Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Monday, October 18, 2010

Perspective on Cancer

As I sit here in my red chair stuffing renewal notices into envelopes I am watching the Public Television series on cancer.  I recorded it weeks ago and forget all about it until today.  It is very interesting and mostly a review of what I know about cancer, but very well presented and I am enjoying it.  I sit here and watch, stuff the envelopes and leak tears as they tell the different stories.  They have presented this disease in a very hopeful way, and I think what is the best thing they said, and keep saying over and over, your attitude makes a huge difference.

Most of the people in the show are in various degrees of baldness.  Another is they talk about  treating for the pain.  That is one of the things they can do, so they like to talk about that.  The coolest part was to see a guy getting radiation wearing a mask like what I wore.  

They talked about the roller coaster daily of emotions, and laughing even if you are dying of cancer.  Survivors talked about how much you love those around you as you get your perspective together with this disease.  All of the families talked about how for the most part it brought families closer, but not always.  Most of all, terminal or treatable, you have to continue to live.  It also was amazing how fast it can hit you at the end.  In those situations I know I would choose like one of the patients opted, hospice instead of continuing the treatments.  His wife had an opportunity to walk her husband to the other side.  And then he was gone.  I appreciate hearing this.  I hope not to need this for years to come, but dying is a lot more work then we think about sometimes, and it is helpful to hear about it in this perspective.  Somehow they told this man's story through the end of his journey and even though he is gone, it was a joyful story.

I am listening to these stories and some of them were angry, and asked why me.  Hmmm, I am not sure why.  Each person is different, and that is another thing they kept saying, cancer is as diverse as each person who gets it.  They also talked about other opinions from doctors.  The woman whose story was told asked why me, and she is a scientist, and once she got past the anger, she turned to science.  Even as a scientist she had to deal with months of emotional energy. And they also talked about how much we don't know.  Are 4 treatments enough?  Are 6 better?  We don't know a lot of these answers because they are making their best guess.  And as you have heard over and over, but it really is true, they are only practicing medicine.

One thing that I know is I am very lucky with with what I have experienced so far.  No blood cots, a strong immune system.  I am comfortable living with cancer.  I have no panic, I have almost welcomed this journey as a new adventure.  OK, so it hasn't been the most fun, not like jumping out of a plane or hot air ballooning, but I have got to hear from beloveds that I might not have stopped to make the time to talk to.  I just got to talk to my friend Jennifer.  She and I met in the second grade and were close all through school until we graduated from UF.   She moved back to Palmetto to be a school teacher.  I moved to Key West to become a Special Ed Ag teacher.  She went on to get her PhD in education and is still very involved in that field.  I taught one year and then tried something else.  Very different journeys in this life, but still dear friends.

Then I got to talk to Colleen, a friend from the Brooksville area.  She and our other friend Linda are planning a trip up.  I am looking forward to that.  Then I saw that Vicki had called, so I called her back and her life has taken an interesting twist.  I am not sure where it is heading, but I am thrilled for her, whichever way it goes.  Then I called Ms Moon and I shall call Judy and Denise shortly.  

I have a CTscan tomorrow morning.  Tonight I have to drink banana flavored barium.  I mean come on, who thinks making it banana flavored will help.  Then I have to get up a little early tomorrow morning to drink the other bottle of deliciousness.  I can't eat anything after midnight.  Well, I am asleep at that time, so that shouldn't be hard, but I do have to drink as much water as possible.  And if I told them that I had blood pressure problems or was diabetic I could even eat a light breakfast.  I am not diabetic, so no food for me.  But really won't I be full after those lovely bottles of banana flavored barium?  Yum.  But the scan is of my abdomen.  I am confused.  I thought the cancer was on my lungs and pleural lining.  I didn't think that an abdomen scan goes up to my lungs.  We will see Wednesday what Dr. B thought.  

I picked up my cakes at Costco today.  A chocolate layer cake and a vanilla layer cake.  I have plates, napkins and spoons.  Kelly is bringing the ice cream.  So hopefully we are all set.  I got most of the renewals stuffed, I can finish the rest tomorrow.  Now to eat dinner.  Geeta sent me a beautiful dinner and I am sure that I am going to enjoy it.  So a lovely day, very productive and another gorgeous day.  From my red chair I have a window to the back yard behind me and the front door looking through my little front porch to my gorgeous front yard.  The week has begun, a big week and so far, so good!


  1. And we shall see what we shall see. If I were you, I would ask tomorrow about why the abdominal scan. If there is a question, they can call Dr. B.
    As always, dear Kathleen, I am just loving you, wondering why you? yes. I am. But also, grateful that you are allowing me to go on this journey with you. I learn more every day and mostly, about you- my friend. My dear-like-no-one-else-in-the-world friend.
    Talk to you tomorrow if not later on this evening.

  2. Good luck with your testing. Banana flavored barium... Good Lord! I'm sorry for that!

    Glad you are getting in contact with your beloveds. I have let some of those kinds of calls hang over my head far too long. You have inspired me to call my beloveds!

    I do not remember what the actual date of your bday is, but I hope it's a happy one filled with beloveds celebrating!

  3. I hope that all goes well with your scan tomorrow. There are many unknowns in medicine. Ask questions, do some reading, and be proactive with treatments. I believe those are necessary.

  4. I will be thinking of you tomorrow, Kathleen. Ask questions and make them give you an answer.



  5. just checking in , Kathleen.