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When I told a friend of mine that I had breast cancer, she said, "Find the humor in it." And although that seemed a bizarre comment at the time, I found that that's what got me through it: humor. How can that be? Well, when you look like a Chia Pet after chemo when you hair starts back -- that's funny! And when you negotiate for the next mammogram to be half-price -- that's funny! This isn't to say that it has its serious side, as we know; but finding a light side in such a dark circumstance can help.

Sent by Marilyn Trujillo | 8:01 PM | 5-4-2007

With great sympathy, interest, and understanding, my wife, a cancer patient, and I, her care-giver, watched the 3-hour, Ted Koppel special on cancer. It did provoke some specific questions from us as to:
1) Why wasn't any mention made of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (???) which, in our opinion, is the leader in patient care, concern, and understanding of all of them!!
2) Why was LeRoy portrayed as receiving chemotherapy without the usage of a "port" which is the accepted method of infusion, everywhere today?
Cancer Treatment Centers of America is exactly what Mr. Armstrong was referring to when he stated that what is needed most are treatment facilities that view the "patient" as a "person". CTCA believes that attitude is just as important as physical treatment and that the mind can greatly aid in healing the body.
Getting there within 5 days the way to recovery and "taking her life back". Her progress is amazing by comparison. I only wish that LeRoy had been treated at CTCA. Possibly the content of Mr. Koppel's TV special would have been much different.
Amazing to me is the difficulty and outright opposition that this wonderful organization faces in opening each new faciltiy wherever they go. Are the insurance companies really that afraid of them?
Is it really all about the money? How sad...
One mention, during the entire 3 hours, by either Mr. Armstrong or Mr. Koppel of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the nation would have been made aware of something totally unique and available to all.

Sent by David Andrews - Lake Havasu City, Arizona | 11:03 AM | 5-7-2007

I so agree. My kids thought I was morbid when I would make sarcastic remarks about dying etc...... For me, if I could not joke or laugh anymore then my life really was almost over! Besides, I figured God has a good sense of humor too, He gave me mine, and I got my period the day I started chemo and radiation. I thought that was funny in a not-so-funny way.

Sent by Ann Cavalier | 11:03 AM | 5-7-2007

I UNDERSTAND!! Breat cancer was diagnosed 15 yrs ago - since then I have had it 4 more times!! It is attacking my bones - twice now in my spine ...the pain is incrdeble - I can't use a pain patch I am allergic to it - pain meds makes me very nauseaus....I meditate - pray - see a pshychiatrist and truly believe in acupuncture. I also do all the connventional - taditional treatments - chemo - radiation - hormone therapy....somehow I am still here to tell you my story - it amazes even me - A Dr. at Dana Farber last year told me I had outlived my life expectancy by ATLEAST 5 yrs or more - so now it's 6! I have lived to see my daughter marry a wonderful man and have 2 gorgeous granddaughters. My son is now engaged to a beautiful young woman..I count my blessings every day and night and in between.....I thank God - I cry - I laugh and I go on!

Sent by MIMI | 2:51 PM | 5-7-2007

The show was very well done. Thank You. The key is education. My husband has Prostate cancer with mets to the bone. He knew his PSA was high but didn't take the time to go to the urologist and when he did he didn't like him. Talk about treating your patients like people. Finally he had no choice and by that time it was too late for surgery. His oncologist hasn't given up and neither have I. But, the pain that my husband is in is awful. We have 3 sons and they are aware to start getting their PSA's checked at 30 yrs. of age. Thank you for the tribute to nurses. This was especially moving since I am a RN and this is National Nurses week. Also, why can't their be ONE fund for cancer research instead of certain types getting more money and publicity than others. Thank you.

Sent by Linda Graffius | 3:24 PM | 5-7-2007

Just finished watching Ted Koppel's show on Living with Cancer. I do not have cancer, but have seen my sister-in-law go through breast cancer treatment over the last 2 years and now I finally have some small insight as to what she experienced. She did not generally discuss her cancer - my brother was her main rock and support system - and I always wanted to respect her privacy about it, but also wanted to tell her how much her courage meant to me. I will indeed tell her now...especially now since I understand, even though cancer free now, she has that threat always over her head.

Because I am generally a "terrible patient" when it comes to being sick, I always thought I could never endure all the months of chemo, radiation, etc.if I should ever be diagnosed, but now I believe maybe I could - especially after seeing your courage to endure and understand there can be a light at the end of the tunnell - and it is not always a freight train!

Sent by Cathy Parks | 2:05 AM | 5-8-2007

I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor almost a year ago, at age 39. It was very helpful to me and my husband to watch the "Living with Cancer" special. It helped me to know that I'm not alone on this emotional rollercoaster that is my illness, and I think it helped my husband understand me a little better. Thanks for the important discussion.

Sent by Eden Jones, Portland, Oregon | 12:02 PM | 5-8-2007

Just watched the special by Ted Koppel and was very moved. I have been dealing with terminal cancer since oct. 2006 and im 42 yrs old. My mind goes 100 mph with ideas and plans etc and it seems nothing gets accomplished. The hardest part i believe is looking at my significant other Patty and how she deals with me dealing with the pain and treatments etc. Im feeling so guilty that im holding her back or something. I just want to thank Leroy Sievers and the Ted Koppel special for opening my eyes on somethings. I know i want to make a difference in this world before i leave it. I would also like if people could look at our little novice website and blog etc. I know just reading about others has helped me in a lot of ways. http://helpinghands4cancer.4t.com is website blog is http://helpinghand4cancer.4t.com/cgi/wp/ God Bless to all and Leroy keep up the good work you do . I will be a new reader and follower of your stuff.

Sent by Ken Jezowski | 12:02 PM | 5-9-2007

This is a suggestion/idea. I am a thyca survivor, and have a sister who's survived breast cancer and GIST (our mom died of breast cancer mets). Despite that, and all the other folks I know who've had cancer, when I found out this morning that a dear friend who'd survived testicular cancer as a young man now has prostate cancer, I couldn't think of anything better to say than the usual platitudes....I'm sorry, let me know if there's anything I can do, etc. A bit more difficult as we're geographically separated - a hug can say a lot. Have others run into this, or has it become easier to find good things to say when you hear this kind of news? I almost find it harder to think of things to say - I won't say "you'll be fine", I don't have enough details to be able to support his choices. Everything I think of seems utterly inadequate or inappropriate. We've talked about what people want to hear and don't (I know I commented on that posting!) so I tried to stick to those guidelines, but it felt completely insufficient. Perhaps others have better things to say? Thanks to all.

Sent by MJ | 8:01 AM | 5-10-2007

I love Hawaii too. I've been there many times over the years, and it is where I take myself in my mind on my worst days.

I watched the Ted Koppel special this last week and was inspired by the goodness that was present in the audience. It was a good dose of medicine for me, and came at a time when I needed some encouragement.

I am a bladder cancer patient. I was diagnosed in Feb. 05 and since my last surgery this past February I have felt beaten and defeated. I am now in search of my third urologist. After watch the special "Living with Cancer" I am now motivated to move forward.

I have been following your blog for a while now, but this is my first comment. Thank you for all that you do.

Sent by Pat C | 8:59 PM | 5-10-2007

My husband wasn't so sure that I should watch the show, but I did. You said so many things that I've thought. I'm dealing with lung cancer and am doing ok at the moment, but who knows what will be around the corner. Please keep talking. Its so difficult to explain to family and others what you are going thru and you have been so eloquent. How do you explain your treatment is YOUR treatment? Everyone seems to have an opinion. You do the best you can. You seek out the best facility and the best doctors and the best treatment. Then you trust and pray.
Enjoy Hawaii!

Sent by joane | 8:23 AM | 5-17-2007

I was recently diagnosed with stage IV cancer of the prostate with mets to the lymph nodes. I am inspired by your blog to begin my own blog. I am in my 70's and feel that my viewpoint regarding death, etc., would be different than yours. Most of what I have read online is by younger people than I also. But I love to read your blog and plan to catch up with the archives. The television presentation was wonderful.

Sent by John Carr | 11:09 AM | 5-17-2007

Your decision to keep writing while on vacation was a blessing to me. I was diagnosed with kidney cancer on April 4th and have my first appointment with my oncologist tomorrow. Fear, trepidation, and hope are all morphed into one really strange emotion. I am grateful that you have the courage to share your experience in this blog and in the documentary, and I am glad I had the courage to watch it. It has helped me.
Thank you--
Cindy Geile

Sent by Cindy Geile | 2:01 PM | 5-17-2007

THE JOYS OF CANCER.....Got your attention? It dawned on me a year ago that whenever I do die a part of me will be thankful for this experience. If I'd have had a choice, of course, I'd have passed on the cancer, but I didn't. When I was far away from home getting treatment for 3 months, people in the community of 2000 where I live donated $3000.00 to help with expenses. You can't buy an experience like that, to be shown that people, neighbors, friends, and others, care about you has an extraordinary effect. I would have never experienced that. In all my 62 years I've never seen so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets as in the last 2 and 1/2 years. The swallows returned yesterday, spring is here, another new season.My sense of what is important has never been clearer. Does cancer suck? We know it does. Today my glass is half full....there are half empty days, too. Like when I focus on how the radiation on my chest probably saved my life.....and also caused the pulmonary fibrosis that will certainly kill me. Like it's a race between the cancer and the P.F......there is even humor there on a glass-half-full day. Thanks for listening.

Sent by James Wallman | 6:57 PM | 5-18-2007

I am having a devil of a time not to show my anger to my daughter. She just had her cancerous left lung removed. She has smoked and drank since the age of 13. It is hard to show compassion for her disease. Please comment.

Sent by Heart of Venus | 1:27 AM | 5-25-2007

Hi Leroy and everyone else. This is my first comment on this site...and it's the only column I read about cancer... a testament to you, Leroy... when someone can write and speak eloquently it is such a gift. Over the past months I do feel you are part of my community, and I follow your daily trials and tribulations (along with the too-infrequent celebrations) lately. In fact, I foudn it sureal to sit during my last round of chemo yesterday reading your column on "non-choices" on my Treo and thereby experienced your sorrow and frustration while I was having my own personal little victory at having finished these chemo sessions. At 37 with breast cancer and 3 small children, after I had a double mastectomy, I feared chemo more than anything. I have learned that this was an irrational fear. It is a choice, it is a hope, it is a gift. It is, as you say, when the choices are not "which treatment should I do?" but "should I do anything?" then inaction becomes a choice, a new plan of attack. You attack your remaining life, you find the joys in it you didn't see before, and value the things on your list, as you say, which likely aren't places to go that are far away, or things to buy that are expensive. They are the more intangibles, the things you can get for free. When my daughter sees me in my scarf on my head and says I look pretty, that is a gift. When I get my appetite back and show up for a latte or a chocolate treat at the gourmet shop, that taste is priceless. And feeling okay for an extra few hours or finding out you don't need an extra shot that week can be a great day. You redefine your life, your blessings, your everything. That's as it should be. That's the gift I have found in cancer. It has taken from me. For sure. It has taken from you, Leroy. But the gift you give to us every day, people mostly whom you will never know, is a gift uniquely provided by cancer as you know. I also tell people more now that they are special to me. I hope today I can be that person to you, and let you know I admire, respect, and will follow your treatment, or your decision to just enjoy the time we have together in this community. Today is a good day for me, and I will appreciate it knowing what tomorrow might bring. I thank you for sharing your story.
Lisa Adams

Sent by Lisa Adams | 9:58 AM | 6-19-2007

I am a throat cancer survivor 3 yrs now and am in my 3d session (3mos ea) of chemo for colorectal cancer that has gone to the liver. I can't thank all the wonderful folks and especially Leroy & Mr Koppell's documentary "Living with Cancer", at near 63 I couldn't find the words to tell my 85 yr old parents about the experiences I am going through and as we watched the show together, through many tears, we are all on the same "page" so to speak. Thanks sooo much to all.

Sent by Cliff Trimble, Jr, Tucson, AZ | 9:32 PM | 6-19-2007

This is my second posting after viewing your TV special. My husband is not very computer literate so I print your e-mails that I receive. He reads them all and appreciates the fact that you are writing about things that he is feeling. Thank you and we continue to remember you and all others that are fighting this disease.

Sent by Linda Graffius | 8:17 PM | 6-28-2007

Leroy, I love reading your daily post. It helps me to keep things in perspective. When I first found out I have breast cancer I was really scared. I lost my Mom to breast cancer, and my Dad to cancer of the esophagus. I had a bilateral mastectomy one month ago. Every time I start feeling sorry for myself and whining about the pain, I think of what you have gone through, and all of the chemo and radiation my parents went through. It has helped me to find the strength to get through this. I count my blessings that I am alive, and I am learning to appreciate things that I have taken for granted in the past. Keep up the good work, it means alot to so many people.

Sent by Karen | 11:36 PM | 7-1-2007

Leroy: This morning your always interesting comment on NPR spoke about Control and that second between the doctor's words,(as they were spoken to me in 1997),"You have a fatal disease" when your brain screams "NO!" but the tears from your eyes reveal your knowledge of that truth. I suffered through the loss of control, through the chemicals and constant awareness of the inevitability of my early death. As you've described, the occupation with the ever more awful treatments,your family's emotional needs and the many decisions quickly become your new reality. Was life ever otherwise? No one spoke of recovery-just staying alive which was losing its appeal. Loss of control just was. One morning someone I had a business transaction with came to my door and told me about something I could do for myself that might provide help. He looked at my pitiful condition and said, "You have nothing to lose". Now, that was Truth! I gave my body nutrients it was obviously missing and 10 years later I enjoy full, vibrant health. Control! I have it now!

Sent by Sheila McCanna | 11:49 AM | 7-23-2007

Hello, good people. I'm curious about your reactions to this query from a reporter for a national network:

"I'm looking for a psychologist, oncologist or other doctor to discuss why it may or may not be healthy to date when you're undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Are you more vulnerable? Is there a possibility that your relationship may be under some sort of "Florence Nightengale" effect?"

I am not happy about this person's viewpoint that people with cancer can't have "a life" without endangering themselves, that we must ask an oncologist's permission to find happiness and love. Am I overreacting, or is this reporter pushing "Movie of the Week" victim-think?

Sent by Mary Ellen | 10:41 AM | 9-4-2007

I saw that wonderful program everyone above has mentioned and it gave me a booster shot of hope. I am an ovarian cancer survivor ..., well, at least since October 24, 2006. I knew it was probably cancer and so did the doctors. That Oct day, I went in for a 4 hr. surgery. I weighed less that 95 pounds. They removed the mass, both ovaries, two lymph nodes, a portion of my sigmoid colon (I have a lovely little colostomy), and ... my gall bladder (that is another story). The cancer had spread to some of the lymph glands within my abdomen. Chemo cycles lasted from Jan 3, 07, to Jun 07, I managed to last through 8 cycles of Taxol and Carboplatin with shots of Neulasta and Aranesp to help my blood counts. At the 5th CT Scan neither doctor found any signs of cancer. Now I am in the 3 mo. waiting game to see if the cancer is in remission or just waiting for a return engagement. Yes, cancer sucks.

My biggest lesson learned throughout this experience is to grit my teeth, acknowledge all those feelings and then figuratively speaking "stand" and fight the good fight. During all that, my mind became aware of moments of pure wicked amusement that is possible. The humour is there, but it is sometimes too dark to see, but I found it among the hair falling out and the nausea and the chemobrain. As my hair began to fall out I found this odd feeling of celebration that the chemo was doing something, that is, as long as it was killing cancer cells along with what normal cells I knew were getting clobbered. For my family members who would rather not see my colostomy stoma as I replace the wafer and pouch, I announce, "It's back in its cage."

Cancer patients live a bizarre existence, but then so do so many others with other diseases which may or may not be fatal now or years later. The joyful thing is that we find each other in places like these blogs, in events like AMC Relay for Life, groups, and we should be thankful for people like Mr. Sievers who literally let each of us know we aren't alone in this fight. Thank you.

Sent by Bobbie Hollis | 1:31 AM | 9-18-2007

I posted a comment this morning and appreciate it being posted, however at the end when converted it changed the apostrophe to ??? which would make it seem as if I question Bobby fighting the disease. I wouldn't want that to be misinterpreted. I didn't know any other way to reach you.

Sent by antoinette comprelli | 11:38 AM | 9-20-2007

Even though my husband lost his battle to colon cancer three years ago, I read your column and know that I am cheering you on daily! A teacher friend's husband was told his colon cancer has returned, I encourged her to read your column.I find it a source of therapy for me, You resemble my Jim, you're just 5 inches taller! Never, never, never give up!

Sent by Helen Drab | 11:23 AM | 10-12-2007

I've walked the cancer walk. I read your words every morning. What I am struck with is your preference not to talk about death but perhaps you think about it but don't want to talk about it. Even with hospice coming you don't talk about that as if it is a preparation for dying. True, we do not know the day of our dying. For myself, it would be much too devastating to deal with death all at one time. Through my years of remission, I've spent some time thinking and reading about death. But this has been only because I know I do not deal with things easily. I will never forget how it felt when I first got my diagnosis. I was brought to my knees with the emotional kick in the gut. It feels better for me to give it all some thought. I doubt that I can totally prepare, but I know it is not as daunting as it was when I never thought about it, when I denied to myself that this was likely my reality.

Sent by Judy | 5:48 PM | 1-25-2008

Go LEROY Go

Sent by Anthony Sorce | 12:03 PM | 2-13-2008

Dear Leroy and Laura, I cannot tell you how much this blog, and you
Leroy mean to me. I'm a so-far-
so-good breast cancer survivor and my husband is now battling pancreatic
cancer. Your courage,
wonderful writing, fantastic humor strength me everyday.

Cheering you on everyday - stay strong and FIGHT IT.

Sincerely,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 8:55 AM | 2-21-2008

Dear Leroy and Laurie,

Many thanks - forever I'll be grateful- for all your blog postings.

As a breast cancer survivor for 4 years and now the caregiver of my
husband who has pancreatic cancer
your writing is a lifeline.

Sending you all the best and oceans of energy and mountains of strength.

Most Sincerely Yours,

Sent by penny Freppon | 8:57 AM | 2-21-2008

YES!! We need this so much- and there is no telling how much
"alternative/ complementary" medicine
does for all of us. Patient and caregiver and all those who care so
much.

We care greatly Leroy and Laurie and blessings on this wonderful doctor!
Nothing is so good as
exquisite compassion.

Penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 9:04 AM | 2-21-2008

Dear Leory,
Today was a hard day for you and for me too. I've been at a loss to think of words worthy of your struggle. As I live my life in hopes that my cancer does not return and as caregiver for my beloved husband who suffers from pancreatic cancer I try hard to just "get through " the hard days and recover quickly so I can treasure each day with him.
We endeavor to persevere and know you are doing the same. Your courage and dignity help all of us more than you know.

Sent by penny Freppon | 7:33 PM | 2-23-2008

Dear Leroy,

I read your glowing report about your physical therapy session today and it reminded me of my husband's recovery from a stroke that paralyzed him totally on his left side. This guy, like you is simply wonderful- he worked hard and recovered completely ( only to be stricken by cancer two years later - he is fighting that just as bravely!).
One's mind/body capacities are more than amazing, you WILL regain your abilities to walk, do stairs, and run.
Your friend: Cheering you on every day! Can you hear the din?

Sent by penny freppon | 10:09 AM | 2-26-2008

Dear Leroy,

Just a note to keep in touch - you seem like an old friend and I hope such communication feels this way to you. Your blog today about the terrible padding on the hospital tables reminded me of the most unpleasant device I have to put my chest into for my MRIs. It really hurts and sometimes lying face down my arms go to sleep. It's funny how such discomforts "get to one" - with all the needle stick, surgery, chemos, and radiation the discomfort of the hard tables, and poor excuses for pillows looms large. Let's hope the hospital administrators and researchers are listening. Some creature comforts along this cancer road would help!
Keep lying down and be well.
In friendship and continued, everlasting hope for your recovery,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 9:29 PM | 3-7-2008

Dear Leroy,

Your message today remarked on how one adjusts to having cancer - it seems that one does this fairly readily. In a matter of months, no matter how terrifying and taxing it is, it seems the daily cancer routine becomes just that.
As a cancer survivor ( so far so good ) myself and now as caregiver for my husband with his cancer I've thought about this adjustment stuff and had the thought that perhaps our ability to make hairpin turns ( Laurie's phrase) and sudden moves that challenge us more than I could have imagined is innate?

As a species this capacity seems essential to survival. What with our relative lack of physical strength, poison, huge teeth, etc. we had to have to be able to adjust fast and adapt to changes in may ways. Thus, our brains - and perhaps their an innate capacity saved us. Keep on being enabled Leroy, we care so much and cheer you on every day.
penny

Sent by penny freppon | 4:32 PM | 3-18-2008

Dear Leroy,
All in all your message of today is heartening. Decisions are hard and it surely seems to me that you have made a very good one. Get that radiation ( take a good pain pill before lying on that table!) and the cancer will again be stopped.
We think of you and just this past week I spoke to a fellow caregiver who's husband has the same cancer as mine and she said she never misses your blog. She feels very close to you as I do and is grateful for your brave messages along with your wit and encouraging ways.
Leroy you are a gift.
FIGHT IT.
hug you,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 9:53 PM | 3-20-2008

Fight on Leroy, just as your mother taught you to do by example...what a great teacher she must have been! All these years later and you're still trying to "put out fires", one by one, as you battle cancer!

Sent by Retha | 1:14 PM | 3-24-2008

Dear Leroy,

Your mother sounds wonderful - it's pretty obvious that she loved you so and was a woman of great character! My son has an illness that I passed onto him, so I know how the guilt happens and how challenging this is. But I know as did your mom that we truly are not responsible for such things. none of us gets to self-select our genes.
As much as you miss your mother I hope your memories such as the one you described today are your strongest thoughts. My hunch is you have many of them.
Take best care.
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 2:44 PM | 3-24-2008

Dear Leroy,

It will be a long time yet and you will get beyond this radiation and have more time.
Thanks for your courage, your reaching out with wonderful writing, and most of all for being you!
Cheering you on everyday, in every way.
Take best care,
pennny

Sent by penny Freppon | 1:16 PM | 3-28-2008

Dear Leroy,

Your blog today, 4/3/08 is so on the mark! Yes, keep cancer cowering and keep your strong fight going, fight it day and night. It's on the run again and will continue, I'm right with you. Walking beside the walker and in the highest chair, late night TV isn't bad either.
Your incredible heart, excellent humor, superb writing helps carry so many of us.
A thousand thanks.

p.s. how are those super shakes coming ?

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 3:15 PM | 4-3-2008

Dear Leroy and other Friends,

I'm getting very angry. There should not be this much pain!!! Pain on the XRay and radiation tables is one thing but pain after getting home, etc, etc, etc, is not to be tolerated. Leroy, to you have your pain doctor's ear? Something must be done - please don't let this go on, I have to believe there is more help than you are getting.
Please, excuse what may seem like a venting - I don't mean to do it but this hurt all of us who care for you and who have had cancer ( me) and who are caregivers ( me). Is this the perfect excuse?

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 7:24 PM | 4-9-2008

I've always believed in medical self-care and naturopathic medicine, so when Kaiser Permanente doctors prescribed radiation/tamoxifan/mastectomy after removing a lump from my breast, I just walked away. Eight years later, I'm healthier than ever. Unfortunately, my dear brother, who underwent radiation and chemotherapy to treat his throat cancer, passed away before the treatments were complete. I often wonder if patients like my brother succumbed to the treatments (which kill healthy cells and are carcinogenic themselves) rather than the cancer.

Sent by Sandra Malone | 2:22 PM | 4-14-2008

Dear Leroy, Dear Friend,

Yes, patience is very hard to come by for us. I understand so well - my husband had to wait 5 weeks to "let the radiation" do it's work before rescanning his tumor. It was a relief to get back home ( we'd been living at MDA for months) but hard too.
Have that glass of wine, if it's okay, my husband is now having one drink a day and it helps! Feels normal and we really need THAT, and of course, he enjoys it ;-)
We are with you, caring for you, and cheering you on every day in every way.

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 9:23 AM | 4-17-2008

Hey!

Leroy I know exactly what you mean- physical therapy can restore our faith in our selves and renew our respect for our bodies.
PT s are very good at working us hard and helping us feel physically strong again - it's good to sweat, makes me feel mighty! You too I hope;-)
Keep up this VERY good work and feel your strength return. We'll be watching listening for your growth chart!

All the Best,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 2:24 PM | 4-20-2008

Leroy, you ARE going to feel better and it's great that you are doing so already. From my expiernce it takes quite a while to bounce back radiation ;-)
Thus, there are lots more 'feeling better ' days ahead.

Best Regards,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 8:49 PM | 4-23-2008

Dear Leroy,

Good for you! Sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care....as we all know so, it's great that you are sleeping better.
My husband and I just came back from a trip to the Cleveland Clinic after a consult with a wonderful doctor there. He, Dr.Pelley, was excellent in ever way - just what we needed to make some hard decisions about more treatment at this point.

So now that this is done I am going to go to Liberia in a week or so to teach teachers. I look forward to the trip although I know it won't be without it's challenges ;-)

Best of all you are feeling better and we hope to have a summer with little to no treatment and that during this time my husband will continue to be stable.

I'll be off line for a number of weeks but already look forward to talking with you again. Time goes by so quickly.

Continue to gain strength - keep that good sleep going.

You and yours are in my thoughts.

All the Best,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 9:04 PM | 4-30-2008

Dear Leroy,

I'm not out of town quite yet and wanted to reply to your message about a painful day and hearing the bird sing - how it made you smile.

I recall an event somewhat similiar when I had just had breast cancer surgery and treatment. One early morning I walked down the stairs and heard the washing machine going and the tea pot whistling. and suddenly I was overcome with happiness and a somewhat odd humbling feeling. Hearing the ordinary sounds of home struck me hard. I smiled too.
We are in a very special community that is most unfortunate but is also enriched in ways others, we hope, will never experience

All the Best,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 4:00 PM | 5-3-2008

Hi Leroy. I'm curenly recovering from colon cancer (surgery, concurrent chemo/radiaiton and then more chemo). I read your article every morning and find that it helps me continue on the journey. I also have the neuropathy in my hands and feet that might not go away. My doctor called it "sock and glove syndrome" becasue it feels like I'm wearing socks and gloves all the time. It makes life a little harder. I struggle with small tasks like turning the page of a book, or putting on earrings. I've also been know to walk out of my flip flops. I'm okay with the trade off as long as the cancer stays away. It IS annoying. I realize how much I took for grated before my illness. Simple tasks that others probably don't even think about performing are now challenging to me. Thanks for sharing your story. I pray for you after I read each article. Stay strong.
Mary Jo

Sent by Mary Jo McClintic | 9:47 AM | 5-5-2008

May God bless you Leroy, as your "vacation" from poking, prodding and "picture taking ends." Whatever unfolds, I pray that you'll be given the strength you need to take the next step, knowing that you have helped so many through your steadfast writing over the course of your illness.

Sent by Retha | 9:15 AM | 5-15-2008

Leroy,I have been reading your entries for months and am traveling a similar chronic cancer path. Your experience is so parallel to mine in so many psychogical dimensions that it is eery but very comforting in my loneliness.I have refractory Hodgkins Lymphoma (dx.2003),have undergone continuous chemotherapy,radiation,two bone marrow transplants with no remission.I face what you face-chronic metastatic disease with a "new normal"I don't like.I too continue to "hope" for continued life.I find the pschological battle over time to be the hardest.You have comforted me,encouraged me and made me realize I do not walk alone.You are a godsend.Thank you.

Sent by Lisa Lake | 2:42 PM | 5-16-2008

Leroy, I have been following your blog for years, but now it has a new meaning for me. This year, we learned that my 34-year-old daughter has brain cancer, stage III. Our family at first was devastated by the news, but now we are beginning to deal with everyday life again. She has finished radiation and the first stage of chemo, and is being treated with much heavier doses than at first. At this point, we also have hope. Come to think of it, one always has hope. You have become a lifeline to many. Thank you.

Sent by Miriam Freiter | 12:03 AM | 5-17-2008

I was sadden to hear yesterday that Ted Kennedy's diagnosis was cancer. Everyone was asking "how long?". I myself am a Breast Cancer Survior, I asked myself the same question. I am finish with treatment and doing well, with no reocurrence at this time. None of us knows "how long", we don't get to choose, God does. So I live each day as a gift. We must think positive. Page

Sent by Page hendryx | 7:00 PM | 5-22-2008

Leroy, I want to share one of my favorite poems with you. Its by ee cummings.
i carry your heart with me(i carry in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and its you are whatever the moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of the tree called life;which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Leroy, Laurie, we carry your hearts, we carry them in our hearts.

Sent by Ann | 9:29 AM | 6-12-2008

Dear Leroy:
I have been receiving your posts for months, and for the last few weeks I have been receiving an inner prompting to share a poem that I wrote some time ago. The poem was profound for me to write, and perhaps it will be profound for you to read. So here it is. Its called 'His Story'.
Myths are our own pronouncements of destiny
We are the myth-makers and our stories
Are our personal legends of the Fall,
the Resurrection, and the Promised Land
These are all contained within a lifetime
Love and Fear stand side-by-side
Angels, guarding the doors of Heaven
And Hell.

I live inside my history.
It becomes me as I become it.
But my myth is really my
Opportunity
A port, with an old sailor whistling
a tune on the dock
And he's whistling an ode to the ferryman
Because you cannot cross the river without Him.

And the ferryman is Death
Death of a loved one.
Death of a child.
Death of a relationship.

Walking into the valley of the shadow of death
I descend into wholeness again
and start another cycle, a new age.

Where does my story begin and yours end?
Does it begin and end with what I am able to
know about you?
Sometimes you are completely transparent to me
At other times dense as a doorknob.

Our stories slide one on top of the other
Creating innumerable opportunities
For the Eternal Truth to dart
Between the letters,
Between the keystrokes,
Between the lashes,
Between the tweens,
Between being able to catch yourself
at the moment you begin to imitate yourself,
And between being afraid that you won't.

I've tasted death enough times
to know that this body too will die.
Just as the stories of my life have been
willed and impelled and compelled
by the uncertain logic of who Me is,
This body too is a story,
a figment of a divine dream,
And this body too must die.

But the eternal truth remains that I AM
neither story nor storyteller.

Sent by Lakshmi Narayan | 2:33 PM | 6-12-2008

Dear Leroy, I agree, it is a mystery -- this life and will power is a likely, huge, factor.

You go guy!!

Here are some movies I think you'll enjoy.

Songcatcher

The Station Master

The Girl in the Cafe

The Two Family House

......if you haven't already see them;-)

ALL THE BEST,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 3:10 PM | 6-13-2008

Hi Leroy, I am sorry you are facing this..but very impressed with your strength. I wonder if you ever visit MPIP a melanoma board at http://www.mpip.org/bb/bbindex.html We have a few posters currently dealing with multiple brain mets. You may find it interesting to compare notes, even get some ideas. All the very best to you Leroy, take care, linda

Sent by bclinda | 3:46 AM | 6-17-2008

As a crew chief on a Huey in Vietnam I saw death in violent ways. Later in life my father and others died...It was bearable but when my grand niece who was a twin that I loved deeply was diagnosed with brain stem cancer and lived for a heartbreaking year and a half before passing on...has shown me the pain that individuals suffer throughout the world when the loved one's are taken at an early age. I know that God is there always but loosing a loved one can be very difficult at times. May we always respect all people in the world who are having a difficult time

Sent by steve Henderson | 9:37 PM | 6-17-2008

Hey Leroy!
What great news, lots of treatment and in one day!

Rather than forgive you I thank you for making my day.

Good movies:
Once ( you've probable seen it but I'm always behind)
All or nothing at all.

As usual,
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 1:50 PM | 6-20-2008

I heard Leroy on NPR this morning. Cancer is an ugly thing. The chemo & radiation is just killing your body. It's bad. It's good to get your affairs in order. I have some suggestions for you -- Can you see yourself better without the cancer? Can you see yourself healed? Try visualising, with your eyes closed, a ray of beautiful light (perhaps Jesus Christ) coming into your body and healing it. Start at your heart and move His healing power around in your body. Yeah, I know this sounds hoaxy; but, don't accept the cancer anymore. Accept perfect healing -- perfect power of Jesus Christ. Check out Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, they are there to teach you how your magnificent body can heal itself by eating "WHOLE" foods. I saw so many incredible things while I was there on my 3-week stay -- cancers going into remission, bodies being healed, incredible -- mind-blowing healing. Good luck to you and God bless you. John 3:16

Sent by Jeanne | 7:57 AM | 6-26-2008

Leroy,
With your permission, I, fortuitously, do not have cancer.

Since the beginning of your blog, I have checked in a couple of times each week to gain some insight of what dealing with a life threating illness is like. I have rooted for you from the sidelines and prayed for you during your low periods.

Whilst driveing into work earlier this week, with the radio on, I heard of your latest health challenge. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like you were a personal friend of mine. Odd, I know. I felt helpless to assist you (which I am) and angry @ your cancer @ the same time. I still don't know what to do but to wish you grace & strenght as you continute this fight.

Be strong Leroy. Be strong.

Sent by D. Julian Montelbano | 3:37 PM | 6-27-2008

Dear Leroy and Laurie,

Sorry, I've not written in a while. We are doing okay...so far so good. My beloved husband is able to do some fly fishing, his passion ! And I think I'm happier than he is about this;-)
The latest scan showed a still stable pancreatic tumor - this is as good as it gets.

How is the movie viewing going? Here is another recommend. It's an old one but sweet; try Crossing Delancy (sp? Delancy is the name of a street- netfllix will likely bring it up)

CR, which I think is consumers' reports is doing a story on couples willing to be interviewed about how cancer has impacted their relationship.
My wellness center in Ohio has sent out an email for those willing to be interviewed. I'll send another message as soon as I'm sure about the magazine and some details.

We are with you, everyday in every way, cheering you on. It's a terrible thing that has happened to all of us in the cancer world but...Leroy you make it easier, more human, deeply enriched, and easier to bear.
With you and people like you we are never alone.

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 12:49 PM | 7-3-2008

I just happened upon this blog this morning, and wanted to say thank you.

I probably have breast cancer, given what I've read about it, which I noticed last fall. I haven't told anyone - until now - and haven't seen a doctor. Don't have the money for treatment, don't have the money to take off from work (I'm self-employed) but even more importantly, I don't have what it takes for the medical procedures. Too many bad experiences with doctors, and needles, and the 2 small surgeries I had years ago, so even if I had all the money in the world, I still wouldn't do chemo, or radiation, etc. I've know this about myself for years, long before this, and have tried to keep myself as healthy as possible because I never want to spend a night in a hospital, or have another surgery.

I know this is a different way to respond to such a situation, but it feels right to me. I've got no assumptions about what's going to happen, just trying to live my life more consciously, regardless.

Sent by shar | 1:35 PM | 7-5-2008

Leroy, I enjoyed your appearance on NPR and the audio blog afterward. I'm the one who asked if you missed work.

One of your blogs (the one about talking about normal things, not about cancer) reminded me of something my grandmother told me two weeks before she died.

My grandmother was my world, the one most awesome person I've ever known. She had breast cancer, then 5 years cancer free, before being diagnosed with metastatic cancer. (She had 89 years of life to her credit).

But here's the thing she said, to what you might relate. I was sitting at my grandmother's feet on the floor in front of the recliner she was resting in. We were looking at old pictures I'd found in a closet; pictures of my mom when she was 18 and 19, pictures of my grandmother when she was a teenager and a young woman, old pictures, from before I was born, when my grandmother was not a grandmother-- when she was a lively, beautiful, energetic young woman, and my mother was a teenager or a young woman.

My grandmother, who was sitting in the recliner in her robe looking at the photos over my shoulder, with a shawl over her shoulders, looked down and me and said "Patty, It's ME in here!"

You know, that did not make so much sense to me then (though I thought I understood), but I realize now, she was saying, the essence of what made her what she was, and who she was, was unchanged and unspoiled, although the container that bore her spirit was such a hindrance. She wanted me to know that she was that lady from those pictures, no matter what my eyes reported. I suppose you feel that too, sometimes, no matter what your body does, no matter who calls you "patient" or "survivor" or whatever, the reality is, you are still you.

When people come and visit, and they leave the cancer outside the door, and you talk about stuff you enjoy (like my grandmother and her love for Raymond Burr, which never went away), you are being you, and your friends are allowing you to just be you, with the same loves, and hates, and hopes and fears and enjoyments you ever had. Those friends have found a way to overcome their discomfort and fear and they are vising Leroy, not a person with cancer. They bring you the gift of pure friendship. What a marvelous gift!

That was the last day I saw my grandmother, and I took a picture of her. I had to return home the next day. She passed away two weeks later.

But I'll always remember that the lady I saw was the one from the pictures, the one that used to do things with us. She was still my Grandmother, no matter what she was wearing and no matter what she could or couldn't do. And she loved just being who she was, not a patient. I'm so glad she showed that to me. You are still Leroy with all the same likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, your body nevermind.

We are not our disease. We are who we were before, just with that additional thing to deal with. I think you understand..it's YOU in there. Thanks for doing the blog, and the program, I know it had to tire you out, but it obviously means a lot to many people. You're just doing what you've always done, it's just a different war on a different battlefield, but you're still bringing it to us, aren't you?

Sent by Pat S. | 5:42 PM | 7-9-2008

Dear Laurie and Leroy,

Your blog always sparks a surge of emotion, today I'm moved to tears.

I can feel the love between the two of you and know what a great love such as your is like. I, we have this love too.

From penny:

I want him back....and somedays, some moments, or an hour, or even an afternoon or morning can bring him back.

This weekend I saw him delight in a grand child, laughing again.

I saw him eat with some hint of pleasure...

I watched as suddendly he picked up a pen and worked on his manuscript for a while - I could not take my eyes off this oh so rare event.....for a little while I had him back.

Sometimes he is back reciting the sports news while I pretend to be truly interested and ask dumb questions.

All the time I'm so grateful that you two wonderful people are so incredibly good to us, to share your lives, your bravery, wisdom, and true caring with those of us who have had cancer ( me) and who now lives with a tumor that will never be removed
(my beloved).

Stay strong,
penny

Sent by penny freppon | 12:05 PM | 7-14-2008

Dear Leroy and Laurie,

I've been remiss in writing- many apologies!

I really enjoyed the message of a few days ago, the one where you again " take on the cancer" in a grand combative style that you do so well.

Too, blogs about hospice and home care help- at some point we will have to face the same decisions and manage care, I so hope it will be at home.
Today's lifting in and out of bed instructions, help too and so again for likely the hundredth time I thank you.

You, the you we have come to know and care for comes to us through your writing....through this blog. Keep it coming!!

Laurie, I hope to hear from you again too.

Cheering you on everyday, in everyway.

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 6:18 PM | 7-23-2008

Dear Leroy and Laurie,

Yes! Feeling and looking normal is important, good for you both!

How we feel and how we keep on keeping on keeping the beast at bay is what we do.

Sending you oceans of energy and true, deep, caring. Hug you both.

Keep writing, stay strong, we need and appreciate you so much!

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 2:35 PM | 7-29-2008

Dear Leroy and Laurie,

Again, I'm catching up ! We've been busy with some troubling news. My husband's disease, pancreatic cancer, has begun to progress. So we are back on chemo that we hope will help us beat the beast back into submission for a time. I'm fairly terrified.

We are in a mountain place we love to come in the summer time and the doc/ treatment/ radiology, etc, is 2 hours away (one way!) so we are on the road a great deal and able to take care of basic needs such as eating and sleeping the past few days.

I've wanted to write and say " YES! lots of donuts Laurie and cookies Leroy, my favorite is double chocolate Milano. I find myself eating more and more of them of late. "
Also, I wanted to reply, "Varoom, Varoom, and more Varooms!! in response to your note about your jeep Leroy. I have an 01 PT Cruiser - I wanted it badly because it has a sort of classic older car look and I love old cars! It doesn't have much Varoom, however, it's look suits me. At first I gave the PT wave to others I passed on the street, but after a while I got little if any response. Must be that PT drivers are not as cool as Jeep drivers. Ya think?

As we drove the long drive to chemo yesterday Don and I were talking about fish, the various kinds in our mountain area. Don is an expert and totally dedicated fly fisher ....he's been practicing it for years and does catch and release only of mountain trout and bone fish ( in two different places of course!). Fishing makes him happy and that makes me happy too.

To the point, I mentioned a specific fish on our drive and he said he didn't much like catching them. He said " They don't fight well..and are too gullible."

If you fish you might find this amusing ;-) at least I hope so. It would be wonderful bring you a smile.
Don is very funny like you Leroy, you would very much enjoy one another - I can tell.

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 2:54 PM | 8-7-2008

Leroy was a kid working the desk at CBS News when I first met him. He was a big kid! Looked like a football player. Big in other respects,too. He had a big heart,a huge capacity for hard work & an unrelenting desire to hone the skills neccessary to become the great journalist he turned out to be. He was a rare bird - Over the years, as his career took him to the heights, the qualities that made him a good person never left him. In fact they became more & more a part of who he was. He understood the value of friendship, compassion & charity. And like all great American journalists Leroy did not retreat from battling to uphold the old virtues of a profession he loved.
Leroy I'm honored to have known you.

Sent by Morton Dean | 10:42 AM | 8-18-2008

I participated in my first triathlon yesterday - the Danskin in Seattle, WA. There were many breast cancer survivors - part of Team Survivor- who did the same course I did. I was awed and inspired and proud to be part of that team. I am saddened by LeRoy's death, but know he and his words and courage will touch many for a long long time.

Sent by Theresa Kingman | 10:59 AM | 8-18-2008

Dear Laurie,

I've not written in days, I regret that.

After hearing of Leroy's death I though the only thing I could say is "I'm sorry, so sorry, sorry."

Sorry for your loss and for all his friends and family, sorry for me and all of us on this blog. Just sorry.
The world is not nearly as nice a place without him.
We needed him, still do.

There is no rhyme or reason to have him, of all of us, to have suffered and died. None.

Laurie I'm trying to lift.
I know you will survive this loss, that you are strong, that you are a terrific person - why else would you and Leroy have been together ?

We are all just passing through this world together, we come and we go. We all do. But this doesn't make losing Leroy any easier.

It's been wonderful to have Leroy and this blog, and to have you join in. Thanks be to him and to you.

I hope hard that you will write again and again, and I also understand if you don't.
However, you handle this transition is something I respect. Do what is good, the best you can for yourself. Be gentle with you.

I can't receive any reply from you, just as I didn't from Leroy. It made writing odd. But I am most grateful for his courage and yours and our " correspondance,"

I wonder we spend our growing up year and our growing older years becoming strong enough to bear what is coming? I often think that.

Laurie know that people care. I do.

penny

Sent by penny freppon | 10:31 PM | 8-22-2008

Dear Laurie,
I just checked your blog after not reading it for 10 days. You and Leroy have been an inspiration. My father was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in January. Leroy gave me hope. If he can survive with cancer, maybe my dad can too. I'm so sorry to hear Leroy died. My father also died on August 12th - just 6 days after his 73rd birthday. I hope they meet in Heaven.

Sent by Cindy Antonelli | 8:11 PM | 8-24-2008

Dear Laurie,

I'm reading your blog now, just as I read Leroy's and yours and Leroy's. I am assuming you read our comments.

Thank you for writing, the message about moving back into the world, saying how important it is to say I love you in living time and your blog of today that I'm yet to read helps.

My husband is going back to MDA for more radiation soon, the beast is raising hell and I'm scared.

Know that you are very important to me and all of us.

Thanks for your courage and stay strong.
penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 7:21 PM | 9-3-2008

Laurie,

I wonder what your meeting about Leroy was about...let us correspondents know if you can.

Other wise, good for you!! You are very strong, and a tribute to Leroy. He knew it every day, in every way.
penny

Sent by penny freppon | 3:49 PM | 9-5-2008

Dear Laurie,

I just read your eating ice cream alone blog and continue to appreciate you and your writing greatly.
Thank you.

This journey is so odd, one can make no sense of it.
Waking in the morning and for an instant "it's fine"
then the dread and overwhelming grief.

We've been in route on our journey for two years, nothing to compare to your and Leroy's seven but still a while knowing all the time there is no cure.

Then, out of the blue yesterday I had a good cry in the shower thinking and saying out loud, "It can't be him, it can't happen to HIM ." Totally irrational.

But then grief is not rational. It's an altered state of being...sort of like a mental illness, or disorder. I once read that in the early newness of falling in love one is in a state of mental disorder...walking on air and all the rest. Fantastic.

We humans seem to survive it all, as you will. You are an incredibly strong woman, such a very good person, I'm reaching out to you and so hope you know it.

Cheering you on every day, in every way.

penny

Sent by penny Freppon | 12:38 PM | 9-17-2008

Dear Laurie,

As we prepare to return to MD Anderson in Houston in just 3 days, I continue to read your bloggs, the stuff about empty bags that held medicine to battle cancer, your open wound and the eventual healing that will come, and the scar that will endure for the rest of your life. It does me good to continue to correspond with you, as odd as it is with no direct communication.
Again, I thank you and hope you are well. Keep up the good work; I have no doubt that it is a great deal of work to morn, to grieve as you are.
As usual, penny,
wishing you oceans of energy and continued.

Sent by penny freppon | 8:27 PM | 9-26-2008

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