Friday, May 14, 2010


Monday, May 10 - I've been in St. Joseph's Hospital in downtown St. Paul since Wednesday morning. It started out being a very strange experience. Something happened to me on Sunday night, May 2. It was a serious medical issue. I thought maybe I just had a TIA, but it was much more serious than that.

Going back to Sunday night, I can remember that I started feeling very confused and disoriented. I went back to work Monday morning, May 3, because I was just coming off of medical leave for a different issue. I got to work and back just fine but had a horrible time of doing my job. I couldn't remember how to do it even though I'd been doing it for years. I tried to walk to the printer and went the wrong way. I got lost and turned around in my own office. My coworkers noticed something wrong but thought I was just having trouble getting back into the swing of work after a two-week medical leave. They were very nice about it but were concerned about me. My very nice boss Pete talked to me on Tuesday morning about my medical issues and getting back into work since this is our very busy part of the year in collecting data from insurance companies, health clinics, hospitals, etc.

I went home, then came back to work on Wednesday morning. I was there about two hours or so when I just had to leave. I was scared because I still couldn't figure out how to do my job. I was crying. I went to say goodbye to my coworker and friend Amy Camp. She wouldn't let me drive. She knew something was terribly wrong. She called an ambulance. The next thing I knew I was on my way to St. Joseph's Hospital in downtown St. Paul, MN, very close to where I work at the Minnesota Department of Health. It was an excellent hospital for me to go to because one of its top specialties is neurology/neurosurgery.

On Wednesday I had a CAT scan and an MRI of my brain, then later an MRI of my entire trunk area to see if the tumor had mestatisized. It hadn't, thankfully.

At first the doctors thought it was an agressive, stage three or stage 4 brain tumor. The biopsy results should come within a couple of days. It is in a spot that I choose not to have surgically removed because of the chance of losing cognitive reasoning skills. That is not acceptable to me.

The plan at this point, before knowing the biopsy report, is five weeks of radiology and chemotherapy and then a cweek of cyberknife. I have a feeling that I don't have long to live, but that could be because I've always had a feeling that I would die by age 62. No idea what that was all about.

I'm sure glad I met all my new friends before all this happened. What joy they have all brought me in the last nine months since I met them. Holly Cairns, Matt Entenza, Jason Hitchcock, Bridget, Gretchen, many others from the Entenza campaign (I can't remember all their names now because of the brain swelling, but probably will soon.), Mark Dayton, Brian Klaas, Katie Tinucci and others from the Dayton campaign. Mark Dayton is the one who first excited my excitement in campaigning since the 2010 gubernatorial race began. After that, I was completely hooked on the campaigning and the election as well as the entire political process. I got to know all the DFL gubernatorial candidates personally. They're all wonderful, caring, intelligent people. Any of them would make a fine governor for Minnesota. They all truly care about Minnesota and the issues facing Minnesotans.

R. T. Rybak and Paul Thissen were both very special to me. They went out of their way to make me feel welcome and to answer questions about hepatitis C and cirrhosis, which is another medical issue of mine. Almost all of the DFL candidates for governor took a great interest in answering my questions.

Tom Rukavina added so much fun and humor to his campaigning. What a unique, feisty, wonderful guy. I'll also never forget his staffer Orrie Salper. He was very special to me because he's such a warmhearted, kind person and has a great sense of humor. Also, I can say nothing but good things about Matt from the Thissen campaign, Senator John Marty and various others.

The Rybak staff, as well as Paul Thissen and his wife Karen, who is such a wonderful woman, also made me feel very good about campaigning and about politics in general.

Also not to be forgotten are all my new reNEW MN friends. What a great group of people! Minnesota is definitely changing for the better because of them. They added so much fun, excitement and enthusiasm to the 2010 DFL State Convention. I was so glad to be an alternate delegate to that event. I met lots of people, including a direct descendant of Daniel Webster who was also named Daniel Webster. The current Daniel Webster was a staunch Rybak supporter. He's the one who did the Rybak campaign music video called I've Been Everywhere.

There are now three remaining DFL candidates for governor. They are Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza and Margaret Anderson Kelliher. It's very difficult to decide which one to vote for. On the other hand, I might not live long enough to have to decide. I've always been a Dayton supporter and I also like Matt Entenza very much.

I have a strong fondness for Mark Dayton, maybe partly because he's of the same era that I am. We both were active protestors against the Viet Nam War. We both distinctly remember Kent State and all the other intense things that happened in the late 1960s and early 1970's. We remember the same culture and the same music. We both love The Moody Blues, although he liked the Rolling Stones better and I liked The Beatles better. We remember Country Joe and the Fish, Simon & Garfunkle, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie and so many others. We both kept our progressive values. No wonder I feel an affinity with him. I feel an even greater affinity toward him now that I know him a bit in person. He's never deviated from his dedication to progressive politics. He's been working hard and diligently toward progressive goals since the late 1960's. He has always put the well-being of others before his own needs.

Matt Entenza is definitely another person who I would feel very comfortable with as governor. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, as well, has the values that Minnesota needs. Any of these three would make a great governor.

In conclusion of this first part of my current medical story, I can only tell you, since when I wrote this I hadn't received my biopsy results yet, that the "tumor" might have been growing for awhile until it finally got big enough to cause the symptoms of confusion and disorientation. Luckily the steroids the doctors have me on alleviates that.

I'll submit Part II later today or tomorrow.


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