October 29, 2008

The good:

I'm back! Actually, I've been home since last Friday, trying to readjust.

The bad:

The reason for my discharge and transfer back to my old hospital is because although the transplant itself was an awesome success by any measure, I haven't gone into remission.

So what does this mean? Well, there's a chance that I'll develop Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD) which might attack the leukemic cells. But frankly there are too many ifs in that statement, and there's no guarantee it would wipe it all out, as far as I know.

The ugly:

I asked one of my hematologists in Ottawa how much time he figured I had. He said less than a year. I asked the same question of my hematologist today, and she said weeks, maybe months.

Those are the facts about the leukemia. I have a lot more to write, but I started today about twelve hours ago by collapsing and needing to be be brought in to the hospital by ambulance. I'm quite tired. I have just enough energy to ask a favour. Could those of you who are on mailing lists I'm on (or used to be on) please post this? I don't have the energy to go to PWAC-L, the various SIGGRAPH lists, CE-L, and so on. You'd really be helping me out a lot. Thanks.

Labels: ,

posted by Emru Townsend at


Blogger Tamu said...

Will do, big brother. Heading to Facebook, Livejournal and twitter now.

October 29, 2008 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Bev Akerman said...

Hi Emru

I've posted your note to the PWAC-L. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do.

You have all our prayers and best wishes. Whatever's crossable is crossed.

Hoping to hear good news soon,


October 29, 2008 9:31 PM  
Blogger Janeann Dill said...

Yes, you precious one, I'll take care of posting to the SIGGRAPH folks! I'll post on my blog; and I'll post to my FB and the IIACI's FB pages + LinkedIn.


October 29, 2008 9:34 PM  
Blogger virtuallori said...


October 29, 2008 9:45 PM  
Blogger Mark Mayerson said...

I've forwarded the message to Apatooners Bob Miller, Harry McCracken and Jerry Beck, though they might already know.

Keep slugging, kid. We're all pulling for you.

October 29, 2008 9:48 PM  
Blogger Tamu said...

Posted to fps mailing lists.

October 29, 2008 9:55 PM  
Blogger Matthew Forsythe said...

Posted to Facebook.

If there's anything I can do, let me know.

Sending you positive energy from the plateau...


October 29, 2008 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Martin B said...

What hospital did they take you to in Montreal?

October 29, 2008 10:14 PM  
Blogger Will Shetterly said...

Emru, thanks for telling your story here. You've taught me a great deal.

October 29, 2008 10:27 PM  
Blogger Prateek said...

We'll spread the word to all our contacts... stay positive, big man; all our prayers are with you

October 29, 2008 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Madeline said...

Hi Emru,

The composure and dignity of this message are inspiring. Even when you're most exhausted, you're still a great leader and a great example. Thank you for that.

October 29, 2008 10:34 PM  
Blogger Andrew Leal said...

I'll be praying for you. Otherwise at a loss for words, but excellent post.

October 29, 2008 10:38 PM  
Blogger Barbara Spoerri said...

sending all my Love & strength to you, Vicky & max !!! & the rest of the Family !!!

oxox Barbara

October 29, 2008 10:56 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Your old PWAC buddies are thinking of you, Emru. Lots of energy flowing your way.

October 29, 2008 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Pat Pedraja said...

I'm sending my prayers and good thoughts your way. You are really an inspiration to me and all of us fighting our illness.

October 29, 2008 11:22 PM  
Blogger Christopher G said...

Just remember, it's not over until it's over. Bumps in the road don't count, no matter how big they may seem at the time, so stay positive.

October 30, 2008 1:50 AM  
Anonymous andrew osmond said...

You're in my thoughts too, Emru. My very best wishes.

October 30, 2008 3:20 AM  
Blogger Armen Boudjikanian said...

dear Emru, I just notified our SAS colleagues. I send you love from the Armenian highlands. I will see you in December my friend.

October 30, 2008 5:09 AM  
Blogger Lorri Benedik said...

Hi Emru,

I'm thinking of you every day and wish there was something I could do, beyond chocolate chip cookies...not that there's anything wrong with them.

Sending healing thoughts your way.

Much love to you, Vicky and Max,

Lorri (and Manny and Zach)

October 30, 2008 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Kathe said...

I'm not the praying kind, Emru, but I'm sending good vibes and healing hugs in the hope that they can make a difference along with the swell of support you're getting from so many people.


October 30, 2008 7:48 AM  
Blogger Chris Robinson said...

if you dont get it together, I'm gonna kick your ass.

October 30, 2008 7:48 AM  
Blogger Sarah T said...

Hey Emru,
During my treatment & transplant I used 'Positive Affirmations' to get me through. Here's my favourite one;

"My body & all its organs were created by the infinite intelligence in my subconscious mind. It knows how to heal me. Its wisdom fashioned all my organs, tissues, muscles & bones.
This infinite healing presence within me is now transforming every cell of my being, making me whole & perfect. I give thanks for the healing I know is taking place at this time. Wonderful are the works of the creative intelligence within me."

I'm sending you strength. Never give up Emru. Believe in the power you have to heal yourself. Repeat this affirmation over & over especially at night & 1st thing in the morning.

Let me know if you want any more!

Much love, peace & happiness to you...

Sarah Thompson (ACLT)

October 30, 2008 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Half said...

I know you can still beat this. C'mon Emru.

October 30, 2008 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Eric Lavoie said...

Tamu, Emru; if anyone can beat the odds, it's you guys. I'm not a praying man, but I will shout out a word towards the stars in case someone's listening..

Your experience has revived a wish I've had for years to give blood (I have O Negative type, so it's pretty darn useful) and to add myself to the registry. Convenientely, there is a Hema-Quebec office at the Place Versailles, right next to where I take the metro (at Radisson). I'd be a fool not to take the time to do this.

October 30, 2008 8:24 AM  
Blogger Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Emru, you and your family are in my prayers. I'm sure that everyone on CE-L is thinking of you.

October 30, 2008 9:03 AM  
Blogger Tamu said...

Karl Cohen was nice enough to circulate this directly among 150 animation friends.

October 30, 2008 9:11 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

My thoughts are with you Emru, you are an inspiration.

October 30, 2008 9:28 AM  
Anonymous jacquelyn said...

you are in my thoughts, emru.

your mssg has been posted to siggraph ctte lists.

Brian Ban sent me this mssg for you: I do wish him well. My prayers are with him.

October 30, 2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger Thierry said...

Tiens bon Emru !! On pense tous à toi !!

October 30, 2008 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are strong.

You are the hero you always wanted and always needed to be.

I have said very little about your trials as it has been decades since we have spoken at all, but my thoughts and goodwill have been with you all along, because even when we were younger, you were the man by which many of us measured themselves.

My thoughts are still with you. Stay strong. You are still teaching us so much.


October 30, 2008 10:46 AM  
Blogger siegel said...

Thinking of you.

I used to write/photograph for FPS
when Michael was there.

Let me know if there is anything I can do. I'm in Ottawa

Lois Siegel

October 30, 2008 10:57 AM  
Blogger Rob van Hell said...


Over the last months I have admired how you have been living your life with such courage; your most recent post underscores that fact.

You made a stem cell donor candidate out of me, and your posts make me more a reflective, appreciative and (hopefully!) a better person. So, thanks for that.

October 30, 2008 11:18 AM  
Blogger Shinygrape said...

This is an elaborate conspiracy - they only want you back at the hospital because all the nurses have the hots your sexy ass. Damn you, Emru, why must you be so brilliant, awesome, and entertaining?!

Just you watch....once you are done wowing all the doctors, nurses, hemabemafemazoologists with your fantastic charm, they'll send you home to your family. And as for the sick feelings you are having...simply bad hospital nachos. So, damn you, Emru, knock it off with the nachos so I can buy you a nice burger at "The Works". Deal?


October 30, 2008 12:05 PM  
Anonymous shira said...

Hi Emru and Tamu,
Posted to Concordia animation dept (someone already posted to the NFB.)
I have a friend who had supposedly terminal cancer 10 years ago - she had some very scary months but she beat astounding odds and is healthy and active in Vancouver 10 years later!
Miracles do happen - I've seen them firsthand...my thoughts and hopes are with you - sending much love to you all. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do.


October 30, 2008 12:24 PM  
Blogger Val Grimm said...

michael et moi pensons a toi et ton famille.

October 30, 2008 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Paul Naas said...

I've always been a big fan of Emru's work, and the few times I've had the opportunity to interact with him, he was gracious and friendly. My prayers are with you Emru.

October 30, 2008 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Sabra Ledent said...

Emru, you only met me once, years ago, but I've been following your courageous journey and cheering you on lustily from the sidelines. I'm sending you every best thought and prayer I can think of.... I have pointed you out to my sons as the quintessential warrior--the bravest of the brave.

October 30, 2008 1:33 PM  
Blogger Owldaughter said...

Emru, like many of the others here I feel that you're a shining example of what grace under pressure can be. We're all still doing the prayer and good energy thing for you, and our thoughts are constantly with you.

~ Arin

October 30, 2008 1:33 PM  
Blogger Dana said...


Terrence and I think about you all the time. Good, healing vibes are coming your way from Boston!

We love ya man,
Dana and Terrence Masson

October 30, 2008 2:09 PM  
Blogger Nalo said...

Holding you in my thoughts, Emru.

October 30, 2008 2:19 PM  
Blogger Linda said...


I have been following your travails over these months. Your spirit, humor and tenacity have been a great inspiration. You are in my spiritual practice. Tonglen.

And you have motivated many of us to become donors.

Bon Courage!

Lots of love to you,

October 30, 2008 2:41 PM  
Blogger Carol Beecher said...

So I was talking to Mr. Reaper and he doesn't know what the hell is going on (but trust him not to know anyway these days) so if he doesn't know then keep doing what you're doing, or Chris will have to share your ass with me!

Love and all from Carol (and Kevin too)

October 30, 2008 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emru, a few short weeks ago I was celebrating over your triumph with the engraftment, and now I'm moved to tears to learn that your struggles continue. It seems so unfair that you should be forced to face more troubles. I will continue to hope that you receive the miracle that you deserve. May peace be with you.

October 30, 2008 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Keith Logan said...


It's been a decade since we've seen each other and I am not the praying type, but my positive thoughts are going your way. You are giving it your best with more grace and courage than most could muster. Keep up the fight!

Good vibes, Keith

October 30, 2008 5:30 PM  
Blogger Marathon said...

I'll add my prayers and good vibes to those of others here, Emru. Thank you for making your life to date one of significance, and involving me in it in a very tiny (but important, to me) way. Strength, courage, peace and healing to you, and your family as well. - Jeff Elbel

October 30, 2008 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Susanna said...

I read the update on CE-L. Talk about whiplash. I've got three candles burning for you. One of them is in the empty bottle of grappa I bought on the recommendation of the late Lisa Barnett. (The bottle wasn't empty when I bought it, and Lisa wasn't late.) Nasty stuff, but it makes a great candle holder.

October 30, 2008 7:45 PM  
Blogger Leslie Bishko said...

Well I am just terrible at this stuff. I am feeling it but don't really have the words. Please tune in to my vibrational frequency for the full details!


- Leslie

October 30, 2008 8:23 PM  
Blogger ** SAVE MICHELLE ** said...

Dear Emru's new stem cells,

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! Please obliterate those nasty leukemia cells. You are stronger, smarter and more resilient than them. You can do this and we will all be here to support you.


October 30, 2008 8:23 PM  
Blogger T. Scarlet said...

*hugs* with great honor...

I wish to echo Arin. You are still in out prayers here in this house too, along with those like you.

Hang tight. Take things one day at a time. Love every second.

October 30, 2008 8:25 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Hi Emru,

I just found out that you were fighting the fight of all fights. I'm sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time. An understatement, I know.

You're a strong person Emru. My thoughts are with you.

- Rob Davies

October 30, 2008 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Amid said...

C'mon Emru! You can do it! We're all sending prayers your way and rooting for you to pull through!

October 30, 2008 10:59 PM  
Blogger Michelle Klein-Hass said...

Emru, if anyone can beat this, you can.

The Cartoon Geeks are all thinking of you as you fight the good fight.

The GvH is a double-edged sword...it can make you sicker than you've ever felt in your life, yet it can possibly knock the Leukemia out.

And don't listen to the doc who gave you an answer to your question of "how long have I got"...the correct answer, according to the doctor who cared for Richie is "everyone's disease is different." That doctor is telling you what the odds, the stats, say in your case. However, you need to take Han Solo's attitude. "Never tell me the odds."

I'm keeping up the optimism and the good thoughts. I'm not a praying person, but if I was I'd be praying for you.

October 31, 2008 1:19 AM  
Anonymous John Woolfrey said...

I don't believe it, Emru. You've got magic powers that I know will work their charms and take care of all this. Thousands of people have been told the same thing by their doctors, and they miraculously survived. You're a survivor, and a magic man.

John (Woolfrey)

October 31, 2008 10:42 AM  
Blogger Aalia said...

I believe in you Emru... and counting on you to thumb your nose against the odds. Much love, prayers and energizing vibes are being sent your way. Hugs too, since we were unable to get together before all this.


October 31, 2008 1:50 PM  
Blogger John said...

sending you my best wishes Emru.

October 31, 2008 4:02 PM  
Blogger Emru Townsend said...

Honestly, I'm overwhelmed by the many (and varied!) responses I've received here and in e-mail. I can't quite answer everyone (this is still hard work), but I wanted to address a recurring theme and answer a few comments directly.

First, please don't think I've resigned myself to anything. I'm still working on getting better, which will ultimately extend my life further.

Chris Robinson: Best response ever. Of course, my ass is currently so narrow it's a more difficult target.

Shinygrape: Good theory. I'm going with it.

Pat Pedraja: I think all of us fighting the good fight in public -- and different -- ways are inspirations to each other. Your dedication and energy certainly inspires me.

October 31, 2008 9:27 PM  
Blogger Viveka said...

It's good to hear your voice Emru, ringing as clear as ever. You're magnificent; always were, and I'm glad you're still kicking.

Much love,


November 1, 2008 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

True story:

A very dear African American friend of mine recovered from a horrific car accident even though his injuries were so severe that they didn't think he could possibly survive them.

He is adamant that there was one thing that was crucial to his recovery. His secret medicine? Laughter.

After surgery, in the ICU, his doctor prescribed something very strange. He made him listen to old Amos & Andy radio shows every night.

He told my friend that what he needed most was to get oxygen deep in his lower lungs. Getting patients to do that when they are exhausted and in a lot of pain was the trick, though. He acknowledged the controversial nature of the shows but said that after trying many other things, he had found that they simply worked the best.

Are there any animated cartoons you find hilarious time after time? Perhaps laughter really IS the best medicine.

November 1, 2008 2:45 PM  
Blogger joanne carnegie said...

Hi Emru,

Sharon might be right. For medicinal comedy, the "punking" of Sarah Palin might be a good start.

My fingers are crossed for you. (And, every time I listen to the Palin spoof, also my legs.)

Take care.


November 3, 2008 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Emru,
Your update has reached across the pond to London. My thoughts...all positive...are with you.

November 3, 2008 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Wayne Radford said...

Hey Buddy!

Steve H, and I were chatting in Pacific Time about your latest update.
I had heard you had found a match, and he had heard more recent news.

Suffice to say, I do believe that you and Tamu have had an incredible impact on stemcell and marrow match registries. I saw an actual - televised - ad today, from Canada Blood Services, specifcally mentioning www.ONEMATCH.ca .

You are truly an inspiration, my friend. Our hopes and prayers are with you and your family. Please let me know
if there is anything else that you need,
or require.

Watching, waiting, and praying.
Wayne R

November 3, 2008 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emru (and family, loved ones):

My prayers continue for you all.

Thanks for being you, for sharing your journey with us, and keeping the chapters coming one at a time.

If you'll need ice packs for your a** after all that kickin' you may be getting, let me know and I'll send them to you!


November 3, 2008 11:30 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Keep pushing, man. You're not alone.

Your friend,
John Picacio

November 4, 2008 9:09 AM  
Anonymous spot_the_dog said...

G'day, Emru. Warm thoughts & prayers heading your way from sunny Western Australia.

You probably don't remember, but you helped me out, right out of the blue, back in April with resources for adding to this post.

I'll be doing another post looking for bone marrow donors this week, and will be sure to include a link to your site again, and your update here.

Hey mate - work on getting over this setback and you can come hang out here in Western Oz for a bit! You know how to get in touch, just tell me when. And here are some live surf-cams from my neck of the woods, just to whet your appetite ;-)

November 6, 2008 4:05 AM  
Blogger Northern Girl said...

It's amazing the lengths to which some people will go to eat hospital food. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Warm wishes and prayers from the Great Snowy North.


November 7, 2008 1:14 AM  

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