“The good tears will come…”

I said this today to someone special, and it is true for us and will be true for them soon enough…

Four years and five days from my diagnoses, the good tears have come for my family. The cancer has been gone from my body since August of 2005, but ‘officially’ since February of 2006.

The scare I had one year and four days ago was moot and meant nothing!

I will elaborate on the missed check-ins/arcades/Sonic/‘Symons’ company/knives/crashed computers/critiques that have comprised our weekend.

Long story short: lib won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon…

onward Spence!
SDS

Lots of exciting news!

First off-welcome to my new little nephew, christopher glen larson! He’s a great looking little man and I’m elated to have a nephew after 13 years of having nieces [who are growing up!].  Congratulations kathy, chadd, ashly–now a bigger family!

I will be giving two presentations, both free and open to the public, on Monday, March 30th at LAHS! One at 2:30PM with a second to follow at 7:00PM, each about an hour long. I’ve received (and STILL receive) support and well wishes from so many people in Langdon that I want to come and give you my first person account of the struggles and battles my family and I faced while I was sick and fighting for my life. I’m extremely, extremely excited!

The website re-design is coming along, lib is doing a great job! The best feature will be the ability of you all to post comments and create forums…

Work is still going great, we are in the close-to-the-end-of-the-year crunch (our year ends in June), so the team is feeling some pressure. Lib is also enjoying her new job in grand-forks, although I think she’s getting bored with the commute every morning!

If you are in Fargo on April 7th, please please please go out and support GO STEVE JONES as they are in the final round of the Q98 Battle of the Bands.  Good luck dudes!

Oh yeah, lest I forget, in health news: I have scans on April 27th (CT, echo and x-rays of my residual limb)…more good news ahead!

onward!
SDS

oh thriving economy, where art thou?

It’s been a long time! I hope everyone had a fun Christmas and enjoyed the time with family and friends.

lib and persy, fargo nd, 2008
lib and persy, fargo nd, 2008

As with a lot of families, our life has been a bit turbulent as of late. The company that lib worked for, psa mags, laid off 24 people over the course of a month. After almost 3 years of loyal service, she was a casualty. On to bigger and better things! (The link to the in-forum article will only be active for a few days. They only allow people to view articles for up to seven days.)

I have an interesting update on my leg, and it’s quite comical! Due to the intricacies of the C-leg, it has a warranty. One stipulation of that warranty requires me to send it in for maintenance once a year- an oil change, if you will! Among other things, they replace bearings, swap out the fluid and test the computer chip. The loaner leg I was given (yes, loaner leg-kind of like the dumpy Ford Taurus you get when your car is in the shop!) has massive wear-and-tear, and functions slightly different than mine. It took a few days to get used to the swing and resistance of the new leg, even though all the options were set identical to mine.

I’ve included some pictures.

I’m going to start speaking publicly more often, and I’m going to come to Langdon the first half of this year to tell my story to all that supported me during the tough times. I will advertise as much as possible and it will be open to the public. More info to come as I know more. I’ve booked one more speaking engagement and have started discussions for others. I’m working with lib and Jay Peltier to make this happen–he is a great guy and amazing to work with. I met Jay at NDSU through Blue Key and have stayed great friends since!

Look for a complete overhaul concerning the design and layout of gosteve, as we are going to bring in more functions, different features such as posting comments, more pictures and an overall professional feel. Lib will work her magic and produce a great site. I’m excited!

onward!
SDS

…IT HAS NOT COME BACK…it will not come back…

I’ve been around for a little over 25 years now-not too long. As with all, I was taught the basics of knowledge through grade school on up to a college diploma. That said, what I consider the most priceless and precious awareness I have learned did not come through the mouths of my teachers. You’ve heard it before and I’ve heard it before: “you learn from life’s lessons, not from textbooks.” The question is: when does that saying become more than just a saying?

It happens when you realize your paycheck disappears; it happens when your marriage falls apart but you still hold on to love; it happens when you dedicate your heart, soul and life’s work to your passion and it is ripped away; it happens when your parents die and you lose the comfort in their voice; it happens after the dull crunch and brilliant shattering of steel and glass over the yellow stripe; it happens when you are diagnosed with a disease—any disease. At what age? Different for everyone. To be honest, sometimes never for the lucky few… Can you think of when it happened to you?

At 25, I’m just starting to digest these lessons. They may seem depressing but if you break them down, shine them up and really think, you can pull some gleaming jewels from the mess. It’s that simple. Mourn for the loss, but think of how you can use that to be a better person, be a better brother, be a better friend and a better husband. A depressing and life changing moment DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR LIFE unless you—and you alone—give it the power.

Yes, I’m only 25. I have seen all of the above happen to people so close to me it burns my throat and makes my blue eyes turn red. I have had cancer. I have lost my leg. I was put under and scarred to have a chunk of my lung removed. I have been dealing with the after-effects for over 2 and a half years. But as of Monday, October 27th, 2008, I was scanned and IT HAS NOT COME BACK. It will not come back. If it does, I know how to fight it…but, to be honest—that’s a battle I can leave behind me for now…forever.

and after all this I wish it was summer again…onward!
SDS

buffalo river state park, mn, 2008
buffalo river state park, mn, 2008

…the death of Randy Pausch…

My mind has been wandering back to the treatments, the physical and emotional pain and the fight for my life waged by me, the courageous love of my life and my amazing family. Two specific things have brought me back to that terrible time which is quite unpleasant to visit. The first is the close of one full year of pure wedding bliss! The second is the death of Randy Pausch.

You may or may not have heard of Randy, who’s “Last Lecture” took the internet by storm. When Randy, a professor at Carnegie Melon, found out he was dying of cancer he decided that his last lecture would be his way of giving the world his best thoughts and advise. I viewed the video when it first hit the web a long while back, and haven’t thought much about him since, until last night. Diane Sawyer aired a heart wrenching interview where he showed his grace peering into the dead-black eyes of the grim reaper…the fact that he will lose his children, his wife and ultimately his life. I had those same thoughts as I turned my head to the side to face my future wife, the green curtains of floor 5B creating a surreal backdrop. I had those same thoughts as I lowered my head into the tan basins that I vomited in over and over and over. I had those same thoughts as I watched the cruel and toxic drugs course through the clear plastic tubing straight into my frail and fragile body. I didn’t have kids- I had nieces and sisters and parents. I didn’t have a wife- I had a brave young wife-to-be. But I did have my life, and I still do. I too looked into those dead-black eyes-sometimes in the curtains, sometimes in the puke buckets, sometimes in the chemo.

year one anniversary trip, duluth mn:.:july 2008
year one anniversary trip, duluth mn:.:july 2008

“My leg hurts. I get tired easy, the leg doesn’t fit the same every day. I have to take pills every day. I have checkups.” So what? I’m alive. Not a day goes by that I don’t remind myself that I am still here because we all fought, and with part luck and part medicine, I open my eyes every morning. I do not take it for granted. I think about it each and every day, and I hope I’m able to think about it for a long, long time.

onward!
SDS

life is moving along

Week three down at the new job and I know that things happen for a reason. I love the people I work with and the work that I’ll be doing. It was worth waiting for!

They are sending me to Seattle for a week in July to attend a Microsoft conference to learn about my new specialization…amazing!

In my spare time we (we = my band: a message of bullets) have starting tracking the rough recordings that will eventually be ‘works of art’. If you hear them at any point please remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder…or in the ear of the beholder in this matter.

in the makeshift studio, 26 june 2008
in the makeshift studio, 26 june 2008
another from 26 june
another from 26 june

I feel great and Lib and I get our matches of bocce ball in at least 2-3 times a week. This leg is one of the most amazing things in my life. I think of what I am able to do everyday, and what I would be doing if the c-leg didn’t exist. I can carry a 38 lb tub of cat litter from the car into the apartment. It’s not a pretty sight, but I’m doing it with no other assistance. I do wake up grateful every single morning, even if I also wake up groggy!

onward! [now more than ever]
SDS

no news is good news

I hope you live by the aphorism of ‘no news is good news’ because no news has been FANTASTIC news! If you visit any blogs/update pages, you hear the obligatory “I’ve been busy” excuses, but hey, I’ve been busy.

I start work on 9 june, so that means I finally got a job that meets my too-high-for-no-experience requirments. In terms of medical, I am happy to announce that I barely have anything wrong. When I breathe in deep I can feel an odd sensation in my lower lung area. I think I have some fluid/air caught in there somewhere, but I hope it’s not life threatening.

Here is my pre-gallbladder-removal IV that took more than four pokes to insert at Innovis

Here is my pre-gallbladder-removal IV that took more than four pokes to insert at Innovis

onward!
SDS

Hey everybody, let’s count!

I’ve decided this update will be your math lesson for the day:

I had my gallbladder out at around 2:30PM on friday…finally free of all that bad business! I’m nursing (or should I say lib is nursing) the four holes in my belly. These new additions increase the scars on my chest and stomach to a grand total of nine.

I have four from the gallbladder, three from my wedge resection (lung surgery), and two from my port-a-cath from chemo.

Out of my newest battle wounds the biggest incision is right in the top of my belly button and has six staples. Moving up my chest three inches, the next site has four staples. Those two are the most painful and are fairly sore. Halfway between my belly button and my right side hosts the other two cuts. The top one has two staples and the one immediately below it has four. They don’t hurt much at all.

That totals 16 staples in my four incisions (if I’ve utilized my college degree properly), and the first time in all my surgeries that I’ve had staples. My nurses found it odd that the doc actually put in staples. I guess not too many are used in this day and age.

I’ll have those out next wednesday and then I’ll be good as new (sans gallbladder, of course)!

onward!
SDS

waiting for another surgery

I’ll find out on thursday between 1 and 3 what time my surgery will be on friday. I’m pretty excited to get this done and in my past.

The pain has been coming and going, it wasn’t too bad for about 2 days but now it’s been rough in the mornings again.

Not much else has been going on…no news is good news though!

If you see my parents you can wish them each a happy birthday, they both had theirs in the last week and a half. My dad is a year older and my mom is a year younger!

onward!
SDS

this gallbladder has got to go.

I spent most of yesterday in the ER at Innovis here in Fargo. I awoke wednesday with my gallbladder pain more excruciating than ever. I decided I couldn’t take it anymore so I went in. After a total of five and a half hours I finally finished meeting with a surgeon.

He said he could take out my gallbladder on Friday (tomorrow)–fantastic news! Enter the rain clouds—come to find out this afternoon that hospital policy has a 72 hour waiting period between meeting a doc and having surgery, unless life threatening.

They scheduled me for NEXT friday, the 16th, all the while reiterating the fact that, if I can’t handle the pain, I should come into the ER. Well, duh, I already did that. I’m just glad this isn’t universal health care, as I’d probably still be waiting in the ER for an appointment in four months!

At least I don’t have cancer again :)

onward!
SDS