‘Igor! Bring me my next patient!’

Anne Kidd took the kids for a swim and to watch a video at her house with her son, Baxter, Grant’s friend.  They had a blast.

Meanwhile, this freed us up to attend a meeting with a special radiologist, Bruce Schlieben.  Not one of the more pleasant meetings, but had the most optimistic outcome.

Very strange place where Dr Schlieben works.  It is in an unfamiliar and soulless suburb on the other side of the city.  To get there we had to negotiate a corrugated dirt road that wound around corners and clung to the side of a dry, desolate hill like crust on old toast.  When we finally arrived, I was sure the door would creak open to reveal Igor limping away calling, ‘Walk this way.  The professor will see you now’ over his humped shoulder.  Seriously, it was that strange and the people, both patients and employees, were straight out of a Tim Burton film.  (Guess that makes Cliff Johnny Depp?)

Not exactly an awe-inspiring entrance.

Entrance to Radiology

Everything old, dilapidated, peeling and weedy.

We weren’t brimming with confidence that they could do something for Cliff here.

When we entered, we found two waiting rooms, an exterior and an anterior chamber, filled with a dark menagerie of people saying the most peculiar things. The nurses then entered to tell the patients that, even though they had been waiting three hours, the doctor could not see them — could they return in two days?  What?  And it wasn’t just a once-off anomaly.  They said that to two different groups.  Aagh!  Where are we?

Dr Schlieben collected us from the waiting room and took us back to a teeny, tiny little broom closet of a room, which belonged to someone else, and we sat, almost knees touching, as we began what would end up to be an hour-and-half meeting.

He was quite positive. Though I’d venture to say he was more intrigued with his own research than Cliff’s particular case.

It felt a little like he was rubbing his hands together and saying, ‘Yes!  I can experiment on your husband.  He will make an excellent subject for my research.’

Holy mackerel.

I was seriously worried he was going to strap Cliff to the table then and there and yell out to Igor to flip the switch.

Dr Schlieben talked at length about his papers, his research, the grants he has been promised but not officially received, the people he has met at conferences, and so forth.  Very sciency.  Not very clinical.  But he is the first person that has not said to us, ‘Cliff has six months left.’

Dr Schlieben is convinced, and his research is beginning to show, that his methods of radiation (five days a week for six weeks) relieved mesothelioma sufferers from any signs of tumors where the radiation treatment had been performed.  And if the cancer does come back, it comes back in a place other than where his radiation has been done.  I would rather hear it doesn’t come back at all, but you take what you can get.

What I want to hear has nothing to do with anything that has been said to us since 6 December.

This is all a bad dream and this creepy, spooky, end-of-the-earth ‘hospital’ confirms it.

We got home to find that one of our amazing friends had dropped off some sushi.


So perfect.  Healthy, fresh, tasty, light. And just a really nice, quick, ‘thinking-of-you’ lunch gift.

Love, Esser


Looking for little Gratefulnesses

Tom crawled into our bed this morning and wrapped his arms around Cliff.  ‘I love you, Daddy,’ he whispered.  ‘I love you, too, Tom.’  And they both fell back to sleep.

Tom and Cliff

The boys unloaded the dishwasher this morning after breakfast without being asked.  They did it together cheerfully and happily.  A lot to be thankful for this morning.  This smooth, happy, working family.

Grant and Leo doing dishes

Love, Esser


The First Moment of the Quest for O.K.ness

Extremely hot today.  Boys played with water-balloons in the backyard heat.  Pure Boy Joy.  Tossing and smashing water-balloons.  Keeping cool and having fun.

Leo and the water balloon

If I can just focus.  Focus on what’s here and stop thinking about the imaginary things, good and bad, that may happen in the future.  I am reminded of that classic 22-year-old song by Jesus Jones, Right Here, Right Now.  Here is a link to an Old Jesus Jones video.  The song is better than the video clip.

Water balloons promise cool times

Normally on this momentous day, the first day of the year, we remember the year we’ve just had and look forward to the year ahead.  But forget that now.  I am to learn how to understand that this moment is my everything.  I wonder, on this journey for peace, my quest for O.K.ness, if the panic the future promises for me — which is all I hold in my bag now — will slip out of a hole in the bottom each time I put This Moment’s Peace inside, or if I will have to forage around inside and pull out the panic piece by piece.  Either way I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

Fruit Salad with mint

Lara dropped off this scrumptious summer salad.  It’s the little sprigs of mint that took the taste over the top and made it extra special.  Unreal.  I know it’s just fruit.  But it’s so colorful and healthy and when a friend gives it to you, it makes it so much ‘specialerer’ and ‘festified’.

Love, Esser