Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Dave Sinkula, 40, Coon Rapids, MN, died on April 14th, 2010 after a long battle with melanoma. Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Eastgate Funeral Service Chapel, 2302 E Divide Ave, Bismarck, ND, with Rev. Paul Becker officiating. Burial will be held in Fairview Cemetery, 2929 E Century Ave, Bismarck, ND.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Eastgate Funeral Service, Bismarck.

Dave was born on March 8, 1970, in Bismarck, ND, to Donald and Lillian Sinkula. He lived in Bismarck, in the same house with his parents and his sister Karen, for 18 years. After graduating from Century High, he attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, from 1988 – 1992, pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. While at UND, Dave began his first of seven co-op work assignments with 3M Co., mostly in the St. Paul, MN area. In the fall of 1992 Dave transferred to North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. He completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in December of 1994.

Following graduation, Dave went to work at Phoenix International Corp. in Fargo. Feeling an urge to leave the Red River Valley and start fresh, Dave left in August 1995, headed for the Twin Cities. He decided to meander a bit before arriving at his destination, passing through Austin, TX and Colorado Springs, CO to visit friends in a roundabout vacation before settling into job hunting full time.

It took until December of 1995 for Dave to find a job as an embedded software engineer for Interactive Technologies, Inc. in North Saint Paul, MN. He really enjoyed working at ITI with a wonderful group of people to both work and play with.

In the boom times that were the late 1990’s, Dave left ITI and began working at J. Gordon Electronic Design, Inc., Fridley, MN in 1998. Like ITI, Dave loved being with JGED both for the work and the people he worked with.

Boom gave way to bust, Dave was laid off; he later found a job with Ecowater Systems in Woodbury, MN.

Dave met Angie Olson at a friend’s wedding in 1997. The two have lived in their current residence in Coon Rapids since 1999. After a long period of getting to know one another and Angie’s daughter Brooke Jundt, the two were married on July 12, 2003 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Bismarck. Their marriage was blessed with a daughter, Heather Maggie Maye Sinkula, born on June 6, 2004.

Dave loved to laugh and was most fond of being a dad. Dave enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, and loved to work in his garden. Most can agree that he spent quite a bit of time on his computer – often spent working with pictures and video, and later blogging and micro-blogging.

He is survived by his mother Lil; his sister Karen and nephews Michael and James Truong (Seattle, WA); his wife, Angie; his daughter, Heather; and step-daughter Brooke. He was preceded in death by his father, Donald (October 11, 2009).

Fatigue and Frustrations

I had a bit of a monologue on IRC earlier today:
  • I've been less than positive about my health lately...
  • In January, I was thinking I had weeks left.
  • These days, weeks seems kinda lofty.
  • I don't know how much longer I'll be strong enough to participate in even the simplest online communication.
  • If I was crossing below 50% strength in November, I feel like I'm down to 10% now --
  • Which gives me a much better idea of what 90-100% of "normal" really was -- and it would be difficult for someone feeling "normal" to know what I mean.
  • Imagine your worst case of the flu: I'd say that weighs in at 60%.
  • I think about getting a wheelchair because walking down a 100' hallway (at work or a grocery store) seems like running a marathon.
  • Hell, going downstairs for a smoke requires returning back upstairs. :(
  • I don't know how much longer I have the strength to do stuff.
  • I had to ask Angie to take Heather to school from now on because I get so tired with even that minimal work.
  • Or at least the one time I parked in the handicapped zone at the school and tried to pick Heather up from school -- I had to sit down after walking across the short distance to the Kindergarten door.
  • And I needed to stop at the front of the school to rest before crossing the street.
  • Lemme make a map...

  • View Larger Map
  • The handicapped parking is "below" the "D-shaped" indent coming from Crooked Lake Blvd onto Morris Bye's property.
  • Closest to the school is the bus lane.
  • The Kindergarten entrance is on the south end of the school, near where the one-way bus lane and parking entrance are found. "B"
Questions, Questions, Questions

I have been frustrated quite a bit lately when discussing things with nurses and such. I feel tired; I wish I didn't. I try to fight for some energy, but it wears me out. But when it comes to answering questions about how I'm feeling -- it almost drives me nuts. It's like I'm not picking the answer that they want me to pick.

I think it all got started heading the wrong direction after I got the tube installed. I had been taking a liter off every day starting Sunday following its installation on the previous Friday (where 4 liters were drained). Initially taking the excess fluid off provided relief. But after a week or so, I was feeling pretty tired and weak. I had a visit with Dr. Amatruda on the Tuesday that followed.

Mainly, they wanted to steer me towards hospice care; I did have the initial visit by a hospice representative but that went like crap. I had opted for the 2nd round of chemo so that I could see the results in a subsequent scan. Because I had done so, I kept getting non-answers from the representative.
  • What do they do if I'm on hospice?
    We'll have to do an examination to answer that.

  • Will I still be draining and whatever?
    We'll have to do an examination to answer that.

  • So it's mostly just filling me full of painkillers?
    We'll have to do an examination to answer that.
I'm being hyperbolic there, but it seemed like 30 minutes of hearing, "We'll have to do an examination to answer that." I ask questions, I get no answers.

Well at some point I got to talking to Michelle about not feeling very energetic. The answer I was hearing, whether or not that's what was meant, was: "Do nothing and live with it, or check into the hospital and expect to be there for a few days."

I was looking for a little more gray area with options. Instead, I've done my best to tough it out. Last week I started skipping the draining for a day -- so I skipped Thursday and Saturday and today (Tuesday, March 16). I haven't felt too bloated, and if it's better for me to leave the fluid for its nutrient value, I've chosen to try that. Besides, that was supposed to be one of the side effect/benefits of the chemo.

I have now finished the 2nd round of chemo. There was no scan scheduled. Why the hell not? I haven't a clue. It's kinda the point to have a scan to see if the last two rounds of chemo have done anything for me -- it's the only way to find out. Michelle said once over the phone that since things didn't look good and they mentioned "hospice" that I'd be off on that route (and apparently have no interest in my current health!?).

But what has been tremendously annoying with this is that during this past two months I've been asked, "What's the pain like?" For me, it's not the pain. There are many pains: some are sharp, some dull; some are persistent for a time, others are intermittent; some are really painful, some are mere annoyances. Some is related to nausea, some to the chemo I was taking, so is due to lying in bed a lot. Some is from the fluid. I have a wide array of pains from my left heal to my shoulders. I have fatigue in my legs. I have shortness of breath -- which combine to hurt when I walk up and down the stairs.

I try to explain this, and I get the "you seem bitchy" response. No shit? How the hell else do I answer the question without answering the question?

So I go from one extreme to another: getting non-answers to my questions, and seeming to get non-answers to my replies to questions. What am I supposed to do? I feel like I'm in China or somewhere where I don't speak the language.

Let Me Try To Finish on a Positive Note

It's hard to remain positive with all of this going on. I did finally get Fr. Bill to the house, and that did a great deal to boost my spirits. I had a pretty good confession -- I finally got a handful of things off my chest (although I had already "confessed" to Angie these same things several times).

I received "last rites" again as well (the Church may change the name, but I still think of it as Extreme Unction). I haven't heard any spirit talk to me like I did the first time, but I wasn't expecting such a thing -- hoping, not expecting. Much like I hope for a miracle, but I refuse to expect one.

Prayer does help me, but I don't expect prayer to equal a miracle. If the Lord so chooses, I would answer the calling. Living or dying: both are going to be hard work.

My posts this year have been more of a free-form rambling than I'd tried to do previously. I blame the fatigue and frustration.