Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Year Return

My husband posted the following message on Facebook and emailed this notice to family and friends.  He and I have written a number of times on GuyDads about my previous battle with cancer.

There are some new developments in Ed's ongoing health saga.  In December, we were told some of the cancer nodules in his lungs were once again growing after not being seen for 4 months.  Still being relatively small (in the 1.5-2 cm. range), his oncologist advised that he start a new chemotherapy routine, this one being an ongoing, "maintenance" variety for the purpose of thwarting any further growth or movement (but not necessarily 'killing' the cancer already there).  His lingering neuropathy/numbness in his hands and feet from the first six-month regimen did not allow even a short return to that earlier, more powerful, drug combination.

This 'maintenance' chemo (Panitumumab or Vectibix) does not alter “theoretically” his day-to-day life that much:  no diet restrictions, no lowering of white blood cell count and thus no compromise of his immune system, etc.  Since he will be on this once-every-two-week pattern for as long as it works and as long as he can tolerate it, the good news is that he can take occasional 'breaks' so that we can still go on vacations (like our upcoming trip to Cuba in Feb. and hoped-for New York theatre trip & Mediterranean cruise later in the year).

My red and pox-mark head
and shoulders
Unfortunately, after two treatments, the side effects have been much worse than the doctor had thought they might be.  The worst and so-far unresolved effect has been a chicken-pox-like rash that has covered (literally) his face, neck, and torso.  This has been somewhat devastating for Ed, as you can imagine, since his appearance has been greatly altered, literally over night.  (This came on top of 30+ hours of bad intestinal issues from the first treatment.)

For the next month, he will go off the chemo, use some prescribed 'remedies' for the rash, and hopefully allow his body to go back to 'normal.'  In late February, he will begin a 50% dosage of the same, maintenance chemo drug.  If that goes well, the dosage will be increased gradually over the coming months.  Since our oncologist is seeing this as a long-term, continuous treatment, she is not that concerned in backing off a bit and then easing into the full dosage more slowly.

So the journey continues. In the meantime and as always, Ed continues to work, to walk two miles to work (even with his numb and tingling feet), and to attend with me live productions several nights a week (we have seen a dozen stage/symphony productions since the first of the year).

Things could be much worse at this point, and we have friends who have recently had much worse happen to them and/or their loved ones. To every one who faces health challenges, may our collective good wishes, support, and prayers help raise their spirits and keep them strong.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Time Flies

It is hard to believe that more than a month has gone by since we left California for a 2-week vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We have been traveling back to our favorite gay resort, Pineapple Point since 2007.

Besides the excellent facilities and attentive staff, the thing that makes the return visits extra special is seeing friends again. A good 75% of the people there between Christmas and New Years are returning guests. We have all gotten to know each other very well. Here’s a few pictures of our time there.

The "gay beach" Sebastian Beach

Fort Lauderdale intercostal

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Just Because it is Elvis

Today, January 8th, would have been his 80th birthday.

Tomorrow is my birthday.
Last year's shirtless birthday celebration:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Announcing the 2014 Theatre Eddys

Eddie on stage.

In 2014 and in spite of Ed's six months of intense chemotherapy,  we saw 112 plays, musicals, and operas (not to mention a full season of ballet and several nights at the symphony).  Once again, this was an outstanding year for plays in the Bay Area..  Narrowing our top-rated plays to the Top Ten was very difficult, and so we also included some "Honorable Mentions."  Locally produced musicals in the Bay Area area are often outstanding but really good ones are harder to find than comparable plays. We list only our Top Eight in that category this year.  Touring musicals have had  an outstanding year, but we skipped most of them because we had already seen them in NYC.

Of the 111 shows we saw, we awarded 35 "5 Stars" and only 5 ratings of "1 or 2 Stars."
Among Bay Areas theatre companies for the second year in a row, we gave the most “5” ratings (the top of our scale) to SF Playhouse (5 of their productions).  Right behind them as in 2013 was TheatreWorks with four “5”-ratings.  Altogether, 12 local companies had at least one production we rated “5,” a testament to the amazing theatre scene of the SF Bay Area, including 3 to the new Stanford Repertory Theatre.  (We attended plays and musicals at 26 different Bay Area companies in 2013.)

(A complete list of our 2014 shows with ratings and short descriptions can be found at

The EDDYs Top Ten SF Bay Plays of 2014

10.  An Inspector Calls - J.B. Priestley, Stanford University Department of Theater & Performance Studies (Jim Carpenter)
[When Inspector Goole arrives unexpectedly at the home of a wealthy British family, their well-mannered dinner party is shattered by his investigations into the suicide of a young woman. Goole's interrogation uncovers startling relationships between each family member and the tragic suicide.]

9.  The Whale - Samuel D. Hunter, Marin Theatre Company
[On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a 600 pound recluse hides away in his apartment eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen.]

8. Seminar - Theresa Rebeck, San Francisco Playhouse
[Five hundred dollars a week for all the abuse you can take. And maybe sex. That’s what four aspiring novelists pay for a ten-week private writing class with the legendary Leonard. It’s a smorgasbord of vicious, funny wordplay.]

7.  The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures - Tony Kushner, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Retired longshoreman and labor leader, Gus, is feeling confused and defeated by the 21st century. When Gus decides to die, his sister, who has been staying with him for a year, invites Gus' three children (who in turn bring along spouses, ex-spouses, lovers and more) to a most unusual family reunion in their Brooklyn brownstone.]

6.  The Big Meal - Dan LeFranc, San Jose Repertory Theatre (theatre closed)
[In a suburban restaurant, 8 actors present the life-changing moments from 5 generations of an American family. From their most intimate joys to their most public sorrows, this family's history is revealed through a time-bending odyssey of birth, death, divorce, and dinner.]

5.  Bad Jews - Joshua Harmon, Magic Theatre
[Cousins Daphna, Jonah, and Liam are Jewish. But when religious Daphna squares off with secular Liam and his shiksa girlfriend over a family heirloom, they battle it out Old Testament style.]

4.  Gidion's Knot - Johnna Adams, Aurora Theatre (Stacy Ross)
[Over the course of a parent/teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed 5th grade school teacher have a fraught conversation about the suicide of the mother's son, Gidion, after his suspension. Gidion may have been bullied severely -- or he may have been an abuser.]

3.  Jerusalem - Jez Butterworth, San Francisco Playhouse
[A modern mythic tale of the death of a god. In the woods of southwest England, Johnny "Rooster" Byron, former daredevil and modern-day Pied Piper, is a wanted man. The council officials want to serve him an eviction notice, his son wants to be taken to the country fair, a stepfather wants to give him a serious kicking and a motley crew of friends wants his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.]

2.  Bauer - Lauren Gunderson, San Francisco Playhouse
[Why did Rudolf Bauer stop painting? Imprisoned by the Nazis, he sketched on scraps. His fiery love affair with Hilla Rebay (Guggenheim curator) lasted a lifetime. The Guggenheim was built to house his work. In his time, Bauer was considered by Solomon Guggenheim to be an even greater painter than his contemporary, Kandinsky.]
Seen this year on both SF and NYC by SF Playhouse!

1.  The Great Pretender - David West Read, TheatreWorks
[The passing of a cherished puppeteer consumes a children’s TV host in this comic tale of friendship, love, and letting go.]


- Rapture, Blister, Burn - Gina Gionfriddo, Aurora Theatre
- Old Hats - Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Shaina Taub, A.C.T. 
- Venus In Fur - David Ives, A.C.T. 
- American Buffalo - David Mamet, Aurora Theatre

THE EDDYs Top 8 SF Bay Musicals of 2014

8.  Bonnie & Clyde - Frank Wildhorn, Don Black, Ivan Menchell, San Jose Stage Company
[At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-time nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. The score combines rockabilly, blues, Broadway pop and gospel music.]

7.  Do I Hear a Waltz? - Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, 42nd Street Moon
[Based on Laurents' play "The Time of the Cuckoo". A lonely American spinster touring Italy finds bittersweet romance with a married shopkeeper in Venice]

6.  Yeast Nation - Mark Hollmann, Greg Kotis, Ray of Light Theatre

[In the year 3,000,458,000 B.C., the salt-eating yeasts are the only living creatures on earth, and they’re up against a food shortage, a strange new emotion called “love” and the oppression of a tyrannical king. What follows is a story of youthful love and rebellion involving gooey muck, a coup attempt and … evolution.]

5.  Triassic Parq - Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz, Steve Wargo, Ray of Light Theatre
[Dinosaurs, showtunes and sex changes come together in this new musical. When one female T-Rex suddenly turns male, the entire pack must question their identity, gender, and what is possible through the lens of faith and science. The mutation spawns a chain reaction of identity crises, forcing the dinosaurs to question the very facts of life they've held as truth.]

4.   Motown, The Musical - Berry Gordy, Motown music catalog, SHN
[Story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more.]

3.  Marry Me A Little - Stephen Sondheim, Craig Lucas, Norman Rene, TheatreWorks
[A revue of songs cut from Sondheim's better-known musicals to a dialogue-free plot about the relationship between two lonely single people, who are in emotional conflict during an evening in their separate one-room apartments. Reset form NYC to SF.]

2.  Into the Woods - Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine, San Francisco Playhouse
[The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a Witch who has placed a curse on them.]

1.  Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Wheeler, Christopher Bond, TheatreWorks
[Tells the tale of a barber seeking justice for the corrupt London judge who exiled him. Partnered with a delicious pie shop proprietress, Sweeney exacts a fearsome revenge as she concocts an alarming new recipe. Staging changed from Victorian era to 1940s London during the Blitz.]


Two local companies this year undertook especially daring and worthy undertakings this year that we rated as HUGE 5's

2.  House - Alan Ayckbourn, Pear Avenue Theatre;
  Garden - Alan Ayckbourn, Pear Avenue Theatre
[Two interlocking comedies seen on consecutive nights that take place simultaneously, with one cast performing both shows in two different theatres at the same time. Teddy and Trish Platt are hosting the annual May Fête for the village. Friends, family, house staff, lovers, politicians, a French movie star and, will it rain?]

1.   The Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
.  Stoppard's 2002 trilogy of plays: Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage, that focuses on the philosophical debates in pre-revolution Russia between 1833 and 1866.  We saw them all in one day at noon, 4 and 8.

Voyage - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
[Meet the young, passionate, idealistic men and women whose struggle for freedom ignited the Russian Revolution and changed the world: Michael Bakunin and Alexander Herzen - among quite a few other competing intellectuals and several romances - in dangerously autocratic 1830s Russia.]
Shipwreck - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
[The young heroes are now in their 30s. The optimism of their early years has hit the rocks of marital infidelity, social anarchy, and a tsar who has no intention of stepping down. The survivors are living in exile: Paris. We follow Herzen's emergence as the father of Russian socialism through the passionate heights of 1848 revolutionary fervor in Paris and desolation of failure, amid a flowering of free love.]
Salvage - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
[The group of would-be revolutionaries moves to London where, after suffering decades of personal and political losses, they struggle to find hope for their way of life. A rising tide of young revolutionaries, dismissing of the old guard as irrelevant, forms a large, sniping chorus.]


Ed and Eddie with Coco Peru
3.  Have You HeardMiss Coco Peru, Birdland
[Reprising bits of her past, all-scripted shows from the past 24 years, Peru's show is full of what she does best: telling stories.]

2.  Buyer & Cellar - Jonathan Tolins, SHN (Michael Urie)
[An underemployed Los Angeles actor goes to work in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement.]

1.   Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill – Lanie Robertson, Circle in the Square (Audra McDonald)
[A play with music recounting some events in the life of Billie Holiday. Set in South Philadelphia in March 1959, Holiday is performing in a run-down bar, during one of her last performances before her death in July 1959.]


4.  Cinderella (La Cenerentola) - Gioachino Rossini, Jacopo Ferretti, San Francisco Opera
[Thanks to her open heart and determination, Cinderella triumphs over her mean-spirited relatives.This version has evil step-father, a wise tutor instead of fairy-godmother and matching bracelets in place of glass slippers.]

3.  Partenope - George Frideric Handel, San Francisco Opera
[Staging reset to a sureal/dadaist 1920's Paris. Disguises, cross-dressing and gender confusion leads to romantic complications in this comic opera about Queen Partenope and her three royal suitors.]

2.  Susannah - Carlisle Floyd, San Francisco Opera
[In the backwoods of Tennessee, a beautiful young woman is accused of indecent behavior after she is discovered bathing naked in a stream. The charismatic traveling preacher sets his sights on her soul for salvation, but it will be their downfall.]

1.  Show Boat - Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Edna Ferber, San Francisco Opera (Bill Irwin, Patricia Racette)
[Based on Ferber's novel. A tale of life on the Mississippi from the 1880s to the 1920s is both a poignant love story and a powerful reminder of the bitter legacy of racism. Classic songs as "Ol’ Man River," "Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man," "Make Believe" and "You Are Love."]


5.  The Cocoanuts - Irving Berlin, George S. Kaufman, Mark Bedard, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[The service stinks but the gags are four-star in this Marx Brothers romp. Groucho owns a bum hotel in Florida. He’s after a rich society dame, who’s after an eligible match for her daughter, who’s in love with the hotel’s head clerk. Trouble rolls in with the tide when the other Marxes arrive and mama’s eligible match turns out to be anything but.]

4.  This Is Our Youth – Kenneth Lonergan, Cort Theatre-Steppenwolf (Michael Cera)
[Set in NYC in 1982, it follows 48 hours in the lives of three very lost young souls: Warren, a dejected nineteen year old who has just stolen $15,000 from his abusive, tycoon father; Dennis, his charismatic drug-dealing friend who helps Warren put the stolen money to good use; and, Jessica, the anxiously insightful young woman who Warren yearns for.]

3.  It's Only a Play
- Terrence McNally, Schoenfeld Theatre (Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally)
[Set on the opening night, the playwright anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares the evening with his best friend, a television star, his fledgling producer, his erratic leading lady, his wunderkind director, an infamous drama critic, and a wide-eyed coat check attendant on his first night in Manhattan. There's no business like show business.]

2.  The Tempest - William Shakespeare, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[On a remote island, Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skillful manipulation. He conjures up a storm to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to the island. There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's lowly nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand.]

1.  Disgraced 
- Ayad Akhtar, Lyceum Theatre
[A Muslim-American lawyer is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. When he and his wife, a white artist influenced by Islamic paintings, host a dinner party, with another couple, a male Jewish art dealer and his African-American lawyer wife, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damaging.]


5.  A Gentleman's Guide to Murder 
- Robert L. Freedman, Steven Lutvak, Walter Kerr Theatre (Jefferson Mays)
[Based on Roy Horniman’s novel “Israel Rank, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” finds Monty Navarro, a British commoner, discovering that he’s ninth in line to inherit the Earldom of Highhurst and electing to murder the members of the odious D’Ysquith family standing in his way. In the process Monty keeps a mistress, Sibella Hallward, and courts the comely young Phoebe D’Ysquith.]

4.  On the Town 
- Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jerome Robbins, Lyric Theatre
[Tells the story of three wide-eyed sailors on a whirlwind musical tour of the city that never sleeps. With just 24 hours of shore leave, they’re eager to experience all that New York City has to offer… including a chance to discover love with the girl of their dreams.]

3.  The Last Ship
 - Sting, John Logan, Brian Yorkey, Neil Simon Theatre
[Inspired by Sting’s own childhood, the show is set in an English seafaring town that operates around the local shipyard and follows Gideon Fletcher, a man who left home to see the world and returns fourteen years later to find that the future of the shipyard is in danger. The shipyard’s workers decide to take their fate into their own hands and build a towering representation of the shared dream that has defined their existence.]

2.  Cabaret -Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb, John Kander, Studio 54-Roundabout Theatre Company (Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams)
[Seedy nightlife at the Kit Kat Klub and doomed romances set in 1929/30 Berlin on the eve of the Nazis' rise to power.]

1.  Here Lies Love 
- David Byrne, Fatboy Slim, Tom Gandey, J Pardo, The Public Theater
[Within a throbbing dance club atmosphere we follow the astonishing journey of Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos and her meteoric rise and subsequent descent into infamy. The show is an immersive theatrical experience with a narrative, the life of a charismatic president’s wife, reminiscent of Evita.]

Monday, December 22, 2014

Chag Sameach!

Sweet Potato Latkes
Even though we are leaving home with still half of Hanukkah to go, I (Eddie) did manage 3 dinners with guest this year:

1) First night - 8 guests
- Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup with Sweet Potato Matzo Balls
- Fresh Salmon Latkes with Warmed Tartar Tartar Sauce
- Black Grape, Goat Cheese & Noodle Latkes with Fragrant Honey (noodle kugel latke!)
- Heirloom Pea Latkes
- Mushroom Pecan Latkes
- Warmed Cranberries over Pears

2) Second night - 8 guests
- Russian Apple, Cabbage & Leek Soup
- Turkey & Mashed Potato Latkes
- Saged Butternut Squash Latkes
- Zucchini & Sweet Potato Latkes
- Apple Latkes
- Winter Fruit Salad with Maple Spice Yogurt

3) Third night, (A Southwestern Hanukkah)
- Sun-dried Tomato & Tortilla Soup
- Avocado & Egg Latkes with Salsa
- New Mexico Sweet Potato Latkes with Lime & Sour Cream Sauce
- Cranberry Cake (from our friend Sheila)
Chag Sameach!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

This photo was taken in 1969. It was our first Thanksgiving in California. That summer we moved from upstate New York (by way of Johnson City, Endwell, and Yorktown Heights, NY) to Los Gatos, CA.  That is me on the right.
45 years later we are all celebrating our last Thanksgiving in this house. My parents have just sold their 5-bedroom house and are moving to a nearby senior living community. Cheers.

The 2014 version...

And the rest of the family...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Make Holiday Cheer

On December 12-13, my talented and handsome husband will be singing with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus in their holiday extravaganza, "Dancers, Prancers & Vixens!" It's going to be an incredible show that you absolutely do not want to miss. Get your tickets now:  or at City Box Office 415-392-4400
Performances for this festive, heart-warming and simply not-to-be-missed concert are at Nourse Theater, 275 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA.
Dates and times are:
Friday, December 12, 2014 at 8:00pm 
Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
PS. There will also be an ugly sweater parade, 1980’s nativity and some of the most beautiful, familiar holiday music you have ever heard.
Featured guest is Well-Strung, the Singing String Quartet

Additional holiday dates are:
Saturday, December 6, 7:30pm in Santa Rosa, CA at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. A benefit concert for Face to Face Sonoma County AIDS Network. Tickets.

Sunday, December 7, 5pm in Santa Cruz, CA at the Peace United Church of Christ.
With The San Jose Choral Project. Proceeds to benefit the Santa Cruz AIDS Project, the Santa Cruz Diversity Center, the Queer Youth Task Force, and PFLAG, as well as Peace Church's community projects. Tickets.

Wednesday, December 24, Christmas Eve at the Castro Theatre, SF; show times 5pm, 7pm 9pm. This holiday season marks the 25th year that the chorus returns to the Castro Theatre on Christmas Eve for the Home for the Holidays performances. Tickets.
Featuring: Donna Sachet and Lisa Vroman

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Most Produced Plays This Season

American Theatre magazine came out with their list of “American Theatre’s Top 10 Most-Produced Plays Of 2014-15 (Actually 11 because of ties).”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang: 27**
Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley: 10
Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon: 8***
Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz: 8****
Around the World in 80 Days adapted from the novel by Jules Verne: 7(note, 6 for the Mark Brown adaptation and 1 for the Toby Hulse adaptation)
Peter and the Starcatcher adapted by Rick Elice from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson: 7
The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez: 7
Tribes by Nina Raine: 7*****
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog: 6
Into the Woods, book by James Lapine, music and lyricsby Stephen Sondheim: 6
Venus in Fur by David Ives: 6
*American Theatre omits Shakespeare productions and holiday-themed shows A Christmas Carol and Santaland Diaries from the list. But if you really want to know, this season, Christmas Carol is getting 46 productions, Santaland Diaries is getting 8 productions and the most-produced Shakespeare plays are A Midsummer Night’s Dream (10) and Romeo and Juliet (8).
**Christopher Durang’s Chekhovian Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike made the Top 10 list last year in eighth place, with 11 productions. That list, plus a 2013 best-play Tony Award, was apparently enough to propel Durang’s play to the top this year.
***American Theatre has printed the complete playscript to two of the Top 10 plays—Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon and 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog. We’re not saying we’re arbiters of not-for-profit theatre tastes, but…
****This marks the third year in a row that Jon Robin Baitz and Matthew Lopez and their plays (Other Desert Cities and The Whipping Man, respectively) have made the Top 10 list. Congratulations on those royalty checks, guys!
*****It seems last year’s female-packed Top 10 list was a temporary trend (last year, women made up half the list). The male/female ratio of this year’s list is 8:2.
This information is tallied from 404 theatres that self-reported their season to us. There were 1,876 entries that credited a playwright and/or a composer, and all productions are playing from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015. For the numbers from past Top 10 lists, click here

We have seen 9 of the 11 listed plays in the last couple years. Apparently no theatre in the San Francisco Bay Area is currently scheduled to do “Outside Mullingar” by John Patrick Shanley. “Around the World in 80 Days” which was the other play we have not seen was last done in 2008 by the now defunct San Jose Repertory Theatre.

Outside Mullingar” was just on Broadway stage this past winter. It featured Debra Messing in her Broadway debut. Synopsis of the show: “Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland. Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away. With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe.”

All 9 of the above plays that we have seen, we highly recommend them. We have even seen 3 of them (Peter and the Starcatcher, Tribes and Into the Woods) twice done by different theatres.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another Colon Update

Ready for another procedure.
It has been 3 months since my last chemotherapy cycle treatment for stage 4 metastatic colon cancer in my lungs. So far, the follow up tests have been very good. I have a monthly CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) blood test that is used to diagnose and track certain types of cancers, especially cancer of the colon. This tumor marker test has given me 3 normal scores. I also had a PET/CT scan at the end of August that no longer showed signs of cancer in the lungs. There are still a number of very small nodules but they are not lighting up as cancerous. My next scan is scheduled for next month. All in all, good news. However, the oncologist reminds me that the cancer will be back at some point in the future, she just can't predict when.

The biggest side effect that I am still dealing with is chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in my hands, feet and mouth). Both my hands and feet continuously feels like I have been handling or walking on ice with no protection. I find it hard to walk or stand for more than a half-hour. The oncologist says there is no treatment cure for it. The best they can do is to ease the symptoms. In some cases the neuropathy is short-term; in others it can take years to go away. In severe cases it may never go away. She suggested looking into acupuncture. Many people have found relief with it. So far I have had a dozen acupuncture sessions. It is hard to say if they have made much of a difference.

In my case, the rectum has been removed and the
colon has been pulled down and attached to my anus.
Next on my health agenda is finally dealing with the anal fistula issue that has plagued me for over a year. The whole thing started last summer when a cyst formed in the scar tissue from my colorectal surgery of 5 years ago. The cyst became infected and abscessed while we were on a bike trip in France last summer. Last fall I had two operations under anesthesia to clean up the infection. At that time a seton stich was put in place. Wikipedia best describes it as: “The procedure involves running a surgical-grade cord through the fistula tract so that the cord creates a loop that joins up outside the fistula. The cord provides a path which allows the fistula to drain continuously while it is healing, rather than allowing the exterior of the wound to close over. Keeping the fistula tract open can help keep from trapping pus or other infectious material in the wound.”  The intention was to surgically remove the fistula at the beginning of this year after the infected area had healed. Instead, I was informed that my cancer had come back and spread to my lungs and that it would have to be treated first. I would have to wait and put up with its side effects until my chemotherapy treatments were through.

The two of us out and about.
The side effects of the anal fistula were not painful, just unpleasant and depressing. I had to wear a pad in my underwear 24x7 to capture leakage. I couldn’t swim or use a hot tub. Biking was impossible and running was difficult. It seemed like I was in constant cleanup mode. Despite this, I kept on going. I am not one to sit around home moping. We spent 2 weeks in Fort Lauderdale over Christmas/New Years, spent over a week in NYC attending Broadway shows, extended weekends in Ashland, Oregon (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Guerneville, CA (twice) and numerous weekends in San Francisco. So far this year alone, we have attended over 90 performances of plays, operas and ballets and went to the World Series.

This fall I have had two more operations under anesthesia to deal with the fistula (a fistulotomy, where the fistulous tract is surgically cut open and allowed to heal). My ass is a real piece of work. I am in the “wait and see” mode to determine how well things heal and solve my leakage and control issues. The surgeon and I are optimistic that the outcome will be good.

I leave you with some colon humor:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Movie Star Alert

A scruffy and ponytailed Leonardo DiCaprio discusses renewable energy outside my office window with a professor from Stanford University.
Leonado DiCaprio (l)

Back in September, DiCaprio spoke at the UN as a “messenger of peace” addressing the opening of the body’s Climate Summit. He urged the delegates to make meaningful progress toward solutions and called on world leaders to end what he called “the free ride” that industrial polluters have been given in the name of a free market economy.

“The good news is that renewable energy is not only achievable but good economic policy,” DiCaprio told the more than 120 world leaders assembled. “New research shows that by 2050 clean, renewable energy could supply 100 percent of the world’s energy needs using existing technologies, and it would create millions of jobs.”

DiCaprio along with the Stanford professor are involved with The Solutions Project, a national outreach effort that also involves actor Mark Ruffalo, film director Josh Fox and others to raise public awareness about switching to clean energy.

This was the most celebrity excitement in our department since 2005 when actress Cameron Diaz guest taught a course in "Managing Sustainable Building Projects" in a tight white sweater.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Orange is for October

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House
No, it is not pumpkin spice season in San Francisco. It is Giants fever. World Series mania. Everything is decked out in Orange and Black in the city by the bay. I, too, will be dressed in the Giants tacky sports colors of orange and black all weekend because I will be at the 3 World Series games played in SF this weekend.

I will be the first to admit that I am one of those guys that totally lacks any kind of sports gene in my body. I really don’t care who wins the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, World Cup and whatever basketball’s championship game is called. My husband, however, is a selected sports fan. He loves to follow the San Francisco Giants baseball. And I love to follow him to games. I like getting all caught up into the excitement with him. Just don’t expect me to know any sports stats or other fine nuances of the game.
SF Davies Symphony Hall
My husband has had season tickets to the Giants for many years. But this year we didn't go to very many games, mostly because of my cancer treatments. He ended up selling off most of his seats. He went to a half dozen games and I only attended one during the regular season. We are looking forward to this series of games.
SF City Hall in Giants Orange

Things I like about the SF Giants:
My favorite t-shirts...
Pitcher Tim Lincecum shirt

Tim Lincecum shirt
Giants/Grateful Dead: Steal Your Face shirt
Crazy Crab from 1984

Lou Seal, mascot since 1996
Supporters of LGBT community...
Donna Sachet was the first drag performer to sing the National Anthem
at the opening of a Major League Baseball game on 09/29/2009.
In 1994, the Giants became the first-ever professional sports team to host an AIDS benefit game, "Until There's A Cure Day." Since then, the Giants and the Giants Community Fund have repeated the effort, generating more than $1.3 million for Bay Area AIDS education and care/service organizations and international AIDS research.
The Giants have hosted a dozen annual LGBT nights at the ball park beginning back in 2002.

Three years ago, in 2011, the Giants and post-season heroes Barry Zito, Sergio Romo, and Matt Cain recorded an  "It Gets Better" video. They were the first professional sports team to join the online campaign against gay bullying and homophobia.

In 2013, San Francisco Giants received the GLAAD Corporate Leader Award. They were first professional sports franchise to receive a GLAAD Media Award.

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