Category Archives: Cancer

Better to Know than Not

I just returned from I expected to be a routine follow-up visit to my oncologist. Instead, I learned that my CT scan from earlier in the week showed some troubling changes. Nothing major, necessarily, but of sufficient concern that my … Continue reading

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Under-the-Knife Anniversary

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the surgery I underwent to remove a cancerous tumor from my lung and, with it, the lower lobe of my right lung. All indications are that the cancer succumbed to the surgery and its … Continue reading

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Retrospective Contemplation

Roughly one year has passed since my lung cancer diagnosis. The process of exploring it began on September 7 last year, when I saw my doctor for a persistent cough. Two x-rays and a CT scan later, a preliminary diagnosis … Continue reading

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Brittle Memories

It hasn’t been long since I finished my chemo and radiation treatments, but apparently I’ve tried to erase the experiences from memory. I say that because I returned to my radiologist’s office for a follow-up this afternoon and all the … Continue reading

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Afflictions

Just over nine months ago, I went to my primary care physician to see about a persistent cough. Thus began my experience with lung cancer. At least that’s where my experience with the medical establishment’s engagement with my lung cancer … Continue reading

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Worry Does No Good

Most of the time, I succeed at keeping my health off my mind. But sometimes the topic surfaces and swings a machete, as if it has been waiting just beneath the surface of my consciousness for the the ideal time … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Depression, Emotion, Health | 2 Comments

No Imfinzi for Me

I’ve written before about Programmed Death Ligand -1 and the immunotherapy my oncologist recommended. Apparently, the drug she wanted to use for immunotherapy (Imfinzi (generic name, Durvalumab), which would be administered once every two weeks for a year, is very … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 31, 2019 and Indiscriminate Musings

Barring unforeseen complications down the road, I completed what I expect was the last of my core cancer treatments today. The fourth and final chemotherapy treatment ended without fanfare just before noon today. I expected–based on my experience at the … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 30, 2019

Another blood draw today, along with a visit with my oncologist. The same nurse who, invariably, cannot find my vein without prodding my arm with a sharp needle to the point that I inform her that I have nerves in … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 29, 2019

I should have listened to the assertions that I would feel increasingly bad as my chemo treatments went along. Instead, I hoped I would be the exception to the rule. I’m not. Ever since last Monday, a week and four … Continue reading

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Thinking About Emotions and Things Related to Cancer

Suffering most emotions more deeply than others seem to endure tends to drain one’s energy. I say that without knowing, of course, how deeply others experience emotions. I base my assessment on observations and assumptions. I did say “seem.” But … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 28, 2019

Food has lost its appeal. I’m no longer in love with the textures and flavors of food. Instead, I seek only enough to survive and keep me from feeling hungry. And whatever I swallow has to give me as little … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 27, 2019

Today I will have the final radiation treatment designed to kill whatever cancer cells remained after surgery to remove the lower lobe of my right lung and the tumor housed therein. Radiation treatments caused me quite a bit of fatigue, … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 26, 2019

Yesterday, during my visit with my oncologist, I learned that the inquiry from Caris Molecular Intelligence a few weeks ago wasn’t entirely about “future treatments” if cancer were to recur. The genetic tests revealed that I have a “60% positive … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 25, 2019

Nothing much new, except that painful swallowing continues. It’s possible, of course, that it could be far worse without the extremely inconvenient medication regimen after every meal. One of the medications, nystatin suspension, apparently is in short supply for some … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 24, 2019

My radiologist resumed my radiation treatments today. I didn’t expect that he would in light of the fact that the pain I feel when I swallow hasn’t receded at all. He said “I hope the pain goes away after we … Continue reading

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Cancer Mythology

I’ve slept more in the past week, I think, than I usually sleep in the course of a month. That may be an exaggeration, but not much. I am in bed by 8 or 9 in the evening, up around … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 23, 2019

It’s Sunday morning. I slept/dozed most of the day yesterday, waking occasionally long enough to eat a bit or listen to the radio. Janine drove in to Benton to do some shopping while I rested. Rested isn’t the right word; … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 22, 2019

Apparently I misunderstood my doctor yesterday. He said, but I did not hear, that he wanted to postpone further radiation treatments until next Thursday. I went in for my treatment this morning and the radiation tech informed me that the … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 21, 2019

The radiologist told me to keep following his drug regimen and to drink six bottles of Ensure a day. And to come back next Thursday and tell him whether the pain I experience while swallowing improves. Hmm. I was hoping … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 20, 2019

A week ago, I began experiencing pain when I swallow, thanks to (I assume) the effects of the radiation treatments on my esophagus. The radiologist prescribed some drugs that I take in succession following each meal: first an ounce of … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 19, 2019 and Dinners and Netflix Entertainment

Yesterday, the second chemo treatment was administered. It’s a long process, beginning with “backwashing the chemo port,” as I call it. Actually, it’s just cleaning the port and, I guess, ensuring that the contents of the needle plunged into it … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 18, 2019

My radiologist called in two prescriptions for me yesterday in response to my recent issues with burning pain after swallowing. My regular pharmacy told me yesterday there were “issues” regarding the amount of time for which the drugs were prescribed. … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal (more or less) 17 and Other Stuff

The bright sun and cerulean sky belie the frigid temperature this morning. According to my computer’s weather app, it’s 25 degrees outside. Last night’s weather forecast called for clear skies this morning but carried a warning: Though it might appear … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health, Rant | 2 Comments

Cancer Journal 16, 2019

Part I My wife reminded me to make a note of a new development. This morning, I notice a quite significant pain when I swallow hot coffee and cold water. And pain, though not so significant, accompanies swallowing anything else. … Continue reading

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Real Life Lessons

Let me be unkind for a moment, if you don’t mind. I feel like expressing my perceptions of a guy with whom I’ve shared space in the waiting room while lingering in anticipation of my radiation therapy. Don’t assume I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Civility, Compassion, Empathy, Health | 4 Comments

Cancer Journal 15, 2019

This morning, as I was getting ready to take a shower, I noticed that the red area on the skin on the side of my chest, beneath my right arm, had grown in size. I looked closer and noticed a … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 14, 2019

Thursdays are “talk with the doctor” days after radiation treatment. First, a nurse weighs the patient, then another nurse queries the patient about any problems or questions, then a dietitian asks probing questions about the patient’s appetite and discusses his … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 13, 2019

Just twenty more radiation treatments to go. I’ve completed one third of them. The skin on my chest and back can attest to the fact that I’ve had treatments. It’s tender and, in a place or two, slightly inflamed as … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 11 and 12 in Two Parts, 2019

January 14, 2019 I didn’t realize until today that I never bothered posting yesterday’s “Cancer Journal.” No matter, it wasn’t particularly insightful. I’ll include it with today’s, just for the record. I woke late again today, thanks in large part … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 10, 2019 – Lost Day

Today might as well have been a fleeting idea, an ephemeral abstraction that never solidified into reality. Today is now lost to a fog, for me. I hope days like today are few and far between. Not only because they … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 9, 2019

There’s evidence that the chemo may be ready to cause nausea. Yesterday, even before the seventh radiation treatment, I felt a tiny hint of nausea, enough that I decided to take the nausea pills with me to the session. I … Continue reading

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Wrestling with Myself

Despite the radiologist’s suggestion that the regimen of radiology will eliminate any remaining cancer, the sense of hopefulness that I expected would come over me hasn’t quite enveloped me the way I anticipated. It’s as if I “know” that neither … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 8, 2019

Yesterday’s sixth radiation treatment preceded a brief visit with the radiologist. The only discussion centered around the fact that I’ve been quite fatigued, off and on. His advice was to push it. Walk. More. A lot more. On the one … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 7, 2019

Radiation treatment number five is now history, with only twenty-five of the scheduled thirty left. As I sat waiting to be called in for my treatment yesterday, a nurse wheeled in a very frail, old man to the waiting room. … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 6, 3029

Yesterday, I had my fourth radiation treatment, which went without a hitch. I told the technicians about my conversations with the center staff (both chemo and radiation nurses) and they seemed to know nothing about the discussions. They seemed unfamiliar … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 5, 2019

Yesterday’s treatment regimen began with radiation therapy at 10:30 a.m., my third session. As I waited to be called in for the session, a guy came into the waiting room and sat down near me. He introduced himself as Terry … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 4, 2019

This morning, we drove through pea-soup fog and darkness to the radiation therapy center, arriving just about the time the clean-up crew arrived. I much prefer to be half an hour early than 5 minutes late. Right on time at … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 3, 2019

This afternoon, my wife and I drove to the oncology clinic, where I was scheduled to have a blood draw. The moment I walked in, one of the staff members told me she had just spoken to a doctor’s office … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 2, 2019

I noticed today that the pain in my back and chest seems to take on difference characteristics from time to time. I don’t know whether that has to do with time of day or amount of activity I’m involved in … Continue reading

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Panic, Perhaps?

I think, for the first time since I got the diagnosis of lung cancer, the realization has finally hit me that I’m in a fight for my life. Maybe I’ve come to that realization before, but I’ve blocked it. Maybe … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 1, 2019

For the last two days, I’ve felt better. My surgical pain, though decidedly still with me, has been tolerable. I’ve not taken any oxycodone for pain in quite a few days, but I’ve increased my gabapentin by about a third … Continue reading

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Crawling Out from Under

Yesterday was a miserable day. I wasn’t able to sleep the night before, due both to simple discomfort and distractions and to pain. Yesterday, I tried to sleep during the day with little success. I couldn’t get warm, no matter … Continue reading

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To Prove It’s Me

My blog, once a repository for creative ideas I wanted to save from the ravages of time, seems to have become a repository for experiences I would rather have avoided. Instead of letting my blog serve as the moderately willing … Continue reading

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Hiatus in the Interest of Serenity

I’ve noticed the decline in the number and quality of my blog posts since my introduction to lung cancer. It’s obvious to me that the reason for the change isn’t the cancer, it’s my response to it. I’ve allowed myself … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health, Writing | 3 Comments

A Bump in the Road

I haven’t posted much of late about my experiences learning about and responding to cancer. The primary reason for the drop in output is the decline in my certainty about what I’m dealing with. The certainty…uncertainty…certainty…uncertainty cycles have been torturing my … Continue reading

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The First Recovery Begins

I am out of the hospital. Apparently, though, the hospital adventure was just the start of a series of experiences designed either as lessons, to make me a better person, or as punishments in response to the kind of person … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 6 Comments

Pain-Based Design Competition.

The first few days after surgery were easily tolerable. The epidural and other pain meds made to easy to believe all was well. Well, the pain was masked. The agony was replaced by strange hallucinations. I spoke to Santa Clause … Continue reading

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From a Small Screen in the Hospital

This post will be short, but happy. Today is Thanksgiving Day and I am in the hospital, short one lobe of my right lung. I am typing this with  one finger on my Samsung smart phone and happy to be doing … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health, Thanksgiving | 6 Comments

The Day Before Surgery

I awoke in the middle of the night and wrote the post below. Rather than post it right away, I decided to wait and see whether I’d feel differently after the remainder of a night’s sleep, assuming I could get … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health, Thanksgiving | 8 Comments