Monday, May 25, 2015

Battle Notes

 Parting Shots: The Death Diaries -- A Comedy in a few acts, maybe.

I have always known
That at last I would
Take this road, but yesterday
I did not know that it would be today
                                  Kenneth Rexwroth

I've been on hiatus for a while, in case you've noticed.  And I wasn't sure if I'd even return to the Can(n)on again.  More and more the utter idiocy unfolding around me has gotten so silly that it just got harder and harder to expend any energy on any of it.  (I know why Jon Stewart's getting out of the Biz.  Once all you've got left to satirize is Louie Gomet, you'd best pack it in.)

 Three months ago I had a life.  Busy, active, from dawn to dusk on the move.  Walk dogs, prepare for the summer's Garden Folly garden, make soup, eat soup.  Same old same old.

Then that life was gone.  Poof!  A trip to the emergency room a confused, unclear diagnosis, bewildering emergency stop-gap proeedures, an ass-backwards muddled diagnostic search filled with growing misery and disppearing strength (including the loss of my two dogs, an awful blow on top of this unholy misery)  finally a report nobody wants to hear ever from any doctor anywhere:  Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

That's when the world goes silent.  And then changes forever.  

And now I'm hip deep in the maelstrom  of Cancer Land -- a bewildering forest of Doctor appointments, research material, unknown unknowns, known unknowns and overwhelming confusion.  I start a chemo program next week.  It's no cure, but  "cure" just doesn't seem to be a word oncologists use very often nowadays.  The new rules seem to be: Live for a while.  Try something else and live for a little more while.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  So the trick now is to learn how to live while dying.  Or vice versa.  And it's bound to be a unique and interesting journey.  One that I'm sure many of my readers have already been on, are on now, or will be about to start as the body's clocks tick over and transform all our lives. 

If that's a shared journey for you, please add your voice any of my future entries. (Dealing with the medical establishment, you just know I'll have some apt comments to carry on about, don't you. Yes, yes.)  And if you are a fellow wayfarer and citizen of Cancer Land,  I'm sure you're  full of news of far wonders as well as practical sources of where to get a good cup of soup that the body can handle. So, do share.  

Meantime, through it all, I have to remember to . . Breathe.



Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I sure did not expect this. Yes, I wondered, I thought that the silence was because of the dogs.

Well, it wasn't. Thank you for having the courage to put this out there into the world.

I don't know who will comment here, but I will. People have hardly been commenting over here of late. I am sorry to hear this diagnosis. If it is any comfort, both of my parents had cancer. But the cancer did not kill either of them. Treatment did prolong their lives and they did not suffer too much from the treatment. Unpleasant moments, yes, but not unbearable ones.

You have my E-mail. My phone is in the book. If you need a trip someplace or something from the market, please let me know!

Please keep writing! You have always had something valuable to say to us, this more so I think.

Lisa said...

Dearest Ann - what a courageous thing to do, to write, to put it all out there! I am stunned of course, but will be there for you in any way that you need - as a perpetual "student and teacher" of the body, I will use all my resources to help if I can.... I did not get cancer yet, but having a long term debilitating illness taught me many things, I hope I can offer you some comfort or assistance in your time of need - I will be in touch, sending you lots of love from Lisa

Mike Green said...


Churadogs said...

Toonces: Not sure if writing about all this is an act of courage -- folly, more like it. But it's a small town and figured that at the least I'd get the correct information out rather than rumors. And I've written about many personal things -- the dog deaths coming as it did in the middle of all this was a hard blow --so why not journal about one of life's most challenging journeys. My oncologist, Dr. DiCarlo is with the Integrative Cancer Care of SLO, a group of oncologists with offices over near Marigold Center. A quick trip to their website notes they're up for alternative/whole person care which is a good sign. Cancer treatment, nowadays, is certainly changed from when we were coming up and, like your parents, it's highly likely I'll wander off and die of something unrelated, which is kinda funny when you think about it and a reminder to live every moment mindfully, no matter what your diagnosis. The other "lesson" I learned is how quickly you life can end, in mid step. At noon one day you're on Planet A and by 12:01 you're now on Planet B. So stay tuned and thanks for the kind offer of help. It never ceases to amaze me how kind people are and how willing to help.

Lisa: I know your health battles have been epic so I do know what it takes to just keeping going. And how important friends can be along the way. My favorite card is from Borealis Press that has a picture of a little toddler being held up by a pair of hands and the quote from Mark Vonnegut, "We are here to help each other get through this -- whatever it is." That about says it all.

Mke: Yup. That also about says it all

Well, stay tuned for more scribbling as time and energy permits. If you've ever entered Cancer Land, you'll know your first few weeks in this strange place is a time for sensory overload. So it'll take time to unpack all this as it goes along. With, I'm sure, surprises all along the way.

Mike Green said...

I guess the only reason I've never been religious is that as far as I can tell we all will know the truth at the end. No need to fret about it, so just be, make mistakes, win, learn and love. If there is a God I hope to hell my life is under his/her radar because quite frankly the sinning was/is a hoot
I don't have any rede here Ann, just a heartfelt wish that any time left you have is good. Mike Green

Churadogs said...

Mike, I hear you. When it comes to God, that's waaaay above my pay grade. I'll stick with Francine Orr: "Love. Forgive. Be present. And then let go."

Judith Wood said...

Looking at life with the amazing trials and tribulations that everyone deals with, I try to keep in mind the benefits to each of us, as empathy is a wonderful result .... As if we live on a prison planet decorated with guns and roses.... With benefits. LOL

Sandra Gore said...

You were right about the quote. Simply amazing that one day, a while ago - now it must seem like another lifetime - you chose to copy it into your daybook, and then that you remembered it was there. How well it sets the stage for this next act.

Vita Miller said...

Hello Ann,
You are one courageous woman. I had the big C diagnosis last year; Uterine Cancer. I had surgery and am told I am cancer free, but always mindful that these nasty cells can go undetected and show up when you least expect. If you need someone who has some knowledge of the medical field, terminology, etc. I am happy to accompany you to doctor's visits, etc. Please let me know what I can do to help. The positive energy and healing thoughts that I received were much appreciated; I will forward all these to you now. Don't hesitate to get in touch please.