Friday, September 28, 2007

For Everything There is a Season

When we moved to this area we looked at a lot of houses to find just the right home for us. Two things primarily impressed us about this house. For Cheryl it was the kitchen and the huge amount of counter space. For me, it was a tree. When we pulled up to the front of our home for the first time, I was impressed with the sight of the large, multi-trunk tree at the corner of the driveway. It had character.
The trunk that was closest to the driveway wrapped one complete turn around the trunk next to it and branched out over the driveway. (I couldn't find a picture that still had that trunk in the photo.) The builders of this home even accommodated the unusual growth by building the corner of the driveway out and around it. After moving in, I quickly discovered I had to be careful backing out so as not to hit it.
Our tree, which was already very large, quickly grew much larger. Every year I needed to hand trim branches as they drooped too close to the sidewalk and made it difficult for passersby. Technically it was probably multiple trees that grew close together, but we just called it “our tree.” Our tree covered the entire front yard and over the whole driveway. It provided shade during the hot summer and a place to hang lights at Christmas. We loved our tree.

About seven years ago we noticed some cracks in the large trunks and became concerned that a strong storm could knock it down. We called a ‘professional’ to have a look. He said it was still OK, but recommended we cut it down because it was a Hackberry which he called a “trash tree.” What??? Trash? Well one person’s trash is someone else’s treasure and that tree was our treasure. His price to cut it down was VERY high. We thanked him and sent him on his way. We did have another fellow out to give us an estimate to cut it down – his price was very, very low. But our heart was not in that and we just had him trim it some and he did a good job. The next year we noticed that our tree began to leak sap all over our cars. Each year it got worse. Then, through the power of the Internet, we discovered the “sap” was the “honeydew” from aphids feeding. Yep, sap that had passed through the aphids. I bought some ladybugs to try to control them – didn’t work.

Two years ago the portion that had the trunk that wrapped around the other trunk, died. Just like that. Earlier that spring I had noticed a fungus at the base that was white and black. I just scrapped it away. We cut the top off but left the trunk because I thought it might be supporting one of the branches of the trunk next to it. Last Spring we were standing in the drive and my youngest daughter leaned against the trunk and it broke off at ground level. The base was like sawdust. Yikes.

Over the years the cracks in the trunk had been getting larger and we kept debating about having it cut down. But we loved that tree and couldn’t bear to do it. But last year, after that trunk broke off we called the fellow out who had done the trimming. I was going to have our tree cut down. But when he arrived, I just couldn’t do it. We had him do a major trimming of all the lower branches and also trimmed it out away from the house. Basically, he lifted it up, thinned it out, and trimmed all the way around the crown. Again, he did a good job. Cheryl kept saying some day we would be sorry when the tree fell on our cars or on the house. But she loved it too and understood my reluctance.

A few weeks ago I noticed the portion closest to the driveway was looking a little puny on top. The leaves were sparse and looked sick. Then I noticed the dreaded gunk around the base of the trunk.
Upon examination, it was around the ones next to it too. When I showed it to Cheryl, she took her car keys to scrape at it and her keys sunk right into the trunk. YIKES! I knew it was now time. I couldn’t put it off any longer. It had to come down. I called, my tree guy who came out that evening, gave me a price (much higher than the price from several years ago) and he came back with his crew the next day. They arrived about 9 a.m. Three large trailers full of cuttings and seven hours later, the tree was gone.
The only evidence was a lot of sawdust everywhere and stumps cut off at ground level.

I couldn’t help but make an analogy to my disease and some other types of cancer. Outwardly everything looks good. For a long time the tree really did look healthy and even the day it was cut down it still looked pretty good. People walking or driving by and glancing at that tree had no idea. It looked very healthy. But it was what was going on at the base, in its “marrow” that told the true story. There was a fungus, a disease, a cancer eating away at the core of that tree. Perhaps if I had treated the disease sooner, or with a different type of medicine, I could have saved it. Maybe, maybe not. But it is too late now. Choices were made and there is no going back. That tree brought shade, beauty and pleasure for many years. Now it is gone, but the good memories remain. The yard looks very different, but it is time to move on. No more aphid poop dripping on my car.

HEALTH UPDATE

So, what is going on with me? A recent X-ray shows the pneumonia is gone. That was a strange episode. I see Dr. Netaji, my hem/onc doc next Monday.
The next big drama will be on Saturday, October 6th. I will have major dental surgery. The periodontal guy I saw had this fancy new type of X-ray machine that immediately transferred the pictures directly from the receiver inside my mouth to the laptop computer. Never had to take it out to develop film, just repositioned it around in my mouth. Amazing. The pictures were so sharp, bright and clear that for once I could actually see everything he pointed out to me. Before whenever a dentist showed me X-rays I would just wisely say, “hmm-hmm, oh yea,” and pretend I could see what they were talking about. But this time I really could. He put the laptop on my lap (how thoughtful) and zoomed in on the pictures and showed me exactly what he was talking about each time.
Anyway, the infection is still wide-spread, even though it feels much better. I have had trouble there ever since a botched set of root canals were done 8 years ago. I was on codeine for two weeks that first time and couldn't eat on that side for almost two years. It has been one infection after another. The root canals were redone (the first posts actually went up through the roots into my gums causing pain and infections), had surgery once before on the roots, but not this extensive. On the X-ray I could see where the root canal on the third tooth from the back got botched and the drill file went out through the side of the tooth (of course I remember when that happened). That repair job is deteriorating so he is going to seal it from the outside once he has everything opened up. Anyway, the bone has deteriorated, and my sinus cavity above has collapsed (or grown?) into the root area of the teeth and is all infected. He showed me where the sinus cavity should be, with a good buffer between the teeth, and how it has bowed right down into the roots and just above the bottom of the gum line. He thought I should be in much more pain than I have been. He is going to remove the last molar (upper left) where most of the problem is, but still do surgery on the roots of the next four teeth too. He will be doing a bone graft and somehow doing something to clean out the infection in the sinus cavity - I didn't quite understand that. My mind must have shut down at bone graft. It will take two and a half to three hours.
Today I got a letter telling me how much this will all cost. I guess I am helping him pay for that fancy X-ray machine. The bill will be almost $5,000! Oh, but I get a 5% discount if I pay by cash or check – not credit card. Isn't that nice? I have already spent several thousand dollars up there over the last 8 or 9 years. My wife always said I should have sued that first dentist and for the first time I think maybe I should have. I just hate it when folks sue every time you turn around.
I innocently asked if I should have a substitute teacher ready to teach my Sunday School class the next morning. He laughed and said that would be a good idea because I would still have packing in my mouth. Hmm. He said he won't be doing anything until he consults with my hem/onc on every aspect of what he will be doing, including all the meds. He said the standard antibiotics he normally would give might not be strong enough for me. Sure enough, he called yesterday and changed the antibiotics to a stronger one. I will also have blood tests next week to make sure my platelets are still up.I actually think I would rather go through chemo again than have this surgery. However, if it works and finally clears this up after all these years, I guess it will be worth it. For years I had wanted to pull this tooth and the one next to it, but every dentist I went to strongly discouraged it. Now that the bill came in, I am wondering if it wouldn't be best just to pull that whole row and put some artificial choppers in.

As always, your prayers and well wishes are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lots to Think About, But Nothing to Worry About(?)

Strange several days. Last week Tuesday, I had my scheduled blood tests followed by a CT Scan my doctor uses to keep track of my internal nodes (yes, I am aware of the controversy of doing this because of the increased radiation and I have mixed feelings myself). My blood work actually looked really good, particularly in light of the slightly crappy way I have been feeling. Several times now, the worse I felt, the better the blood looked. My platelets climbed back up above 100! Of course the white count and lymphocytes are still climbing, but that is expected. As Karen is fond of saying, "stupid disease."

Because of a simple question I asked and the um, not too awfully bright clerk at the desk, I spent three hours waiting to get my CT Scan. When I asked the clerk if she was sure the paperwork I just signed was correct because it didn't indicate they were scanning my neck, she asked why I wanted the neck done. I told her my hematologist/oncologist doctor usually scans the neck because I have node involvement there, too. She looked at other papers and said, no, the doctor didn't order it, but she would check with him. I said, "OK, but don't worry about it." I overheard her say to someone else, "This guy's neck is hurting and he wants that scanned too." I never said anything close to that! Three hours later I was still sitting there. To try to make a long story shorter (not my strong suit), she finally said they couldn't get in touch with my doc because he wasn't in the office and I would have to come back the next day. I told her to just have them do what my doctor ordered. She said I would have to come back because I had now "missed my slot." I asked her why they just couldn't squeeze me in? She replied, I had to come back, otherwise they would have to charge my insurance differently because they only had a few slots for the cancer clinic and I missed mine. HUH???? I'll skip all the details, but I did remain calm... sort of... and a supervisor finally stepped in, said that was ridiculous and I was taken in to get my scan in less than five minutes.

Late the next afternoon my phone rang. It was Thomas, one of the nurses from my hem/onc's office. He apologized for the mix up the day before. I told him it wasn't their mix up, it was the girl on the desk at the testing facility. He then said Dr. Netaji was going to call in a prescription for the antibiotic Levaquin and wanted to know my pharmacy. I asked why and told him I was already on antibiotics since the previous Friday for a gum and tooth infection. He asked what I was on and the dosage and then said he would check with the doctor and call me back. When Thomas called back, he said I was to continue taking the Amoxicillin and check my temp every few hours and call if my temp went up. Also, I was to call the next day to tell them how I was feeling. I asked why, and he said the scan showed "infiltrates in my lower left lobe." I said, "Oh, OK" and hung up. THEN I wondered what he meant by that. I told you before, I am not too quick sometimes.

So, I did what I do when I don't know what the doc means. Uh, no, I didn't call back, I went to Google. There I found that most of the references indicated it meant pneumonia. But there were a couple of sites with references I liked less than that option. They indicated a different type of lymphoma than what I already have. Here are extracts from what one site said about a diagnosis for a fellow with lung infiltrate and no symptoms:

  • "Extranodal marginal zone lymphoma (previously known as MALToma). Primary pulmonary lymphoma is defined as a clonal lymphoid proliferation affecting one or both lungs (parenchyma and/or bronchi) in a patient with no detectable extrapulmonary involvement at diagnosis or in the subsequent 3 months. Primary pulmonary lymphomas are rare tumors comprising about 3% of all extranodal lymphomas, and only 0.5% of all pulmonary malignancies.... MALT lymphoma cells originate from the marginal zone B cells.... A total of 30 to 40% of MALT lymphomas has been reported in patients with preexisting autoimmune diseases, including Sj√∂gren syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, .... and in settings of immunodeficiency. ...in settings of chronic antigen stimulation, including infections and autoimmune diseases." (bolded by me for added emphasis)

I didn't like the sounds of that. CLL/SLL is a B cell cancer. CLL and SLL also make you immunodeficient. I have had lots of lung infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia earlier this year. Yikes, the blessings and curse of searching the Internet.

The next day, I called Thomas to tell him I was still feeling fine and asked him exactly what this all meant. He said I have pneumonia. I asked him if he was sure and he said yes, I had fluid in my left lung. When I asked him why I didn't seem to have symptoms, he said it was just because the "bugs" hadn't started growing in the fluid. Maybe the Amoxicillin was holding them back. OK.

This Monday I had my appointment with Dr. Netaji. He reaffirmed I had pneumonia. When I asked him how I could have pneumonia without any, or few, symptoms, he said it was because my immune system is so low so it is not reacting properly. That answer doesn't make a lot of sense to me because I know folks with very low immune systems get very ill with pneumonia. Anyway, I am getting a chest X-ray tomorrow, so we will see what it looks like then.

He then went over my CT Scan. Seems like most of the lymph nodes in my chest, stomach and groin have doubled in size since last time. I know the ones in my neck are getting bigger, I can feel them and it makes it feel like the beginning of a stiff neck. Even though it wasn't ordered, the test did get a partial picture of my neck, and affirmed they are growing there too.

He said I was getting very close to needing more chemo and thought it would be a good idea if I got in touch with Dr. Wierda at MD Anderson in Houston, to see if there was anything new or any clinical studies I might be eligible for. He said it might be worth a trip to Houston.

Also, because I have had another ear infection, tooth/gum infection, and this pneumonia just since the last time I saw him, he is going to get in touch with my new insurance (TriCare Prime) to see what their requirements are to cover the $10,000 treatment. Also, he said I would need an infusion treatment once a month. My old insurance required two infections within a year and IgG levels below normal. They also didn't fully cover cost unless I was in the hospital to get it. Now I have had eight, maybe nine, infections since January, including pneumonia twice and when he checked my IgG level at the beginning of May, it was 438 (normal 723-1685). He hasn't tested it since then. Now, Dr. Terry Hamblin, a renowned CLL expert whom I greatly admire and respect, posted on this blog in May: "The clinical trials have only shown a benefit in CLL for patients with IgG levels less than 300 who have had more than one bacterial infection in the past year." I forgot to mention that to Dr. Netaji.

So, lots to think about and try to figure out.

Oh, and I am going to a Periodontist on Friday because the gum infection hasn't fully cleared up since I finished the ten days of antibiotics.

Oh, and I upset my youngest daughter and didn't mention to Dr. Netaji I was very sick over the weekend with severe stomach problems. Actually, I have had the 'runs' for a couple of weeks now, but not like this weekend when it was severe and constant and with nausea. I didn't want to sound like a whiney baby!

Oh, I think I will take another nap now.

Friday, September 07, 2007

NOT the "Good" Cancer

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is often described as "the old man's disease" or even "the good kind of cancer" by medical personnel. These descriptions anger those of us that have it. Although the first description may fit me, it doesn't fit many, many others I know who are female and/or in their 40's, 30's and, in a couple of cases on our support sites, 20's. Certainly NONE of us would ever call it the good kind of cancer.

We have lost many good folks to this disease over the years, but recently we have had a rash of losses that have saddened us all. Just in the last few weeks, we lost Dee Davis from the ACOR list. In my last post, I wrote about the passing of Kurt Grayson. David Arenson wrote a wonderful tribute to Kurt on his blog HERE. Kurt's death was followed by the death of a dear sweet lady, Phyllis Keeton on September 3rd.

Phyl was a vibrant, humorous, positive, wonderful lady. She was diagnosed in June 2004, and after several chemo treatments, underwent a Stem Cell Transplant on March 29th this year. Initially she did pretty well and then she developed complications. She fought a good fight. On March 1st, as she was preparing for the stem cell transplant, she wrote this:

And I don't worry. I won't get one day added to my life by worrying. I know there are risks, but life is full of all kinds of risks, no matter how "safe" we try to be. There's a song that says:
"I'm a winner either way
If I go or if I stay
Cause I'll still have Jesus with me
Each passing day
I'll have a healing here below
Or life forever if I go
Praise the Lord,
I'm a winner either way!"
I'd like to stay a while longer, 'cause I think there's things left for me to do, but when the time comes for me to go, I'm still gonna be a winner! Phyl

Phyllis has her final healing and she is a winner.

On September 5th, DeAnn, a caregiver member of the CLLForum, lost her father to CLL. He had been diagnosed only two years ago. It just seems as though sorrow is being heaped on top of sorrow. There are several on both of my support sites who are not doing well at all.

At the end of July, two national figures, newsman Tom Snyder and NFL football Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh both died from CLL. And of course last year Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes fame also died of CLL. These famous folks dying of CLL is what made even more amazing a comment a doctor made to me last month.

Many folks on my support sites, the CLL Forum , CLL Christian Friends, and ACOR, report that when initially diagnosed their doctors told them not to worry because they had the good kind of cancer. Well, it finally happened to me. I had an endocrinology appointment last month and I saw a new young doctor who had just joined the practice. This young doctor really blew me away. She wasn't quite 30 years old. Besides some annoying comments like, "Wow, it sure is hard to tell what symptoms goes with what because you have so much wrong with you," I finally got the "good cancer" speech. She said, "I see you have CLL. Well, that's the good cancer to have." I replied, "yep, same one my Dad died from three years ago."

Genuinely shocked, she said, "He died from it? That's unusual. I didn't think anyone died from CLL. I remember distinctly in medical school they said you don't die from CLL." I told her I guess they forgot to tell my dad that and all the other folks I knew who died who were members of the Internet groups I belong to. She was embarrassed.

Of course, after I left there, I realized I should have said, "Well what about Tom Snyder, Ed Bradley, and coach Walsh?" I also should have taken the time to educate her a little on CLL and also let her know how it really annoys folks who have it when we hear that it is the good kind to have. Now, granted, this new young doctor's specialty is not even close to CLL, but what the heck are they teaching these folks in medical school today?

Obviously a lot of doctors are being fed this nonsense. True, we know what they usually mean, but still, there is no "good" cancer. If it is so "good" I will gladly let them have it instead of me. No, actually I would not wish this on anyone. I had a doctor not long ago who, in my opinion, did say it properly. He said that none if it was any good but if I had to have any of it, this would be the one. I knew what he meant. There are many types of cancer that are more aggressive and cause much more pain and suffering.

This is from Tom Snyder's blog, April 2005, when he was first diagnosed (same time as I was). He said this:

"Anyway, my doctors assure me this is nothing to worry about, and I have to accept that, I guess. They say this kind of leukemia is not fatal, that people can live with it for thirty years. I looked up chronic lymphocytic leukemia on the Internet and found a source that predicted people who are diagnosed early can live up to twelve years. Those who are not diagnosed early--and the website does not define "early"-- have a survival rate of about two years."

Isn't it sad that Tom had to get his information from the Internet and not from his doctor? How prophetic it was for him that he did die just slightly more than two years after diagnosis. I often wondered if he ever went to see a true CLL specialist.

One of the things I think that may contribute to the perception it is a good cancer is that the vast majority of us do not look sick at all. It is a cancer of the blood, bone marrow and/or lymph nodes. Except when the nodes get exceptionally large, the effects are not usually visible to the eye. In July, another member, Gary E., died and only a day or two before he passed his wife posted a picture of him in his hospital bed surrounded by friends and family. Even though I knew how critical he was at that time, I was struck by how well he looked!

When folks die because they couldn't fight off the pneumonia or other infection, the cause of death isn't usually listed as CLL, but rather as pneumonia or respiratory failure, or whatever the infection was. I think this may contribute to the myth that CLL isn't serious.

When I posted some of the above on my sites, it got a lot of reaction from folks, especially on the forum. I wish I could post all the replies, but I thought I would post this one from the CLLCfriends site. I didn't ask his permission, so I won't use his name, but I think he said it pretty well:
' Yea! I've love going thru chemo 4.5 times in the last 6 years. I really enjoyed the nausea and the diarrhea so bad I had to use diaper rash med. cause it burned so bad. I did get a nice vacation in St Louis Mo. at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Great room service! The tri- fusion catheter for the three bottles of poison I had to drag around on a pole was great. Then when they ripped the catheter out because it fused to the muscle and I was only given a local, also great. I am also grateful for the 18 different meds I have to buy every month, didn't have nothing else to do with riches.................. " So thanks doc." But after all being said I have grown closer to God.'

One last point. It is also true that there are many folks who have a very indolent form of the disease. For them it never seems to progress and if there is some progression it does not seem to cause problems. I have read of cases where folks have gone for many, many years with no treatments and no problems at all. Those are not the majority of folks I know. Even though Dad had chemo several times, he did survive for 20 years with this disease.

Fortunately, I am doing well. No matter how this post might sound, I am not depressed, just frustrated with the loss of so many wonderful folks to the "good" cancer that isn't so good after all. Please pray for the families of those who have passed and for those who are struggling right now. If you found this blog because you are newly diagnosed with CLL and you did an Internet search, it is not all doom and gloom, I promise. I'll be more upbeat next time.

(By the way, I didn't think too many folks actually read this blog. Three days ago I put a visitor counter on the blog. I started the count at 100 because I didn't want to look bad with only one or two views. HA. I just looked and the counter is over 200 right now - it is at the very bottom of this page. As of last night, I have had 89 unique visitors since Tuesday morning. That amazes me!)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tired, Tired, and Retired

What happened to August? Did anyone see it go by? Wow, what a busy month and it flew by. August was my practice-for-retirement month. I had managed to save enough leave that I was able to take just about the entire month off before my official retirement date. So, what were some of the significant happenings? Well, first of all NO blood tests this month. That was a first for quite awhile. A little strange also since the last blood tests put me back to stage four. Oh well, I have some tests coming up this month and we will see what is happening.

August 3rd I turned 62. It is this milestone birthday that is allowing me to retire early as I can collect reduced Social Security. I think I have said here that I hadn't planned on retiring until I was at least 66. However, with this stinkin' disease, it was time. I wasn't real productive at work and I was so tired most of the time. I wanted to retire now so that I could still enjoy some of this time without working. I didn't realize how busy I was going to be, at least so far. But, even though I am getting up fairly early each morning, it still isn't 5:30 a.m. and most days I do get a nap in at some point during the day.

Most of August I had one of the grand kids staying over just about every weekday. I think the family thought I might get bored or depressed not working - HA! I really do like having the kids here though. Even went fishing a couple of times with the boys.

The second week in August I spent a day at two dog pounds picking out a new companion. I thought I had found one at the first pound and spent some time in the yard with it. But, even though it was OK, there didn't seem to be a strong connection and after we got into the yard, he pretty much ignored me. So I went over to the county pound and immediately fell in love with a long-hair Chihuahua mix three year old male dog. He weighs 8 pounds. I took Cheryl back when she got out of work to have a look at him and we came home with him. Got him on Tuesday and had him groomed on Friday. Here are before and after pictures, meet Snickers:
We have certainly bonded and he barely leaves my side. He is a super calm dog and sleeps most of the time, either on my lap or in his bed. He doesn't know how to play at all and I am trying to teach him. Today he actually ran around the yard in circles, the most activity I have seen from him. We do go for walks a couple of times a day so at least I get some exercise. Here is his favorite spot when he is not on my lap:


Next on the agenda was the going away luncheon my work held for me. It was a wonderful time. There were even several friends from my former work place who were able to make it. All of my local family was there except for our granddaughter, Holly. She was at camp that week. I really appreciated all the hard work my boss and others put into the affair, even though I had asked them not to make a fuss. It was held in our training room and the theme was Independence Day (my independence from work). Plus they know I like patriotic themes. Here is just one of many pictures I have of the affair and a coworker took a bunch of pictures and his wife set them to music on a DVD for us. Nice memories.


Then that next Thursday was my very last day at work. In the morning I attended a class as a student. A co-worker put together a new training and it was based on generational differences on views of human sexuality. I was the token old person represented, oh, I represented the "mature" generation - my desk sign said so. Then I spent the afternoon doing the final sorting of papers and cleaning things out and packing up stuff to keep.

That night was the next huge thing that happened in August. Our one 12-year-old grandson, Jimmy (um, "James") has some major problems and as a result had a very difficult year last year in school because we all felt the school officials did not deal with him properly. Cheri, his mom, tried to get him transferred to a different school within his district (one that was actually closer to their home). The new school accepted him, but the principal of his former school refused to release him. She appealed the decision. That Thursday the appeal was turned down because that principal still refused to release him. Cheri got upset and withdrew him from school. Earlier in the year we had discussed him coming to live with us and going to Round Rock schools, but when we were told she would have to give us legal custody, we didn't pursue it anymore. Well, now we had to pursue it. That next day was the last day to register before the start of school on Monday. And it had to be before 11 a.m. We spent Friday scrambling to get him registered, filling out papers and getting legal paperwork notarized. Somehow we got it done at 10:55 a.m. We are his guardians for school. Jimmy lives with us from Sunday afternoon until he gets out on Friday then he goes to his house for the weekend. He has also signed up for football. He made it through the first week of seventh grade without any trouble, including football practice. Three weeks ago, in addition to seeing his psychiatrist each month, he began seeing a Christian counselor once a week. He is very motivated right now to get his emotions under control. I think he is on too much medication (9 pills a day), but it is better than when he is not on them. He has seemed much happier so far and is doing very well. Here is a picture just before leaving for his first day of school. We had prayer just before he went out the door.

So, as you can see, I have not just been lying around. Oh, I am doing the cooking, cleaning and laundry too. I may have to find a job so I can relax, HA. Coming up next in two weeks are blood tests, another CT scan and then the week after an appointment with my oncologist. I don't think there will be too much change from last time. In fact, it may be my imagination, but I think the lymph nodes in my neck might actually be a little smaller than they have been. At least I don't think they are growing.

Our CLL community suffered a very sad loss this past week. Kurt Grayson passed away from complications of CLL. He was a character and I considered him a friend even though I never met him in person. We corresponded a lot and he gave me lots of advice, particularly when I was first diagnosed. He was an actor who was in many, many television shows and movies in the 60's, 70's and 80's. He lived the life in Beverly Hills, but he was a warm, caring, passionate and sometimes ornery human being. He was a generous person who reached out to fellow CLLers and helped them in so many ways. He was one of the founders of http://www.cllforum.com/. He had really been struggling this past year and although he was weak and wheelchair bound, traveled to NY with his nephew to seek a final treatment. He barely got started when he ran into major complications. Another tragic loss from the "good" kind of cancer. Stinking disease!

I'll try not to be so long before the next update. I know, I know you have heard that before.