Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Somewhere near the moon...

Well it's been a year since the damn surgery and there are certainly days when all is still NOT well.

I certainly am better, yet I persist, no matter what I gorge on, to be 15 pounds underweight. I try and do all the physical chores and work I am used to doing, and the body says, "Now wait a minute" most every time. There's some other haunting issues, but I'll spare everyone the lurid details.

Suffice to say it has been one crap year on the physical end and Budha knows it has been one lousy roller coaster ride for my wife and furry dog. Seems like I have daily apologies for my outbursts from frustration. They are the best, having to deal with my sometime moods and putting up with me. They know I love 'em dearly, and I'd like to thank my brother Chris, friends (in no particular order) Jonny, Luc, Larry, Gary, Marek, John, Mo, Marianna, Michael, Joyce and a few others for standing by me and checking up on me.

Dr. Sarver and Dr. Jane have been terrific too, could not have made it this far without them.

I still say, had I known what the recovery was like, I would have rolled the dice for that 6 year window, sold the farm, grabbed the wife and dog and headed for a world tour.

Funny how one thinks about all the wouldda, couldda, shouldda, moments of ones life when you go through this crap. 

I see in the past year of my "recovery", the right wingers have gotten even more ludicrous, real news barely exists at all, we still have NO gun control or proper health system. George Carlin was right if you ask me….

And…now I'm 55, and all the physical issues that goes with it. 

I'm gonna attempt to FINALLY update this website, we'll see what happens.

"Ain't we got fun".

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Leica M9

I recently stumbled across a post by a professional photographer friend of mine who commented in his post (in his opinion) the Leica M9 was NOT a professional camera. Apparently, he had some weather sealing issues and trouble focusing the rangefinder.

I am coming to the camera's defense here for a moment. I have used my Leica (an M8) in countless snowstorm situations shooting landscapes and I regularly drag it out in the weather to shoot all kinds of images. I've also used it many times as a portrait camera and I LOVE the results and don't find it hard to focus. It's a skill you must get used to with the camera. In fact,  I find it can be quicker then my former Nikon DSLR and I TRUST it far more.

Although I have made money with them, I never felt comfortable with any of the DSLRs, but the Leica gives me "comfort" and confidence it will produce. I fact, I recently sold ALL my DSLR equipment to concentrate on my Leica system. I know another guy who shoots for the AP with an M9 and last time I saw him use it, he was shooting in 5 degree weather here in Vermont and it WAS snowing.

The Leica rangefinder system can be "quirky" but I, like many of its devotees, I feel that once you "master" it, the camera captures "your vision" like no other camera can. NO camera is perfect for every situation, and I often say "it does not matter what camera you use" when young people ask me, just use one if you want to.

Different cameras work "better" for different people but to say the Leica M9 is not a professional camera is pure Vermont cow shit. I'm a professional and I use them.

My friends know I love me some Leica M8. I foresee using a Leica M8/9/ME/? as long as I am able. It is my camera and lens system of choice. I regularly use lenses that are 30-50 years old on my Leica body and the results are outstanding (try that Nikon, Canon, etc etc). There is a feel and rendition like no other camera system can produce.

The Leica M9/8/M/ME system is pure professional grade and to me, one of, if not the best system there is. Period.

The "Big C" Prostate "recovery" Update


I'll try and be a Grumpy Gentleman here and spare some of the gory details, and I'll also try to keep my ordeal "concise".

I had the surgery in mid November and apparently the surgeon did a good job of removing the cancer and sparing most of the nerves. HOWEVER, he turned out to be an overpriced Prima Donna who made me feel like a lab rat at times and my experience at the hospital was awful except for two nurses in particular, Heather and Lisa. I could go on for five pages about those awful 3 days in that room. When I did get home, my dear friend John carried me up the stairs and into the house, where I spent the next two weeks with a catheter which was more hell. Finally went to get that out and had another "minor" moment with the surgeon. Jackie and I experienced his "DUH" moment after the catheter removal where he couldn't remember whether he had given me post op antibiotics or not (he did NOT) and then the a-hole promptly disappeared. I got practically no post op follow ups from him or his staff. I spent the next two months with continuous stomach and bladder pain, horrible constipation and everything else that was miserable. I never seemed to make any progress getting better either and had lost over 25 lbs. We promptly fled that hospital and I went back to my initial Urologist who is one of the best in New England. He does NOT due to the robotic surgery which I regret after my experience with Dr. Frankenstein the surgeon.

Unfortunately as I just blabbed,  my recovery didn't go as well as planned. I went back in for a "day surgery" last week Monday to "fix" and remove some of my interior stitches which were infected, causing me all sorts of fun problems and put my recovery back about 2 months  to where it should be. Fingers crossed my "good doc" (who found the cancer initially) has finally fixed what the idiot surgeon and his robot machine screwed up. I can tell ya the last 3 and a half months have been 95% pure hell, my QOL was nil and I was at the end of my rope several times. I went through 3 rounds of antibiotics, each stronger then the last with just lovely side effects. I now begin round 4.

 IF I had know what all this was like, I seriously never would have done the surgery and taken my chances. I've never had such a hard time or taken as much damn medicine in my life. At present I am recovering from the latest surgery and eating antibiotics. My wife, Jackie (Nurse Ratchet and Clunk), has been purely terrific. Not enough can be said how understanding and caring she has been. How she has managed to take care of me, put up with my grumblings, and not gone off the deep end is beyond me.

My sympathy for the poor kids who spend their childhood  fighting cancer and leukemia has increased tenfold. I plan on finding a way to "pay it forward" when I can.

Hopefully most of my horrible ordeal is in the past now and someday in the near future things will get back to some sort of "normal ". I have just begun to touch a camera and my photo files again after almost 4 months. I do get beyond frustrated sometimes with my current physical limitations, the symptoms, and recovery accouterments . But, alas, I am stuck with it.  I was supposed to speak at the wonderful Bryan Gallery show this past Sunday where some of my work is part of the exhibition, but unfortunately I did not feel up to being a speaker.

All that being said, I went back a few days ago for my follow up and things APPEAR to be headed in the right direction and I feel better a bit. My latest test results show the infection hanging on so I continue to snack on antibiotics. I can walk, drive, and get around fairly well though I can tire easily. I have lost a lot of my body strength but that appears to be slowly coming back as is some of the weight. It's an excruciatingly slow bumpy road. I try and do things as I normally would, but my wife points out I am always exhausted and not well the following day if I do too much. I have good days and bad days. I have not even begun the "male recovery" stage yet.

Aint this fun?!?

PS-I have had some outstanding support from some dear friends and I couldn't have even made it this far without their amazing encouragement and support. You know who you are and I dearly thank you for it. Those of you who disappeared  I'd like to thank you for helping me determine who my real friends are and you know who you are too.
I'd also like to dearly thank the LACN and Dr. Russell Sarver (my "good doc") for their incredible help and support.