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  I know this is a bit off topic, but I'd like to take a small amount of
  bandwidth to express my sincere thanks to those of you who have written
  regarding good wishes for my upcoming spinal cord surgery. It is, technically
  speaking, the medical equivalent of a Hail Mary, a go for broke, high risk,
  reconstruction and decompression of most of my neck.
  Many of you have written touching, heart warming notes, and I must take time
  to thank you. I have had plenty of heavy duty surgeries before, and have
  taken them with virtually no concern at all. However, I am not only
  frightened of this high risk surgery, I am petrified. I cannot tell you what
  it has meant to have so many of you write me and wish me well. Your notes
  have touched me, and has given me hope, where there was only fear, and dread.
  I never dreamed e'mail acquaintances could mean so much, at a time like this,
  but they, and you have. I never knew most of you before the other surgeries,
  so this is a first. You have been so kind and thoughtful...
  Again, I know this is off topic, but I wanted to say a VERY sincere
  thank-you, to those of you who have taken the time to express your thoughts,
  and wish me good luck. And I look forward to maintaining our discourse of
  medical privacy and related issues next year, and continuing these
  Alex Gentle