email sent May 17, 2016

Subject: Immediacy and Uncertainty…

… or, The Best Fire I Ever Saw, By Far, Was a Rust-Oleum Plant

Could it be? Yes! Another short email. I’m gathering fodder at a faster rate. This time I’ll blame it on some excellent responses to my last two mailings and lots of down time, literally, on my stomach. Let’s just say that sitting has been a royal pain.

I qualified for re-entry into the clinical trial! Dosing began today. And the surgeon got all of the skin cancer last week – the margins were clear. The new spot on my right lung is a bit disconcerting. It’s adjacent to one that was obliterated with radiation last year. Weird. We’ll know lots more with the next scan which is scheduled for mid-July. With luck, the dosing will knock it out. We’ll see. I’m not worrying, I’m breathing fine. Besides, worry is boring, I have lots better things to do and think about.

I’m overwhelmed by the replies I receive. Thank you so much! Here is a sampling…

“Observers of miracles is our mantra should we take the time to see.”

“Well, right now in my reality, I am closing my eyes, envisioning our beautiful world, and channeling that immense force to you in beauty, love, and healing… Also as we age, I find myself outside more… looking up the heavens saying ‘it’s in your hands God, it’s in your hands.’”

“I was curious about the previous reference to achievement and the meaning of life. I think they are inextricably linked… is it not the case that if someone is to give up on trying to achieve then their life while perhaps enjoyable is somehow much, much less rich?”

My fellow engineers are going to love this one: “As a mechanical engineer always fixing old things I think of it [cancer] a bit like rust… it’s everywhere… and indiscriminate as to the beauty of the object.”

Another great friend really got me thinking. She sent me a Mark Twain quotation that was new to me. As I often do, I searched the internet to see what I could learn about its context. What I did find was another quote that one person coupled with the Twain quote to guide his life. This second quote is:

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Jackie Robinson (1st black American to play major league baseball) What a perfect message to pair with:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

I implore you to ponder why you were born and when you realized it. Please feel free to send along what your thoughts. I cheated and came up with two days, rationalizing that in some respects I’ve had two lives. The two were the day I started work as a biomedical engineer and the day I began sending these emails.

With love, gratitude, and a burning desire to vanquish rust,


p.s. Huge thanks go to Vicki who, once again put her life on hold and saw me through this latest round of immediacy and uncertainty.



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