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I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

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I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Shrykespeare » October 10th, 2015, 10:21 pm

Guys,

I've kept this under wraps for a while, but I need to tell you guys something important.


In August, I was hospitalized for a bad bowel infection. In the course of my stay at the ER, I had a CT scan.

Thankfully, the infection and the pain that resulted from it cleared up in four days. However, the CT scan revealed a spot on my kidney.

I went to see an oncologist, who informed me that the CT scan revealed what looked to be a mass on my kidney. He immediately sent me for two additional scans, an MRI and a PET scan, to make sure.

Then came the news: it looks like I have cancer.


Now, before you lot go writing my epitaph, let me tell you the good news. All of my doctors (and I've seen a LOT of them over the last two months) tell me that it looks to be in the very early stages. They can't even tell whether it is malignant or benign, and won't know that until they remove the mass and biopsy it. (Oh, and btw, I also have a lymph node in the same general vicinity, near the pancreas, that also looks to be cancerous, so they'll be removing that as well.)

What's funny about all this is, I have had ZERO symptoms from whatever this is. Were it not for that completely unrelated bowel infection that sent me to the ER, I still would not even know about it, and likely wouldn't until, quite possibly, it was too late. So that's a good thing.

So on Monday, October 12th, at 8:00 am (Arizona time), I will be having TWO surgeons work on me. One is a surgeon that specializes in kidney cancer, and he says it's entirely possible that he might be able to remove the mass without removing the entire kidney. Not that I can't sustain myself with only one kidney, people have lived for decades with only one kidney, but I'm hoping that he can at least save part of it, because hey, 1.5 kidneys is better than just 1. The other surgeon is a general surgeon, who will be removing the affected lymph node. The entire operation will likely last five hours, after which I will be in the hospital for anywhere from 3-5 days.

Best case scenario - they are able to do both procedures laparoscopically, which means that they will be using tiny robots to do the work (gotta love technology). It also means smaller scars and a much shorter recovery time. If this is what happens, I may be back to normal in as little as two weeks.

Worst case scenario - they can't do it laparoscopically, rather, they have to open me up and do it. I lose the entire kidney, and my recovery time jumps to 4-6 weeks. I certainly hope this is NOT the case... apart from the obvious reasons, I am hoping to fly down to Miami in mid-November to accept my Gold Medal prize in the Reader's Favorite contest that I won last month for Joshua's Island. I simply CAN'T miss that. Period.


I seem to have very good doctors, and they have every confidence that I will be up and around very quickly. This isn't like heart surgery. I should be able to walk, climb stairs, drive a car, and perform my duties as a medical biller within two weeks if all goes well (which is also good because I'm damn near out of vacation time this year).

And the question you may be asking yourself: is there a chance I could die? Well, it's surgery. Shit can happen. I think my chances of survival are about 99.5%. And yes, that .5% still scares me shitless.


I will not be pushing myself to return, but while I recover, I imagine I won't be doing much but reading, writing, watching TV, and other stuff that doesn't require much mobility. I hope to be able to return to the boards within a week. If I can't, I will pop in to let you know before popping out again.


I'm not a religious man, but many people I know are. The support has been overwhelming. I have members of my family, my wife's family, my close friends, my wife's friends, my online writers' group, my Phoenix-based writers' group, my co-workers, my Scrabble club, basically everyone I know praying for me. And I know I can count on this group to lend their support as well. I have a whole nation behind me, and I know I will make a full recovery. I have books to write, Dammit!! I'm not shuffling off this mortal coil now! (And if I do, believe me, I'm kicking God in the nuts when I see him.)

Thanks to all of you for continuing to be part of this community. It's been a slow year, but we've all persevered. I'm honored to know each and every one of you.


Best wishes,
Patrick Hodges (aka Shrykespeare)
Happy 40th birthday Michelle Rodriguez! (7/12/18)
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Buscemi » October 10th, 2015, 11:43 pm

At least they found it early. Good luck and I hope for a speedy recovery.
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby numbersix » October 11th, 2015, 4:37 am

Shit, man, I'm so sorry to hear that. It's great to know that it was found so early and the odds are with you. Just stay positive and everything will be fine.

If there's anything I or the community here can do to help, please let us know.
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby BanksIsDaFuture » October 11th, 2015, 12:11 pm

Wow, Shryke, sorry to hear that. That fucking sucks. Good thing your doctors seem to have a great handle on it and we know you'll be fine and in Miami next month!
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Geezer » October 11th, 2015, 1:30 pm

We all know you will kick it's ass, Shryke. Get better soon! Glad they found it so early, crazy how some things work out.
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby silversurfer19 » October 11th, 2015, 3:50 pm

You know the fantaverse always has your back, Shryke, so while you and your family must be going through such a traumatising time (which we all know you will not only overcome but beat to a bloody pulp!), know that we will ensure you are covered on here for all the numerous tasks you perform on a weekly base with little thanks. Take your time and come back stronger than ever and we look forward to hearing from you soon. You got this, buddy!
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Chienfantome » October 11th, 2015, 5:02 pm

Oh man, I hate reading that. I wish this didn't happen to you at all, but I'm sure we'll all try and stay positive to help you recover it my friend.
You know we're all here for you, even though some of us are thousands of miles away. Know that people from all around the world will think of you tomorrow , and the following days and weeks with their most positive thoughts. You WILL beat this Patrick. And we'll all be here to celebrate it with you buddy.
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Shrykespeare » October 12th, 2015, 8:01 am

Thanks, everyone. Sincerely.

I will be in touch at the earliest opportunity.

Best wishes.
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby W » October 12th, 2015, 10:29 am

Sorry to hear. Let me know if there's anything you need done that I can do from a couple thousand miles away.
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Shrykespeare » October 16th, 2015, 9:03 pm

Okay, guys , I am now officially home from the hospital.

I would like to thank evry one ofy ou for your well-wishes. The tidal wave of support I have gotten of the last week has been staggering. This is one of the reasons I love you guys so much.


I will be close by for a good long while. I figure it'll be about two weeks before I'm able to return to work, so I'll use that time to do .... well, not much but read, write, watch sports ad relax while my body hemmers itself back together

Great to be back!
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby transformers2 » October 16th, 2015, 9:15 pm

Shit I'm just reading now, so I apologize for the delayed reaction. Glad to hear the surgery went well and I hope you make a speedy recovery!
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Chienfantome » October 17th, 2015, 4:39 am

Outstanding Shryke !! So glad to hear it went well and now you can sit back and relax at home !
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby numbersix » October 17th, 2015, 5:16 am

Delighted to hear it went well, dude. Rest up!
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Ron Burgundy » October 20th, 2015, 8:25 am

Always forget to check this thread. At first you shocked me so much, Shryke, how could the spiritual leader of the fantaverse even consider the possibility of being a mortal man ;)

But being late can sometimes make for a quick relief, so im very glad it went well. For what its worth my uncle beat cancer a few years ago, and he still smokes like a chimney, so theres always hope. We know you'll be back, no rush ofc. Sit back and enjoy some guilty pleasures (which im certain you've already done)
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Re: I'm Taking a (Short) Leave of Absence

Postby Buscemi » November 2nd, 2015, 1:07 am

I just had a conversation with Shryke. He's having complications and had to return to the hospital but he seems to be progressing well and will be back for the November-January leagues. Just wanted to left all of you know.
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