Saturday, July 5, 2008


Yes, I've got it.

No, you can't have it. You have to grow your own. You don't catch cancer. It's not a head-cold or a case of clap. I've been working on mine for more than five years now. It's called Multiple Myeloma and it has lead me a merry chase, partly because the first symptoms appeared as a kind of transition variety and all those fancy, infallible scanners and CATZ and PETZ and sooper-dooper hi-teck never-wrong space-age machines were DEAD WRONG. Indeed, I was I was healthy as hell according to them... and they were right. Unfortunately I was in the process of developing multiple myeloma so that while I was healthy then, within a matter of weeks I was now not... even though I had just completed a series of expensive, time-consuming tests that said I was.

One of the trickier bits about Multiple Myeloma is that it likes to attack people who are about forty years of age or older. Need I mention that includes a lot of pilots?

If you just found out you've got it, you're one of about 15,000 others in the 40 - to - 65 age-group who joined that years club. After getting the good news an awful lot of these guys make it as far as the parking lot before blowing out their brains. I mean, after all... they've just lost their ticket, everyone is moving to larger airframes rather than smaller ones and career-wise our boy is on the lower cusp, for whom a lab report ...perhaps accompanied by a friendly tranquilzer... has just guaranteed the world as he knew it has ended.

Okay, stats vary and I don't want it to appear worse than it is but I've had the misforturne to see this scenario played-out twice, up-close and personal. My own situation aside, I'd rather it didn't happen again so howzabout following me through on this one?

The Biggie is that some forms of multiple myeloma are TREATABLE. Okay, so there's no ATR in your wallet when you get done but at least you are still there.

Treatable means you can't have my plane... go build your own. But we -- and I'm talking the aviation community, your family and what all -- we've still got you. That puts us miles ahead of the game. So don't get all teary-eyed on me. You've still got the Big C! (and so do I). It's awful. It F**king Hurts! It's NOT FAIR!!

So suck it up and let's get on with our lives.


Like I said, some forms of multiple myeloma are treatable and I'm a living example of someone who ha
s just started through the process. I've done the wet hanky bit, hid in the corner for a major bout of boo-hoo's, then then did the Oh So Sorry me but my God that sonofabitch hurts!

Weak as a cat, too. (But I'm working on that.)

Kinda confused. Chemotheropy guarantees you're going to kinda dingy now & then but but trust me, I passes.

What you need, right now and for a good while to come is your friends. And you can go ahead and count me in, if I'm not already on the list. Because with multiple myeloma the emphasis is NOT about grabbing your friends by the handles and dumping them in a hole in the ground, it is about getting BETTER; about HEALING. And I'm not standing here blowing smoke. Hell, I'm still making rigs for Chugger's wing ! (and no tranks in the pill compartment this morning).

(And I've still got three damn engines to finish :-)


So what about you guys who don't have 'chugger' waiting in the wings? Then you're going to have to get one...
or something damn near identical.


Plus you've got to learn how to SLEEP.

Deep, rich rewarding SLEEP. Because based on my limited (but growning experience as a cancer victim) sleep appears to be the catylyst for cure -- or at least for healing. The only problem is that everything is all so new (!) and there is so much to learn. To make matters worse you usually look like the dog's dinner and feel even worse.

Tough Darts.

About half the time, multiple myeloma is trying to kill you on purpose and the rest of the time it does a fair amount of damage through pure chance, all the while you are rattling like a goard from all the pills you've stuffed yourself with. Most of the pills are an effort to control the pain, others are there to help control the side-effects of the chemicals that are suposed to help you GET WELL and a very critical aspect of that effort is the need to maintain accurate records. The records are needed to maintain the proper balance between pain management and chemotherapy. Need I mention that if you aren't a good clerk at the outset you'll soon become one!

So what works? What's the Secret Weapon?

I haven't the foggiest notion.

But I do know that Jesus never owned a Cadilliac and Mohammad had never actually seen a real oil well although it's fair to assume both enjoyed a wealth of real friends, the kind you can't buy.

So let's start with that


29 June -- Home from the hospital, I pretty much lived in this chair for three days & nights because it simply hurt too much to lay down. We finally got that worked out .

You can't deal with the tumor until you've figured out some way to deal with the pain.


Dorri Williams said...

Bob, you don't know me, but I've been reading your stuff for years now. I just wanted you to know that you're in my thoughts and prayers.


Erik Snyman said...

Hello Bob

I agree that the news must be the most horrible to digest. My mother is going through cancer, too, and I see all the hardache and pain that goes with it.

I have never met you in person, but please remember that the whole of the VW world is full of your friends and admyrers, and all our thoughts are with you.

Now, as soon as you get better, I would like to invite you to a hunt (you shoot blackpowder, don`t you?) in South Africa or Australia. You can stay for as long as you like and hunt to your heart`s desire.

Now tell me that that is not a reason to beat the Bastard.....

Kindest regards and all of the best, and hang in there. Medical science is good.

Erik Snyman
South Africa.

C R said...


I wish the best for you and you'll be in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

Bob, you don't know me but I feel like I know you, through your writings over the years starting back with your "Sermons" and countless rec.aircooled posts. [People often refer to the Muir book as "the Bible". I call it the Old Testament. Your sermons are the New.] Over the years, I've read, re-read, and shared your lessons, tales, and anecdotes with everyone who will listen and I can say without hesitation that we are all better mechanics as a result.

I know this can be difficult and expensive, with Dr. appointments, tests, medicine, etc. Please post a P.O. address so we can help out a bit with the costs. You paid it forward, there's no doubting that, so let the good will come back to you. And "no thanks" isn't an acceptable answer. What good are friends if you won't let them be there for you when you need it. Seriously.

I'm not nearly as good a Christian as I could be/should be, but you are in my prayers.

And please update us, often, on your progress to getting better.

--Jon in Chapel Hill, NC

Anonymous said...

Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth.

-- Mark Twain

Wishing you the best! ***hugs***

Retro said...

Eish Bob.


I've been checking your blog two three times a week, now I know why the update was so long in coming.

Just know that you have people all over the world thinking of you.

Including me down in a very wet Cape Town.

Al K said...

I have always enjoyed and learned from your volkswagen posts (early member of vanagon list back in the lenti days) I am pullin for you Bob. I wear a yellow band for seven folks, some still fightin' some apparently free. The number now goes to eight. Live Strong! Send me your email. Al Knoll anasasi*at*

Wm. Curtis Chapin said...

Hang in there Bob. I'll be cheering for you.'re the patient in charge.

Anonymous said...

The human body is a very complicated machine and as such it is being exploited by a hugely immoral system of cooperating economic interests. As you seem to be five years into conventional treatment and probably having a sense of having invested into it, perhaps you should look into the latest from Israel. This country is several decades forward in any form of cancer – Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem is known to cure uncurable cancers ( specially leukemias) all over the mediteranean since the seventies. Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Rumania flock ! You must have Jewish friends that can confirm. Israel is still full of daily driven overheating beetles – Athens Greece much better THANK YOU SO MUCH ! more from Stefanos at

Anonymous said...

Although I may not be able to help with the pain, I have certainly admired the way you face life. We've never met, but I will be thinking of you at odd times. No reply necessary.
Russell Dold
South Africa

J. Paige said...

1. Google "The Methuselah Foundation" and read Aubrey DeGrey's book.

2. Dichloroacetate. Read about it. You will understand the chemistry. ""

Wake Forest Univ. researcher has damn good technique. You can benefit.

Good luck to you.

JP Straley

greggholmes said...

We are here for you, stay strong.

David Brodbeck said...

Best wishes for a full recovery, Bob. I've followed your writings for a long time and I feel like I know you, even though you've never heard of me. You will be in my thoughts.

Jeff Boatright said...


I'm one of the "people all over the world thinking of you..." - down here in Decatur, GA.

Get good sleep, do good work.


Anonymous said...

>Just know that you have people all over >the world thinking of you.

Ditto from Canada

Jason said...

Bob we're thinking of you in Paint Rock, TN.

I've been reading your stuff for 12 years or thereabouts and just recently discovered your blog and your mug. My subconscious honestly expected you to look like Ken Kesey... I guess you got to "run what you brung" same as I did. :)

You continue to have a profound influence on many lives including mine.

Anyhow our thoughts and prayers go out for you and yours.



Stefan Reuther said...

Mr. Hoover,
Sorry to learn of your cancer Sir. My dad, who is of about your vintage, has been fighting renal cancer for over a year now.
FWIW I've found that exposure to grandchildren, Michigan beef pasties, and VW car shows all do wonders for his health ;)
Things to keep in mind, good luck to you and your family.
Stefan Reuther Mpls, MN 1970 Westy

Nicholas said...

Bob you e-mailed me I think sometime in 1998 when my father, brother Dan and myself were rebuilding a VW engine for the first time here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and I had a question about piston rings. Thanks for the advice and your sermons. Fast forward to now and I'm in charge of business development, product planning, etc. at a car company here in Malaysia. My brother was a design engineer at Lotus Engineering and is now in the oil & gas industry. I think you've helped and/or inspired hundreds if not thousands of people around the world. We will pray for your recovery. Keep fighting!