Monday, June 29, 2009


Those of you who know Ventura Life Magazine know Rod. His full name is Rod McAtee. He has been my distribution assistant and photography assistant for 2 years now. He and I could be seen all over town. We hung artists shows together. We schlepped stuff up and down my stairs. We did whatever we could for people in need. He was always game for whatever crazy scheme I had going on form one day to the next. He has personally delivered over 150,000 magazines all over Ventura County. He has been there for me through thick and thin. He is very ill.

6 months ago, right after my dad died, someone went through a red light and totaled Rod's mustang. It was his one possession. He was devastated. After a couple of weeks he noticed his neck was really sore. He went to the doctor. They thought he had a condition known as goiter due to a small tumor attached to his thyroid. It took him many months to get to a point where he was finally cleared for surgery to remove the thyroid, and the tumor. His medical staff decided not to biopsy...but to go right to removal. As he waited for those months...the tumor grew. He grew weaker. When the surgery finally came, and he was "put under", he coded on the table. Needless to say- he came to with the thyroid, and tumor, still in his neck. His heart was too weak to undergo the surgery. That was 2 months ago.

So he quit smoking. And waited. The longer he waited, the larger the tumor got. And the weaker he got. His heart is got weaker too...

Now Rod is in ICU. The tumor is a very bad cancer...and it is everywhere. It grew very large very fast. Like an octopus with tentacles. Around his windpipe. His artery. His spine, arms, lungs, back, face.

Today, Rod underwent another surgery. Not to save his life. To buy him a few days. His windpipe is so crushed by the tumor, the surgeons had to put a pipe in what was left of it so he can breathe. A tracheotomy. He was very scared before they took him into surgery because the last surgery was not succesful, and he is much weaker now. The surgery today usually takes 1/2 hour. His took 4 hours. He will not be able to talk when he comes to. He is presently in a medically induced coma. They will wake him up tomorrow. And hopefully, the tumor will not push the tube out. All he wants is a few extra days. To say goodbye. To see his kids and grandkids again.

I ask all my friends in this world to think of Rod. A good man. A very good man. He says he used to be an ass. Whatever. We are all asses at some point in our life. He was good to me and everyone I know. His kids love him. And so do I.

I ask all my friends in the world to pray for Rod and his kids...his grandkids...his kin. You see...after 6 months, they only found out 3 days ago that he has about a week left to live. And they are scared. I ask all of my friends in this world to send light and love to Rod. He is about to go on his biggest journey. And he is scared.

My dear friend Rod. Sleep tonight and tomorrow we see what we will see. And we will take what time is left second by second and moment by moment. And I promise you my dear friend, that I will not leave your side. And when you move on...labor through that final transition...I will not leave your kids' side either.

I promise you, my dear big burly burl, that we will never forget what lives you have touched nor forget the sound of your heavy footsteps as you trekked throughout Ventura, and up and down my many bring your bright-eyed sardonic wit and willing body, mind and soul to make my life better for having you in it.

I promise you my dear friend...I will never forget.


  1. Dina,
    So sorry to hear this news about Rod. He came into my life thru you and was so in awe of his mastery. He was a great man and, a gentle man. Sending him white light and to you too, dear one to continue to have the stamina to be unstoppable. Love, light and peace, Kathleen

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words. Rod is awake now...and very scared. I will be there today and will let him know how many of his friends are thinking of him,