Cancer surgery over–bills arriving

The following update is no longer true:

Update 1. Today is July 12th Saturday. In two weeks I leave for New York for surgery on Thursday August 8th at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Thanks to many kind readers I have received $1,000 to my trip to New York City to have surgery and recover before returning to State College. My estimate is that $3,000 would be amount required and when I achieve that amount I will tell you and take down the donation button at the very bottom of this page.

The truth

Today is Saturday, August 24th. I have been home from the hospital for three days. My friend Benjamin Carlsen drove 250 miles to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge near Penn Station to pick me up and bring me back.


At Hope Lodge, I lived for nearly two weeks with my caregiver Amelia, my younger daughter.

AmeliabeshidemyhospitalbedAmelia, above, sitting by my hospital bed.

My elder daughter Joanna come by here in State College to spend some time and drive me to New York



My mind seems to be working well–although you are the best judge.

I just published this morning my column on disability architecture.


Constructing TheVault






Photo © Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery


When I was in New York for surgery on August 8th, I had the opportunity to see the Gagosian Gallery’s show on The Architect Renzo Piano. Although the exhibit had closed, Sarah Duzyk of the Gallery’s site at West Chelsea, wrote me an email saying I could have a special tour of the Exhibit on the day of its deinstallation.

My column describes the visit to the Gagosian. Also, my column evokes my call to my readers: ”

“The future of architecture is rapidly requiring you to redesign the world to meet the requirements of the largest generation in world history. Ours is an aging population in the process of developing disabilities–but a generation with the determination, education, political clout, and for many the wealth to live independently none-the-less.”

The article hints at my passion for virtual reality serving to help design facilities that are disability friendly.


I am embarrased that I have yet to submit the draft of the report for the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center that I had promised Dr. Memari.

I seem to have the energy to do the writing I feel required to do and am spitting out accomplishments very quickly. Don’t ask me why this is happening


For two weeks following the surgery, I felt as if I were a crazy man. The pain was intense. The discomfort, humiliation and the like made it hard for me to appreciate that this operation has saved my life. Now, two weeks later, the pain is not beyond endurance. Meanwhile, I have lost endurance and am regaining it slowly. I do not want to see people. I want to be alone. When I want to see you, you will be the first to know.


I still need money. The figure is $1,600.

In launching this campaign to help subsidize my trip to New York and back for surgery and recovery, I wrote: “My estimate is that $3,000 would be amount required and when I achieve that amount I will tell you and take down the donation button.

To date, I have received $1,400 in donations. Thank you. This leaves $1600 yet to be raised. Thank you.

Official campaign song Joel’s surgery and recovery. The official song IS “I take my chances” by Mary Chapin Carpenter.” Hear the sing by clicking on this link:

Note: If this link does not work I will figure out another way to let you hear the song.

Here are the lyrics:

I took a walk in the rain one day on the wrong side of the tracks
I stood on the rails till I saw that train
Just to see how my heart would react
Now some people say that you shouldn’t tempt fate
And for them I would not disagree
But I never learned nothing from playing it safe
I say fate should not tempt me

I take my chances, I don’t mind working without a net
I take my chances, I take my chances every chance I get

I sat alone in the dark one night, tuning in by remote
I found a preacher who spoke of the light but there was brimstone in his throat
He’d show me the way according to him in return for my personal check
I flipped my channel back to CNN and I lit another cigarette

I take my chances, forgiveness doesn’t come with a debt
I take my chances, I take my chances every chance I get

I’ve crossed lines of words and wire and both have cut me deep
I’ve been frozen out and I’ve been on fire and the tears are mine to weep
Now I can cry until I laugh and laugh until I cry
So cut the deck right in half, I’ll play from either side

I take my chances, I pay my dollar and I place my bet
I take my chances, I take my chances every chance I get
I take my chances, I don’t cling to remorse or regret
I take my chances, I take my chances every chance I get
I take my chances

I take my chances

[Thank you:]



The surgery will be performed by an expert in the field of kidney surgery which my physician here in State College (250 miles from New York City) advises me cannot be reliably perfumed in the greater region where I live. My State College urologist referred me to Sloan Kettering in New York where Dr. Paul Russo will perform the surgery. The surgery, if successful. and it is highly likely to be, will remove the large tumor that surrounds my right kidney. The surgery will also remove one-third of my right kidney–in effect saving the kidney. Since imaging indicates the cancer has not spread, the operation is likely to eliminate the threat of my dying of kidney disease. Period. That is a big load off my mind. I hope you are able to donate money to help defray the travel expenses to surgery and during the two-week estimated recovery period.and of course the journey back home. My estimate is that $3,000 would be amount required and when I achieve that amount I will tell you and take down the donation button. Begging for money is difficult enough. Begging for money after I have raised the requested amount is tasteless.

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