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About this blog

KennethLourie_t210_0.jpgThis column is my life as one of the fortunate few, a lung cancer anomaly: a stage IV lung cancer patient who has outlived his doctor’s original prognosis; and I’m glad to share it. It seems to help me cope writing about it. Perhaps it will help you relate reading about it.

Entries in this blog

 

Risking a Reward

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

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Feeling Pale By Comparison

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

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Useless Is As Useless Doesn't Have To Do

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

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One Step Forward, Hopefully Not Two Steps Backward

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

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All Gowned Up

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

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Off Topic, Way Off

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

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Can You Spell Thyroidectomy?

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

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Still Waiting for "Canswers"

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

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Now We Wait

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.

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Catharsis

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

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Still Processing

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

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False Sense of Security

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

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Lost in the Shuffle

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.

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An Idiot Servant No More

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

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Please Relief Me

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

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"Underwhere" and What

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

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Maturation

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: "

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Apparently, Not a Stable Genius

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

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When Compounding isn't a Good Thing

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

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Medicare Is In The House

More like in my wallet. After worrying for the past 18 months about possibly losing my health insurance, I finally hit pay dirt - and it didn't hit back. I have received my Medicare card and after I "dissenroll" from my interim "Obama Care" within the next week or so, I will officially join the ranks of the millions who have insured their health - so to speak - with the Federal Government. No more will I ifs, ands, or buts about hospitals, doctors ("medical" actually) and prescription drugs (par

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Time and Again

Not to be morbid in the least or self-indulgent in the most (last week's column, "Something or Nothing" not withstanding), but recently I've had cause to hear about the future and be more concerned about the present. I have a homeowner problem that, like all such problems, is way beyond my limited skills: a crack in the concrete slab which "porches" our house, apparently caused by a very large and old tree growing way too close to this slab. This is not a water-leaking-into-the-house proble

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Something or Nothing

As you can imagine - or read every week in this space - my health, especially considering that my stage IV non-small lung cancer is incurable/"terminal," is top of mind. (Truth be told, it's middle of mind, bottom of mind, and every other mind in between and all around.) That being said -  I am prone to exaggerate the significance of seemingly unrelated peculiarities and draw them into my cancer "centricity" without any facts to support them. Though I feel fine-ish, mostly, (the previous weeks'

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Barbasoul

That was a close shave, if I may euphemistically characterize my most recent, blade-free brush with cancer-like symptoms, especially considering that I thought my life was at stake. The pain was located around my left-side rib cage, exactly where the pain was on that fateful January 1st, 2009 day when I couldn't ignore it any longer and thus felt compelled to get off the couch and go to the emergency room. Though I didn't have any shortness of breath, or difficulty inhaling, exhaling and bending

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Don't Monkee Around With Me

I mean, he didn't even examine me, which he rarely does. (The CT scan pretty much tells him what he needs to know, so he says.) In addition (or is that subtraction?), he didn't even ask me the standard questions he typically does about my quality of life, activities of daily living, and general health and welfare. In fact, near the presumptive end of our appointment, as peculiar and uncharacteristic of an appointment as it was, I felt compelled to blurt out the answers to all the questions that

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Some Trek: To Go Where This Man Has Never Gone Before

Although I've had a pretty good run of late not writing much about "the cancer"—to quote "Forrest, Forrest Gump"—the reality is, as you might imagine, cancer is ever present - in your head and in your heart (and for me, in my lungs). Never more so than when your quarterly CT scan is imminent. As I sit and write this column on a Sunday, Wednesday—three days hence—Is what you'd call 'imminent.' Not that there's much preparation; there's not. But with electronic media being what it is, one does rec

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