Tell everyone every week that you are surviving this COVID19. Just add your name to the list once a week and each of us will know if you are alive.

Doug S.

The protoplasm may be 72, but the spirit is 32!
Lifetime Supporter
Doug Sainlar here...doing fine....even better than fine, I'm retiring from education after 57 years this spring. I'll be unemployed and will probably spend most of my time working on the red cobra replica you see in my avatar!

Chris Kouba

So covid sucks and so does 2020 and there’s a lot of bad $#!t happening out there now, right? Here’s something to possibly put a little light in your day/week/month/year...

My parents “reside” in Florida but are reasonably nomadic in the summer, bouncing between a summer place in Ohio and relatives in VA and CT, and even an occasional trip to OR. With the onset of covid, they were faced with setting out from FL and all that entails, or sequestering in their condo and calling it good. They made the decision to stay in FL, but since they weren’t going to see their “up north” doctors anytime soon, they found someone local and had their annual checkups. As part of this, my mom almost had to hold a gun to my dad to get him to go. Something about healthy people mixing it up with sick people in a doctor’s office during a pandemic didn’t sit with him. Eventually, she got him to shut up and go.

Then they called back. They saw something which looked weird. They wanted to do some additional testing. “Of course they do”, said my dad. “They are down on business and need to milk some $’s out of the insurance coverage to make it up.” He went back anyway and had some scope work done, and they may have taken a sample while they were in there (it’s been a while and my memory is a little fuzzy).

After about 2 weeks, they finally got back to him. He had small cell carcinoma of the bladder (SCCB).

This is a ridiculously aggressive form of cancer which metastasizes extremely quickly and can be resistant to treatment. And it’s incredibly rare, as in only about 1 in a million people who have cancer get this type of cancer. The survival statistics aren’t good- less than 15% see another 24 months. The oncologist we worked with shared that there were only 12 cases of it in the states last year. Time to go buy a lottery ticket, right?

Within days, my parents were at my sister’s outside Washington, DC, and had appointments with a doc experienced with SCCB and who was actually treating someone for it already. And she worked in some fly-by-night place called Georgetown Hospital’s Lombardi Cancer Center. Somehow, my sister-in-law was able to get my dad into their facility.

Extremely quickly (a couple more days), they had the tumor out. It was the end of May. The tumor was 83mm along its major axis. The next ~3 weeks were recovery from the surgery so he could start chemo. Just prior to starting his chemo, they re-scanned him. To underscore just how aggressive this type of cancer is, the tumor had re-grown to 54mm. That was in the space of just 3 weeks. Miraculously, the scans for the rest of his body showed nothing (we enjoy reminding him they didn’t find anything in his brain), so the focus was on the bladder. He was prescribed a regimen of 6 chemo rounds, with about 3w between each.

Somewhere around this time (early July), my mom had her annual appointment as well. Since they were already in DC, my sister took her up to CT to see her normal doctor. A couple of days later, she got her call- a small tumor for her as well. Thankfully, a biopsy and further evaluation confirmed it was very small, slow growing, easily removed, and responsive to treatment. We were also able to get her into the Lombardi Center for treatment.

Things went par for the course over the next few months- you know, after walking miles a day for years without issues, dad now gets bitten by a dog. And twists his ankle. And then there was a cardiac issue with some chest pains, which delayed a round of chemo a week or so... You know, all the usual stuff.

I will spare most of the rest of the details. The Cliffs notes version is mom’s treatment came and went without issue. She had her surgery in August and followed up with radiation. She is showing all clear and feeling back to normal.

Dad made it a little exciting, but we continued to get encouraging news each time we talked to the doc. His tumor shrunk during chemo a little bit and his scans continued to show no metastasis. He finished his chemo at the end of September and they gave him a month to recover and prep for surgery. On Mon, Nov 2, he had a ~10 hour procedure to remove and reconstruct his internals. He was expected to be in the hospital 7 to 10 days but in his usual over-achiever manner, was out on Friday- 4 days later. Another 3 days after that and he was out walking again. Not far or fast, but he was out walking again. He continues to gain strength and endurance and drive my mother crazy again.

And... for the closer. Just this morning, we reviewed the pathology results from the removed organs. It was literally the perfect results- the tumor was only 70% necrotic but did not breach the bladder wall and all his nodes were clean. And BTW, there was also a malignant prostate tumor which is now nothing to worry about as it’s been removed from his body. He’ll be on a scan surveillance protocol going forward, but at this point we think it’s been beaten. He is looking forward to seeing how quickly he can get back to normal.

So for as hard as 2020 has sucked, here is a glimmer of happiness to brighten all your days:


Brian Kissel

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Praying for the best for your whole family Chris. A steady recovery is best for all, from my experience.
Wishing you all the best.

Regards. Brian

Chris Kouba

Thanks guys. Lots of thoughts and prayers around the world for them. We seem to have caught it in time.

Wow Chris, that sucks!

I understand the potential perspective you're seeing it from, Ian, but truly nothing could be further from the truth. They were both in great shape going into this and are both coming through it in great shape as well. I know of others who have encountered cancer without ever having a word of good news from a doctor. I was thankful when the first scan came back with decent news, but never thought it'd go this well all the way through it.

Other than the fact it happened in the first place, everything has gone perfectly. We all feel incredibly lucky.

I must say over the years I have enjoyed your trips and pictures including your Dad., I believe is one on my favourites

Yeah. I don't have an average relationship with him.

When he was reviewing options with his surgeon, he wanted the doc to know that when he says he goes bike riding, it's not your normal bike trail, and when we go hiking, it's not your average walk in the park. He asked me to put some pics online so the doc could see what he meant. The doc was impressed. I also think it made the doc stoked that his patient wasn't just going to phone it in after getting all fixed up too...

His album:

We've done a bunch of really cool stuff together and he's looking forward to more of it.
As Essex & many other areas go into the suddenly required new Tier 4 situation, largely driven by the mutating virus, I thought it timely to post again on this thread.
Keep safe & well everyone. Steve.

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Still here, just South of Edinburgh, all well but now in lock down state here too.
with the new shut down our Christmas plans of a trip to London to see our daughter are now cancelled.
BUT we are all well and safe so that is the main thing.

Christmas will be celebrated some other time, perhaps July with a BBQ instead of a Turkey


Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
Everyone in our family is still in good shape, praise God. 'Getting more tired of this whole mess every day though, believe me.
Except for the time I spent in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club, this will be the first Christmas the Mrs and I will have spent completely by ourselves in our 54 years together.

Sooooo, because of all the turmoil every one has experienced over the past several months, the 'hermit' existence dictated by it, the fact we didn't bother to decorate the house at all this year ('cause no one else will be here), and the dark cloud hanging over everything created by it all...I decided to go somewhat 'off the deep' with her Christmas present this year. By pure dumb luck, she'll be getting THEE EXACT diamond cluster cocktail ring I've been trying to find for her since about 2005 and 'finally found around the 1st of this month at a shop on the East Coast. How's that for timing? I be thinkin' it was meant to be...

It should cheer her up a bit. How could it not? 'Have to wear sunglasses to look directly at it in anything but very 'dim' lighting conditions! Only 'downer' will be she'll have no place to wear it for a while yet. "Life is not simple" as my dad (God rest him) used to say.

Merry Christmas, All. ;-)
Good to hear from you all !

David, if it we all wake up tomorrow morning & it was a hoax or bad dream, I'll take that !

My fathers in for a minor day surgery thing today, unless it's cancelled, no word yet from the hospital ?

Regards Steve


Lifetime Supporter
I tested positive on October 17th. Body aches, low grade fever 99.4, slight congestion; but I was over it in seven days.
My wife had it real bad, ten days of 102 plus temps, two trips to the Dr and one to the ER when her O2 got below 74.
This is nothing to mess with.........
Hi Keith,

Glad to hear your wife & you are feeling better now. Likewise Kev's friend & David too.

The effects do indeed vary massively from person to person, mainly but not exclusively by age. Our grand daughter caught it at university but had zero ill effects, it was only a test that found it.
As I'm a certain age & have one damaged lung from pneumonia and pleurisy I'm doing my best to avoid it, that's for sure.

I had a four week furlough back in March/April & then have worked solid since but I'm fortunate that my employer FoMoCo take it very seriously, plus I work in a very small department where we can keep well apart.
Going ok, escaped from Melbourne Victoria to Tasmania for a little while. managed to collect a Kangaroo on the way down from Davenport to Hobart. So will have to get the front of the daily fixed up at some point now. Stuck it together with tape for the time being. still good to be out of the house for a little bit.