T minus 13

Susan here again.

Gene feels appropriately named “Lab Rat” by his fellow swimmers, because of the many MRIs, CT-Scans, PET Scans, Photon Radiation Treatments, EKG,  blood tests and general probing he’s undergone the past month.    After spending a week at home “recuperating” from the low-dose chemo therapy (the last of his pre-surgery treatments), Gene arrived here in Boston Monday looking rather weak and ragged, and in pain.    But after 3 days of good nutrition and forced fluids, combined with fresh New England air and swimming, he is feeling much better.  He is stronger and practically pain-free.

Now just 13 hours away from surgery, Gene is tucked into bed, well fed and all loved up by his family.  We kids had a conference call with him tonight to envelop him with our love and support before going into surgery.   Gene is feeling well and strong, and is ready for surgery tomorrow.  His spirits are excellent.  He is a man of faith and is at peace with God’s will.

Gene’s surgery commences tomorrow at 9:30 AM EST. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  As I hear about the surgery results and Gene’s recovery, I will post information here.

Finally, thank you to everyone for your love and support.  After only two weeks, Team Gene has raised 75% of goal.  This has significantly reduced Gene’s financial stress as he prepares for surgery, and allows him to focus on his recovery.



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Men are like wine. Some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age. ~ Cyril Edwin





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Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. ~Albert Einstein

Bullfinch Building, MGH

Bullfinch building, birthplace of my mother

Original Bullfinch building dwarfed by modern complex

Original Bullfinch building dwarfed by modern MGH complex

Susan here again.  I’ve spent lots of time at MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) the past month accompanying my dad on all his appointments.  I have gotten to know it well and one day came across this beautiful classic building located in the courtyard, dwarfed by the huge medical complex surrounding it.  I was told this building is the original “Bulfinch” building,  which opened its doors on September 3, 1821.  It happens to also be where my mother was born.   Work and proximity to  my husband’s mother brought us to Boston.  Now my dad is here for medical treatment that is offered by only a few hospitals in the US. Coincidence or destiny?

For you history buffs, here is an interesting link to MGH’s History Trail.


February 27, 2013 · 6:16 pm

Gene is back in the house.

Susan here.  Just want to give a quick update…  Gene finally got to fly home yesterday after finishing up all his neoadjuvant* treatments and check-ups in Boston.  He is in good spirits but continues to “ride the waves” of feeling good followed by fatigue and abdominal pain.   This week his instructions are to rest, put some weight on, and get stronger for surgery next Friday.

*Neoadjuvant means before the main treatment, in this case surgery in just 10 days.

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“You can’t smooth out the surf, but you can learn to ride the waves.” – Author unknown

I just finished up my last dose of Capecitabine (pronounced Cape Sit-a-bean, a place located half way between Cape Cod and Cape Anne), the low dose chemotherapy I’ve been taking for the past two weeks.  I’ve been riding high waves of feeling good followed by wipe out (sharp abdominal pain and extreme fatigue).  The docs say its all normal results from zapping me with the concentrated proton radiation last week.  I am lucky that so far I’ve had no nausea from the chemo, only a lack of appetite.  On the good side, yesterday and today I swam 1/2 mile on the smooth surface of the Manchester Athletic Club pool.  I used my tether to avoid the turns, creating my own “endless pool”.  I got lots of stares from the New England blue bloods.

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February 22, 2013 · 8:30 pm

Going to meet HAL

Proton Radiation Therapy Team


Proton Radiation Beam Alignment

I don’t know if I’m entering the Twilight Zone or just going on A Space Odyssey!  If you look closely, you’ll see red laser lines that are used to align my body for the proton radiation.  I didn’t feel anything, but after the ZAP, my cell phone on my belt was FRIED!  I can’t help but wonder what it is doing to my guts.  I completed my 5-day treatment last Friday, but my energy was also too zapped to post until today.


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