Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gone from my sight.

Last night, my dad died. I got the tearful call from my mother which awakened me from a sound sleep at near midnight EST. It was actually welcome relief. He stopped having real interaction and any quality time after the Thanksgiving weekend. He would have preferred to have left earlier but his body was not done living yet. When I was in Chicago with him and the family for two weeks at Thanksgiving, I read the following in the Joliet Hospice pamphlet on death.

Gone from My Sight.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!""Gone where?"Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she comes!"
And that is death.

by Henry Van Dyke

I thought it was great and hopeful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Heidi kicking a#% at PMC 2008

Click on photo to enlarge!

A good visit to the doctor

It sure is nice when you almost forget to post a trip to the doctor with positive news regarding Heidi's cancer. It is now what we expect when we visit the Cleveland Clinic. No change in the CT scans of the liver tumors from 2007 compared to 2008. The Dr. even said he could easily confuse one for the other. Also the blood and other cancer marker tests have shown no change in activity. Heidi is focusing on her fitness as we all are at this time of year. We will begin training for the Pan Mass Challenge soon! We are trying to figure out the logistics of going to Chicago for my dad's services (when we don't know) and then for the wedding and then to Florida to see Heidi's Dad and Linda. We have a few animals to deal with in the mean time. The doctor further told of another carcinoid patient who stopped seeing him because the tumors just never changed and then 5 years later he showed up and there was still no change in the tumors. We are hoping for this type of outcome.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Elves

Well, last night, my daughter Isabelle laid out some paper towels under the Christmas tree with some Nestle mini morsels on top of the paper towels. When I asked her what it was she told me the story of the Christmas elves who will come and eat the chocolate and stay until Christmas. Sure enough, this morning, the chocolate was gone and the elf was there sleeping under the paper towel. Isabelle could not be more excited. It was fun to watch. Now our neighbor's kids are putting out these paper towel beds under their tree tonight. What fun.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I wish for peace for all at this time. I just talked to my mom and it seems there is peace in the house. Michael

Monday, December 8, 2008

A wish for Santa

Click on photo for larger view.
Well Isabelle, my 9 year old daughter, seems to have found the key to the city. Use Santa for the ultimate trump card on how to get what you want for Christmas. Check out her letter to santa with her wish list.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Heidi's Cancer Story

Here is all the data from the other site I had been keeping since Heidi was diagnosed with Carcinoid Cancer on Oct17th, 2007.

We have completed the Pan Massachusetts Challenge charity bike ride for 2008 and the three of us together raised over $11,500.00 all to be directly used on Carcinoid Cancer Research.
Additional fundraising will begin in early 2009 completely focused on the Pan Mass Challenge.
The Story:
On October 17th, 2007 Heidi was diagnosed with metastatic Carcinoid Cancer of the small intestine with spread to the regional lymph nodes and both lobes of the liver. The primary tumor was removed on October 18th, 2007. The remaining (18-20) tumors in the liver will be monitored for growth through MRI every 4-6 months.
As a 45 year old daughter, wife and mother of 3 children ages 11, 10 and 8, Heidi has a lot of living left to do. She is feeling great! Through research funded by Caring for Carcinoid Foundation (CFCF), we believe a cure can be found to make a difference in Heidi's life and the lives of thousands of others living with Carcinoid Cancer. for more information. For more information on Michael's Dad's battle with cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) click here:
To send a message to Heidi:
To reach Michael :
Latest Updates:
Friday November 7, 2008: Heidi is feeling well. We had a nice celebration with about 20 people to mark the one year of survivorship. Joe, Michael's dad is not doing well at present.
Monday October 6, 2008: As we approach the one year anniversary of Heidi's diagnosis with Carcinoid Cancer, it is amazing to think about the events of the past year. GOOD NEWS>>> Heidi's latest blood and CT images all came back as stable with no activity or growth on the tumors in the liver. The kids are all back in school and Heidi is knitting like crazy. You just can't have too many scarves you know. Michael's Dad is not doing so great as he is getting very tired from the chemo regimen he is currently on. Other than that we are soldiering onward. Enjoy the journey!
Thursday August 7, 2008: Still buzzing from the incredible weekend in Massachusetts. Heidi has signed us up for a 65 mile ride on August 30th in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park so our training continues. I lost a co-worker in her 50's to liver cancer yesterday Cynthia Eatmon. I only found out the day before that she was sick with cancer. All the more motivation to fight this disease that will touch one in 3 of us. My Dad, nephew, son and I head for Canada this Sunday for 4 days of remote fly in fishing 3 hours north of Toronto. It should be a great time with my dad who continues his battle with cholangiocarcinoma. Heidi is doing well and all my co-works continue to ask about her and I am happy to tell them that all is well.
Tuesday August 5, 2008: We did it! We finished our collective 269 miles of riding in Massachusetts and raised over $10,500 for help eradicate cancer. It was awesome! Go here for a look at the water stop at mile 42 of John and my ride: . Next year I am doing the whole 192 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown. Heidi and I are already signed up for 65 mile ride on August 30. This was a lot of fun. Thanks to all of the support from all of you.
Wednesday July 30, 2008: We leave tomorrow for PMC. Our photo shows us as we are ready to celebrate the over $9,000 we have raised for the direct research on Heidi's Carcinoid Cancer. Full report upon our return.
Sunday July 13, 2008: Cycling is at the forefront of our focus now as we count down to the Pan Mass Challenge ( Heidi and I went out and did 25 miles last weekend and then Heidi and her friend Alaine did 20 on Friday. I have been doing a Sunday group ride each Sunday averaging 35-50 miles. Heidi is feeling well and the latest visit to the doctor showed no changes. We will continue on a cycle of every 6 months for scans to monitor the 18-20 spots in the liver. Thanks for all your support and good wishes.
Saturday June 6, 2008: I guess when things are going well you don't post for a while. I actually had created an update and then got logged off before I saved. We went to a conference in Harrisburg in late April and there are all kinds of things going on in the area of research on Carcinoid. Heidi is doing well as evidenced by the bike photo at top of page. We are training for Pan Mass Challenge and have both nearly hit our fundraising goals (link above). Heidi's brother is the one who needs help and you can search for his profile on the website to donate. All these cancer diagnosis and the loss of a good friend at work caused me to go out and buy a Honda S2000 convertible as a gift to both my father and Heidi. Dad has an aggressive bile duct cancer and has always wanted a sports car so I just went and did it. Heidi gets it back at the end of the summer...she can't wait. I will try and link the great video that my brother in law Kirk Moore took and edited of this event on this site but if you want you can just load this into your browser:
Saturday April 19, 2008 - Yesterday, Heidi and I rode 12 miles on our first outdoor training ride of the year getting ready for the Pan Mass Challenge. We really enjoyed it. Heidi did great. As you can see from the picture, the fitness continues to get stronger. Today Heidi went to a patient survivor group for her specific Carcinoid Cancer. There were 25 other survivors and it was great to see all these other people who understand what Heidi is going through. She even went out to dinner with a few of them. Dr. Menisha Shah from Ohio State University was the speaker and talked of lots of potential treatment developments and ongoing research. The kind of research that our Pan Mass Challenge ride works to fund.
Saturday April 12, 2008: The results are back comparing the recent CT scan of Heidi's liver with one from 6 months age and the doctor can so no visible change in size. This is great news! We are so happy. On April 26, we are driving to a Carcinoid Conference in Harrisburg, PA where Heidi's doctor, Matthew Kulke, will be speaking among others. This will be the first time for Heidi to be among many Carcinoid Survivors and it should be a good trip. The kids will stay with friends locally.
Friday March 28 - We have returned last week from a great week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We snow skied every day M-F and had tremendous conditions with 24" of powder falling while we were there. Fresh snow daily. Everyone skied great with difficult terrain dominating the mountain we were all able to improve our courage. The vertical drop is 4,139 ft, the largest in the USA. Heidi is feeling great. Her training for Pan Mass Challenge continues nearly daily. We got good news at our visit with Dr. Pelley this week. The blood tests show no increased activity and the Octreotide scan confirms that the cancer is only in the liver. Dr. Pelley also reported that he had seen patients this week who were diagnosed in 1988 and 1992. We continue to be hopeful that this amount of time gives the doctors time to find a cure or effective treatment for this Carcinoid Cancer.
Another highlight of our trip to Boston was that we went out to dinner with Nancy O'Hagen and Lauren Erb. Nancy is the founder of the CFCF and also a carcinoid cancer survivor. It was great for Heidi to meet such a talented and vibrant person with the same disease as her in Nancy. Both Nancy and Lauren battled a snowstorm to pick us up and make us feel immediately at home in a far away place. We appreciate them and CFCF even more now. We are now getting ready to do the Pan Mass Challenge, Aug 2-3, 2008 on the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation team.

Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think would be interested in a progress update!
This page maintained by Michael Coburn (818) 269-5634

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Very Quiet when you are not there

As I knew it would be, it is tough not being in Chicago with my Mom and Dad. My sister Karen is there through Thursday. I check and tweak my Mom and Dad's blog daily. Adding a counter, adding a picture, re-ordering the photos on the side bar. The volume on the blog is high. I know that many of my friends and co-workers are checking it daily. It really is a nice way to keep people informed where they don't have to constantly ask me. Although I find many will read every entry, then ask me "how is your dad". Then say ... I know I have read the entire blog. I so get it. It is a new reality we live in with the amount of information available. I think the blog is actually taking the place of sitting in a coffee shop or the living room with good friends telling them what is going on. There are greater distances in our lives these days. Families can be close and live thousands of miles apart. I know mine is. So that brings me to the point of needing a blog update. I really want to see one everyday. Even if it just says, Dad is comfortable and said this today.

One of my dad's parting comments to me when I left was, thanks for making the effort. Meaning he realized how long I had been there and all the little projects we had all undertaken. He would really be proud to know that the leak my brother Kevin and I created when we replaced the dishwasher was fixed by the plumber by simply tightening up the brass fitting underneath the sink. See my parents main blog for related story.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back Home Again in Ohio

Well 7 hours later we are back home in Ohio. It was easier to say goodbye to Dad and Mom this time. I still don't know if it is the last time. I do think it is likely. After two weeks, I needed to see my own bed for a while. Plus going back to work will be good too. It was a special time. We got a lot done.
Here is a photo from 2002 of my brother Kevin and Dad working in the Woodshop...his favorite place other than Bonaire.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


My Dad is getting ready to leave. He once sang a song in his Barbershop Quartet, the Soundtracks, that brought the audience to tears called "Tying the Leaves". It is a very old song about a little girl who is sick and the doctor thinks she will die in the fall...when the last leaves fall. Her little friend understands this and ties the leaves onto the tree so that his playmate won't go away.

Listen to it here:



(E.S.S. Huntingdon / J. Fred Helf)Byron Harlan - 1907Also recorded by:Grandpa Jones

Playmates were they, girl and lad.
She's home today, he feels sad.
Doctor who calls, whispers low:"When the last autumn leaves fall, then she must go."
Lad, with a tear, climbs a tree."I'll keep her here." murmurs he.
Cop on the beat, loudly cries:"What are you doing lad?"

He replies:

"I'm tying the leaves so they won't come down,
So the wind won't blow them away,
For the best little girl in the wide wide world,
Is lying so ill today.
Her young life must go when the last leaves fall.
I'm fixing them fast so they'll stay.
I'm tying the leaves so they won't come down,
So Nellie won't go away."

Playmate, come out and play with me… Nellie, don’t go away..


Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Dad

I love this shot of my dad in my hunting vest. It is at my house before we left for the fishing trip in August. He could not stay warm.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Back in Ohio

Well, I got the pictures downloaded at 5:30 a.m. and shortly there after saw my Mom was already blogging. I updated their blog with a cool slide show from yesterday. Here is the family pic we took.

The Worlds Most Interesting Man

A few months ago, my dad started mimicking a Columbian Coffee commercial where the guy gives his opinion on various subjects. The answer is always a dramatic...No!

He likes that one a lot.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How do you say goodbye?

Well, time for a blog. That is short for Web Log if you did not know it. So here I go. We just got done "saying goodbye" to my Dad in Chicago. I may see him again, but I don't think he will be as aware or the quality of the conversation will be as clear. It was beautiful and sad. This is the "gift" cancer gives you. The chance to say goodbye. But who wants to say goodbye to a 68 year old? Not me. Not my 66 year old mother. But it is part of living as my dad told my 9 year old daughter yesterday. It is OK.

To dig deeper you can see a very extensive 2 year blog of my parents at

Michael & Heidi's Info

What is going on in our lives and occassional updates on Heidi's fight with Carcinoid Cancer.