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Thursday, January 25, 2007

As the World Turns

Yours truly's little life has hit some interesting new ground lately. Right around New Year's was when I felt it for the first time. When I was frozen-in under two feet of snow in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A little soreness in my abdomen.  Felt like something swollen. Then a lump an inch or two beneath the breast bone.

Peter_1 Saw the doc at UHC as soon as possible upon returning to Beautiful Burlap. Didn't get my doc, the one who brought me back from double pneumonia in 1995, but others on his team. (In, fact, my old doc, age 43, called me two days ago to tell me he's ceasing his medical practice.)

Anyway, it's been bing-bam-boom after that. Quickly to blood tests and a CAT scan and biopsy and the discovery of a lymphoma - a cancerous tumor. Just like that. The oncologist, the one who specializes in this sort of stuff, looks me in the eye and calls it "75-80 percent" curable.

Let me tell ya, after all those years of writing about the bloody monster of an underground garage that Bill Boettcher and the Boys stuck four-stories deep into Hospital Hill, I'm finally getting to become intimately familiar with it. And helping to pay for it.

The first time, I didn't make sharp enough note of my parking spot in the biggest underground car garage between Boston and Montreal.  Took me 20 minutes to find my blue Saturn.  Now I write the location on the ticket.

The treatment is chemotherapy for 18 weeks. One gets a one-day-long intravenous dose of four different "drugs" once every three weeks. Yes, my hair will fall out at some point, they say. The fact is, this lymphoma stuff is not that uncommon. And the bloody maddening thing is, they're not sure what causes it.

At the Statehouse Wednesday, several lawmakers shared with me they had spouses who also had a lymphoma similar to mine - "Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma."  They did the chemo and are fine today.

Hey, whatever's meant to be is meant to be, right?

Still, it's kind of ironic that just when I was getting sick and tired of covering health care reform stuff, I'm going to have a front row seat. My doc, an oncologist, with two Stanford degrees, is admitting me to the hospital in about an hour. The tumor is squeezing against a bile duct and causing jaundice. If I'm jaundiced they can't begin the chemo. First things first.

I am taking my new Mac Book with me. Just took it out of the box. Unfortunately, the early word is the largest hospital in Vermont, the one with its very own Renaissance, does not have WiFi - nor any Internet access for its patients.

Say it isn't so.

If postings here dry up, gang, blame Melinda Estes, CEO at the Mary Fanny, not me!


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good luck peter


scary news. hang in there. fighting cancer often seems more dependent on determination and willpower than a lot of other scary medical battles do.



You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

There are tons of people all over these Green Mountains who are pulling for you ... you've never even met a lot of us, but what you write really MATTERS to us. You really make a difference, you know?

So get well soon, and then get your ass back to work . Okay? Okay.



You will come through this fine, I am sure. We will miss hearing from you. Try not to go crazy without Internet access!
~A Fan in Chester


While I think one_vermonter exaggerates (i.e. "what you write really MATTERS to us"), I sympathize with your situation.

Thanks for sharing such an intensely personal detail with a bunch of political hacks like us. Not a bad time to make a list asking yourself what you want to do in life before checking out - then do everything on that list.


n nick


Hang tough, buddy. You will beat this down. Don't be afraid to have your support network, well, give you some support.

from a former (and rueful) resident of Vermont,
N Nick


Even us right-wingers are pulling for you, Peter. Well, at least I am. Get well soon.


Just one more reader who occasionally waves when I see you maybe once a year going around on your bike. You're absolutely one of my favorite things about VT. You've got more people rooting for you than you can possibly know.


Good Luck,
Hope you are up and reporting again soon .

Ye Ol' Vermonter

As a survivor, I wish you the very best of luck. Hang in there!!


Peter -
You are in my the thoughts and the thoughts of many - wishing you luck, strength, health and a durable sense of humor.
Rent some British comedies - The Office, Faulty Towers and Monty Phython. Laughter heals the soul - and has been known to kick cancer's butt.


Hang in there, buddy. We're rooting for you.


Hang in there, buddy. We're rooting for you.


Best wishes, Peter. As a loyal reader, I can't help but conclude that you've got plenty of fight in you. Put it to good use!


Hi Peter,

Just wanted to send you some healing vibes. My dad went thru something very similar in recent years and came out just fine in the end (of course, now he's having hip replacement. . . something to look forward to, no?). Anywho, my point — I'm sure you'll come through the treatment stronger than ever. And, if we're lucky, you'll be even more rip-roaring and ready to go than ever.

I hope you know how many people will be thinking of you and sending you positive energy. Get well and come back to us soon, Peter.


Alfred Snider aka Tuna

Hang in there, Peter. I have a plan for you to participate in a public debate some time this spring, so you have to pull through and do it quickly. Best wishes.


I start my day with cereal, tea and your blog- everyday and once a week I read your colmun before bed. Get well soon my day will not begin properly without your wit. You keep me in touch with a world outside of baby diapers and screaming toddlers and I thank you. I look forward to many more years of your savy writing.


Jeeze Man,
Not only do I depend on you for Vermont News- but I've even borrowed your tweed jacket! (granted, it was for a play...but still...)

Anyway, Peter, take good care, fight hard...everybody's right, you are needed and appreciated.


Every good wish for a speedy recovery. Thoughts and prayers with you.

Liane Allen

Good luck, Peter. We'll keep you in our thoughts over the coming months.

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