What Do We Do Now?

The other day, when I wrote about being told for the first time that I can't do specific things because of my cancer, Carol wrote in to say that I sounded dejected. Going back and reading the blog, I understand why she said that. But it's not exactly the way I was feeling, or the way I feel now. There's a sadness that comes with cancer. We all feel it and live with it every day. It also brings anger, fear, sometimes joy, knowledge certainly... the whole gamut of emotions.

I'm actually feeling something a little different these days. I'm confused. I'm not sure what's happening to me, and I'm not sure what to do about it. My doctors have told me repeatedly that my case is not following the normal pattern. And while I'm fine with being something of a medical curiosity, there are some practical problems that come with that. What do we do now? That's not a rhetorical question to be shouted out to the universe, it's a very serious practical question.

The tumors I have right now, at least the ones we know about, aren't life-threatening in and of themselves. But the trend isn't good, and there may come a point when I just have too much cancer for my body to handle. So do we wait to see what happens next? That's never really been my style. Do we start trying to deal with the tumors one at a time? That's what we had been doing. But as the tumors multiply, that may not be practical either. At some point soon, I'm going to have to make a decision. We'll have to pick the next step and move forward.

My confusion goes much deeper. We've talked a lot here about the "Why me?" question. That's not one that many cancer patients spend much time on. There's too much else to deal with. And of course, the other part of that question is, "Why not me?"

Sometimes I stop and take a long cold look at where I am right now and ask myself, "How did this happen? How did I end up here?" I know the basic answers — genetics, and mostly just luck of the draw. Maybe "How did I get here?" is just a rhetorical question. Because I think the only real answer is to shake your head, laugh at the way the universe works, and just smile.

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leroy,
i've asked many of those questions as well.
such as "did i cause this, or ask for this?" Was it karma or something i did in a past life? all those questions, but where do they lead? there is nothing i can do to answer those questions, so i just take it day to day and make my decisions. If it comes to a day where i'm thru with it all, that will be my decision too. who knows why we go thru what we go thru. I just know i'm here today and thats what matters right now.

jenn from Maine

Sent by Jenn | 7:13 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy:
Your last line, "Because I think the only real answer is to shake your head, laugh at the way the universe works, and just smile." made me think about the poker group I joined 13 years ago. Of the eight members, 7 developed Cancer during those years. The eighth member had a wife who died from Cervical Cancer.
Dwelling on those odds, those "quirks of fate", do absolutely nothing, change nothing. You have what you have. It's a waste of time and energy to dwell on such matters. Smile and get on with life.
Namaste, Don

Sent by Don Winslow | 7:15 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy

Another good discussion!

I can't possibly believe anyone does NOT ask the question "why me?".. I think it is a very natural and reasonable question to ask... but expecting or demanding an answer is yet another subject. For most of us that question can never be answered!

As for the "what now?" question... I have kind fo been asking that one for 32 years! I long ago gave up expecting any kind of answer though. It is kind of like going through your entire life wondering when and from where the next bullet was coming or when the other shoe would drop and squash me like a bug.

I have very thankfully been disease FREE for all of those 32 years!!! But any questions to doctors of what to expect next are responded to that I am one of the first surviving and so I am providing that information for others to follow.... now as cool as it may be to be in the forefront of medical science.. it does little to quell the questions for me!

I stopped asking those kinds of questions... rhetorical or not... a LONG time ago...........

Good luck to you Leroy in making that next decision!

Ron

Sent by Ron Bye (NH) | 7:23 AM | 7-13-2007

It sounds as though you're in uncharted territory Leroy. In the maps of the world made when it was thought that the world was flat, sometimes at the far edge of the map would be "beyond are monsters". I suppose in a way, that sums up the point when doctors can't predict with any certainty what will happen next, or which way would be the best to go in treatment.It's certainly not a good place to be. I wish you a better map, and a safe journey though this latest leg of your journey.

Sent by Nancy K. Clark | 7:33 AM | 7-13-2007

What do we know so far:genetics,lifestyle, and occupations. There is so much more to learn.

Treat or waitful watching. Waiting may be good for the treatment team, may not the best or easy for the patient.

Mood change almost as fast as the weather.

Have a great weekend.

Sent by Susan Chap | 7:46 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy, I can relate well to today's blog. I wonder what more we can do for my fiance (for any of us) while he is in remission....different drugs to keep it at bay or even better, make it go away and then I search the internet for more options again. I keep finding nutrition, flax seed oil, vitamins and different herbal remedies, and I always come back to...which one could work? It's like looking for a needle in a hay stack. I just continue to pray and find strength in the army we have here...stay strong and fight....thank you!

Sent by Laurie H. | 7:48 AM | 7-13-2007

It would certainly be easier wouldn't it if the journey we were all on had a clearly marked map showing us which way to go. Or failing that some answer to the question why we even have to make the trip...

But in the end would it really change anything? So keep moving forward fellow traveler...the universe awaits!

Lesa in MO

Sent by Lesa Jones | 8:14 AM | 7-13-2007

At first I did ask why me. I took such good care of myself. Only broke a finger bone. Stopped smoking a long time ago. Only drinking was wine with special occasion meals. Excercise, good food. Did such a good job that at 69 I was approved for the Whipple Operation. Now I realize that cancer comes more like measles or mumps. No one should be suprised. Look at the victimization of people who never smoked and get lung cancer. I have lost people who would ask about me and my cancer to accidents, one within the last 2 weeks from a motorcycle accident. Single mom with two kids. Why her?

Sent by Lou Mayers | 8:59 AM | 7-13-2007

Hey Leroy,

That's where the phrase "Grin and Bear it" holds true for all of us. Sometimes that's all we can do.Making treatment decisions are the hardest, sometimes harder than the treatment itself. Take your time and think it out after getting all the facts and you will do what's best for yourself. That's all we can do while trying to enjoy every day we have left.
The part about not following a normal pattern, I'm not sure there is a normal pattern. They have told me the same thing; it hasn't made me feel special or changed the fact that they haven't been able to get rid of it. One good thing I keep thinking about is I no longer have to worry about my cholestrol levels. We all go through hell during the decision making time, I hope you can decide soon and feel better.
Kandy

Sent by Kendra Falvey | 9:01 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,

I don't know what it would be like to be in your shoes, not to have a protocol to follow. My cancer is easy (that sounds funny) because there are do's and don'ts and the results tend to follow the rules. There are no promises but the chances are good. That does make sleeping at night and wondering easier.

Cancer brought a lot of anger out and a sense of mourning. I had to let go of the old Lori and accept the new. That took months. I found myself angry at all the things I didn't have, mostly a partner in my life. The boyfriend I had when I was diagnosed dumped me because he couldn't deal with it. Better to know now but still painful. I've dated since diagnosis and pretty much when they find out about the cancer they run. I think the reason I'm telling you this is because that is one of the big things that stuck out to me...not why me but will there ever be anyone but me to help me through this?

The new Lori has decided she's a hell of a gal and very talented and still lovely to look at. The new Lori decided that her art is the most important thing to focus on besides her loved ones. The new Lori can accept a life on her own. The old Lori could not.

I'm running on at the mouth here. Basically, I wonder if you are going through another phase of personal change and acceptance. Is this another season of your journey? Your words are different lately and for good reason. I think your last line says it all.

I wish you peace.

Lori

Sent by Lori Levin | 9:07 AM | 7-13-2007

Everyday, I ask myself, "How did this happen? What triggers the birth and subsequent growth of a sarcoma? HOW is this possible?" The questions in and of themselves don't necessarily bother me. What disturbs me is that no one can provide an answer. At this point, I haven't even gotten a theory.
If I contemplate those questions for too long, it becomes hard to smile, shake my head, and laugh at the Universe.
So, what motivates me? The fact that I have a choice; I have an opportunity to stay strong and fight. I have the chance to decide my destiny, and since my diagnosis, I've come to realize what it truly means to live. That is what makes me smile at the Universe.
My one year chemo anniversary is coming up on the 25th, which is actually my birthday. I've grown more in this past year than I did in all the 31 previous years prior to my awakening. I look around at people (particularly the ones I work with) and think to myself, "You have no concept of how privileged and fortunate you are, yet you allow yourself to be ruled by the petty things that have no bearing on what it means to live; to truly live with your eyes, mind, and soul wide open."
As I type this right now, I'm smiling at the Universe.

Sent by Michael McGalin | 9:16 AM | 7-13-2007

Hi Leroy and all,

Since we all are in this cancer situation and having to deal with it day to day, doctor to doctor, treatment to treatment, I guess it doesn't really matter why or even how we got here. But some days my still brain struggles to wrap itself around the reality and ultimate meaning of it. How could we not feel confusion? How are we to know the next right step? I don't want to get to the place where I have to decide it is time to "let go" and stop fighting this.

Yesterday I got a broadcast email from a therapist friend who recently found out she has a very fast growing form of breast cancer. She said she feels like she is going through this so others don't have to. Okay, I get the zen of that; but I have learned that others still do have to go through it. Look at all of us. We are going through it. But in a sense we are going through it together.

What a good, solid man you are, Leroy. Thank you.

Laurel

Sent by Laurel M. Jones | 9:16 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy: God Bless you! It's something we all ask and wonder. There are no answers in the here and now. In my opinion, things happen, then there is The Ripple Effect. What you do, who you are and how many people you effect..it is a part of your life and the lifes you touch, what others learn from you, then what others learn from them, that they learned from you. In the end, in eternity, you will have all the answers and see how everyone else that you touched was effected. I believe you are a Blessing to each and everyone of us. Thank you and God Bless you!

Sent by Joan, Chevy Chase, Md. | 9:18 AM | 7-13-2007

Hi Leroy.
I honestly never asked "why me" when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In fact I did actually say, "why not me?"`to my friends and family. There was so much cancer on both sides of my family that I would've been surprised if the biopsy had come back negative. I kept thinking, if one out of every eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, aren't seven of my friends feeling really relieved right now? I guess I just figured I would deal with it with as much grace and sick humor as I possibly could. I am one and a half years out of treatment- surgery, 6 rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation and so far, so good. Have I learned to appreciate life more? No, because I always took time to stop and smell the roses, but I definitely don't let things get to me the way I did before. I know that with all your good doctors and what you feel in your gut, you will make the right decision when the time comes.
Glad u're still smiling, I'm smiling right along with you.

Lianne

Sent by Lianne Friedman | 9:22 AM | 7-13-2007

The reason for who gets cancer right now, is a crap shoot. Why me? Why not me! Nobody knows.

You'll find life easier of you try to live as though you're living, not dying. I only plan events 3 months in advance but otherwise try to live as though everything's OK.

As for treatment choices I go with my gut. If I can't decide, I let my subconscious decide. I get as much information as I can and then go for the most aggressive treatment.

The time will come when I'll say, "Enough already!" but I'm not even close to being there, yet.

Sue

Sent by Sue | 9:27 AM | 7-13-2007

I do understand this. "What do we do now." As a scientist, I am driven to understand a problem and once the problem is defined, the solution often presents itself. With my health, I've taken the attitude "now that I know what it is, it is fine," and there are many things that happen to our bodies that simply don't run that way. Working with our health is a grand experiment that we entrust in partnership with our doctors.

Leroy and others reading this list, I hope that we may all simply learn to BE and find all the joy there to be found. We feel sorrow and loss only because we have the capability to feel joy.

Kind regards,
Elaine (ohio)

Sent by Elaine Barnes | 9:28 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy, I have been pondering that same question about the "Why me?" but in my case "Why them?" It seems that the zestful people I know suffer the most, and the people less engaged in life are in a cancer free zone. Does leading a purposeful life with all the best/worst events create fodder for cancer? I think your last comment about the universe is the way to go. Two very important people in my life have died from the disease and, like Don's comment about the poker playing group, I am a little nervous about what that means. But not a lot.

Sent by Pat Z. | 9:39 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,
Thanks, simply and heart felt, for doing this daily blog. I am a 3 year survivor of breast cancer and Hairy Cell Leukemia, your blog this morning with the "Why Me" question once again, has turned on a flood of reflections. None of us can answer why we have this cancer but I can say, having this disease has sent me on a survivorship journey of a lifetime. I don't have time to waste thinking about the Why's, it just is what it is. I have new questions now. What next? What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life? I seem to constantly be looking for a new purpose and a great passion for whatever that purpose is. I guess all we really want is to put some joy back into our lives and to feel peace even with all the confusion and fear we face on this journey.

I have had to learn to trust this journey and trusting for me is really trusting in God every step of the way. There are paths I take and have to turn around because they are still too hard to go down. Hard because I am not sure what to do along the way and confusing because I do not know what debrie to cut along tht way. My prayer for us all is that we can just keep trusting our journeys and find a bit of joy and peace each day.

Sent by Paula Swink | 9:41 AM | 7-13-2007

The "new Lori" sounds like she has her act together..

I agree... the new Lori does indeed sound like a hell of a gal!

you go girl!! :-)

Sent by Ron Bye (NH) | 9:47 AM | 7-13-2007

I share the same unsure feelings with you. 6 BCG treatments for bladder cancer,and more tests! Then the waiting, and evaluating. It goes on and on. You appear to be more brave than I.
You inspire me to let go of my woes, and
think of yours. Thank you!

Sent by Peter In Colorado | 9:49 AM | 7-13-2007

I may be off base here, but I am sensing some fear in the blog entry today, as if not knowing what is next, or what the cancer is doing is paralyzing you. Is that true? Am I off base?

I have no wise words. Someone suggested that you live as if you were living. I think you do that. I don't see you as someone who lives as if they were dying.

And yet, I sense fear, and wonder if it is causing stagnation.

Sent by Melissa T | 9:52 AM | 7-13-2007

Dear Leroy,

Thank you for your thoughts today. I can relate to that feeling of confusion. My rectal cancer is taking a direction that leaves chemo as the only real treatment option -- there are mets in the lung and lots of lymph and (I just learned yesterday) in the marrow of my L2 verterba. That nagging back pain isn't just that I overdid it. Now I, too, am limited on bending and what I can lift. One month ago, I was packing boxes for a move. I can't do it now. How did I get here?

I think that "Why me?" is not a very profitable line of questioning. Neither is "What if?" What if I had gone to see the doctor when I first noticed a little blood in the toilet bowl from time to time? It was six months before I actually had a colonoscopy done. Then again, I was 39 at the time. Rectal cancer just wasn't on my radar screen. Why would it be? I had no family history.

But yesterday, my first day of the new chemo regime, was a pretty good day. I laughed and visited with people I love, enjoyed good food, and had a nice evening walk. I shook my head a few times, too, and shrugged my shoulders. What else can you do?

Peace in every step.

Sent by Elsa Cumming (NYC) | 9:53 AM | 7-13-2007

Good Morning Leroy/All

Although I am the spouse/caregiver and not the patient, I too asked "Why me"

I did not handle the situation of my husband's cancer well; I totally fell apart. Funny, he was the patient and I depended on him for strength which should have been the other way around.

When things got out of control for me and I could not face what was happening I had to seek professional help. I have been going for therapy twice a month for a little over a year and I find that this blog brings me more solace than my therapist. As far as the "Why me" scenario, my spin on it is this...........I had a beautiful life.....wonderful husband, three beautiful children, no financial problems........the world was my oyster.
Then BAMM, the bomb dropped. I feel in my heart that in life the scale has to balance...........it is now payback time for us. I feel as if I am being punished for all the good fortune life brought to me. Somehow, someday, everybody has to payback! We all get our turn. This is my answer to "Why me" and I guess this is the reason why I am continuing to see a psychiatrist.

I would like to wish everyone on my blog family well..........and ,Briana I wish there was some way to ease your pain, I can only offer you my prayers as I do for all.

Sent by sasha | 10:00 AM | 7-13-2007

I remember when I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and met with my therapist. She asked what emotion I was feeling the most, I answered that it was a deep sadness. Anger? No, not yet but sometimes wonder if that will ever come up. Yes, you must keep your sense of humor and smile at the universe. All of us in the cancer world can relate when one of our "soldiers" will say that they are glad they got cancer because it totally changed their lives. Strange but true - it has enriched us even more. What a crazy view yet we must keep fighting the fight and support each other when one of us falls. I don't have time for anger, I want to continue to enjoy life. I love your attitude Leroy!

Sent by teri g. | 10:14 AM | 7-13-2007

I'd be pretty confused in your shoes too. And I think, for me anyway, confusion is even harder than grief or sadness or anger to just let exist until it kind of naturaly resolves. If I'm confused, I want to get unconfused quickly.

As for the "how did I get here?" and "why me" questions, you've said up until now, you didn't feel a need to ask that (neither have I so far) but maybe now you have that need. Even if there isn't a good answer and we all know that. I don't think there's a thing wrong with just howling out to the universe "WHY???" at times!

Sent by N.R. | 10:18 AM | 7-13-2007

"Life is what it is". This is how a friend summed up her motto for life with cancer. In five short words, I knew exactly what she meant.

Take care,
Mary Ann

Sent by Mary Ann | 10:23 AM | 7-13-2007

I enjoy the blogs every day because I think you are a very brave man. I too
have been fighting this monster for 7
years. Had 2 rounds of radiation for a
Sarcoma. Had my right leg amputated aka.
Now have metastatic tumors in each lung.
One of which was removed by VATS a month
ago at Duke med center. The other lung
will be resected July 20 at Duke. AS
Michael McGalin was asking "What triggers the birth and subsequent growth
Of a Sarcoma? Only time and research will tell. My hats off to you and your
bravery.I,m tired but will continue to
fight.Thanks for letting me speak.
William

Sent by William Clark | 10:28 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,
As always, your writing moves me. Your blog is a wonderful source of support and intimacy for so many people. I hope you know what a differnce you've made by sharing your experiences so openly. Thank you. I also hope you feel the love, caring and hope from all of us readers. It is strange how close one can feel to a group of "virtual" strangers!

For anyone interested in sharing their story of cancer survivorship, check out www.whathelpedgetmethrough.org

Keep smiling.

Anna

Sent by anna | 10:34 AM | 7-13-2007

Hi Leroy/All in blog land...

You are so right Leroy!

Funny thing is, sometimes I get asked about how come I'm so positive, optimistic and cheerful most of the time. And as you stated... "why NOT me". The response I gave to these people was always the same. We all have "something" that we "deal" with. Some people roll over and hide and others drive full force into it and say "I'm going to fight!" And then I say... when good things happen, does anyone ever say "why me?"

My birthday was yesterday another year... yeah!!! 44! I went to a free concert at the upper falls here in Rochester and "bumped" into some friends I have not seen in years. One (who is like a brother) told me when he found out I had cancer, he laughed at it because he said, if anyone can beat this Shirley can! He told me he thought I was the strongest person he knows (he's seen me at my worst after my 9mo old little boy was murdered and then I lost another little boy 7 years latter)... he said Shirl, after all you've been through, cancer is nothing... I hope he's right. Take care all and Carpe' Diem
Shirl Dolitz

Sent by Shirley Dolitz | 10:48 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy, you are in the unique position of having a case that doesn't follow a normal pattern, and I for one find great hope in that. You have done some amazing things in your treatment process, and many of us find hope, encouragement, and comfort in that. Perhaps there is an even greater reason that you have this blog and are able to reach so many of us. And just perhaps, now we can provide you with hope, encouragement, and comfort.

Your friend,
Lesa

Sent by Lesa | 11:04 AM | 7-13-2007

Dear Leroy,
I'm a little confused about what you're confused about! Sadness, yes. I feel it every day, not just for myself but equally for you and all the other good, amazing people on this blog and others we don't even know about. But how is "How did I get here?" really any different from "Why me?" It's just a lousy system, that every single one of us has to die! And that many will suffer before they die, mentally and/or physically. I'm not exactly confused by that discovery, but it doesn't seem right, either. Who can I complain to? Where's the Customer Service Desk? I want to file an appeal!

Sorry - please excuse my feeble attempt at humor. I love you, Leroy. That's the truth, even though we've never met and are not likely to. You're such a good and honest and open man. I'm wishing for the M-word (miracle cure) for you.

Sent by Doris | 11:07 AM | 7-13-2007

I have asked that question for 33 years. Was it genetics?? Was it Agent Orange (probably, I am now a disabled Vet),or as my wife always said " You know you hate to stand in line, so when they were handing out diseases, you moved to the shortest line which was giving out Cancer, Diabetes, and Heart problems". I have accepted that this is my life and I am going to live it to it's fullest. Fighting Heart disease was easier for me, than most patients, My Cancer experience, paid big dividends when doctors would tell me " We don't know if open heart surgery is possible due to damage from your Cancer radiation treatments." But I am still fighting Heart Disease, like my lymphoma using my mind and body to march on ! !
Leroy you want to plan your treatment to keep you alive, but also plan for the future side of effects of todays treatments.
Leroy part of your "why" might have to do with your Iraq time, were you around the burning oil fields??. Part of yur why is this blog. Someone had to do it, and you are the perfect candidate. Thank you for doing what was destined by a higher source ! ! Accept the title of Warrior and carry on the battle.

Sent by Sam Means | 11:12 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,

Again, my thoughts and emotions are the same as yours. I never asked "why me" because "why not me". I've lost several friends and some family members to cancer, some younger than me. When I was first diagnosed with RCC, I asked physician what could have caused me to develop this cancer. He replied that it could come from smoking, but you have never smoked, again a genetic switch could have just flipped, and it could be just like the bumper reads,
----- happens! I will never know why but I am incredibly sad. I just feel so much frustration, a race against time and so much unfinished business left on this earth. It is difficult to deal with day in and day out worrying about every strange feeling that this body encounters, deciding what needs attention and what is imagination.

Thanks for sharing your honest feelings with all of us. Reading your blog and comments allows me to draw a deep breath and "take a new picture". I realize fully now that I am not in this fight alone!!

Love,
Betty Lewis

Sent by Betty Lewis | 11:17 AM | 7-13-2007

I wish my moods changed as quickly as the clouds drifted through the sky. I tend to get in one frame of mind, fixate and stay there for long periods of time. (weeks and months). Positive thinking, and all the rest of the mental acrobatics rarely relieve my pity parties. And everyone on this blog knows exactly how far that will get you in the cancer ward. The only thing that can break through my mental mess is some very simple Buddhist psychology. I wish I could plan things months in advance; even taking one day at a time can sometimes be too much. So.... Breathe and do the next thing.

Sent by Tim | 11:31 AM | 7-13-2007

Good afternoon Leroy,
Always great to read your thoughts on the day. It is odd the number of questions one asks after getting cancer. I am sure a lot of the same questions are being asked anyway, it just seems these sift to the top. On getting the disease, I look at it as the reluctant student that doesn't put his hand up to answer the question in class, but gets picked anyway. Why me? I love your counter question "Why not me?" I like to think things happen for a reason, but, that opens up a whole other set of questions. Is this for me to do something with internally, within myself? Do I take this externally, and spread awareness? The question for me is more "What am I supposed to do with this?" I agree with you that the best thing to do with this is whatever you can and to shake your head, laugh, and smile.
stay safe, stay strong
Lance

Sent by Lance Carlson | 11:37 AM | 7-13-2007

Your words: " How did I end up here?" I know the basic answers -- genetics, and mostly just luck of the draw. Maybe "How did I get here?" is just a rhetorical question. Because I think the only real answer is to shake your head, laugh at the way the universe works, and just smile."

Great words!!

Sent by Pat Beach | 11:41 AM | 7-13-2007

Amen again Leroy. Before I was diagnosed, I was wondering what to do with my hair...long, short, color, no color? Solved that. Then, because of the nature of my work in a hospital, I was trying to figure out what it's like for my families dealing with a chronic illness. Check that off the list. I'm going to be more careful about the things I wonder about.

Sent by Lisa | 11:42 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,

A wonderful psychologist and very smart man once told me that if I doidn't know what to do, I should do nothing. All would be reveald in time. I believe that and try to live by it at those points of confusion. Also, for you and everyone, if you haven't read it, there is an excellent book out called AFTERSHOCK by Jessie Gruman, PhD. It has a world of practical information. It is not a medical book, but it gives you resources to find answers to your questions, as well as giving emotional help. A must read, particularly for the newly diagnosed.

Sent by Diana Kitch | 11:42 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy, you are truly a patient man!! So, your cancer is not following the normal pattern,huh! What is the normal pattern (rhetorical)... it grows; if it is not stopped or killed, it spreads;if it is not slowed, stopped or killed during this time...well, you know the rest. Well doctors, we have an opportunity, a window when the cancer is seemingly "dormant", why not attack it when it appears to be at its weakest? Why wait and observe and study only to discover later down the road, oh gosh, we should have done something when we had the chance? What are they waiting for, spontaneous remission with No Evidence of Cancer? Good grief... As I said, you are a very patient man!

Always wondered but never asked the doctors, what if you were in my situation? What would you do? I suspect the answer would not be quite so abstract or clinical if the shoe was on the other foot.

Laurie H. referred to "missed moments" in her blog yesterday but in a different context. I do believe that "missed moments" can also apply to the actions we take or don't take and our doctors take or wait, the treatments/surgeries we receive or postpone when fighting our cancers. To be redundant--- cancer is an unrelenting foe striving each and every day to find a way grow and spread and continue to wreak havoc within our bodies.

As you may surmise, I have strong feelings about the need for us as patients to have doctors who will "get in the trenches" with us to fight for as long and as hard WE WANT to help save our lives. I have talked with friends with Stage IV melanoma who at the end of their lives expressed regret that they and their doctors weren't aggressive when the opportunity was there. They weren't bitter but just regretted the "missed moments" for themselves and families.

Just because your cancer is not conforming to the norm or to the doctors expectations, don't allow an opportunity or a "missed moment" to occur.

Blessings and prayers as always.

Sent by Al Cato | 11:46 AM | 7-13-2007

Leroy/All
I know it is a human feeling to ask why? We just want to understand everything that happens in our lives. We look at the people who don't have cancer and feel why? Not that we would want them to have it, but why can't that be me? Why can't I just go on with my life not worrying about this monster and what could happen? Why can't I make plans like everyone else? I am the caregiver and I know how hard it is on my husband. That is how I get my strength. I get it from him and God. He is so brave and I know he is not only worrying about himself but is worrying about us. I know he thinks what will happen to them if I don't make it? But he never says it, he never complains. I tell him all the time it's o.k. to be mad and upset but he says it doesn't change anything. We need to except this and fight and go on. I believe that there is a reason for everyting in this world. We just don't understand it. I believe that things happen for a reason. Leroy maybe you got this monster so you can help others? It seems to me that you are doing something so special by sharing your thoughts and words with all of us. Maybe Lance made it so he could start his foundation to help others. Maybe he will be part of the reason for them to come up with a cure for this monster? I pray all the time, I tell God cure my husband and cancer and I will go out and help as many people as I can. I believe that no matter what happens that is what I want to do help others. Maybe that is the reason who knows? All I know is things happen for a reason we don't understand. We all need to go out and help others. Because in helping others it WILL help us. There is always someone who is worst off and need our help.
Roy that is why I believe you need to share your story with others let people know that we can beat this monster. Don't feel bad that you did. Go out and spread the word.
Leroy it's o.k. to ask why? Just know that we will never understand why until the end. Thank you again for all you do for us.
Aurella

Sent by Aurella Rocchi | 11:55 AM | 7-13-2007

hey Leroy- chin up, okay? I can tell by your entries this week that you are not in the best of places, which is understandable, but you need to try to get back up. I am a big believer in staying on the ground after the hit until you feel like standing again. You are lucky in that there are a lot of outstretched hands willing to help you up.

My father is at the last stop on the cancer line (clinical trials)and is determined to take his time before he boards that train again.

Storms don't last forever.

Sent by elizabeth | 12:08 PM | 7-13-2007

Dear Sasha,
I too have had what some may have considered a charmed life and I also feel that my husband's cancer is pay-back time. I'm not asking "Why us"? because I don't feel the world owes us a living. I am terribly sad and upset about his being ill and very afraid of a future without him but I've never said,"It isn't fair." I've read a good deal of your blogs and seem always to identify with your situation. I'd be interested in sharing emails with you if you so desire.

Sent by Elaine | 12:11 PM | 7-13-2007

a woman at the gym told me today that she loved my "new" haircut and where did i get it...of course it amused me to smile and say it was courtesy of cancer and chemo. she was ,naturally,shocked by my calm reply. when her chin went back to "normal" she utter "but you ALWAYS look the picture of health, i had no idea!".....i have never gotten truly angry yet with my own diagnosis..i don't know why but maybe because i am in survival mode and that is the way to go for me. if i dont stay in this mode ,i will somehow feel that i have given up the fight...i am not willing to do that just yet!
i know that someday i will have to come to some sort of acceptance of my own fate but for right now i am not in that place yet. i do appreciate why people think you are in uncharted territory and asking "why me"...my heart goes out to all of us and you too leroy.
namaste

Sent by marianne dalton | 12:24 PM | 7-13-2007

Hi Leroy. I guess we just live. I cancelled my onc appointment today. My cea levels were up slightly last time. It could be because, ptsd'd, I started smoking a bit, or it could be news I don't want to hear right now. I put the appointment off a week. Somehow getting a blood test for carcinogenic embryonic antigens on Friday the 13th doesn't feel like a good idea.

Sent by Alycia Keating | 1:02 PM | 7-13-2007

Dear Leroy,
My daughter was just commenting on the parallel our cancers have run. I, too, was told that my disease is not following the norms for pancreatic cancer. (Thank goodness, or I would have been dead a long time ago.) And now, I too, am in the wait and wait some more position. The difference is that at the end of the waiting, there really is no decision to be made, no choices offered. It's a tough place to be.

Sent by Stephanie Dornbrook | 1:10 PM | 7-13-2007

Just like so many of you, I never asked "why me?" Early on, I discovered that cancer is an "equal opportunity" disease. Why not me? If my having cancer can spare someone else from contracting cancer, then so be it. That's assuming the law of averages applies here.

Sent by Brenda Lynch | 1:15 PM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,
You are right. "What do we do now?" is not a rhetorical question, but a very practical one. And when there are mutiple choice answers it makes things more difficult.
I had cancer the first time 46 years ago, so I guess you can say I am a survivor. I have had three types of cancer a total of five times.
Looking back at some of the choices that were made (hindsight is 20/20) I wish I had more knowledge and had made different choices. I certainly would not have waited four months for surgery because my gyn/onc did not think I had ovarian cancer. I would have gotten to a surgeon sooner when my ostomy started changing and acting funny.
Basically I think everyone has things in life to deal with and fortunately not everyone has to have cancer. I was orphaned at the age of four. I grew up in a home in which I was abused and did not have a protector. I made the mistake of marrying an alcoholic. I have not handled money well. Life is what it is. I think we all do the best we can with what we know and what we have. All I know is that I am not ready to check out yet so I keep putting one foot in front of the other and making the best choices I can. Most days life is great. I have a strong faith in my Lord and Savior. I have wonderful friends, a great family and enough money to get by comfortably. What more do I need? Life is good!
Charlotte in Temecula

Sent by Charlotte Kewish | 1:46 PM | 7-13-2007

I, too, am sensing some fear in the blog entry today, regarding the "next step."
After two years, I ran out of next steps for my spinal cord cancer. I chose palliative and hospice care over any more curative attempts. I re-experienced a short phase of grief, but soon emerged with relief and comfort. No more chemo, no more tests, no more blood draws, no more complications or side-effects. I feel more normal now, with home visits from a hospice team that includes a doctor, a nurse, a health aide, and a social worker, all of whom simply want me to feel comfortable.
My hair has grown back, all foods taste good, and I enjoy my wife and children, friends, and solitude. I choose online college courses to keep myself looking forward.
My step is not an ending, but a part of living with cancer.

Sent by David V-W | 1:51 PM | 7-13-2007

Hi there Leroy!

Atypical, huh? Well, I know how that feels. Does that help?? Probably not much. But here is something practical that helps me with all my "stuff": acupuncture. There's a great person just inside the Washington, D.C. beltway, on Connecticut Avenue, her name is Monika Rukus, and I highly recommend her. Google her name, and you get her website and phone number.
I've known her, and been helped by her since 1985. Yes, my "fix-it" mode has kicked in for you, and I know I can't fix anything, just wanted to share a resource that has helped me.

Take care Leroy. I do understand confusion. Sometimes, though I hate it, I have to live with it for awhile.
The people who love me, remind me often, to just breathe.

In honor of Mattie Stepanek
(who is one of my heroes)
heartlight to you,

Kim Blankenship

Sent by Kim Blankenship | 2:02 PM | 7-13-2007

Leroy, Waiting really isn't my cup of tea. I would rather just, move on, with the next treatment. There is not very much about this whole thing we can control, maybe our treatment options are the last one. There are far too many unasnwered questions, when it comes to cancer. You sure could drive yourself nuts, asking the why me question. Pick a course and move on, dwelling on something too long, just gives you a headache. Stan

Sent by Stan Wozniak | 2:03 PM | 7-13-2007

Leroy, You are doing so much more than shaking your head and laughing at the way the universe works. For me, I have to rely on my faith, and I am compelled to think of everything that happens to me as a blessing. I know it may be hard but if you think about the blessings that come from cancer, for me, they are numerous. When I think of you Leroy I think of the song by Tim McGraw, "Live like you were dying". I cry every time I hear the song but I cry at the point where he says, "What did you do with it, what did I do with it, what would I do with it?". Okay, so we have cancer and it's painful and unfair, but what are we going to do with it? You Leroy, are a blessing unto everyone on this blog. It may not be the purpose you would have asked for, but what a mighty purpose to have served. Look what you're doing with it! You are an inspiration.

Sent by Kim Barbato | 2:28 PM | 7-13-2007

Dear Leroy,

I know exactly how you feel. I don't even know what is happening inside my body, cannot get straight answers, I am angry, afraid, and ask "Why am I in the position where I cannot get answers about my condition?" It is certainly not fair, it is not even human compasaion to leave a person in LIMBO like I am, and I do not know where to even go from here. I am paralyzed, and I know that my life depends on me getting un-paralyzed, but it is so hard. I have no energy left to fight, but FIGHT I MUST, so this is the most disheartening and confusing position I have ever been placed in throughout my entire life. I am fighting to keep the depression of it all, believing I do not even deserve treatment being the real reason for all of this, out of my head so I can move forward, but I am not getting any indications that this fight is going anywhere, so why should I try? Who cares? I can't think of anyone, not in my immediate vicinity, and that is such a dangerous place to be.

You have so many who care, who love you, who are walking with you through this abyss, and there are worse places to be, I know! I am in the lonliest of spaces, and lost as to the next move to make. I said yestrday, I wish I had a cheerleader, because my only advocate is ME, and I do not have very pleasant conversations with myself these days. I know I need help, with many things, but first I need to feel it is all worth it, then maybe I can move forward.

Love, Briana

Sent by briana | 2:45 PM | 7-13-2007

To Elaine

I would love to share emails with you. My email addy is dollylbny@aol.com

Please put your name and NPR Cancer in the subject matter so that I will know to open the mail.

Sent by sasha | 3:00 PM | 7-13-2007

Hello Travelers,

How does a person who deal with knowing it makes no difference in anyone's mind but mine what my fate is to be? This is the hardest part of this, realizing that when I am gone, I will not be missed.

Briana

Sent by briana | 3:12 PM | 7-13-2007

Hello Leroy,

Aurella and Brenda have it right on the button. I have found I can't waste my focus on the why's and why not's. There is nothing I can do to change them or the "what if's". I can also run through the list of everything I want to do but no longer am able to do due to my disease. That's more energy spent on things I cannot change. I have to use what strength I have to focus on today while I still have the strength. As my Oncologist has told me, my liver cancer is terminal; there is no treatment at present to change that. Average survival time is approximately 1.5 years if that. In August, I celebrate one year since my diagnosis. Six more months and I will have met the odds. Any time I have after that is a bonus.

Finding a balance to hold up a decent quality of life for as long as possible is my focus, building a list of things I enjoy and can do, spending time with my family and friends. I just received the news that I have a new secondary tumor to be concerned about; the one new treatment that shows any promise of giving my cancer a swift kick in the backside is experimental and has been declined by my insurance. Now I have to build a case to "help" the insurance company to change their decision. I may succeed; I may not but it is worth the effort to try. If it comes too late for me, then perhaps someone else will reap the benefit. So where do "why me", "why not me", and "what if" fit in with this? Simply....they don't.

All of us go through this for a reason; we just don't know the end purpose and we may not know what we accomplish or who we help along the way. As Brenda said, "If my having cancer can spare someone else from contracting cancer, then so be it".

Sent by Randal Gray | 3:26 PM | 7-13-2007

Briana, You are not alone. You are part of a community now. This community of bloggers cares. For me personally, I find comfort in believing that I am never alone. Isaiah 43:2.

Sent by Kim Barbato | 4:13 PM | 7-13-2007

Briana.. Kim Barbato has it right... you are not alone.. I CARE as does many more just like me!!

Randal.. you put it perfectly... we simply do not have time or energy to even try to figure out the why's and why nots! Live each moment... and I also truly and deeply believe there is a greater purpose for everything that happens to us or around us.. we may not be able to begin to understand.. but some good WILL come of it.. from our actions or how we influence others to action........ I am sorry for your individual situation and your suffering and all.. but I KNOW something good will come of it though I have no idea what that could be...

Leroy's suffering and situation has brought so many of us together here... and although it truly sucks what he has to endure to accomplish that.. some good has and will continue to come from it!!

Sent by Ron Bye (NH) | 5:01 PM | 7-13-2007

Dear Leroy, I never asked "why me" because I believe in purpose - that we are all put here for some purpose. As I transition to patient from caregiver AGAIN next week and realize I won't be able to be a caregiver in the full sense (nursing) again makes me very sad. On the other side I have so many people praying for me and loving me. The wife of a home care patient (he has colon cancer) that I took care of works in my supermarket. She asked me how I was and cried and hugged me when I told her I needed treatment again. Other people that I have had brief contact with have shown me their love in that same way. So I say to you Leroy and all of you in cancer world - accept that love that is there for you. Don't wonder why - your purpose may or may not be made clear to you but it's there.

Sent by Vicki (FL) | 5:51 PM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,
Want to hear something funny? I have written practically this same blog. It's nice to see all these feelings are part of the process, and that none of us going through it are really alone. That, I think, is the one true comfort in such situations.
You are in my thoughts.

Sent by Lori (aka Miss Melanoma) | 6:37 PM | 7-13-2007

Briana, Kim is right! You must never feel alone. You do belong here and have people that care. PLEASE BELIVE THAT! That is one thing that cancer does for people I know cancer stinks but you now have a family to reach out to. We are all hear to listen and help. PLEASE TRY NOT TO GET SO DOWN. Reach out we are all hear.
Aurella

Sent by Aurella Rocchi | 7:24 PM | 7-13-2007

Hello all bloggers and Leroy,

The Why Me never was an issue. It was genetic and I had a 50/50 chance. What really blew me away was all the choices of what to do, this surgery or that, this treatment or that. Do a scan with this Doctor and Hospital and get this result then go for second opinion and redo the scan and get a completely different result - what's that all about????

Then find by just the fact of my last name (the name of the disorder) I have another rare genetic disorder that makes me one in 4 billion according to one geneticist THEN find out 5 out of 6 of my sibs have the same two genetic disorders that I have - kinda blew this geneticist's odds!!

What I say now is how many others out there are like me who are trying to find out why they are so ill but have lost their jobs, lost their insurance, and lost their husbands/wifes due to divorce, and lost all hope wondering what happened to theirs lives and because genetics are an infant science they really do not know what they have going on genetically.

If I could get money for everytime a doctor said it was too rare to have what I have - I would be rich. Even with the genetics of each gene come different results. It now depends on which end of the gene your mutation is on is how severe your cancer is. What luck our family is on the rarer 1% severe cancer exon of the gene - Should I go to Vegas or what??

Now they are saying more genes are involved - there goes the hope for gene therapy. Knowledge is a dangerous thing in the Cancer World. Leroy, you are finding out that each of us has genes that determine our outcome to this fight against cancer with different results because great great great grandma's dominate APC gene is good and great great granddad's recessive APC gene is good so you have a chance to not get colon cancer. As I was told by my doctor that cancer is an equal opportunity disease and hunts for any possibility to invade, always looking for a weakness, it is hungry like the wolf.

For me this is where the "rubber hits the road". If He (God) knew me in the womb then He knew I would come out this way and have these crippling illnesses, then how am I to pray for healing or is healing out of the question? I pray for other things also, acceptance, joy, hope for a new treatment, a better surgery, guidance, many things but never for healing as this is the way He made me. I know He COULD heal me and cause a miracle but is that a part of His plan? I mean, His plan for me to marry a man that had the last name of my disorder was pretty fantastic. Not to mention my ex's Dad is a colon rectal surgeon and knew all about my FAP cancer - awesome in its own right.

Do I dare for a miracle cure for my genetic cancer?? If I do get a cure then what?? I am still disabled due to the other disorder but I get to live longer but still in pain? How ungrateful I am!! But it still would be the reality of what my life would be.

Then do I deserve to be healed?? How could I expect to be so worthy? If I get a miracle then I should do something great with my life or should I say thanks and just move on doing normal things?? I find this hard to fathom and hard to know what to pray for.

Cancer World has me battle scarred mentally and physically. I have been doing this for twenty plus years. There are days when I swear I cannot do it anymore and there are days when there is no way death is gonna get me.

Then there are days like today. I do not know what I want.

All I know is tomorrow is another day and God willing I will be here to read you and your bloggers Leroy.

Carole Ehlers

Sent by Carole Ehlers | 7:43 PM | 7-13-2007

Briana,Randal,Kim

Briana - You are not alone. I wish I new more about you. Can you get and advocate though the hospital? I understand the fear you feel and the fight you face. You do matter to us and being alone is so cruel.

It does not sound like you are getting the help you need. I am not sure how to help without knowing more.

Randal, I pray for you in your fight with the insurance company. I am not a political person so no great fan of political movies but Sicko has great moments in it and it could give you some tips. My dad died of liver cancer and he went quickly. I just hope that you find peace with whatever happens. I do not know what is worse the loss of control over the cancer or the insurance companies??

I am personally glad for your honesty and not afraid to express those real fears that cancer puts us through.

Some of us fight more than just cancer and need the support of others here because there is no one else in our lives that care whether we live one more day.

Kim, I love that passage.

Carole

Sent by Carole Ehlers | 9:09 PM | 7-13-2007

I am just coming to the end of a 4 month depression. I guess I thought that I would go through the very agressive treatment of a clinical trial for stage III non-small cell lung cancer, work through the recovery and go on with my life. At the time, the most important thing was to save my life. I really didn't ask what was going to happen to me because of the treatment, naive huh???

Well, it started 4 months ago when I lost my job because I couldn't perform my duties that were physical. Then about a month later I went to see my Radiologist who told me I would not get any stronger, the major part of my right lung is destroyed and this is as good as it will get. So I am trying to get Disability, that is a whole other issue.

I am alive now, I have my family, I have support from the cancer community via this blog from you Leroy. Does it really matter, why?

I have a hankering to paint something. I've never done that before, but I think I may have to investigate that. I see some really funky rocking chair for my living room. Another thing I would like to try is stained glass. I'll bet I can teach myself to do it. I think I'm ready to live again, what ever it may be.

And, as the poem goes...I think I'm gonna learn to spit!

Sent by Ginger | 11:24 PM | 7-13-2007

Leroy,

I was diagnosed with Stage 2B Breast Cancer in May 2005. I've been through the whole gamet. Chemo, double mastectomy surgery, reconstruction, radiation, more reconstruction and all the doctor appointments in between. My doctors tell me I am stable and in remission for which I am very thankful. I have been reading your blogs since I saw the "Living with Cancer" show on TV. I was very saddened when I found out your cancer had returned. I know the Cancer World that you refer to very well as do most of us that have had to face this crappy disease. I do have a few questions for you. When you went into remission from your original cancer diagnosis in 2001, did you ever wonder if your cancer would come back? And even though you were in remission, did you think about cancer every day? I do. I sometimes feel like my family and friends think that I should be getting back to normal. I'm tired of trying to explain that I'll never be that kind of normal again. Did that happen to you too? I want you to know that your blogs have touched many lives. Thank you for sharing.

Sent by Sue | 12:02 AM | 7-14-2007

Dear Briana,
I was so very saddened by your post. Unlike you, I do have people surrounding me who care, but, I know you may find this hard to believe, I still feel so very alone and full of despair. We all suffer our own private grief. This blog is my salvation. In sharing my thoughts I am trying to learn from these courageous people to take each moment as it comes.

As Kim posted, you are part of a community now. You are NOT alone. I know I can take the liberty to speak for all...................our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sent by sasha | 7:18 AM | 7-14-2007

Hi Leroy,
I think I understand what you're going through. It's not a question of finding a tangible reason why cancer happened to you or me (ovarian cancer, btw). It's more of a philosophic question of how I'm at this point in time with this crazy disease. It's like all of a sudden you take a look around you and think to yourself, "How and heck did I get to this place?" All of the treatments and decisions and feelings are so foreign to anything you thought you'd EVER go through in your life and, yet, here you are living it. It just isn't what we thought are lives were going to be. We were just living our lives and doing our normal thing and then, WHOA!!!!, our universe tipped on its axis and cancer hit and our lives were dramatically changed. It's "HOW did this happen" in a very existential sort of way. For me, I was diagnosed with cancer and my brillant daughter developed bipolar disorder within a six month period and our lives were turned upside down. I look back on the time before all this happened and look at it now and just, as you said, shake my head and laugh and wonder at the great dice rolling somewhere in the universe that rolls and then drops these things in our laps. It's crazy to contemplate how randomly our lives can change on a dime. So much for retirement planning, huh?
Enjoy the day! (That sound wierd after what i wrote but what else is there to do? LOL Like I said - exsistential)

Sent by Martha | 9:03 AM | 7-14-2007

Is there any way to change the My Cancer icon with the IV bag? I start to feel sick every time I look at that graphic. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Big Big Thanks.

Sent by Jeff | 9:55 AM | 7-14-2007

Dear Leroy;
I've been following your wonderfully honest writings about this cancer you are dealing with daily.
I wonder if you would consider going to a Catholic church and quietly sitting before the Eucharist. Just listen in the silence. You would be anonymous to all except God who created you. Maybe take along Psalm 139 and prayfully read it.
I will pray for you as the Church prays daily for the sick and suffering at every Mass.
Love, Helene

Sent by Helene Lipke | 2:55 PM | 7-14-2007

My dear friends,

Thank you for your comments of support, and know I am grateful to every one of you who takes the time to listen to my plight. There are many times when I think everything I write is going into thin air, and who would even want to read to rants and raves of this person every day? I feel if I do not let these feelings out, keep them inside and to myself, they are so much more dangerous and destructive, and I cannot afford to implode any more than I already have. It is healing to share, but I wish there was more positive news to say than what I have been experiencing lately.

I have always been such a positive person and tried to look on the brighter side of things, but when they are so overwhelming and seem to be without solution, it is difficult to stay upbeat. Because of my values, I find I cannot write anything other than the truth, so my thanks, especially, for being patient while I am going through this difficult time.

Your words of encouragement and knowing I am not alone are uplifting and I wanted you all to know that you have been heard, and every thought of love and compassion are deeply appreciated and are a huge contribution to help me get through this. Please know, also, if I can be of help to anyone through sharing my experiences, I am happy to be here to do that and feel more like I am doing something valuable and helpful,
not just leaning on others and not giving in return.

Love, Briana

Sent by briana | 6:32 PM | 7-14-2007

Look at this site: http://www.wristbands-4-less.com/silicone_bracelet_pricing.htm

The idea of a silicon wristband with a specific color (purple? green? any color that isn't already taken for a cause) for those who have ever had cancer with some specific words.. such as your idea of 'me too' keeps rolling around in my mind. Maybe NPR or someone can get it started. Maybe more discussion on your site?

Sent by Leslie | 10:23 PM | 7-14-2007

Fear is real for me as is confusion. For the last six months my lung cancer has caused a month by month worsening of shortness of breath, and I could picture the next few months on oxygen to the point where I could not breath and it was all over. Now the scans show that the growth has STOPPED but no reduction has occurred... yet...
It is my fondest HOPE that no further degrading of my ability to breath occurs in the next several months and in-fact that some tumor shrinkage occurs and healing of lung tissue....
I am thinking POSITIVELY in this regard, with high HOPES and CONFIDENCE that the Doctors are leading me in the right direction. The GROWTH STOPPAGE was a BIG CHANGE.... so now we just need a REVERSAL... the only thing everyone agrees with is that IF the tumors are made to shrink and go away that the Lung Tissue can regenerate so is that a Happy Thought or WHAT....

Sent by John Zizelmann | 10:38 PM | 7-14-2007

Briana
I'm sorry that you feel so alone and hopeless, I suggest that you find a support group near you. Girl, this is something that you have to go through, so you have to get an grip on your emotions. Your local hospital's social worker will have some answers for you on who you can call. Don't be afraid to demand answers from your doctors, if they won't answer your questions, find another doctor who will. We're talking about your life here. Go get some help!

Sent by Virginia | 11:57 PM | 7-14-2007

Amazing to read all these comments, your post. I lost my wife a couple of years ago to cancer in the spine. Went through all of this. There is no "why" Leroy. None. The question of "what do we do now?" should be easy. It's live out your life day to day. Stop thinking of tomorrow. It's all illusion. Your belief in "conquering" or "winning" cancer has nothing to do with reality. Reality is that your body is attempting to reject cancer. It' may be futile or not but you have little to do with the outcome. You can't do anything to change it. You need to be here now. That gives your friends and loved ones the ability to love you now. None of us may be here tomorrow. Just enjoy each morning, noon and evening. Where is your support network? Where is your extended family in this blog?

Sent by 8string | 1:25 AM | 7-15-2007

I am still somewhat stunned by the realization that I am in my current situation due to ???bad genes???. It is easy to look back now and take note of how young most of my relatives where when they died. I have cancer and tests have shown that is hereditary. However, there are many other health problems on both sides of my family that I could have been afflicted with. I guess I was doomed from the start with a short life span. I wonder if I had really understood that from a younger age if I would have lived my life any differently. Would I have tried to accomplish great things? Maybe I would have gone down a destructive path because I was angry and had nothing to lose.
Why should we fight when we know the end result? For me at this time it???s because I???m not ready to die. There is so much more that I want to do. I find out next week if I am accepted into this clinical trial. The trial sounds promising ???maybe more promising for others once all the refining is done. They aren???t promising that my life span will be increased, but maybe my tumors will shrink or slow down.

Sent by Jill | 9:47 AM | 7-15-2007

Leroy,
You are an amazing person. My mom has Lung cancer and was diagnosed last April, 2006. I am an Oncology nurse dealing with this. Her Chemo and Brain radiation has left her with STML, which of course drives me nuts and she has fallen 6 times in the last year. She went from 163 to less than 105 lbs. She is so fraile and of course it scares me, I keep trying to get her Onc MD to order a Pet/CT, but now he says it is only to Stage cancer not to determine where it is......Anyway, that is where we are.......Pattie, RN

Sent by Pattie Cullinan | 10:44 AM | 7-15-2007

"I think the only real answer is to shake your head, laugh at the way the universe works, and just smile."

Amen, brother!

Susan
http://lemonmargaritas.com

Sent by Susan Metters | 5:48 PM | 7-15-2007

Some like Ulysses S. Grant didn't really know how to ask "why me"? He soldiered on, just like he did in war, and wrote perhaps one of the finest autobiographical works of history. I try to think of him whenever I ask "why me"? He was sick, broke and the victim of Wall Street crooks. He penned his memoirs looking to the end with a sense of duty to leaving a legacy and estate to his family. As a result he left American history a priceless treasure. I just wish I could be more like him.

Sent by Jim | 7:31 PM | 7-15-2007

Dear Briana,
I have read many of your posts and my heart goes out to you. I agree with what Virginia posted in that you should contact a social worker to help you. Perhaps your local hospitals social work department could assist you or point you to someone who could, be it a social worker or case manager. They could help you in advocating on your behalf. I was a case manager for many years and helped to advocate on my clients behalf for any health issues, housing issues, or any other things that arose. For many of those people I was the only one that was helping them. I know you are frustrated and feel so alone right now but if this is not an avenue that you have already investigated then I strongly urge you to please look into this. My thoughts are with you!

Sent by SA | 7:42 PM | 7-15-2007

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