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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

 

Safeguarding My Future

Whether or not I'm certain about my attitude toward being a dual cancer threat (non-small cell lung and papillary thyroid, cancer), only my subconscious knows for sure. This was recently made clear to when I provided my supermarket shopping preferences to my wife, Dina, who for reasons she takes very seriously (my health) won't let me go into stores to buy anything. Ergo, my list. And I may add, there is much adieu about those preferences. It's like a negotiation. Though not exactly partisan, th

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Wait. What?

"Thyroid cancer." Again? I thought the point of last week's surgical biopsy was to genetically-sequence a lung cancer tumor. Now you tell me the radiologist/pathologist found more thyroid cancer. As it already has happened, my oncologist - in coordination with my endocrinologist, said that my most recent CT scan showed "excellent results" (from my previous thyroid cancer treatment - which ended with radioiodine therapy), and furthermore noted that the thyroid cancer was confined to my neck. Yet

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Growing Pains

After more than six months away from the infusion center, due to the treatment for my papillary thyroid cancer stage II, I make my return on Wednesday, July 22. My non-small cell lung cancer stage IV, for which I have been treated since early March 2009, once again becomes front and center after having been back-burnered since early January while we addressed my thyroid cancer. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the risk of miscellaneous drug/treatment interactions, both cancers coul

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It's a Twofer

And not just Tuesday, either. All week in fact, I'll be waiting to hear the music. One day, I'll hear from my oncologist and on another day, I'll hear from my endocrinologist. What I'll hear first is the status of my underlying non-small cell lung cancer, stage IV (diagnosed Feb. 2009) and later in the week, I'll get results concerning my most recent party crasher: papillary thyroid cancer, stage II, diagnosed Jan. 2020. This will be the first time I will have been waiting for results simultaneo

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Questions and "Canswers"

"Very interesting," to quote Artie Johnson from "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," that "crazy-kooky" comedy show from the 70s. What's interesting is what my oncologist will say concerning the July 6th CT scan of my upper torso (lungs), the first such scan I will have had in almost six months. That interval being twice the usual and customary three month schedule I've been on for years. The reason for this abnormally long interval? As you regular readers know, I was being treated for my second can

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Mourning, Afternoon, and Evening

We had to euthanize Biscuit, our oldest cat on Saturday, June 20th. He would have been 14 on September 20th. Biscuit is survived by his half-brother, Andrew and his two half sisters, Sloane and Twinkle. Biscuit's litter mate and brother, "Chino" preceded him in death in November, 2019, after succumbing to diabetes. Biscuit had likewise been diagnosed with diabetes around the same time as "Chino." However, as occasionally happens, according to Biscuit's veterinarian, some cats "spontaneously" ove

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Masking My True Feelings

For those of us living in states where mask-wearing is mostly mandatory (indoors: yes, outdoors: not nearly as much), it is very easy to hide one's emotions. If your mouth is undercover, and being that it is located under your nose and above your chin, it most definitely is, communicating with the public has become strictly verbal. Body language as personified by the expression on one's face has become non grata. All that remains above the mask are your eyes and - to a much lesser effect - your

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Taking the Results in Stride

Apparently, I'm back in the lung cancer business. According to the video visit I had June 8 with my endocrinologist, my thyroid cancer has not moved into my lungs where my oncologist thought it might have - given the results of a previous biopsy and some surprising tumor inactivity in my lungs. The 'surprising inactivity:' the tumors didn't kill me. Living, as they say, is the best reward. And it sure beats the alternative. Nevertheless, I can't say I'm thrilled with the outcome. All the tu

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The News of My Death ...

... is greatly exaggerated." So said Mark Twain. So said W.C. Fields. And so said Kenny Lourie. And the reason I am now saying it is because of what correspondence I received in my personal inbox accessed through my HMO's online site. What I received was a condolence letter (sort of a form letter, quite frankly), addressed to the Lourie family from my oncologist expressing his sadness at my "passing" and his "privilege to have participated in the care of Kenneth Blacker Lourie" (me). Then, a bit

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Night and Now Daze

That wasn't so bad. Approximately 29 hours in the hospital in a private room and all I had to do was drink as much water as possible and shower half a dozen times. The goal being to rid myself of the radioiodine I had been given at the beginning of my admission. This "therapy" is used to measure the iodine related to my papillary thyroid cancer and to determine presumably, whether in fact the tumors in my lungs are thyroid cancer which has moved, whether it's still lung cancer, or both. To

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Time Will Have Been Told

In two days I will have completed four weeks on my low iodine diet (no chocolate, no salt, no dairy, no bread) with four days remaining until my one-night hospital admission and subsequent seven-day medical quarantine at home. If I remember correctly, the substance of the hour-long phone conversation we had with a doctor from the Nuclear Medicine department previous to my beginning this thyroid cancer treatment process, on Friday--the day after my "radioiodine therapy"--my eating can return to i

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Time Will Tell

Nearly three weeks into my low iodine diet, in preparation for my hospital overnight on May 28 when I will get my radioactive iodine therapy to be followed immediately by a medical quarantine at home for a week, I wouldn't say I'm thriving. More like persevering. I can't really satiate eating "rabbit" food and what culinary pleasures I can enjoy, I can only have them in small quantities and infrequently at that. I won't give you a list, but just consider what any 10-year-old likes to eat. A

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What's Today?

After six weeks or so of isolating at home and working hardly at all, I believe it's time to invoke Violet Crawley (aka Maggie Smith), "the Dowager Countess of Grantham," and wonder aloud: "What's a weekend?" Every day feels like some other day or no day at all because the days in and of themselves are meaningless/indistinguishable. I mean, you can't go anywhere, you can't do anything; thankfully, you can use your phone and access your computer, but at the end of the same-old-day, you're basical

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Hair Today, Not Gone Tomorrow

Sheltering in place while isolating at home, like so many others are, in Maryland, where non-essential businesses remain closed, means life has mostly come to a screeching halt. And unlike Georgia and nearly 30 other common-sense offenders, salons - among many other trying-to-get-going concerns, are not open. Moreover, given the social-distancing guidelines and the stay-at-home mandate, it's unlikely I'll be receiving any service providers in my home either. And considering that I'm not running
 

And So It Begins

The six-week schedule/treatment for my stage II papillary thyroid cancer began on Thursday, April 23 with an hour-long telephone appointment with one of the doctors from the Nuclear Medicine department. He was confirming, clarifying, and preparing yours truly for the arduous task at hand: a commitment to a month-long, low iodine diet beginning April 27 (no salt, no sugar, no dairy, no normal-type bread and a bunch of other less impactful nos) and 15 on-site hospital-related visits (in lab, in do

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Wholesale Change

Since I'm not doing the food and pharmacy out-of-the-house shopping anymore, as I have for the last 40 years (as I may have mentioned in last week's column: "Money For What":),  I am no longer in control of what we buy and how much we spend. The pandemic and my upcoming thyroid cancer treatment have combined to empower my wife, Dina, to set fairly strict guidelines. Primarily that I am to stay put in the house ALL THE TIME and that during my isolation, she will fill the purchasing vacuum. The ef

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Money For What, Exactly?

I don't know, really. Money comes in. Money goes out. But since I stay in and don't go out, cash is no longer king. Credit reigns supreme and since the accounting/budget system for the Lourie family business is rarely written down/planned for, I don't know from one expenditure to the next, where the money goes, unlike John Prine  knew  when he sang about "Sam Stone" when he came home. As the spouse responsible for the business side of the marriage, it has been my job to financially plan wha

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Manual Labor

Having recently received in the mail the three-ring binder/manual on the dos, don'ts and what-fors concerning the upcoming treatment for my stage II papillary thyroid cancer, and information as well (including a cookbook) about the low iodine diet I am instructed to start two weeks before my actual treatment begins, my takeaway is that it is going to be long and hard six weeks from start to post-quarantine finish. The reason for my apprehension is twofold. First and foremost is that I am an

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Cancer in a Pandemic

So far as I can tell, I'm being treated as per usual. Meaning, treatment for my recently diagnosed thyroid cancer is on track. On track meaning multiple hospital visits at two health care facilities (some even on the same day) over five consecutive days to include four radioiodine injections, pre-and post-treatment CT scans, lab work, miscellaneous other medical appointments and a low iodine diet to boot spread out over a nearly six-week interval including one over-night at the hospital. To

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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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