A son to his father

POSTED BY: Sidney the Third, in respsonse to A father to his son


As long as I have lived, there have always been three,

The great old father, his son, and then me.

And now that the father has moved along

we are apart,

You there, me here,

both a bit confused, both searching


I have learned from you what you learned from him,

My two greatest examples to follow – to become a greater man

To care for others over oneself,

To serve, rather than be served,


I have watched and learned practical skills –

Beware that innocent-looking capacitor,  or

Don’t bend the pipe too much, it will break

And make sure you weight your hay bales with children

So they don’t roll


You are a Protector – teaching, but sheltering

To make sure I did not fall too hard, too far,

Always ready to lift, to help,

To share the burden

To lift what I could not


You have prepared me for all that you could,

Yet we feel lost – who could have prepared for this?

What skills could you teach?

What weight could you lift?


I know the words you long to speak,

“It’s OK, son.  Don’t worry.  I’ve got this one.”

But you cannot.


I have the shovel, and you cannot reach it,

But its OK, Dad.  Don’t worry.  I’ve got this one.

Your part in this battle is done.


I can wield the shovel because you showed me how,

You made me work,

Made my hands and arms strong.


I can lift this weight that you cannot,

And climb this mountain that you must go around.

But only because of you.


You have done your job.


I am ready.  I can do it.


I love you, Dad.

A father to his son


from home with love…

20161011_155634There are three of us; it hasn’t always been that way.

Us here, and the First over there; it hasn’t always been that way either.

But for now, between here and there, there will always be three of us…

unless, of course, there are to be four,

in which case there will still be three of us, and more.


But there was a time when there were only two.

We lived a little.  We talked a little.  We played a little.  We worked a lot.

He never minded to make me work, and work hard.

But there was always a job that was the hardest–he would do that one.

Or maybe one that was the most dangerous—he did that one.

Sometimes there was a job that was the smelliest.  I did that one, because I was small enough to fit into the hole.  Who knew there was so much work to be done in such small places?

There was that rare moment,

when I did something no one else could,

because my right arm was just the right size,

and I had the dexterity, and focus,

that I could reach down the bottom of the bowl,

and back up the trap,

over the hump,

and pull the comb out of the toilet.

No greater pride… my right arm wet all the way to the top of the shoulder.


Later on, I walked behind him going up stairs,

and in front of him going down—

his steps were no longer sure; I was strong enough to catch.

I would push open doors… not that he couldn’t,

but it was the harder job; I did it.

I took the steeper hill,

the rougher path,

the longer walk,

because I could.


Between the earlier and the later,

there was the middle,

when you might find us arguing over the hardest job.

“Only one shovel, I got it first.  You’ll have to supervise.”

“I’ll climb up there and get it.”                                                   

                                                                “Too late, I’m already up here.”

These competitions came late in life—we were both grown, of course.


Imagine my torment,

when you traveled a harder path,

that I couldn’t walk for you.

This came too soon.


When you look down from your steep climb,

do I look out of place and confused,

walking on this flat, smooth ground?


Can you tell that I am searching?

Where is the door to push?

There is no shovel to race to.

I have nothing to climb, that I might save you the trouble.


You, my son, have exposed my greatest struggle with aging.

It is not my left knee, though it hurts.

It is not that I don’t remember enough to keep up with you in this new algebra they’re doing,

It is not that I am tired, even though I am, at times.


My greatest struggle is watching you work this hard,

while I stand here, my right arm still strong,

but completely dry.


You don’t need a comb anyway.

Stay calm and breathe deeply


From Memphis with love,

A nurse in ICU made this sign and placed it by Sidney’s door.


Pleuropulmonaryblastoma-  also known as PPB, it is the first documented case at st. Jude.  It is so rare, they’re sending the sample to minnesota, where the worldwide registry is located.  There are about 30 cases documented there.  They’ve only been collecting records there for about 10 years or so.  The Doctors at st. Jude are pretty sure this is PPB,  but since they’ve never seen it before except in textbooks, they’re sending it off to people who have seen it before.
Regarding treatment of PPB,  what was removed was definitely Type 1.  It is considered cancerous, but only because of its ability to advance into Type 2 or Type 3, which are angrier versions of the same thing.  Typical treatment is to remove the PPB only, with no chemo or radiation to follow.  Since it has been removed, and we have chemo scheduled anyway, the doctors find it likely we will never hear from that tumor again.  It is also extremely rare that PPB forms in anyone over 6 years old.  Also, remember that Sidney will be periodically scanned for the rest of his life anyway, as a cancer survivor.
Sidney is recovering well beyond expectations.   He is approved to leave icu, as soon as a room is open.  Hopefully that will happen today.
Chemo is scheduled to begin Thursday,  10/13/16.
In summary,  this has been an uncomfortable 2-week setback.  We will be back on schedule Thursday,  with a new (and in my opinion his most impressive) scar.  They weren’t kidding when they said it would be a large incision.
Thanks to all.

Puzzling in Pre-Op – UPDATE


Sidney is out of surgery.  It went as well as the surgeon had hoped.  He only had to take about 25% of the bottom lobe of Sidney’s left lung.

A visual of the cysts is encouraging.  It does not look like an aggressive cancer.  We hope it is not cancer at all.  Pathology will give us the final answer.

Let’s pray for a speedy and comfortable recovery.  Sidney needs to be up and walking tomorrow.  Hopefully he will be ready for chemo in a week.  Putting off chemo is a gamble.



Whiplash Days

from Memphis, with love . . .

So last week should have been the start of Sidney’s chemo, but careful screening revealed two cysts on his left lung.  As new and more detailed information and various medical opinions came in by the hour, we were left tired and confused and very hungry.  Some rest and a steak lifted Sidney’s spirits considerably.

After all the experts weighed in, we decided to postpone chemotherapy in favor of removing the cysts and sending them off for pathology.  He gets a week or so to recover from that major surgery and then chemo.

Surgery is tomorrow morning (Thursday) at 6:30.
This type of surgery could be done with the lightly invasive technique,  with small sticks and vacuum.  But with Sidney’s cancer status, they’ll be doing it the “hands-on” way, which means a large incision, so they can get in there, cut things out, and take a look around so they can make sure to leave nothing behind.
I appreciate the reason for this, and I agree with it.  But I personally struggle with all this cutting of my son.  Obviously,  we want the surgery to be successful, but please pray for smooth recovery also.
Thank you for your prayers.

First Day back in Memphis

A busy day.  An early day.  Sidney had bloodwork, IV, doctor appointments, thyroid scan, renal scan, MRI of his brain, anesthesia AND a bit of surgery to install a port in his chest.

The anesthesia team gave me paper clothes and a paper cap to wear and let me follow Sidney back to the anesthesia room.  They put an oxygen mask on Sidney, which inspired him to sing “Love is like Oxygen.”  The anesthesia crew were thoroughly entertained, especially after they put the sleepy medicine in Sidney’s IV.  He felt it coming and interrupted his singing just long enough to say, “Oh, I feel that.  I’m getting drowsy.  Good night.”

His eyelids closed and I was allowed to give him a kiss.  I resisted the temptation to abuse my power and shower him with kisses.

We ran into many familiar faces, from the receptionist who wished Sidney had not missed yesterday’s karaoke to several of our favorite patients.  Every turn connected us to smiles, gentle spirits and encouragment.