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 They are out of date.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: bobrivers.blog/shop/vermont-maple-syrup

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.

18 Comments

  1. Steve Hopkins

    I love the way you’ve always shared your life for entertainment, and, for the benefit of others. I’m very happy your NED!

    Reply
  2. Julie Hudson

    SO very Happy you’ve joined the NED group!! Hearing you along with the guys makes my week. Thank you for being you and keeping the podcast going.
    I ordered your syrup last night and the site said 2 were left. I’m hoping I really did get my order in on time.

    Reply
  3. rick

    i lost my wife to stage 4 breast cancer in 2016. the bob and tom show brought us so many smiles… continued health to you sir and thank you.

    Reply
  4. Caroline D

    Fabulous news on the NED Bob! So happy to hear that! Another season in Vermont sounds great as well!

    Reply
  5. Marc Gillette

    I knew you would beat it!!! And Heather and I are so glad to hear this news.

    You are so right about cancer touching everyone. I lost my grandmother and father to cancer. And Heather lost her mother.

    Lots of love to you and Lisa.

    Marc & Heather

    Reply
  6. Mike Gren

    Immunotherapy is a wonder. My dad basically got a death sentence three years ago, and after immunotherapy, is cancer free.

    Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have a dad anymore.

    Congratulations, Bob!

    Reply
  7. Karen Parker

    So glad things are looking up, this past year my only sibbling Kathy received word in Aug that she had Acute Leukemia, she tried the chemo, but after 5 days of increasing dosages, she developed complications, and selected to return home with hospice comfort care Aug 23rd, she started to rally in October and we had hope at last. But Feb 3rd tests shows it was back and she had maybe a month. She passed in her sleep with her hands in a prayer like grasp, with her beloved kitty YaWay sleeping on her chest. On Feb 8th her heart just stopped. Still wish we had more time to travel and complete our bucket lists.

    Reply
  8. Sharyn Joi Doutt

    Praise God!! I am thankful for your whuppin’ cancer’s butt! Welcome to the gang. I am 6 years cancer-free. You are absolutely right, people are surviving this disease and living a lot longer than in years past! I’m wishing you a long life and much happiness and good days. Stay strong!

    Reply
  9. gary schellenberg

    Glad to hear you’re doing better Bob.
    Benny K gave us some of your fantastic syrup, which I use in my homemade granola.

    (I played keys on a few of your Twisted Tunes … )

    Take care,

    Gary S.

    Reply
  10. John Ropella

    I really enjoy the meme of the week segment and when you have guests. The podcast content structure is really becoming cohesive. One thing that I really miss from the radio show is your interaction with the listeners. I know that’s difficult if not impossible with how the podcast is recorded and produced. Maybe you could do a “letter of the week” segment from listeners. They (we) could comment or offer opinions on a past subject you discussed, bring up new subjects to discuss, or just ask questions (a Q&A segment).

    Having said that, I do have a question. Now that Spike has a regular radio gig again, what is the status of Spike and the Impailers? Any shows coming up? Also, regarding your recovery, now that there’s NED, have you had thoughts of doing a guest appearance with the band on keyboards again?

    I’m so happy about your recovery, and wish you continued health, blessings, and happiness.

    Thanks,
    John Ropella

    Reply
  11. Clay Volz

    This is such GREAT news! I’m so happy you have recovered from this. And I know how the process can somehow be a “gift” if you look at it right. Have you watched the Big C with Laura Linney? Great show and I just LOVE her! I will have to get with the times and listen to your podcast. I was a faithful listener for most of those 25 years in Seattle. Continued blessings and good health to you

    Reply
  12. Glenda

    first, sorry about the lower case. keyboard malfunctioning. very relieved and happy for you and lisa and family. i’m a longtime fan and have been listening to you and crew for decades. i want to say that if you have to skip a couple of weeks of the podcast, please, please hop on this blog and let us know all us well with all of you…exclamation point…uppercase won’t work. love you.

    Reply
  13. Bill Smith

    Glad to hear you are doing well Bob, your radio show in Washington is still the at the top of my list. I still have twisted tunes pop into my head on occasion. Best wishes to you and yours.

    Reply
  14. Debbie

    Thank you Bob and Lisa!!! I LOVE the podcast and look forward to every new episode, I appreciate the research you put into topics, and manage to add humor, and I love the maple syrup, and thrilled to hear you’re feeling much better! Good news and gratitude indeed!

    Reply
  15. Donna Shattuck

    You make me cry, Bob. You’ll never know how many total strangers truly love you (I being one of them). I would like to make another syrup purchase, but don’t see exactly how. Please let me know and thank you for all you do and who you are.

    Reply
  16. Rob Baker

    Wonderful news Bob. Science is amazing.
    Peace and love always.

    Reply
  17. elperrogrande

    Bob, that is great news! Congratulations on receiving the big NED! I totally get how you feel as that is a term my wife & I became familiar with over the last five years as we battled her lower colon cancer. She just past her five year cancer-free milestone two weeks ago. As one of your long-time radio listeners in Seattle, I look forward to many more podcasts. Stay well!

    Reply

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