Cancer, Smoking, and a belated message from Paul Cassells
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Thread: Cancer, Smoking, and a belated message from Paul Cassells

  1. #1
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    Cancer, Smoking, and a belated message from Paul Cassells

    I knew Paul Cassells for many years. We first met in the 1980's through our mutual passion for sailing. And then it was motorcycles. Paul was a client of mine, and I a client of his. I tend to keep my old emails and was reading a few that Paul sent me over his last couple of years and thought it was time to pass them along. Sorry for such a long post. Paul was obviously spell check challenged. Gotta love him. And if you still smoke, please read every last word. They were, in fact, the last words from Paul.

    October 14, 2009
    Well to those of you receiving this email you are probably already aware that I was diagnosed with cancer on my tongue recently, and if not chances are I consider you a good neough friend you are being included in the circle of people who are getting this email.

    I have since been to the Cancer clinic and seen the doctor there. I thought I would give you an update and it goes as follows:

    They havel done some cat scans on me to find out how far the cancer has progressed and hopefully it has not gone to my larinx or vocal chords as well as my limph nodes or lungs. I will have surgery on Wednesday October 21st and they will cut the growth off my tongue and I will be in the hospital over night. I should be out of commission for around 2 weeks and with any luck will still be able to speak quite well. They do have a program going on where they use bright neon lights to be able to tell how far the cells have progressed and this seems to be a good thing so I am participatating in this program as well as a couple of others, if nothing else I'll probably get more medical attention being envolved although they say not.

    I probably don't have to tell anyone that this is almost guaranteed to be due to the fact I smoked when I was younger, so if you know anyone who still smokes you're more than welcom to pass this along QUIT NOW.

    I don;t want this to become a Pity Party so please keep this as low key as feasible. I'm trying very hard to be positive and I think and hope this has been caught early enough that I should survive without to much damage, I'm sure most of you know the 2 things I like to do are eat and talk, I'm hopig to be able to do both once this is over.

    If you are in the insurance business please give us a bit of latitude as my sister Ena will no doubt be getting the brunt of this.

    Thanks for listening

    Kindest Regards,
    [signed] Paul

    October 27, 2009
    Hey gang just got a nice wee not from Ena who said you'd been asking about me so I thought I'd send you a note, at least I get to do all the talking without any interruptions.

    Just thought I'd send you guys a wee note to thank you all for helping my Sis Ena copy as these days go by. Not sure of you've all been talking behind my back but if I find out you haven't there'll be hell to pay!

    Anyway I'm doing okay at hoe resting somewhat although I've been on the computer since about 10 minutes after getting up this morning. The operation when fairly well as far as I know.The Dr says he ended up taking quite a bit more of my tongue out than anticipated and although it doesn't look like that much he says he took about a half of my tongue off, and I guess took some of the nerve out. He and his henchmen, as he calls them, didn't seem to be to worried about this although I thought that was a bit worse than not taking any nerve out. Anyway whenever the Dr is not around all of his juniors seem to much indicate as far as cancer surgeons go this guy is about as close to God as it gets. (I also have a client who sells surgery tools and supplies that deals with his office and sort of indicated the same sort of thing, not sure if he's the head of the cancer clinic but I guess he's a good guy to be "In" with one way or another)
    When they said the healing process for this was going to be painful they certainly weren't shitting me, if you ever meet some guy who figures he's tough, send him in for this and it'll give him a bit of a reality check. Incredibly painful for the first few days as they also lasered some of my throat and vocal chords although just a small part that's really sore part of the whole deal, its not only hard to swallow its almost impossible not to. And when you don't if your sleeping on your side, well lets not get into that...Started of with a whole array of "make me feel good little items primarily T3's but also lots of morphine which amazingly did almost no good. The surgery was over by about 4 pm so my squad of well wishers was gone by around 7:30 or so. But about 10 or so the General Anesth. was really wearing off so the started flipping me pills and the nice nurse said "oh still in pain no sweat we'll try some Morphine that'll solve your problems. Ya well watch this... about 6-8 shots of it later nothing..So the next day the Dr came in and made a great decision we'll just try a really big shot of HYDRO-MORPHINE this is a synthetic morphine. Anyway as I was in so much pain we'll just go right to upper extreme. Anyway I started OD'ING so a nice little team of experts came in and started administering reversal drugs, that was kind of neat, haven't had that much attention since my last cold when Patti wasn't working. Anyway got that all straightened away and went back to mostly t3's and very small dosages of Hydro Morph. which seems fine I only take those when I really need them (very small pill .6 of a mg tabs) in addition to t3's

    So I'm home now and for the past couple of days the ironic thing is that like many people I get bouts of GOUT which if you don't know about is very common and can be excruciatingly painful. Haven't had an attack in probably 2 years, well guess what surgery can bring on a gout attack. By 2 days ago my gout was hitting me worse than my throat and mouth, Oh well took my mind off that, again if you have a friend with this and they don't have gout...jump on their foot REALLY hard with your high heals on (yes you too Ian) and that'll take their mind off things...

    Next their going to do some sort of fairly invasive operation on my throat which the henchmen say can really go sideways but as long as it Dr. Durham doing the surgery I'm really safe. (man that makes me feel good when they keep saying this, just hope their not shittin me)
    This will be a required thing although the senior junior guy (can't think of his title) seems to say its a bit on the exploratory side and hopefully and quite probably we'll find nothing but even so, being pretty dangerous, we can't really get by without doing it. Anyway again of they were gong for scare tactics their definitely working.

    So as of Tuesday (today) I'm feeling way better, definately on the mend, getting ready to be able to start talking again and by all means I'm pretty sure I should be able to talk okay although I won't be nearly as suave as I was before although I may be even better looking (at least in my mind..Hey I'm grasping here)

    So again thanks for listening and taling care of Ena.



    November 6, 2009
    Hey Gang, just thought I'd fire off an update to my cancer situation and this is how it goes.

    I went to see the Dr. today (Friday) who is quite pleased with the progress. He tells us that he took a bit extra off my tongue and is quite happy he did, as all signs are, that things are looking as though he certainly PROBABLY got all of the cancer. Although the shape of my tongue had us concerned he reports that he sort of does his best and then once the healing has begun he sort of sees how it turns out and then goes frrom there, and he's relatively happy with the shape of how its turned out, and reports that it should actually get better over time. Anyone who has spoken to me will agree I now have that gruff hoarse sounding voice which I guess is due to the lasering of my vocal chords. I am hoping and the Dr agrees my voice should get better over time. I'm also hoping chicks think I sound sexy... but from the looks I'm getting... it ain't happening. After looking at my tongue carefully he thought it still looks swolen and soar although I don't seem to be in pain it wears on me after I've been speaking very much. So next up was this Radical Neck Disection that there has been talk about, anyway he says they don't do this anymore the do Partial Neck Disections now which is somewhat less intrusive. At any rate they saw very little sign that the cancer had moved down into my lymph nodes although one was somewhat a funny shape which is a bit of a cause of concern. So I had 3 choices. 1 Radiation, you only do this once on any specific area so we'll keep that in our back pocket just in case for later. 2 wait and see... do a series of ultrasounds and take samples, and 3 do the partial neck disection and remove the lymph nodes and just get it over with.

    Ena & Patti sugessted that we just go ahead & I basically said what would you do if it was your brother and he said just do it, so that our plan. The surgery is about 1.5 hrs and I'll be in over night. Healing will take a couple of weeks and my neck will be somewhat sore and I will have a scar across my throat although they try and do it in a wrinkle so its less noticable. The after effect is that I may lose some feeling in my cheek above the scar and it will feel somewhat bruised after. They do have to cut some nerves without question as well as remove a saliva gland although he says there are more in various spots in your mouth so that shouldn't be an issue.

    So all in all we're quite happy, optimistic and ready to move forward. He does indicate we should wait a few weeks until my tongue is healed up which we will do, but by all accounts its sounds like I should be around to torment you all for a while. And if your one of my sailing pals get ready cause I'll be ready.. right when the weather gets really crappy and yes you have to come...

    Thanks again for all the support and for listening.


    August 23, 2011
    From Ian Campbell, a mutual friend

    I spoke with Patti this morning. Paul has cancer at the base of his
    skull - from the way Patti was talking it could be anytime! UGH!

    A few days later, as I was boarding a small ship in the Arctic, I was handed an email from from a very grim faced crew member; "Paul passed today". It's not too often that tears come so quickly but they did that day.

    You've probably all heard it before, and Paul says it above, if you smoke, QUIT. NOW. I smoked for 15+ years and it was the stupidest thing that I ever did in my life. The smartest thing that I ever did was quitting. Pass it on. Please.
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  2. #2
    Yep Array Ms2uared's Avatar
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    A great message. Thanks for posting. I was checking out the Bike Night pics from 2010 and came across this picture. I never knew Paul, nor met him. But to those who did, I think you would enjoy this.

    Click to View

    Law of Logical Argument - "Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about"

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    If i was put here on earth to be a practical functional, purposeful member of society... im a happy FAIL

  3. #3
    backslider Array K-rod's Avatar
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    RIP Paul.

  4. #4
    Registered User Array bandito's Avatar
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    I've never really seriously quit smoking. I guess I smoked for about 20 years. I quit a month ago... for health reasons. You can't change the fact you did it, but you can take ownership and quit... and take some comfort in knowing that it's never to late to quit.

    I finally came to my senses and thought.. what a fucking waste of my health and money. I'd love to have a cigarette... but you know what, I'm so done with that.

    I feel healthier already. I have nobody to blame for it but my own stupidity... and I'm taking what steps I can to benefit myself in the long run.

    You can always look back and say "coulda, woulda, shoulda"... and the fact is, people get cancer for many reasons... even people otherwise very healthy.

    Sad story for Paul. It's part of the puzzle the changed me around.... amongst other things.
    Long Live Shervin Of The North!

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    padawan Array Grendel's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that David. I was in to see Ena today, so was thinking fondly of Paul and missing him...

    and congratulations Jay!
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  6. #6
    Posing with conviction Array heisenberg9's Avatar
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    anyone I can lean against
    Thank you for sharing that David. Paul was a very good person. Really tragic.

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    oldskool suzuki rules Array maggotbreath's Avatar
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    I hardley knew Paul but he found time to know me, always said hi and took a few moments to talk to me about my bike at the bike nights. Damit!!! and dam you David, fuckiing tears!

    14 years and counting!

  8. #8
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    I did not know Paul, but I know his story. Not to change the direction of this thread, but I personally lost three family members to various forms of cancer in two years. When my father was diagnosed, I already knew what I would be specializing in.

    Statistics don't really seem to phase a lot of people, because they either don't believe them, or are willing to play the odds. So as someone who is getting to know cancer for a living, when I tell you that of those diagnosed with lung cancer, smoking will account for the disease 93% of the time, I don't expect that to bother anyone.

    I wouldn't expect vivid depictions of the dead and dying patients I know (many in terrible pain because the of the pain associated with swelling/number of metastases cannot be controlled with non-lethal doses of morphine) would phase anyone either; seeing the young adult the other day with massive tumors up an down his arms might only disturb you in person (I should add he was blind and likely living on his own which would account for why this stage IV cancer wasn't detected earlier).

    I personally think the only time cancer will really, truly and deeply phase you is when you're diagnosed. Yes, this is a truism, but I have yet to meet one person who has not been met with an acute loss of self throughout the course of their disease at some point. Physically and emotionally this disease will fuck you up the asshole - though I understand that may appeal to some people so perhaps up the nostril is a better metaphor. If your primary cancer doesn't, then complications of your treatment will. And there are many complications: an increase in family debt (hard to work when you have about the same number of functioning RBCs as an infant mouse with murine sickle cell anemia), secondary cancer (from radiation therapies to treat the first one), opportunistic infections, emotional trauma to your family members... the list is really long.

    And then even when you think you've beat it all, Big Daddy Kane shows up and a close family member gets diagnosed. And don't kid yourself, I can come close to guaranteeing if any close family members live long enough they'll come down with some form of this disease. This disease is NEVER FREAKING ENDING. There will never be a "cure" because each cancer is specific to each individual; each cancer has a unique phenotype, a certain expression of genomic DNA.

    SO, on that happy note, wouldn't it just be easier to try and reduce the risk of you and your family members from getting cancer in the first place? Prevention is like getting your homework done early, and whether you finish a year before its due or an hour, you're still getting it done. Get check ups, quit smoking, drink moderately, stay fit (ride your bike more), and be happy. I'm pretty sure I haven't met 99% of the people on this blog, and lets keep it that way or meet up at some point on your our own terms.

    And coming full circle to Paul, wouldn't it be great never to have to hear a story like that again? No I'm not saying don't post up if you're diagnosed; that's you're choice and in spite of many of our differences on hear, I like to think BCSB can act as a support network, even if it is the brother that can be a jackass at times. Anyways, enough ranting for one night.

  9. #9
    100% Asshole Array SpookyjacK's Avatar
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    12 years cigarette free...will never light up again.

  10. #10
    Registered User Array KillahK's Avatar
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    Comin' up on 2 years here. Honestly never thought I could get to this point!

    Thanks for sharing some of Paul's struggle...
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  11. #11
    Ridin Dirty Array vstromgreg's Avatar
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    Excellent tribute to one of the Finest people I have met since coming to BC....

    RIP Paul.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zug View Post
    Peewee and Kevin from Bayside should get together and start a bike shop called, Fuck you and the bike you rode in on.

  12. #12
    Registered User Array rgm's Avatar
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    On the river.
    My what?
    12 years and counting for me. RIP Paul.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

  13. #13
    Administrator Array adamantium's Avatar
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    I wish.
    I quit a few years back. I honestly coudln't have done it without this book, and I'm happy to say I've passed it on to others whom have quit from the same book. It's called The easy way to quit smoking, you can find it here:

    It's such a stupid habbit. And if you're still smoking, think about this: If you had never smoked, would you be missing out on anything ?
    BCSB- Administrator

  14. #14
    Registered User Array
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    41 years cig free, yeah that's right, I never started. Probably still die of cancer some sort or the other. All I've done is trade one for another. Friend of mine has rectal cancer, tumor the size of a fist in his ass, how the hell can you avoid that one?

    Everything in moderation. I still like cigars, good cigars, and I have 3-4 a year. Don't inhale.

  15. #15
    Supporting Sponsor/Vendor Array GSXRKK6's Avatar
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    Prince George
    none :(
    When did he pass??? I met him a couple of times and he was a really nice fellow. In fact I was just going through my wallet earlier this week and found his business card.

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