Friday, December 19, 2008

Scarface ... 3 years later

I should have done this back in September or October but I forgot...

Here's a picture of me and my scar 3 years after the surgery. The goal is still to show the evolution of the scar which may be of interest to others who may, unfortunately, have to go through the same type of procedure:

December 2008

The photo below shows my scar last year which was, of course, 2 years after surgery. It comes from my blog entry of October 2007. Not a lot has changed since last year. The scar is perhaps a slight bit faded and a bit more brown and less red. It certainly still hurts every now and then and if I sit in the wrong position it could spasm me in to a very strangle looking posture as I struggle to stretch it back...

October 2007

I think there was much more evolution and change between years 1 and 2 than between last year and this. But it gets better all the time...

I didn't take any photos the first year. But below is the photo from right after the bandages were taken off. It comes from my blog entry of September 26th, 2005.

September 2005

It's rare that someone actually asks me about the scar. The vast majority, outside of the medical profession, assume it was some sort of an accident and every now and then I get someone who thinks I was in a gang fight or I was mugged and I so want to invent some amazing story of saving my wife and children from a violent criminal and sacrificing my beautiful neck in the process. Unfortunately I always tell the truth about my scar. If it's a very young child who asks I explain I was very sick and the doctors needed to open me up and take the bad stuff out as quickly as possible. Anyone else gets the quick response of "throat cancer" with perhaps a mention of 2 surgeries, radiation therapy and then chemotherapy "la totale, quoi" (in French) or perhaps "the whole nine yards" (in American). Unfortunately some people, who don't yet know how much I can talk, will ask for more information or details and find themself in a biographical lecture which can last several drinks and sometimes a whole meal! I can sometimes be the guy you see people walking away from at a party...

Now that I've got the scar, and it ain't going anywhere anytime soon, there's so much I can do with it. Give me an eye patch and I can make Johnny Depp look effiminate!

PS: Just for the hell of it here's a straight-on photo of me today:



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's gone... and I don't miss it.

Today’s the day I’ve been waiting for for months… actually years. When they put this thingin my chest back in October 2005they said it would probably be removed 2 or 3 months after the end of treatment. It’s three years later and they’re finally removing it.

I had my special shower last night with the special red liquid soap (Betadine) and again this morning. I get out of the shower smelling like a hospital and the shower itself smells like an operating room for a couple of hours. I had a normal breakfast as instructed and puttered around the house for an hour killing time. I took the taxi to the clinic, went through the front doors and it hit me.

I hadn’t been back to the Clinique Hartmann since the end of my treatment. There was never a good reason I could come up with for returning. Now I had a good reason to be there and I didn’t want to go in. I had to go down to the chemotherapy department to fill out my file. As soon as I hit that down-sloping ramp (to allow wheelchairs and stretchers down) to chemo I started feeling nauseous. The smell of the chemo chemicals hit me and the atmosphere was like a stab to my chest. I was actually feeling sick and wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of there. I looked at all the other patients in the waiting room. I tried to remember what it was like. I had, and have, completely forgotten the experience. I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to realise that three years ago I was one of them: sitting in that uncomfortable chair waiting for my name to be called so they could do to me whatever they wanted. I, like almost everyone else there, would let them do anything and everything it took to get the cancer out of my body. I was in “fight mode” and “survivor mode” focused on one and only one thing in my life. Now it seemed like it had seemed before I had cancer: the sort of thing that happens to someone else.

I luckily was out of there pretty quickly and on my way to the 4th floor for the pre-op preparations. I know the routine: take all your clothes off, put on the ridiculous blue gown which never closes properly, add a silly looking white shower cap and to complete the clownish images add a couple of paper slippers on your bare feet. As we’re in December this time they threw in a blanket which I got to wrap around my shoulders in back which, in addition to providing a bit of warmth, provided a bit of cover as I knew I was going to be paraded through the waiting room and a few hallways before hitting the operating room on the fifth floor. While waiting in the wheelchair and on the stretcher I had a lot of time by myself to think. I had almost completely forgotten all that I had been through and it was coming back in memory flashes like someone suffering from post traumatic stress nightmares. I talked about it with Desney much later and explained that I thought it was like childbirth. You forget what it was like because you need to. You need to forget in order to move forward. I imagine that if women really remembered every detail of childbirth there would a lot of families out there with only one child. I had wiped out practically all of the memories of treatment, fears and side effects in order to move on to the next phase of my life. I needed to forget in order to imagine life after cancer and forget life with cancer. If I couldn’t completely envision life after cancer then I could not make it real. Now that I feel as though I am actually living life after cancer I can safely remember. I actually went through quite a lot. Looking around at all the others in the waiting rooms hurt. I know all too well what they are going through and what they are going to go through. It sucks. Many, unfortunately most, of them are probably not going to be as lucky as I am. Although looking around made me remember what it was like I feel good that it felt completely foreign to me. This was no longer part of my life. It was part of my past. But lying there and looking up at the ceilings I kept trying to tell myself that I have got to start appreciating what I’ve got and not taking it all for granted as I did before cancer and as I certainly have been doing recently. Easier said (to myself) than done.

I was finally wheeled in to the operating room and I had a pretty good idea what I was in for. The bright white lights above me, the surgical tools all around me and the nurse with the mask across her face. This wasn’t going to be like removing a splinter from my foot with a pair of tweezers. I started trying to remember everything I had ever learned about sophrological breathing. Not that it helped any. But it was at least something to work towards. The surgeon was actually quite a nice guy. He joked around a bit with the nurse as they debated whether or not to shave my chest around the area. He felt it would be easier for removing the bandages afterwards. She felt he was doing it because he was jealous as I have some hair on my chest and he, apparently, doesn’t have any. Luckily I had a nurse who likes a bit of hair on her men’s chest and they didn’t shave me. They bantered amongst each other, as they swabbed the area around where they were going to cut, about men who have themselves completely shaved and waxed and such these days. Definitely not the nurse’s type of man. I liked her more and more. The doctor said he was going to do all that he could to make this hurt as little as possible. I started to like him as well. But, as he said, there is no easy way to get the local anaesthesia in to the body. The injection of the anaesthesia itself is “uncomfortable”. I learned, already many years ago, that the French medical profession’s use of the word “uncomfortable” is such an incredible understatement that it would be like referring to a heart attack as a hiccough. As he kept talking I wanted to yell, scream and strangle him. Instead I just lay there looking away with tears swelling in my eyes. Then it was over. He had actually used the stuff correctly throughout to such an extent that when he did something to me and asked if I felt it I could honestly reply “Non”. He said that no matter what I should let me let him know if anything hurt at all during the whole procedure. I was in love with this man. He said he was going to open the same original scar so as not to create a second one and to make things easier. He had already cut it open and I didn’t feel anything. He then started working on the “chamber” part of the thing to be removed. He was having difficulty getting it to leave my body as my body had firmly attached itself to it. He asked how long it had been in there. At this point I didn’t think what I thought later: didn’t he look at my file before starting to open me? Wasn’t this sort of thing mentioned somewhere on all those sheets of paper. I said “il y a 3 ans” (3 years ago). He was surprised. He said it’s rare that they are left in so long as it’s usually a matter of months. My immediate reflex was to sit upright, look him straight in the eye and say “Yeah. I know. Right?” Instead I just lay there as he and the nurse worked on getting the thing out of me. It took much longer than he thought it would. The nurse said it was obviously quite happy in my chest. I mentioned that the feeling was not mutual and she giggled. I wanted to take the 2 of them out for drinks and hug them close. Just to add a bit of suspense to what is obviously a very routine procedure to them the doctor mentioned that with a chamber that’s been in so long he had to be careful to get the tube out with the chamber. Sometimes the chamber comes off leaving the tube still in my chest. Then they would have to knock me out, open me up completely and go find the tube which goes right to my heart. I shuttered at the thought. The thought passed as he grabbed the tube at the same time and said everything was fine. Next thing I knew he was talking about stitches as he started his sewing. He had to redo one of the stitches as he had pulled on one of my chest hairs instead of the thread at one point. A few stitches later he pasted on the bandage explaining what would happen afterwards and he was saying his goodbyes. I thanked him over and over again. “Merci” just seems such an insignificant term in situations like this. The nurse started cleaning me up and then I was jumping in to the wheelchair and on my way out. I thanked the nurse over and over again while being wheeled out.
I got downstairs where I was allowed to redress myself. No medication this time. No surprise injections in the stomach, or anywhere else for that matter, this time. When they said I could go home on my own I was overjoyed.

I got back to the reception, an area I still know so well, and called a cab. I got home relatively easily and put myself to bed. I slept for about 3 or 4 hours later and got up to see how I was feeling. I wasn’t doing bad. I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening laying on the couch, propped up on one side, watching television with Alexandra. I can’t possibly imagine how she could be watching this movie (Bratz) for a third time. But I was still pretty groggy so it didn’t really matter.

I was able to eat dinner without any problems and I was actually hungry. I rented a relatively silly tax-shelter movie (Flight of the Phoenix) on the Apple TV and then off to bed.

The bandages are pretty cool as I can shower with them and I can take them off myself in 8 days. My calculations put Christmas Day as the day I take the bandages off. The stitches are self-dissolving and should disappear by themselves. He said if there are any left after 2 weeks I can pull them out myself with a tweezer.
My whole upper right side is sore and hurts. But I just keep saying to myself this I nothing in comparison to what I’ve been through and pain is relative. This ain’t even a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. I keep telling myself: “I’ve been through chemo. I know what 10 feels like”.

For once a medical procedure was actually easier and less painful than I had expected. If only they could all be like this!

I will soon be getting used to the fact that I no longer have anything implanted in my chest. Yet another lingering factor of cancer has been removed. Time for me to move on and live my life without cancer. I will probably forget all over again. But it’s wonderful that I can forget!

PS: It's my mom's 69th birthday today. How many men my age have a mom who's got a video on You Tube? Check it out. She makes me proud every day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Out damn spot!

I am all excited! Once upon a time (10/10/2005) they surgically inserted a catheter in my chest in order to inject me with chemo chemicals. It probably depends on the chemicals they use. I had Cisplatin and Fluoro Uracil. The catheter stays in one's chest permanently during treatment and for some time after. I have been asking when they will remove it every six months for 3 years now. My general practitioner and my ORL finally agreed that now is the time.

I just called and booked the surgery (17/12/08) and I am so excited. The reason they haven't removed it before is that there is always a risk that the cancer will come back, either in the same place or elsewhere, and after all of the radiation theapy I had I would not be able to go through that again which leaves just chemotherapy. They obviously don't want to remove the thing and then have to put it back in sometime later. The fact that they now say I can have it removed means that somewhere along the line they don't think the cancer's coming back any time soon.

I'm not looking forward to surgery, as minor as this may be in relation to all I've been through, and I am certainly not looking forward to going back to the Clinique Hartmann (where my original treatment was carried out). But I am really looking forward to finally getting rid of this thing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


As most of you have seen I go through long periods during which I either don't have the time or the interest to update my blog. This is yet another one of those periods.

It is even less likely that I update my full blog as I continue to update my microblogs quite regularly. The ability to upload very short updates to Twitter and photos to Flickr either through my computer or through my iPhone means I update those services much more often and regularly than my full blog here.

To follow my life on a moment to moment basic check out my Twitter page at:

If you use Twitter yourself obviously you can follow me as well by adding me from there.

Twitter allows for photo links and location links now which works quite well with the new GPS and localisation functions on the iPhone.

I tend to upload my photos on Flickr as they happen and you can therefore find my photo updates regularly on Flickr here:

PS: For those of you who may read my latest Twitter tweats for the first time please rest assured: I was released from the hospital after 24 hours in intensive care and I am doing fine now. I may have to learn how to relax a bit better in my day-to-day life and I probably either need to exercise more or relax more... I'm not sure which at the moment.

I have to admit that the cornorary stuff was probably the second most frightening medical experience in my life which puts it pretty high up in the fear meter. But in comparison to cancer this was all relatively simple and endurable.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm bald! But I asked for it!

It looks a bit shocking... but that was, in part, the goal. Those of you who know me well will remember about 5 years ago when I had my hair dyed platinum blonde over the summer. I quite enjoyed the effect. However my family, especially Desney, didn't like it at all and made me promise never to do it again.

The next thing I could think of was shaving all my hair off and I was contemplating that in the summer of 2005. Then it looked like the decision was going to be made for me. As you all know I was diagnosed with cancer at the end of August 2005, operated on twice in September and started treatment in November. It was one surprise after another and one, of the many, was that I was going to be having full cycles of chemotherapy. I expected to lose my hair at that time. I had psychologically prepared myself for it. I had planned that as soon as I would notice it starting to fall out I would just shave all of it off rather than going through it in stages. For whatever reason I never lost my hair. The rest of the side-effects of chemo were enough without that as well so I was not overly disappointed. However I remained curious.

It's been 3 years now and I dediced I finally wanted to see what it would look like. I'm now healthy, not too pale and currently overweight. I thought it would look different now than when I was sick and going through treatments. But there's only one real way to see what it would look like, and what my head looks like, and that's to do it. So I decided that this time I would have all my hair shaved off, I would go bald and it would be on MY terms.

I'd say it's about 99% shaved off. My hairdresser found a bunch of brown spots along my hairline at the bottom above my right ear and she didn't want to go any further. I now have to get those looked at which allows me to go through some more paranoia worrying whether I'm now to go from the pleasures of throat cancer to the joys of skin cancer or something similar.

In the mean time my head if much cooler in this hot weather than it was before and it takes me seconds to dry my head in the morning.

Like everything else... this too shall pass.... and sooner than I think my hair will be growing in enough for me to no longer be considered a skinhead and just somebody with stylishly short hair.

Friday, July 18, 2008

CANCER FREE!!! Still...

It's become almost routine. After treatment finished it was every 3 months at first, then it was every 4 months and now it's every 6 months. The less often it is the more confident "they" are that the cancer isn't going to recur too quickly in a state which requires urgent treatment. As I've been through it so many times now, and with the extra help of Xanax, it's become much easier than it first was.

Today was therefore my twice-yearly visit to my ORL for my throat, thorax and chest area exam. For the gory details of the exam read one of my previous posts... this time it went relatively well. I felt fine after the exam with simply a sort throat, sore nose and the absolute need to sleep. I drove home in a state which some may have considered to be too drowsy and slept for a couple of hours...

No matter how grueling the exam may be it always feels worth it when we sit down at his desk afterwards and he says "Tout va bien" and that he hasn't found anything. That was what the entire experience was all about and that made it worth it!

We talked a bit about the pains I get when I turn my neck to far to the right or sometimes if I am sitting in a sort of angled position for too long. He checked out my scar and found a few hard bits which he explained are due to the radiation on top of the scar tissue and are normal. He recommended massaging it more often and to do "soft" sports (swimming in particular) and stretching (yoga, ...) which would work the neck area gently. He was also a bit curious about my thyroid, without any real explanation, and asked me to get a blood test before we meet again.

My next appointment with him will be in 6 months. He's also now moved the PET scan to every 18 months rather than annually. I assume that's good news and means that he's optimistic. That means my next PET scan would be in February or March next year a bit after our next appointment.

For the moment I know that my entire throat area and upper-chest area are completely free of cancer and everything is evolving as it should. I can sleep a bit better than usual tonight.

F*@K CANCER indeed!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. Horrible

I've been waiting for this for a while now. I first found Felicia Day by accident when I found The Guild webisodes by accident. Following her on Twitter I found out about...

Dr. Horrible which I have been reading about for weeks. Now it's finally gone live. Act I is available now, Act II on the 17th and the final act on the 19th... and then... it'll be gone!

So watch now as this, and The Guild, are good strong signs of one of the future major directions in how we obtain entertainment in the future.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Graduation Day

Today was a stressful and emotional day and ended as probably one of the proudest moment of my life.

Today was Jessica's graduation day. Her last day at Lycée. In our rather peculiar and unique situation we have created an artificial graduation day where the OIB (Option Internationale du Baccalauréat) students get a fake diploma while they wait until October to receive their official French diploma. The teachers deliver the diplomas at the same time as they deliver the file with the students' detailed Baccalauréat results.

A discussion as to how the whole French Baccalauréat system works could take days. For those of you interested in how the whole OIB process works and how the French Baccalauréat works I recommend reading through the OIB Handbook published by ASIBA. The grading process is ridiculously tough and made up of a 20 point system. Most subjects are obligatory and each subject has a weighted value (coefficient) used to calculate the overall Bac grade. French for example can be worth 4 points for the Scientific Bac (S), 4 points for the Social and Economic Sciences (ES) Bac and 9 points for the Literary Bac while math is worth 7 points for the Bac S, 5 points for the Bac ES and 2 points for the Bac L. However French, Math, Science (Physics, Chemistry and Earth Science), Philosophy, History/Geography and, of course, English are all obligatory as well as a second foreign language. It's rough and long... they spend 2 to 3 weeks with a few days a week of exams which last 4 to 5 hours each.

The grading system is equally grueling and probably incomparable internationally. Although grades are given based on 20 a 20, or a perfect grade, is extremely rarely given as well as grades in the 18 to 20 range. The Bac grades are then broken down in to simply passing one's Bac (obtaining the Bac is all most French students require to go to university in France) with a grade of 10 to 11.99, a "good enough" (assez bien) note of 12 to 13.99, a "good" (bien) note of 14 to 15.99 or a "very good" (très bien) note of 16 and up. These mentions are very important for students applying to foreign universities as well as those applying to universities requiring a detailed application. To somehow provide an idea as to how difficult these mentions are only the top 25% of the country obtains a mention assez bien, only the top 8% of the country obtains a mention bien and only the top 2% of the country obtains a mention très bien. I don't believe that the UK university admissions officers really understand this... yet.

As you may remember when you read through our adventures in the month of March this year we visited the 3 universities which Jessica had received an offer from. She had applied to 5 but York replied with an offer which required a mention bien (top 8% in the country), Warwick replied (late) with an offer which required a mention bien including a minimum of 13 in math (one of Jessica's worse subjects and in which she had never gotten over 10) and Sheffield required a mention assez bien (top 25% of the country). We therefore knew that Jessica not only had to get her diploma but she also had to get at least a mention assez bien to be able to go to university in the UK at all next year.

To summarise: If she got assez bien she could go to Sheffield, if she got bien she could go to York or Sheffield and if she got bien including at least 13 in math she could go to Warwick or York or Sheffield.

Ever since Jessica went through the awful exam process of 3 weeks we've all spent about 2 weeks of stressful worrying, during which time we could not do anything, waiting for her results.

Today was the big day. I had been to the OIB ceremony many times over the years as the President of the British Parents' Association. But this was the first time I was there as the parent of a graduating student. It was a stressful, emotional and wonderful experience. They read off the students names in order by mention. They read all of the très bien first. There were 5 très bien in our class this year was revolutionarily wonderful (a first). There were 8 bien in our class this year and I shouted "woo hoo!" when they read the name Jessica Erb to come get her diploma with mention bien. She sat back down and looked over her diploma and then started looking over her grades. She made signs to Desney and I, who were sitting with the parents, that she had 13 in math!

To summarise: Jessica graduated with her Baccalauréat, with her OIB, with a mention bien (placing her in the top 8% of the country) and with a 13 in math!!! She also happened to get a perfect grade (20 out of 20) in her English orals which only one other child in the school had achieved. It is now completely up to her as to which university she wants to go to. She can choose, without negotiation, where she wants for whatever reason she wants. Desney and I were overjoyed and I spent the entire evening so overwhelmingly proud I didn't know how to express it.

The four of us went out to an absolutely wonderful Italian restaurant in Clichy (La Romantica), to celebrate, and Jessica was rewarded with graduation presents including the 32 GB iPod Touch I had promised her if she got mention bien. I had purchased it weeks ago as I am an eternal optimist and positive thinker. The meal was wonderful, the evening was wonderful and life is good. Jessica went off to (well-deserved) party with her friends afterwards...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Once upon a time, about 10 years ago in 1997, Jazzman magazine interviewed me to talk about my then web site Jazz in France. It was one of the prouder and happier moments of my professional life. I have treasured my copy ever since and I have a framed copy on my wall.

I was trying out this wonderful new picture service (PicLens) and I searched my own name. I then accidentaly found out that Jazzman magazine now has its own web site: They have an archives section and in there I found the issue with my interview back in '97.

Just a bit of fun and discovery on the Internet....

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

F*©k cancer!

What a brilliant idea!!! I absolutely love it!

I came across this by accident, like so many other things on the net, and what a discovery. Check out the link for the full story. These folks make T-shirts which say f*©k cancer on the front and with two types of backs: either a Survivor back with a Cancer Free Calendar countup of numbers to display the numbers of years one is cancer free or a Supporter back to honour or remember someone special.

I've ordered myself a bunch of survivor t-shirts and I can't wait until they arrive and I can proudly wear the exact thought which goes through my mind several times a day, generally when I cough or have to drink water yet again, expressed in precisely the correct two words. I promise to put up a photo of myself proudly wearing my shirt when it arrives!

Yet another minute, or two, of fame!

Our listener's group on Facebook for my favourite Tech radio programme (Digital Planet) is getting more and more publicity. This time it's from another radio programme on BBC World Service called Over to You.

They interviewed the presenter of the radio programme, the producer of the programme and some strange American in France who claims he started this listener's group.

If you hurry, as I don't think the show stays online for more than a few days, you can hear the programme here:

TO OTHER THROAT CANCER SURVIVORS: I am trying to be humble here... but honestly... check out that Yank's voice... really not that bad two and a half years after months of radiation therapy and 2 full cycles of chemo! Even if I do say so myself... then again... if I don't say it who else would???


Thursday, May 22, 2008


As many of you may have noticed I find it difficult to find the time to update this blog regularly.

However I microblog quite often using Twitter. I tweat from my computer using their web site or, more often, Twhirl. I tweat from my iPod Touch using Hahlo 3 and from my HTC Windows Mobile phone using their web site. Although I have a lot of fun posting up microblog entries (tweats) every now and then I actually enjoy more reading the Twitterers I'm following:

  • iJusine: probably the first Twitterer I started following as I believe I found out about the service on her blog.

  • My favourite Tech podcasters: Cali Lewis, Veronica Belmont and Leo Laporte

  • My Favourite Tech podcaster!!! Gareth Mitchell of BBC's Digital Planet.

  • Recently discovered webcaster Felicia Day of The Guild

  • My personal friend, David Barber who doesn't post nearly enough!

  • But... my favourite twitterer has got to be my latest addition: Diablo Cody. I recently saw Juno when I was in New York. I loved it! I then bought and read her book, Candy Girl which was an incredibly easy read and had the same dialogue I had grown to love from Juno. I love her voice and she writes the best tweats ever... I actually look forward to them.

If you're a twitterer and you're interested in following me you can always find me here:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


It's been a really long time since I updated my blog... so I thought I'd try and put up a quick summary of some of the various minor happenings since my birthday...

Massage Café
Desney had given me an intriguing present: a full 90-minute massage at the Massage Café in Paris. It was probably one of the most pleasurable non-sexual experiences of my life. I left there feeling completely relaxed and calm. I can't wait to do it again!

Word for Word
Word for Word came and did a performance for my girls' school. It was their best ever! In addition to the play there was a live, and completely improvised, jazz concert by Marcus Shelby. While I was "manning" the bar I had a chat with the 3 French musicians (keyboards, drum and sax) he had found to perform. I love the story: Marcus went online to MySpace, listened to the works of a bunch of French jazz musicians, found one or two he liked and contacted them. One of the pianists, who had never heard of Marcus before, went on to My Space to check out Marcus' worked, loved it and replied and said he could play and could help find a sax player and a drummer. They all listened to each other's music online, realised they had similar styles and tastes and were ready to play. They never met each other. The 3 French jazz musicians showed up about an hour before the play. They didn't rehearse. They didn't do a sound check. After the play was over Marcus did his presentation and they just played. None of us in the audience were aware that they had never played together before. It was just plain wonderful.

New York
I went to New York, on business, on April 18th. I was supposed to stay 2 weeks. I spent the first 10 days or so with my mother (Arlene) in Brooklyn. We had a great time. It was much easier on the weekends as this was a business trip and I had a lot to get done. Arlene being Arlene she had already planned and organised several outings and events. In the 2 weeks we went to a broadway musical (Spring Awakening), a New York Yankees (baseball) game (against the Detroit Tigers), Ron Carter and Russell Malone at the Blue Note, the movies twice (21 at Times Square and Iron Man on the upper west side), a modern dance performance downtown at the Joyce Theatre, numerous meals and drinks out and I'm sure I'm forgetting other events as it all becomes a blur after a while. The major change for me this trip was the dollar. The dollar was worth so little in comparison to the Euro that I was a king! I was able to easily pick up the tab at meals all over town. More importantly I spent a lot of time and money just plain shopping. I picked up 5 pairs of jeans (Calvin Klein, Nautica, Levis and Guess) for the price of what I would pay for 1 pair. I picked up 3 Ralph Lauren polo shirts for what I pay for 1. I picked up 5 pairs of Calvin Klein knickers for what I would pay for 2. I lost count of how many books and DVDs I picked up. I do know that I left with 2 suitcases and came home with 3. It literally took me 2 and a half hours to pack and get my suitcases to close the night before I came back home. The trip was very productive but there was lots and lots to do. It therefore got extended, practically day-by-day, from a 2 week trip to a 3 week trip. More time for more shopping! The hotel was great just around the corner from the office I was working at, with full Internet access and reasonable room service. But I have to admit that after 3 weeks without my family I was very very happy to get home. I don't know if I missed my wife more than my kids or vice-versa... I don't care. I just know I missed them dearly. I was very happy to come home to France, to our house and to my family. As soon as the plane touched ground I felt stronger. I felt reassured. I felt content and satisfied. I was home.

I must have picked up 3 kilos in 3 weeks in New York. Whenever I go to New York, which is not that often (3 or 4 times in 25 years), I only know how to eat like when I left. The problem is I left New York when I was 14 years old and although I love eating like that (huge burgers, unbelievably enormous deli sandwiches, milk shakes, malteds, egg creams, cream soda, ridiculously over-priced mediocre Starbucks coffee (when in Rome), hot dogs on every street corner and the list goes on) I am no longer 14 and food doesn't just burn through me before hitting my digestive system as it did back then.

I posted a couple of photos in my Flickr photo set.

Since I've gotten home? I have spent days and days going through the junk in my office, organising and filing. I am finally getting through it all and starting to get that good feeling of getting on top of everything.

Aside from the additional weight I now have to actively work off as I didn't leave home light already, I am in the absolutely blissful situation where literally hours can go by, and sometime seemingly days can go by, when I completely forget that I am a cancer survivor and was a cancer victim. Sure I still have the saliva handicap which annoyingly reminds me more often that I'd like. Sure I still have the rather flagrant scar which flashes as a reminder or announcement to those who see me. But I feel absolutely normal and healthy. Sometimes I forget to appreciate each swallow and each bite. Sometimes I forget how difficult it was to taste or worst of all how wine was undrinkable. But then, every now and then, I sip a glass of wine or bite in to a big piece of food, breathe in, eventually swallow and it hits me. I don't mention it and I don't try and show it. But every now and then I truly appreciate each swallow whether it be solid or liquid and most definitely each tiny little taste.

I know I'm tempting the gods somewhere out there... but I have to admit it... I feel great!

Every now and then when I really want to impress the hell out of myself I fill up a big glass with luke warm water and I down the entire glass in several consecutive gulps: glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug. I put the glass down and I try and hide the huge smile on my face. I don't say anything. But inside I'm actually jumping up and down, shaking my first in the air and feeling like a damn super hero!

Life is good.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

I turned 45 years old today. According to friends that means I am no longer in my early forties and am now to be considered in my "late forties" and by many way past middle-aged.

Personally I'm just so glad to have made it this far and be able to enjoy every minute of it.

Although it was a regular work day we still managed to have a huge party with live music, a DJ, dancing and drinks galore. This time I was able to catch it on video:

Video of my birthday party


Sunday, March 09, 2008


We drove all day yesterday and got home last night in time for dinner in front of the television and Jessica rushing off to spend the night with her friends and, probably more importantly, away from her parents.

After this trip we are now capable of doing a bit of comparison as regards the 3 universities and what to do next.

My opinion is basically meaningless... as it is entirely up to Jessica what she does and where she goes... but I can't resist a bit of generalisations on my own blog.

York A beautiful, small and traditional university with an excellent reputation and seemingly excellent academic offers. The town itself is also quite small and traditional and touristy. It reminded Desney quite a lot of Stratford and me a bit of the areas of Disneyland which try to look like olde England. This would be my first choice if I was going to do what Jessica is doing now... but at my age and current lifestyle.

Sheffield An enormous and very modern university with an excellent repuation and seemingly excellent academic offers. All of what I saw was much better, respectable, organised and enjoyable than I had expected. This had originally been Jessica's last choice and "insurance option" and I had considered it at the bottom of the list of universities she had applied to. After my visit I feel quite the opposite and could even understand if, for whatever reasons, she made this her first and only choice. There is a combination of aspects here that I feel would fit Jessica quite well. The main thing, for me personally and egocentrically, is that I feel reassured and quite pleased with Sheffield as a possible choice.

Warwick Very much the "in between" option in comparison to York and Sheffield. It has an amazing reputation which will no doubt continue to improve as it has over the recent years. It is relatively exclusive. It is neither very modern nor overly traditional and it is neither enormous nor quaint. There are some very strong family ties between this university and Desney's family and, of course, the family itself is near by and omnipresent. I had thought that I was going to be overwhelmed by Warwick. I was not. I can certainly understand if this was Jessica's first choice if she receives an offer and I would be overjoyed if she got in and went here.

No matter which university she gets in to and/or chooses I will always be a bit curious, in the back of my mind, as to what her life would have been life if she had gone to either of the either two.

Above and beyond the question of choosing the specific university and the various attributes I have come home with a general feeling of excitement about my eldest going away to university. In many ways I'm jealous. But in all ways I am proud. It looks to me like she is going to have a pretty amazing experience over the next 3 to 5 years. I eagerly await the next steps and I am actually looking forward to the future...

Friday, March 07, 2008


I spent yesterday at "home" in Leamington while the girls went out shopping most of the day. I hadn't worked much in the past 3 days and my clients needed me. It should, of course, be a good feeling that I am needed. But there are times, many actually, when I would really like to be able to truly enjoy some other aspect of my life without feeling pulled in by my professional life and all of my clients' problems... I spent the entire day in front of my in-laws' computer...

Even though Jessica has not yet received an offer from Warwick University we decided to visit anyway as it is so close by and so prestigious. Warwick has one of the top politics departments in the country and the university itself is also in the top 5 ratings overall. Hoping that Jessica receives an offer eventually we headed off to Warwick so she would have an idea what it was like and determine whether she would want to come back for an Open Day if she received an offer.

It was a very strange visit. It was different from the other two in that we were completely on our own. We did not have a tour guide nor a visit with a professor nor was it an Open Day and we had Alexandra with us this time as we had left her in Leamington while we visited York and Sheffield. In comparison York was pretty much exactly as I expected it to be. Sheffield, however, was a very pleasant surpise as I my expectations and preconceived notions were basically wrong and uninformed. Warwick University was, to be brutally honest, quite a disappointment. The buildings and ambiance itself felt like we were in a hospital complex or within the administrative centre of a government. It was neither modern nor old neither traditional nor seemingly student-oriented. It just felt uncomfortable. We got a tour map from the welcome centre and we walked around quite a bit and visited the politics department itself. Eventually we had seen enough and we headed back home...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


The drive from York took longer than planned, again, as there was actually quite a lot of traffic and an accident on the M1 motorway. We eventually arrived at the Etruria House B&B we had booked. What a stark disappointment this was in comparison to our B&B in York. Old and dilapidated are the first words that come to mind. We got our bedroom, on the ground floor, and Jessica was led to her room on the first floor. We immediately discovered that they had built a shower/toilet area directly in to an existing bedroom in what was basically a closet. The door wouldn't shut properly. But most of all the room was absolutely freezing! There were 2 radiators in the room but the windows were single-glazed and all of the heat must have been escaping. We spent most of our time under the sheets... Jessica's room was much warmer but rather tiny. The toilet/shower area, on the landing, was disgustingly dirty and she didn't dare use it. She would came in to our room or we all used a cleaner toilet downstairs.

Eventually we walked in to Sheffield town centre. It was quite a nice, albeit cold and brisk, walk from the B&B to town and we were struck by both the cold and the hills... everywhere. Sheffield is basically a town built upon huge and roaming hills. You have to be in really good shape to get around this place. The city is actually quit big and spread out, with a pedestrian area, a touristy area and a huge area which is obviously devoted to the university students. This took up about half of the town. When we later learned how many students there were the reasoning became obvious. There are at least 20,000 undergrads at Sheffield University and there is another university in Sheffield (Sheffield Hallam) with at least another 20,000 undergrads. There are therefore about 50,000 university students (under- and post-grads) roaming around this place regularly.

We ended up eating in a pretty awful all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant. But we got a pretty good feel for the university student life here in Sheffield. It can all be summed up by: Partying and drinking... everywhere!

On Wednesday we left the B&B, thankfully, and headed to the university which was holding its special open day for politics students who had already received an offer. Actually York was also holding their politics students' open day on exactly the same day and we had had to choose one or the other before coming. The Open Day was quite impressive with a tour all over the campus, a visit to some actual student accomodations (which Jessica loved) and finally some presentations by the politics department which were quite informative. Overall I think we all enjoyed it.

I have to admit that Sheffield was the one I was worried about. I had some pre-conceived notions that it was going to be a pretty rough and dirty city with a lower-than-average university campus. I was wonderfully reassured and proven wrong. The city is certainly quite dirty and some of the coal-coloured dirt on the front of many of the buildings looks centuries old. But the overall organisation of the city is quite impressive. The university itself is absolutely enormous, spread out over a huge campus and is entirely new and modern. Just about every building looks like it's been built in the last 6 or 7 years and most of them have been. They have put a lot of money and effort in to this place and it shows.

There were lots of presentations and demonstrations going on throughout the school and on campus which gave it a very lively and diverse feel. There were student union elections going on, campaigning in the university centre, charity bake sales, people in costumes and such...

We left Sheffield and headed back to Leamington and in the car tried to come up with the advantages and disadvantages of both universities (York and Sheffield) and realised it was almost impossible. They were very very different...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


We drove from Leamington to York which took a bit longer than originally planned. We arrived at the Midway House B&B we had reserved and settled in a bit. The B&B was a pleasant surprise: clean, well-equipped, warm and cozy rooms of a very good size and the couple running the house were great. We headed out to visit York itself for a bit and ended up coming back to the B&B and went to a local pub for a York meal. The visit around York was actually quicker than we had originally planned as the city centre itself is actually quite small. It's all pedestrian, whcih is wonderful, and very touristy with lots of the standard franchise shops all over. We got a relatively good feel for the main part of town and then headed back to the B&B and went to a local pub for a York meal.

The next morning we went right to the university where we met a student who is in his 2nd year and who graduated from the same school and section as Jessica (Lycée Collège International Honoré de Balzac) and is also reading Politics at York. Our tour guide therefore knows precisely where Jessica is coming from as well as knowing the university quite well. He has a sister who is still in Jessica's school and I know his mother quite well. He was an excellent guide! He spent all morning with us and showed us around each building, each hall, the library, the accomodation areas, the lakes, ... all the time telling us about the university itself, the Politics department in particular and answering absolutely all of our questions. It was a great introduction to English university life in general, and York specifically, as this is the first we have visited. We found the university to be relatively small, although spread out, and quite traditional with many buildings centuries old.

At noon we met with the head of the Politics department for a bit. It was good to have a one-on-one meeting with an actual professor and we learned a lot about how the school operates, how the Politics department functions and a bit about the admissions criteria...

Once we were done with our meeting Jessica had had enough of York and meeting people and such and we were back on the road...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A daughter in university?

Father of a daughter old enough to be going to university in September and in another country?

Me?!?!?! No way!

Reality settles in: I am really THAT old and am soon to be that much lonelier.

Jessica sent off her application to 5 UK universities last December. The university application process in the UK is nationalised and all done on their online web site. Each applicant can choose up to 5 universities to apply to. Jessica, who is looking to read a dual-major of Politics and Sociology chose : Bristol, Warwick, York, Manchester and Sheffield. All of these are in the top 10 for politics in the UK which certainly did not make her job any easier. She has received replies from 4 of them, 2 refusals (Bristol and Manchester) which she was obviously quite upset about and 2 conditional offers (York and Sheffield) which are asking for some pretty tough conditions (relatively high grades in her Baccalauréat). We are therefore going to England to visit the universities for which she has conditional offers to help her choose and to help us better understand where she may be going next year.

We left relatively early in the morning and drove to Calais, got on the Shuttle, and arrived in England. We drove up through England and eventually stopped off at a garden centre in Bicester where we looked at possible water features for our garden for quite some time. We arrived in Royal Leamington Spa, hugged our family and barely unpacked as we knew we would be leaving tomorrow for the first part of our trip...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Roller Paradise

Give me a new pair of rollers on my feet, MY music blaring in my ears, a sunny warm day outside and the streets of Paris and I am in paradise!!!

The happiest moments of my life are when I'm on rollers. Now even more so than before. I get the speed, danger and power all at once. I've always felt, somehow, that rollers (skates or inlines) were an extension of my feet and my body and that I am completely in control. In comparison I've always felt less in control with skateboards, bicycles and cars as there's always some other piece of equipment "outside" of me. Either way it is always a wonderful feeling for me to be on rollers and feel completely in control of myself and my body and just plain having fun.

After this summer I realised that I was going to have to get new rollers. My old ones were about 4 years old, had done literally hundreds of kilometres and they were starting to give me a rash above my ankles each time I wore them. Today is really one of the first days when I knew it was going to be nice out all day. I therefore headed out to Nomades to buy some new rollers and then try out the Sunday Roller Randonnée. Nomades normally has one of the largest selections of rollers in the Paris area. I was actually disappointed that all of the new "top of the range" rollers are made for 90 mm wheels. The larger wheels are great for speed and make going uphill easier. But the wheels stick out of the front and back of the skate. This makes slaloms and most tricks impossible. I like both speed and tricks. Those skates will not do. I therefore hit the mid-range skates with 80 mm to 84 mm wheels. I've always been a big fan of Salomon rollers as were all of the salesmen at Nomades. Unfortunately I just learned that Salomon no longer makes rollers. They are concentrating their business only on skis. I therefore had to look elsewhere. The Rollerblade rollers looked good and they had a very modern system of lacing up (mechanical pull laces made out of metal). But they were quite uncomfortable, difficult to get in and out of and my feet moved around in them too much. After trying 3 pairs I finally opted for a pair of K2 "Moto" rollers with 2 straps across the top for extra support.

Oh, while I was rushing off to catch up with the randonnée, which had left 5 minutes before, I briefly encountered David the roller instructor from Club Med Vittel. He was heading back in to the Nomades shop, where apparently he now works, and we had a lightening quick conversation. He left Club Med a year ago, is working full time at the shop, has some projects he's trying to "mount"... I will try and have lunch with him sometime in the near future to catch up.

Normally once you've done the Friday night roller randonnée you can't possibly go back to the Sunday Afternoon one. The lack of speed, the constant and very long breaks, the vast quantity and omnipresence of beginners makes all for a very frustrating experience. However it's been a long time since I've done the Friday night roller, I've gained a lot of weight, I'm not in great shape and I'm going to be wearing brand new rollers. I therefore reckoned this would be a good place to start. Were the constant and very long breaks frustrating? Damn straight! However they were also embarrassingly quite necessary. I needed to get my breath back as I would push myself pretty hard in between breaks, dancing and boogieing down the streets with my music in my ears. I was an absolute ball of sweat by the time we had the half-way break at Montparnasse. I have to admit that I am not ready to try the Friday night rando yet. I have desperately got to roller more and more often. I barely made it to the end. This wasn't because of exhaustion although that did make it difficult. I have come stupidly ill-prepared. I was wearing old thin socks. This was idiotic when buying new rollers. They were rubbing like crazy on the inside of my feet and, within about 45 minutes, I ended up with one huge blister, just underneath the inside ankle, on each foot which made movement quite painful. To top it off I had not quite gotten used to the lacing up methods and tightening methods on these new rollers. My feet were swelling up something awful and the balls of my feet were getting painful as well. I was sooo glad to take my rollers off at the break. At the end of the run, at Place Bastille, I took my rollers off, slide my sneakers back on (painfully) and tottered off to the métro to head home. I was literally having difficulty walking what with the combination of blisters and swollen soles. I made it home, rested with my feet up for a bit, had a shower and started dinner. Although exhausted and in relative pain in my feet I haven't felt this great in months!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

I shouldn't forget... I am lucky...

Every now and then when I update my blog I click on to some of the other throat cancer or tonsil cancer links I have on the blog to see what's changed.

I found a very interesting article on Raph's Tonsil Cancer blog which I read through. If you have a chance please look at the article...

The Raph Stipic they refer to on page 61 is the creator of the blog described above. Raph's blog was the only one I found when I was diagnosed and he was an inspiration for me. Being able to read about his treatment, his pulling through, his trials and tribulations and most importantly the fact that he had made it back to a relatively normal life gave me a goal. I knew that if someone else out there could do it I could damn well make it myself. I only hope that my blog can be that helpful or inspirational for others some day.

The statistics on page 60 are particularly interesting. That's the first time I've ever noticed France as being the country with the largest population of oral and pharyngeal cancer victims.

The cisplatin they mention for chemotherapy is the same chemical I had for my injections. But instead of Erbitux I had 5-Fluorouracil in overnight pumps. I am learning more and more about the long-term effects of the chemo mixed with the radiation therapy and most of it ain't that positive.

But the main feeling I came away with after reading the article is the basic fact that I am lucky. Sure I've got a big scar on my neck. But that is literally nothing in comparison to many of the scars people diagnosed with the same type of cancer as mine have had to live with. Sure I have difficulty swallowing, tasting, screaming, singing and such. But that is a minor discomfort in comparison to many other similar cancer victims' handicaps. It is so easy to focus on what is not as it should boe or what is annoying. But the fact is all of it is relative and minor... I am a healthy, obsessive workaholic, healthy, relatively happy, healthy middle-aged man and very lucky to be here writing about it.

Super Bowl Monday

Slowly but surely recuperating from Super Bowl Sunday otherwise known as our annual Guys' Night Out. For more info as to what that entails check out last year's blog Entry or the year before's blog entry.

This year I was actually really rooting for a team as New York had made it to the Super Bowl. The New York Giants were clearly the underdogs facing the undefeated (18 wins and no losses in the entire season!) New England Patriots and I was actively rooting for New York...

We had a great time, and that's without the game, but we're starting to think of changing it up a bit for next year and doing things differently...

We arrived at American Dream at about 21:00 and the guys were all on time (again) this year. We first had to pay to go upstairs for dinner and the strippers. There are 3 fixed-price dinner/show menus (39 € for 2 courses (appetizer and main or main and dessert), 49 € for 3 course (appetizer, main and dessert) and 69 € for 3 courses plus an apéritif --- the choices of dishes are different for each menu as well). We were upset again as to how expensive this all was for what we knew was going to be worse than mediocre food and even less of a choice. We used to have a choice of the full American Dream menu and most of what we like isn't on these "show" menus. I miss my Philly Steak or Pastrami sandwich for example. We got upstairs, started with our first overpriced beers (7 € for 25 cl of beer is just plain silly... especially when you're going to be drinking for 7 hours!), and realised we were practically alone. One of the female strippers was up on the bar working her stuff in front of about 4 guys and the rest of the place was empty. She was wiping the poles and cleaning up more than anything else. We had our first 2 courses at the table and tried to cheer on the strippers who were pretty far away from us and up on the bar. Being the only ones cheering in the place made it strange for us and probably really boring and depressing for the strippers themselves. We can only imagine how the guy stripper must have felt each time he had to come out. Eventually we had dessert up at the bar to be closer to the "action" and it became more enjoyable as a few more guys came in towards the end. Both female strippers were completely "blown up" from their breasts to their lips to God only knows what else and known of my crowd of guy friends is attracted to that sort of thing. We all like our fantasies natural...

We were already, all 4 of us, talking about what we could do differently as of next year. Maybe have dinner beforehand, maybe go to a proper strip joint with a bit of excitement and class like Stringfellows, Hustler Club or Pink Paradise. Basically it's time to move up or move on or just plain change...

My best friend in the whole wide world, Robbie, actually left before the game. It was already great that he was able to tear himself away from home to come out and see us guys for a while. Robbie actually found a woman who finds him more than bearable {vbg}. He was therefore much more interested in getting home to his newfound female company than hanging out with the bunch of us middle-aged guys he sees every year...

After a relatively calm "show" we headed down to the basement to watch the match. The only places left were on the mezzanine, as usual for the past couple of years, and that meant having a horizontal bar from the fence pole directly in front of us throughout. It gets quite annoying after a while... Then in the 3rd quarter they shut down the basement and we all had to scramble upstairs to the ground floor and try and grab seats in front of the screen there. I was able to get a really good seat myself, albeit all on its own and I had to hold on to a vertical pole to look around, but the rest of the guys were spread around elsewhere which certainly took a lot away from the comraderie of the experience.

The game itself was an incredibly sharp contrast. The first half was one of the most boring Super Bowls in quite some time. The teams are very closely matched and it was more a defensive game than anything else. The very low score at the end of the first half was a good indicator: 3 points for New York and 7 points for New England. Half time was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers which was a bit of a letdown. I would have preferred the pre-game show entertainer: Alicia Keys. But then came the second half. The third quarter definitely started getting interesting and we were particularly upset in having to move locations in the middle of the quarter which was certainly starting to heat up. The 4th quarter, and end of the game, was one of the most thrilling, suspenseful and exciting football game endings ever... let alone the fact that it was the Super Bowl! The last 3 minutes of play are going to become legendary... less than 3 minutes left to play and New York can now only win by getting a touchdown... they've been trying all night and have only gotten one in the whole game up till then... with less than a minute left to play New York scores an amazing touchdown!!! The bar/crowd goes wild!!! New England now have about 35 seconds to score a field goal to tie. New York turns up the heat with their defense and the game plays right down to 1 second left and New York holds their own and become Super Bowl champs!

I was jumping up and down and screaming to the best of my ability during that last touchdown along with just about every play leading up to it and following it. This was probably my first moment of frustration of the evening... I just can't scream any more... and when I try it sounds like a high-pitched wheezy smoker rather than the low-pitched rather masculine roar that I used to have. I miss my scream. But I still love trying!!! Everyone was excited at the bar and we were all talking about how amazing a game it was as we all poured out of the bar at 04:30 in the morning to head home.

Jean-Philippe was kind enough, yet again, to give me a lift home and we were talking in the car about other possibilities. Robbie had proposed that we watch the game next year at his house. This would obviously be more comfortable than the setup we've been through the past few years with American Dream.... But... above and beyonds our worries that we may keep Robbie's neighbours awake I have to admit that the ambiance and the energy of a bunch of us fans screaming together and excited together is an even more important and vital part of the game than the images on the screen(s) themselves. I'm not sure I'm willing to give up the audience-energy for the comforts of a home screening...

Right now my goal is to just make it through the day, which didn't start until after noon, and back to sleep to be recuperated, recharged and ready to work again tomorrow.

Until next year... Thank you New York Giants... Super Bowl Champions 2008!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Still young and cancer free!!!

Yet another exam...

I organised myself properly this time. I made the appointment towards the end of the day (around 16:00) so I was able to do some work in the morning and early afternoon. Brushed my teeth and popped my Xanax at 15:00 and was even a little early for my appointment so as not to be stressed out by parking and timing. I started relaxing myself as much as possible from 15:00 on...

He was a bit late, as usual, but it went well. The same exam as always. Now that I know what's coming and in what order it's sometimes easier and sometimes more difficult as I know what's next and I don't necessarily like it. As when I made it through the camera up through the left nostril and down the throat I knew that no matter what I was going to have to live through the right nostril as well. A few coughs and gags but overall it went well. The worst part is still when he holds my tongue with one hand, has me pant like a dog and then shoves his finger down my throat with the other hand. I still don't understand how I could ever possible do this one without gagging. But we got through it. He was actually pleased that it was "easier" than usual. Yeah... right... easier for him maybe.

The important part was afterwards. This was the first time I found myself able to look at the enormous video on the scrren of the insides of my throat. He explained that he was very pleased at the evolution and how few long-term bruises or scars I had internally. I was even more pleased than he to hear this. We then discussed my tongue which still has this fungus which comes and goes along the back of my tongue. He made sure it had not reached my digestive tract and we discussed various treatments. The difficulty is that it goes away and then, about a month later, it comes back. It never seems to go away permanently. He gave me some new treatments and we'll see.

The most important part of the whole process for me, aside from the wonderful declaration that as of this moment I am entirely cancer-free, is that we have now changed the frequency of these sadistic/masochistic visits. The first year it was every 3 months, the second year it was every 4 months and now that we're in the third year it's every 6 months and I don't have to see him again until July. I told him that it's not that it's not a pleasure to see him.. but... it's really not a pleasure to see him. He understood.

I came home and went to sleep for a few hours and felt groggy for the rest of the evening. A couple of episodes of West Wing and off to bed.