New Memories Page

Nearly three years after my last effort to purge the memories page of spammers, I have built this blog thingie for posting your memories.  To post a memory, just add a comment to this post.

I was able to preserve most of the older memories, and they are below.

You can also send an email to (subject: Memories) and it will be posted as a blog post.

February 25, 2004

February 25, 2004|

Art Canning, 25, passed away on Tuesday night after a four-year battle with Hodgkin’s disease. He was born February 28, 1978 in Youngstown, Ohio.

Art graduated as valedictorian of Chaney High School in 1996 and was a member of the Youngstown Connection from 1994 to 1996.

Art attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated cum laude with a degree in Business Management in 2000. He was also a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity and a member of Campus Crusade for Christ while at the University of Pennsylvania.

Art was employed as an analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City from 2000 to 2002.

Art attended Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; in Youngstown, Art attended St. Theresaís Monastery of Youngstown and Old North Church of Canfield.

In March of 2003, a fundraiser dinner was held for the establishment of the Art Canning Foundation to help children with cancer. Art also published a book that compiled his weekly website updates from detailing his experiences of living with cancer entitled “Where There’s A Will…There’s a Website: My 3 Year Journey with Cancer.”

He is survived by his parents, Frederick Arthur, Jr, and Diane Marie, of Youngstown; two brothers, William of Youngstown, and Frank (Heather) of West Wyoming, Pennsylvania. He is the grandson of Mary Canning and the late Frederick Arthur Canning of New Castle, Pennsylvania and the late Alfred and Mena Schlatter of Boardman.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday from 4:00 – 8:00 PM at Schiavone Funeral Home in Youngstown and the memorial service will be held on Friday at 10:00 AM at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Art Canning Foundation, c/o Barbara Ross, Chaney High School, 731 S. Hazelwood, Youngstown, OH 44509.

We thank all of you for your prayers and support over the past four years. We acknowledge God’s hand and purpose for Art’s life, and we trust in His saving grace. If the Lord made His decisions based solely on the amount of prayer requests, Art certainly would have triumphed over cancer with all of your constant petitions. But He does not, and we trust in His goodness and love.

In Christ alone,

Diane, Fred, Frank, Billy, and Heather

Health Update

January 16, 2004|

Health Update

There are good days and bad days. There are good weeks and there are bad weeks. There are good months and bad months. Every one is different. And they seem to fly by at breakneck speed. I can’t believe it is January. I can’t believe it is 2004. Geez, it’s been 4 years since I first was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. I remember all of it, except for those times when I was morphined up, like it was yesterday.

Here’s a quick recap of the past few months. I felt pretty good in October, well enough to make a trip to New York City to see all of my friends. It was such a great time. November struck with vengeance, as my left leg swelled up to twice the size of my right, for no apparent reason. I couldn’t walk very much, so I was pretty much stuck at home. In December the leg went down and my hearing came back to somewhat normal. Unfortunately the effects of the Gemzar chemotherapy drug were wearing off and I started having severe pain again. We switched chemo drugs, which proved to be a good move. The pain subsided and the swollen node on the side of my neck shrunk. I was able to move about more and get out of the house. Going to the mall never was so exciting.

Literally over night in late December I was ambushed. I started having trouble breathing. A rash formed on my neck. A wicked cold virus attacked my body. After further review, my blood counts had gotten very low and my immune system was compromised from the new chemo. The cold virus coupled with already damaged lungs has made breathing almost impossible. As I write, I am hooked up to an oxygen pump 24-7 to help me breathe. My resting pulse is 125 bpm. I can’t walk but a few steps without getting winded. My doctor here in Youngstown believes I am only working off of half of my right lung based upon x-rays and other tests. And oh year, the rash ended up being shingles. Hit on three fronts, ouch.

That’s where I stand right now. We’ve postponed any more chemo until we get these three monsters under control. It’s been extremely frustrating dealing with all of this. I never know when something new will strike and for how long I’ll have to deal with it. It’s tough and it’s getting tougher. I could use a break. I really could use a break.

I’ll try and keep you updated.


“(There’s gotta be) more to life…”

October 21, 2003|

“(There’s gotta be) more to life…”

“There’s gotta be more to life…

Than chasing down every temporary high to satisfy me

Cause the more that I’m…

Tripping out thinking there must be more to life

Well it’s life, but I’m sure… there’s gotta be more

Than wanting more…”

Now that I am somewhat back to normal and having started receiving e-mails again, I have been asked what did I learn during my summer of sickness. Everyone wants to know the deep stuff. Deep, deep, deep. That’s good- deep is good. It’s not always easy to digest though.

When you’re sick, alone, and beat up you have a lot of time to think, sometimes too much. I overanalyzed way too much, in retrospect. The consequence of such is making life so serious that you forget to enjoy life, forgetting how to smile and laugh. But I did learn a lot.

For one I saw more clearly, through the lenses of my own struggles, that everyone and I mean everyone, has issues. No one is immune. I like to think certain people live in a bubble, unaffected by life’s trouble, and that only I have to deal with pain and disappointment and heartache. Reality is, once you go deep, everyone is dealing with something. It’s comforting to a degree. We’re all in the same boat. It’s also disturbing. No one lives “The Fabulous Life,” like I’ve been watching religiously on VH1. Those celebrities are just as screwed up as I am, no matter how much fame, wealth and talent they have. Life on earth is depressing.

Secondly I saw how dependent I am on people, no matter how I don’t like to admit it. I have a fierce independent streak that values autonomy over all else. I can do it. Well, there were times when I couldn’t. One incident from last year comes to mind. The nodes in my groin and back started throbbing to the point of extreme pain. The only relief came from sitting in a tub of hot water, alleviating the pressure. I had painkillers, but they take forty-five minutes to kick in. This time, for some unknown reason, the hot water faucet was only flowing cold water. It was hell. Thankfully my parents and roommate were there. Taking whatever pots and pans they could find, they heated water on our stove and dumped it in the tub. There I was, barely able to move from the pain. It was a lesson in utter humility. I needed people to make it through. We need people. Someone’s got to help us carry the load of our issues. Otherwise we get paralyzed by the pain. We’re not in this alone.

Lastly a pop princess puts it best. If you’ve stumbled upon MTV from the hour of 5:00pm to 6:00pm in the past two months you’ve seen Total Request Live. On the show has been a little song called “More to Life” by a petite teenage artist named Stacie Orrico, a PG-rated Britney Spears, if I must compare. Amongst the pageantry and glamour of the video, a deep truth is hidden.

“There’s gotta be more to life…

Than chasing down every temporary high to satisfy me

Cause the more that I’m…

Tripping out thinking there must be more to life

Well it’s life, but I’m sure… there’s gotta be more

Than wanting more…”

I’ve had a lot of time to think and experience life. To a certain extent it’s a curse. I have experienced more in life than most people experience in a lifetime. I am finding there’s gotta be more to life. A poignant example radiates from this summer. Because I live(d) at home I have had virtually no expenses and have been able to save a lot of my disability income. It has meant nothing though. I have all this money (not that much!) that I never dreamed of having, but I couldn’t do anything with it. I couldn’t drive, so buying a new car would have been useless. I was too sick to travel and “see the world.” I was too sick to go shopping to buy the latest fashions. I was too sick to go out for a night on the town. When my hearing disappeared, I could barely hear anything, so buying music was out of the question. When my brain was on the fritz, I could hardly read, so buying books and taking online classes wasn’t feasible. My money was useless without my health. Ugh.

Taking that into account, it made me realize that all that stuff was ephemeral anyway, made for a finite moment of pleasure. The next day I would still be unhappy and unsatisfied. Like I said, upon further examination, life can be so depressing.

So what is the “fabulous life?” “Is there “more to life?” What is it? What hope is out there for us? So I leave you with these questions and more. They are for you to ponder on your own. Answers don’t come easy.


I am ashamed to admit that I fainted. Yep. Last week I was supposed to have a PIC line installed in my arm in order that I to receive the five-day continuous IV treatment of Ganite. My veins didn’t want to cooperate, having been abused these past three years, and somewhere along the line as the nurse tried to insert the needle into my vein I fainted. To make matters worse, after reviving myself, she couldn’t find an open vein after two attempts in both arms. So my only option left is a port, which is to be installed this week. Simply put, a port is small metal device that is put in the chest near the neck attached underneath to a main artery. It requires only minor surgery and a few stitches. I am honestly not looking forward to having it put in, but in the long run it’s for the best. No longer will the nurses fight the battle of finding a working vein.

I’m still not over my cold, going on eight weeks now. I am resigned to it’s becoming a part of me. I am keeping the Kleenex people in business.

In brighter news though, my hearing has improved gradually day by day to the point I have very little ringing. The prednisone prescribed to ease the pressure on the ear nerves is working. It’s also making me eat like a horse. I gained 15 lbs. in the past three weeks. For the first time in my life I ate my dad under the table, at a recent excursion to Quaker Steak and Lube ( Every Tuesday is all you can eat wing day; you know I’m there. The prednisone does have its side effects though. As the day progresses my legs swell up to the point that walking becomes extremely painful and almost impossible. The only relief is propping my legs up with four pillows. I am pretty much sedentary most nights. I can’t complain though, I am feeling much better than I have in a long time.

Thank you for your encouraging e-mails, thoughts and prayers. Please keep them up. And if you have any answers, let me know.

A Beat Down Summer

September 30, 2003|

A Beat Down Summer

It has been a long time since I last wrote. A long time. I have a good excuse though. I was beat down. Really beat down.

When I last wrote, I was finishing up an experimental protocol at Sloan Kettering with a new antibody agent. It supposedly had much potential to cure the disease. We were quite hopeful. I was really beat down then. My nodes were quite swollen, to the point my left leg was twice the size of my right leg from a node blocking an artery. Pain was constant. But I was getting treatment that would supposedly would help.

The treatment didn’t work. At all. In the end of June I had my usual round of scans and tests, only to find the disease got worse under the protocol. Essentially I went almost four months with no treatment for my cancer; the drug didn’t work. My dad later did some investigational work and found out the drug didn’t work for anybody in the trial at Sloan or at the Cancer Center at Ohio State. It was a bomb. It would be easy to say it was a waste of time, but in reality I had to take the chance of doing the study. What if it did work? In addition, it was for science. Sometimes human guinea pigs are needed. Now they know the drug didn’t work. Back to the drawing board. In the meanwhile I was beat down.

With the disease left unchecked there were other major complications. I suffered from hypercalciumia (too much calcium in the system) the whole month of June. It was horrible. It affects the brain to the point where you can’t make connections and think. I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it was. I basically was a zombie that month. I couldn’t eat and dropped 20 lbs from my already skinny frame. All I did was sleep and watch TV. It was all I could do. I don’t remember much from that month, literally.

July got better but not much. The doctors at Sloan said there was not much more they could do for me. The only thing left to do is a chemo regimen to keep the cancer in check. There were (are) no other options. So in July I started a weekly treatment at Northside Hospital here in Youngstown called Gemzar. Gemzar is a newer chemo drug that has few side effects and can be used for an extended period of time. It mainly affects the blood counts, causing them to go down significantly. Many a transfusion I have needed in the past few months. (Please give blood!)

Since then I have been battling one thing after another. The latest battle is with an infection that has lasted the past seven weeks. It’s a cold, but worse. My immune system is so battered it can’t overtake it. It’s been ugly. Some nights I would spend all night coughing. During the day it was post-nasal drip city. Frustrating to the max.

Possibly related, possibly unrelated, I have lost hearing in my ears. My left ear has been blocked for the past four weeks with phlegm. I have even had a tube put in my ear to help drain the fluid. What a mess. A few days after having the tube placed both of my ears started ringing, and they haven’t stopped since. After a hearing test, we discovered I had lost 30% hearing in one ear and 40% in another. Nerve damage. The docs are baffled as to why this has happened. Maybe the infection? Maybe my weakened immune system? Maybe medication and drugs? No one knows. All I know is that I can’t hear very well and it sucks. Music sounds different, voices are muffled and I’m stuck using closed captioning on the TV. Who loses their hearing at 25? We are hoping it is only temporary, but it could be permanent. I am currently on high doses of steroids to try and remedy this problem. What a mess.

So that’s where I am now. Once a week I go in and get my chemo. It’s worked so far, I’ve had little pain to deal with. Occasionally I get a transfusion to keep my hemoglobin up. That\’s all.

Everyday is a battle. Some days are better than others. There are days when I just sit and watch TV the entire day. There are days when I can get out and walk and go to Barnes and Noble to read. There are days when I can go to ball games in Pittsburgh. There are days when I can’t get out of bed. Every day is different. Every day is hard. My body is beat up. My mind is beat up. All of the drugs and medications have wasted it away. Some days I can’t think straight or walk straight. Some days it takes all of my energy to walk up the steps to go to the bathroom. Every day is a battle. Please keep me in your prayers and thoughts like you always do. I promise to do my best in terms of keeping in touch with e-mail and phone calls and visits. Forgive me otherwise. Thanks and I’ll try and write again soon.

Long Time No Write

May 12, 2003|

Long Time No Write

When I last wrote about being tired and fatigued, I wasn’t joking. It’s not like I’m quite better now. I realized I needed to get something out there on the page showing that I am somewhat OK and functional. I haven’t really done much. I’ve been at home most of the time, too tired to go anywhere or do anything. It’s hard to read without falling asleep. So that’s out of the question. I sleep and nap a lot. At night I watch TV to keep me occupied. I really am sick I concluded a few weeks ago. This is what sick is. Having your parents take care of you, doing very little, losing appetite, general tiredness- I’m sick.

I’m not used to this feeling. I just don’t have the energy to finish up emails or return phone calls. I know it’s common courtesy, but it takes me twice as much to muster up doing an activity. Sometimes I have windows of opportunity where I can get stuff done with a rare burst of energy, but rarely. I don’t want to complain here, just want to let you know why you haven’t heard from me.

A lot has changed last minute also. I am undergoing a Phase I/II trial at Sloan right now. It started three weeks ago. We were about to start doing a new chemotherapy regimen, one that wouldn’t harm me, but wouldn’t heal me. It would only help my quality of life and make me feel better. Just as we are about to start it, the day before an opening appeared in this trial so we jump at it. There’s no guarantee that it’ll work or even relief my symptoms, but it could be curative, which is what I’m looking for. It was so last minute we told very few people. We started immediately.

Once a week, my father and I drive to Sloan Kettering for two days. We drive, I get the drug, we eat dinner, sleep, and drive back to Ohio the next morning. This week, same thing. Next week is our follow-up appointment and after that we have a month off to see what happens.

The drug is similar to the one I wrote about before in January or February, a monoclonal antibody that targets just the cancer cells- specifically the Hodkgin’s cells- CD 30. It’s merely an IV drug that is infused over an hour and a half.

In between receiving this drug I have gotten numerous transfusions to help my energy level in New York and in Youngstown. Give blood! I was admitted for a weekend at a hospital here in Youngstown for dehydration and increased calcium, which could be deadly. Something’s always going wrong with my body nowadays. I’m sick.

So that’s where I’ve been. Don’t do much. Travel for a few days. Rest and recover and wait. Maybe this one will be the drug that saves me. Sorry for not writing sooner. I apologize for not writing you back. Please give me grace.

A Strong Foundation

March 27, 2003|

A Strong Foundation

Thanks to all who contributed, volunteered, and attended the Art Canning Foundation Dinner two weeks ago. We had an absolutely awesome time. I don’t have exact numbers of attendance or how much we raised. I am close to sure we cleared over a 1000 people throughout the day. Checks are still rolling in, which I can’t believe, thank you so much. We also just received another shipment of books in. Where There’s a Will, There’s a Web site went fast. In the next few months we’ll figure out some way to sell them over this web site. Again thanks to all. Pictures tell much more than I can write, so as I get more pictures I’ll put them up.


I have been incredbly fatigued lately, which is why I haven’t written anything in two months. Yesterday I received two transfusions, which have helped. Otherwise, my hemoglobin, the part of the blood that brings oxygen to the blood, is very low- not sure why. It takes triple the energy to get most anything done nowadays. You can see it in the pictures, I look beat. Anyway, just asking for a little grace if I am slow to write on this site or e-mails.

Tomorrow I am off to New York for a check up and a few tests to monitor the T-cells progress. Nothing exciting. Anyway, I hope to somehow get my energy restored in order to write more. Later.