Family, Home

Updates from Jack

March 19, 2016 • By

Dear Friends,

No one has heard from me in a while, and I wanted to share with you all why that is. I’ll break this up into two versions – short, and long – I know we all lead busy lives, and not everyone has a lifetime to spend on one of my (usually really, really long) emails.

Please note that I haven’t published any details of this on FB, and plan to keep it that way. I would really appreciate it if this news doesn’t spread beyond the people reading this – for now I’m keeping it strictly “Family and Friends”.

Short Version:
I have cancer, specifically Stage III Colon Cancer. After my gall bladder surgery last year, I had to be brought to the hospital in December for emergency surgery where they discovered a fist-sized tumor completely blocking my ascending colon. The surgical team removed the tumor, but the cancer had grown into my abdominal wall where surgery isn’t possible.

The prognosis is good, and I just received my first round of intensive chemotherapy. The goal is curative, not palliative, and my oncology team expects that I’ll be cancer-free in six months or so. I’d appreciate you keeping me and Chris in your thoughts. One of us will send updates out when necessary.

Slightly Longer Version:
Last September I had my gallbladder removed, but developed a serious infection near my liver. In November I had to have a drain placed in my side to treat the infection, but something still wasn’t right. By mid-December, I was in a lot of pain, and finally had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.

While I spent a week in the hospital, my doctors discovered that I had a fist-sized tumor that had completely blocked my large intestine. When they removed it, they discovered that it was cancerous – Stage III Adenocarcinoma – and it had grown through the intestine wall and into the abdominal wall. They removed as much as they could, but the parts that lodged in the abdomen would have to be treated with different methods.

After being released from the hospital just before Yule, I spent the next month on my back recovering from the surgery. I felt very weak for a very long time, and barely made it from the bed to the couch and back. Dealing with the diagnosis was taking its toll on me as well, but I was determined to fight one battle at a time, in true Cole fashion.

My oncologist recommended a course of chemo over 4-6 months, followed by radiation therapy for any remnants that remained. I had a mediport placed in February to keep from trashing my arm veins, and had my first round of chemo two weeks ago. The side effects have been manageable, although not very pleasant, and I’m feeling much better overall.

The outlook is good, and I’m dedicating myself to keeping up the fight. The road ahead isn’t going to be especially easy or pleasant, but at least there’s a road ahead. At the end of summer, I hope to be cancer-free, and back to a healthier path.

Your prayers, good thoughts, and crossed fingers would be appreciated, especially for Chris. He takes very good care of me, and he’ll need his strength to deal with everything. I’m feeling better now than I have in months, with determined plans to keep it that way.

With love to all,



Missing Dad

June 22, 2015 • By
Fishing 1970

Dad and me fishing in Connecticut, 1970

This is our first Father’s Day without Dad. He passed away last November at age of 87, living long and interesting life as soldier, machinist, and world-class tinker. I learned carpentry and basic construction skills from him as well as host of other things. He was practical, no-nonsense kind of guy, and he didn’t suffer fools gladly. He had kind and sentimental heart, and he teared up when he heard the national anthem. He loved my mother very much, and always did something romantic on special days. They had 54 years of marriage before passed on and I know Mom misses him as probably more.

The above picture of me and Dad fishing on Mianus River in Connecticut. This was my first fishing trip on a boat, and Dad and my uncles Fred and Russ wanted to make it a great day for me. Uncle Russ stocked his boat with beer for the guys, and orange soda for me — an entire case. I remember we traveled up river and fished until lunch boated to Long Island for lunch at a place that had good seafood. It wasn’t until after lunch and too many orange sodas that I hurled over side made way back to Cos Cob. I caught a fish, Dad caught a few, and walked the dock back to car tanned and happy.

This how I honor my father. He was good man, and I love and miss him to day.

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Birmingham Photo Exhibit – Living in Limbo by Carolyn L. Sherer

June 6, 2015 • By
Living in Limbo

Living in Limbo, a photographic exhibit of Lesbian families by Carolyn L. Sherer (click to visit)

As I was reading my daily fix this morning, I ran across a photographic exhibit of lesbian families in Birmingham, and wanted to help spread the word.

These photos are amazing portraits of families – some hidden, some visible – caught in a struggle between being authentic, and being safe.

Garden & Yard

New Photos from the Garden

June 2, 2015 • By

DSC_0017Chris and I can’t take much credit for the yard except the maintenance. The previous owner was a landscape architect who knew a lot about native plants, and we are just letting nature take its course.

Through the season we enjoy everything that grows and blooms, and just try to keep everything thriving. Next week is the big raised bed install, and I hope we’ll have carrots, radishes, tomatoes, beans, peppers, and leeks by the end of the growing season. Photos to follow.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photos from the yard I took today!


Camping Menu – French Toast Muffins

June 2, 2015 • By

We went camping in New York state over the Memorial Day weekend, and I was at a loss for what to make for breakfasts. Something hearty, but not too sweet, and something I could reheat easily before the coffee water boiled on the campfire. Luckily I thought of a great way to reheat food while camping – a steamer basket insert.

Word of warning, though. This does not work for everything, so try it at home before you schlep everything out to the campsite. The mini omelets got too soggy, but these muffins were phenomenal when steamed. Find the recipe behind the cut! 

Home, Katie, Site

Working Title

June 1, 2015 • By