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Christmas time at UCSF - a good week

Blogging tunes: Air - Talkie Walkie; 10kHz Legend

I guess it's been a long time since I've posted.  Not to worry!  Things have actually gotten progressively better this week -- I just haven't found a comfortable way to use the laptop (until now) and the iPad just isn't great for writing long passages.  I know, that's kind of a sorry excuse, so I'll make up for it with an extra long Christmas post.

So first thing's first.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone reading this blog.  I know I sound like a broken record, but the love and support you all have shown to Heather and me has been simply incredible.  I'm sure the good karma is coming back your way and you're all having a healthy and happy holiday.

Much has happened since my last post.  For starters, they moved me across the hall (from 1118 Long to 1156 Long).  Apparently, the ventilation system needed some repairs in 1118. Makes sense.  It was definitely stuffy in there, even with the fan on.  1156 has North facing windows -- the view is absolutely spectacular.  Here are some pics from my crappy BB camera.  Click on an image for higher res.  Can you see the Golden Gate Bridge?

My appetite is slowly returning, and I'm able to eat a few more foods.  Last night I ate all of my cheese ravioli!  If you've never had chemo, you can't possibly understand this, but imagine your favorite foods in the world tasting like cardboard.  That's what can happen post-chemo and it totally sucks.  I've lost over 20 pounds since this whole thing started (was closer to 25 but I put a few pounds back on in the last couple days) and it's really important that I don't lose any more.

Other than food challenges, things are going well.  My counts aren't up yet, but they're not supposed to be, so that's fine.  I seem to have more and more energy each day, and my head's in a pretty good place about everything that's happened and the next steps.  Speaking of which, we do not yet know if my brother is a match.  We'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Next week should be pretty uneventful, so drop me a line if you want to schedule a visit. :)

Music has become a bigger and bigger part of my spirit recovery.  My good buddy Lou (LLB) sent me a little WD drive with a bunch of music on it -- thanks, Lou!  (Even if you forgot Fall Phish!)  :)

Listening to both new and old music with the QC-15s (Thanks Sam/Lucy/Adam/Mary!) can be extremely theraputic:

Next, there are some amazing volunteers here.  This awesome woman, Ann, who is a cancer survivor herself, came to visit me a couple days ago.  She just wanted to spread some holiday cheer and see how I was doing:

We talked for about an hour about all sorts things, and, on top of all that, she gave me an awesome quilt that she made herself!  What a way to brighten up the room:

Heather also found an amazing woman to come give me an accu-pressure massage.  She was absolutely terrific not only with the accu-pressure and the physical stuff, but her mind-body-spirit was exactly what I needed.  She's had over 30 years experience doing this stuff as well as major experience with caner patients.  We really connected -- hoping to see her once a week.

Now all the while, Floyd has been in Massachusetts with Gramma and Grampa (Heather's folks).  Heather's mom writes us these "Floyd-o-grams" just about every day.  What's a Floyd-o-gram?  It's an email written by Gramma as if it were from Floyd.  For example, here's a snippet from one a few days ago:

Today we had the dishwasher repairman come.  Gramma gave me a chair so I could watch and give him instructions if he needed them.  He was so fast that he didn't even need my help.
She always includes pics of whatever's going on too. e.g.

Here's one more snippet and pic:

I helped Gramma make a date nut bread to take with us today.  Gramma cut up dates, and I kept asking her to give me a prune.  She said it wasn't a prune.  Finally she let me eat a real prune and then I knew it was different.  I wanted more prunes but she wouldn't give me anymore.  Hmmm, wonder why not...
I broke the eggs for her and did a really good job.  She asked me to help stir the batter, but it looked really weird so I said no thank you to that idea.

While we're doing pictures of Floyd, the other day, Uncle Jeremy (Heather's brother), Autie Kara (his wife), Floyd, and Grampa went on a little hike.  Here are some pics that Jeremy sent:

That last one is titled "Evil Grampa" -- he does look a bit dia-boe-lick'll, doesn't he?

With Floyd in Massachusetts and awesome friends minding Orion most days, Heather's been able to come visit me a lot this week.  Daytime visits are a lot better all around.  Yesterday, we pulled the shades and watched Inception on my laptop (Thanks, Mickey!)

I had never seen it before -- what an amazing movie.  I thought the top was beginning to teeter at the end.  You?

At some point this week, I'll probably watch Trading Places.  Gotta watch that movie once a year between Christmas and New Years, you know?  I'll also probably watch some of the MIA/LAL game.  I don't really care about pro basketball, but that's a pretty good match up.  More excited to watch the Cowgirls lose tonight and see the Iggles clinch on Sunday.  Of course, if the Giants lose to Green Bay -- which they probably will -- Eagles will have clinched the Division before they even take the field against the hapless Vikings.  Still the #2 seed is possible, so let's keep winning, boys!

Unrelated, one of the bummers about being here so long (during the holidays) is that I missed all the holiday parties.  Cyndi Lauper played at the Salesforce holiday party -- really wanted to go to that.  And two close friends had parties that I really wanted to attend.  Alas, getting better is more important.  Folks at Dave and Laura's party signed a card for me.  Dave (who's a die-hard SF Giants fan) even gave me some R2C2 props.  Thanks ya, beeks.  Sorry, it's a little blurry:

Once again, Happy Holidays to all!

I will kick its ass,



  1. Unfortunately, I think the top was teetering as well. We may never know. Good movie though. A bit violent and a few too many explosions for no reason but, as a friend said, they did have a very large budget.

    You sound good, JG. That's great. VERY pleased to hear that - and this post is a wonderful holiday present for all of us following along at home. Thanks for sharing - the pics, your energy and your story. We're all thinking about you, every day.

    Go Eagles, Go Flyers, Go Jg.

    And... in honor of Trading Places, "Merry New Year!" to you and yours.

  2. Hi John,
    we are so happy to read that you sound good!! Things will get better!!News from Europe : Michel's just back from Guatemala... Brussels is under the snow now (so much snow that nothing works here anymore)...
    We are thinking about you - 2011 SERA UNE BONNE ANNEE!!!! - GO JG ----you'll kick its ass...
    Michele et Michel

  3. Love to hear that your energy is returning and you have found some good mind/body helpers. That (and your teams playing well...) is definitely good for recovery.

    The Wall family wishes you and Heather, Floyd, and Orion a merry Christmas!

  4. Of course it was teetering... but did it right itself and continue to spin? The world may never know. More important, OF COURSE you have to watch Trading Places. Beef Jerky time...

    Heck of a length you'll go to in order to lose the Buddha, there, shmoopie... maybe I can get Bali to come out there and fatten you up.

    Merry New Year,


  5. Good news that your spirits are up, and that the treatment stuff is going according to plan. Flux capacitor...fluxing...

    I wish I could have visited yesterday. I'm finally over this cold, and I'll be over once the requisite week has passed. (It lingered for close to 2 weeks, which was annoying, but of course I have a new perspective on what's a real problem vs. what's small sh*t...)

    I figure PHI-SF baseball this year will get lots of hype (pitching duels, Sunday ESPN game, etc) - let's earthtones every game.

    +1 on Trading Places: "Oh yeah, Clarence Beeks. I wonder what ever happened to that guy?"

    Miss you, love you, YWKIA.



  6. Awesome update, man. Great to see the post - warms the holidays! :)

    Inception top def wobbled.

    Great view from your room, man. Fantastic. Sooo glad you're getting good spirit healing. Been sending good vibes your way for, like, munce.

    On my way to see you in a few weeks!! Can't wait. :)

  7. Glad to read and hear your doing better JG. Rough being in there for the Holidays. (The top definitely teetered). I am up writing our yearly Christmas letter now and I'll shoot a link when its done. Thoughts and prayers for your safe and speedy recovery.


  8. Congrats on the Iggs clinching and glad to hear you are feeling better today. A Happy Holidays to everyone. I will be in town Wednesday so hopefully we can arrange something. I will drop you a line. Peace Jagu!

  9. my TP favorite scene:

    Pawnbroker: Burnt my fingers, man.
    Louis Winthorpe III: I beg your pardon?
    Pawnbroker: Man, that watch is so hot, it's smokin'.
    Louis Winthorpe III: Hot? Do you mean to imply stolen?
    Pawnbroker: I'll give you 50 bucks for it.
    Louis Winthorpe III: Fifty bucks? No, no, no. This is a Rouchefoucauld. The thinnest water-resistant watch in the world. Singularly unique, sculptured in design, hand-crafted in Switzerland, and water resistant to three atmospheres. This is *the* sports watch of the '80s. Six thousand, nine hundred and fifty five dollars retail!
    Pawnbroker: You got a receipt?
    Louis Winthorpe III: Look, it tells time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rome, and Gstaad.
    Pawnbroker: In Philadelphia, it's worth 50 bucks.
    Louis Winthorpe III: Just give me the money.
    Louis Winthorpe III: [looking in display case] How much for the gun?

  10. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Sounds like this second round of chemo did some serious ass-kicking. That's great. It was sweet to see the Floyd-o-grams, she is one awesome gramma! Snow fell like crazy last night as a post-Christmas surprise in NJ. I missed the holiday party, too, sounds like it was a good one. Next year, you and I will be there to dance the night away, ok? As always, thinkin' on you.
    Peace & hugs,
    Mary Scotton

  11. Great to see you doing better JG! Love the Floyd o grams :). What a cutie! Wishing you and your family a very Happy & Ass Kicking 2011! -mg

  12. Just got around to reading your Blog Post from a few days ago. The Eagles talk all sounded great - - - it's a bummer they didn't even show up to the game last night.

    Glad to read that things are slowly moving in a positive direction. I'm praying that Dave comes up a Match.

  13. I know what you mean about food. When I had radiation therapy everything tasted like crap but it all came back.

    Sure sounds like you are on the right track.

    That's great!!!!!

    Now for important things-- will MV be the MVP

  14. Jaggu Daada, Thanks for the detailed update and I'm so glad to hear that you are doing better compared to few days ago..

    Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous New Year and I'm praying praying for your speedy recovery.


  15. Bear in mind that no viewing of Trading Places is complete until you've also watched Coming to America. That's gotta be one of the best cameos of all time.

    Regarding your iPad: have you tried using a Bluetooth keyboard with it? Makes for a pretty darned good combo.


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