The new me

That’s the new me.   Stuck in a Toronto Hospital, full of rods and bolts, a successful – almost – Frankenstein with two long scars and a tough blood infection that’s taking it’s time going away.

The surgery went brilliantly.  My doc opened me up on the side of the neck, took out some vertebrae and scraped out a bunch of my tumour.  Then he flipped me over, scraped out more and rebuilt my spine to facilitate the tumour re-growing – it will re-grow – without immediately killing me.

Very nice of him.  That is why he comes rated as one of the best in the world.

Unfortunately my body, beat up with 5 previous surgeries and a lot of radiation, isn’t entirely co-operating.   After a real bad week at home I was readmitted with a serious blood infection last Friday.

Five days on heavy intravenous antibiotics may just have started to pay off.  But the trip home isn’t going to happen without proof that the infection is resolving itself with the treatment.

In the meantime, I’m trapped, bored and unable to eat and therefore being fed through a tube that runs down my nose through my throat and esophagus.

Life is grand, but I get more of it.   And as I gain strength I will post.  The brain pretty well escaped serious damage, or so my family tells me.  One bit of proof: my daughter is teaching me to knit.  Any laughter is sexist!



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38 Responses to The new me

  1. Sami Chaudhry says:

    You’re the toughest man I know! Stay strong!

  2. BC Mary says:

    Wow. Thanks so much for the update, Ian.

    Big virtual bouquet to you …

  3. Canadian Canary says:

    Boy, are you ever the poster-boy for “LIFE”!

    We should all be so reverent as you about the beautiful things that each day on this planet brings us.

    And, at the same time, caring so much about the things that matter, that you take the bit in your teeth when you deem it worthwhile.

    Looking forward to whatever you turn your attention to in your next post.

  4. Shamus says:

    Small correction: we haven’t yet released our opinion on brain function. That Scrabble game where you mopped the floor with me may have been an anomaly.

  5. RossK says:


    There something magical in that scan.

    Almost musical, if you ask me.

    Speaking of musical, and almost wholly newly music that I know you will appreciate, if you want a great hour of it (including while knitting is so required and/or desired), go here.


  6. Alex says:

    Sorry, I laughed. So glad you are on the mend.

  7. catherine reid says:

    Ditto Alex’s. So the daughter is teaching you to knit – is your husband learning as well? I believe there is lovely cashmere yarn to be had that would suit.

  8. A fan o' your writing says:

    Hey Ian
    As my Scottish grandma used to say, there’s always life in a living man. Dinnae give up.
    Meantime, if you’re comfortable reading and you haven’t read it and can get someone to lay hands on it for you, try Thirty Three Revolutions Per Minute, by Dorian Linskey. A history of protest songs with a delicious side order of the times they were protesting. I spent a wee bit of time with it myself this summer as I arm-wrestled with a small illness of my own. It’s a huge and fabulous book full of all kinds of history and music. When you get tired of words, you can YouTube the old songs.
    It’ll take you somewhere nice.
    Take care, mate.

  9. Frank says:

    Never commented before, but have followed you for the last year.

    You are amazing. Wish you all the best. Please don’t stop writing about your health and our political world.

    Thank you!

  10. Anne-Marie says:

    Knitting is proof that you are a fabulous human being. In fact the best, right Mary O?! Get well wishes flying your way, hugs, AM

  11. barbara pascal says:


  12. barbara pascal says:


  13. MrsPremise says:

    Fabulous news Ian. Hope you are knitting up a storm. Clackety clack! xoxo

  14. Dan Schubart says:

    If there is a book or an album that I could send you, or something else that will enliven your stay, let me know, and I’ll send it along. It would be the least I could do as recompense for the great writing and questioning you have done here. Seriously.

  15. North Van's Grumps says:

    The tumor is gone, your humour hasn’t.

    Best Wishes, for a faster recovery so you can get home to your loved ones……… and writing, more often. We all miss your insight.

  16. Brian Giles says:

    Hey Ian…..hang in there laddie, we need your clear mind to navigate these waters.

  17. spartikus says:

    The most sincere best wishes to you, Ian.

  18. Lesli Boldt says:

    Ian, we may differ on politics from time to time, but you’re one of the bravest souls I know. and you’re redefining the definition of “sticking to your knitting”! All the best to you and Paul and your children, and I wish you best in your recovery from surgery. lesli

  19. Kim says:

    My sincere best wishes to you Ian, you have touched my soul and inspired me with your writing. Please gather your tremendous spirit and know that your readers are behind you, a huge network of love.

  20. Kim says:

    PS. On knitting. Knitting is an act of creation and an act of caring. It’s like creating a warm hug for the recipient of the gift. How can that be wrong? And bless your daughter, we can all learn from our children.

  21. Julie says:

    I am so glad you are feeling better.

    I feel for you, the tube down your nose. I too had the tubes down my nose, right down into my stomach. I was hooked up to suction, so my bowel could rest. I hated the damn thing, my throat got more sore, with every time I swallowed.

    You are a courageous person and I admire you very much. I have always visited your site every day. One of my favorite places, that I learn from. You do a great service for, politically challenged people like me.

  22. gino natola says:

    Stay strong Ian,your insights and political acumen are much more than we could hope for Gods speed,and keep up the good fight B.C is worth it.

  23. James King says:

    Keep on keeping on…
    I have a brother in law who’s going through a somewhat similar experience with the same determination and strength of will.

    Multiple blood transfusions and a mad quest for the source of the primary which has been spinning metastases seemingly throughout his body…

    You guys amaze the rest of us.


  24. Ole Nielson says:

    All best wishes Ian! Speaking of knitting, I enjoyed my membership in the “Stitch and Bitch Club” when I lived in Ottawa. Hmmm… I still have an unfinished project I should get back to.

  25. kenn mclaren says:

    to knit? good work Jordan. I have some net work to do out here… I look forward to working with you on the nets. In Port Edward you and I did not even know how to load one on the drum. Hope you are on your way back here soon.

  26. John says:

    You are the purl. Love and hugs from our family to yours. Knock the blood bug and get to the west coast soon.

  27. Georgie Girl says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I admire your work, strength, humor.
    I send warm wishes for a speedy recovery.
    Daughters are special, enjoy …

  28. Norm Farrell says:

    Ian, you continue to amaze with an ability to face difficult experiences with levity. It is a powerful example to those of us with problems less acute.

    About 40 years ago, before the Internet and the 1,000 channel universe, I was a newly married youth with a wife who did shift work. Consequently, I had free time to consider the unusual. She Who Must be Obeyed was an inveterate knitter – and still is – and the process by which a person turned simple strings of yarn into intricately patterned garments fascinated me.

    One evening alone, I decided to try and I got out knitting magazines, needles and wool and began a self-taught course. My product that first night was a turtleneck dickey, the only wearable item I ever made. There was an effort to make a sweater with heavy yarn and fat needles (big stitch knitting or fast-knits, I think) but it was best forgotten. Later, I told my father-in-law about my experience with knitting needles. His response, “I’ve always wondered how those things worked but never had the nerve to try.”

    This is from a review of the book ‘Knitting With Balls’:
    “Men have knitted from the beginning of knitting. When the stigma of knitting as a women’s craft began is unclear, but it hasn’t kept men from knitting. Men knit and they have for ages. Sailors knit aboard fishing boats, cowboys knit while tending cattle and surgeons knit to keep their fingers nimble.”

  29. Norm Farrell says:

    RossK And says Ian your ideas on how to slay the boredom. Here’s one.

    Have someone bring you the book by Lynne Truss, ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves.’

    It’s fun and you’ll be a better writer. You can then, with authority, send out corrections throughout the blog world.

  30. Norm Farrell says:

    That should have said:

    RossK says, “Send Ian your ideas on how to slay the boredom.”

    Here’s one. Have someone bring you the book by Lynne Truss, ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves.’

    It’s fun and you’ll be a better writer. You can then, with authority, send out corrections throughout the blog world.

  31. Will Hartman says:

    Man you are one tough dude.Can’t tell you how much you inspire me when I have to deal with my illness.Thank you so much.

  32. Sandra says:

    Ian, so good to hear the infection is starting to clear. You really are an inspiration. Your insight and humour continue to amaze me every time I read one of your posts. We think of you constantly and hope that you will be returning home soon to be surrounded by friends, family and love. Hugs from Barry and me!

  33. gail reaney says:

    That is very funny, way to go Jordan… Ian I have several unfinished knitting projects…. most I started in my 20’s and we both know how long ago that was….I glad to hear you are bored… I think that is a good thing, take care, big hugs, Gail

  34. Donna says:

    We’re sending you love, healing energy and good wishes from the Okanagan. We are humbled by your strength.
    Love your updates Ian – thank you for thinking of your fans! and Next post we’d like a photo of the knitting projects!

  35. Garth says:

    Great to talk with ou today. Elliott sends his love – Morgan still asleep, but she is also asking about you. Andrea and I looking to you coming back to Vancouver. Maybe you and Jordan could reform Frankie Goes to Hollywood and put down the needles.

  36. Bill Tieleman says:

    Just spotted this and hope you are recovering well now Ian – tough road to hoe and toughness demonstrated again to do it – good luck!

  37. Ian says:

    Thanks Bill.

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