In my 11-plus years as a lung cancer "diagnosee," I've done a pretty good job of facing the facts and acting/planning accordingly. I've accepted my reality and somehow managed to live so long beyond the original "13 month to two year" prognosis I was given by my oncologist that he has introduced me to some of his students as his "third miracle." Unfortunately, this characterization is not the end of the story.
In retrospect, dealing with/being treated for one type of cancer (non-small cell
I am sure I am not alone when I say that the past few weeks have felt like a few years. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of those who have lost someone to this new viral threat, and the fear felt by those who have been diagnosed or who love someone who has been diagnosed.
As we all hunker down as best we can for the greater good, several concerns float through my mind, like stones skipping on water. I am sure this is true for all of us who are caregivers. We may be pushing through the laundr
In a peculiar way, my cancer treatment and all has sort of gotten lost in the coronavirus talk. With so many changes to our regular lifestyle occurring on a daily basis, it feels as if nothing else matters. Granted, one's health is the most important consideration, but now the talk is about everybody's health. Nevertheless, how do I throw caution to the wind and interact with my environment when doing so might endanger the very stability I've worked over 11 years to maintain? I mean, I have to l
It began years ago when technology enabled bathrooms to change to hands-free. Other than the obvious hands-on responsibilities, many of the other elements no longer required any touching. Be it the paper-towel dispenser, the hand dryer, the hot and cold/on and off functions in the sinks, and, of course, the urinal and toilet flushing functions. All providing a convenience never before possible. Other than an automatic entry/exit function for the bathroom door, and one as well on the inside for t
Today marks 4 years of survival! By most standards, my path hasn't been as difficult as others. There have definitely been highs - when my hair grew back, my lashes grew in longer - and lows - two recurrences and a secondary cancer diagnosis. But as I say often - I'M STILL HERE! I tell my story to anyone who will listen. People need to know that lung cancer doesn't have to be an automatic death sentence. Does it suck? Yes. Will it change your life? Definitely. But you move forward, one step at
And so, what happens next? There's calm and then there's an eventual storm. The storm to which I refer is what will happen after the March 2nd meeting with my endocrinologist when she will assess and determine the next step in my post-thyroidectomy treatment. Presumably, in conjunction with my oncologist, a coordinated plan will be implemented for treating my two cancers. I can't imagine however, that being treated for two cancers, simultaneously, will be easier than being treated for one. And I
And somewhere to go, or so I thought. I had checked in at the front desk. I was given a number, and almost immediately, it was called. I said good-bye to Team Lourie and was led back to a staging area (beds, curtains, doctors, nurses) where I was told I would see them both before surgery. There I was given a gown, no-slip socks and a hair net to change into, and instructed to place all my clothes (underwear, too) into two plastic bags and then told to pull back the privacy curtain and lie back o
I continue the tradition of anointing my toes with paint for each year I survive this horrid disease. Till year 14, I applied red paint; now it is Lungevity blue. The tradition of painting a toes was started by Dr. Phil Berman, a never smoker radiologist diagnosed with Stage IV, NSCLC. He started RedToeNail.com, an early online cancer survivor blog and painted 5 toes of life before lung cancer claimed him. My tenure of life is a message of hope. If I can live, so can you.
Stay the course.
From cancer to toilet paper. Is that "off" enough? My reason for writing this column might be because I need a diversion (see last week's column), and because, as is so happened recently, I needed to replenish our toilet paper supply. (It had nothing to do with a winter advisory in the forecast.) As the consumer in the house, I am keen and motivated to spend our money wisely. I look for sales, I use paper coupons, I use digital coupons and of course, I peruse the advertising circulars, in print
Can You Spell Thyroidectomy? I couldn't before, Mr. Rogers, but now I can. And I even know what it means, which 10 days ago, in my neighborhood, I wouldn't have had a clue. Now, not only do I have a clue, I have a date for surgery: January 27. Moreover, in addition to a date (and I don't mean my wife, Dina), I have a time and a place, a list of pre-surgical dos and don'ts, and a few items to buy: a post-surgical healing ointment and a special scrub to help minimize the risk of infection. And of
As I half expected, with my oncologist out on vacation this week, he and the endocrinologist didn't speak. As a result, after sitting in the examining chair, the first question the doctor asks is, "So you have thyroid cancer?" I snickered and said something like "Hopefully," before I began to elaborate. Though she had access to my medical records, I can't say she was prepped and ready for our appointment. As she listened to my story, I could she see was simultaneously trying to review my medical
The doctor told me that I'll probably receive results from today's biopsy in five to seven days. The pathologist will send the results to my oncologist who presumably will email them to me. Now whether that new information will cause a change in my treatment, I certainly don't know. However, I would imagine that knowing the genetic mutation/biomarker would cause an immediate change. We're not exactly waiting for Godot here. And neither is the process rocket science. It's medicine. It's research.
Having re-read what I wrote in last week's column "Still Processing," I can't say it made me feel a whole lot better than when I wrote it. Granted, it was a column that had to be written given my self-indulgent tendencies (that I fight against constantly) and the possible crossroads that I may be entering. Nevertheless, if part of the underlying reason why I take up this space every week is to vent and share, as a means, hopefully not to a premature end, I suppose there was stress released there
Off we go - or not, into the wild blue yonder. It seems that my most recent CT scan's results, described as "a little worse" by my oncologist, are indeed cause for some reflection and change. (I'm not quite able to say "cause for concern" yet.) As such, to make the most effective change, per my oncologist's orders, I am scheduled for a needle biopsy on the Wednesday this column publishes. This procedure will determine, if there is a match, to the specific type of cancer tumor that I have. (Witho
I never want to look a gift-oncologist in the mouth or take a "stable"-type CT scan with a grain of salt, however; self-preservation is a funny instinct. It can change from day to day (heck, even hour to hour) and dominate your pre-occupation or intrude your thinking not at all. You can rationalize away the good, bad or indifferent (results) or irrationalize away the less-than-expected or the more-than-anticipated. Results from lab work and/or diagnostic scans are the axis on which your entire
As difficult as the last few weeks have been, with Chino's at-home hospice-type care and ultimate passing and the "Catch-22 A" realities of "reverse-mortgaging" my house "perplexed" by the "derelicht" stable/shed on my property, my upcoming quarterly CT scan hasn't even "blipped" the radar. Though it will have occurred already by the time this column prints, it's quite possible, due to the Thanksgiving holiday, its results won't be known for much longer, 12 days in fact, than has been customary.
Given the extremely sad experience I shared with you all in last week's column: "Chino Lourie, Rest in Peace," this column will be an attempt to bounce back to my usual and customary reality, one oddly enough that has nothing to do with cancer (well, much, anyway). Instead it has to do with unexpected joy.
The joy to which I refer has to do with a subject which typically provides me little joy: I refer to our two automobiles, a 2000 Honda Accord and a 2018 Audi A4. The former inherited from
I’m an armed forces veteran. Also, a late stage diagnosed lung cancer survivor veteran. A smoker, I once had little doubt that smoking caused my lung cancer. Yet almost everyone in my immediate family smoked and none developed the disease. Could the unique hazards of armed forces training and warfare played a role in my disease?
Looking back, early in my career were demolition projects involving World War II era structures that were filled with asbestos. On deployment, burn pits predominat
Please relief me or let me go. So sang Engelbert Humperdink way back in 1967 about having lost that loving feeling. His lost loving feeling was not about his mortgage. The lyrics: "I have found a new love dear" imply, if not clearly state, that there's a woman involved. My lost loving feeling is about my mortgage. And contrary to Engelbert, I can't leave it, and believe me, I've tried, though I've never sung about it, only droned on about it in print. To invoke the legendary Ricky Ricardo, aka D
Though I don't think I've broken any laws, other than the laws of consumerism, I may have gone over to the dark side. And by 'dark side,' I refer to two elements, one way more significant than the other, both of which I will get to in short order. In the interim, I refer to that most private of previously public purchases: underwear.
The last two times I bought underwear, I did not, as my father before me did so regularly for his two sons, buy from a local distributor. No. I didn't brick an
When I heard this word used recently, twice, I thought it was one of my father's made-up words like "surgerize" and "confliction" risen from his memory to finally enter the world of Merriam-Webster. And so they have, sort of. Apparently, "maturation" is a word some doctors use to answer any and all questions asked by patients inquiring as to why something or other health-wise is happening to them. In short, "maturation" means wear and tear. If Mick Mulvaney were the doctor, he might have said: "
Let me get this out of my system because until I do, I won't be able to write about anything else. Not to worry. This is not a cancer column. I am fine until they tell me otherwise which occurs every eight weeks after my bi-monthly CT scan tells the tale of the tape.
No, this column is about my lack of understanding and business acumen which twice has led me down the garden path only to be asked to leave before I got to smell any of the pretty flowers. Once (twice, actually) had to do with
Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is one thing, and certainly a big thing, but I'm much better dealing with it when the 50 million other things we all have to deal with are not having to be dealt with (ending a sentence with a preposition notwithstanding) at the same time. And not that I'm the least bit unique in having all these other tasks and concerns or even the most bit interesting in that I have them. Hardly. They are simply the elements that sometimes make living more of a job and less of a