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Monday, April 22, 2013

Hope is a Dangerous Thing

"Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane." ~Shawshank Redemption

And this woman, too.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Existing in Bytes of Life

I’m sitting here getting my umpteenth infusion and thinking about the future. The future with me - the future with me and cancer - the future with me and cancer that is progressing.

Slowly, but surely, my cancer is progressing. Dr. J. assures me that its pace is glacial but also said that this fall (probably) we’ll have to start Plan B.

What that is, is currently unclear … perhaps I’ll be reintroduced to my old friend carboplatin (blech).

She also mentioned at some point referring me to lung cancer genetic specialists in New York, Boston, or Denver.

This news of progression is fairly fresh and so I haven’t really had time to think about it, but at what point does it become not worth it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m ... overzealous? I keep hoping I’ll recognize that point when I get there and be able to make good decisions about it.

For now, Dr. J. suggested that I enjoy the summer and we’ll see what happens.

I’ve said this before – it’s a hard way to live, this ‘wait and see’, scan-to-scan, existing in bytes of life instead of the whole story. It seems it’s not going to change.

I wish I could find some way to make it easier – that I could somehow learn to embrace this new way of living…

Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Roger Ebert and Me

As most people already know, Roger Ebert recently died of cancer. He’d had it for a long time and although disfigured by it, still maintained his public persona.
I saw Roger Ebert once.
Living in Chicago, you see celebrities from time to time. But I didn’t see him on the street, or in a deli, or even at a movie theatre. I saw him at the hospital.
It was the week after I had been diagnosed with something – they were still trying to figure exactly what. I was in the basement having just completed my PET scan. They were wheeling me back up to my room and they wheeled me right past an older mand and a women with big-ish hair who were talking with a doctor. The man was wearing a hospital gown and hospital footies. The woman was looking earnestly at the doctor, presumably listening closely to what he had to say.

I thought the man looked familiar and once it dawned on me that it was Roger Ebert, I almost turned around to the orderly pushing my gurney to say, “Hey! Do you know who that was?!” See him there made me feel a little more certain about choosing Northwestern for my treatment. If Roger Ebert who, presumably, has a great deal of money and could go anywhere for treatment chose to come here, then perhaps it’s trustworthy. 

And I used this story. At the beginning of this cancer thing, my mother was trying to convince me to go to a cancer center like Sloan-Kettering and I guess there’s one in Florida near where she lives. I understood that she wanted me to get the best treatment possible, but I didn’t want to move or travel for treatment. Once I told her that I had seen Roger Ebert and that he was getting treatment where I was, she understood and dropped the subject. 

When I tell people my Roger Ebert story, many of them ask me, “Did you give him two thumbs up? Hardy harr harr!” I have to say that, no, I didn’t give him two thumbs up. The man was (half) dressed in a hospital gown and presumably had gone through some sort of scan. I doubt he was in a “two thumbs up” sort of mood." I know after I have a scan, I'm certainly not.

I am sorry that his time had come. He was inspiring to many people – both with and without cancer. I hope both he and his family are at peace.