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January 30, 2011

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If you can't make sleep out of insomnia from pain, make insomnia work for you!

Internet, you are my kitty, too!

Meow. (Yes, that's my voice in da kitty video. If they don't work for anyone, pliz let me know.)

One of my favorite books, as it happens, I usually read it through every few years, just to relive the experience of my first reading. Much more entertaining than any Harryhausen movie...

And here's to successful revolution throughout the Middle East. A pity so many revolutions are 360 degrees.

My mother was recently diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin's lymphoma. This only 8 months after my father was diagnosed with throat cancer. (He spent all last summer being treated and is currently cancer-free pending his next PET scan in May.)

Since she's facing 6 months of biweekly chemo, she's not going to be working much, and she doesn't have any paid time off, so bills are going to mount. She also has a maximum $1,250 out of pocket cost through her insurance.

My family is having a fundraiser for her on March 5 at a local party center where we're going to have dinner, live music and a cash bar, plus a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, etc. We can at least help her defray that out-of-pocket cost and her bills for the next 6 months. If anyone's interested in contributing, shoot me an email at the address linked in my name.

Phil, you don't have an address linked to your name; not at present, in public.

I'm horribly sorry to hear this news.

This sort of stuff is what I, knowing so many people, simply hear so often either about people I've known for a long time, or at least of acquaintances, or at least of their own relatives and loved ones, and while inevitably many strike one so much harder than another -- and I was, as literally at the moment, just waking up -- can't recall for sure if I mentioned here or not, but perhaps did, and in any case am now -- was devastated yesterday at the news of the... very bad news of a friend of decades standing.

I hate cancer with a passion of a thousand burning suns. I lost the most beloved person in my life to it, five years ago, and I'm still finding it extraordinarily hard to deal with, though a bit better each year.

What I'm glad to hear are these parts, and all I can say is that I urge you to, as you can, focus on these:

[...] He spent all last summer being treated and is currently cancer-free pending his next PET scan in May.
This is a good part, and you will of course, worry, what you can't control, the part you can't do anything about, is what the future holds. With luck, your father will continue to be cancer-free. May it be so.

And there's this:

[...] Stage II
It's little comfort, I know, but it's much better than Stage III or Stage IV. When you, and worse, the person involved, suddenly learns, out of the blue, that they're Stage IV -- well, that's how I lost the person above, and how I've lost others, and... that's... it's all hard. And the younger they are, the harder, but it's all hard.

And we have only one mother, and one father, as a rule -- though families come in so many forms and flavors -- and the pain and worry and complications that come with that are some of the worst, whether we have the closest of families or the most destroyed of families.

Best of all is this:

[...] we're going to have dinner, live music and a cash bar, plus a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, etc. We can at least help her defray that out-of-pocket cost and her bills for the next 6 months.
One -- that's six months. That's some time, and time for more to be done. Put that together with the fact that if you can do the above things, you know that your mother has friends, and people who love her, and one thing I've learned is that it's news like this in which someone finds out they have far more friends than they ever knew. And friends of friends. And people who care. People who if they know, will come out of the woodwork out of -- you never know, but you'll find out if only you keep spreading the news out.

So do that: keep making sure, as you can -- and this is incredibly hard, too, because to do this you must think about the situation, and when you do, it's hard for the emotions, and the fears, and the pain to not well up -- but keep making sure as best you can, that more and more people know.

And then: when it's too much, and please forgive me for any "advice" I offer that may be totally inappropriate for your situation, your family, and yourself -- when it's too much, do whatever you need to to cry, be sorrowful, bitter at the universe, and let those feelings out.

It's necessary; the feelings are always real, always overwhelming, and while it's good to sometimes try to "control" them, and appropriately, so you don't inadvertenly hurt others by being angry when you should't be -- and I'm the last person on the planet to give such advice to anyone else, given how guilty I've been so often, and still are, often on a daily, if not hourly, if not quarter-hourly, schedule -- but let the feelings flow.

There's much in life that's horrible that we simply have only two choices when it comes down to it: some means of running away, and some means of... going on, and just doing our best to function during the pain.

Some of both is necessary. You have to both find ways to get the sad and mad out of your head at times and not think about these things for times, to give yourself some peace, and that can be almost impossible. But you also have to not run away so much that you can't help others, or yourself.

And you have to be able to help yourself, to help others, and to help others, you have to be able to just go on, sometimes, even if it's crying, walking like a robot/zombie, or whatever works.

And at none of these things will anyone be anything but imperfect, and you have to both forgive yourself, let yourself be imperfect, and yet still... go on.

And time is the only thing that ever helps at all with so much, and time... always takes time.

It's all so very hard. And there are so many ways to go really wrong.

But you're a very good person, I know that. Know that you have many friends. Let them be there for you when you can, and let yourself take time for yourself when you can, and... do what you can, and it's all just so hard.

I'm very sorry you and your family will be going through this. Please, as you can, let this community know whatever you feel is appropriate, don't worry too much about being inappropriate, and know that what your friends, in person, and virtually communicative, will do, in what ways they can, they can to help.

I'm so sorry. There are no words that ever truly help, not enough.

Thanks for letting us know.

But now, when you can: either remember to put your email address under your name here, or simply ask me and I'll do it for you.

Be as well as you can be, and we'll know why you're not around, and why, at times, you'll be angry.

It's okay to do that.

There are times to remember that we have to get together and do this:

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
Fading in the grass

Be well.

You've got my sympathy; My own lymphoma chemo was no picnic, and the oncologist said that I was taking it better than most, aside from losing a vein on every single treatment. (Take it from me, opt for the port.)

Yeah, add an address to your profile.

Thanks, guys -- Brett, her doctor wants to do her chemo without the port unless/until the chemo staff says she can't. I think, given the risks of surgery, he'd prefer not to undertake it unless absolutely necessary. Mom's got good veins, so hopefully the IV will work fine. If she has to get a port she might freak. Dad's still got his port; I think he gets it removed next month.

For some reason I thought email addresses were linked w/usernames. It's pldennison at yahoo dot com.

I should mention also that that Stage II staging is pending the results of a bone marrow biopsy and PET scan, which she had done on Friday. This is just based on the pathology from her initial lymph node biopsy and a physical exam, but her oncologist (who, btw, looks just like Ed Begley, Jr.) is pretty confident.

"For some reason I thought email addresses were linked w/usernames"

It depends how you're logging in. Theare are many ways. If you log out of Typekey, and start over, you can fill in the email address, and it should appear. Maybe. It kinda depends. :-)

I may be able to fix it for you, "permanently," (until they change the damn software tomorrow), if you want; but it's nothing that I'd do without request, and I'm not guaranteeing I know how to do it for sure. It, again, depends on how you sign in, for just one thing.

Phil, *I* had good veins, too. It's got nothing to do with how good your veins are, it's got to do with how they react, biochemically, to the chemo. In my case, the chemo basically killed off any vein in my body, (arteries, too, I suppose.) which was in any way damaged. My Lymphoma was discovered during the pre-op for my prostate surgery, and the first chemo session killed off the vein I got the IV in during the prostate surgery a few weeks earlier. Every subsequent dose killed the vein I'd gotten the previous dose in, because it was still damaged by exposure to the concentrated chemo.

I suppose you could be in bad enough shape the port surgery would be dangerous. But I'd really recommend it, based on my personal experience. Once you start, it's too late.

Phil, I don't understand the interlocking nature of Typepad, Typekey, and whatever method you've used to log in remotely enough -- yet -- to say why your email address wasn't showing up.

What I can tell you is this: your email address is indeed, according to Typepad, entered properly so far as it knows.

Why it hasn't posted under your name: I don't know.

What I've done is a manual kludge of inserting an html "mailto:" link into the URL slot, with your email address, under these three comments of yours, and those alone. So it'll just show up here, on those messages alone, for now.

That's where I'll have to leave it for now until I either understand the software better, or otherwise, I suggest you, if you care and want to only, experiment with using some other method of the various kinds of log-ins. I've personally found using the "TypePad" log-in problematic, and I just use a cookie to auto-enter my own comment log-ins, and I fill in the captcha. The only problem I've found with that are things like it'll time out after a certain period, without informing you, and some other trivial failures it won't inform you of.

But the Typepad method Fails in other ways, and if there's some infallible method here, I've certainly yet to find it.

Eventually, perhaps, but by then they'll have helpfully "upgraded" the software again....

I, um, suspect we might not have this problem if we could update the template from the 2003 design, but I certainly could be wrong.

Phil,
I just wanted to agree with Brett, for once. Having finished my second course of chemo three weeks ago, one course without the port, one with, I recommend the port if at all possible.

Not atypcial for great works of anonymous literature there can be quite a dispute who 'owns' the original material. I know that Turks and Arabs accuse each other to have stolen central parts of the 1001 Nights, i.e. they claim exclusive ownership of famous stories that both cultures know (though not necessarily in the exact same form).
Well, in Europe most people know the 'shoot the apple from your son's head' only in connection with Wilhelm Tell but it exists in many places (iirc it has been traced back to the Iranian highlands. It likely even predates the invention of the crossbow).

I hope the mention of the crossbow does not violate the premise of this thread ;-)

Hartmut, I actually kind of had that in mind.

But that was another thread, really. Gnu control. :-)

Which reminds me: I, as you are aware, have access to an email address for you. But it would be improper for me to use it without your permission. More simply, would you do me the favor of sending me an email at gary underscore farber at yahoo dot com? I'd like to discuss something with you.

Or you could write the kitty. :-)

I just sent you an email. Hope it gets through.

As you'll see, it did. Thanks.

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Whatnot


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