Living for the Unexpected

So now that I'm done with Harry Potter, I'm at a bit of a loss. What should my next goal be? What should I look forward to? I was a big fan of the Indiana Jones movies. When I saw the first one, I was so blown away that I sat through it two times in succession. But I'm a little nervous about this next one. After all, Harrison Ford is getting a little old to play him. Any new TV series on the way that I can't wait to see? Not really. I've been a big fan of 24, but they'll have to win me back after last season.

Is there a book coming to equal Harry Potter? I don't know of any. So again, what's my goal? We've all known people who have been fighting a terminal illness and who have decided they want to survive long enough to enjoy their next birthday, next Christmas, next family milestone. And it's amazing that so many make it. I guess the mind really can do things that we still don't understand.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I stayed alive just to read Harry Potter. If that were the case, I would have read much more slowly. But as I look into an uncertain future, I wonder if there is something out there — a goal, a target — that I should set for myself. And I realize there really isn't. Because what gives me so much joy in life, what I want to hold on to, is the fact that I have no idea what's waiting for me. It's the mystery, the adventure, the unknown.

Life with cancer can be so predictable in so many ways. We all pretty much know the routine by now. We know our way around the hospitals, we can throw various medical terms into our conversations with ease. We know the pain that is coming, or that we live with every day. But what makes up for all this are the unexpected pleasures that can happen at any time. As cancer has limited my life, has narrowed it in ways that I hate, I still live for the unexpected, big or small. So there's no date that I have circled on my calendar. I like leaving it blank. We all know there will come a day, sooner or later, when death comes to find us. But I hope that even on that day, I will wake up and say, "I wonder what's next?"

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It's the journey, not the destination....my mantra every day.
Peace

Sent by Karen | 7:32 AM | 7-25-2007

Good morning all!
I have to say that I am amazed with Leroy and everyone else that contributes to this blog. I have known a few people that have had to cope with cancer, but the closest person I have lost was my sister (to diabetes at age 34 - a single mother of a 9 year old boy). I found the blog about a month ago, and watched the show with Leroy, Lance Armstrong, and Elizabeth Edwards. After finding the blog, I went back to the beginning and read every entry. The depth of caring and concern for each other is awesome, and there is a wealth of wisdom here. I think that Leroy's next project could be something of a compilation of this blog in book form, to provide the wisdom and important lessons for others that otherwise do not have access to it. I think Leroy and others in the blog have a wealth of knowledge that could benefit people in any situation. I know I would buy it!

Sent by ~C | 7:56 AM | 7-25-2007

Circle September 15th on your calendar!! :-)

And come to the first ever Northeast Regional Cancer Survivorship Summit in Connecticut!! It will be a day no one who attends will ever forget! We have over 20 speakers lined up.. it will be inspiring... empowering and educational! It is open to anyone touched by cancer.. be that survivor, patient, caregiver, family, friends or medical professionals wanting to make a difference in survivorship for others!

http://www.canceradvocatescoalition.org

Sorry for the infomercial! LOL

But seriously.. it will be an incredible experience and we would love to see you there Leroy.. and of course ANY of you out there!!!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog..... :-)

Sent by Ron Bye (NH) | 8:06 AM | 7-25-2007

'Morning Leroy and all,

Setting goals is important and daily habit of most people. Today, my goal is to pick up my house and prep for a meeting tonight. Without goals, I think, most people would just stay in bed and pull the covers over their heads. Keep setting goals for yourself, continue moving forward, and keep living.

Thanks to all.

Sent by Susan Chap | 8:18 AM | 7-25-2007

"Have no fear of the future. Let us go forward into its mysteries, let us tear aside the veils which hide it from our eyes, and let us move onward with confidence and courage"

Winston Churchill, 1874-1965

Leroy............are you sure you didn't write this, it is so you!

Sent by sasha | 8:19 AM | 7-25-2007

A new goal or challenge will emerge for you and will get your juices flowing once again. I would submit that you have a goal each day, a very worthy and fulfilling goal I hope for you, and that is to fill this blog with your thoughts and feelings so that each us is uplifted by your prose. I hope that this daily goal never becomes drudgery for you. You have a gift and a talent that makes our lives better for having come to this place to read and/or participate. Seek another goal that will get you going but take pride each day in all the good that you do for each of us.

An interesting observation regarding goals: My aunt was in a nursing home and went into a coma. She remained that way for a couple of months. On her birthday, she died. I was talking with one of the nurses at the nursing home and I observed that wasn't this an unusual occurance. She said that it was a very common occurance here at this home as she had observed over her 30 years of experience. Some goals are set that we never know about and are achieved. We often say that this is quite a coincidence when in fact it was the achievement of an established but uncommunicated goal!!

Blessings and prayers as always.

Sent by Al Cato | 8:36 AM | 7-25-2007

Dear Leroy,
What a wonderful way to think! For me right now I have to have goals and things to look forward to. Every day I set a little goal and the bigger goals are fun things - like family coming to visit. I love your attitude and find you so inspiring. Thank you.

Sent by Vicki (FL) | 8:44 AM | 7-25-2007

Take up golf; it's worked for me.
I started right after radiation therapy in 2001 (for post-prostatectomy prostate cancer). It has also been a godsend recently as I go through a clinical trial to beat the cancer once more using chemo, then hormones. To those of us who love the game, it can be a constant, pleasurable reminder of the vagaries life throws our way. You are also given the next round to look forward to, and something about the previous round to make you smile. Even if your play was terrible, the people were probably great. Echoes to your theme of wanting to be normal.

Keep the good ideas coming...Jack

Sent by Jack Burrington | 9:01 AM | 7-25-2007

Leroy, today would have been the 47 birthday of a special person in my life. He died last month of cancer that took 9 months to work its way to the end, the last chapter. So, as we move forward each day, sometimes with the knowledge that the disease has narrowed our version of a full life, getting up each day is still a beautiful thing. Keep us enthralled and engaged with your every entry, as you have done so well.

Sent by Pat Z | 9:18 AM | 7-25-2007

Leroy's Army. That should be your next goal. Something that will keep the good work that this blog has done going long after we have all moved along to the next...whatever... If Lance Armstrong can have corporate caring with Livestrong, we can have real support and direction from Leroy's Army.

Sent by Brit | 9:35 AM | 7-25-2007

There was a wonderful woman in my life. Mary was a physician and had ovarian cancer. I met her through our cancer participants support group. She modeled for me, the newbie in the group how to live with cancer. She was quite realistic about her condition, without whining or complaining. She always was learning and delighting in new things. Even as she was dying, she was reading about the dying process and found it fascinating. Mary welcomed each newcomer to the group and was genuinely interested in their story and in them. We watched her grow weaker and weaker, but she only missed the last meeting right before her death. She was one of the most alive people I've met. My goal is to be more like her. To meet life head on and stay engaged and interested in everyone and everything that goes on around me. Goodbye, Mary. We will all miss you. (I suspect she is keeping the angels quite busy with her curiosity.)

Sent by Stephanie Dornbrook | 9:44 AM | 7-25-2007

Today my 12 year old daughter called me at work to confide in me.

That is what I live for.

Wendy

Sent by Wendy Murphey | 10:20 AM | 7-25-2007

YES!!! "I wonder what's next" seems esPECially apt on the day we wind up graduating from these well-loved bodies!

Thank you Leroy! Onward with glee, grace and grit!

Sent by Sarah | 10:29 AM | 7-25-2007

Dear Leroy~ You have indeed, peaked my interest in Harry Potter. They must be great books. For me, this "little" stroke took away most of my sight three months ago and I have been unable to lose myself in my beloved painting since then, my life has come to a halt for sure, more than the cancer & chemo did years ago. Why oh why, would the powers that be take away what I love to do most?
You speak of reading books with such love. Have you ever been creative with your hands? Pottery - maybe--model making. painting? Working with the hands creatively can be so satisfying and the hours fly and you are transported to other worlds. You become one with what you are creating.
Think about it and try your hand. I have taught many children and adults who were wheel chair bound and disabled to discover their creative side. You should not be lost without Harry Potter. Become a Potter!

Sent by Jeanne C. R. | 10:37 AM | 7-25-2007

Read War and Peace, if you haven't already! Start a read-along and maybe others will join you.

Or an epic poem? The Iliad and the Odyssey?

Thank you for this honest, inspiring blog. I've only recently gotten acquainted with it, after hearing your NPR piece on "I'm not going" earlier this week.

Sent by Bonnie | 10:51 AM | 7-25-2007

Dear Leroy,

How do you feel about letters/posts from all of us, stranger/friends? Does our responding to you help in any way at all?

I want to be of help. This blog helps me. So I do want to give back, and it is your blog, about your struggles with your cancer.

Today, also, I'm wanting help too. Got some news this a.m. that has me scared/worried. "Pre-op chest x-ray was abnormal." (what does that mean? I'm waiting for my dr. to call me and explain.) In the meantime, Linda, in the office, scheduled a full abdominal and chest ct scan, with and w/o contrast, for me on July 31. (The day before my surgery.) (per the doctor's request.) Linda said the doctor would call me today. I hope so. Waiting and being scared is one of the least fun things I know. (as do all of you.)

Well, thanks for letting me put this out here.

Sincerely,
Kim Blankenship

p.s. Leroy, I was not meaning to critize your use of a war analogy a couple of days ago. I was just saying that for me, I want to help create a world where, someday, war analogies become obsolete. Where healing on all levels is the goal. Anyway. ...yes, I'm one of those "dreamer" types. :-)

Sent by Kim Blankenship | 10:53 AM | 7-25-2007

I think you should write the producers of 24 and tell them you need them to up their game a little bit and give you something much better to watch than last season. that way we all benefit :)
take care. goals are tricky things. I'm not a Harry Potter fan but i know that people will miss it. Have you seen the new movie? i'm betting yes probably. Umm.. well, look around. try to see what other Potter fans like in books/movies and see if they're any good. keep your options open.
I love your blog, I only just found it today through word of mouth and I wanted to say keep up the good work!

Sent by Jenne | 10:56 AM | 7-25-2007

Leroy, I think Jeanne C.R. is on to something. Being an aritst myself I highly suggest a little play with making something...anything...even a mess. You write so well I just know you have more creativity in there. Or how about that book someone else suggested? I'd buy it too.

RON BYE...YOU ARE ONE FUNNY MAN! I like your style.

Peace out,

Lori

Sent by Lori Levin | 11:06 AM | 7-25-2007

Stephanie

I am sorry for the loss of your friend.........

I would like to also pick up on your comment about her being "one of the most alive people you've met"

I would definitely concur... some of the most ALIVE people I have met have indeed been those whom have faced cancer or are facing it now...

I have met some of the most incredible people through my cancer advocacy! So many have and continue to inspire me beyond description... including many right here...!!

Sent by Ron Bye (NH) | 11:06 AM | 7-25-2007

Dear Leroy,
This 13 year survivor has an idea for you...take the magical words of encouragement you've written in this blog and write your own really long book which we will all stand in line for at Barnes & Noble, perhaps in costumes that look like you! (And don't think for a minute that J.K. Rowlings is going to stop writing. I can only imagine what stories she must have yet to tell!)

Sent by Pat Godfrey McRee | 11:23 AM | 7-25-2007

Leroy- I needed this advice today. I am in the process of a major move in my life that I have been quite apprehensive about. I do not like change and don't deal with it well. But I'm going to try and have your attitude of enjoying the mystery. I only know one person in the city my husband and I are moving to. But I will try and do what you do- look at life as an adventure. Thanks for helping me today!

Sent by Dee | 11:28 AM | 7-25-2007

A friend died Sunday who had been very ill since December - in and out of the hospital. I visited his family in the hospital several times, and he was unconcious for long periods. The doctors told the family he would die anytime a couple of weeks ago. It was a few days before his son's birthday. I went to visit on the birthday, and there was Bob sitting up awake and alert after being almost comatose the day before. He woke up for his son. I believe he hung on just a little longer to get through his own 84th birthday the next week. Then he let go and entered the deepening mystery. This is something I've seen over and over in my work as a social worker, but it always amazes me.
So yes, I think our goals do make a difference. And, the mind is amazing!!
And a comment for Jeanne: I too love being creative and getting lost in the process. I'm so sorry to hear that you're unable to paint. It must be devastating. There are so many things that illness takes from us.
I just wanted to suggest that you consider enjoying the Harry Potter series on audio. I have loved each book and am looking forward to the new one. They are amazing on audio - Jim Dale does a terrific job of making the story come alive, his voice is almost hypnotic. And, there is nothing more wonderful for the little kid inside than being read to.

Sent by Scarlett Harris | 11:33 AM | 7-25-2007

When I train for the marathon it is the journey on the way to the day that I enjoy. I love the marathon itself but it's the trip I enjoy the most.

Sent by Lisa | 11:34 AM | 7-25-2007

I have smaller goals, but the big one is to live long enough to see a democrat back in the white house!!

Sent by Glenda | 11:40 AM | 7-25-2007

I love to read and reread "You Just Have To Laugh" by David Naster (www.naster.com). It's a compilation of stories of how different "real" people survive devasting times by finding humor in totally humorless situations. I also give it as a gift every chance I get. Just visiting the website will send you reeling! Try it and see! Saved by a Miracle of God, Pixan

Sent by Pixan | 11:42 AM | 7-25-2007

Leroy,

I have no clue about what your next goal will be, but I have absolute faith that there will be one. Inspiring a bunch of really wonderful people on a daily basis isn't bad for the interim.

Sent by Diana Kitch | 11:47 AM | 7-25-2007

Leroy, I've been thinking what I will do with my free time when I retire next month. What will I do to fill my days? I'm making a list of things to accomplish while I'm retired. I'm really not craftsy so that's out. It's strange, I feel like I have to have a plan, goals, rather than just take one day at a time, and do whatever. I should add that to my list, do NOTHING.

Sent by Ruth White | 12:28 PM | 7-25-2007

You ought to read the "Left Behind" series of books. There is no mystery what happens to us when we die. I'll send them to you if you would read them.

Sent by don west | 12:34 PM | 7-25-2007

Leroy, it's my first time writing, though I've read your blog from day one. It would be great if you created a book from the blog. Even more people would read it then. I also think people would like to be able to search the blog by topic more easily. For example, I'd like to easily find the day where you asked people what advice they would give to doctors. Or the day about hope and hearing medical news. Those were beauties.
These Potter conversations are great, too... "Become a Potter!" Thanks, Jeanne, for your suggestion (with pun) about working creatively with the hands. Leroy does that, of course, with his keyboard. But you remind us of the wonders of non-verbal creativity.

Sent by C.G. | 12:51 PM | 7-25-2007

Leroy,
It is okay to just coast some days. I am sure a new unknown adventure will reveal itself soon. I sure hope there is a book in your future (one that you write).
Thank you for getting up every day and inspiring us with your beautiful thoughts and words.
Jack Burrington's comment about fighting prostate cancer brought back memories of a great man I worked with years ago. His name was Jack, too. He fought long and hard. He did have a good period of remission. He had a wonderful sense of humor. When they put him on hormones he told us "Now when I see a woman in a pretty dress I just wonder how it would look on me". He kept everyone laughing to the end.
Charlotte in Temecula

Sent by Charlotte Kewish | 1:57 PM | 7-25-2007

I've been reading since the Ted Koppel program, but this is my first comment. I'm 2 1/2 years out from breast cancer, lumpectomy, and radiation, with (so far) no signs of further disease. I have a dear friend who has just had a lumpectomy and will start radiation next month. And another young friend who is where you are. I have recommended your wonderful blog to both of them, and I can only hope they do read. I know you'd rather not be in this position, but you are an inspiration. And I had to let you know how much you're appreciated. You always give me something to think about, with a positive, and realistic, outlook. Thanks!

Sent by Mary Z | 2:03 PM | 7-25-2007

When my siblings and I were young, my family had one of those station wagons that had a third row seat in the back that popped up but faced backwards, with a view out the big rear window. Some memorable and fun road trips, even though we couldn't see what was coming up ahead till we passed it by.
With this trip I am on now, I don't often feel I am in the drivers seat, but in that back seat again. I don't exacly like it but I still appreciate the view.

Sent by Scott Fertig | 2:16 PM | 7-25-2007

Hi Leroy,
Once again I have looked forward to your blog entry and after reading it felt comforted. It's wonderful to read something that comes from someone's honest thoughts. My husband and I just moved and after three weeks in our new home we had to replace a dead septic pump and fix a leak in our pool. Then we had a microburst that destroyed our garage and our car. I had breast cancer and double mastectomies 20 years ago so I was just happy that I or my husband wasn't in the middle of the microburst. My husband is off to see a neurologist to examine more closely an abnormality in his brain found on a recent CAT scan. Am I rambling? I too wonder what's next....... Good or bad. Big or small.
May yours be very good and very big!

Sent by Lyn Banghart | 2:17 PM | 7-25-2007

I must add this PS to my earlier post -
Why would Jack Barrington recommend that you take up golfing Leroy as a diversion?? Doesn't he realize what spinal pain is? My husband had spinal fusion over fifty years ago and those six Titanium screws have served him well and are still enabling him to walk and enjoy life - but - golfing is a no no. DONT' TRY GOLF LEROY. Care about you too much for that!

Sent by Jeanne R. | 2:32 PM | 7-25-2007

Hi Leroy and all,

I just want to thank you all for your wonderful insights and courage. They've helped me so much as I've tried to comfort family members and friends dealing with cancer. On Monday my friend's nine year old little boy lost his battle, and I'm not sure I'd know the right things to say, or the courage just to be there, without the advice of this blog. Reading it has become a very important part of my day. You all are amazing people.

Sent by Amy | 2:43 PM | 7-25-2007

Keep setting goals, large and small. When the doctor told me I had 6mos that became my goal. Now 7mos. later I'm back at work. My next goal is to see my 15 year old daughter graduate high school. Goals help keep us going, both mind and body. I thing the mind can do amazing things we and doctors don't understand.

Sent by David White | 2:47 PM | 7-25-2007

I'm sure that Jack was just trying to be helpful and not trying to inflict spinal pain on Leroy by suggesting golf.

Sent by S | 3:52 PM | 7-25-2007

In 2002 I left college so that I could get treatment for a malignant brain tumor. I felt like I had lost my world and my destination. For months I was depressed because I knew that I wouldn't be able to return to the world that I knew and to where I thought I belonged. I had set a goal though to hit my 25th birthday. Now in 2007, after hitting my 25th birthday by five months and *almost* getting ready to graduate with my ASN in nursing I find that the bugger of the brain tumor is back and is wanting to interupt the new goal and dream that I have set. Well it's not and I will not allow it to happen because somewhere deep inside of me I have this feeling that I have to accomplish this. This goal of getting through school and doing chemo too. This is what's keeping me going right now because if I didn't have it I'd probably break down. Things happen for strange reasons. I'm rambling, but I just wanted to thank you for this awesome blog.

Sent by Chanda | 4:21 PM | 7-25-2007

Hey Leroy,

It's funny how we find routine in even the most difficult of times. I think it's how we organize or make sense of the situation.
"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." Showing my age a little bit with a quote from Rush. Specific goals, no goals, strict routine, no routine; it's all good. It's how we cope. Perspectives, attitudes, philosophies all change after cancer. It's the little victories we carve out that keeps us sane.
I had my best run in over a year yesterday. Not at all fast, but it felt...normal. I hope there are many more to follow. Victory, mine. Harry Potter series completed. Victory yours. Onto the next long series of books, Leroy. I assure you, victory will be yours again....and again.

Stay safe, stay strong,
Lance

Sent by Lance Carlson | 4:36 PM | 7-25-2007

Jeanne,
I appreciate your dilemna about not being able to paint because of your eyesight. I also find great comfort and relief in being artistic. When I am feeling a visceral emotion that I need to express, I resort to finger paint. I know it sounds childish, but it takes me back to a place I haven't been for years and it is worth revisiting. The end results are almost as worth the process. They are quite interesting and expressive. I love the feel of the paint. It's great.

Sent by Stephanie Dornbrook | 4:54 PM | 7-25-2007

From the mid-seventies through the end of the eighties Armistead Maupin wrote a series of six books starting with ???Tales of the City.??? You may remember them and that the first three books were made into a PBS series. When the sixth book was published in 1989 I was ready for it to be the end. Micheal Tolliver, the lead character was HIV +, had a low T-cell count and I could see the writing on the wall if there was to be a seventh book. I didn???t want that seventh book. No one reading the series wanted their fiction to collide with the reality that so many people were facing in San Francisco at the time. Maupin went on to write other books, veering his course from my beloved characters. This month and eighteen years later, a friend showed me his new Maupin book ??? "Michael Tolliver Lives." Time has passed. Drug cocktails have improved the lives of people with HIV and many of them are now dying from things that are non-aids related. Michael survived to live with HIV like so many people are doing now. I???m really happy for those real people who have made it this far! So I say to you LeRoy, find a new series, make new plans, read new books. Heck, go to Hawaii again. It???s my hope that as all of us follow your blog, that you too can write eighteen years from now ??? LeRoy Sievers Lives!

Sent by Bonnie | 5:15 PM | 7-25-2007

Summer is fading quickly and before long school will start. I tend to savor the last few weeks of break with the girls and this year even more so. My youngest is going to start her senior year and my oldest is beginning her second year of college. These are milestones that became huge goals for me along this journey with cancer. It's hard to believe that my two most wonderful accomplishments in life are almost all grown up and that my goal is close to completion. It may be early to start celebrating but that is what hope is all about!

The past few weeks have been full of colon cancer ironies. The beauty of family and friendship, the pain of death, and even the joy of birth. There have been losses that tear at my heart and triumphs that have me wishing I could turn somersaults. I've had my own personal ebb and flow, too. The excitement that most of my tumors are stable, the fear that it won't always be that way, the frustration at not being able to do all that I want, and then the hope that even that will be temporary. Patience isn't my strong point and waiting for fractures to heal is like gearing up for a root canal......maybe worse. I woke up this morning in a mood to throw a big self pity party - and I actually had all the important makings of one by the time I got to happy hour. Starting my day off with chemo was at the top of that list but as I rounded the corner to my infusion room I ran into an old friend. She reminded me of all the reasons I am here. She and I met several years ago in the waiting room and have lunch from time to time. I hadn't seen her in a while so after I finished treatment I sat with her while she was finishing up with hers. She's been surviving with stage IV breast cancer for the past three years and she's amazing; very full of life. I always enjoy talking to her about riding her bike, walking her poodle, or a new fella that she's just met. All of these things are wonderful in and of themselves but what makes them truly amazing is that she just turned 81! Today she showed me a picture of her brand new GREAT-grandson. She's going to see him, hold him, and spoil him in person for the first time this weekend. The light and spark in her eyes was just what I needed. There will be many more milestones, both big and small. There were be other goals. Maybe one day there will even be great-grandbabies in my future. I drove home with a smile on my face.

At home, kids began to show up left and right. Both girls have been working on organizing a garage sale for tomorrow and all their friends have been bringing tables and goodies all day long. They had decided at the beginning of the week that today would be a good day for what we termed friendship soup in the days of our cafe. Each kid brings their favorite soup ingredient and it's all mixed together in a huge pot. I always thought that one day they would grow out of it but they've actually gotten a little more creative as the years go by. No time or need for a pity party. Life is good. And what better ending to a day than with "friendship soup."

Sent by Suzanne | 7:54 PM | 7-25-2007

May I suggest finding laughter in the books of Christopher Moore? He's got one of the wildest imaginations I've come across, and when I got my diagnosis, the first thing I did was to dump the gloomy sci-fi book I'd just started and stack up the remaining Moores that I'd not yet read, and I spent last summer swallowing them whole and laughing my way to and through chemo and radiation. (First checkups are good; next one is late August.)
Even if laughing solves nothing, you feel so doggone good!

(IF this shows up repeatedly, I apologize--something quirky is going on with my computer which I have yet to understand.)

Sent by Ginny | 8:10 PM | 7-25-2007

It sounds like we all have a short term goal of meeting Leroy's "two months or so" to read Harry Potter! That's a lot of reading for those of us who have spoiled ourselves with Books on Tape. (smile)

A big THANK YOU to all who answered my post Monday. You are ALL very much appreciated. I never knew how close we have all gotten through Leroy's gift of this blog. Your prayers are being heard and although Burge continues to suffer, we are finding peace...and hopefully with your prayers and a pain pump arriving tomorrow, so will Burge...at least until his spirit has been set free.

I happened upon a series of verses in my Jerusalem Bible...which I have owned for many years but read little, using King James instead, but even then, not enough. It is in the book of Wisdom which I didn't realize was there, and is titled "The premature death of the virtuous man." I'm going to post only a few lines but hope it gives someone peace and that those wanting more will seek out the book.

Wisdom 4
7. The virtuous man, though he die before his time, will find rest.
8. Length of days is not what makes age honorable, nor number of years the true measure of life;
10. He has sought to please God, so God has loved him; as he was living among sinners, he has been taken up...he has taken him quickly from the wickedness around him.

All of us at this blog certainly know the wickedness of cancer.

Again, Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Burge and I are truly touched by your thoughtfulness.

Nikki

Sent by Nikki | 12:32 AM | 7-26-2007

On the spine and golf - definitely not trying to inflict further difficulty on Leroy, who I met at the TOTN broadcast on April 16. Thanks to Charlotte for the kind memory of another Jack with a sense of humor. My hormonal therapy was to begin in about three weeks when the cover story in Newsweek was on menopause. I can now identify with what my wife has been going through. My head sweats now without provocation - no reason in the middle of the night, after the morning caffeine or the evening scotch. On the golf couses of No. VA, at least I have the heat and humidity as an excuse.
Again to Charlotte's Jack enjoying a period of remission - that was my case with the PSA very low, then escalating rapidly in '06 which put me back in a clinical trial (chemo/hormones). As we know, success does not necessarily mean finality in this process, but for now my beating from chemo is almost over. I can guage this by the fact that my nails soon will have grown out from the discoloration and my hair, a #2 buzz in March, is now 1.5 inches long. In the meantime, I love playing golf among other things. In golf, amateurs sometimes allow themselves another shot without a penalty - they get to try the poor shot over again. This is called a mulligan. Bill Clinton was razzed for his liberal use of mulligans on the golf course. The mulligan analogy is apt in the case of many cancer patients who find another treatment that gives them some more good years. It's the gift of a mulligan.

That can be a new book, new goal, new community of friends.

So take a mulligan if you can, and enjoy every sandwich, with NY Super Fudge Chunk for dessert... Jack

Sent by Jack Burrington | 6:46 AM | 7-26-2007

Dear Leroy,

You're an incredible human being and I love and agree with just about everything you have ever written with the exception of, "so there's no date that I have circled on my calendar. I like leaving it blank."

In my humble opinion, I believe that happiness is HAVING SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO so fill your calendar with dates.

wishing you all the best,
Thales

Sent by Thales Panagides | 9:08 AM | 7-26-2007

Leroy and friends,
I am a regular reader but haven't written for a while. My mantra has been 'one day at a time and enjoy'. It has helped through chemo treatments and days that I thought were wasted because I felt like doing nothing.
I have started back to work part time and I find that I missed the company of my friends. I am a better listener and less likely to cut conversations short to get 'back to work'.
All of you on this blog have become my firends and part of my support group. I thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers.
I do confess to a longer term goal... climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro with my brother in law, perhaps in two years !
Otherwise, I take refuge in the beauty of each day and simpler pleasures, like Harry Potter !
My thoughts are with you all and may God send his comfort to all of you.

Sent by Lou Loggi | 8:52 AM | 7-27-2007

Leroy,

You have not lost your sense of wonder. Nor have I. Cancer can't kill it. For me, without wonder, there would be no life.

Sent by Deborah J. | 11:20 AM | 7-27-2007

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