Category Archives: Art’s Letters

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.


Billy part II

February 17, 2003|

Billy part II

I’ve been wanting to write this update for three weeks now. Every time I sat down ready to write it, the details changed in the story. For example, I was told that option X was the best treatment option available to me. A few days later I received a call telling me option X was no longer available. Then option Y came into the picture. But a day later option Y was discovered to be no better than option Z. So let’s go with Z. But…

It was a slightly maddening time. Everyday lent itself to a new opinion, a new fact and more data. Finally, the decision needed to be made. Time was running short. So with the counsel of Dr. Perales, we decided to do an infusion of Billy’s T-cells.

What’s a T-cell infusion? My immune system (Art/Billy’s) doesn’t recognize the Hodgkin’s cancer cells as foreign evil invaders. Consequently, those cancer cells are just hanging around in my lymph system, disrupting my body’s natural flow and causing me massive pain. Billy’s immune system (Billy’s), we think, will recognize the Hodgkin’s cancer cells as foreign evil invaders. Therefore, by giving me more of Billy’s T-cells, which are the baby cells that mature into your immune system, we think that those cells will attack the cancer cells. It’s like getting reinforcements in the middle of a war.

This is a relatively easy procedure, just a simple blood transfusion done on an outpatient basis. Billy has little to do also, just one trip to the hospital where he’ll donate a pint or so of blood. There are many side effects that could occur, which is why we balked at doing this earlier in January. If Billy’s cells enter my system, and don’t recognize my system as being the good guys, they’ll attack my cells too. The liver and kidneys are the first to be attacked, causing eventual shutdown. Graft vs. Host Disease is next, as T-cells start attacking my skin and colon. If those above were to happen, I would be put on high dose steroids, which have their own side effects, further exacerbating my problems.

But, the good news is that this infusion treatment has been proven to work as a curative option, unlike many of the other options. That’s what I was looking for- a proven curative option.

I was supposed to receive the infusion last week, but Dr. Perales was concerned about my pain, which intensified as the week progressed. He got me into see a pain specialist, who helped significantly. Unfortunately I still have that increase in pain this week. It will only be eradicated when the T-cells start working, so before then I am back on painkillers. (I apologize ahead of time if my work suffers, the painkillers really do a number on my brain.)

So here we go again… just please pray for strength to deal with the pain and that the infusion would work. Thank you.

P.S. Make sure to check out the details on the Art Canning Foundation, located above. I hope to see you all there.

Perhaps a Swift and Strange Restoration of Creation?

January 27, 2003|

Perhaps a Swift and Strange Restoration of Creation?

‘Get Dr. Nelson on the phone…Kathie, yes, this is Dr. De Marco, we’ve got a miracle here…’

(Some of you may have already read this story. I apologize for sending it out again, but I didn’t fully grasp the impact till I rehashed it with known professionals…)

Lately I had been slightly out of breath (remember my trips to the mall, getting lapped by the old geysers?) and having pain along the right rib area. The CT Scan I did last Monday confirmed that I was having problems back there, namely a ‘right pleural effusion of a large size.’ Translation: I had a build-up of fluid in my right lung, in all likelihood either being Hodgkin’s or being caused by the Hodgkin’s.

So then, last Friday, three days ago, in order to determine a baseline measure of how bad the build-up had gotten, I received a chest X-ray. It showed there was a ‘moderate’ effusion on the right side. You could even see it moved on the X-rays I took lying down. There was definite fluid there.

Today I went to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, to actually get a thorensentisis (I butchered the spelling), a procedure to have the lung drained of the fluid. Dr. De Marco, the Pulmonologist, decided at the last minute that maybe we should do another chest X-ray, just to see what he was dealing with.

He walked in the operating room. I sat there, gowned up, nervously awaiting the needle poke. Supposedly this was an easy procedure with little pain. Needles, though, are never fun. The nurse handed him the X-ray folder. He pulled out the front view. ‘We don’t need to do this. There’s not enough there.’ Huh?

Dr. De Marco shoved the x-ray up on the light board on the wall. Pointing towards a slim line, no larger than a centimeter, he explained that that was the fluid. If there was a moderate amount, it would 3-4 inches deep, he showed with his fingers. The build-up was almost gone. The nurses, resident and myself, we were all confused. Dr. De Marco wrinkled his forward, baffled.

He called my family practioner and friend, Dr. Kathie Nelson. She was just as confused. Neither she nor Dr. De Marco had ever seen such a thing. Pleural infusions don’t just clear up over three days. What happened?

Dr. De Marco gave a great analogy to what occurred. My lymph system in the lung area acts like a drain, with fluid passing through it on a continual basis. The Hodgkins cells acts like hair on the drain, blocking it and thereby causing it not to work. Fluid builds up. With chemotherapy or some other treatment, the hair/cancer is removed, albeit very slowly. In my case, though, something moved the hair/cancer virtually over night. What was the something???

The two grasped for explanations. There was no satisfactory answer. Relieved but mystified, I took off my gown, put on my sweater and left. There was no need for the procedure.

Tonight Kathie and I revisited what happened. The only thing it could have been, we concluded, was the Rituxin. But I’ve been on Rituxin for 6 weeks. Why would it act so fast and abnormally now? Rituxin doesn’t do that.

Later on, I called my personal health advisor and friend, Dr. Alison Amsterdam. Befuddled, ecstatic and reaching for an answer- maybe it was the combination of IVIG (an immuno-booster) I received last Tuesday plus the Rituxin? But IVIG and Rituxin don’t do that. What the heck happened?

Dr. De Marco, his first words to Dr. Nelson, he was exaggerating…right?

I don’t know what to make of it. I am as skeptical as you are about modern-day miracles. But something happened, and it’s incredibly unexplainable, so for now I’m calling it something different- ‘a swift and strange restoration of creation.’

And, coincidentally, one of the first things Kathie and Alison both asked was, ‘Who was on the Prayer Calendar over the weekend?’ 🙂

Expectancy Confirmation Model

One of the first things Barbara Kahn taught us in Marketing 211 was the expectancy confirmation model. The textbook definition goes something like this: consumers form beliefs about product performance based on prior experience with the product and/or communications about the product that imply a certain level of quality, if the quality is not met negative affect occurs. Huh? Academics always have a way of muddling the most simple of concepts. Practical translation for the rest of us: Manage your expectations- don’t overpromise or your customers will be disappointed.

So, going into my latest round of PET and CT Scans I thought of the expectancy confirmation model. ‘Manage your expectations, manage your expectations…’ I thought to myself. I was feeling good, so I could have been thinking that the scans would turn out good, but not completely clear, of course. Rather though, I could really ratchet down my expectations for the scans. I was pretty messed up the last six weeks, they could be really bad. But the Rituxin had been working so well. ‘Hmm…manage your expectations, manage your expectations. Don’t get your hopes too high, rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.’ I thought to myself. I had already burned myself in November. No need to do it again.

I was glad I did. Things turned out as I expected. There was minor cancerous activity along the spine, a few active nodes in the groin area, and a node or two in the lungs. Certainly not good results, but certainly not horrible.

So what next? Well I feel good, on the whole. There are always side effects to deal with, but no use in complaining about those. The Rituxin has been working, so we decided to continue two more weeks of treatments. (By the way, to answer your questions, click here to learn more about Rituxin, an absolutely amazing drug). After those treatments, I have a few options left. The most viable are Phase I and II drug trials. I’ll try my best to explain this next section in layman terms. Remember, academics (of whom many are doctors) always have a way of muddling the most simple of concepts. 🙂

Phase I and II drug trials are like science experiments you would find at any elementary school science fair, minus the backboard and fuzzy felt letters. It’s an experiment, only the stakes are higher as humans are involved as the subjects. Pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research hospitals find patients like myself, who are beyond the realm of normal treatment options, and give us newly developed drugs and treatments. They then monitor us like hawks, looking for different things, all based on what Phase the trial (experiment) is in. So, for example, in a Phase I study they see how much of the drug they can give you before you get sick from it. (Not a fun trial.) In a Phase II study, they are studying the potential side effects of the drug. (Potentially not fun either, but better than Phase I.) In a Phase III, they test to see if the drugs successfully work on the majority of humans. So, yes, the drug may not even work. But it may work. If you have no other options, these trials are the best option.

The study most applicable to me is called a new drug called SGN-30. It is a drug similar to Rituxin, but for Hodgkin’s Disease. It’s a remarkable drug, which if successful, would appear to render chemotherapy in lymphoma obsolete. How amazing would that be? Here are a few links from the business world
and from KSN in Wichita (go all the way to the bottom)
about the last trial on SGN-30.

In a few weeks/months they’ll start Phase II up. Hopefully I should be included in the study. If not, there are other studies, but this is the one I’m banking for.

That’s the latest news. I am thankful for all your prayers and thoughts and everything. I feel much better now. Let’s hope it stays that way.

All New Features…

January 17, 2003|

All New Features…

First, just want to thank you all for your many prayers and thoughts. I feel much much better. The Rituxin drug is doing quite a job and my pain has subsided to nil. I still have withdrawal issues from my getting off the pain killers, but I’ll take the withdrawal issues over that pain anyday. I have much more to write on the whole subject of body, mind, and spirit, but that’s for next week. So please rest assure I am doing better and I that I look forward to kicking some old geyser butt at the mall this afternoon when I go walking. Yeah!!!

Also, please check out the new features on the left- the Prayer Calendar and Art’s Apps. From now on, instead of checking the site everyday, you will get an e-mail whenever I update the site. How cool is that? You must sign up with a username, password and click “sign up for updates” to get this feature. Do it today! Much props to Patrick for that awesome feature. Please take a moment and register yourself for those features.

Let’s pray for some good scans Monday…

Things change at the last minute

January 8, 2003|

Things change at the last minute. Always. Welcome to the health care business. I was supposed to be in New York City this past week for a few tests and to meet a new doctor, but at the last minute I was told to stay home for two weeks until my doctor got back from his vacation. I am glad I did- it was the best football weekend in years in the Canning household as Ohio State and the Steelers won in dramatic fashion.

More significantly though, I am feeling much better. The pain has lessened which has led to a decrease in pain meds which means I think straight again. Not having pain also is beneficial because allows me to recoup my strength. Everyday you can find me at Wal-Mart or at the Mall walking around. Of course the old people are there at the mall, walking at all hours with the headbands and sweatpants. Nothing is as embarrassing as getting lapped by some old fogey, but everyone has to start somewhere, I guess. I still have bad whole body chills and night sweats, but those are a tad more manageable.

Now that I can think straight I can elaborate more on what’s going on. This should help clarify my frustration and (frankly) my pessimism. Back in November, when I was feeling healthy, I had a phenomenal plan that somehow dropped in my lap. I was going to start Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (in Boston) in June. Before then, to save money, make money and keep in the insurance company’s good graces, I was going to move home to Ohio in December. I had a few leads to teach, a church willing to let me intern there, and a few classes to take online, so as to get a jump on my education. It was almost too perfect. Deep down I knew it would never materialize. These things just don’t happen in my life nowadays. Everything has to be an adventure.

I did move back to Ohio anyway, which has proven an asset. As for the rest, it’s all up in the air. I may get a call requiring me to head back to New York. Who knows where I’ll be in a week?

Frankly I’ve had it with all this. I’m frustrated to no end. I keep asking God to give me a freakin’ break. Not happening, that’s for sure.

To make matters worse, this is it. I’m not sure if I wrote this earlier, but there is no more chemotherapy, transplants, anything. There are few trial drugs out there that may work, but I am out of options. It doesn’t get much more frustrating than this- to finally have your life together and then have it all crumble overnight with a highly probable death sentence at the other end. What more can I ask for? God, just give me a freakin’ break, a freakin’ break.