Logging Jon’s Health Updates to a Public Space

I started writing my health updates in Facebook, but there are many I’m not connected to through that portal. So, here are the updates so far from Facebook earlier and then I’ll start posting here in future updates to share my experience for those it might help. This might be premature since I don’t have pathology results yet. But, here’s the updates shared so far:

July 1

Similar to a recent faculty message, I have held off writing to all of you about this because there have been so many things happening on multiple fronts. A special thank you to all the friends and family that attended Grandma Shirley’s Celebration of Life last week. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this special lady and all that she cared for in her obviously broad sphere of influence. The many stories of her care and actions were well received!

With that important event now behind us, I decided it is now important to let you know about the information that I have incrementally shared with family, my board chair and board, and recently my administrative team and staff. With advice from many, I’m letting you know that I’m dealing with a health issue that now requires some action this summer that will also involve a recovery period.

For about two years, I’ve been monitoring a health condition that was confirmed in February as Stage 1 Prostate Cancer. There have been no health impacts and I want to reassure everyone that it has been caught early and additional testing through the spring has confirmed that. Consultation with all of the doctors in my circle (Dr. Oleszczuk, Dr. Ossowska, Dr. Kunkel, Dr. Sosnowski, Dr. Bostic, and Dr. Salwa) yielded a final recommendation for surgery, which is now scheduled and confirmed for July 4th (a change from the originally announced June 29th) here in Warsaw. Surgery of this nature is curative in a large percentage of cases and all are hoping for the best. Dr. Salwa is my surgeon and is a stalwart robotic practitioner with a strong reputation for successful procedures and a wonderful bedside manner. I’ll be recovering at home here in Warsaw during the month of July.

For those family members and close friends who were in the loop, I appreciate the kind words so far and the special thoughts that have been shared continuously as I traveled this journey.

In particular, I was handed, in a special moment, a necklace by my nephew, Dylan. As he presented it to me in a crowded room, with his son Aspen in his arms, he let me know quickly that this medallion was with him through both his transplant surgery and his precious son’s heart surgery. He felt it would sustain me as it had them during the most difficult of moments. I’m sure there is more to this story and I look forward to hearing about it. At the time, we were in the midst of recognizing Mom’s celebration and had no opportunity to talk further, but looking into it, I found out it is a Joannes Paulus II medallion with relic. I’ll include pictures here, but it is truly special when you consider that Pope John Paul II was born in Poland. He was a wonderful and consequential pope who understood suffering and was a strong opponent of oppression and violence. I can’t help but wonder how he would feel about what is happening in Ukraine right now and what we have had to endure over the past 18 months. So, with this medallion in hand, I’m buoyed by God’s love and support in what comes this week.

In short, I look forward to a speedy recovery, supported by heavenly intervention, and I’ll return to work in August with enthusiasm. I’ll try to keep you updated on this channel when I’m able. Emily is not a Facebook user, so updates may have to wait until I’m more recovered.

Love to all and thanks in advance for your prayers and support.

And, thanks Dylan, for a truly special loan of a unique token and the heartfelt support that goes with it.

July 5

Short note between sleepiness. Surgery went well. Two walks today with Emily up and down hallway so far. 15 minutes every hour. Fluid intake going well. Hospital food – yuck. But eating. Stay until Friday. Pain, but bearable. 3 weeks for tissue results. But, not too bad so far. Nap time…

July 8

Reaching out to say thanks for all the continued support. It means a lot and has helped through the toughest parts. We have now officially moved into phase 2. That means they sent me home yesterday afternoon and sleeping in my own bed, while a bit uncomfortable, was a true joy. Feeling like I’m settling in at home, with regular walks around the room. Catheter removal next Thursday so won’t be out and walking about until then. Phase 2 also includes waiting for three weeks on pathology report. If nothing in lymph nodes and no other complications, then back to monitoring. If something, then some follow-up care to be determined. So, for now, rest and recovery. There is a bit of a Frankenstein look across my abdomen. Despite that, can vouch for DaVinci robot. Up and out of hospital in two days! Powerful. Also, great team at Medicover Hospital taking care of me. Shared room with nice chemical engineer professor from Gdańsk. Not too much English, but enjoyed getting to know him a bit. Emily has been a trouper as you would expect. I have the best caretaker! And shout out to Dr. Pawel Salwa, my surgeon. Daily visits and wonderful care! That’s it for now. Next nap time…

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