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FYI No discussion here, just information.

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Old 02-15-2005, 05:19 PM   #1
Bob
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1953 - 2006
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Camano Island - Washington State - USA
Posts: 3,949
Default Bald Bob, bald mods – the story

I am very fortunate… I am very grateful.

I’m sure more than a few have been impressed with the high quality of the ‘balding’ on my moderator head shot. The secret is that I had many months to work on my bald look, in fact I got carried away and went for the full bald body (indeed, nearly all stay for a while longer), and I'm not too sick yet, I will share.

While I did not keep my cancer a secret, it might seem a bit that way because it was never mentioned on the forums. I decided, at the start of my cancer ‘adventure’, that I should not make my situation a topic of discussion on the Forums – this is not to suggest that I kept it a secret, because I did not, but … my cancer has nothing to do with piping; I really didn’t want to even appear to use the Forums as a support site for a personal issue; I can’t even describe how tough this has been (and is still) for my wife and daughters – they visit these forums, and any discussion about me would be way too ‘real world’.

Then, a couple of weeks ago I decided to share a current image of my bald head, (knowing that ‘fashion statement?’ not ‘cancer?’ would be the first impression of most viewers) and many of our moderator team decided to also go ‘bald’ too – joining in a celebration of “February, the official Bob’s bald head month”. Kind of silly perhaps, but I know it was meant as support for me (the moderators have all known about my cancer since the beginning, and they have been tremendously supportive), and it is another one of many humbling experiences of the past 7 months. The bald heads have, I know, been a source of questions and even some discomfort for a while now – but I simply did not want to ‘announce’ my cancer until I was done with chemo.. Or really close to done (which is now). My family has been going through this since August, and just getting to the end of chemo is a BIG DEAL to us…

The story (short form) - Last August I was diagnosed with an aggressive and very uncommon (for people over 25) form of cancer (osteosarcoma – a bone cancer), in my back of all places. The good news (actually all things considered there is a lot of good news) about aggressive tumours, is that if they are caught really early (and mine was) there are often good results from treatment with chemotherapy (my results have been). Very often this type of cancer results in the amputation of a limb –my tumour was in my back and clearly amputation wasn’t an option, but the surgeries (3 since August) have been successful, the tumour is gone. I do have a most impressive scar, a few small parts of some vertebrae are missing, and I have a bit of a divot where the tumour used to be, but considering the option this is all truly trivial. Also amazingly good news is that here in the Pacific Northwest we have one of the best Cancer Care centers in the entire country (the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance), and one of the best hospitals in the country (just ranked #9 in fact) – the University of Washington Medical Center – I have received great care, truly world class care, from these facilities, and the”U” Medical Center even feels a bit like a second home to me, not much of a surprise I guess – with my surgeries, and chemotherapy visits (Chemo in my case is 24 hour a day infusion for 4 or 5 days - Tuesday to Saturday in Hospital) I’ve been here (at the "U") for 8 ‘visits’ over the past 6 months (And aside from world class facilities, and staff, …. high speed Net connection in a private hospital room – how could I not love this place)..

Soon the moderator head shots will go back to normal, and soon my chemo cycle will be complete. In a few weeks they’ll remove the Hickman line from my chest (used to administer the chemo drugs), with luck in just a few weeks my nausea will go away, and in a month or two my hair will start to grow back, and I’ll be done with this part of the ‘adventure’..
:woohoo:
Look for me in a (real) beer tent this summer – I’ve got some great stories..

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