It’s been a challenging, eight-month long journey from discovering I had tongue cancer to where I am today, cancer free and almost at my “new normal”.
The list of people to thank is so long that I have to break it up into two blog posts. I will post the second one tomorrow.
If you are reading this then you are one of those I need to thank. It flatters me to know how many people read my blog. I appreciate your interest, caring and attention. The blog has had close to 15,00O visits and over 1,000 comments. Thank you all. Many of the commenters get special mention later.
Thank you to the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who cared for me throughout this process.
The very attentive locum doctor from the Links Clinic who had me do all the tests to determine if I had cancer. She was concerned enough to give me her cell number when I went on my cat ski trip in mid – March last year. I called her on the trip when I started coughing up blood.
Dr. Glen Burchette, our family doctor, who told Linda and I clearly and directly that it was tongue cancer, that it was an ugly cancer but that I would likely survive it.
Dr. Jeffrey Harris, my surgical oncologist, who scared the shit out of us with his talk of surgically removing my tongue. A nightmare scenario that helped to put my actual cancer journey into perspective.
Dr. Brock Debenham, my radiation oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute, who killed the cancer with radiation, was always cheerful and encouraging, flattered me by calling me a high functioning patient. He also came into the hospital on his day off, a Saturday, to help me with my feeding tube when a resident could not losen it.
Dr. John Walker, my chemotherapy oncologist, whose chemicals kicked the shit out of me but helped the radiation. He was always very open and encouraging. He also thinks enough of my blog to give it out to his new patients. Flattering.
Anna, my speech therapist, who helped me with my swallowing issues. Thank you for your patience with me and for the encouragement. Anna is also the organiser and guide for the support group for ear nose and throat cancer patients. We meet every Tuesday with the other professionals from the Cross Cancer Institute. Very helpful.
Patty, my dietitian, who had so many ideas for keeping my weight up.
Karmen Schmidt, the Nurse Practitioner in the support group who always had a helpful professional advice and understanding perspective on what the patients where going through.
Lindsay, the psychologist in our support group for being there for us.
The members of our Tuesday morning ENT cancer support group, especially Gary, Al and Jan whose struggles with their cancer issues put mine in perspective. It was amazing to witness your positive attitudes in the face of the constantly changing daily challenges of dealing with recovery from radiation treatments. You guys were inspirational.
The support staff at the Cross who keep the atmosphere there cheerful and calm. I am sure all the cancer patients and their families appreciate your persistent optimism. I know Linda and I do.
Kyle, the guy who had to check us in with at every visit. I enjoyed your attitude. Thanks for laughing at my jokes.
The many nurses and technicians that I was helped by at the Cross Cancer institute, the U of A Hospital, the Royal Alex and Misericordia Hospitals who were always cheerful and professional. I like that the nurses at the Cross always had me filling out those questionnaires to monitor our changes. It’s impressive that you ask about both health and psychological issues and even ask if we are experiencing financial difficulties. There was evidence that the doctors actually read them.
Oscar Mora, a nurse at the U of A Hospital, who I bonded with during my first PET scan and I am now Facebook friends with. Oscar, I think I promised to teach your kids snowboarding. Let’s do it.
Lisa Reid-Branconnier, a fellow cancer patient who I met briefly when we were being administered the chemo drugs. She did the inspiring cancer doodle that was on my fridge for so long and is in the photograph series my son Mike did. She is now also a Facebook friend.
Thank you to all of the above.
Thank you to my family for all their support and many acts of kindness. Too many to mention.
The kids; Mike, Kyle, Kirsten and her husband JP as well as Linda who created a special touching appreciation ceremony for me in Vancouver when I first learned I had cancer and before any treatment had been determined. Each of them took turns telling me what they appreciated about me. It was very touching. Many tears. I will never forget it.
My son Jeff, for crying while sitting across the table from me in a restaurant as our new friend Gary, a throat cancer survivor, described in graphic detail the challenges I was about to endure.
All of my family members who joined us for that party in the Air BnB apartment we rented overlooking False Creek in Vancouver. Linda, Jeff and Connie, Mike, Kyle, Kirsten and JP, Sandy and Rita, Callie, Tom and Katrina, Rebecca and Josh, Daniel and Marisa.
My sister Shenta for always keeping in touch with me through phone calls, texts, emails and visits. Also for the many times she came by to do Reiki treatments when I was exhausted and most needed them. Thank you Shenta.
Shenta’s husband Gary for his insights into the world of cancer and for actually reading that award-winning book on the history of cancer treatments, “The King of All Maladies”.
My sister D-Anne in Winnipeg for being present for me right from the start. Reading and commenting on my blog. Especially for two comments. One where she gave me permission to write as much as I wanted to and to not have to make it short and punchy. And the other where she asked commenters to stop giving me advice without considering that it was my experience not theirs that counted here. (or something to that effect). D-Anne also came out to Edmonton from Winnipeg to be with us for a weekend as treatment while I was getting treatment.
My brother Sandy, and his wife Rita, for their genuine concern while Sandy struggled, as he still does, with his own problem; severe tinnitus. I feel for you Sandy.
My sister Callie for the marijuana based healing products and the Phoenix Tears. Also for pointing out that as soon as I got cancer I had to hog all the attention. This reminded her that when she was sick, I was nowhere to be found. It’s true she had a series of very serious life threatening health issues that lasted years and I was relatively insensitive to her plight. Not that I don’t love her. I am just inattentive.
My mother Joyce Kuby, in Winnipeg, who at a healthy and sharp 95 years of age is an inspiration to everyone she knows, especially her kids. She uses an IPad to read and comment on my blog. Thanks Mom. Keep pushing that walker around the outside of the seniors home and out on to the walking trails.
Linda’s mom, Joyce Scott, who at 87, lives in a senior’s home in Lethbridge. Joyce follows the blog on her computer and phones Linda every day. They talk like best friends for an hour or so, which helps keep Linda entertained. Thanks Joyce.
Lorna, Linda’s twin sister, and her husband George who are in the process of moving from Atlanta to Costa Rica. Lorna has had her own health challenges with a heart problem and then a broken ankle but has always took time to check and comment on my blog and to Facebook with Linda and me. See you soon in Costa Rica Lorna and George.
Graydon McCrea, Linda’s ex-husband, and his girlfriend Nan Schuurmans, for caring and especially for bringing over a wonderful beef stew for Linda and me shortly after learning that I had cancer. Graydon gave me a backhanded compliment after reading my blog by telling me how surprised he was that I could write so well. It made me realize that my blog was showing sides of me that many of you might not be aware of.
Freda Wapple, Linda’s aunt, who expressed her concern and support through emails and the blog.
Dr. Glen Zenith, our dentist who is married to Linda’s cousin, for getting me in quickly so he could be sure to do any necessary work on my teeth before my radiation started.
Margaret Langston, another of Linda’s cousins, who really helped me with her “hands of light” treatments before and after my chemotherapy. Thank you for your energy and you skills Margaret.
My playground and recreation equipment business community:
Thank you to staff at PlayWorks and ParkWorks for taking care of business without me, for being supportive, and for following my blog. And for the loyal service. In order of the years they have worked with PlayWorks (some up to 20 years) Lori Vogelaar, Selena Madar, Jenny Harry, Debbie Souve, Pat Zelenak, Jay Silverman, Allie Perrin, Jacquie Lautermilch, Mitchell Taubense, Melodie Ouellette, and Brien Davis.
And to Don Wong who has done the books and been my financial guy, and a loyal friend for over 35 years. He helped me build this business from nothing to what it is today. www.playworks.ca
As special shout-out to Pat Zelenak, our number one salesman and all round go to guy for all things sales and project related. Thanks for everything, Pat. You have been a major contributor to my business success. You now have all the pebbles (inside joke). Some day there will be sales reps and playground designers that snatch them from your hand.
To Jill White, the owner of one of our main suppliers, who bought the business from us. She has been great throughout the whole process. She made it possible for Linda and I to just concentrate on getting healthy without undue worry about the business and our financial future. We could not have found a buyer more suited to making my company even better than I could have.
Serge Morin, the owner of one of the playground companies we represented and a good friend, who flew out from Montreal to Edmonton for a weekend just to be with Linda and I during radiation treatments. We really appreciated that.
Brad Friesen a sales rep from Rubberstone who took the time to come to our house for visit when he was in town after I has sold the business. Nice.
Margaret James and Dave Hilmer, former employees and friends from my days back with Play and Learn who are still in touch with me.
To the many people who work with our suppliers who made special call or or emailed me to express their support.
My long time freinds from Kompan and BigToys community over the last 35 years who are now part of my active facebook communitiy. Warren Baxter, Jeff Olson, Jay Becquith, Tim Madely, Scott Ramsay, Susan Crawford, Valarie Wiggen, Natialie Haggen Child, Tom Grover, Tracy Themes, Bob Ross, Hap Parker, David Parker and a few others who I am sure I have forgotten to mention.
Ben and Ruth Prins who I know through SofSurfaces and Active Playgrounds. I received some heart felt, helpful, caring and complimentary emails and comments on the blog from both of you. Thank you, I appreciate that you hold me in such high esteem. You do me a lot of good.
Pam Hoffman, Eric Von Dohlen and Denise Seidle from my days selling Romperland play equipment. Thank you for being there for me; then and now.
Kurt Krause from Playcraft. Allways a big fan and freind to me and Linda. Thanks Kurt for your faith in me and all of your support.
Dan Christensen from UPC parks. Thanks for the banter.
Thank you all
Part 2 of the thank you’s will be posted tomorrow.