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John Robie

by James Denison / December 23, 2006 12:05 PM PST
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My email.....
by Angeline Booher / December 23, 2006 11:02 PM PST
In reply to: John Robie

....which I sent this morning, has not bounced after several minutes.

Hopefully we will hear back from him or a family member.

We will continue to keep him in our prayers.

Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

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Apologize for being tardy
by John Robie / December 24, 2006 4:58 AM PST
In reply to: John Robie

with a update. Wife informed me of Angeline's this morning's email, that I answered, and have tuned in here to SE. We have been without email or a computer for the past two months while in Houston and we returned a few days ago to San Antonio.

Couldn't ask for better medical treatment, including the equipment, doctors, nurses, and staff of the MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston. After determination that there was cancer in a lymph node was given Chemo therapy each Monday and 5 days a week given Proton Radiation treatments in their new building opened in May just for that purpose. The treatments were programmed to lasted for 7? weeks.

The Chemo treatments lasted 3? hours per session and involved 6 'bags' of liquids given through a needle in the forearm with the two 'bag's' of actual chemo taking one hour each.

The type of chemo I was taking is a supplement to help in the Proton Radiation treatment. I was fortunate in not getting nauseous by taking the expensive Emend pills.

Their new Proton Radiation Center equipment is quite impressive. There are only 4-5 of these types of Centers in the USA. Initially you go through a special machine that pinpoints the location of the cancer and get form fitted with individual molds to fit your arms over your head, legs, and feet for positioning your body for steadiness when the radiation beam is activated. Then there is a waiting period of 3-5 days while the intricate highly specialized technicians/doctors plot out how the radiation is to be administered and computer programming is developed for the Proton machine for each individual. They take into account that breathing will move the target, so they allow for a wider area of coverage than just a pin/pencil point. There are (looks like to me) heavy copper/brass type plates, aprx 1 ft square, 2 in thick that are made to direct the radiation beam so that none escapes, and I observed that they changed out 4 plates for each direction that the beam is directed. I was administer the beam to 3 locations on each session, one directed from the front, rear, and left side...sort of like a triangle. The actual operation was done by 3 young specialized techs and usually lasted about 35 minutes. But of course...where else...the computers balked a couple times and there was a waiting period....15-20 min or so to get them reset. Then one time lightning affected the power causing the whole plant to shut down the several main Proton machines, resulting in a 2 hr delay in restarting everything. I asked about aux power backup as I though every hospital has it. They said, yes they had automatic switching aux power, but the Proton Radiation machines (I saw a Hitachi (s) emblem) were designed to shut down immediately faster than can be imagined of any slight power variation, then taking time to power back up. There were only the above 3 minor incidents during the 2 months while there.

There was no pain with the treatments, however was advised right from the beginning that because my cancer was near the esophagus the radiation would cause irritation and pain starting about the middle of my treatment schedule and it would last for weeks after treatment. I would probably have pain swallowing food and in some cases would need a feeding tube to the stomach if too painful to eat. They kept checking and wanting to know when I had pain as they had medications for it. I also developed round red spots 3" diameter on chest, back & left side where radiation administered. There was a special cream suggested for application.

Well, I thought I would be one of the lucky ones, and doctors/nurses were happy with my progress without pain until the last few days of treatment. The pain started right in the center of my chest whenever I eat anything. They have a special Rx mixture, only available at MDA that is swallowed while eating to coat/deaden the esophagus. Also, put me on liquid Hydrocodone w/Tylenol and then upgraded my pain medication the day I left to Duragesic (Fentanyl Transedermal System) patch that I put on my skin changing every 72 hours. This stuff if powerful.

Well, to say the least, I'm feeling good, weak, sleep a lot, but it is still very painful to get food past a spot around the center of my chest. They said it will be several weeks more to go through.

Doctors are optimistic that their treatments got the cancer, but have to wait until end or January or later for further test results.

Thanks everyone for your good thoughts and prayers. I honestly believe they work.


PS....about three fourths of my thick gray hair has fallen out, but am told it will grow back.

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by James Denison / December 24, 2006 5:09 AM PST

Glad hear you are alive John, was beginning to worry you'd kicked the
bucket this time. I don't envy you the treatments. I hope they work for you
and backed up by our prayers and wishes too. I don't know if you can do this
or if it will help but when my throat is really sore I put some orajel in
water and gargle it, swallow a bit too, just to get some all the way down.
Gives relief, but only for a couple hours. Hopefully they will have something
more specific you can use for that at home. Keep your hopes up John, we're
cheering for you.

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(NT) I wish you well John, take care.
by JP Bill / December 24, 2006 5:29 AM PST
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(NT) Welcome back, John. Keep On Truckin', man! :-)
by Cindi Haynes / December 24, 2006 6:43 AM PST
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(NT) I hope it is a complete and speedy recovery John.
by Kiddpeat / December 24, 2006 6:55 AM PST
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good to see you JR......
by jonah jones / December 24, 2006 1:32 PM PST

i wish you a happy and healthy holiday season....



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merry christmas
by WOODS-HICK / December 24, 2006 9:32 PM PST

you were one who treated me fairly when I wandered into se as a naive tenderfoot. I have never forgotten your unbiased encouragement and 'local knowledge' you are one of the REAL persons in this virtual community.

you deserve the best treatment. I wish you the best results. your self-reliance will give you comfort. take care,


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Thank you everyone
by John Robie / December 26, 2006 1:39 AM PST

for your good comments.

We just returned from a 300 mile round trip visiting relatives for Christmas. We forsee a great new year for us and wish you all and each and everyone in SE a Happpy New Year.


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Glad to hear from you John
by MarciaB / December 26, 2006 11:48 AM PST

Continue to take good care of yourself, and I have no doubt that you will be back to your old self again soon.

My prayers have remained with you and will continue.

Blessings to you for a New Year that holds a quick recovery and better health all around.


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I apologize to John and James.
by Angeline Booher / December 24, 2006 6:06 AM PST
In reply to: John Robie

I hadn't gone back to check my mailbox. Should have. Thank your wife for me, John.

Thank God for the advances in medicine!!!!

One of my friends underwent treatment just about 4 years ago. Another friend has started her course. In that period of time she is getting meds that help control the side-effects that weren't available before.

It's great to hear that one of our long-time friends is back! Hope the pain relief comes sooner than expected ,John!

Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

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Life is so complicated and capricious. Our great good
by Ziks511 / December 24, 2006 9:16 PM PST

friends and former neighbours, made when Robbie was in JK near our old house in Etobicoke, were able to make it for our annual (well almost annual, we've missed 4 years out of 31) Christmas Open House, held Dec 23 this year. It was wonderful to see them all, and catch up, but it was a shock to discover that Dagmar had just finished Chemo following Radiation for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, probably the most curable form of blood/bone marrow cancer. She looked just the same as always until she raised her wig (which looked just like her former hair-do) to reveal her "chemo-cut".

Of all the people we know she has probably been the most health conscious, the best and most careful shopper and maker of fresh food, lots of greens, everything you should do for a healthy diet, habits she learned from her parents. Nor has she ever worked in any field except journalism/public relations, so no odd chemical exposure that we know of. Go figure.

All fingers and toes in our family of 3, her family of 4, plus her parents, still alive and hale in their 80's, and her sister's family are crossed.

We'll be in much closer contact from now on.


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No apology
by John Robie / December 26, 2006 1:46 AM PST

at all is necessary Angeline.

The wife's relatives in Nashville and our friends there have also given us great support.

Have a good and Happy New Year.


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Good to see you back JR...
by Rolway / December 24, 2006 11:57 PM PST
In reply to: John Robie

Hang in there. We are all rooting for you. Wish you and the Mrs. a Merry Christmas and a year of steady improvement with good health ahead.


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Know you
by John Robie / December 26, 2006 1:51 AM PST

have had medical problems and hope they have subsided somewhat, especially being an slightly older coot than me.

Happy New Year George for you and your family.


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