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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cancer Free


On February 2nd, 20!! I was in Halifax for my quarterly cancer follow-up 'check-up'.

This was already an auspicious date for me... it was exactly 10 years ago that I had open heart surgery and the good doctors at the Arkansas Heart Hospital replaced my aortic valve with a prosthesis. So, I was already planning a celebration that evening... and having dinner with my friends from the "Give To Live" Foundation that operated the bicycling trip from Vancouver to Austin last fall.

But now 2.02. (enter any year) was to become yet more important a date to me... During my third check of the day, my cancer oncologist declared me "CURED". And just an hour later, my cancer surgeon conCURrEd! It has been over five years since my second surgery and my chemo/radiation treatments... WOW, Cured!

So, celebrate we did... first with a personal dinner and then as I trudged through the snow thinking about what to do next, I remembered my good friend Todd Abbass and the fact that his bar/dining room often has entertainment, but at a minimum, Stayners in Halifax has great tap choices and champagne. Luckily for me, all was in order... thanx Todd for being there.

Then as time marched on, I walked back to the Marriott for just a few hours sleep, knowing full well that it was now February 3rd, and I am officially cancer free and have a great prosthesis covering where the cancer used to be; knowing full well that my heart beats with a perfectly working prosthesis covering where my original gave up ten years ago; and walking on the Peteller Tendon Graft that replaced my torn ACL 12 years ago... a walking body-shop production from the likes of the Arkansas Heart Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, and the Penrose General Hospital... the so called Canada/USA failed health system... failed you say?

So, now I am ready to start riding again... I have memories of the ride to Austin, Texas, from Vancouver with the five friends in the picture above. I plan to raise a bunch of money again this year, and I am going to attach the announcement I wrote to my email friends on Wednesday... it will fill you in on the attack plan for BRuce's future... hope you come with me

To: My Friends February 2, 2011

This morning I am starting my day here in Halifax, five years after being told I have Cancer, trying to metabolize the fact that I was told yesterday afternoon that I am cured! I am here for my quarterly check-up and after visiting with my four, fantastic, lead physicians; and many of the nurses, technologists, and administrators who treated my cancer... all professionals that have become my friends over the past five years, I start today free of the cancer boundaries that surrounded Lynnda and me all these years. It is an experience that gives me cause to pause and give thanx to them; thanx to the Nova Scotia healthcare system, and also to my support team of family and friends. To Lynnda and everyone who has supported me along the way...

THANK YOU!

So, where to from here? With more support from my friends, I intend to continue to raise money for the fight against cancer, cardiovascular, and Alzheimer’s disease. I am focused on understanding the opportunities... how to best challenge myself, and the population I can touch, to do the best we can against these and all diseases.

With cardiovascular (CV) disease, avoiding it is relatively manageable. Also, we know how to treat it... as long as we catch it in time. Things like better diet choices for our children and young people; a reduction in the numbers of people smoking and working in conditions that expose the human CV system to chemicals harmful to our hearts and other organs; and getting our population moving, exercising our hearts to keep more healthy. Providing proper diagnostic tools and wo/man power, we can diagnose disease and treat it… but it takes capital and principles. I can help with that through leadership, persistence, and self-control.

With cancer, it is clearly less manageable. For some time we have been trying to understand the way our system deals with the over 212 different forms of cancer. How do we rationalize the research into the prevention, symptom recognition and diagnosis, treatments, and appropriate care? How can the governments of the world coordinate an attack on this disease that will claim almost 10million people’s lives each year and devastate the lives of 18million cancer sufferers who survive annually? And what of the economic costs… care and lost opportunity, too? Big questions, with many focused on them… but with the potential of each of us to help at least those we can touch by being knowledgeable, caring, and by “doing”.

Alzheimer’s disease is different… it threatens our very existence as a society… and we haven’t even rubbed the surface of early recognition, diagnosis, prognosis management and cures. The social costs to the familial structure and economy are immeasurable… yet we don’t have a national plan in either Canada or the USA to deal with the tsunami of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease about to sweep over our society. Can we simply dispose of these lost souls… perhaps hide them from our reality… I think not!

We have to do better! We have to make decisions; perhaps to forgo materialistic life styles in favor of pushing our leaders to deal with these real issues… perhaps, our best investment, for the next ten years, is a large percentage of our net worth identifying channels to managing our healthcare problems into submission. This is my mission as a very small part of the cure. So, when I come calling for donations to this cause, please plan your philanthropy well… if you can’t give to these three causes, I hope you will give to other’s that are equally important. But please join me in the mission to get ahead of these diseases.

With national election campaigns revving up in both Canada and the USA we should hold our leaders and representatives to new standards. Let’s ask them what their plan is for these issues… in fact, do they even have a plan? If there isn’t a cogent answer, don’t elect these representatives of ours. Find someone with a plan that is in a party with a plan… not just to get elected… but to implement.

Enough of my pontificating, for this I apologize… but as I do, I remind myself that I have never met anyone who isn’t worried about these issues… yet we elect comparative “do nothings” to our legislatures. Should we ask ourselves, why?

Again, thank you to everyone who helped me through my latest challenge, I hope I can help you when you need it, too…

Love , BRuce





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Blueknowser

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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!