First of all, thanks to Jing and the girls for putting together such a lovely Father’s Day video.  It was a great day for me, and if only the rain had let up, the girls and I could have played outside.

Meanwhile, dedicated readers of this blog will have gathered that my single-minded obsession these days is tilting all the possible positive prognostic factors in my favor.  Among the psycho/social factors that predict good outcomes: (1) being married (check), (2) college education (check), (3) strong social support (check).

Social Support:

This blog and the related “Mike’s Helping Hands” site have been a great avenue for people to contact and help me and Jing.  The blog has had hits from 27 countries, 1800 visitors, and over 7,000 views.  Friends I haven’t heard from in a decade called me up to voice their support.  And locally, our neighbors in St. Louis have been great.  balloonAn unidentified friend put a special Father’s Day balloon on our mailbox yesterday.  Not sure who it was, but our two guesses are our next door neighbors (who took care of the kids while I was in the hospital), and our neighbors across the street (who made pounds and pounds of meatballs for our girls, and also arranged to have a Catholic mass said in my honor next month).  In any case, thank you both.

Prayers too.  I have received prayers from adherents of every major religion including every major Christian denomination.  Many have also told me: “I wish I were religious, so I could say I’m praying for you.”  I appreciate it all.

Happy Father’s Day:

Most of all, I’d like to thank my Dad, Richard Hughes, for his support during this trying time.  About ten years ago, we rented a cabin in early June on the eastern shore of lake Michigan.  pool1It had a pool that had melted perhaps a fortnight earlier.  Despite the outrageously frigid water, my Dad and I decided to put on a synchronized diving display for some reason.  The nearby images show the outcome.

When I worked at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, I walked through the pediatric ward on my way to work every day.  It was miserable.  pool2The sick kids weren’t even the worst of it… their parents were invariably shattered. Which is one of the reasons I’m giving generously to St. Jude’s these days.  I say this because I think it illustrates how hard the last two months have been on both of my parents.  I have my three little girls these days, and if any of them were sick (God forbid), I would be shattered too.  I may be 35 years old instead of 5 years old like the kids at Dana Farber, but this doesn’t make it any better for my parents.

There is no Father’s Day gift proportional to the help we’ve received from my dad over the last two months; the best I can do is say that I am using every bit of strength at my disposal to outlive this fucking illness.

Happy Father’s Day dad.