Saturday, July 5, 2008


Yes, I've got it.

No, you can't have it. You have to grow your own. You don't catch cancer. It's not a head-cold or a case of clap. I've been working on mine for more than five years now. It's called Multiple Myeloma and it has lead me a merry chase, partly because the first symptoms appeared as a kind of transition variety and all those fancy, infallible scanners and CATZ and PETZ and sooper-dooper hi-teck never-wrong space-age machines were DEAD WRONG. Indeed, I was I was healthy as hell according to them... and they were right. Unfortunately I was in the process of developing multiple myeloma so that while I was healthy then, within a matter of weeks I was now not... even though I had just completed a series of expensive, time-consuming tests that said I was.

One of the trickier bits about Multiple Myeloma is that it likes to attack people who are about forty years of age or older. Need I mention that includes a lot of pilots?

If you just found out you've got it, you're one of about 15,000 others in the 40 - to - 65 age-group who joined that years club. After getting the good news an awful lot of these guys make it as far as the parking lot before blowing out their brains. I mean, after all... they've just lost their ticket, everyone is moving to larger airframes rather than smaller ones and career-wise our boy is on the lower cusp, for whom a lab report ...perhaps accompanied by a friendly tranquilzer... has just guaranteed the world as he knew it has ended.

Okay, stats vary and I don't want it to appear worse than it is but I've had the misforturne to see this scenario played-out twice, up-close and personal. My own situation aside, I'd rather it didn't happen again so howzabout following me through on this one?

The Biggie is that some forms of multiple myeloma are TREATABLE. Okay, so there's no ATR in your wallet when you get done but at least you are still there.

Treatable means you can't have my plane... go build your own. But we -- and I'm talking the aviation community, your family and what all -- we've still got you. That puts us miles ahead of the game. So don't get all teary-eyed on me. You've still got the Big C! (and so do I). It's awful. It F**king Hurts! It's NOT FAIR!!

So suck it up and let's get on with our lives.


Like I said, some forms of multiple myeloma are treatable and I'm a living example of someone who ha
s just started through the process. I've done the wet hanky bit, hid in the corner for a major bout of boo-hoo's, then then did the Oh So Sorry me but my God that sonofabitch hurts!

Weak as a cat, too. (But I'm working on that.)

Kinda confused. Chemotheropy guarantees you're going to kinda dingy now & then but but trust me, I passes.

What you need, right now and for a good while to come is your friends. And you can go ahead and count me in, if I'm not already on the list. Because with multiple myeloma the emphasis is NOT about grabbing your friends by the handles and dumping them in a hole in the ground, it is about getting BETTER; about HEALING. And I'm not standing here blowing smoke. Hell, I'm still making rigs for Chugger's wing ! (and no tranks in the pill compartment this morning).

(And I've still got three damn engines to finish :-)


So what about you guys who don't have 'chugger' waiting in the wings? Then you're going to have to get one...
or something damn near identical.


Plus you've got to learn how to SLEEP.

Deep, rich rewarding SLEEP. Because based on my limited (but growning experience as a cancer victim) sleep appears to be the catylyst for cure -- or at least for healing. The only problem is that everything is all so new (!) and there is so much to learn. To make matters worse you usually look like the dog's dinner and feel even worse.

Tough Darts.

About half the time, multiple myeloma is trying to kill you on purpose and the rest of the time it does a fair amount of damage through pure chance, all the while you are rattling like a goard from all the pills you've stuffed yourself with. Most of the pills are an effort to control the pain, others are there to help control the side-effects of the chemicals that are suposed to help you GET WELL and a very critical aspect of that effort is the need to maintain accurate records. The records are needed to maintain the proper balance between pain management and chemotherapy. Need I mention that if you aren't a good clerk at the outset you'll soon become one!

So what works? What's the Secret Weapon?

I haven't the foggiest notion.

But I do know that Jesus never owned a Cadilliac and Mohammad had never actually seen a real oil well although it's fair to assume both enjoyed a wealth of real friends, the kind you can't buy.

So let's start with that


29 June -- Home from the hospital, I pretty much lived in this chair for three days & nights because it simply hurt too much to lay down. We finally got that worked out .

You can't deal with the tumor until you've figured out some way to deal with the pain.