Thursday, March 29, 2007

Some Sensitivity

I have stated in other posts in this blog that I had bowel resection surgery to remove a malignant growth from my colon. I was fortunate that the growth was contained and no further treatment was required. Still I now fall into the category of a cancer survivor. Just like Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow, however their outcomes are somewhat dimmer than mine.

I worry, it is apparently a problem all cancer survivors have, that is will it return? In the case of Elizabeth Edwards it sounds like she may survive for many years. I have a sister who's uterine cancer is considered treatable not curable. This spring it is 6 1/2 years since diagnosis. She did have the cancer reoccur but it was treated and now she is about two years cancer free. She lives life fully and her personality is a vibrant as ever, but still she admits to the fear of recurrence.

My point is Tony Snow, President Bush's Press Secretary, has had his colon cancer spread. A small tumor was removed from his abdomen, but it was found his liver is involved. It was not a day and I read in a CNN article that a cancer specialist stated that the type of involvement Snow has results in a fatality 90 - 95% of the time.

How would you like to have your life expectancy debated in the press. I don't know how Mr. Snow will handle his prognosis, I know I would be devastated. You need to come grips with this kind of news. I would want to do it in private not on Page 1.

I have thought about the media and how it jumped on both Edwards and Snow. Who wants to be a public figure when you life expectancy becomes a debatable commentary in America's media mill. Each day I walk around, grateful yet at times fearful. I am still coming to grips with the realization that I should just get on with life and live it as fully as I want. I cannot imagine what is going through Mr. Snow's mind, especially to see in the media already chalk him up as a statistic. Leave people a shred of privacy, or have some sensitivity.

You have to have the ability to hope!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Discordant Symphony

I have my days. Since my surgery on my gastrointestinal tract I have had some interesting experiences. My body absorbs the food I feed it and regularly allows me relief from food build up. However, every once and a while it withholds relief and I begin feel uncomfortable. Kind of bloated if you will. I have learned that this will lead to an uncomfortable experience.

It is kind of like playing a symphony. Everyone knows that a full symphony has several movements. Usually these movements play on a theme and so does my body. The first few movements of the symphony are not too bad, the conductor is allowing the music to flow smoothly. However, seeing that my symphony has quite a bit of musical material built up, sometimes the movements go on for quite a while. Oh, there is the polite pause between the movements but the musicians seem to want to go on and on. After three or four movements the conductor tends to get sore. After five or six movements the conductor gets down right pissed off.

By this time the whole orchestra is getting tired and sore, and running out of gas. It is then that the movements become small short expressions that make little sense and are incomplete which makes the orchestra hall frustrated. The overall hall would like to have the music come to an end, not continue on leaving the hall still feeling like there is more. Finally the conductor is so upset he is in pain. It is at this time the orchestra hall brings out a healing rendition scored by Preparation Horatio. Finally the orchestra puts up its instruments, the conductor is soothed by the healing score provide by Prep H, and all is well.

This concert seems to be taking place weekly.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Crossing a New Bar

Well an interesting event seems to be occurring and I am the unwilling participant. Five months ago I knew I was past 60, however I still felt that I could lose weight, exercise and carry on as I had years ago. Then, a colonoscopy revealed a suspicious mass that turned out to be malignant. However surgery was successful, the malignancy had not spread and I was pronounced well by an oncologist. In the meantime I had a recovery to make, which was and is rather rigorous. Then eight weeks after surgery an old problem reared its head, atrial fibrillation, or arrhythmia. The last episode I had of that was 16 or 18 years ago. I have taken medication for all that time, but apparently the stress and trauma of surgery brought about a recurrence. Now I take another pill.

So what is this "New Bar?" I feel vulnerable to those things I thought were not of my time. Will my heart arrhythmia cause further serious problems. I have no heart muscle damage, my cholesterol is within limits, I've had two heart caths that indicated no blockage, and as recently as December as part of my pre-op procedures I had an stress test and echo-cardiogram that supported no blockages. I am sure my risk of serious heart problems rise above that of someone with no arrhythmia but should I feel so vulnerable. Perhaps time and getting used to the new rhythms will ease my discomfort. For now I feel age bearing on my shoulders.