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
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.