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Bone Relay

          Wednesday, 5-22-02.  Bone Relay?  What the heck does that mean?  Well, this update is about two things that happened since my last update.  First, I had my BONE marrow biopsy done today.  Second, I visited my sister Candy and attended a "RELAY For Life" cancer benefit carnival this past weekend.  And there's LOTS of pics in this update, so settle back and take a little ride with me!

          The bone marrow biopsy went real smooth.  No problems at all.  At least, not that I can remember!  LOL!  Here's why...

          Back in October, when the docs in Knoxville were trying to figure out what was wrong with me, they came into my hospital room one day, shot some Demerol into my dying butt, rolled me over, drilled a hole in my pelvis from behind and scooped out some bone marrow.  I was awake the whole time and felt and remember the whole thing pretty vividly.  I could feel them drilling and scraping the bone and digging around back there, and it felt pretty weird.  Then I passed out for two days.

          This time, they gave me a drug that gave me temporary amnesia, so even though I was awake, I don't remember anything that happened between the time they shot me with the drug and some time after the whole thing was done!  It's cool, but also pretty weird.  If it wasn't for the feeling like my back-side is bruised just below my spine and the bandage over it, I'd never even know for sure if they did anything!

          First I got my weekly blood draw.  Then they made me nice and comfortable on a bed, hooked up an IV, put a pulse monitor on my finger, took my blood pressure and we had a nice chat about how they still like my toons there in the chemo ward where this was all happening.  Then my doc came in, had me sign a consent form (he laughed when he saw my signature, and said my toons are better than my handwriting - LOL!!), shot the amnesia drug in through the IV, rolled me over and did his job.  Then I went home and crashed for about 5 hours, and here we are!  No fuss, no muss!

          My next appointment is next Thursday, May 30th, for a CAT Scan.

          Now, as much fun as the bone marrow biopsy was, the Relay for Life cancer benefit event was even better!

          Casey, mom and I went to visit my sister Candy way up North at the top of Michigan where the casino she now works for was involved in the fund raising event.  Let's start looking at some pics!  (They're thumb-nailed, so just click the pic to get the full size view)

The trip started with a 300 mile drive from the Detroit area suburbs where I live to Petoskey, MI where Candy lives and the event was held. We stopped off at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse to check it out. 20020517@115604_2.jpg (56691 bytes)
Here's a closer look at the lighthouse tower. 20020517@120310_2.jpg (54037 bytes)
This is the historic plaque at the lighthouse park. 20020517@121306_2.jpg (70312 bytes)
From the lighthouse park there's a great view of the Mackinac Bridge, also known as "Big Mac".  Here's Casey with the bridge in the background. 20020517@120732_2.jpg (63945 bytes)
Casey and I pose for the bridge shot. 20020517@121004_2.jpg (71147 bytes)
Mom and the bridge. 20020517@121140_2.jpg (59184 bytes)
Then we crossed the bridge to visit my Aunt Marge, who lives just on the other side of it, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 20020517@122202_2.jpg (38070 bytes)
The next day, we arrived at the event wearing our custom Victories Casino team T-shirts.  Here's mom and Candy sporting theirs.  Candy is the Casino's General Manager's Assistant and was team captain for the event. 20020517@175900_2.jpg (51905 bytes)
Here I am with them, camera at the ready. 5-17-02-016.jpg (60615 bytes)
Here's a cool sign.  I should have stretched it out before shooting, but you'll get the idea... 20020518@115134_2.jpg (70371 bytes)
It was a festive place with lots of colors, like this cool balloon arch. 20020518@115240_2.jpg (69728 bytes)
There was lots of entertainment, including this Elvis impersonator. 20020518@115252_2.jpg (80275 bytes)
Face painting was VERY popular and helped to raise lots of cash for cancer research. 20020518@120804_2.jpg (56786 bytes)
Casey got her face and both hands painted. 20020518@153628_2.jpg (39198 bytes)
Each booth had it's own theme, based on the event theme of famous persons, real or fictional.  This is the booth of the Hatfields & McCoys.  They won "Best Site" award for their effort.  It was REALLY cool. 20020517@180418_2.jpg (87616 bytes)
We all helped work the booth where we could.  Here's mom taking a turn at one of the game tables. 20020518@121008_2.jpg (42711 bytes)
Casey worked concessions and game tables. 20020518@174848_2.jpg (64286 bytes)
I took a few turns too. DSC00168_2.jpg (80638 bytes)
The donated prizes went fast and helped raise lots of money. DSC00172_2.jpg (75970 bytes)
Here's one of the cancer theme bears that was for sale.  I've got mine sitting on top of my monitor right now. 20020518@184644_2.jpg (40286 bytes)
Part of the Hatfield and McCoy booth. 20020518@190728_2.jpg (75843 bytes)
Mmmmm.... Bar-B-Q'd pig for the folks running the booths and putting on the event.  There was lots of great food and of course donations went to cancer research. 5-17-02-027.jpg (87790 bytes)
Casey and I before the event started. 5-17-02-029.jpg (110228 bytes)
Deep into the event, Candy gets a little rest. 20020518@142458_2.jpg (47274 bytes)
Candy's husband Sam gets a rest too. 20020518@184546_2.jpg (32705 bytes)
Don't let that last pic fool you.  Sam worked hard throughout the event and took many of the pics on this page. sam.jpg (67283 bytes)
This is one of the donation bags.  They were $10 each.  You can decorate them any way you like, then you put a little sand in it and a candle and set it along the half-mile long track around the event. 20020518@190614_2.jpg (97848 bytes)
A half-mile track with bags lining both sides was a LOT of bags.  Most were in memory of cancer patients from friends and families. DSC00117_2.jpg (67517 bytes)
Folks walked the track in support of cancer research and checking out all the colorful bags and their messages of hope and remembrance.  Here's the event mascot bear on one of those walks. DSC00121_2.jpg (112521 bytes)
More walkers honor their loved ones. DSC00125_2.jpg (86285 bytes)
Our team's theme was the Wizard of OZ.  It won for "Best Theme" and most money raised for a new team.  First year at the event and we raised $6,700.00  YAY!!  All of the characters in the story wish for something - We wished for a cure for cancer. DSC00147_2.jpg (97094 bytes)
Cassie (here as Glenda the good witch) was the team co-captain.  At the Casino she's the Marketing Assistant.  Next to her is Lucy, the Casino's Asst Dining Room Manager. DSC00128_2.jpg (85322 bytes)
Here's the Cowardly Lion, but he was no coward when it came to fighting cancer!!  Inside is a fellow cancer survivor who asked if he could wear the costume and play the part.  Linda (barely seen in pink) played the scarecrow and works in accounting. DSC00130_2.jpg (83875 bytes)
More walkers from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, and just look at all those bags! DSC00134_2.jpg (90405 bytes)
The Flintstones walk towards a cure.

I walked the track twice, so I got a mile in too.

DSC00137_2.jpg (58475 bytes)
Pooh Bear, Tigger and others from the 100 acre woods did their part. DSC00142_2.jpg (88301 bytes)
I got a cool Survivor T-shirt.  This is the back. DSC00156-a_2.jpg (63539 bytes)
Here's the front of that same T-shirt.  It glows in the dark! shirt2a.jpg (90990 bytes)
Here's the Victories Casino Team T-shirt, designed by the very talented Kristy, who's the Casino's Graphics Designer.  Yes, I agree... It's beautiful! shirt1b.jpg (79054 bytes)
I got some other things, like this little survivor pin.  I wore it on my hat. pin1.jpg (97619 bytes)
And this survivor button I wore on my shirt. pin2.jpg (59270 bytes)
This Relay For Life coffee cup was just TOO cool, so I donated the $8 bucks to call it my own!  It holds a LOT of coffee! cup.jpg (45091 bytes)
Here are some more T-shirts that were for sale. 20020518@190836_2.jpg (71389 bytes)
And yet another T-shirt. 5-17-02-023.jpg (72315 bytes)
The event brought help from every kind of person you can think of, even this spike-haired dude who worked hard all day at the booth across from us. DSC00159_2.jpg (65495 bytes)
Kristy is the very talented artist that did the team T-shirt design and worked the face painting table, which was REALLY popular with everyone.   kristy.jpg (77136 bytes)
Kristy's son Andrew.  Now, I have to tell you, it was only between 40 and 50 degrees and we were all bundled up pretty good with multiple shirts, sweaters and coats.  But THIS little guy must have his own internal furnace, 'cause his mom couldn't keep a jacket on him to save her life!  LOL!!  Some people are just MADE for cold weather, I guess. DSC00179_2.jpg (29750 bytes)
Jason, the casino's Safety Coordinator with Sandy in the background. I'm sure he's making sure the sucker in his hand is safe to eat! DSC00183_2.jpg (40054 bytes)
Sandy's son Jordan.  Sandy is the casino's Sales Manager and my cousin. DSC00185_2.jpg (43353 bytes)
This beautiful girl is Kristen, and she's my cousin Susan Keller's daughter.  She walked for us late at night during the "Glow in the Dark" lap, when most everyone else was tuckered out.  Thanks Kristen!! Kristen_comp.jpg (54325 bytes)
Mike drove the horse-drawn wagon full of cancer survivors around the track. DSC00191_2.jpg (75464 bytes)
Casey managed to get a front seat right next to the driver.  It must be that winning smile she has.  It could also have to do with Candy asking the driver if Casey could go for the ride. DSC00193_2.jpg (73392 bytes)
He told Candy it was for cancer survivors only and Candy told him, "Yeah, her dad's in the back" and pointed at me.  So he told Casey to climb aboard!  Here she is smiling and waving just before we pull away. DSC00194_2.jpg (85223 bytes)
Here I am, sitting in the back with some other survivors on our little horse-drawn ride around the track. DSC00189_2.jpg (63281 bytes)
Here we are making the final turn on the track to come back to where we started. DSC00195_2.jpg (78736 bytes)
When we got back from our ride we were treated to a song of hope from the people that ran the event and the booths. DSC00197_2.jpg (98718 bytes)
Here's a copy of "The Survivor's Song" that was sung to us. SurvivorsSongcomp.jpg (88955 bytes)
All the survivors signed a book and for each year they've been a survivor a chain link was made.  All the links were put together into one long chain and after the song we all got up to hold the chain.  Then we all went around the track in a procession, holding on tight to the chain. DSC00198_2.jpg (74906 bytes)
Here I am on the Chain Gang!  LOL! 20020518@193550_2.jpg (102699 bytes)
As dusk settled, the candles in the bags were lit. DSC00201_2.jpg (42833 bytes)
It was beautiful. 20020518@204510_2.jpg (47104 bytes)
Here's a close up. 20020518@204706_2.jpg (43805 bytes)
The booths were lit too.  The event went non-stop for 24 hours.  This is our team's tent.  It was one of the few places folks could get warm, with the industrial strength heaters we had inside.  It was very popular! DSC00202_2.jpg (33673 bytes)
The lit bags went the entire half mile on both sides of the track.  What a sight!  The pic is neat, but doesn't really come close to doing the real thing justice. DSC00203_2.jpg (26136 bytes)
One last shot of those lit bags at night, and we called it a day.  People came and went the entire 24 hours and walked the track into the wee hours. 20020518@205200_2.jpg (38854 bytes)
Here I am, reflecting on the day's events. DSC00067-1_2.jpg (58055 bytes)
Candy was very pleased with the way it all went. DSC00064-1_2.jpg (44711 bytes)
Casey had a good time too. DSC00079-1_2.jpg (58590 bytes)
And we made the papers! news1comp.jpg (141765 bytes)
Casey and I even got our photo in the paper.  Ok, so it's my back... but hey, that still counts!  LOL!! news2comp.jpg (102394 bytes)

          Next: D-Day
                                                            Buck