Not Everything Can Be Fixed

Listen to the Commentary

MP3 Download

The following is a commentary from Morning Edition, March 26, 2006:

When we were children and we got a cut or a scraped knee, or even worse, we were bleeding, we knew exactly what to do: run to our mothers. They would fix it. They would make it better. They would make it go away. Healing wouldn't be instantaneous, but we knew that we would be OK.

One of the shocks of becoming an adult is learning that not everything can be fixed. Not everything can be made better. Sometimes it won't be OK.

For anyone who has cancer, there is one moment that you can never forget. It's when the doctor tells you, "It's cancer." Now, the exact words may vary, but the impact is the same. Your heart begins to pound; your brain screams out in disbelief. Your hearing stops, too, but usually only after you hear the words that so often come next: "There's no cure."

And our first reaction is the same one we had so many years before when we were children: Fix it. Make it better. Make it go away. But sometimes that's not possible.

When John and Elizabeth Edwards announced to the world last week that her cancer had returned, so many of the phrases, so many of the words they repeated sounded so familiar to cancer patients everywhere. We've all heard them before.

"It's not curable, but it is treatable. It can be managed. It's a chronic disease, like diabetes. You can live with it." And all of that is the way that most doctors, and most patients, for that matter, approach cancer these days. It's not an immediate death sentence. It will change your life. It will bring pain, both physical and mental. It will affect everyone around you. But it may not kill you — at least not right away.

With all of the new drugs, with all of the new treatments, doctors try to hold the cancer in place. They try to buy you time. Sure, everyone would like the tumors to shrink, or better yet, go away, but that's not what happens in most cases. But if chemo or radiation can buy you a couple of more months, or even weeks, that's success. Because when we really stop and think about it, we're not trying to just defeat the cancer, we're trying to postpone our own deaths.

John and Elizabeth Edwards put on a brave face. They were optimistic and upbeat. They said they were up for the fight. But I'm sure that they, too, were rocked by those words: "No cure." Their lives will never be the same after hearing that. Elizabeth Edwards' doctors may be able to manage her cancer. She may live for years. But she now knows what so many cancer patients know: that most likely, the disease will ultimately kill her.

And though we're all brave, though we fight like hell, though we carry each other and allow ourselves to be carried in the rough times, we're all honest with ourselves, too. We know that the one thing we want just isn't possible. We just want someone to fix it. To just make it go away. Along with everything else, cancer robs us of our innocence.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Leroy,
I'm not even sure where to start except that I agree with everything you said. Elizabeth Edwards thought the cancer was gone. That's what they told her. That's what they are telling me, at least by the end of my treatment. Of course I'm going to hang on to that, I have the most common breast cancer and that "they know" what they are doing. I always think back to the doctors saying 80% of you will be cured in 5 years. They want me to be happy? In December this was not even on my radar and now my odds are going down. You want me to jump up and down with this 80% we think maybe stuff. I have to say overall, I feel optimistic, that's who I am. But I'm sure Elizabeth Edwards did also. Her news certainly made a beautiful spring weekend a special one to treasure but also unfortunately a bit realistic.

Sent by Lisa | 7:32 AM | 3-26-2007

My cancer is actually my Mother's cancer. She has been fortunate to have survived as long as she has. Mom was first diagnose nine years ago with colon cancer and at that time was only given three months to live. Mom has fought the battle against this disease with grace and dignity. My sister and I have watched as the cancer has eaten away her body but, not her spirit. It fact just the opposite has occurred. Our Mother has become more patient, compassionate and her spirit has strengthened greater than I or anyone could have imagined. Her attitude towards life has had an affected on all who has suffered along with her.
Mom's smile has faded away now. She struggles to breath and suffers spells of coughing where the cancer has invaded the lungs and bronchial tubes. Her time is drawing near. My sister and I watch and wait as Mom struggles to hold on to this previous thing we call "life".

Sent by Susan Bennett | 7:51 AM | 3-26-2007

A number of years ago I was standing in a bus station waiting to go to work, when a newspaper seller I recognised, came up to me and grabbed my chest.
If you'd have asked me beforehand what i would have done in such circumstances I would have said that "Scream".
If I cannot tell what I would do in any hypothetical situation then how can I guess or judge what someone else does.

There is a lady called jane Thompson who has terminal Breast cancer with lung and bone mets and who runs ironman tiatholons and marathons to raise money for charity. My mum spoke disparagingly of how she does these things and leaves her children for weeks on end, what kind of mother was she!
maybe she is a similar sort of parent to the rest of us, trying to do her best in the best way she can.
I cannot really second guess what Mrs Edwards thoughts are...... maybe she thinks she serves her children better to highlight the issues surrounding cancer, or to give them the message that she doesnt expect to die in the near future, or that you only get 1 life and that goes for her husband as well and what he is aiming for.... I really do not know.

What I do know, is that I can speculate all i want about the person I know best (me) and what I might do in such a circumstances...and still guess completely wrong.

Sent by JJ | 7:57 AM | 3-26-2007

"Cancer robs us of our innocence" - No truer words spoken. It's so weird - we look at photos and think - 'that was before the diagnosis - what I wouldn't give to be back there - I was so stupid to worry about the things I was worried about on that day - my hair, my shoes etc.'
But that's life - George Harrison sang "All things must pass" - It's the grace which we accept this reality that defines our character.

Sent by Tim | 8:55 AM | 3-26-2007

My cancer is that of my aunt's and my mother's. My aunt died a couple of years ago from a slow progressing lung cancer (she was a potter, not a smoker) and my Mom marches on, playing golf and otherwise volunteering at her library at the tender age of 88. Two cancers, two different roads. My aunt was a warrior queen in the way she handled what she knew to be an inevitable defeat; my mom matches her courage daily ever aware, ever vigilant but ever frightened. I, myself, fractured my neck when I was 18 and with today as my 60th birthday, and still confined to a wheelchair, thoughts of my aunt and mother overwhelm me. With two amazing women as models, with two different cancers, but identical ways of confronting the beast, I hope and pray for my aunt's soul and my mother's continuing life, and hope and pray that I, too, will have their courage and dignity, no matter how my own journey will eventually end. I hope and pray for you, too, Leroy, and all others who suffer in silence but deafening courage.

Sent by Steven Paul Mark | 9:01 AM | 3-26-2007

I think Elizabeth put it in great perspective when she said "We all have a finite time here and any other belief is a fantasy." We are all going to die we just don't know the when, where or how. Cancer patients know the how.

Sent by Art Johnston | 9:02 AM | 3-26-2007

My diagnosis is almost identical to Elizabeth Edward's. The main difference is that my metastisis is a primary diagnosis whereas hers is a recurrance. The words used in the press coverage are a very close match to those told me by my various doctors. Unfortunately, for me, hearing "treatable", "chronic" "diabetes" on TV further raises my skepticism that there are many unwelcome details the medical community has decided to shield from Stage 4 patients.

From day 1 of my journey, I have been surprised by many routine complications with very little if any coverage in the plentiful breast cancer literature. To try and fill in the gaps, I've begun a series of videos on YouTube to describe the many surprises and discoveries that I've encountered while seldom, if ever, covered in discussions with my medical team, WWW, breast books or well-meaning articles. Check it out - www.youtube.com, tags: coralee cancer

Sent by Coralee Whitcomb | 9:27 AM | 3-26-2007

Hello Leroy,

I am glad that when it comes to your cancer and the thought of death you still use frases like "most likely will" or "it may not kill you" as opposed to "will definetley". This shows that you still have hope and by having hope you will continue to put up a fight. Wouldn't it be great if you could defy the stats. There are people who are doing just that everyday, I hope to be one of those people. Every new sunrise brings to us better odds than the last.

Warm Regards

Adam

http://www.adambeldycki.com

Sent by Adam | 9:53 AM | 3-26-2007

why do i feel this enormous child -like response that hides inside my adult body? as i learn more about this beast ,the child inside me wants to scream at the top of my lungs for the anger that i feel for all the pain that this beast has caused my family and so many thousands of families to suffer? I HATE CANCER AND THE PAIN IT CAUSES.

Sent by marianne dalton | 9:56 AM | 3-26-2007

So true that it robs us of innocence. Mrs Edwards defined it for herself as follows:
"You know, you really have two choices here. I mean, either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday, or you start dying," she said. "If I had given up everything that my life was about, first of all, I'd let cancer win before it needed to. You know, maybe eventually it will win. But I'd let it win before I needed to."

Sent by Rich | 10:35 AM | 3-26-2007

I keep thinking how much this blog has helped me in the past months and wondering if Elizabeth is aware of it. Despite their celebrity status and despite her courage, she's just a person dealing with cancer that has spread -- a person who is suffering, no doubt. Maybe she needs a supportive community like this, too? She could use a different name and be anonymous.

Sent by Doris | 11:11 AM | 3-26-2007

As a father, I have faced my sons' vulnerabilities their whole life. I have always wanted to shield them from every pain, every hurt, every hint of suffering, and have agonized many days over their choices. Some things they let me fix; sometimes they listened to me. Other times, they wanted to, needed to learn their own lessons, and my soul paced with furtive glances at their lives. Their flower unfolded while the thorns dug deeply into their flesh. I didn't always understand their need to be human, especially when I thought I had the power to make their lives "better" and they chose to set aside my attempts at being ubiquitous and omnipresent and live life on their terms. As it turned out, they have become men I am proud of.

I think of the children with cancer, those who know their mothers (and fathers) can't make it all better. Children who realize not everything can be fixed. Children who have learned the lesson adults struggle to accept. These are the precocious, the ones at great peace with life and its terms. These are the ones who portray a wisdom that is unsettling to those less self-honest. And the parents who wrestle over the fact that they can't make the pain go away. Those who vacillate between fear and honesty, self-loathing and never enough, questions without answers and the answers so many offer to questions the parents have never asked.

To all you brave souls: I salute you.

Sent by Leonard Adams | 11:32 AM | 3-26-2007

Hello, a friend just send your link to me and I look forward to reading your journal each day. I've had breast cancer on and off since 1984. Recently I was diagnosed with stage four metastatic disease (lungs and liver). I want to know why it is so hard to get diability? Why do we not only have to fight for our lives, but also for living expense money and insurance to cover our treatment. It makes no sense. At this time in my life I should be able to concentrate on feeling better, getting treatment and living out the rest of my life in peace...and I can't. The American Cancer Society tells me that there is funding but my income is too high to qualify. HELLO, what income? It is about to come to an end and I'm beginning my fight for long term disability. Any thoughts or ideas?

Sent by Mary Bryant | 11:33 AM | 3-26-2007

Leroy,

It occurs to me that bravery and being upbeat are coping mechanisms like every other reaction is. The facts are the facts. What differs is what people do with them.

It is easier to dissolve into a puddle and stick a finger in my mouth, but I wind up feeling better overall if I can manage to do something positive with what is negative in my life. I've tried
both.

I feel some anger with people who judge the way others react to their "bad news." Reactions depend on who the inidivdual is and where does anyone get off criticizing or second-guessing someone else?

Cancer is just an awful thing to have to cope with. I admire John and Elizabeth for the maturity and positive quality of their response. The same goes for you, buddy.

Sent by Diana Kitch | 11:33 AM | 3-26-2007

Both sides of my family had cancer, in different forms. I always kidded if nothing else got me, it would be the big "C." I just didn't expect it to get me this early - 62 yrs old. I had always wanted to live a long, long life - 100 and beyond if possible. I told my husband, don't pull any tubes/plugs when I'm old as I want to be in this life for as long as possible. Now I know that won't happen. Statistically, with Stage IV Colan Cancer, I've got a 5% chance of living beyond 5 years. Somehow it all doesn't seem real. One day you are o.k. (the tumor had been in me for 4 years before any symptoms manifested) and the next a death sentence is pronounced. At times I feel like dead woman walking. I push my death to the back of my mind most times. I was always afraid of dying - I still am. But now that it is something more tangible, I am facing it more. I have started to work on planning my funeral and memorial service. It may sound morbid but it gives me comfort to know, at the end, what will happen and that many of my friends will come. I also believe it is easier on the family to know one's wishes in this ending event of life. But in the meantime, I am pushing my life more than ever, doing things I want to make sure I do before something happens and I am unable. My husband and I went skiing again this year in Colorado as we had every year except for last when the cancer was discovered. I wasn't as strong this year skiing but I was able to ski and have a great time. We leave for Vietnam and Cambodia in April for 20 days. I wanted to take a really exotic trip so this is it. We have a cabin on an island in Maine and will be there July and August working on it and the gardens. If I can keep up my life as normal as possible, it takes my mind off the cancer. I have my own business so that keeps me occupied each day. And I do keep a journal on the cancer but have kept these journals since 1975. I want whoever reads them when I die to know me as a person and not just a picture in a photo album. It's my immortality.

Sent by Louise Ternay | 11:47 AM | 3-26-2007

Leroy,
I'm so glad to have heard your commentary on the radio this Monday morning. I too have been diagnosed, my burden is advanced and agressive prostate cancer. One doctor used the word "cured" after radiation and 20 months of anti-androgen therapy--(first level chemo). I had a nagging pit in my stomach that told me, "Not so fast Doc!" My hunch was right, and I was back on therapy in less than a year. Well, my experience with local doctors, gave me the desire to get more expert help, and that was one of the best decisions I've made. The other best decision was to make a commitment to educate myself about my cancer on the net- the grand library. I've survived for 5 years now, and I expect to continue on. My new coctor has encouraged many prostate cancer patients to have hope, for the medical community can keep a man in the fight for decades with all the new treatment options. Thanks for your blog-it helps build a sense of community.
JK

Sent by J Kimberly Pick | 12:02 PM | 3-26-2007

Hi Leroy and all,
Have any of you read any of Alice Trillin's works? Years ago, she wrote an essay called, "Of Dragons and Garden Peas" which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (March 1981--304(12) pp. 699-201, if any of you want to find it. I've read it several times over the years and have to go dig up my copy as I think it might be relevant to what we're all talking about now. My heart goes out to the Edwards family now. Maybe they'll find this blog and find out how much support we can share with them.

Sent by Betsey Kuzia | 12:49 PM | 3-26-2007

Leroy:
Occasionally you receive comments from long time readers who are only responding for the first time. I would strongly suggest that everyone participate, early and often!
Putting your emotions down on paper (or E-mail) has been proven to help you heal. Studies at SMU, Texas U., Ohio State, and others,all show health benefits. Pain reduction, Immune system improvement,lower blood pressure and heart rate are just some of the benefits, besides a general sense of well-being.
By writing in, you'll not only be encouraging Leroy in his shared battle, you'll be helping yourself as well.

Sent by Don Winslow | 1:03 PM | 3-26-2007

Leroy, have you ever read Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients? I am reading it now in trying to assist my mom in minimizing the effects of chemo and rad. I just wondered. Perhaps it's my reaction to feeling like her oncologist is just a legalized drug dealer or worst, death dealer.

Sent by Whitney Emerick | 1:06 PM | 3-26-2007

When our friend Anthony was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, we began documenting his experience, as well as those of his family and friends, through photo portraits and audio interviews.

Anthony passed away 6 months ago, but we have continued to document the impact of the disease on those who love him.

Elizabeth Edwards said that she did not want to be defined by her cancer. Anthony felt the same, and this is why we began 'The Anthony Project'. Anthony's losing battle with cancer was relatively brief, but the weight of the word CANCER can crush all other definitions of personal identity established by years of life, love, and relationships.

'The Anthony Project' reminds us, through the story of one individual's fight against the disease, that while cancer may take our lives, we must not allow it to steal our identities.

The Anthony Project.

Sent by R York Funston | 1:31 PM | 3-26-2007

I am a cancer survivor, so far, of Hodgkins diagnosed in late 1990. Found by accident while under treatment for pneumonia, preparing to get married in a month, move to a different state and start a new job. People were afraid for me, worried, caring - all trying to figure out how to be nice, supportive but not pitying.

It drove me crazy. It was tough enough dealling with it and all the other things happening. I just wanted some part of my life to be "normal".

Now I rarely mention it unless I encounter people, co-workers who want to be "helpful" or clue other folks nito someone's condition. I tell them that people with cancer will let you know what they need. If they want privacy - respect it. Be available, but not overly attentive.

I am sure that Ms. Edwards feels somewhat the same. She wants to keep some control over her life and not be remembered as someone with cancer. Spouse of a Presidential candidate is not a normal lifestyle under any circumstances - give some room to deal with it and try to be"normal".

Sent by Fred Andrews | 2:09 PM | 3-26-2007

It's an odd feeling, having the words "incurable" spoken over you. It's hard to absorb that the doctor means you, means your disease, means that you've just bumped your nose into the limits of current medicine. When those words were said to me, I felt a numbness, not surprising, especially since just four months before I'd been told that I had a stage one,low grade cancer. Now, with no warning, it was stage 4....really.
I have managed to get past the numbness, shock, terror, and feeling cornered. Now, I live my life, exercise regularly (something I'd never done before) talk with women going through the same issues and who understand, and feel that I have no more knowledge of how or when my life will end than most people, but just some idea of how it may. For today, I'm well, and that's enough.

Sent by Nancy K. Clark | 2:14 PM | 3-26-2007

I would just like to draw your readers' attention to my blog, if anyone's interested in a sort of "I'm too young for this" cancer perspective. Fortunately, I am in year two of chemo therapy now and my trials really were more intense and well-documented over the last year. Anyway, the site is: www.ericamurray.blogspot.com. Enjoy!

Sent by Erica Murray | 2:24 PM | 3-26-2007

Once you go through cancer treatment, it seems you will always be on the lookout for it. After 9 mos. of reading/commenting on Leroy's blog (while getting chemo and rads for breast cancer stage 2), I believe there are no certainties, regardless of what percentages your specialists claim. We're all gonna die, and cancer survivors may die from something other than cancer. None of us know when our time will be up. We sure have come a long way, tho, with public perception of cancer; honesty and openness, etc. Remember during Watergate?? "There is a cancer growing on the Presidency..." said in hushed tones. A dark, dastardly secret...

Sent by Sherri Eggleston | 2:31 PM | 3-26-2007

I work at a University, and I see many students smoking--many more than I've seen in my 49 years. Having seen my father, grandfather, & great uncle die from lung cancer, I often wonder what they can be thinking. Do they think "cancer" will be curable when they are "old enough" to get it? Do they think they are invincible? The few students that I ask tell me they will quit when they finish the stressful years of graduate school. I think they are fooling themselves. I foresee another wave of lung cancers when these young people reach their 50s and 60s, but perhaps, by then, lung cancer will really be "treatable", if not curable. I can only hope so, or we'll lose yet another generation of the best and brightest. And another generation of even younger people will face the painful loss of their most beloved family members.

Sent by Pat | 3:25 PM | 3-26-2007

leroy, thank you for your blog. i have read some of the comments. i was told on 1/03/07 i have lung ca with mets to bone. rib 8 and 10. it is so unreal. i was also told that i had 10-12 months. i am devastated like everyone else. the other challenge is neuropathy. i have had 3 treatments to date. the treatment is on mon. on thurs the neuropathy flares up. almost 4 wks ago i had to call doc and say, HELP. sooo got script for dilaudid. i took some but not as much as i had to take this past thurs. each day it gets better (the neuro challenge). went to new primary care today and he tells me to increase the med for the neuro challenge.
they say that attitude is everything. how do you get that attitude. i am sure i fear as much as the next person. i am 61. i am too young to die. i want to continue to give, care, be there for others. that is my calling in life.
i heard the word curable the other day. decided to ask doc am i curable? if you treat, why can't you be cured. i am stage 4. why, because it has spread. had friend who had ct scan nov, found something on kidney, went back in feb (3 months), wanted to do another scan. i had right lobectomy 6/05. went every 4 months to be checked. ok in oct, feb, went in june. some suspicion. had to have an EBUS. had to do some washing, or brushing. all was ok. went back in oct, had to have ct, pet, bone, reg films, and biopsy. biopsy 4 days b4 christmas. they say bad rehearsal means good show. i am hoping i am having bad rehearsal now and will have good show after 5/21. last day of treatment. ct scan after 2nd treatment shows no spread. but the sucker has not shrunk, nor left body!! my friend who will have kidney removed is stage 1. i am 4. why? all of us have asked why, why me? what did i do. i have tried all my life to be one of HIS soldiers. this is not fair. i am sure we can all relate to this. one person told me i have to live in the NOW. honey, you try it, you try living in the NOW after getting a death sentence. plz god, it is not a death sentence. are we angry people, we sure are. and now they are saying this is similar to diabetes -- where is similarity? stats in paper other day, 200,000 will be diagnosed with lung disease this year, 160,000 will die. i want to be 1 in 40,000. i hope i will hear from the other 39,999. on national news sat. nite, 10 million have cancer. it is a good thing i don't have gas stove at home, my head would be in the open with some of the stats and news you hear. we all need to hear good, positive sucess stories. if they can make it, we can too. damn it!!! god bless us all.

Sent by bernie madden | 5:24 PM | 3-26-2007

i just wanted to say one thing bout folic acid that i learned today. thinking it was good for immune system, i was taking 1200 mcg. well, it replicates cells. so was told by doc to stop which i did last wed. hope this is helpful to others.

Sent by bernie madden | 5:30 PM | 3-26-2007

While your insights are sound, for you, there is a suggestion that a common emotional thread connects cancer patients. With this I disagree. When my Doc told me I had cancer my first thought was< "Okay, now what?" I remember it clearly.

It has been eleven years since my fourteenth and last chemo. While I did not want cancer--and would undo its effect on my life if I could--it may have been a blessing because I awoke from the routinized life I had created and began to savor each day.

Each cancer patient is different. I am convinced, however, we share one common life quality: our family and friends may suffer more anguish than we. Mine did.

As for the Edwards, may they find the strength to live their lives as they choose, ignoring all the free advise others are spewing. Cancer may be the most personal of all illnesses. It reveals the character of the patient.

Sent by Gordon Hill | 5:37 PM | 3-26-2007

Coralee-
I watched 2 of the 3 videos you did on UTUBE, but unfortunately #3 didn't work. You were so informative, so well delivered, and you did a great job. I hope things go well for you. Thanks for sharing with us gals.

Sent by Laura | 5:58 PM | 3-26-2007

Gordon Hill
I read most of the comments; your words struck me as being most like my own thoughts.

Call me crazy, the cancer was almost like a gift that has taught me to enjoy each and every day of my life in a way I never could have before.

My diagnosis was very similar to Mrs. Edwards - metastatic breast cancer. I no longer care how I will die; I just don't want to cause my family to be sad or suffer. As a mother, I hope she is able to live long enough to help her children mature.

I think John Edwards should drop out of the presidential race. The best thing he could do for the country is take care of the children he brought into the world.

Sent by Peggy | 8:20 PM | 3-26-2007

Dear Leroy:

Like you (and probably everyone else in our cancer community), I've been transfixed with Elizabeth Edwards' unveiling drama of courage and determination to live "her way". Each of us who has been on this journey knows how very important this is.

And ain't it strangely wonderful that we all now speak the very same lingo!! We understand the feelings, the words, the feelings and feel an indescribable closeness to her, to them -- .to us! Again it reminds me that no one walks in our shoes -- until they do.

I don't think you know this, Leroy, but there was a contingent of us C3'er's (Colorectal Cancer Coalition -- www.fightcolorectalcancer.org ) swarming all over the Hill last week. We were there to lobby our Congress people in our continuing work to restore funding for CRC research and screenings for all. Mostly survivors and people tested by this horrible disease, our group was made up of too many young Stage IV's! Our awards dinner featured the story of one of our members who couldn't come to DC with us this year because the cancer -- from which, in 3 years, she'd never experienced remission or NED -- took her very young life (37).

We're all back in our communities now, Leroy, even more determined to carry on our fight. Here's my list of what I'm going to do:
1. develop relationships with my local legislative representatives and persuade them to introduce legislation that will mandate insurance companies to pay for CRC screenings -- turning Colorado's current "F" to "A" on the National Report Card;
2. seek out speaking opportunities to bring the topic of CRC to the public;
3. talk about the study that demonstrates the more than 50% of CRC recurrences may be prevented by a dedication -- post treatment -- to vigorous exercise (http://www.fightcolorectalcancer.org/news/2006/07/exercise_reduces_recurrence_af.php );
4. create an awareness athletic event (to be piloted in Denver next March) that will commence my desire to "turn March blue" on the national level; and
5. speak up loudly and often about the fact that "colonoscopies are fun!"

I'm really, really happy for your very good news. I join in with the good wishes from all the others who follow your story, and I totally understand your "heebie-jeebies" about your new status of NED.

There is, however, something you can do for yourself RIGHT NOW that may help in preventing recurrence of the Beast: exercise!!!

I really, really hope that you will do that. (I believe that my daily swim has prevented the recurrence of my colon cancer. And I intend to continue!!)

Sent by Erika Hanson Brown | 9:43 PM | 3-26-2007

This morning's commentary was difficult for me to hear -- on a day where I am dealing with what has become my daily role as the father of a 2 year old boy with cancer. My son's cancer is rather nasty (aren't they all, though), and while the treatment he's undergoing shows promise, my wife and I know on some level that we must keep an eye to the depth of impact this has had on every element of our life, and always will.

There is also the issue of lost innocence -- I am amazed at how resilient our son is, and how he continues to laugh and play like a two year old. But the experience of this has taken some of his childhood, and the anger at that loss continues to show itself.

I track our story on my blog, who's link is below. I have appreciated reading other's links here, and I welcome visitors on our journey:

http://vampdaddy.blogspot.com

Sent by Vampdaddy | 10:15 PM | 3-26-2007

Leroy,
Your comments today remind me of when my 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2005 and how completely stunned we were to find out there was something as terrible as neuroblastoma that could show up in children with a 20% chance of the patient surviving 5 years and virtually no one in the general population knows about this tragic childhood cancer even though it is the third most common! Our gentle daughter who so much wanted to live passed away from neuroblastoma in December 2006 after only 20 months in treatment. We will never get over that even with every effort and with all the best treatment that this terrible childhood cancer could not be overcome and our precious daughter slipped from life. We continue to sadly reflect on the unfathomable nature of it all on her website:
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/laurastiles

Sent by Mara Stiles | 11:11 PM | 3-26-2007

Definitely got the Edwards' and all of you in my prayers. I don't have cancer, but do have another chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis. I've had MS for 12 years, spending the last 6 of them in a wheelchair.

Like all of you with cancer or any other illness, I haven't been very happy with the progress being made in disease research, despite billions of dollars being spent. A few years ago, I learned about an organization that is doing something to change that, the Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF).

MRF is using an innovative new collaborative model to conduct research, that is rapidly accelerating the time to discovery of new treatments. MRF is focused on Multiple Sclerosis, but their research model can be applied to any kind of disease research. In fact the American Cancer Society has met with MRF two learn about the model called Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC) model to see if they could apply it to cancer research.

MRF's website is www.myelinrepair.org if anyone is interested in reading more about what they're doing.

Sent by Fred | 11:36 PM | 4-3-2007

I have looked forward to your commentaries and understood them only like other cancer patients can. My favorite line of yours, that sums it up is "Along with everything else, cancer robs us of our innocence."

Sent by Nancy | 6:13 PM | 4-17-2007

Bravo to you for understanding and talking truthfully about Elizabeth Edwards' world. The world for those who have spent much time 'hooked up' to a chemo machine takes a different turn from others...we don't have regular road signs or know just what is ahead for us any longer.I admire her spirit to show her children and all of us that she is living her life going along the road chosen for her but maintaining the best "normal" that will be. 5 years out from my colorectal cancer experience tells me I should be home free. who knows? Not me, not anyone. It wasn't promised and I didn't expect that promise. Neither does Ms Edwards.
God Bless you both and all others living in the cancer universe.

Sent by Jo-Ellen De Luca | 9:10 PM | 5-6-2007

Leroy,

I just want to thank you for putting yourself out there on last night's Discovery Channel program with Ted Koppel. My husband is a cancer patient, and the program was difficult to watch, but we made it through. My husband's surgeon and oncologist has given me a prognosis, but neither they or I have told him. I'm not sure he'd want to know as you do. My question is really for your wife. I have dealt with this prognosis in a variety of ways, but I'd really like to know how she deals with or has dealt with your prognosis. I related to you so well, I wish she had said more. But I totally understand her choice. Thank you again.

Sent by Joanne | 10:34 AM | 5-7-2007

I enjoyed so much the special on TV on May 6-Living with Cancer. I had breast cancer in 1990 and appeared to be disease free until we found it had spread to my bones in June 2005. I'm talking major - like both hips, femurs, pelvis, spine, skull, ribs, and a few other places and I didn't even know it. I related so much to the statements in that program. I guess I am like every one else after all. My thoughts and feelings were echoed over and over. Thank you.

Sent by Linda | 9:26 PM | 5-9-2007

I would love to get a copy of "Of Dragons and Garden Peas". Does anyone have a pdf or scanned file they could share? carrie_guthrie@yahoo.com

Sent by Carrie | 8:45 PM | 6-30-2007

About