Brakes and a Top for the Old Goat

Well I’m not afraid of the rain any longer. I’ve got a new top and a fresh set of brakes all the way around. To top it all off I even have an emergency brake again too! Ah, it’s nice to be thankful for the simpler things in life. 

Down the road I plan on upgrading to a dual chamber master cylinder (yes, it only has a single now) so that if a brake line should go I will only lose half the brakes instead of all of them. I might even opt for power assisted (currently manual) and maybe even disc brakes someday. We will just have to see. 

In the mean time here are some pics of the new top:

My Dad Left Me His 1965 Pontiac GTO

imageMy dad passed away this past November and left me his 1965 Pontiac GTO. I had always drooled over the car since I had seen it for the first time way back in the early 80’s when my mom met my dad. Unfortunately he had already “parked it” and I never got to ride in it. The last registration date on it was 1982.

Original Owner

My dad was the original owner of the car and ordered it brand new with the “GTO options” back in late 64′. Fortunately he saved all the brochures, order forms, sales receipt, and manual (with protecto plate). It is a true barn find that I am happy that is now mine.

Going Forward

The plan is to get it running and looking nice so we can take it on Sunday drives (and maybe so if we can do a little classic auto cross ?. This car was meant to be driven and that is what I would like to do with it. It only has an original 85k miles so I know she’s got a lot of life left in her. Shoot. We were able to start it right up after giving it just a standard tune up! I would be driving it right now if it had brakes and maybe a top. Here are some pictures of my new baby as we dug it out of the side yard for the first time in 30 years.

Score: Me 4 – Cancer 0

I am happy to report that another routine CT scan has come and gone and it continues to show that there is no cancer in my body. This puts me into my 4th year of being cancer free. 12 months from now it will be 5 years cancer free and according to the medical community I will be cured from esophageal cancer. Can I get a WOOT!!! For me this scan was a little different in that I know that I have not been sick but knowing that the test was clean was a validation that feels really good. In the last 9 months since my last scan I have begun to adjust to this “New Normal”. It is very different then my life was before but I am beginning to accept where I am. Yes, I am happy to be alive but I am also happy that I am living a semi-normal life.

New Normal Vs. Old Normal – What’s the Difference?

Energy. Yes, it is that simple. A secondary issue to that is pain but it is very much related. The pain is from the trauma that my body went through while going through treatment and is controlled via pain meds. These pain meds and the side effects of chemo/radiation/surgery all keep my energy level at about 50-60% of what it was pre-cancer (pre-cancer being 6-12 months before I was diagnosed). It’s pretty much like having the energy level of someone twice my age. Despite this I think I am more accepting of the limitations of my energy now then ever before. I am learning to work around it by not committing to too much and resting several times during the day. Every once in a while I will push it too hard and my body makes me pay for it by making me rest for several days. I can’t really fool or bargain with my body any longer. My body has its limitations and it holds pretty hard to those limits.

Now What/Where/How?!?!?

That is a very good question. I’m not a stay at home dad. I’m not a go-to-work husband. I am a husband/dad who uses his limited energy to spend with his family. I am still trying to figure everything else out. One thing that I am looking into is how I can share my experiences in order to give hope to others that may be facing similar challenges. There have been several people along the way that helped me when I could not help myself. People like this are instrumental to winning any type of battle like this. I don not believe that we were meant to fight alone. I am very thankful for those people in my life. Something else that I really believe enabled me to make it this far is my faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ. I was a Christian before getting sick and could not image going through this without God. There is no one on this earth that can always be there for you 24/7, that is just impossible. It was in those times that I felt that God was with me and that He was going to use people to get me through this. This gave me peace in the mist of the battle which I believe was key in overcoming. It is when everyone works together that things turn out the best. Here’s to another 12 months of great health and being cancer-free!

Looking Ahead to 2013

2013In a few hours 2012 will be fading away and 2013 will be upon us. 2012 was a year of recovery for me after a couple of years of intense treatment. I can eat almost normally now and have not had anything major happen over the last year which is a big step for me. In looking to 2013 my hope is that I can bring some stability to my life and to my family’s lives. Life by itself is enough to deal with without being concerned for a loved one’s health.

In this new year I would like to get involved in a couple of activities that hopefully can get me out of the house. I would love to be apart of the Austin WordPress Meetup again and would love to be involved in my church again as well.  I would also like to do some money earning as well but we will have to see how things pan out.

I think if I would like to get anything out of 2013 it would be purpose. I have made it through a lot of really difficult situations in the past few years. I am still getting back on my feet but I know I went through those things for a reason. I would like to figure that reason out this next year and do something with it.

If anything, I have learned in 2012 that God can bring me through anything. I want to carry that thought into 2013 and apply it other areas in my life and help others do the same. If anything, I would like to share hope with others that may be in situations simliar to mine. Purpose and hope are powerful things, they helped to get me where I am today.

Here’s to 2012 and looking forward to 2013!

Latest Test = 2 1/2 Years Being Free From Cancer

I got the results from my latest CT scan and I am still cancer free. The doctor also remarked at full my face looked compared to when he had seen me 6 months ago. I have now been pushed to a 9 month test cycle as opposed to the 6 month cycle I had ben on.If looking up all the dates and everything it has now been 2 1/2 years since any know cancer was in my body. My oncologist was quick to add that at 5 years I would be considered “Cured” from cancer. A tear comes to my eye as I write that since their were some many points along the way that I didn’t think I was going to make it at all.

Cancer can be beat.

What Am I Up To These Days?

Boy, that’s an interesting question. I am kind of trying to figure that out.

I am no longer going through treatment for cancer and am now in recovery mode. In all honesty it wasn’t the actual cancer treatment that got to me, it was the “persistent stricture” as a result of surgery that almost did me in. I have since got that fixed but it left my plumbing (digestive system) a little difficult to deal with.

Due to the extensive treatment that I went through and the side effects of treatment I am currently disabled. This has mostly to do with my energy level, pain, and other ailments that saving my life caused. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I would much rather deal with the things that slow me down now as opposed what possibly could have happened. But on the flip side, what I went through was a big deal, and my body bears the scares to prove it. 

How I Spend My Days

meMy days are mostly spent doing some form of physical activity, going to the doctor, and tinkering around the house. Only recently have I started cleaning the dust off of my websites and started messing with them. I still have a fair amount of doctors appointments so they keep me pretty busy as well.

My biggest challenge right now is my energy. I probably have the energy of someone twice my age (which is not a good thing). I get tired really easy and am trying to learn what my limits are so I don’t over do it. I haven’t ventured into the garage too much yet due to the heat. The heat outside kicks my butt right now.

Exercise. Diet. Yeah…

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Hopefully the First and Last Health Update of 2012

As mentioned in my last post I was to have a Supercharged Jejunum Esophagectomy in November. I did have the surgery and it went just fine. I was in the the hospital for about 2 weeks afterward and it has been about 5 weeks since I was released from the hospital. I’ve been back to the doctor for follow ups and according to them I am recovering just fine.

As a part of my overall health management I had my regularly scheduled CT scan last week and it came back clean – no cancer to be seen. As you can imagine this is welcome news. Officially I have now been cancer free for 1 year since it has been that long since my last treatment. I will have another scan in 3-6 months as apart of my overall follow up plan. It is sure nice to be cancer free 🙂 .

The New Year

I think the nicest thing about going into the new year is that I do not have any procedures scheduled. I don’t have any tests scheduled. I don’t have anything wrong with me that leaves that little bit of uncertainty in the back of your mind. It is nice to be in this place after 2 1/2 years.

I do have my ailments and am on medications to help with those. But if I am given the opportunity to recover and heal like I need to then those should dissipate as time goes on. From here on out the posts about my health should be few and far in between.

Thank you to everyone that supported me during this time. All of your prayers and positive thoughts really helped me make it through. I look forward to returning to as much of a normal life that is possible.

Sunrise photo courtesy of Hassan9 via


Health Update – The Short and the Long of It

The Short

I am having esophageal reconstruction surgery on November 16, 2011.

This surgery is similar to the one I had in June of 2010 except that it is going to be in Houston with a different surgeon. The reason that I am having this second surgery is that there were a couple of areas that were brought together during the first surgery that never had the tissue and/or blood vessels connect. This is what has been causing the scar tissue to grow all this time. With this new surgery I will also have a plastic surgeon who will concentrate on these connections to try and ensure that this does not happen again.

The Long

The journey leading up to this second surgery has been one filled with tens of procedures, tests, and unfortunately emergency hospital stays. The funny thing is that all the procedures that I have endured for the last year+ were to try and save me from having the surgery that I am about to have. Unfortunately all the procedures that I endured ended up becoming more dangerous then the surgery itself, go figure.

This is the tally of procedures, tests, and hospital stays that I have had since my last post in March:

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My Son’s iPad Was Delivered and I Get to Play with It

My son’s iPad was just delivered and I am “testing it out” to make sure that it is working properly.

The reason my son has an iPad is that he is speech delayed due to autism. He was able to get the iPad for free through some program my wife found. They have developed software that helps kids like my son communicate with the touch interface.

It is so awesome to see something that was intended to play games and edit documents be used to teach someone to talk.

Thank you Apple!

The “Long Term” Stent Ended Up Being the Shortest of Them All

Yep, I am without a stent once again. It was not planned this way but with what my doctor saw in my semi-emergency EGD yesterday he thought it was the best thing.

What he saw was that the area of irritation that was there 2 weeks ago was more irritated. When he biopsied it 2 weeks ago it was cancer free and he still thinks it is. His reasoning for why it is there and getting bigger is that the stents are rubbing in that area.

How This All Came About

To rewind a little bit, this all came about because I called my GI doc on Monday to tell him that food had been getting stuck, and whether this was normal for the new stent that was placed 2 weeks ago? He said no, this was not normal and got me in for a chest x-ray the same day. He wanted to see if the stent had migrated down into my stomach.

The results of the test were negative. No, the stent looked like it was in the same spot.

I told him that when the food was getting stuck it was different then in times past as it seemed deeper, like it was at the bottom end of the stent. He said we should go take a look and scheduled me the next morning for an EGD. … Continue Reading

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