Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes

On with the Day

Late yesterday afternoon, I got a message from the Little Rock surgeon to whom my oncologist referred me. I have an appointment late this afternoon. Maybe I’ll know more then. I have plenty of questions for the surgeon. How am … Continue reading

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I May Have Suffered from Autopathagnosiasis

One often hears about people who, after reading or hearing about symptoms of potentially fatal diseases, believe they exhibit such symptoms. One term for such people is hypochondriacs. But what about people who dismiss the suggestion that their diagnoses may … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 3 Comments

Promises Promises

Over the years I’ve repeatedly made promises to myself that I’ve broken. The earliest one I remember was the promise I would stop smoking. I first made that promise when I was in my early twenties. It took me thirty … Continue reading

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Questions for the Oncologist

I have a lot of questions for my oncologist during my appointment tomorrow morning. I’ve written a list: Please verify the details of my cancer as I understand them: 6 cm tumor in my right lower lobe, right? the biopsy … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 2 Comments

Thanksgiving Planning

I was daydreaming for a while this morning, thinking about what we might do for Thanksgiving this year. What kind of non-traditional but celebratory dinner might we prepare? But then it occurred to me that I might learn during tomorrow’s … Continue reading

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Warning: You Will Be Bored if You Read This

My attempt to go back to sleep after I returned to bed shortly after 3:30 was an abject failure. I did close my eyes and attempt to empty my mind of clutter. Instead, I closed my eyes and filled my … Continue reading

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Up in the Middle of the Night

It’s just after 3:00 a.m. and I can’t bring myself to write what’s on my mind because I’m not quite sure I know. I woke from a bizarre, troubling nightmare. Rather than attempt to go back to sleep, I got … Continue reading

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A Nice Lunch and a Confirmation of Lung Cancer

My wife and I drove to Little Rock today with some friends today—Paul and his sister, Rose—for lunch at a place Paul mentioned to us last time we were together. It’s called Sauce(d), a new wood-fired pizza restaurant whose interior … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 2 Comments

Maggie’s Birthday Story as Told by the Son Barack Obama Didn’t Know He Had

Around two months ago, a post I wrote focused almost exclusively on a woman I dated once while I was a young, inexperienced kid. I have only a slightly greater reason to write about her today than I did two … Continue reading

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Autumnal Experience

An attribute of autumn I once found delightful but now find depressing and burdensome is taking place as I write this. Trees are losing leaves as if the trees were rejecting poisonous attackers, flinging them to the ground in an … Continue reading

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As If Never Written

I wrote recently of the odd turn in my life of late in which my tendency toward self-diagnosed ADHD transformed into laser-focused fixation. Though not resolved, I’m able these days to direct my attention outside myself and to exclude cancer … Continue reading

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Biopsy Biopsy, What Do You Show?

My moderate fear about the pain of the biopsy procedure was unfounded. Except for the insertion of the IV line. The nurse who did it, Andrew, was abysmal at finding a vein. His multiple attempts were absolutely excruciating. I’m glad … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 1 Comment


Now I’m getting angry. Last Friday, I thought I had finally broken through the clogged pipeline of medical bureaucracy and gotten the biopsy scheduled. It was set for Tuesday, October 30. Tomorrow morning, early. On Friday, I was told to … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 1 Comment

Unfocused, on Steroids

My thoughts this morning seemed to come out of nowhere. As far as I know, no dream prompted my mind to wander over there. But there it went, off into an abandoned lighthouse on a tiny coastal island inaccessible except … Continue reading

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Cultural Adjustments

Americans tend to overestimate their culture’s superiority and to underestimate the value of other cultures. I think two processes are going on that perpetuate these attitudes. The overestimation of American culture is, I believe, trained into us. We are told … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Brewers in High Dudgeon

Listen my pretty, and you will hear, a story of drinking less craft beer. A tale so exciting and so intense, like sitting in pain on a white picket fence where the pickets will stick you right in the rump. … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdist Fantasy, Poetry | 1 Comment

Bloody Borders

Whine. Whine! Whine!!!  Okay, there. Maybe it’s out of my system. I have a tendency to make minor inconveniences into major dislocations of my enjoyment of life. “Mountains out of mole hills.” “Much ado about nothing.” The “problems” about which … Continue reading

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Cancer and the Church

This morning, after having heard nothing from my oncologist’s schedulers, I called again. This time, I spoke to someone who said she would get something done. But unlike the same commitment I heard last time, this one said she would … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Frustration | 2 Comments

A Little Pareidolia and the Gift of Gab

When I look at white billowing clouds in the sky (not this morning…it’s dark), I can see a thousand shapes. Dogs, birds, human faces, you name it. Once I remember seeing what looked like a long stone wall alongside a … Continue reading

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Ear Noise and Forgotten Birthdays

I’ve never mentioned this to anyone. Not my wife, not my doctor, not to a friend. Maybe I should have said something, especially to my doctor. But for the longest time, I didn’t know what it was. I heard this … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 5 Comments


On occasion, I slog through writing I’ve posted here or stored in directories on my hard drive. I’m looking for words that have merit, writing of which I might one day be proud. I’m afraid I rarely find those gems … Continue reading

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Mixed Emotions

I began writing this yesterday, but couldn’t seem to remove the self-pity from it, so I opted not to post it. I don’t think I succeeded in the removal with my edits and additions, either, but I’m posting it anyway. … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | Leave a comment

A Simple Desultory Biopsic

If I’m not mistaken, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer is one of the best predictors of long-term survival. So I find it strange that medical professionals responsible for arranging for and scheduling tests diagnostic tests would not put a … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 2 Comments

Slightly Improved

I heard back from my primary care physician this afternoon. I was surprised to hear back from him, after the lambasting I gave him for failing to respond to my phone calls and online messages. His reply suggested that he … Continue reading

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This Could be Serious

Until this very early morning, I’d done only a little research into lung cancer and its treatment. Now, after having explored the matter a bit, I wish I hadn’t done my investigation. Ignorance, they say, is bliss. Unless the doctors … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments