Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Why I'm Thankful

On this Thanksgiving Day, I find myself even more focused than usual on reasons to be thankful for all I have in this life:

I'm thankful to a loving Heavenly Father and for the Gift and the Atonement of his Son, Jesus Christ, through Whom all will gain Eternal Life.

I'm thankful for wonderful children who are a Gift from Above, and most especially for a wonderful wife and soulmate who completes me. I'm nothing without you, Dearest Love.

I'm thankful for living in the greatest country on Earth -- not a perfect country, but the best there is and capable of becoming still greater.

I'm thankful I've had the opportunity to serve my country in what I consider to be the most focused and dedicated group of professionals I know -- the world of Submariners.

I'm thankful that, while I've put down my arms, there are brave men and women who continue to pay the ultimate price to defend our country and our way of life on whatever battlefields may await.

I'm thankful for loving friends and family, who always seem to be available to help one out when you need them. Especially as I work on beating my cancer, the good humor and support of so many has been a bigger help than you could know. I started radiation treatments on Thursday, chemo on Friday, and got a feeding tube implanted in my small intestine on Monday. I've decided that even minor abdominal surgery in conjunction with chemo kind of sucks, but this round of chemo ended Tuesday night, and by this morning I'm back to feeling pretty much normal. My middle child (oldest son, who just turned 18 and made me thankful by scoring a 35 on his ACT so I know that some lucky college will give him a nice scholarship) really wanted to show support for his old man and his chemo by shaving his head. I pointed out that I might not even lose my hair with the minimal amount of chemo I'm doing, but he really seemed to want to do it, so yesterday we did the deed; my father-in-law (right) joined in the fun:

I'm the one in the middle. For you guys who have never gone with this look, it's even worse than what we got in boot camp -- yet strangely freeing. I'm continuing radiation treatments through about Christmas, with another quick round of chemo at the end of that, then between 4 and 8 weeks later I'll get an esophagogastrectomy up in Seattle. A few weeks of recovery from that, maybe another round of chemo, and I expect to be cancer-free by spring. And for that I'll also be thankful.

Update 1224 27 November: I'm also thankful that we can still donate to Project Valour-IT, and can even get some good reading out of our donations by bidding on one of the three excellent books that Team Navy has put up on E-Bay; check them out here, here, and here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel: Dude, you're one tough guy, That e-somthing-ectomy thing. I read the info flyer. Yikes!! Makes sense but I'm so impressed by how matter-of-fact you are about it. You really are making cancer your bitch.

Nice scalp, btw.

Get well soon!!!!

11/27/2008 6:38 AM

Blogger Joe and Samantha said...

Keep up the positive attitude!

11/27/2008 6:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Joel. I share your sentiments completely on the things to give thanks for. I'll also give thanks in advance to Him for keeping our friend around for a long time to come. You'll beat this Joel, with your willpower, your attitude, and your faith in the Lord.


11/27/2008 8:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


My father is dealing with lung cancer. Has had radiation and is going through chemo. Keep a stiff upper lip and keep fighting.

11/27/2008 10:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Joel! We've much to be thankful for. Glad your finally getting on the shaved head bandwagon. I've been sporting that look for several years now. It is indeed liberating, no more comb-overs for me.

I know you'll do fine with your cancer tx, I'm pulling for you shipmate.

Keep a zero bubble.....

The baldheaded DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

11/27/2008 11:24 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Happy Thanksgiving Joel!

Have a great day with the family~

11/27/2008 1:09 PM

Blogger C said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Seeing those shaved scalps makes me smile... I shaved my head when my mom lost her hair. :) Your attitude is great!

11/27/2008 1:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Just FYI, when I lived in Michigan a few years ago, a fellow church member had an esophagogastrectomy. He made as near a 100% recovery as possible! Keep up the positive attitude!

11/27/2008 3:47 PM

Anonymous Rick said...

Happy thanksgiving. I personally know 3 people who have had and beat cancer (toung, prostate, and lower GI). Best of luck! keep up the blog.

11/27/2008 8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You survived Big Ed on the waterfront in SD in the early 90's in San Diego...You can beat this .... I'm not religous but I think of you everyday and look forward to your posts... You have a broad knowledge of boats and ops that no other sub blogger has....

11/28/2008 2:06 AM

Blogger WillyShake said...

Amen. Please know that you will be in my prayers in a very special way in the days ahead.

11/28/2008 6:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY!! That's great!
I just sent you a Yahoo E-mail, entitled, " 3 pics of a Fast Attack in Puget sound."

Have a good weekend.

SSGT J. Casey.

11/28/2008 8:53 PM


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