Monday, August 23, 2010

Roy is gone...

Today at the cancer center we learned that one of our cancer peeps passed away last week. I blogged about Roy in this post in May. The last time I saw him was about 6 weeks ago and it seemed like he was getting better. He had colo-rectal cancer and had lost a ton of weight. But it looked like he was putting a bit back on and his mood was good. He was an interesting guy - had worked as a software developer at NCAR, rock climber, your typical smart, outdoorsy, Boulder guy in his mid 60s. I don't know the details of the end of his illness but obviously he took a turn for the worse and didn't make it...

The news was pretty devastating to me. You know intellectually that some of the people you see there aren't going to live long. And I'd previously had some interactions with Rose who looks to be on the losing end of a fight with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. But to get to know someone and then have them just not be there - it's pretty much an emotional sucker punch to the stomach. So shit. This whole disease thing is just a rock-your-world, i-hate-it-that-this-exists-in-the-world thing. And it reminded me of the Dave Matthews song "Funny The Way It Is." Here Susan and I (and our whole family and set of friends) are celebrating the end of my chemo and the road back to health while at the same time Roy's dead and his family is trying to figure out how to move forward in their lives. WTF doesn't begin to express my feelings about this.

I don't know Roy's last name but I will miss him. I will think about him when I'm up in the mountains west of Boulder where he lived or when I taunt some junior developer because they don't know what great fun cron, awk, sed and perl can be (Unix utilities, if you don't know, don't ask..)

So it's been a pretty intense day. On the one hand - done chemo, all green lights for improving health. And oh yeah, Roy is dead - gone, no more chats about doing development on Sun-2 workstations, hiking and biking in the mountains, the joys of servicing your PICC line. And, with those two sets of feedback, you're free to go back into the world and do what you do. Whoa...

As I've said before, in the land of chemo and cancer, boring is usually better than exciting. Today was a bit of an exception to that rule - exciting, really good and really bad, all mixed together.


  1. Congratulations on being done, done, done! with this phase of the process. We remain lifting up in prayer ALL of the situaltions that you talk about in this post. The whole thing (good, bad, glad, sad, heroic, and tragic, etc.) gets lifted up in prayer (if you're going to pray, go ALL the way, I'm sure you'll agree ... ) Anyways, I'll shout out a big DEOGRATIAS (Thanks be to God!) for you. And we'll most certainly pray for Ray and Rose and their entire family in this time of great sadness and loss. Peace and Blessings. Your task is to just be glad to be alive, and be with Susan and family, and looking forward to that fabulous vacation in Hawaii.

  2. Follow Up Comment: Your comments about your friendship with Ray and Rose, and their unfolding story, have really touched me. I got on the wire, contacted all my "prayer warrior" circle of friends, and we are lifting up Ray and Rose in prayer. I am sure you were a great friend to them, in these final days. Your presence has blessed them. They will find eternal peace in God, and may you continue your powerful friendships with those in need. Keep up your courageous path. Much blessings to ALL of you!

  3. Jim, thx for the kind words. As always, feeling your support is just awesome! I mistyped in a couple of places in my previous post so I wanted to clarify that Roy's name is indeed Roy, not Ray. Blame the chemo or my fat fingers for that one! I've edited my original post above to reflect his name - seems like the least I can do to honor his memory!!!

  4. That's humanity for you, I guess...the whole human experience has its ups and its downs. I agree with Jim that your job now is to be glad to be alive and to let us celebrate the same! There is eternal peace to be found in the here-after, and I also agree that both Roy and Rose were touched by your presence in their life. We each have our own journey, and we are all connected. You focus on doing your part as part of the CR cancer warriors. I am so proud and inspired and happy for your health today! Love you!