Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Holidays 2017!

Hi Folks,

I do hope this note finds you happy, healthy and ahead of your own gameplan.

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Paul, 15, Sidd, 14 and me with my eyebrows again
Abraham Pachikara, Copyright 2017 (Click for larger image)

As some of you know, my dad passed away this past January 1. Hence, my Mom has been on the millennia-old journey of a spouse surviving a vibrant marriage, and now traveling without her longtime partner. When Dad was in his last months, she was resilient, focused and tough as nails. I think she is tougher now, although her gently delivered words will never betray this fact. Certainly, on many moments she is deeply wistful. Yet I watch in awe. As always, I thoroughly enjoy my time with her (a constant since I was a toddler), and one of 2017's pinnacles was when she joined Paul, Sidd and myself for a week in Rome and Florence. For this deeply passionate art lover, visits to the Uffizi and Vatican Museums only energized her while we were left exhausted. Mom's spunky 78 year old persona shone like a 19 year old art history major for that week. More broadly, in 2017 she's embraced the online world: not just such aspects as banking and utilities, but also presenting her art work via Saatchi Art such as this collection of landscapes. Her nimbleness and tenacity are deeply noticed by the boys.

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Happily Zipping to the Art Mecca of Florence
Abraham Pachikara, Copyright 2017 (Click for larger image)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Deforestation: My 2nd Quarterly Check-In

Dear Folks,

It's been a while since I sent an update - my bad.

Sometimes in life, winning bears great meaning.

Examples include: as an ex-con seeing your probation officer, a clean record has great implications; as a substance abuser checking in with your counselor, “no needle marks” prove the battle is being won; or as an alcoholic at your AA meeting, a dry patch is a hard earned chapter of clarity. In my case, it's as a cancer alum meeting with my oncology team. To not have a win means you will not be revisiting a rocky journey that could bring you asunder.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Chuttumbee #1 Turns 15

My Dearest Pablo,

15 years ago yesterday the earth trembled as God sent one of his emissaries down to Earth.

That would be you. Happy B'Day.

The time has hurtled by and each year as we come upon your B'Day I am always deeply moved by how much, in one mere year, you change and your situation changes. Overall I get the sense high school has been a good thing for you, and that people (for example from the XC and robotics teams) enjoy and look forward to your presence among them. Shockingly, you are even leaner than a year ago ( I did not think that was possible) and you are DEFINITELY more sinewy and stronger - thanks to the entirely different level of athleticism from Coach Brad and the time and effort you have invested.

Paul 15-bPaul 15 
A Good Day
Abraham Pachikara, Copyright 2017 (Click for larger image)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Deforestation: Epilogue, Perhaps?

Hi Folks!
This is the last note (God willing) related to cancer that I will be sending.
The regime of chemotherapy & radiation are complete, and the upshot: any malignant cells are "below detection." Don't be fooled - they are still around, probably numbering in the hundreds of millions, but within a being with ~40 trillion cells, it's a scattered minority. Nonetheless, for myself, that's good news on an intergalactic scale. Further, I am lucky enough to send out my own "final" note.

Thank You’s
The Dalai Lama once said, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is a choice."  The tremendous support by all of you made it easy to not choose suffering. Here's a brief that is intended to be as inclusive as possible.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Slipping Past Corny Neufeld

In 8th grade I was one of the smallest kids among my peers, yet I loved sports. I was by no means brilliant at any of them, I just loved the comradery, the tension of winning and losing, and being out there with friends. So I was in every sport offered to us.

With one exception: ice hockey.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Deforestation: “Life is Epic” Exercise

Last May, when I learned I had a malevolent disease, one frightening thought kept floating back into my head: "gosh, this thing may kill me." But after a while, my fearful reaction surprised me. Of course, we all die. So what exactly made this news different? It was my assumption I would live long - to a 120 years specifically. One fact, one assumption and one aspiration had created more than an assumption, it had morphed into an unstated, firmly held belief.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Deforestation: Radiation Does its Damage

Hi Folks!

I do hope this note finds you in a good place. My PTCL-NOS journey has come to a notable place - the end of radiation. I am deeply, deeply blessed to be ending a round of cancer treatment alive and writing about it, no? What's left is recovery from the collateral damage, and smiling into the sunlight at the end of this tunnel.

Let's start with the all-important Thank Yous

Monday, January 23, 2017

Deforestation - Radiation Is Underway

Hi Folks and a belated Happy New Year!

My journey into the world of PTCL-NOS continues…

First off are the thank you's to for your full-court press against the invading malignancy…

  • My parents and sisters, Cindy and Susan, and Susan's better half Chris.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Pale Retelling of a Deeply Rich, Vibrant Life

I gave one of the eulogies at my dad’s funeral on Saturday, Jan 14, 2017. The event brought together aunts, uncles & cousins from both sides of the family, and long time friends.