First Few at COHOS

The first days of my admittance at University of Colorado Hospital or COHOS (sounds more exotic and hotelish to say COHOS, pronounce Co-HAUS) were a bitch.

Sorry for the language – not really.

I found out over the last few days that its okay to swear profusely and often. Its true. I mean a doctor told me this was the case and you know, most of them are always right, right? He said it has been scientifically proven that swearing helps with pain management.

Turns out there is quite a bit of research on The Google talking about it, even made it as a wikipedia topic.

Have to admit last night I took the Doc’s words at face value and laid out a colorful stream of choice and unimaginative words directed at the hospital, the doctors, nurses, techs, the meds, room, the wall, the floors, the ceiling, the bed, the dark, the treatment, my situation, God, Jesus …etc, etc, etc.

My practice of this newly discovered pain management technique was in direct response to a few rare side effects of the first chemo treatment (cytoxan).

One was a general lack of peeing, despite the fact they loaded me with fluids. I looked like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man and, as my Mom would say “adding insult to injury” gained 14 L-Bs in 36 hours.

Likely related, I had epic back pain. At one point I thought in the middle of the night that I might lose what little brain I have left. Made we wonder if they should have a “Screaming Room” at hospitals. This might prove therapeutic.

That same doctor told me that it has been equally proven that laughter can also help cure sickness. I think we have all probably heard this in one form or another before. I think the person credited with making this concept popular was UN Peace prize winner and honorary doctorate holder, Norman Cousins.

Dr Norman Cousins: Anatomy Of An Illness

Here I am at a convergence of ideas or experiencing a little “synergy.” We are talking swearing, laughter and my desperate desire to sleep last night rolled into one.

I am thinking about my favorite, all time coherent and imaginative set of swear words…Samuel L. Jackson spouting a bed time story.

Parents can likely relate to the above.

Its funny.

Likely incredibly healing.

I am just not sure I am going to tell the boys about it, yet.


I am heading to UC Health hospital in Aurora for an extended “vacation” starting Wednesday, Sept 5.

My all expense paid stay is part of a clinical trial and will feature 7 glorious days of lymphodepletion /chemotherapy, followed by an infusion of billions of white bloods cells (specifically ‘Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes or TIL) and then, supposedly the fun part, 2-4 days of Interleukin-2 aka “IL-2” or a cytokine/signaling protein for the immune system. Its party time.

If you want to read about the study – or you can geek out on science if so inclined –

Its been an eventful few months just getting here.

Starting with some evidence of progressive disease in the lymph nodes of my neck and along the liver, a short accounting of the last 2 months includes: 1 PET Scan, 2 CT scans of head /neck/ abdomen, 2 MRIs, 4 lab draws, 1 surgery, 1 colonoscopy, eye exam, a few millions doctor’s appointments, and a some different heart tests. Along the way, I had colitis and a rather unpleasant, festering infection in my neck.

If the brain scans had shown progression, if the colitis had not resolved with antibiotics or the infection had not healed, I would not be eligible for this exciting new trial.

Two months ago just getting here was daunting and there have been as you can imagine a few moments of fear, doubt and trepidation. But we are grateful to be here now.

Anyways, I don’t have prophetic or inspirational words of wisdom to offer tonight. Surprisingly or perhaps out of sheer delusion, I feel good. I know it probably makes no sense but for the most part I am at peace and enjoying life.

Work has been awesome and full of fun and challenging opportunities. I am receiving phenomenal medical care. We love our new house. The kids are back to school and do stuff to make this Dad amazed or beaming on a regular basis. Even Sarah has claimed that she will continue to love and care for me when I am sporting Anakin Skywalker’s look and the hair falls out.

Anakin Skywalker

Strength permitting, I will try to post a few times from my hospital bed.

Together, perhaps we will contemplate the delicate intricacies of mustard gas derivatives as they stampede through my veins.

May the force be with you always.



13 years ago we moved to Monument Colorado with a plan. The new place was great but we ultimately longed for trees and room for the boy (eventually boys) to make some noise.  We figured it would take 5 years to get there.

Fast forward and life, mainly cancer, interrupted. Our plan yawned and stretched out. Stuck in the metaphorical woods, it often felt more like up we were up the creek.

——-let me stop the train a second by saying that in a sometime troubled world, I think a new house sits squarely in the realm of  “high class problems.” Kinda like watching “House Hunters” with somebody wailing over the wrong color of counter tops in their otherwise perfect, dream home. Oh the horror! The horror! Somebody 9-1-1 a whaambulence. In the grand scheme of things to get upset about a bedroom being too small I mean really…take a walk down the the cancer ward.

Makes me think about this study I read one time comparing hunter gatherers and modern man’s stress levels. Turns out that the dudes and dudesses running from hungry lions had lower overall stress than all of us plagued by our “civilizationisms.” Maybe the outside world is not the problem and never was.

In one of these meetings I have gone to for a long time, I had long been secretly skeptical about men and women who claimed God had blessed them more than they could have imagined. Irrespective of the cancer situation, I kind of let the idea of having that experience go. Not that I wasn’t grateful. Its merely that I all too often suffered a case of the glass-half-empties. Things always seemed like they could be a little better, even by the very slightest degrees.

I think the turning point happened @ nine months ago. I was doing a bit of HCP (high class problem) self talk about why we had not moved yet. A moment of honesty ensued. I realized that I was thinking I somehow deserved to move. That something inherently in me deserved it. Then I realized what total bullshit that was, even though I had idea for a long time (just because ideas have been around awhile does not make them right; in fact its probably more of a case for them being wrong).

The truth is/was I am lucky to have the boys, Sarah, my job, a billion other things and in light my recent experiences, the next breath. I didn’t do anything. It was not earned or deserved.

Things fell into place shortly thereafter. Its been a cool experience and I am glad to be sharing the experience here.

I’m moved.

Thanks for all for you love and support.

A Window In New House


Frame it

Wow. Lots of relief and gratitude tonight and some guilt for losing my mind a bit over the past week. Between the stress of waiting on news and the frenetic pace of work and everything else have had a few Fred Sanford moments.


Thank you to my wife Sarah for her eternal optimism and love as well as my Mom and Dad who support me in their extraordinary ways…doing for me what I can’t do for myself when in “Fred mode.”

Neither rhyme nor reason to this but Phish’s ‘Reba’ runs through my ears tonight.

Maybe its because there is no “frame it” song that I can recall and I hope the next time we get some rocky news I will be able locate a mental snapshot of Dr. H’s note above.

IMO I am supposed to try to remember these moments. To be dramatic (something I seem to gravitate towards 0-;) memories such as these can be like armor and sword for the next heart attack; as long as I am willing to locate them in the mental view finder and focus. That’s how faith gets built, at least for me, on a foundation of experience.

Its challenging though because there’s probably always going to be that niggling doubt that this time actually is the big one. Yeah-yeah I may have thought so last time, but this time is it. Those previous disasters were mere dry runs.

If I were smart I’d see that every “big one” starts with that same threadbare internal dialogue that its the “real big one.”

Instead, before I know it, I’m right there with Fred hollering, “Hear that Elizabeth I’m coming to join you Honey.”

Anyways, such as it is, we bag it and tag it…and that’s okay tonight.



Everything is good…wait, um, just kidding

Had my scans last week. They checked my brain @ CU hospital in Denver and the rest of me in Colorado Springs. Good times.

The brain looked great – nothing new in terms of tumors and the previously treated lesions were smaller. We like nothing new. Smaller is better too.

The ‘rest of me’ part was where the results got more interesting.

After waiting for an hour and reminding myself to schedule future appointments in the morning in order to avoid  oncologists-are-progressively-later-by-end-of-day-syndrome, I saw the doctor.

“Yeah the report is very good. No progression. Tumor in lymph node in neck gone. Everything else is smaller.”

I gave him my best Tony the Tiger impression, “GGGGGGRRREEAT,” as the next 3 months of existence rolled around the back of my eyelids- scenes of relief, appreciation for current treatment, a feeling that we can keep doing what we are doing.  A general sense of yes!

Image result for pictures of relaxation

Business as usual or as usual as unusual has become. All made more tolerable with the latest news.

“It says in the radiologist’s report that the lesion in your liver has calcified,” he went on.

I guess he figured I had waited an hour, might as well make this more than a 2 minute visit, earn his keep.

“In other words, that tumor is likely long dead. Shall we look?”

“Sounds good,” I say, “I mean you know I like me some good calcification of tumor in liver photos as much as the next guy.”

“Err, wait a minute. What is this dark spot in liver?”

He continues,“Was that there before?”

“Last I knew you were the expert Doc.”

Okay, I wasn’t that snarky. I was too busy getting tossed around by another series of thoughts flashing by, as he cycled through magnifications, angles and images.

“The long and the short of it” is there’s potentially a new tumor in my liver. We don’t know for sure. Could be an anomaly in CT imaging though Doctor was not overly optimistic.

Scheduling a PET scan which should be more conclusive.

So we wait…for insurance approvals, appointments and results.

Do I have any sage wisdom to impart in the meantime?

Um, no.

Its back to basics, to the unusual usuals, trudging the road to happy destiny:

  1. Faith
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Diet
  5. Exercise
  6. Other?

Will let you know when we know more.


Alright Already Daedalus

I almost didn’t go to LA. Within days of starting BRAF/MEK last September, I began to feel better. No more exhaustion. I could eat.  Few side effects and a general feeling of wellness, like something was working. And ‘bonus’ there were less doctor visits, no regular infusions, less pokes and prods. I just had to pop a few pills on an empty stomach 2x/day. Subsequent scans indicated George Costanza’s archenemy, ‘shrinkage.’ In other words, the treatments was working. The cancer that started creeping back at the end of June was put on hold again and life returned to ‘normal.’

The problem is I’ve never been that great when things are too good.

And while 70% of people with Stage IV melanoma react positively to new medicines I have been on, ‎Dabrafenib and trametinib, the honeymoon doesn’t last for the majority. There are few “durable” results. Median response is 24 months. So I could not reasonably expect for the new treatment to last forever.

I knew that going in. My plan had been to start investigating different medical interventions as soon as I started the treatment. My thought was I could then put this combo on the shelf while trying something new. We could always return if needed as a last resort, before I blew the tires or exhausted the combo altogether. I discussed this idea with my local oncologist and he agreed.

“But then again,” he said, “conventional cancer treatment would suggest that if a current treatment is working you stick with it.”

Translation, just keep flapping those wings Icarus!

Icarus was the son of the famous craftsman Daedalus in Greek mythology. His father was the creator of the Labyrinth, a huge maze located under the court of King Minos of Crete, where the Minotaur, a half-man half-bull creature lived. In order for the secret of the Labyrinth to be kept, Minos had then imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in a tower above his palace. Daedalus managed to create two sets of wings for himself and his son, that were made of feathers glued together with wax. He taught Icarus how to fly and warned him not to fly too high, which would cause the wax to melt, nor too low, which would cause the feathers to get wet with sea water. Together, they flew out of the tower towards freedom. However, Icarus soon forgot his father’s warnings, and started flying higher and higher, until the wax started melting under the scorching sun. His wings dissolved and he fell into the sea and drowned. 

Most instructive but not necessarily easy to practice when you find yourself flapping through cerulean skies with a Rocky Mountain view. I mean why not wait?

Thankfully, call it inspiration/an amazing sense of timing/a kick in the pants/an extra shove in the right direction for a simple moron/I-dunno-know-what, but the following post wound up at the end of my nose a mere 24 hours after entertaining that ‘wait and see’ attitude.

The gist is, in Lelanglish, if you have melanoma is GO SEE A MELANOMA EXPERT. There is a good study associated with the post to back that sh– up. Bam!

It makes sense really, the more you grok it. A general oncologist probably sees a few melanoma patients a year. An expert, or someone who specializes in melanoma in this case, sees melanoma patients all day, every day, 50 something weeks/year. He is attending the conferences, working with the drug companies, teaching the classes, doing the studies, living the life. Is this akin to the diff between a general practitioner who set a few broken bones in residency and an orthopedist? All I know is, if I break an arm I am going to the bone doctor. Same logic here.

Needless to say I went to see my old buddy and melanoma expert, Dr. Omid Hamid at the Angeles Clinic, in Los Angeles last week. Its sometimes can be an amazing experience when things are done the way they are meant to be. The ticket was cheap. The appointment was on time (miraculous!). The advise was likely priceless and potentially life saving. LA was fun and as always, an experience. Best of all we have a new treatment plan that hopefully will not involve me flying blissfully off into the sunset before somersaulting miserably into the ocean.

So that’s my unsolicited advise for the week to anyone with a tough diagnosis. I think the same principles apply to edgier medical cases, melanoma or otherwise. Its cliche but knowledge is power. Sometimes we have to get off the duff, not wait for things to go bad, and go get it. If someone heeds that message and takes the extra time/expense/effort that saves his/her life, hopefully that makes up for 3 months of silence here.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, New Years and Holidays!

PS. Thank you to my family Martin and Cherie and the boys for your mitzvah in LA.

Isn’t really ironic, don’t you think?

Been sick lately, to the point of desperation. To make matters worse I have also been haunted by a vicious ear worm from the 1990’s. Namely the lyrics to Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic” keep rattling their annoying, but apparently all too catchy, chains in my head.

I mean, “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”

Man once given weeks to live celebrates 5 years as a cancer survivor.

Medical organization does a story on him which gets picked up by local new’s agency and then nationally, culminating in worldwide organizations telling the story in different languages.

However. Meanwhile. In Other News. 

As the articles and stories roll out, man begins to experience troubling symptoms.  

‘This is nothing. I fart in the general direction of side effects,’ he thinks, ‘that is my daily bread as a cancer patient undergoing immune therapy.’

But things get worse.

The food he eats makes encore appearances in his mouth- because you know half digested bile infested veggie burgers are so much better the second, third, fourth, fifth times around!

Followed closely by constant nausea (not necessarily related to redo of v-burgers but couldn’t blame if the case), then by a complete failure to digest  (a condition called ‘gastroenteritis’), culminating in loss of many nights sleep and chronic puking.  

30 pounds and more than a few appointments, tests and studies later, doctors tell him cancer is on the move again. New tumors encircle his pancreas and there’s another “bright spot” on the pet scan in his neck.

These results elicit a chorus of new songs in his head. 

Pretty ironic, right? In the midst of celebration we get clobbered with this $@#! news!

Actually, um, I hate to break it to myself, but that is not the definition of “ironic” or “irony.”  According to Bob HarrisIrony requires an opposing meaning between what’s said and what’s intended.’

So that means irony is different from “When it rains on your wedding day, or a free ride when you have already paid.” Sorry Alanis. It is not about unhappy coincidence or bad luck.

Wait- does that mean a song called “Ironic” which does not actually contain an ounce of irony is not ironic? And more importantly, will talking about that song loose my head from its iron grip? I am thinking those answers are a yes and a no, respectively. Sorry me, or the me that will be taking a shower or driving to work tomorrow morning, humming along. What a terrible, unhappy coincidence! What bad luck! 0-;

Anyways, one thing I do know is that this situation has sucked.  Its been one of those fun reminders that I am not in control despite whatever means and measures I might take with diet, exercise, medical regimens, good thoughts, prayers, puppy sacrifices etc.

But I am pleased to say we still have hope. There are good reasons for that. For one the last few days have been better. I just began a new combination of medicines that seem to be working. I have been waiting to post here, as a matter of fact, until I had some evidence.  That evidence is that I have kept food down and have gotten 2 nights of very restful and I daresay much appreciated zzzs over the last few days.

I am taking tramatinib and dabrafenib which are FDA targeted therapies. Pretty cool stuff. They use small molecules that can get into a cell and interrupt the function of the cells, causing them to die (in this case targeting mutated BRAF and other proteins or kinase for disruption).

The trick is that this combo, while having pretty good response rates, is not considered “durable” or long lasting. The typical response is @ 18 months of progression free survival. So we are planning on, provided this all works, pursing a strategy of taking for 6-12 months and then seeking more durable treatments. This should in theory buy us some time while continuing to keep this as a option in the future if I get in trouble again. Thank you Susan Steel of the SoS foundation for that strategy and may you rest in peace,

The last thing I will say is that I am renewed in my faith today. I typically don’t talk about this stuff here. I know that my friends that read this come from all different perspectives and I am not seeking to force that on anyone. There is in fact nothing that turns me off faster when someone does that to me. I also am not a big fan of people making huge declarations about what God is or is not going to do for them. The reality is I have no clue what God will or will not do. Nor do I want to make such bold predictions only to be led in a different direction if that be the case. For me that would be pretty selfish and stupid and, at the end of the day, bad press. I just want to gave it my best and, while far from perfect and wholly error prone, say that I am okay today. I am good enough, not necessarily smart enough, and at least a few people like me or at least can tolerate me. Thank you Jack Handy.

Despite what’s happened or what is going to happen, it’s okay and I am okay. I believe faith has something to do with this today.

BTW here’s the litany of articles published over the last few months. I have not searched in a while but there may be more. I am amazed how these things get recycled and what happens to them when they do. The Brits were saying I had, for instance, 98 brain tumors removed. Maybe there is a different definition in their version of English, but if I had 98 tumor removed there would be little left of my already little brain.

Original CU Health Article:

Local news story:

National news story:

Inside Edition:




More telephone games:


5 Years Revisited

Got the Call

Five years ago I was sitting in my office at work when I finally got The Call. I had been nervously anticipating the news for the last three or four days, worrying about the terrified look in the nurse’s eyes after she’d taken a scoop out of the coal-black, ulcerated spider spreading its spindly legs across my scalp; moments earlier, the doctor’s friendly albeit slightly rout and disinterested demeanor grew pensive and serious when he pushed back my hair and examined the mole that had morphed from a tiny black grain to the nuclear fallout, orangutan assassin on my head.

Melanoma (the worst, most deadly form of skin cancer) is known to be 95% curable if caught in its infancy. Unfortunately my doctor botched the job, badly. His partner, who subsequently called and delivered the news, trembled when he spoke, his voice quaking over the phone. I remember fragments of what he said. The words are like hot shrapnel in my brain. When I think about them too long I am reminded that forgiveness is a practice:

“Clark’s level 5 primary tumor| Breslow depth 13mm | 22 mitosis | Ulceration present with suspected vascular invasion to lymph nodes| It’s very deep Leland.”

That moment  was promptly planted with a small but powerful, mostly disturbing, undoubtedly life defining collection of flagpoles on my version of planet earth.  I would struggle to tell you what I had for dinner two nights ago.  But I can recall with perfect clarity where I was and what I was doing when I heard that Ronald Reagan had been shot, the Space Shuttle exploded, the Berlin wall was torn down or the World Trade Center buildings fell. The phrase ‘It’s very deep Leland’ feels no different.

My life had just changed for the rest of my life, however short that might prove to be.

Four or Five Days Earlier…

I sat nervously on the crinkled corner of an examination table in the dermatologist’s office.

“Probably nothing,” I said, hoping to bait the doctor into saying reassuring words,”Another false alarm in the life of the misguided hypochondriac, eh doc?”

There had been many frightful trips to the Dermatologist previously. I’d been going for years. Everything had been benign, chalked almost humorously to worrying. I wanted this time to be no different, another case of LVCR (Lacking Viable Cognitive Resources), microdeckia (not playing cards with a full deck), ineffective-copia, ridiculitis ginormous worryfromundus, symptomatic terminal whining also known as whinnoria, JHM (Just a Hot Mess), globus stupidicus maximus, or some other form of fictitious psychosomatic condition on my part. I wanted to blast from the office, past dolled photos of dermatologists arranged above the waiting room like lessor Greek Gods, exiting sparkling glass doors to the parking lot and the comforting arms of warm Colorado sunshine, happy to get the hay out of that place and sooo-sooo glad to have been positively mistaken, again, to call Sarah with gratitude in my voice and the Disco Biscuits pumping in the background.

Told you,” she’d tease, “it was nothing you Goof!”

None of that happened this time.

“Okay,” the doctor replied flatly, his thoughts suddenly somewhere else, “let’s see what the biopsy says in a few days and go from there okay Mr. Fay? I will call you as soon as I get the results.”


You don’t really want a Dr. addressing you formally. In my experience that’s an emotional stiff arm, signaling they don’t have time for niceties or need to a retreat into the comforting arms of emotionless, clinical jargon.

My nightmare was finally real.


After falling prostrate on my face, a frantic series of conversations with Sarah, family members, insurance representatives and receptions at doctor’s offices, I eventually found myself in full frontal, totally immersive, research mode. My tool of choice was of-course the internet and my surfboard was a laptop in bed (not with covers pulled over head but that provides a nice image and is in line with how I felt).

First the largest elephants in the room needed tackling.

How long do I likely have to live? What are my chances?

Let’s see, at the time, though no one had yet given me an official staging, I determined with the characteristics of the melanoma and the invasion into the lymph nodes, I was Stage IIIc. So that was like a 40 or 50% chance of survival. While terrifying at the time, 1:2 ain’t too bad in hindsight.  In a matter of a few short months I would stared directly down the hallow barrel of a Stage IV, terminal, diagnosis with less than 5% chance and 6 weeks to 6 months, the latter if I was lucky (like Powerball-winner lucky), to live.

So Wait, um, Why? 

Why relive this moment here? Why rehash the day I got the call from the teary voiced dermatologist describing the terrible misdiagnosis perpetrated, where a benign “fatty cyst” transformed into a highly virulent mega-monster melanoma-frankensaurus?

Well, it’s really a rather circuitous way to announce that we are now well past April 2017 which means that I am now well past the 5 year mark since my ‘pole in the ground’ moment.

I mentioned it last post but it was somewhat felt overshadowed by my letter to the boys. I thought such great news deserved a little more press for the 2-3 people reading this post here 0-; or for anyone who has stumbled across looking for some hope in whatever dark place they find themselves tonight.

I am now officially a 5 year cancer survivor!

5 years ago, 5 years felt like an awful long time. Got this quote in my inbox @ that time – last April 2017 – and thought it apropos in this context.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” MLK JR.

Secrets of Revealed

It’s been awhile since my last post. I could barely remember how to login.  Sad face.

Thankfully, I had 11,179 comments waiting patiently for my triumphant return. Though I have not yet had the pleasure to make an acquaintance with all the authors, they are apparently among my greatest friends and supporters, EVER!

Most of the comments are on the order of solicitations, eg spam bots. Among the tempting offers are MIND BLOWING deals for female Viagra (cheap), codeine and other narcotics without having to bother with those annoying prescriptions, Nuru massages in New York City, a herd of midget brides from Pakistan, enough Rogaine to turn a corpse into a gorilla and steroids for days. These happy and erstwhile spammers represent a veritable melting pot of countries, though a preponderance reached out from the ether from Russia and China. Huh.

Anyways, being a good catholic (or at least raised one while bending the laws of fluid mechanics with the term ‘good’) I found myself feeling more and more guilty by the day for not coming back here to blog sooner. Being a good thinker (raised by some, though in truth I believe I come by ‘overthinking’ quite naturally), I asked myself, ‘Why? Why do I feel guilty for not posting lately?’

The answer concerns 2 things. These are, if you will, the founding partners of

For one, there’s hope.

Namely that the story here gave/gives someone a bit of hope. Surviving 98 brain tumors, as well as malignant tumors in liver-lungs-stomach is not something you hear about every day.

Along those lines, I am pleased to report additional good news…Last April marked 5 years since my diagnosis!

I am now a five year, Stage IV terminal cancer survivor.

Miraculously topside despite a dismal 6 weeks to live and less than a 5% chance of survival (some would have said no chance of survival) prognosis. Scans/studies/examinations have all been quite good lately as well. Thank you God.

That’s a lot of anniversaries (16 years on the 23rd of June, Love you Sarah) birthdays, holidays, fun days, work days, every kinda days. The vast majority have been good, many have been great days. Some tough too. I know what it’s like to fear eating for years straight. To have pain = 11 on the 1-10 pain scale. Surgeries, needles, pills, hospital beds, doctors, nurses, assistants, clerks and administrators. Fevers, rashes, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, intestinal agony, other conditions. Perhaps my multinational friends upstairs (eg from the second paragraph above) could have helped me with some of these problems. Many of you reading this post unquestionably did. Thank you!

I also hope that even though we might not know each other directly, that helped you too. Love helping btw. Let me know if you have questions or need something. I mean it. It’s probably cuz I like talking about ‘Leland.’ Either way, let me know. I’ve learned how to listen (or at least do a passable job pretending).

Oh yeah, and now for “the two”…that is, the second reason I began this blog. Not “Number Two” by the way. That’s a well-timed conversation to have at the dinner table with the boys later. We will wait for Sarah to sit down so she can enjoy the conversation.

No, what I realize to be the second purpose of this blog.

Warning– this second reason is a bit more personal. Perhaps this doesn’t make sense to suggest that anything gets more personal than talking about one’s own survival.

But the personal nature of the second reason makes total sense to me. Problem is I get instantaneously nervous thinking about spilling the beans. My heart – pretty sure I have one – aches at the thought. Tears well. I squirm in my chair and start enumerating the ways to weasel. Never been one to say how I really feel and I am about to say what I feel very deeply.

Before we get there, read this. It’s my friend Polly’s latest post. Polly’s got more natural writing chops in her little pinky than I have in my entirety. She flashes it sometimes on her blog and Facebook and in spoken words at meetings and at church…even if she doesn’t think so.

Reading her latest post while gnashing over my own “failure to communicate” lately, I put the puzzle pieces together today. I realized what I needed to say. It’s what I wanted to be…even if I did not know or admit to myself at the time when I started it.

So seriously, spit-it-out-dude, what’s the second reason for the fricking blog already?

For the boys. The second reason I wrote here was for the boys. I started this blog for my two boys, Connor and Derek Fay.

I wanted them to have something (however silly or fragmented) to know their Dad in the event that circumstances took me away (if hopefully only for while). I hoped that my thoughts and personality would come through in some small way. That we could have a kind of conversation, however faltering, on the pages here. While we might be deprived of more memories together, at least they could read a little and know me better. My unspoken hope was that this blog gave them something of myself when they got older.

So here’s my number 2, which is actually number one, my word to the boys:

Dear Connor and Derek,

It’s me. The goofy one, flaws and all. Perhaps not all of me landed here on these pages but some parts that hopefully matter.

First, I want you to know how much I love you.

If there has ever been or ever will be any doubt in your mind that I wasn’t desperate to be there for graduations, phone calls, goals, penalties, movies, books, laughs, practices, shows, whatever… or any I doubt I was sorry for any mistakes I made, knowingly or not (BTW you haven’t figured it out yet – I don’t think so anyways – but there will likely be a time when you think I made a lot of these 0-;)… if you have any doubts at all, feel free to forget them. 

I like to believe – though I don’t think any man or woman can claim this until it actually happens – that I would step in front of bullets for you. No questions asked. Push the papers across the table and hand me the bleeping pen and show me where to sign. I’m in.

And I want you to know too that I believe you can survive the most impossible situations. Doesn’t mean you will. Part of achieving victory is, paradoxically, accepting your likely defeat, first.

So when and if you get knocked to the ground, I suggest you stay for a minute and soak in the view, realizing that on your own you can’t do it, beat it, fight, handle it. But may be with a Power greater than yourself perhaps you can. Affirming this, stand and get back in the game. That’s what I like to believe I did for you a few times.

Guess what? Expect the same of you.

Do it.

Not just because I am your Dad and you are commanded to obey me (though that’s not a bad reason 0-;), but because that is the secret to life, to success and to victory over everything else, such as I understand it.

More than anything I wanted to share that secret with you.

Big Love to you – Connie-Boy and Big-D,


That was fun. Thanks for listening.

Now, let me see…where was that offer for wrinkle free underwear and the stain resistant socks…

Mostly random assimilated thoughts

Should we go into the sun? Even somebody with cancer? Trolling different web and facebook posts by people with skin cancer, it would seem SPF 2Billion, sun blotting hats and clothing, and generally adopting a vampire lifestyle is the rule of the day.  Yet the answer is more complicated than that. A recent study underscored the need for D, ‘Vitamin D deficiency (≤20 ng/mL) is associated with an increased incidence and worse prognosis of various types of cancer including melanoma.’ This is interesting considering that some older studies I have read suggested that something like 2/3 of the US is V-D deficient…so add this to list of cancer causes along with breathing, eating, drinking, reading this blog (so sorry) and 10,000 others.

But how much D do we need and how should we get it? I have had some naturiopaths say more is better (up to 20K IU/day) but it seems like the general consensus is between 1,000-4,000 IU/day. Which is interesting if you consider that 15 minutes in the sun delivers a much larger payload of 15K IU. Wouldn’t it seem like supplementing at higher levels make sense as our bodies are potentially wired for bigger doses? Perhaps the n-paths are right. Either way that four letter word ‘moderation’ seems to be in order, whether chugging vitamins and/or heading into the sun.  The latter is important for mental health (and if you are me you need all the help you can get in that later category).

Guess what? Exports predict melanoma death rates will fall by 2050. When I first saw that headline I thought, ah, DERP! I mean I should hope so. My next myopic thought was, “Lotta good that does me.” But when actually reading more than headlines there was a lot of interesting commentary here, again referring back to the sun. Medical advancement and newer treatments will lead to lower mortality rates but also a greater awareness and appreciation for the dangers of UV radiation. As I have said before, gone are the days when it was cool and even considered healthy to plop down with a mirror and baby oil for 10 hours of some serious human bbq’g by the pool.

While not mentioned as part of their skin cancer reducing equation/prediction,  technology as it applies to treatment and diagnosis will likely play a part in all this as well. A team of Stanford scientists are developing an artificially intelligent (AI) diagnosis algorithm for skin cancer that might change the way medicine operates.…hopefully eventually coming to smart phone near you…I know I could have used this, or at least my highly paid dermatologist with the awesome hair and surgically enhanced chin could have. I am not bitter, actually I am not, really I am not, not, no, just saying he really could have used it and while the algorithm and technology is obviously expensive to produce this is an example of how computing technology really could make a difference in the treatment of illness… as well as perhaps replacing human workers… leaving us more time for useful and meaningful pursuits such as hours of mindless playing of Call of Duty 2 on “the boys” Xbox.

I wonder what the Master Video Game Maker thinks about me playing a simulation (Call of Duty) within a simulation? That is if its true what Elon and some theoretical physicists say? “Elon Musk said that the odds are “a billion to one” against us living in “base reality.”

Or if not living in a simulation perhaps a different kind of artifice? That relatively “old” theory (you know like 10 or 15 years) that we are living in a holographic universe keeps popping up over the year. “A UK, Canadian and Italian study has provided what researchers believe is the first observational evidence that our universe could be a vast and complex hologram.” For whatever reason this creeps me out a bit more than the simulation idea. Are we on stage? If that is the case I am going to ask for the writer/director role. I convinced I won’t f it up too bad 0-;

Finally, this has nothing to do with the above other than the fact that it happened today (or did it? Or did it happen a few million different ways before or at the same time) but I got quite lost running @ palmer lake today for a few hours (around 2 more than planned) and leaping over fat mountain lion tracks and jumping over bear poo land mines (okay the whole leaping/jumping thing is a bit of stretch). This served as a reminder, in this list context, of the golden rule while hiking in Colorado.






At least I had Bassnectar along for the ride.