Bad News....Good News.....

ChuckBurrows

Well-Known Member
Over the last 4 years I have made mention of my health issues and how they have affected me and my output. I started having severe gastric troubles and overwhelming fatigue to the point I had to drastically cut back on my work load which of course has affected my income and quality of life (we lost our hme of 14 years, but freinds came through and have allowed us to live in fair comfort in a camp trailer they bought....I'm not not whining though - life is tough, but could be a lot tougher!
I also began to lose weight - a total of 100 pounds (yes I was way overweight at 285 lbs on a heavy boned 6' frame and did need to lose weight) over the last 4 years a a failry regular rate , byt then there was a speedy loss off 25 pounds since March. Back 4 years ago the underlying cause evaded the doctors - they even checked for cancer and while I had some oddities in the lymph system all tests came back benign - reckon some of the little buggers were lying doggo though. I was just starting to get back on my feet in January of this year and was really looking forward to getting things done when in late February the gastric problems once again reared their ugly head. With a compromised immune system I also had to win a battle with a staph infection and later a strep one over a three month period whihc sure didn't help things. I finally began to get back to more normal in May, but then the first week of June I went to see the doctor because I was having trouble breathing. I had figured that it was my normal spring allergies, but my regular fix its weren't working. They took a chest Xray and found that I had a pleural effusion, a build up of fluid in the space between the pleural lining and the chest wall that had formed a sack with almost 2 litres of fluid that was lying on my right lung and had caused it to collapse. Air is getting pretty thin here at 6500' ASL to begin with and having only one lung functioning wasn't helping my breathing. This led to me having to have the fluid siphoned off via a big needle and vacuum jars twice a week.
Anyway long story shorter - I have been diagnosed with stage 3B atypical non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - and of course since I've always been an oddball, I contracted a type that's doesn't fit the other 70 or so types, the reason it took so long to diagnose properly.
I started chemo two weeks ago and will have 5 more at three week intervals. The good news is that after only the one therapy I have seen an big improvement in the amount of fluid being siphoned off - it had been between 1.5 and three liters each time until last Friday it was only 650 milli-liters, and when I went 8/12 there was not enough buildup to have to do the procedure (I was sure glad because I'm am tired of having holes poked in my old hide!). So with fingers crossed I am down to maybe just once a week or perhaps even longer - the next chemo may in fact dry it up completely. I have also already had some of the swollen nodes begin to shrink. I have also handled the chemo drugs well with little side effects other than fatigue, but even that is better than before - probably because I can breathe and my ole brain is finally getting enough oxygen. Also my weight has stabilized at 185 (which is a good weight for me, but I need to build back up muscle ton if not mass.)
So for now things are looking very positive and it looks like I may be around for a while longer to harass ya'll.
The general consensus is while perhaps the cancer is not totally curable at this stage, it is highly treatable and the outlook is at least 10-15 years longer life expectancy after treatment and at age 61 that's good news heck I reckon any day I wake up without having dirt shoveled in my face is a good one....Besides my wife says I'm such a cranky demanding ole coot I'm just too ornery to kick the bucket yet (my attitude has always been the "bad" guys tain't gonna win - not yet anyway)
I also want to publicly thank those customers who have been so patient with me - I very much dislike owing folks, but having VERUY understanding customers has sure lowered the stress levels and stress is not good when having cancer or anything else for that matter. If things continue to go right I hope to have all orders caught up and be back on track for new work by the end of this year.
Also a BIG shout out to all of the very caring health workers I have come in contact with during this trying time for my wife Linda (who is a cancer survivor - 16 years and still counting) and me...
 
Sorry to hear about the diagnosis but at least you know whats wrong with you and you're now getting the treatment that you need. I hope you continue to improve and get to feeling better.
My leather work is nowhere near the quality of yours but thanks to your video I can now make a good, sturdy, functional leather sheath and I thank you for that. I can't think of a thing that I can do to help but if you think of anything just let me know.
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
Chuck, I am so sorry to see this.
I hope you live healthy and long.
My thoughts are with you and thank you for all the mentoring you have done over the years.
t
 

Brad Lilly

Moderator and Awards Boss
That is a shame you have had such a rough time. Even though having non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is not good at least the doctors know what they are dealing with. Hopefully they can push it into remission so you can have a better quality of life. I will pray for you
 

ChuckBurrows

Well-Known Member
Thank you all for your concern and prayers. I plan on sticking around for a while longer, my biggest concern is my wife - she just turned 68 and is not in the best of health either. One tough cookie though - she's been on her own since she was 14, but still I'd like to stick around for her sake (although some days she may not think so...LOL!)
The other reason is I've got some things I'd like to get made and maybe will have a chance still - just watched a Man Called Horse for the first time in beaucoup years and it reminded me I always wanted to make one of those prairie chicken headdresses as used in the movie and first recorded by Bodmer and Catlin.
I've got from now until next Friday off from any appointments so I hope to get some projects/orders worked on as well - headed out shortly to mi compadre, Jerry Rodri's, forge to work on a couple of pieces - energy level is pretty good today so maybe....
One of my big problems with all this is the sheer boredom that will set in when my body just won't work right - only so many movies to watch and so many books to read...otherwise my mind set is good, depression even in the worst times has never been something I "allowed" and I've always followed Patton's advice about not taking the counsel of your fears...

and it's official - I'm losing my head hair anyway - so far beard and mustache are staying put - not unusual...
I've had long hair most of my life since I was 14 - cut it just a few times in the past for work, but it's been at least 25 years since I did. Good thing I'm not vain I reckon, but then I've always known I'm not exactly Cary Grant...

On the other hand I seldom leave the house without some type of hat and when in the shop I wear a do rag so no real loss and it will grow back eventually - of course I'll probably scare little kids now looking like an ugly Yul Brynner!

Tracy - I downloaded the makers interview and will try to get it filled out this week - as for mentoring I well remember how hard it was to find one back in the "old" days when many makers kept things to themselves and always promised I would share as much knowledge as I could - I've still got a couple of videos I'd like to do - one on frontier style sheaths and knives, but need to find a new producer - if anyone knows of anyone willing to do them here (I can't travel for a while) and on spec send them my way.
 
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