Thursday, December 20, 2012


We have two new family members here at the GHR&C. Meet Black Pearl and Prairie Grace.

This last year we lost our canine buddies Walter and Cubby to cancer. I didn't realize how much I talked to them during the day until they were gone. Walter's deafness and Cubby's lack of a leg did not deter them from being the best pals ever for Alison and me.

I was supposed to be the next person in line to pick a dog however Alison was in Eastern Washington at a veterinary hospital that was fostering two black labs.  They had been abandoned in the deep woods and were found by a hunter outside of Othello. One had porcupine quills in her shoulder, both on the thin side but otherwise OK.

The state patrol and pet rescue had been involved with finding them and everyone agreed how sweet the dogs were. The dogs appeared to be siblings and were very close to each other. No one wanted to see the dogs separated. Surprise! Who should come along and say "I'll take them both!" Alison.

There was a waiting period and they had to be spade but they are here now with us and we have been enjoying their company tremendously. Yes, the are considered rescue dogs just like all the animals are and were here but they are simply happy and healthy young labs. Great hikers and runners - and of course- cuddlers too. I've taken way too many naps on the sofa with them already.  With the exception of a little more wave in one of the dog's fur, they are a matched set.

I'll be adding more pictures to this page soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


The golden leaves that carpet the driveway are quickly turning brown, the sky is a dull gray and the weather forecasters are calling for days of cool rains. But given the right clothing there's a runner's paradise waiting just outside the door!

Hills, we're in to hill these days. And it was on one of them just yesterday that I had to stop and think that I'm a little over 4 month from cancer surgery and I'm running free again. No I'm not discounting modern medicine when I say this but the human body does some pretty good repair work all on its own - with a little bit of direction from its owner. Give it time, they said, so I did.

A few special exercises and a little bit more consistent running and I feel my aerobic fitness returning.
All the issues I mentioned in my previous post are in the past. So much so that I committed to running Rim to Rim at the Grand Canyon next year. Having a goal is so exciting especially one that is also on my bucket list. From what I've read "running" is a relative term, arduous hike is more like it but there are places where it is flat enough to run. More on this later - it's 10 months away.

The last couple of months have been busy ones. In early September I flew to Denver to meet with a group of guys for the annual Dialogs meeting. We stayed in a mountain cabin near Brainard Lake and hiked in the high country for three days. Nights were frosty and the days near perfect for trekking on the rocks. I had a new camera with me and here are some photo highlights from the trip. Best of all was catching up on everyone's activities. We're at an age when significant changes are taking place and I enjoyed listening to the various views expounded - especially since we are a very diverse group. The concept of "wisdom" was kicked around quite a bit so it wasn't just a bunch of guys sitting around grunting and drinking beer - although I think that happened too.

Shortly after my return Alison and I jumped on a plane to Florida for some beach time. Once again the weather was near perfect, the beach deserted, and the water incredibly warm.

This is a shot near low tide. At this point we've walked south about two miles and are now on the part of the beach that cars can drive on. We walk a bit further to make it a 5 mile loop. No sidewalks, no streets to cross and no rocks.

Sunrise is a great time to be on the beach, usually still warm enough to swim too. It's a bit of an adjustment getting up that early because of the three hour time change. 

Unfortunately for me the water heater exploded on the first night, Then the air conditioner leaked ruining the ceiling in the garage and the garage door opener would only intermittently allow us to go anywhere in the car. A fair amount of time was spent repairing said items but we managed to exercise every day, with adequate beach time as well. Alison, the self proclaimed "foam rider" and I (maybe I'll call myself "Bodysurfer Extrodinair") had a blast in the waves. Shoot me if you think I'm too old for this.

Finally no trip to the beach goes by without passing nearby this motel. It's looked exactly the same since I first started going to Florida in the early 1970's. 

Back at the GHR&C I tried, and failed to build a new chicken coop before the rains. It's still under construction but it's coming along. We did make a quick trip to Portlandia as some Florida friends tell us it's called. Definitely an urban adventure for us - complete with a stop at the 24 Hour Church of Elvis and the flagship Nike Store. The Nike Store was a bummer because they didn't have my size in either of the two pair of shoes I wanted to try on. The search for the perfect trail running shoe for my skinny feet continues. 

The three amigos, son Seth, me and Alison's brother Eric - and an un-named mannequin head.

Alison getting ready to push the buttons at the Church of Elvis

The "Urban Shamans" grooven' on the didgeridoo  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Running in Diapers – Never Thought I’d Be Writing About This!

Some folks may be too young to remember the Harry Neilson song “I’d Rather Be Dead Than Wet My Bed” but I take those lyrics seriously. So when I consider my current post surgery situation, it’s a deep philosophical question.

The docs say I should chill out a bit, not worry about incontinence, just do what I want to do. Time, give it time.

I can tell a difference, that I’m improving as the weeks go by but progress is seems so slow.

My four-inch gash in my lower abdomen has healed nicely. There’s just a ridge of scar tissue that I can feel under my skin and if I don’t do some overly stretchy Yoga pose I don’t notice it all when I move.
So I want to run but I still leak a bit, especially when I put stress on my core muscles. Bending, lifting, twisting and simply moving other than at a walking pace.

The other deal is that I don’t feel bladder pressure the same way as I used to. The urge to go is subtler. Sometimes it’s the feeling of a drop or two escaping that’s the reminder for me to pee. I’ve even set an alarm on my watch to remind me. Right now I’m good for about an hour.

Then of course there’s the look. I certainly don’t want to have a wet spot on my shorts and I don’t want anyone to know I’m wearing some sort of pad. (More on this later) My first running/walking excursion was wearing baggy hiking shorts. No one can tell what I’m wearing under those but they felt cumbersome and I just didn’t feel fast in them.

Regarding the look: First of all, we live in an age where major health product companies are vying for aging consumers who are either incontinent or have the fear of incontinence. There must be a lot me’s out there because there is now a huge supply of absorbency products. Different shapes, sizes and, OMG, colors. There are a lot of options that just weren’t available before.

What I’ve come up with is my pair of running shorts that have an inside compression layer of fabric and a typical outside layer like a standard short. I have a thin stick on pad that is virtually unnoticeable that I tuck in on the front. So now I’m out there again but dealing, with all things, diaper rash.

But the reality is that I run on a private road or up in the hills. The likelihood of someone noticing a small wet spot, and that’s all it would be, is practically nil. Besides I haven’t found a pad that doesn’t chafe if worn for long periods of time. (I‘m still looking for that.) So what I’ve concluded is that this whole thing is more of a head-trip than anything else.

I have to wrap my head around the idea that going out pad less is a worthy experiment. Hey I take a shower and wash my shorts after a run anyway so what’s the big deal. Somehow it still is.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


My 65th birthday is tomorrow, just a push pin on a calendar. Today was a day worth celebrating.

After a short nap I walked a mile and a quarter. Twenty more of those and I would have walked an ultra marathon. A good beginning.

My catheter was removed this morning and I won't be needing a cancer screening for another three months. So this is the last cancer entry you'll see for hopefully a long time.

Summer arrived yesterday and this is the first time since last September the weather site is showing all suns for the next seven days. Pretty soon we'll be saying "Just another boring blue sky day". Ha, fat chance amigo!

No lifting for around two weeks but then I'm off to enjoy that sunshine in whatever manner I choose. I doubt I'll have any great feats of physical prowess to report but I'll make a post or two of what summer is like in the Great Pacific Northwest.

The goal is to be in good enough shape to climb a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado in September and I be sure and take some pics of that.

Thanks again for all who took the time to send good thoughts and notes. Much appreciated!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good News!!

Got the news today that the cancer was confined to the prostate so they got it all as best as they could tell. I'm one happy dude.
My count down calendar for removing the catheter says 6 days 20 hours 19 minutes and 5 seconds. Christo

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back at the Ranch

After a nice nap in my own bed, a tasty meal which included a quiche made with duck eggs and now I just finished walking down to the gate - sure beats walking around the hospital corridors. It's so nice to be home. Thanks to all for the well wishes, very inspiring. I won't know the pathology for a day or two and I'm thinking that the removal of the catheter will be a major event (July 5). A couple of big hurdles but hey one day at time and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chicken noodle soup

Christopher has been enjoying his ice chips, but was able to order up some dinner at 7:30 PM. He picked chicken soup and bread. I took him some Jelly Bellies and dark Chocolate, but they may wait until tomorrow. He is feeling better than he thought he would be and will be able to get up and walk in the morning. He wanted me to make sure and thank everyone for their kind words and good wishes.
All in all, a pretty good day in the prostate removal department and we are still hoping he'll be able to come home to the GHR & C tomorrow afternoon.

So far, so good

We headed to the hospital bright and early at 4:45 AM, and after a lot of paperwork and prep, Christopher's surgery started at 7:37 AM. According to my brief post surgery consult with Dr. O'Keefe, everything went smoothly. Now at a bit after 2  PM, Christopher is recovering in his hospital room and still working off the effects of the anesthetic. He requested a Jelly Belly, but the nurse said only ice chips for 8 hours. There may be a chance that Christopher can come home tomorrow afternoon. I'll keep you posted on that.

More later, Alison

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The "C" Word Has Entered Our Lives at the GHR&C

Our aloof Rhodesian Ridgeback, Walter, died of a hemorrhaging mass earlier this year. Now, Cubby, the three legged wonder dog has some similar issues with his spleen. He's not eating much these days, some days not at all, and he is likely to have an event where internal bleeding will weaken him totally. Surgical removal of the spleen is an option but may only buy him so much time as "seeding" of the cancer cells may have already occurred. Not a cheerful prognosis.

In between Walter and Cubby's issues,  I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The bottom line is that I am going to have it removed - Radical Prostatectomy - on Monday June 25. I'll spare everyone with all the details surrounding how I came to that decision but it was not taken lightly.

What is so surreal is that here I am writing about major surgery and I am feeling so healthy. I just finished a week of heavy lifting building a patio in Florida. I had a few sessions of fantastic body surfing just to cool off. Alison and I had a great run up the hill behind the cabin for a good cardio workout yesterday and I'm going to be racing around here for the next two days moving some downed trees from the trails and mowing everything I possibly can.

My goal is to be out of the hospital in two days not three. I'm the first surgery in the morning so that should help. We've decided to leave my cell phone at home since I'm going to be pretty out of it while there. I've been practicing counting to ten so I can tell the nurses the level of pain I'm experiencing so they can give me the juice!

Alison will post an update here after surgery.  We don't get cellphone coverage at the cabin so I can be reached, hopefully on Wednesday, at 360-599-2587.

Till we meet again in some form or another,