It could be infection, or it could a tumor.

That was a small part of the explanation Dr Piercefield gave last Wednesday when he told us the results of x-rays and a cat scan that I had taken the day before. I watched Fredi as she listened to Dr Piercefield and she never blinked an eye. I recognized that determined look in her eyes and I knew she was thinking, so what’s our next step? Fredi has survived a few major surgeries of her own and through them all she had that same look and attitude. That look is probably the only thing that helped me keep my chin up as I thought about the possible road ahead.

I initially went to see Dr. Piercefield Tuesday morning because I had suffered through a few uncomfortable days of not being able to relieve myself. By day three of no relief, I was so bloated no position I sat, laid or stood was comfortable. You could actually hear my stomach slosh as I walked. The bubbling and gurgling sounded like a volcano about to erupt. Not my stealthiest of times.

I was admitted into Emory University Hospital Wednesday and more tests confirmed that a tumor was blocking a section of my colon. It was official; I have colon cancer. The next day doctors performed a colonoscopy to get a more thorough view. During the procedure they also implanted a stint around the tumor, which allowed me to relieve myself.

During my follow-up with Dr. Willingham, who performed the colonoscopy, I thanked him and told him I vaguely remembered arguing with his team when I came out from under the anesthesia. I thought I remembered insisting I had to be somewhere. He said, “Yeah, you said you had to go to the bathroom.” Oh well, everybody knew then the stint had worked.

I’ve been recuperating in Emory since the colonoscopy and building up strength for surgery tomorrow. Dr. Staley’s plan is to snip out the blocked section, reconnect the colon and keep me here for more days of observation. I hope it is that simple.

Until last night’s dinner, when they fed me BBQ chicken and veggies with a hot roll, I had been on a clear liquid diet of broth, ice cups, jello and juice for breakfast, broth, ice cups, jello and juice for lunch, broth, ice cups, jello and juice for dinner. I can’t begin to describe how good that chicken was last night. Eating and chewing real food for the first time in days almost reminded me of standing in line at Jacque Imo’s while savoring the sweet aromas escaping through the front door. Almost.

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20 Responses to “It could be infection, or it could a tumor.”

  1. Jim Sanders says:


    This is shocking news! I’m so sorry to hear of this. Please keep me updated on PROGRESS….! and there WILL be PROGRESS, I’m sure!

    Faith, man!


  2. Ben Gray says:


    Wow, I hate to hear that, but you know there’s nothing that can keep you down! Adrainne and I will be praying for a routine surgery and a speedy recovery.


  3. Thea Pagel says:

    John — You are in my prayers. I just read this a book that a friend of mine who has been suffering with Lymes disease recommended. She had amazing results with this program — The Swiss Secret to Optimal Health: Dr. Rau’s Diet for Whole Body Healing

    Please keep me posted. I hope that when I am in Atlanta in July you are your stealth self and soon after that I will bump into you at Jacquesimos for a splurge dinner celebrating your good health.

    Much Love thea

  4. Margaret Rose says:

    Hey, there, Moon Man, I hope you are up and about shortly and we will all be praying for you up here in Northern Virginia. Hugs and kisses and talk to you soon.

  5. Stan Scott says:

    John- First and foremost, you WILL get through this, and there WILL be a silver lining that presents itself. Have faith, be determined, and WE will get through this ! Rita & I are praying for your speedy & healthy recovery as you read this post !
    We love you and this too shall pass !

  6. Patti Stang says:

    I send lots of prayers and positive thoughts your way. Wishing you a successful and speedy recovery.
    Please know your friends in Virginia will all be praying for you and awaiting your next update.
    God Bless you John,
    Patti Stang

  7. Girard Mouton,III says:

    Before the ‘Fest I went to your website and saw a picture of me you took while I was shooting the first weekend last year. I said to myself, “That doggone John sneaked me and didn’t tell me he put me on the site!” It is an honor to be on it John.
    I was waiting to get you this year, but you didn’t show. We, David and I and some others were commenting on who we didn’t see this year and also I was ready for the show at the International House.
    I’ll see you next year, for sure.

  8. Michelle W says:

    Ok man, who invited you to the club?

    You know I am here for you for whatever you need.

    From someone who has been there, and is still there, I can tell you this:

    Some days will suck. Some days will not. Some days you will be scared. Some days you will almost forget. But you will keep on keepin’ on. Because that is the only choice.

    Love you.

  9. Bill Reynolds says:

    Cancer sucks.
    You are in my prayers, and if you need an ear to bend just let me know.
    It ain’t an easy road, but it’s one that’s well-traveled and lined with supporters.
    Consider me one of you supporters.

  10. Lauren Davidson says:

    Am sending you good vibes, my friend! We’re thinking about you here at the AJC!

  11. Chuck Eckstein says:

    When you need a pick-me-up, remember that photo of me planting a kiss on your ugly mug. (Or was it the other way around?)

    Dig in for the fight, big daddy. There’s still a lot of jazz out there just waiting for you to discover.

  12. Dana Tofig says:

    John: We are sending positive prayers and vibrations from Maryland and hoping for a very speedy recovery.

  13. Jan Pogue says:

    Fredi and John — I hate hearing this. Please, let me know what’s happening. Damn.

  14. James A. Mallory says:

    Boy, John, I’m in shock. I’m praying that you have a quick and solid recovery. I’m a strong believer that prayer works. Be strong my friend.

  15. David Tulis says:

    Hiya big John. Lisa, Lauren and i are sending some powerful prayers your way and we know you will be OK.

  16. Cynthia Tucker says:

    John, I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. My love to all of you.

  17. Tom Sabulis says:

    Thoughts and prayers sent your way, John. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

  18. Bob Deutsch says:

    Jeez, No shit…
    Damn, hang in there, I’m confident you will be fine soon and harassing all of us as always:)

  19. John says:

    Hey guys, thank you so much for the prayers and well-wishes. They were uplifting and helped me tremendously. My almost 6 hour surgery was a success and I’m resting comfortably. I will be in the hospital for 4-5 more days. Thank you so much for thinking of me and my family during such a scary time.

  20. Chuck Eckstein says:

    Thanks for sharing the good update, John. Keep up the positive vibes and attitude.

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