Red or Black?

Yesterday was a fairly mellow and relaxed day in preparation for an intense week ahead with a CT/PET scan Wednesday morning, pre-operational appointment on Thursday, and surgery on Friday.  We watched the movie Fair Game; an eye opening film based on the true story of CIA Agent Valerie Plame.  Just as we started talking about what to do for dinner, we got a call from our good friends John and Tracey who were at our door with enough food to last days.  We had a great visit followed by an amazing meal.

The tension started early this morning when I had the CT/PET scan that I have been fearing.  First, I was concerned about my ability to lie still and comfortably on the table throughout a long scan given the pain I’m experiencing in my right leg.  Second, with the sickness and stomach problems that I have been feeling, I was concerned that this would be the scan that would show that the cancer had spread to the rest of my body and my countdown on life would begin.  As always, the techs at the University of Rochester Medical Imaging at Science Park were extremely considerate of the discomfort in my leg and were able to set me up so that I could tolerate the 20 minute scan.  It always amazes me when I think about how concerned and careful we are in the nuclear power industry about receiving radiation on the order of hundreds mRem a year.  Then, in the medical industry I am injected with radioactive contamination and exposed to 1 Rem or more of radiation in a single day with little concern; two very different worlds, but I appreciate the standards for both.

As soon as I finished the scan the anxiety of the anticipated results sets in.  What is my fate going to be?  In some ways it takes me back to the casino at the roulette table waiting to see where the ball is going to land, Red or Black?  So, the only way to deal with this kind of stress is an Amiel’s sub.  Mom treated Shannon and I to the best sub I that I have found yet, and it’s right here in Rochester.

It wasn’t until about 6 PM when Dr O’Keefe finished discussing the scans with the radiologists and called with results.  It looks like I still appear to be cancer free except for my right leg which is being amputated on Friday.  I did have a spot in my abdomen that lit up on the PET scan, but they are fairly sure this is from strain on my muscles from the way I am carrying my leg with the crutches.  Great news that makes me think we will make it to Alaska this summer!

With this news I was able to put everything behind me for the night and enjoy some time with Ryan, Makiko, Evan, Owen, and Audrey, who all came out to Pultneyville to visit with Shannon and I.  It was awesome to finally see and meet Audrey 0.0, and play with Evan 4.0 and Owen 2.2.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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31 Responses to Red or Black?

  1. Cousin Mike says:

    It’s good to see you lifting (front deltoid raises). I hope you performed 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Stop if you experience any pain or your dumbbell (Owen) gets a head rush.

    Great news with the PET scan. Ryan–I know medicine is getting very complex & technical, but maybe you can help me out with this–I would think that the doctors would be smarter to scan Bret, not his pet. Not sure what info a PET scan really gives them. I am however glad that Bret’s pet doesn’t have any more cancer. Hopefully he doesn’t either. (I didn’t even know that Bret has a pet?) Maybe that’s why medical insurance is so expensive–they keep scanning the wrong things–more Bret scans, less PET scans! How come no one else figured this out??? Geez, does it take a Phys Ed teacher to point out how dumb doctors are?

    • Carolina DeHond says:

      Thanks for the laughs!! Your post was hilarious!! I won’t be able to stay still during my next PET scan because I will be laughing so hard thinking of your post!

  2. Matt says:

    That’s great news!

  3. Ginger Johannes says:

    good news, I am so looking forward to more adventures on the road. When I get home from work every evening, the first thing I do is look at your posts. and pics.
    Bret,, my thoughts and prayers to you


  4. Ginger Johannes says:

    Oh YA.. Is Amiels really better than DiBellas???

  5. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    We are thinking about you Bret and will be all day tomorrow (and the next day, and the next day…. etc). Alaska awaits you (and all of your followers!).
    Keep on eating!

  6. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Great news on your scans!! Cancer free is where we want to be!!
    I can see the pictures now… and Shannon looking out over Denali National Park…amazed once again at the beauty of this world around us. I doubt there are dune buggies to ride in Denali like there was out west, but you never know!! If there is an adventure like that in Denali you will find it.

    Rest up, eat up and know there are lots of people pulling for you!
    Will be anxiously awaiting updates.

    God Bless,

  7. Dawn DeBadts says:

    Brett and Shan, you better start practicing your Eskamo kisses. I have a little Grandson that can show you. MUAH

  8. Jann says:

    So glad to hear the good news on your scans.
    I am your Aunt Bo’s BFF and have been following along on your blog.
    I want you to know that I would see you and your brothers once or twice a year at her house and would be impressed by what nice kids you were. I continue to be impressed by the man that you have become and how you have handled the cards that have been dealt you.
    I will be sending positive thoughts your way on Friday.
    By the way – I vote for Dibellas

  9. Jamie L says:

    My family and I were thinking about you all day yesterday and were thrilled to find out the PET scan results this monring! That is great news! You will be in our thoughts tomorrow.

  10. Sally Leeson says:

    Bret and co.,
    Great news on the PET scan results! We have been thinking about you and praying for you a lot lately. Tomorrow we will be returning home from our month in the Carolinas and we will be thinking of you all along the way as we ride along in our northerly direction. We always make a big deal of crossing every state line when we travel, so tomorrow, along with a big Leeson “Weeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllcome to ____________(state name)” we will add “God bless Bret and bless Dr. O’Keefe’s hands and all of the surgical staff as well”. We will wear our wristbands and keep you in our thoughts and prayers all day. I’m sure there will be lots of wristbands proudly worn tomorrow!
    Sally and Charlie

  11. Daniel says:

    Massive Congrats on the PET scan results!!! In regards to your question, I’m siding with Mr. Wesley Snipes on this one, “Always bet on black!”.

  12. Carol burke says:

    Hey Bret, I have not ever met you but I feel such a strong bond with you. I am sending positive energy your way. Prayers too!
    Carol Holly

  13. Carla says:

    Hi Bret-
    I have been following your blog and I just wanted you to know that you are a true inspiration. You are surrounded with so much love, from your family and countless others you have never met.Hold tight to that thought as you go into surgery . Thank you for touching my life. I will be thinking of you tomorrow and sending prayers your way.

  14. Marianne Borrelli says:

    Great news to pass along! Congrats! We will continue to keep you close to our hearts and in our prayers this weekend.
    I have to tell you DiBellas is good but we are a fan of Pellegrino’s
    Only remember Amiels in Midtown plaza back in the day!!!!!! Don’t want to date myself!!


  15. Donald & Laurie Fox says:

    Glad you made it safely over the first hurdle – grats on the PET scan news. We will be thinking of you tomorrow.

  16. Judy Lynd says:

    Glad you got good news from Dr. O’Keefe…may it just be the beginning of more good news. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family tomorrow.

  17. Cousin Geoffrey says:

    Great news, Bret!! Much luck tomorrow! We’ll be thinking about you all day!!

  18. Loretta says:

    Bret, great news about the PET scan! We’ll all be praying for you here at CSP tomorrow and sending our love to Shannon too! And on the sub thing – Pino’s in Greece – best in Rachacha!

  19. Christine says:

    Great news on the PET scan. We’ll be thinking of you tomorrow and sending positive thoughts, vibes, prayers and love. You (all) are awesome.

  20. Elisa says:

    Thinking of you!!!

  21. Aunt Bo says:

    Great news on the PET scan. One less thing to have on your mind tomorrow!
    Along with half the world(counting all of your faithful blog followers), you will be in my prayers and close to my heart all day tomorrow.

    Get ready Alaska….here comes the Hoefen’s.

    All my love.

  22. Mauro says:

    I’m glad to hear your PET scans showed a positive side to your story. Without a doubt we all knew that you would make it to Alaska and many more adventures beyond that.

    I wish you the best of luck with your surgery tomorrow. Keep us posted with the outcomes and your recovery.

    Even though you’re an adult now, you’ll always be a kid at heart. I wish it was possible to “honor” an adult with my decision to participate in this years St Baldrick’s event. You’ll be in my thoughts as the hair hits the ground!

    Keep your head high!!

  23. Carolina DeHond says:

    Hi Bret, Shannon, Jim and Betsy!

    You have been in our thoughts and prayers throughout your fight with this nasty cancer! We will say extra prayers for everyone tomorrow as Bret undergoes surgery.

    So happy to hear you will be making your dreams come true with your trip to Alaska this Summer! Relieved, Dr. O’keefe didn’t make you wait a whole week for results. Let’s pray these nasty cancer cells stay away for good!!!

    Lots of Prayers your way!!!
    All our best,
    Craig and Carolina

  24. Lisa Orlowske says:

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family tomorrow as you go thru surgery. Praise God that the cancer has not spread. Here’s to riding in a good direction…

  25. Brian Bowers says:

    I’m thinking about you, my friend- all the time. Can’t wait to check out the Alaska pics.

  26. Aaron King says:

    Good news on the scan. Not a fan of Dibella’s? That would be one of the first places I went to being back in Rochester. I suppose Amiel’s is good enough! Looking fwd to the adventures to Alaska!

  27. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    We’re so thankful about the wonderful results of your PET scan! What a blessing!
    You will be in our hearts, thoughts and prayers all day tomorrow. Picture all your family, extended family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, blog followers and all those who you have never met but whose lives you have touched and inspired in so many positive ways, all joining hands and surrounding you with their love, positive thoughts and prayers. Focus on this love and support as you go into surgery tomorrow and in the days ahead as you recover. We’ll all be cheering you on in a good direction!
    Sending you a big chunk of that love!

  28. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Oh yeah….. great tuna subs at Amiel’s. Otherwise, gotta go with DiBella’s. Maybe a taste off would be in order when you’re up for it and craving a sub?

  29. Emily says:

    Bret and Shannon –
    Thinking of you and sending extra ride in a good direction thoughts for tomorrow. You are both so strong. Keep your eye on the Alaskan prize!
    Much love,

  30. Kate Avery says:

    Thinking of you, Bret, especially today.

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