Thursday, January 1, 2009

Visualizing 2009

Although we had plans to attend another family dinner on New Year's Eve, I ran out of energy. Power naps appear to be my saving grace and I missed it yesterday. Laurie and I decided to break out a copy of "WALL-E" (xmas gift from Santa). Santa's intentions were good but he didn't check the list close enough because he delivered the Blu-Ray version which is useless to me. If anyone is interested in a brand new copy of this apparently delightful film on "high definition" Blu-Ray, please let me know...and give me a synopsis. Never fear, there was a back up plan as I was gifted a copy of, "There Will Be Blood". I didn't catch it during the initial release and read great reviews. The title seemed fitting for my journey. Manipulation, deceit, fear...many of the current feelings I have had about my condition are expressed in the characters and situations in this film. I have been reflecting on the Daniel Plainview character all day. My lymphoma is now Daniel Plainview. Overconfident, successful, mean, and now angry at my challenge to usurp his power and cast him out. Imagine, a defect in my system that allows one process, lymphatic drainage, to convince another that an internal attack is in order and that without intervention, my body would continue fighting with itself to the death. It's as if I caught my body doing something that it shouldn't and now it is embarrassed and lashing out.

A friend sent a note with some good questions that I wanted to pass along because he may not be alone in his curiosity. He experienced some awful stuff in Iraq; at least cancer is a sloth.

On the sliding scale of treatment -- meaning: no treatment, partial treatment, full treatment -- what's the prognosis and survival rate/s ? Years, months etc.
No treatment=death successful treatment=death (eventually)
No seriously, looks to be in the neighborhood of 80-90% cure...not just remission. I have to crawl through a fairly decent sized field of glass to get through this but there is an endpoint.

How much treatment do you have to endure before results are expected - and what kind of results signify success ??
If I get through the chemo and tests are still showing disease, they may change tact and head toward bone marrow techniques. It isn't currently in my marrow so this is a good prognostic indicator. They consider 5 yrs out with no bloodwork evidence, a cure. This is not to say another cancer may crop up but it won't necessarily be related. My onc thought I would see results in 2 weeks and they will take periodic CT scans along with bloodwork to see how the treatment is working. The tough part will be that getting better will be masked by the massive poisoning that occurs every 3 weeks.

Are the treatments progressively stacked or linear, meaning just one after the other.
Treatment builds on itself. Word has it that by chemo#4 or #5, energy wanes. Again, this is such an individual deal that I refuse to lay around and hope. I march on, come hell or high water.

Is there a particular cause for your condition -- or is it just plain bad luck --

Genetics, exposure to something ?? Did you eat paint chips ??
They are not able to pinpoint any real cause. Interestingly enough, I am the first person within my immediate family with any published cancer so there is no genetic predisposition. One of the early surveys I filled out was embarrassingly blank as they probed for family ties.

How long have you had it -- do you think ??
I think the October bronchitis uncovered the cancer. I asked the Onc how it would have manifested itself and his answer was, "it would be painfully obvious by now" He said I would have had chest pain, shortness of breath, other pain, etc.

I'm an open book at this point. Internet privacy be damned. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. I can't think of any questions that would be too upsetting or uncomfortable to answer.
I did see the ball drop so 2009 has officially started.


  1. Well my friend, you missed NOTHING here in Vegas. While I only briefly thought of partaking in the chaos of Las Vegas Blvd, I wisely accepted a quiet dinner in Anthem (a retirement community) instead. Was strange to watch the New Year come in, from HERE. What a year for all parties; me, you, the Country at large. Headed back to Michigan VERY soon, hope to catch up with you.


  2. The company informed me I would be needed at a meeting near Grand Rapids of all places. Flying from Vegas to GR tonight on the Red-Eye...will be in your neck of the woods Sat morn and Sunday afternoon/eve.....give me a call. Take care buddy.


  3. Flossie B.
    Hi Paul, Just got word from Carla via email about your diagnosis. Want you to know that Bruce and I are thinking about you and the whole family during this crazy and difficult time. Sounds like you have the right attitude and I'll hope to catch more of your blog. We leave for a month in S.California on 1/5/09 if we get it all together. Been quite busy here in the Pacific NW just like it always was at FSC. We will be staying in a desert house near Borrego Springs for about 10 days. No TV, 2mile dirt track just to get to the house, good downtime for both of us, no computer either unless we go to the library in town. take care my friend and stay strong.
    Flossie B.

  4. Hey Paul,
    So glad to know about your blog. I've just spent some time reading it and being so glad you're taking the time to write your thoughts and feelings....and I'm enjoying learning what a great writer you are. One of the gifts of your unpleasant (huge understatement!) diagnosis may be that some of us will be lucky enough to get to know another part of you from your writing.

    I assume you've received my other messages and know how much you're on my mind. I'm at Susan's in CT now and will be away from GR for another week or so. I'll keep up to date with you from your blog and talking with Carla, and will continue sending good healthy energy, healing vibes, and much love your way.

  5. Paul,

    Your eldest ("Iraq" to me) told me about your blog. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you tackle Daniel Plainview. And a non-Blu Ray copy of Wall-E is available for your viewing enjoyment anytime - just have your daughter, a much-admired member of my Axis of Evil, pick it up from me.

    J Larsen

  6. Hi, Paul.....we have a Blue Ray and Bridgett will happily trade you your useless WALLE Blueray for a regular DVD of the same if you are still looking for it. Soccer game Sat. afternoon. I'll call about picking up Sage.

  7. Hi again....dropped off some goodies the other day....sorry about the lasagne...maybe kids can eat it? Will do better on my designated meal day, promised Sage white cheddar mac and cheese. Wood floors looked great...dogs tried to eat me! However not until I'd made two trips from the car bringing things in and turned to leave! Guess they were sorry to see me go, but Poppy chilled which then set the tone for the others. Talk to you soon,


  8. Hang tight, fella. Anyone and everyone, who knows you or any member of your extended family, have you and your family in their prayers. Old Daniel is definitely beatable and you're just the guy to beat him to a pulp. As me old Mum used to say, "This too shall pass and brighter days are ahead." Rooting you on from Marbury Drive - - Your old next door neighbor, Jean Freeburg