Good News and Gratitude

by | Aug 24, 2022 | 18 comments

As many of you know, 2022 has been a challenging year with lots of changes. During maple syrup season, I kept my health challenges private. Making Maple Syrup in the sugar house and recording the Bob and Zip Podcast were my happy places. At times, I was in bed up to 18 hours a day, being cared for by Lisa. Our sugar making partner, Hank (and his brother Rich) kept the operation going. I would take 10 milligrams of Oxycodone along with my Fentanyl patch, so I could sit and boil sap in the evenings. Yes I was afraid I’d get addicted. Didn’t happen fortunately. I hated the constipation more than I liked the drugs.

I’ve never really been a private person, as you can tell from that last sentence. Support groups saved my life a third of a century ago. Getting and giving support is where miracles begin. Once I was through chemo and radiation and headed for surgery, it felt like I should share everything. The reaction from friends (you are all friends) was overwhelming. In fact it was a little weird. Without a doubt the hardest time of my life also included some of the happiest moments. Long lost friends with experience reconnected. Incredible healthcare pros renewed my faith in people. They showed levels of empathy and unconditional love that are sorely lacking in our society. There has been so much good in this journey that I’m not sure I would change a thing. OK, maybe I would. The Cancer part.

Virtually everyone is affected by the big C. You either get it, or love someone who does. And it can be a big deal, or something you just manage. And these days, a cure happens way more often than it did in the past.

Yes, even some of the worst diagnoses can have successful outcomes. My surgeon says immunotherapy (which I’m on) will eventually put him out of business. In fact, the stats for what I have (on the American Cancer Society website) are from a roughly 5 year period from 2011-2017. They are out of date. The monoclonal antibody (Opdivo) I get cured a good friend of ours, and was only approved for EC patients in 2021.

Bottom line. After a horrific period of chemo, radiation, life threatening complications, radical surgery, weakness and slow recovery, I now have NED (Oncology speak for “no evidence of disease”) and will get a scan every 6 months. And the only thing I really remember from that time is how much joy I got from so many. That changes you forever. I am essentially recovered, for now. That’s a big win.

The Podcast

After doing that hugely successful morning show for 25 years in Seattle, plus 8 years combined in Boston and Baltimore), retirement wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped. I missed the improvised conversations. We started to podcast with a Bob Spike and Joe reunion. But it was not fair to Joe, who has a full time vocation as a teacher. And Spike needed to make money. Hint: There is money in podcasting, if you attract hundreds of thousands of listeners. We didn’t. But we had over 3,000 listeners per show! That’s enough to fill the Paramount Theater.

The Bob and Zip show features my team from Boston in the 80’s. Co-Host Zip Zipfel, and Ed Kelly, the voice actor we worked with. We have practically no resources, and just the generosity of our webmaster David Lee to get us distributed. Spike and Joe guest very frequently, and lately the chemistry is coming alive. We’re looking to add video, a producer, a more guests, and a female cohost. If it sounds like the old Bob Rivers Show on a tight budget, that’s about right. If we can find the right social media producer to create clips for TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc, I’m told our numbers will take off. I don’t miss working for corporations, but I do miss having their resources to pay a support staff. So, if you know a social media genius who knows how to edit content…

We are now recording on Sunday nights. David edits and tags for distribution on Monday. And we release early Tuesday morning. There is a favor to ask of you. If you haven’t listened, check it out. And if you enjoy, please pass on to your friends.

Maple Syrup is back!

Ok, I saved the sweetest update for last. Maple Syrup. When Spike drove our belongings to Las Vegas from Vermont, we packed about 40 gallons of unsold Maple Syrup. Just this week Lisa said “I want to to sell this to pay for the gas on our next moving truck!” Good news is it’s boxed and ready to go. The store is open! This will likely be our last batch ever, unless Stone Hill Farm does not sell. I would go back and do another season in 2023. If the new owners in Vermont want to make maple syrup, I would love work with them. And I’d get to see my siblings and New England peeps! Fingers crossed, that’s a good possibility.

Last time the syrup sold out in days… just sayin.

If you’d like some:

You get 2 quarts for $64, free shipping via USPS. As always, thanks for letting us be a part of your morning. And thanks for listening and sharing the podcast. Your feedback and ideas are always welcome.

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