Wednesday, December 08, 2010

There will come a day
when the tears of sorrow
will softly flow into
tears of remembrance...
and your heart will begin
to heal itself...and grieving
will be interrupted by episodes
of joy...and you will hear
the whisper of hope.
There will come a day
when you will welcome the
tears of remembrance...
as a sunshower of the soul...
a turning of the tide...
a promise of peace.
There will come a day
when you will...
risk loving...
go on believing...
and treasure the
tears of remembering.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Life and Times of John Cosgrove

Thanks to sister Sarah for making this video possible. In this format, it doesn't translate to big screen very well and for that, I'm sorry.

Hope it brings back good memories of John for you

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

John Cosgrove, 52, resident and beloved community member of Castro Valley, CA succumbed to Pancreatic Cancer after a 3 1/2 year battle, and died Tuesday morning at his home, surrounded by his family.

John was raised in Palatine, Il and was preceded in death by his parents, Tom & Iris Cosgrove.

John loved the outdoors and hiking and finding beautiful waterfalls. He loved his family, his work and all the people he worked with and those that he served. After several years in the electricity business, then the candy business with the Knudsen family, he found his place at Knudsen’s Ice Creamery, again, with the Knudsen family.

He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Vicki, his son Elliot, his daughter Taryn and her new husband, Eduard Sandulyak. He is also survived by the brothers who took such good care of him, and their families, Kevin and his wife Connie, Mike, Steve and his wife Laura & Pat and his wife Jennifer. He also leaves behind his loving in-laws, David & Kathy Knudsen, Jay & Sarah Knudsen, Tod & Carrie Knudsen and Ty & Monica Knudsen. He is further survived by nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Services will be held on Monday, July 19th at First Baptist Church of Castro Valley at 11am, followed by a reception at Knudsen’s Ice Creamery. The family requests that you not wear black. Wearing purple will be preferred.

Memorial funds are set up at The Wellness Community in Walnut Creek ( and at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network ( and the family requests all donations go there.

If you are interested in joining the fight against Pancreatic Cancer, please join’s mailing list ( Your Congress People and Senators have a huge effect on how much money goes to research and you can play a part in convincing them that this is a worthy appropriation by going to

Monday, September 07, 2009

Shouldn't we be accustomed to the roller coaster nature of being diagnosed with cancer by now? It's crazy. The last two and a half months have included the deaths of 4 people in my Survivor's Group, my father's passing after a struggle with Alzheimer's and dementia, and my own CT scan indicating a recurrence of tumor in the operating bed of my pancreas - that is one heck of a Screaming Eagle drop.

Clarence and Joyce were a couple of people that helped me find an even keel when I first joined the group. Clarence had that rock solid faith that some have that gives them the strength to face the most miserable circumstances with great peace. He had one lung left when I first met him and it "wasn't much good". Joyce came from a more secular direction in her struggle with her disease, maintaining her gentle and sympathetic attitude no matter how large the fearful lumps at her lymph nodes became. Simone came to the group later with a great zest for living and a clear understanding (and extremely muted) grasp of the short time she had left in her struggle. The last guy only made it to group twice, I think - angry as all get out at the injustice of leaving his beautiful young twin daughters.

The last time I saw my Dad he asked who I was at least 6 times over the weekend. We had a great time that I will hold in my heart forever. It was after my diagnosis, which I chose not to share with him, and he still whipped out some great jokes, clever stories, and the fascinating intricately remembered snippets of family history that are often more available to Alzheimer's patients than how to eat chips with dip. Dad passed the first week in July.

My CT scan on July 23rd show a wee 75 mm spot on the operating bed of my pancreas. It's about the same place that showed some activity last November. During our meeting (me, Vicki, and my brother Patrick) with Chemo Kaufman, he offered me "months" of life, options of pain management or if I "really wanted", he'd give some more chemo, and he suggested that we contact hospice. Wow. We stopped on the way home and had some (a lot?) great tequila that still remains unidentified by brand.

While I initiated wrapping up some of the details and thought about what to do with the apparently short time I had left, I also fired Chemo Kaufman, researched clinical trials that might be appropriate for me, thought about who I wanted for my outside-of-Kaiser second opinion, asked my radiation oncologist Dr. Lampenfeld to re-evaluate my records with a thought to giving me more radiation or maybe the 'Cyber Knife', and hooked up with Dr. Arora (nickname to be determined). Arora came recommended by a number of people in my group and especially Joyce. He was confident that we had a number of treatment options that would be helpful to me and he gave me a fistful of trials that he thought might work for me. He and I acknowledged that pancreatic cancer sucks, big time, but looked far more positively at a future, regardless of the difficulty in getting there.

After calling all of the trial people, it turned out that I wasn't qualified for any except possibly a vaccination trial at the University of Chicago. So I made an appointment with the esteemed Dr. Hedy Kindler at the University to coincide with the family's visit to Chicago to remember my father, at the Bomberpalooza. I thought she could give me a second opinion and give the yea or nay on their trials. Following a truly great party with nearly every Thomas Paul Cosgrove relative in attendance, and a couple days of golfing with the brothers at the most idyllic location in Wisconsin, my entourage and I steamed into Hedy Kindler's office for some talk.

Dr. Kindler actually referred to my previous diagnosis of palliative pain care and hospice as "nutty". I could have kissed her. She said that I have plenty of treatment options, none of which are currently necessary. She is not completely convinced that my cancer has recurred. The spots on my pancreas and the "slight, so slight", statistically insignificant, increase in my tumor marker increases could be a result of damage done to my guts by the radiation and chemo treatment I took at the end of last year. And while I may theoretically be qualified for the trials she is overseeing, she doesn't think that I am currently sick enough to be enrolled.

So now what? I got home from Chicago and Dr. Lampenfeld has scheduled me for a PET scan aimed at figuring out if radiation is an option. I have an appointment with Arora ostensibly to determine with him what my course of treatment is going to be. But Kindler doesn't think I need to start any treatment right away. All of the doctors think that cancer's still a part of my life that sucks, and I need to be mindful of it and listen to what my body tells me. Kindler kindly added the caveat that a headache is usually just a headache - it doesn't very often indicate tumors in your brain.

I guess I'll get the PET scan and see what's up. Kindler is anti-radiation, and pled with me to get a second opinion if the first one came back encouraging using the cyber-knife.

Until then.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3K Walk at Supery Vineyards & Winery to join the team.

And on Facebook

The Cosgroves & The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network invite you to the 7th Annual Walk Through the Vineyards on Saturday, June 13, 2009. Join the Napa Valley Affiliate at beautiful St. Supery Vineyards & Winery as we create awareness, raise funds and meet others who share the same goal: to find a cure for pancreatic cancer!

Bring all your friends and family for a lovely 3K walk through the vineyards. You can also enjoy a light breakfast, musical entertainment and the always fun wine bottle ring toss contest, and you can even bid to win great prizes in our silent auction.

Register online for only $30 for adults and $15 for children before May 28 and you'll be guaranteed an event t-shirt. Event-day registration is $40 for adults and $20 for children, and shirts will be available while supplies last. Pancreatic cancer survivors register for free!

For all event details, hotel discounts, fundraising ideas and photos, visit our official site,!

9:00 am: On-site registration opens. Enjoy a light breakfast and music while you explore the silent auction.
10:00 am: Walk begins
10:30 am - 11:30 am: Socialize, try your hand at the wine bottle ring toss or bid on auction items
11:30 am: Top fundraisers and auction winners announced
1:00 pm: Event closes to join the team.

If you want to get a room on Friday night:
The month of June is high tourist season for the Napa Valley. It is highly recommended that you to book your accommodations early. We have the following hotel group rates for the event good for Friday, June 12 or Saturday, June 13.

River Terrace Inn
1600 Soscol Ave.
Napa, CA 94559
Reservations: 866-NAPA-FUN
Reservations must be made by May 12, 2009
Rate: $159
Group Name: PAN

The Meritage Resort & Spa
875 Bordeaux Way
Napa, CA 94558
Reservations: 866-370-NAPA
Rate: $199
Group Name: Walk Through the Vineyards

Holiday Inn Express - Just opened March 2009
5001 Main Street
American Canyon, CA 94503
Reservations: 707-552-8100
Book online using WTV in the “Group Booking Code” field.
Reservations must be made by May 12, 2009
Rate: $139
Group Name: Walk Through the Vineyards

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy Birthday

Two years ago this week I went to the most excellent Dr. Umair and told her I was on my last belt hole and my pants were still falling down, and my skin clashed with my favorite yellow sweater. I remember she called me on my birthday to tell me there was a definite problem in my abdomen - a small mass (my brother Mike might suggest that a 'small mass' is when Father Rowley had the late service on Superbowl Sunday) in my pancreas. And despite the odds, tomorrow I turn 51.

Not only do I get to celebrate another birthday, but I might need to go back to my bigger clothes! I'm getting to the point where I'm almost meaty!

I recently spoke to someone that has just been diagnosed with pancreat cancer. It was a vivid reminder of the chaotic emotional whirlwind we went through in Spring of 07. And I really didn't have much to offer - the choices, as written on this blog somewhere, are not all that clear: get the operation if you can, and beyond that go with your gut (no pun intended). I heaped praise on CK Chang, and talked about all the side effects that came from all the different things I've done and that was pretty much it.

Except that I'm still around. And that I'm going to be around a while longer. I'm guessing that was the best part of our conversation. I remember how awful the statistics are. And how I felt looking through them and those tough conversations with the family. And it was one of those secret fears I had - there's no one that's making an exception to the statistics so how can I? That was my gift to her. I am living proof that the cancer doesn't always win. As Chemo Kaufman says, pancreat cancer still sucks, but things are pretty good right now.

Peace, and Happy Birthday to me.

PS. If you're interested in sending a gift, please make it a call, fax, email or letter to your Congressperson to sponsor HR745 which will provide more funding for research and finding a way to cure, prevent and screen for pancreat cancer. All the tools you need to get you started are on the right hand side of this note. On your mark, get set....GO!