George’s Journal

In this entry, I’ll focus primarily on family and friends, but first a brief report on my health. I feel good, but still have the fatigue which is characteristic of a recent Bone Marrow Transplant recipient. There is no way for me to immediately shake it.

Under normal circumstances (prior to health complications the last 18 months), occasionally my energy would sap due to working long hours, not getting enough sleep, traveling 2-3 weeks a month, and/or pushing myself at the gym, etc.  However, that was a temporary, easily correctible situation. Post BMT, this fatigue engulfs me daily, usually in the early-to-mid afternoon.  I try to navigate around it and through it the rest of the day.

According to Dr. Chen, my energy level will improve monthly. Somehow, I must be patient, and continue to get my rest daily. My physical conditioning will also gradually improve and help create more energy for me to be more productive; and, hopefully, get back to work sometime within the next 30-60 days. I’m scheduled to start physical therapy next week at Irvine Right. Yes, I’m very eager to get my conditioning and energy “right.”


Today, June 24th, is my oldest daughter, Jacquelyne’s 12th birthday.  It’s wonderful to be alive and home to celebrate it!  She has a passion for volleyball. At 5’ 7”, Jacquelyne plays “middle blocker,” the front line middle position up against the net. Her team, Orange County Volleyball Club, wraps up their season next week at a huge tournament in Phoenix.  She’s very excited to be staying in a dormitory on campus at Arizona State University!

In addition to my family, one of the greatest blessings of my life, are my wonderful friends.  During my illness, I’ve heard from dozens of friends from high school (Trenton, MI), college (undergraduate – Western Michigan University), and former/current career stops.  In some cases, I had not seen or communicated with the friend for over 20-30 years.


I was especially blessed one weekend in January when my dear friends, Tim and Kelly Blett arranged to have 4 of my roommates from WMU visit, and stay at their home in Laguna Niguel – 15 miles from our home.  After a 5 day stay, I got out of the hospital, Friday afternoon, and my buddies came over our house that evening. I was in pretty bad shape. The chemo treatment I received was a “final stab” at shrinking the tumor. It was my 5th level of chemo. I wasn’t nauseous, but was slurring my words. The chemo was so potent that it affected my balance, mobility and speech. I found out 2 weeks later that chemo was no longer an effective treatment option at stopping/shrinking the cancer.

The weekend was amazing, a real “pick me up” emotionally! As you know by now, John is the greatest brother in the world!  I’m also very fortunate to have friends who are like brothers to me. Reed Perry flew in from The Netherlands(!), Steve Fuller from Chicago, Bob Sauer from Detroit, Ron Buermann from Jackson, MI, plus Chris Copps, who lives in Laguna Beach.  My faith in God never wavered, and my mission to live was/is tenacious. My friends making the commitment to visit me reinforced my resolve!

Kelly Blett (Tim’s wife), drove me to City of Hope several times when I was undergoing radiation treatments.  Tim and Kelly, and Chris Copps, along with my brother, were instrumental in setting up the GWG fund.  John, along with my parents, traveled to Orange County, from the Detroit area, twice since January to check up on me and help out.  John also accompanied me a number of times to City of Hope for radiation sessions.


I’ve received hundreds of emails, and over 300 messages on my website.  I want to share just a sampling of messages that brought a big smile to my face, while showing the power of prayer. Yes, the good Lord has been watching over me, and many people been keeping Him abreast of my situation and praying for me to beat cancer. Here you go:

Dan Cannon (Dallas), a good friend from WMU, wrote:  “I just learned of your condition from your brother and will be storming the gates of Heaven in prayer for you my dear old friend…My heartfelt best wishes and daily prayers are with you and your family. Keep your chin up and stay positive George. You will beat this. All of us who have been blessed by your friendship over the years love you and will be close by you as we battle this together.”

Cousin John Bruno Caruso (Aurora, OH) beat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 20-years ago:  “With prayer and your determination to win, I’m confident a successful recovery is near! Keep fighting the fight George (you always liked a good rumble) and know that your family and friends love you and pray for you, Cheryl and the girls every day.  Don’t forget you come from good stock…Romanians are hard to keep down long!”  Love you cousin, John Bruno

ThomasNet colleague and friend, Mike Grugnale (Rochester, NY):  “You must be totally pumped to be out of the hospital with a true vision of getting some semblance of normalcy back into your life. I can imagine that it may still seem a way off but as you often share “With God all things are possible”. You continue to be in our prayers and I hope this summer is one of amazing things for you and your family.

Dave Rosenberg (Irvine), my good friend and attorney: “George, all of the Indian Princess fathers are with you in this battle. You are a mighty Brave and will overcome. We are by your side, thinking and praying for you daily and ready to fight.”  Love, Brave Red Bull

Victor Sharrar, a friend/colleague of mine from R.H. Donnelly (17-years ago):  “…George, May God bless you as you fight this – God alone has the power to do miracles as you well know. Trust Him. His will is mightier than ours. His plan is hard to understand, but perfect. You will constantly be in our prayers. My sister’s favorite verse when she fought her battle was…2 Corin 12:10…”When I am weak, then I am strong.”

Cousin Tonilyn Gianatasio (Oak Brook, IL):  “YOU are going to beat this! Stay strong—we believe in you and know you can fight this. We’re fighting with you–daily thoughts and prayers. Our love to you, Cheryl, and your beautiful girls!”  Tonilyn & Hank

Lori Grbac (Sacramento), a good friend we haven’t seen in 7-8 years:  “You are fighting this thing with everything in you just as I would expect and YES anything is possible when you put your faith in God Almighty. If anyone can stay positive and beat this thing it’s you. I’ve never seen anything dampen your spirit and your passion and that is what everyone loves about you.”  Love to you, Cheryl and the girls, Lori and Bob

Former U. of Michigan football player (1979 Team Captain) and friend, John Arbeznik (Golden, CO):  “George, I truly admire your positive attitude and strength. I am amazed how you have faced this battle! You have a lot of prayers coming your way! When I had my health issues, Father Solanus was there for me and I know Father Solanus is working for you. Keep the Faith. I look forward to seeing you in the Fall!  GO BLUE and God Bless you!” The Flame

I’ve received many emails and calls from our good friend and ThomasNet colleague, Carmilla Lau. She’s had a tough time, with both her father and ex-husband battling cancer. Carmilla sent me a note recently, and included quotes from her son Linus (age 16):  “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” AND “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Bill & Kim Alm (Kalamazoo, MI) provide the below message. Bill is a high school buddy, and roomed with me when we both worked for U.S. Steel in Birmingham, AL: “Our thoughts and prayers are with you daily. Keep up your positive attitude. You are so strong and have so many of us out there that love you and care about you. Hang in there!  We love you!”

Donna Ganshirt (Newhall, CA), our good friend and ThomasNet colleague: “Hang in there George. If anyone can beat this, it’s you. You have always been one of the most positive people I have ever known.  You are in my Prayers every day. George, “Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will!” Love, Donna

My spiritual brother, Boris Del Cid (San Clemente): G “I am praying for you even harder now. I know now why they call you “The Machine.” Keep that warrior spirit up…I wish I could give you my bone marrow, so we could be actual blood brothers. I love you man!!!” Boris’ wife, Jill, is a WMU grad and dear friend.


With the tremendous support and love demonstrated in the above messages, and many more, how could I not beat cancer!  The Venerable Father Solanus Casey, a wonderful Catholic priest in Detroit who passed in 1957, summarizes my feelings about the support I’ve received from you:  “Every day you shall wonder at yourself….at a richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God. But everyone needs someone-knowing that somewhere someone is thinking of you.”  Father Casey was the first U.S.-born man formally to be declared “Venerable” by the Roman Catholic Church. He’s under consideration by the Pope for beatification (sainthood).

The most fascinating, relevant book I’ve read, perhaps ever, is “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Have you read it? Many of you are familiar with Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County. He gave the invocation at the presidential inauguration in January 2009. The book is helping me understand what God’s plan is for me, both here and now, and for eternity. Awesome!

I pray to remain cancer-free, and regain my physical strength. I thank the Lord for having you in my life, and pray for you and family’s health and well-being. I have one more cancer screening in August. Our hope is that screening will confirm my present diagnosis.

Cheryl and I can never thank those of you who have contributed to my fund enough. Your care and generosity has been unbelievable!

God bless you and yours,


…”With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

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