Croatia and feeling better

The last few weeks have been a bit daunting in terms of work demands, but it seems I’ve finally shaken the last of the UTI and feeling much better. I’ve noted in recent days that the small incontinence seems to be waning, but I think some therapy and pelvic floor exercises are on my horizon.

We did a first exercise session with Or Hever at SenseMed last weekend. He was nice enough to do a Sunday session for us and oriented us while getting the overall plan together. Emily and I are working with them as an organization for a holistic approach, with planned joint Pilates sessions and other therapy. SenseMed is a one stop center for exercise, therapy, nutrition advice and wide range of other services. I’ve had an intake appointment with an Oncologist and they are developing a full plan. Already part of a private WhatsApp group as well as one with my wife that we titled MetaMorphosis. Truly looking ahead and finding a better place for ourselves. I was quite sore after the workout, but didn’t phase my yoga fanatic hardly at all. Definitely needed a vacation and so, we are here for the week:

Split, Croatia
Hotel Landing Refreshments

Continued Recovery

I’m sitting in the cafeteria, soaking up the youthfulness of the room and using the last few minutes to drop an update on the table. Only here for now rather than Facebook or elsewhere. Now over 8 weeks post surgery and still taking baby steps after the initial blessings of getting past the hard part and the joy of test results.

The more difficult parts now are longer term in nature. The diet goes well with high vegetarian dishes pushing us with only the occasional meat. That is working well to keep weight in check, which will surely pay dividends. Pathology reports aside, the issue now is wellness and some remaining post-surgery issues that are common under prostate surgery.

I have another UTI that Re-emerged last week. These seem to be hard to shake as this is my third and makes more deliberate exercise and revitalization difficult. As a result, there is still some challenge with leakage (not very much) and general strength, which is still making me feel weak at times. I want to swim or do more advanced pace on tread, but this all seems to be on hold until I’m UTI free and 12 weeks out. This include restrictions of not being able to get massage or other Physio treatment. So, I’m on a track to October before I can ramp anything up beyond daily walking,

That makes things depressing at times and I notice my mood swings. It’s nice having the weight off, but despite good sleep, still isn’t adding the vigor I had hoped for after the cancer free declaration.

I knew from outset it would be long process, but as the time ticks, I struggle a bit. Horizon warm and inviting, but still hazy and unclear.

Important Update – PSA test is in!

I mentioned in the last post that I would be getting confirmatory blood tests following my wonderful pathology report. I’m writing today to confirm the following:

For those who can’t read the Polish, this is the PSA level, 0.023. Going into surgery, I knew that I would need to get a result below 0.2 (so I’m 10 times below) and that this was the main reason for surgery over other treatments. So, the bottom line – cancer free!!

I’m still not sure I’ve fully comprehended this nor am I celebrating in the face of 3 month regular checks. But, it was certainly good news and allows me to focus more on general health and well-being. I’m excited about that.

To report on my general health, I can confirm my new weight is now stabilized within the normal range. Thanks to those who have noticed and given me a thumbs up at my svelt appearance. I’m still building strength and, for those who have asked, I have described my general status as 90%. That last 10 will take more work and focus. That might initially be hard since I’m back at work full time and engaged in a 30 million renovation project. 1006 students, and war continuing to rage in the east. Life is never dull.

But, for the moment, I’m enjoying the reduction of fear having dodged the c-bullet for the moment. I can live with the consequences as I continue to heal. Feeling my age is far better than feeling lost and uncertain. I can LIVE with aging. 😉

Pathology Report is In

Time for an update on the health situation. Got the call this morning on the three-week pathology report. Dr. Salwa very happy to confirm that the tumour was fully contained in the prostate with clean margins and there was no sign of any cancer in the lymph nodes!! This is the best news possible and means no further treatment other than continued recovery from the surgery. We check in again in 3 weeks to confirm that PSA is now less than 0.2 and I’m officially in the clear with regular 3-month checks of PSA level.

It’s been quite the journey and he cautioned that recovery is still additional weeks ahead of me. But, all results so far, other than the UTI last week, have been good. Antibiotics resolved the UTI and I continue the recovery process with longer and more regular walks. Also starting to re-engage with some work on a transitional schedule and ready to return, I believe, in August.

Appreciation again to everyone out there keeping us in their thoughts and prayers. I have no doubt that this is key to continued recovery and the incremental good news reports. Many thanks from both Emily and I!!

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…

Mother’s Day 2021

Hard to imagine another Mother’s Day is here and almost gone. As tradition holds, breakfast was delivered in bed to include waffles bacon and scrambled eggs, orange juice on the side. I’ve come to enjoy these Sunday mornings each year despite the fact that we are now empty-nesters. It was nice that the sunshine bathed us as we lumbered out of the apartment mid-morning to take a long walk with the dog. Found our way to the back roads and a walk through a plowed field along Kulturi Park boundary and one of the many growing areas that are still in the surroundings of this suburban/rural area of Warsaw. The dog was happy to be off leash and Emily relished the sunshine on our backs and the warmth that remained despite the lightly blowing wind and moderate temperatures.

We chanced upon a bicyclist and his wife with their sleeping baby in tow in the carrier caboose and couldn’t help but remember the many years that we had our own two children in a similar one trekking through Washington and Shanghai.

It was a lazy but busy morning. One to remember. Kids scattered around the world, but our family Facetime call at 4:30p followed by virtual church with our friends/family at Mount Cross. Trying to decide if Emily gets another breakfast in a couple of weeks for Mothers Day II – the Polish version. Not sure if it is fair that she gets to double dip like this.


Should be more encouraged by resilience in the most difficult of times, but instead very depressed and dejected at the complicated and daunting situation in Poland and Europe right now. A bit of good news was a picture of the property sent by friends across the water. Uplifting to know, 1) that we will be visiting there now that we are vaccinated, and 2) that there is something I can see on the horizon – the silver lining.

Will chronicle the property development here, but for now, rainbows rule! Thanks, Laurie!!

Confounding & Concerning

I take up pen today to reflect on the frustration of the current moment – both personal and global. I’m caught in a cavalcade of conflicting feelings over the current situation as it confronts all of us. I don’t think I’m too far from the average on this and the global implications.

COVID-19 and Keeping School Open

We have a plan and it seems to be working. But, that doesn’t help me sleep better each night because the fear is still relevant and real. We are human, with all the frailties that this implies. We try to feign being indestructible, but we all know full well that the current unforeseen enemy is akin to the tales of David and the sling. We’ve been hit in the forehead with the protein spikes and the giant is falling.

So, while our work is being applauded from around the world, the trepidation of calamity is still in my mind. I’m hopeful of staying the course but thoughtful about what the alternative needs to be. We will prevail, but the question now becomes more political and less medical. We have to stir faith in our protocols in order to push back on political and policy expediency. As the CDC, FDA, and WHO have learned, that can be the greater challenge.

Home and Family and Health

We live in safety, but having the family in regions around the world, we have unique insight into the global implications. We don’t tick the box on third world, but we Poland, Italy and the US in our framework and each gives perspective on the other.

Erin seems settled in Florence and back to normal life. While much of the eating seems to be ordering delivery, there are trips to restaurants back in her life and classes back in face-to-face mode. Doesn’t help us be less fearful for her, but little we can do from a distance.

Jaisen seemed unfazed by the virus in Washington State, completing his BA degree in the at the tail end of the first shutdown and starting his MA degree during the summer (smartest decision he could ever have made). But, still worried about the second wave although Washington seems better than most.

Grandma holding down the family hub in University Place and seems to be reinforcing that we made the right choice to keep her in her home with caregivers under the circumstances in nursing homes and assisted care facilities. She’s so far avoided any significant impact.

Politics and Perplexity

The family have all voted. That’s good. This is Erin’s first election and she’s pumped after participating in some racial protests here in Warsaw in support of equity and tolerance. She’s on the edge of becoming an activist and I’m hopeful that we have inspired these values from our global adventures as a family. We are all anti-Trump which is the rough equivalent of anti-stupidity. I hope the articles about the potential that Trump might still win are just attempts at getting people to turn out and vote. If he pulls off victory in 20 some odd days, I’m not sure that the hope which has been inspired in my by Biden and Harris will survive. Dreadfully concerned still, despite the favorable polls.


How to stay sane in all of this. I’m not sure. But, faith is being tested and, yet, I remain hopeful that possibility will emerge from despair.

Stay tuned. We are certainly watching…