugs and blessings to you, as you've blessed so many others-
Lisa :)

SueRelays
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

Wishing you all the best Craig! Love to pop on the colorectal boards to read your posts!
I will be prayin for ya!!!!

CanadaSue's picture
CanadaSue
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2006

Craig,

All the best in your up coming surgery, I know you will do just fine!

You are in my thoughts and prayers always!

HUGS

Sue

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010

Dear Craig, As always, I find your posts to be truly inspirational. I pray that your surgery goes well and that you are back to writing on the board in no time. Take care, best wishes, and God Bless. - Cynthia

angelsbaby's picture
angelsbaby
Posts: 1171
Joined: May 2008

Good luck and you are in my thoughts.

michelle

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