Friday, April 22, 2011


First things first: Sydney is doing very well, thanks for all the good wishes. The first few days were rough, not sure if it was her pain killers or what but she wasn't sleeping much and was very whiney (not that I wouldn't be having had my stomach cut open). But it's very out of character for her. And as the old saying (in this house) goes: "when Sydney's awake, EVERYBODY'S awake". But thankfully she started sleeping thru the nights about the time we stopped (ie: ran out of) her pain killer. Maybe it was freaking her out...we have no idea how it affects her and she can't tell us. But anyway, she is doing GREAT fact, if you don't look at the stitches in her belly, you'd never know she had a major surgery last weekend. She's jumping up and down from furniture to our great dismay, but there's just no stopping her. I figure if it hurt she wouldn't do it. But then again, with that logic, she WOULDN'T be eating inanimate stuff that requires surgery. Not sure where that leaves us. She seemingly has no self-preservation instincts, or if there are any, they are dwarfed by the instinct to eat everything she can. Ahhhh...the white land shark. Obviously quite rare (I think they typically die by the time they are 5).

OK, enough of that. On to today's post. I must warn you now: it's a bit of a downer. But it's what I'm thinking about right now, so that's what you get.

A couple friends of mine work at a different building on the base. Many years ago when I first met Bryan and James, their building was packed with other people and equipment. then just a few years ago the people who funded all that pulled most of their money away and all the people and equipment moved on, except for Bryan and James. They became pretty much the caretakers of the facility while it awaited new customers. Our stuff in there is pretty much all the security equipment for the entire facility, including a full exterior video system of the entire area. We go up there and test it all every so often to insure it's operating at 100%. Whenever we'd go there, it's for sure that Bryan and James are there and we yak it up, talking about whatever strikes our fancy. They are both very nice guys and I always enjoy their company.

Late last week we were up there once again for our routine testing, only James was there alone. He told us that a few weeks back Bryan had gone to the Dr as he had some kind of chest pains, and thought he may even have pneumonia (or something like that) due to some pretty serious coughing that wouldn't go away. The Dr initially couldn't figure out what was wrong, and the tests went from the routine to the full battery of 'what's wrong with this guy'. I don't know how long the Dr's knew, but they finally told Bryan just the day before that he had lung cancer. The kicker was that it was already all over his body...his liver, spine, name it, it was there. Tiny spots all over the X rays. Only they didn't know truly how bad it was (as in how aggressive it was) just yet, as they were still running tests.

Yesterday I was back up there to finish our testing, and James had just found out that the Dr's have compared the X rays and tests from 3 weeks ago to the ones just a day or 2 before, and based on that they gave him just 3 weeks to live. Not 3 years, or 3 months...THREE WEEKS! James was still reeling from this news as he and Bryan are like brothers. I'm just a work-friend and this news totally floored me. How can this BE? Bryan doesn't even smoke for crying out loud! LUNG CANCER??? HOW?? And THREE WEEKS? What, are they kidding? How on earth can something go from 'we just found it' to THREE WEEKS TO LIVE in this day and age, with the awesome medical treatments and such we now have available? It just didn't seem possible (and by the way: Bryan is just two years older than I am...he's 52).

What would you do if you were suddenly told you had only 3 weeks left to live? TWENTY ONE DAYS. How do you spend that time? What do you do? And how about his family? What do THEY do? How do you handle this worst of news? 

I can't begin to fathom how hard that would be. In fact, I hope and pray that I NEVER have to fathom just how hard that wold be. It's unimaginable. And quite honestly, my rhetorical question is based on the 'what if', assuming that I could actually CHOOSE how to spend that 3 weeks. The sad reality was that Bryan was already in the hospital hooked up to a morphine pump. I'm guessing his last 3 weeks aren't going to be a picnic. In fact, they will probably the the three single worst weeks of his life.

And it turns out that the Dr's were wrong. WAY wrong. Just after our daily status meeting this morning we found out that Bryan had passed away last night. His three weeks to make his final arrangements on this Earth, to say his goodbyes to his wife and son, friends and family, had turned into not quite two days.

I'm not sure if I should be relieved about this terrible turn of events or even more sad. On the one hand, his suffering was cut significantly shorter than expected. And I don't just mean physical suffering. Imagine the mental anguish. How can your mind NOT dwell on the unfairness of it all.The "Why ME"? Just a month ago he was a strapping 'young' man. I'm completely flabbergasted by how FAST this disease was able to consume his body, pretty much without a fight, and almost without warning. But on the other hand, nobody was 'prepared', if you can ever be truly prepared for this sort of thing. I doubt very much that it is possible no matter how much time you get.

That it can STILL sneak up and snuff out a life 'just like that' really ticks me off. As you all know I threw my hat into the LIVESTRONG fund-raising arena a few years back after following Fatty and Susan's fight, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Well.... now it just got personal.  The only thing I can come up out of all of this that means ANYTHING is that I'm more resolved than ever to continue my work with them as we try to beat this terrible disease. And I guess it also reminds me once again to NOT take anything for granted. Each day is a gift. Use it wisely. None of us know how much time we have on this crazy awesome spinning ball of rock. And I guess that's probably a good thing.

 And so.....tomorrow I'm off to spend time with my family (my Mom is coming up from Arizona to my brothers place down south, and I will spend the weekend down there with them). I plan to make the best of this time. I hope you do too.

And on that note I wish the Asylum a Happy Easter! Get out there and do something FUN!

Game ON!


  1. I am so sorry for your loss and your friends James, Bryan and his family. I hope the family finds some solace in the love and memories they shared and the renewal of the season.


  2. PS I so glad Syd is OK and recovering! How to prevent her from eating other "stuff?" Muzzle except at dinner? Yek.

  3. Matt, stories like that always make me revisit my priorities and definitely try to live more "in" each day. I'm sorry for your loss.

    I'm very happy to hear that Syd is bouncing back. Sounds like she is like a real "baby" in your house. In my house it's "when the babies don't one sleeps". :)

    Looks like there should be a lot of cycling coverage this week, though VS never fails to surprise me in the number of ways that they can screw up the way their schedule corresponds with what is actually on TV. I'm hoping to outsmart them and at least catch some of it on tape this week.

    Hope you all had a great Easter! Liam thought it was the most amazing day of his life - chocolate hidden around the house that you can find and eat at will??? Heaven!

  4. wow, Gilbert, is RIGHT!!! And I am happy that Evans won Romandie!

    Spent Easter day at work -- we had a nice potluck and it wasn't too busy either.

    When Sarah was little, I could buy a real eggshell filled with chocolate/hazelnut. Ralphs had them every year. So the Easter bunny would turn one of the eggs Sarah colored into chocolate!

    Matt, it is shocking how quickly life can turn, isn't it? in so many ways. We are kind of insulated from it in this modern age, I think, but it is still there, and every once in a while it smacks us upside the head.

    Well, so let us enjoy while we can... and the GIRO starts Saturday!! Love this race. I've subscribed to Universal sports' site for this, hope it works out well, but I may still look at online feeds for the pre and post race shows from Italy -- love them!

    Then in just 10 more days it is the Tour of California!! Matt, are you going to go to the Paso Robles stage?
    The transfers look long and awkward between stages, I feel for the teams this year -- and I wonder how hard it would be to get up on Mount Baldy to see the finish.
    As usual I finagled my schedule so that I could possibly fly out to see the last 5 stages, Maybe even volunteer at a couple, but I've had so much going on that I haven't made any plans and am really not sure about going -- wonder just how much it would cost to drive stage-to-stage as I've always done this year?
    But boy, some sunshine and warmth sure would be nice...