The Fonz Will Be 68 This Week

Henry Winkler shown in his most famous role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on Happy Days which aired on television from 1974-1984.

 

Henry Winkler was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York on October 30, 1945 and will be celebrating his 68th birthday tomorrow.

His parents who were Jewish emigrated from Germany in 1939, escaping from the Nazi regime. His childhood was not an easy one for Winkler, since his parents were critical of his difficulties in school. His father spoke 11 languages, so had little patience with a son struggling with his studies. Winkler said he was punished for his learning problems in school.

Winkler graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1970, with a Master of Fine Arts Degree. It would be four years later, before he landed some television roles and also appeared in 30 commercials.

He appeared in an episode of Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and Rhoda in 1974. He also appeared in two movies released in 1974, which were Crazy Joe and Lords of Flatbush.

His big break came later that year, when he was cast as Fonzie in Happy Days. Winkler was cast as a high school dropout, even though he was 29 years old at the time. In retrospect looking back it seems strange that a 29-year-old man would be hanging around with teenagers in high school.

My own experiences in high school told me that the popular kids in high school like Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham did not hang out with someone like Fonzie, who was from the other side of the tracks.

Still, the show caught on with viewers and Fonzie was treated like family by the Cunninghams. One of my favorite scenes was when Fonzie and the guys were on a camping trip and the birds and animals in the woods were making an awful racket and Fonzie said “cool it” or something to that effect and the woods became so quiet you couldn’t hear a sound.

Fonzie was also adept at making balky coke machines work, by hitting them a certain way and the cold drink would come out. ABC television network at first was reluctant to let Fonzie be shown in the early episodes, in fear that he would be known as a hoodlum. His character became so popular, that he was being featured more often in the episodes.

Ratings shot up for the show after Fonzie became a central character in the show. The best thing about Winkler is that he never let his popularity go to his head and was kind to his fans.

Winkler was married in 1978 to Stacy Weitzman and they have now been married for 35 years.

He is the cousin of actor/comedian/writer Richard Belzer and you can see the resemblance in their facial features.

An interesting bit of trivia is that he rode the same motorcycle in Happy Days, that Steve McQueen rode in the Great Escape film.

Even though Fonzie was seen with a motorcycle on Happy Days he never rode one on the show and in fact fell off the motorcycle, when he attempted to ride it off camera.

Winkler also authored 12 novels and they were about his struggles with dyslexia as a child, which he didn’t learn he had till he became an adult.

He portrayed Fonzie in five different series, including Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, The Fonz and Happy Days Gang and Joanie Loves Chachi.

Winkler doesn’t have any kind words about actor Tom Hanks. He was fired from the movie and said he got along better with Hooch in the movie Turner and Hooch, than he did with Hanks.

His production company Winkler-Rich Productions produced the television show MacGyver. He did act in the movie Waterboy playing a high school football coach in the Adam Sandler movie.

 

A more recent photo of Henry Winkler.

Winkler is currently appearing in the comedy-drama Royal Pains on the USA Network. He is also filming a new television series Hank Zipzer, which should be seen on the small screen in 2014, with Winkler being the lead actor in the series.

By the time Happy Days left the air in 1984 Winkler was 39 years old and still playing a high school dropout of a much younger age.

It is good to know that Winkler went from an unhappy childhood, because of learning problems, to receiving a bachelors, masters and doctors degree.

Happy 68th birthday Fonzie!!!

 

 

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Willie Sutton: The Sensitive Bank Robber

Willie Sutton 1901-1980

Willie Sutton was born on June 30, 1901 in Brooklyn New York and died on November 2, 1980 in Spring Hill, Florida.

His education didn’t last past the eighth grade and he turned to a life of crime at an early age.

Sutton wasn’t your average bank robber. He robbed about 100 banks, but never fired a shot, although he did carry a pistol or Thompson sub machine gun with him. He was once asked if the guns were loaded and he replied that he never carried a loaded gun, since someone might be hurt.

Showed Compassion During Robberies

He wouldn’t rob a bank if a baby was crying or a woman would scream. He robbed over 100 banks during his career and says he made $2 million while robbing banks.

He would hold up banks in various disguises, including times when he would wear a police uniform or a telegraph messenger’s uniform.

Sutton was of short stature being only 5 foot 7, but still was able to command respect, when he was robbing a bank. He also focused on robbing safes and refrained from going to teller windows to make his illegal withdrawals.

He was known as the Babe Ruth of bank robbers, Willie the Actor and Slick Willie.

Known For Prison Escapes

Sutton spent half his life in prison, but it could have been even longer, if he hadn’t been able to escape from prison a few times.

One time he escaped with other prisoners, who were all wearing prison guard uniforms and when the prison searchlights shone on them he shouted that it was OK and they proceeded to escape.

Citizen Recognized Sutton

He had been hiding for five years in 1952, when a passenger Arnold Schuster a clothing salesman on the subway recognized Sutton, since he had seen his wanted poster. He followed Sutton and while Sutton was working on a car he told the police that he had seen Sutton. They asked Sutton for identification and it showed him as being Charles Gordon. The policemen didn’t question him further, but their superior told them a short time later to bring him to the police station.

Sutton finally admitted that he was Willie Sutton and he was arrested. Arnold Schuster was hailed as a hero, but Schuster’s life would end a few days later, when he was murdered gangland style. Apparently, Albert Anastasia the mob crime boss had seen Schuster on television telling about telling police about Sutton and didn’t like seeing the snitch on television.

Another example of the sensitive nature of Sutton was shown when he later said that the murder of Schuster really troubled him. Most criminals would have been tickled to have seen the one who caused his arrest murdered, but Sutton seemed more concerned about the death of Schuster, than the fact he was returning to prison.

Released For Medical Reasons

Sutton didn’t escape this time from prison and served 17 years of his sentence, before he was released for medical reasons. He would live another 11 years before dying in 1980.

It was an urban legend that Sutton had said he robbed banks, because that is where the money is, but Sutton said he never said that, since it was obvious that the money was in banks.

The one thing that stands out for me is that although Sutton was a prolific bank robber that he never shot anyone and truly cared about the man who was murdered in cold blood, because he had led the police to Sutton.

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Television – Columbo

A young Peter Falk shown with Katherine Justice in the first episode of Columbo.

 

My wife and me watched the very first episode of Columbo named Prescription Murder this morning. Peter Falk was 41 at the time in 1968. It would be three years later in 1971, before it became a regular series. By the time the last episode was filmed in 2003 Falk was 76 years old.

Gene Barry guest starred in the first show as a doctor, who conspired with his girlfriend to murder his wife. He thought he had pulled off the perfect crime, but Columbo’s dogged persistence in finding out that Barry’s character Dr. Ray Flemming was the killer paid off.

The first episode was shown in 1968 as a pilot episode. Then another pilot episode was shown in March of 1971, before Columbo became a regular series in September of 1971.

Only 68 episodes were shown of Columbo in its 35 year history. Columbo was never a weekly show, which may have worked in its favor, since it was a special event anytime an episode was shown.

A much older Peter Falk in the last episode of Columbo shown in 2003.

Bing Crosby was originally chosen to play the part of Columbo, but he said filming would interfere with his playing golf, so he turned it down. It was a good thing he turned it down, since Falk was perfect for the role.

Columbo was strictly known by his last name and his first name Frank was never spoken in the 35 year history of the show.

My favorite catch phrase from Columbo was his famous “Just one more thing” line he would say, when questioning a witness or suspect.

There is a long list of well-known actors and actresses who guest starred in Columbo. Some of those names are William Shatner, Ray Milland, Leslie Nielsen, Janet Leigh, Faye Dunaway, Vincent Price and Valerie Harper.

Wikipedia lists all the episodes of Columbo:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Columbo_episodes#Season_1

Who Assassinated JFK? LBJ Probably Knows But He’s Not Talking

Lyndon Johnson 1908-1973

Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson was riding in a limousine two cars behind the presidential limousine, in which President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline were riding.

Johnson apparently knew that his limousine was in the killing zone, as he was reportedly ducking down before the first shots were fired.

When the first shots hit President Kennedy at 12:30 on November 22, 1963 and resulted in his death about 30 minutes later, then it changed the life of LBJ forever.

LBJ would be sworn in at 2:38 PM aboard Air Force One, which was only two hours and eight minutes after the first shot was fired an an hour and 38 minutes after the nation learned that President Kennedy had succumbed to the fatal wounds incurred by an assassin or assassins.

If someone asked who would have the most to gain, from the death of JFK the answer would overwhelmingly be LBJ, who went from being a figurehead in the Kennedy administration to being the president of the United States. Another reason LBJ needed to be president on November 22, 1963 was that his name was about to be mentioned,in the Bobby Baker hearings currently going on in Washington that day.

Testimony from those hearings would implicate LBJ and expose the fact that he was getting kickbacks, which would be a felony and he would have risked being sent to prison.

However, by becoming president the hearings were stopped suddenly and President Johnson’s reputation was not sullied, because he was a sympathetic figure having just assumed the presidency, at a time when the nation was in mourning over the death of their president.

President Johnson died 10 years later in 1973 and apparently took his secrets regarding his kickbacks in the Bobby Baker scandal and the Billie Sol Estes scandal and his alleged part in the assassination planning to his grave.

This is my opinion for what it is worth as to who masterminded the assassination of President Kennedy on that November day 50 years ago: Lyndon Baines Johnson was very unhappy being a second banana in the Kennedy administration and he teamed up with the CIA, FBI and the underworld to conspire to kill the president.

The CIA was infuriated with the president, because he abandoned the CIA plot to seize power from Fidel Castro in Cuba. Kennedy called off air support for the invading anti-Castro forces on the Isle of Pines. Then to make matters worse the president stated, that he would like to break the CIA into a thousand pieces. His actual words  reportedly were that he would like to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”[17] Wikipedia

When President Kennedy fired Allen Dulles the director of the CIA later that year it worsened the relations, between the president and the CIA.

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover disliked both President Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Bobby Kennedy. He had secrets about the Kennedy brothers and their womanizing. When Marilyn Monroe threatened to expose their secrets she died a mysterious death in August of 1962. If she had been allowed to tell the media, what she know about the Kennedy brothers, then they both may never have been assassinated, since they would be out of power and cooling their heels at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, instead of being assassinated in 1963 and 1968.

Underworld figures had their own motives to assassinate President Kennedy, since his brother Bobby, in his role as attorney general was waging a war against organized crime, who were the same people, that enabled his brother the president to win the 1960 election, through their dirty politics.

LBJ allegedly conspired with some of his Texas oilmen friends to bankroll the operation. Spartacus Educational has this to say about a meeting held the eve of the assassination and who was present:

Rumours began to circulate that Murchison might have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A friend of Murchison, Madeleine Brown, claimed in an interview on the television show, A Current Affair that on the 21st November, 1963, she was at his home in Dallas. Others at the meeting included Haroldson L. Hunt, J. Edgar Hoover, Clyde Tolson, John J. McCloy and Richard Nixon. At the end of the evening Lyndon B. Johnson arrived. Brown said in this interview: “Tension filled the room upon his arrival. The group immediately went behind closed doors. A short time later Lyndon, anxious and red-faced, reappeared. I knew how secretly Lyndon operated. Therefore I said nothing… not even that I was happy to see him. Squeezing my hand so hard, it felt crushed from the pressure, he spoke with a grating whisper, a quiet growl, into my ear, not a love message, but one I’ll always remember: “After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again – that’s no threat – that’s a promise.”

If Madeleine Brown was telling the truth, then this is evidence, that LBJ was heavily involved with the assassination.

Questions About JFK Assassination

That Still Need to Be Answered

The proponents of the Warren Commission Report may think the mystery,of who assassinated President John F. Kennedy was solved with the release of the Warren Report in 1964, but I still have questions, that I would like to know answers to, before making a decision one way or the other.

What part did Lee Harvey Oswald play in the assassination? I am still not sure he was even in the sixth floor sniper’s nest,when the fatal shots were fired. He was seen in the second floor break room 75 seconds,after the shots were fired and was drinking a Coca-Cola. The motorcycle policeman who questioned Oswald said that Oswald was very calm and not out of breath. Not the reaction of someone,who had just shot the president of the United States. I figure that Oswald did bring his rifle to the sixth floor window that day, so naturally had his fingerprints on it and was probably seen by a witness before the shooting. The deal breaker for me was that LBJ’s hitman Mac Wallace had his fingerprint found on a box on the sixth floor. I think Oswald was set up to look like he was the shooter, while Wallace fired the fatal shots, but Wallace was not even on the sixth floor at the time.

Why would the Dallas police department send a lone policeman to stop Oswald, knowing he was a suspect in the assassination of the president, instead of having two or three cars at the scene before accosting Oswald? Officer J.D. Tippit may still be alive if this precaution had been taken.

Why was Jack Ruby allowed into the Dallas Police Station and why did he gain admittance while carrying a firearm? I can’t help but wonder if Ruby had inside help to gain entrance into the police station, without being searched by someone.

Why wasn’t the transfer vehicle already backed into place, which would have likely prevented Ruby from getting an easy shot at Oswald and why wasn’t Oswald moved during the night? Ruby was allegedly told by his crime bosses, to kill Oswald, so their names wouldn’t be mentioned during the interrogation.

Why did the Warren Commission single out Oswald as the lone conspirator, when he had a long history of being involved in double agent work? I believed Oswald, when he stated that he was a patsy. The lone conspirator theory may have satisfied some Americans, but there is still an overwhelming majority, that thinks he was only a small part of a huge conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.

Why wasn’t more attention paid to Rose Cherami when she told authorities in Louisiana, that she was traveling with two men on the way to Dallas to assassinate the president two days before the assassination? If someone had taken her seriously it could have affected the way the motorcade was conducted on November 22. The top would not have been lowered, if the Secret Service knew there was a viable threat that the president might be assassinated. Still wonder why LBJ insisted on the top being down that day according to some reports and why he also insisted that Jackie Kennedy ride with him in his vice presidential limousine. The people along the motorcade route didn’t come to see Jackie Kennedy riding with LBJ. They wanted to see her with her husband the president.

Why would a bullet be found on Governor Connally’s stretcher unless it was planted there? The magic bullet theory was crucial to the Warren Commission’s theory that Oswald was the lone gunman. I won’t go into detail, since my knowledge of ballistics is very limited.

Why haven’t there been more assassination records released 50 years later? There probably are very few people involved with the assassination still alive. LBJ died 40 years ago. J. Edgar Hoover died 41 years ago. Carlos Marcello, who has been linked with the assassination died 20 years ago. One of the few people still alive today is James Leavelle, who escorted Lee Harvey Oswald on his rendezvous with death, as Jack Ruby ended his life two days after he assassinated the president.

Why did presidential limousine driver stop the vehicle after the shooting began? The delay allowed the shooter or shooters more time to fire their next shot.

Why was the presidential limousine cleaned before it could be examined, since it was the crime scene of the assassination? Evidently, someone didn’t want to risk an investigator finding evidence, that might not jive with the lone gunman theory.

Why did Lee Harvey Oswald work with both anti-Castro and pro-Castro forces? This tells me he was a double agent working for both sides. I think personally, that Oswald was being groomed by the CIA to look like he was a kook, that hated President Kennedy and was good enough of a marksman to assassinate him.

Why didn’t Earl Warren agree to Jack Ruby testifying in Washington, when Ruby had told him he would talk in Washington, but not in Dallas? This may be Earl Warren’s way of making sure that Ruby’s testimony wouldn’t ruin the lone gunman theory, that was the cornerstone of the Warren Report.

Why did a large number of witnesses or witnesses preparing to testify in JFK assassination die mysterious deaths?The debunkers will say there was nothing unusual about any of the deaths, but a case by case study will show there were many mysterious deaths. The mysterious death of Dorothy Kilgallen came shortly after she said she had information that would blow the JFK assassination case sky-high. She had interviewed Jack Ruby shortly before her death and probably in the process of writing the article about her interview with Ruby.

 

In conclusion….there are many more questions that could be asked about the assassination, but the ones are above are questions that I hope to see answered someday.

Nobody on either the conspiracy side or the non-conspiracy side is going to convince me, what the truth is till I know beyond a doubt. what actually happened that day. My best guess right now is that LBJ was the mastermind behind the JFK assassination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abraham Zapruder – Just Wanted To Take Some Film Of Presidential Motorcade

Abraham Zapruder was born in Russia in 1905 and didn’t move to the United States, until his family emigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1920.

Zapruder worked his way up in the fashion industry and co-founded Chalet and Jennifer Juniors in Dallas and his office was located in the Dal-Tex building in Dealey Plaza.

He had no plans of taking his movie camera, to film the motorcade with President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, but his secretary Lillian Rogers talked him into driving the 14 mile trip home to pick up his camera. If he had left his movie camera at home he would have been just another spectator that day, but having his camera made him an integral part of the events of that day.

The movie camera used by Abraham Zapruder to film the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It is amazing that Zapruder picked the precise best spot, to record the assassination of President Kennedy. He took the film of the assassination, which won’t be shown here because the film is very disturbing. The 18 second film was almost certainly the most important evidence, when determining the sequence of the shots.

The movie camera was a 8 mm Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Model 414 PD. Zapruder had his receptionist call the police, since he knew the film contained some very important footage. He later would reportedly sell a copy of the film, to Life Magazine for $150,000. He donated $25,000 of that money to the widow of Officer J.D. Tippit, who was killed less than an hour after the assassination.

This is an interview Zapruder participated in on WFAA TV in Dallas, which was shown on the evening of the assassination:

JAY WATSON (Station WFAA Dallas): […] And would you tell us your story please, sir?

ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER: I got out in, uh, about a half-hour earlier to get a good spot to shoot some pictures. And I found a spot, one of these concrete blocks they have down near that park, near the underpass. And I got on top there, there was another girl from my office, she was right behind me. And as I was shooting, as the President was coming down from Houston Street making his turn, it was about a half-way down there, I heard a shot, and he slumped to the side, like this. Then I heard another shot or two, I couldn’t say it was one or two, and I saw his head practically open up [places fingers of right hand to right side of head in a narrow cone, over his right ear], all blood and everything, and I kept on shooting. That’s about all, I’m just sick, I can’t… WATSON: I think that pretty well expresses the entire feelings of the whole world. ZAPRUDER: Terrible, terrible. WATSON: You have the film in your camera, we’ll try to get… ZAPRUDER: Yes, I brought it on the studio, now. WATSON: We’ll try to get that processed and have it as soon as possible.[6]

November 22, 1963 was the last time that Zapruder owned or used a camera, probably due to him seeing President Kennedy assassinated through the lens.

Zapruder’s testimony before the Warren Commission:

http://www.jfk-assassination.de/warren/wch/vol7/page571.php

His appearance before the Warren Commission, since he had to relive what he had seen that 22nd day of November in 1963 was very trying. He lost his composure when recalling the events of that day before the commission.

Abraham Zapruder set up his movie camera, in hopes of filming the motorcade of President John. F. Kennedy. But what he saw in his lens was the brutal assassination of President Kennedy. He may have taken the most important home movie ever made.

It was less than seven years, after the assassination when Abraham Zapruder succumbed to cancer on August 30, 1970 at the age of 65.

 

 

Cal Smith: Country Bumpkin

Reblogging to update Cal Smith blog, since he died last Thursday.

Nostalgia and Now

The song Country Bumpkin climbed to No. 1 on the country charts in 1974. The song tells a story about the joys and sorrows of life and the late Cal Smith does an excellent job of telling that story through this song.

The song is extremely well written regardless of the title and the phrasing by Smith makes the song come alive to the listener.

Cal Smith died October 10, 2013 in Branson, Missouri.

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Cancer Surgery: A Year Later

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas

This time last year I was in the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. First, let me go back in time to some of the events that may have led to me having duodenal cancer.

May of 2012 was a traumatic time for us, after being evicted from our house in Sulphur, Louisiana. We then moved to DeRidder, Louisiana on July 20 and it took almost two weeks to move our belongings to a trailer. I think the eviction and move took a toll on me emotionally and physically. I truly feel that financial stress played a part, in me acquiring cancer last summer.

I began to lose an alarming number of pounds in July and would have lost 45 pounds by the time I entered the VA Hospital in Houston in October. I vomited 17 times in a two-day period, which contained blood. I went to the VA Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana and they thought at first that I had acid reflux, peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers and H pylori. I was sent home with various prescriptions that didn’t control the vomiting.

Finally on September 28 of 2012 I was admitted into the VA Hospital in Pineville and the next day September 29 they transported me via ambulance to the VA Hospital in Houston.

One of the first things they did in Houston was insert a tube down my throat and connected it to a container that received the contents of my stomach continuously to prevent any more vomiting. The inserting of the tube was one of the most stressful medical procedures done, while in the hospital and very uncomfortable having a tube, but it did prevent any further vomiting.

It took almost two weeks before the oncologist determined that I had duodenal cancer, after unsuccessful CT scan which was too cloudy because of a recent CT scan at the Pineville VA Hospital. Then the doctors tried an endoscopy, which didn’t work, since it the instrument wasn’t long enough to reach the blockage, which they were trying to biopsy.

The oncologist still could not get a biopsy, so they tried another endoscopy that reached the blockage and then prescribed a Petscan to get a better look at the blockage. After these two procedures they determined that I did have duodenal cancer, a cancer that is in beginning section of small intestines. It is also referred to as adenocarcinoma.

The Petscan was a unique experience. For 45 minutes they started and stopped the scan. I had the sensation of being on a train. The only thing missing was that no conductor was saying “All aboard”.

My birthday was on October 14, which was two days before the surgery. My wife Rhonda had made a Happy Birthday poster for the door of my room and my daughter, her husband and two grandchildren were there to celebrate. My two sons, who had already arrived a few days earlier were also there, along with my ex-wife who came with my daughter.

I still have the poster that Rhonda made in our bedroom and it has a lot of sentimental value. Rhonda had to sleep in a chair the first few days, that I was in the hospital. She found out later there was a place called Fisher House on the grounds, so she could have a place to eat and sleep during the night.

One of my brothers also made two or three visits to the hospital, while I was there and his ex-wife and my niece also made visits to see me.

The Surgery

I will never forget the day of the surgery, which was Tuesday, October 16, 2012. I was rolled into a hall where patients were lined up for surgery. I recall the nurses were asking about a patient who didn’t show up for surgery, because he tired of waiting for the surgery and had left the hospital.

Once I entered the surgery room the anesthesiologist began sticking with me with needles which were very painful and I was surprised how many times I was stuck and awake to feel the pain. I could hear the surgery room nurses make clanging sounds similar to the sounds of pots and pans being put on tables.

The next thing I knew it was 11 hours later and my surgery which was supposed to have taken 5 or 6 hours had lasted 11 hours, because I had been nicked in the liver and it caused massive bleeding, which required four units of blood to replace the lost blood. The surgeon told Rhonda that they were close to losing me, so I am very fortunate to even be writing about the surgery.

Recovery

I remember being in a very strange room, after the surgery which I assume was the ICU. It seemed like it was very dark in the room and I almost felt like they had sent me to a secluded cabin to recover from the surgery. I still can’t remember much about this phase in my recovery.

One of the results from the surgery was the finding that I had Stage III duodenal cancer. Duodenal cancer is extremely rare and only accounts for 1 percent of gastrointestinal cancers.

At some point before or after the surgery I had a picc line inserted in my arm, so the nurses wouldn’t have to give me so many injections.

However, I still had blood work done every morning at about 5AM. I had insulin shots in my stomach at least once a day, even though I was and am not now diabetic.

One thing I remember is watching the 2012 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants. I tried to watch all of the games, but would sometimes fall asleep during the games.

About a week after the surgery I was finally allowed to eat real food, for the first time since arriving at the hospital three weeks earlier. However, my appetite was not that great and would only eat part of the food most of the time.

It was great to have the tube removed from my throat, even though it was uncomfortable feeling for it to come out. Needless to say I talked differently while having the tube in my throat, so was happy to talk normally again.

It was Halloween night (October 31) when I was finally released from the hospital. The day started off well as I started being readied for release, but I waited a very long time for the Picc line to be removed. The technician came in the room and had me in more of upside down and sideways position, so that he could remove the Picc line.

My high number on the blood pressure reading was 181, when I was finally released late that night. Blood pressure was a serious problem in the hospital, since it spiked to about 220 at one point, so I was given blood pressure medication and wore a blood pressure patch to bring it down.

Returning Home

Immediately after being released I stayed with Rhonda at the Fisher House that night, to prevent traveling immediately after being released.

We made the 160 mile trip back to DeRidder the next day and began the long road to recovery. I was feeling a little better each day and felt much better, when we made a visit to the VA Hospital in Houston in November, to see the oncologist for a checkup. He told us that duodenal cancer has a history of returning, which sort of caught me by surprise.

We drove home on Thanksgiving morning and we were slowed by a massive traffic jam before we arrived at my daughter’s home in Groves, Texas. When we arrived there they told us, that many cars had hit each other in the fog on Interstate 10, so we were fortunate to miss the accident, but were detoured so we never saw the scene of the accident.

Chemotherapy

I started 91 days of chemotherapy after returning home at the VA Hospital in Pineville. There is no chemotherapy for duodenal cancer, because it is so rare, so was treated as if I had colon cancer.

When I told the doctor I read that there was only a 30 percent chance of surviving duodenal cancer he told me not to worry, since my life expectancy was only 76 since I was a male. I relaxed after that figuring what is two years less or more, since I will be 69 this week.

The chemotherapy had many bad side effects, with sensitive to cold, jaw pain when chewing foods, unsteady on my feet and the oncologist in Pineville switched me to another form of chemotherapy.

It wasn’t much better as it caused another set of problems, so my chemotherapy was stopped 91 days into the 5 month treatments. The oncologist told me my quality of life was being affected too adversely by the chemotherapy. I was relieved to not have to make the weekly trips to Pineville for the chemotherapy treatments and I started feeling better after the treatments stopped with the side effects no longer a problem.

CT Scan in May in Houston

We went to see the oncologist/surgeon at Houston VA Hospital last May. The first day there we underwent another CT scan and did bloodwork. Then the next day we talked to the surgeon and he said everything looked good on the scan and it was clear. However, he said he was concerned that when he lifted the cancerous blockage off the liver, that some cancer may have seeped into the liver and may sprout up at a later date.

Our next CT scan is scheduled on December 11. Hopefully, the scan will be clear and if not will know it is God’s will being done, so not overly worried about the results.

Thank You

I want to thank all the doctors and nurses at VA Hospital in Pineville and Houston for their excellent care. I want to thank all the family members and friends who visited me at the hospital in Houston and those who stayed with me in the hospital, after Rhonda began staying at the Fisher House.

I would like to also thank those who called my room during my stay in Houston. Those phone calls meant more to me, than you will ever know.

In addition I would like to think those who sent gift cards or checks,  to help pay for Rhonda’s food and expenses, plus help pay our bills, while staying in Houston.

Plus I would like to thank those who contributed to the cancer fund my son started,  in conjunction with his bicycle tour starting this week in Kansas City, Missouri.

My goal is to keep a positive attitude regardless of what the results of the scan show, in December and to continue to sing and praise the Lord.