Happy Endings

December 13, 2008
hitched 09.06.08

hitched 09.06.08


Fast forward six months

May 16, 2008

I don’t want to leave the story incomplete so here’s the next chapter in the book of Morley and the Mega Tumor:

Six months after the successful surgery at Mayo, it was time for Morley to have another colonoscopy to make sure things were still going well, particularly since there was some question that the spot that grew the tumor might sprout a new one.  I wrote an extensive update in our “daily  blog” (see link below) but the bottom line is this: six months later all is well.  There were indeed more polyps that had cropped up in the area where the tumor used to be, but they were removed for biopsy and were benign.  You can read all about it on our blog–look for entries under the “colonoscopy” category.  (www.susanmohr.blogspot.com)

Oh, by the way…a little announcement is in order:

We’ve been together for a long time and shared many, many good times and a few not so good ones (all of which involve the tumor, by the way),  but after sailing through this tumor caper we realized how truly great and solid our relationship is–plus we figure we’ve already got the “bad times” under our belt–so we’re getting married on September 6th, 2008. 

And you thought we’d never do it, did you? 

That’s okay, we’re still a little surprised ourselves.


one last lesson

November 13, 2007

I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days now but you know how it is when things return to normal after being away for awhile. 

After Morley and I returned from the Mayo Clinic we wanted to thank the people there for helping us, and figured that an email to Dr. Devine would be the least intrusive way to express our gratitude.  Little did we know that we’d get one last lesson in the attitude of service and humility that makes the Mayo Clinic such a special healing place: 

From: Morley Spencer
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 1:18 PM
To: Devine, Richard M., M.D.
Subject: My Recent Procedure
Dear Dr. Devine:

Last week you and your staff performed a trans-anal procedure to remove my colorectal tumor. I want to say that you and your staff treated me with the utmost dignity and respect, professionalism and kindness. Your procedure saved me from a painful and, as it has turned out, unnecessary major operation to remove this tumor by resection which is what I was clearly facing prior to visiting The Mayo Clinic. Not only that, I had also been promised the ‘near certainty’ of a permanent colostomy by the surgeon here in Atlanta as a result of that surgery.

Visiting The Mayo Clinic has been a truly awe-inspiring and spiritual experience for me and Susan and we will never, for as long as we live, forget the kindness, the hopeful optimism, and the unbelievably high standard of care that we received during our visit. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you and The Mayo Clinic for your incredible work. May God bless you all.

-Morley Spencer

From: Devine, Richard M., M.D.
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 2:35 PM
To: Morley Spencer
Subject: RE: My Recent Procedure

Dear Mr. Spencer,

My days can often be long and frustrating and sometimes demoralizing, it is letters like yours that make it all worthwhile.  Thank you for taking the time to write.

-Rick Devine

He works a miracle for Morley, then thanks us for giving him encouragement!  How can you not be impressed with a doctor who has an attitude like that?  All we could say was “wow”. 

As for Morley’s recovery since we’ve been home, he’s doing great.  His stamina still has a way to go before it is back to its normal level, but he’s pretty much working full days again and has resumed most of his old routine.  And it’s a big understatement when I say we are definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving with family next week and giving every single one of them a huge hug.

By the way, Morley’s experience has had another benefit. A number of people tell us they’ve stopped procrastinating about having their first colonoscopy exam. So far two of our friends have had theirs and each had polyps removed, and even the guy who owns the building where our company is located tells us he has one scheduled for November 29! If you are over 50–or younger than 50 with any symptoms whatsoever that something might be amiss–you really need to have a routine colonoscopy.  Honestly, it isn’t a big deal and you’ll probably sleep through the whole thing, but at least you’ll know all is well and possibly save yourself a nerve-wracking experience like we had.  Just think about it, will ya?

That’s it from us for now.  We hope everyone is well and that each of you has as much to be grateful for on Thanksgiving day as we do.

Love to all,
Susan and Morley


the phone call finally comes

November 6, 2007

We finally got the pathology results from the Mayo Clinic late this afternoon and the word is benign. Yay! The tumor contained dysplasia which means it was on its way to becoming cancer, and would have definitely been cancer if we’d waited much longer, but there was no cancer yet.  So we are done, done, done. Out of the woods and out of the tumor business.  Wahoo!

Dr. Devine said it is possible that particular section of the colon might try to sprout another tumor in the future so Morley will need a check up in six months, another in a year, and regular check ups after that, but if another one sprouts it will be easy to remove it if its caught early.  Dr. Devine mentioned there is a colorectal doc here in Atlanta who is a graduate of the Mayo and asked if we wanted him to send copies of Morley’s medical records to him so he’ll have them for Morley’s follow up exams.  Let me think about that for a second:  heck, yeahhhh!!! 

I don’t mean to dwell on this, but can you even imagine how we’d feel right now if we’d allowed that first surgeon to do what he wanted–to remove that entire section of colon and give Morley a permanent colostomy–for what turned out to be a benign tumor?  I honestly don’t know if I would have lived long enough to forgive him, truly I don’t. 

Morley is going to make an appointment to see the first surgeon just to talk about what happened in hopes it might make him a little more open minded with the next guy who comes along with Morley’s condition.  Who knows why his mind was so set on there being only one workable solution, but maybe Morley’s experience will help him realize his “fix it once and for all” approach is not always the best medicine.  

Anyway, that’s all behind us now and we got the best possible news today. We are over the moon with happiness around this house tonight.

Susan and “Good As New” Morley


home, (very, very, very) sweet home

November 5, 2007

We flew home yesterday, arriving around 4:30 PM, and geez did it ever look great to look out of that plane window and see the horrible traffic and downtown Atlanta covered in smog. Ahhhh, home sweet home.

In keeping with our new resolution for Morley to avoid over exerting himself, I arranged for a wheelchair to help us get from the gate to baggage claim and snarled at him every time he even thought about touching our mountain of luggage.  He was very self conscious about how it must have looked for me to be swinging all those huge suitcases around while he stood by holding my coat, but I assured him I will allow him to make up for it when we take our two week cruise in January.  (“Morley, be a love and peel me a grape.  And could you fetch me another pina colada, dahling?”)

Shelby went BERSERK when we walked in the door–it took about ten minutes for her to stop bouncing three feet in the air while licking whatever part of us she could make contact with–but of course the cats only glanced up at us with a slightly disinterested, “oh, were you gone? By the way our food bowls could use a little topping off” kind of look.  

Heather had a bottle of champagne ready for a celebratory toast, and then she served us a delicious dinner and sent us straight to bed.  I think we fell asleep before our heads hit the pillows.  I don’t even think we said goodnight to each other.

So today (and it is still hard to believe this) instead of checking into the hospital for a surgery we desperately wanted to avoid, we’re going to put a couple of hours in at the office mainly just to say hello to everyone,  and then come home so Morley can resume the resting and recovering position and I can start dealing with that mountain of luggage I mentioned earlier.

The only medical activity on our agenda today is to answer the phone when the Mayo’s pathology department calls with the final biopsy results.  Once we get that call and the news is good (which we just know its going to be), we can really, truly breathe normally again. It’s good to be home and we just can’t wait to resume the life of the living and to see every one of you. 

Speaking of seeing you, save the date:  Christmas Party at Morley’s and Susan’s, Saturday December 1.  Be there or be square:  I suspect Christmas this year will be an especially merry celebration.   

Party details to follow.

All our love,
Susan and Morley


springing forward as time falls back

November 4, 2007

It’s all good.  No fever this morning and all systems are go so we’re back on track for flying home today.  Our theory that walking around the mall yesterday was just too much too soon turns out to be true, and even SuperMorley has to accept the fact that just because there’s no mega incision it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to take this recovery thing a little slower.

So we are now packing our luggage in a gingerly, easy-does-it kind of way, after which we’ll go downstairs to score some breakfast, then off to the airport to turn in our rental car and catch a plane home. Yay.  We just can’t wait to get home.

Heather we should be walking in the door about 4:30 or so. 

Susan and “will you carry that bag please honey” Morley


100 degrees of Morley

November 3, 2007

We’re now in Minneapolis and a bit concerned because Morley is now running a fever.  Earlier this afternoon he started feeling a little out of sorts so we checked into a hotel near the airport to stretch out and watch a little tube so he could rest.  When he didn’t feel better after a couple of hours we suspected he might be running a fever so we bought a thermometer and sure enough, he has a fever. 

His discharge papers are very clear that a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher is a sign of something going wrong.  He was just barely below 100–too close for comfort–so I put him to bed and the fever dropped to 99.6.  We’re hoping this is just a sign that we over did things earlier in the day when we killed a couple of hours at the Mall of America.  Maybe it was just too much too soon, and because his pain hasn’t been as bad as it was with the last surgery he is overly optimistic about how quickly he’s recovering.  He thinks he’s good as new…well, other than walking a little slow and taking ten minutes to sit down. 

At any rate, I’ll keep an eye on him tonight and if the fever is close to the 100.4 mark we’ll need to head back to Rochester and postpone our flight home.  Hopefully a night’s rest will put him back on track and we’ll make the flight–neither of us looks forward to spending more time in that very depressing hospital full of very sick people.  

David and Doug:  Assuming we come home on schedule, please toss him out of the office after no more than a half day on Monday and insist he go home.  And if he doesn’t cooperate, I’ll be forced to use my secret weapon–ratting him out to his mum.  Now, if I can just remember her 47 digit English phone number…

Susan and “Under the Weather” Morley