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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Surgery Day

Most of you know by now that I was diagnosed with stomach cancer back in March. (My apologies to Facebook folks who have been following this over there for the redundancy of this message—it posts automatically in a couple of places.)

Docs caught it quite by accident and very early. I've been through 9 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by a month long detox period (because, you know, it's poison). And now today—finally—they wheel me into surgery to remove all, or at least a major chunk, of my stomach (I won't know until I wake up). I'm thinking of the scene in Jaws when they cut the shark open and discover a license plate.

"Aw, you don't need a stomach to live," sez my surgeon, with all of the chirpy good cheer of the guy who gets to keep his. I may have to wrestle him for it. I'll be laying there on the table, gutted like a largish fish, making gurgling sounds, while he's carving up my stomach and discussing lunch.

Everybody discusses lunch at work.

I hate this already.

They say cancer is like a journey. Well, if they mean it's like that dismal Amtrak trip I took in 1976 when the air conditioning failed, the electrical system died, with no fresh water, no dining car, and stuck on a West Virginia siding for 12 hours waiting for a coal train derailment to get cleaned up, then perhaps 'they' are correct.

Barring any surprises that Doctor 'You Don't need A Stomach' might come across this afternoon, I'll be in the hospital for a full week. I'll recover for 6 weeks, and then, long about the time I have a full beard and a head of hair again, I'll get zapped for another 9 more weeks of chemo. My only revenge is to become Beelzebub's satanic patient, which I have every intention of doing.

The good news is that the prognosis is still positive. No one has taken Alice out in the hall and told her to take me skydiving and start hunting the safety deposit box key. Unfortunately, everything has taken much longer than I had hoped, which has given me much way too long a time to read really scary stuff on the Intertubz.

My apologies to the many groups for whom I've had to call off travel plans. I've had to cancel more than two dozen events for the year, and I promise all of you, I'd much rather be with you than doing what I'm doing. Hopefully by October, I'll be back to my curmudgeonly self. Alice and I have been invited to speak in New York City on December 4th at the 92nd Street Y, and I have no intention of missing it.

We both thank all of you for the literally hundreds of cards and letters, emails, phone calls and offers of help over the last few months as this has progressed. I can't adequately express how appreciative I am for all of the kind wishes and prayers from so many folks. Know that they have helped keep us happy and positive, and both of us owe so many of you a debt I cannot sufficiently repay.

Forgive me if I don't answer my phone or email. I'll be on a table with a hose up my nose and strangers peering into my gastrointestinal tract.

On really expensive drugs.

Administered by professional gas passers.

While they discuss their lunch.


  1. I, and the Lodge Affonso Domingues,nº 5 under the Grand Lodge Legal of Portugal brethren, wish you long life and health.

  2. You, your family (and your stomach) are in the prayers of our home. Here's to many beef and beers in the future, brother.

  3. Bro Chris, we are all praying for your successful surgery and rapid recovery - travel well.

    -Dustin Tarditi
    James B Green 735 A.F.&A.M.

  4. The hell with this! You don't get a day off! Get back to work and get that Journal out!! :-)

  5. Thinking of you Brother. I met you at the Masonic Grand Lodge seeion of Missouri a couple of years ago.

  6. Chris and Alice, Jacquelynn and I have you in our prayers, and (as repetitive as it is) we stand ready to help in any way we can. If an Idiot can't help a Dummy, what's the world coming to?


  7. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Brother Chris. Be well.

  8. Brother Chris,

    My prayers are with you for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. As I have said before, the Great Architect has many more wonderful plans for you. So, lay down, count backwards from 10 and fear no danger.

  9. Chris,

    We're all pulling for you man. Relax and let the morphine drip do it's thing!!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Wishing you a successful surgery and a healthy recovery Brother Hodapp.

    From a PHA brother in Alabama

  12. I see you've deleted some knuckledheaded comment, so that tells me that you're already on the mend. Outstanding.

    Hang in there, Jefe. You'll be the terror of the ward before too long.

    You need anything - let me know.


  13. Brother Chris, praying for a quick and full recovery.

    Jay Austin

  14. You have my thoughts and prayers, Brother. God bless you.

    Dave S

  15. My prayers and best wishes for a good surgery and recovery.

    Chris Hansen

  16. I hope your surgery went well and that you get better soon.


  17. Brother, I am sending you prayers and healing energy! As they say in Spanish, "Fuerza!"

  18. From México, west wishes and long life brother.


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