Quality vs. Quantity

My meeting with the hospice nurse is this morning. I should be meeting with the physical therapist soon, too.

It's actually sort of amazing how many people get involved in trying to make us better. Or at least feel better, even if it's just for a short time.

I'm even meeting with an acupuncturist. To be honest, that makes me a little nervous. She'll have to be careful not to put the needles anywhere near where the surgery was done.

Will any of this cure me? Make the cancer go away? NO. But it may lessen the amount of pain I feel.

This all brings us back to the first issue that most cancer patients face. Quality of life vs. Quantity.

I would gladly trade quantity for quality. A little less pain, a little bit of "normalcy." That all sounds pretty good right now.

But talk is cheap. It's easy to say, you'd make that trade, until you actually had to. That's one of the ways that cancer is so cruel.

No choice is easy. No decision is obvious. It's all hard, every step of the way.

All you can do is make the best decision you can, and then move forward. It doesn't do any good to second-guess yourself.

Like I said, it's a cruel disease.

Comments

 

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

Sad to say but maybe your current state including the pain is your life both now and in the future! I'm praying otherwise but it just may be. Only you can judge if this is quality or not, knowing the alternative. If you judge quality of life against the "old normal" vs. today's "new normal", you'll never regain what you've lost so I just would not go there....

I go an acupuncturist periodically. It really does help me!! I would offer that the relief is not instantaneous. As a matter of fact, I feel somewhat worse the day afterwards but that quickly goes away. It also takes several sessions in order to achieve any sort of permanent relief. Just be patient with it and hopefully it will bring relief.

Prayers as always.

Sent by Al Cato | 7:57 AM | 1-25-2008

Oh Leroy, you have so much to think about over this coming weekend. We shall miss hearing from you as you weigh your decisions. I took myself off the Chemo 25 yrs ago because that is not the way I wanted to end my life, and I am still here. What would have happened had I not made that choice? Decisions are cruel, you are right. However be careful now. What would have happened IF you had not chosen to have the spinal surgery? Do they know?
Who knows? The Hospice sounds like a good choice and I wish you peace of mind.

Sent by J C R | 7:58 AM | 1-25-2008

Interesting tone today's entry. The hospice appointment, physical therapist, and an acupuncturist. Way to go, Leroy! I really like that plan... future, current, and nontraditional. Good, positive energy flowing, and excellent decisions.

You are right about the fact that cancer treatment and care is multidimensional, relying on many different care providers. Not everything works for each patient, there is room for all in obtaining treatment.

Have a positive weekend! See you on Monday.

Sent by Sue Chap | 8:00 AM | 1-25-2008

Dear Leroy,
Cancer is cruel.........and don't we know that only too well.
All those appointments you mentioned are a good thing. There is much to be gained from them....and less to lose. These people are there to try and help.
And we take all the help we can get....so that may include quantity before quality...but then that is our ulitmate choice in what seems a choiceless journey....which is good advice for us, and what we'll ignore. Imagine, we have a choice in something.
Blessings,
Wanda Amorose

Sent by Wanda Amorose | 8:09 AM | 1-25-2008

It is a cruel disease. All I can say is that pain colors your vision of life in general so do whatever can be done to minimize it. It is amazing how you can forget what it is like to be in less pain.

Hugs,

Lori

Sent by Lori | 8:13 AM | 1-25-2008

My husband used to say that he would choose quality over quantity, that he wouldn't want chemo if he was hypothetically diagnosed with a terminal cancer. That's what he used to say before he was diagnosed with a deadly cancer, at the age of 58, long before he was done living.

Then, he wanted time, as much time as he could possibly squeeze out of his fatal prognosis. For him, that involved 18 months of chemo until he was just too weak to take any more.

Until you're in the situation, you really don't know how you'll react. You're right, Leroy, there are no easy choices with cancer.

I hope you have a good and relatively pain-free day.

Sent by Marilyn | 8:15 AM | 1-25-2008

Yes, it's cruel. What fiendish brain came up with cancer?! Makes you wonder about that whole "intelligent design" concept. My hope is that you won't have to choose between quality and quantity. I've heard that going with Hospice nowadays doesn't necessarily mean you have to stop all treatments. You are in my heart today, Leroy.

Sent by Doris | 8:16 AM | 1-25-2008

Good morning Leroy,
It is a cruel disease, for sure--but there are people around you rallying for you. Now that's quality! When my mother-in-law was sick, she did a lot of the same things--hospice, acupuncture--and I have to say, every little bit helped.
Sometimes when we need to say big things, words seem so small, but your words are never small, always powerful, and remind us all of your strength.
Keep going Leroy. Your race is far from finished.

Sent by Kathleen Schmidt, NJ | 8:20 AM | 1-25-2008

I think you're totally right. We don't know what choice we will make until we have to make it and it is terrible to have to make such choices. I'm so glad to hear about the appointments coming your way and hope they give you the opportunity to have huge doses of comfort and joy with the people you love and doing things you love.

Praying for miracles as always...

Sent by Nichole in FL | 8:55 AM | 1-25-2008

As for all the choices cancer brings, the well known Lady or the Tiger story comes to mind. We can only sort through allthe information and makea stab at what seems to be best for us individually at the time.

Acupuncture is fascinating...I was worried about pain near my sensitive areas, no need. It will be a relaxing and thought provoking experience. A practice that has existed for thousands of years has to have merit. Ask the person who does it to show you what is hidden within the shape of the human ear.

Peggy

Sent by Peggy | 9:05 AM | 1-25-2008

I hope that your hospice experience is as wonderful as ours. They helped answer our questions about physical difficulties and made our lives so much easier. They had prescriptions refilled and delivered them. They communicated directly with John's doctors and got back to us immediately with answers - no more long trips and waits in doctors offices. They were confidants to both John and me. Sometimes we both would say things to our beloved hospice nurse that we didn't want to say to each other. She told us, in every stage, what we might expect in the next. John, like most people, hesitated to accept hospice help at first, until he got to know his wonderful nurse. Then he loved her. Keep in mind - if you take a great turn toward remission, you can always cancel your hospice help. I hope you'll be pleased today. Best wishes.

Sent by Laura | 9:12 AM | 1-25-2008

Good Morning Leory, An acupuncturist helped my father in law with his pain. It takes a little time, but it does seem to help. If it helps you feel any better, your blog is a part of my morning routine. You are needed and loved. Sarah

Sent by sarah | 9:18 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy and all, you are right, cancer is cruel! Its ugly and it sucks! Thank you for creating a place where we can come together in love and friendship, find hope and courage. You are always in my prayers!

Sent by Laurie Hirth | 9:48 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy:
My prayer for you today and this weekend is that God will guide you in making the choices you have to make. Remember, One day at a time. That's all we are promised. Don't look back and don't look too far forward. Do what is good today......Keeping you in prayer. Joanie

Sent by Joanie Weaver, Front Royal, Va | 9:49 AM | 1-25-2008

I believe in many of the alternative ideas. Western medicine is a baby compared to these ancient concepts, although we are blessed in so many ways to have the technology now. I have to also echo (again) that I believe hospice doesn't equal end. I see a therapist when I am feeling at my lowest point and she helps me put things into perspective. I believe the Hospice nurse will too. It's not over, Leroy. Manage the pain and I believe that you will have a psychological advantage for a while to come. I have accupuncture twice a week (I tell my family that I am getting my accues punctured - hee hee). I believe if anything that it calms me and it makes my body relax which can only mean good things in terms of the cancer cells. They don't like it when the host's immune system gets stronger.

Anyway, we are all behind you, Leroy. You know that. I wonder if there're days when you just don't feel like writing to us. If you don't I hope you can take a break. We would all understand (although worry). Hugs!

Sent by Becky | 9:51 AM | 1-25-2008

Dear Leroy/All,

My husband has chosen to continue with chemotherapy despite the fact that for two weeks a month he feels like he has a bad case of the flu. The doctor told him that his body is still strong enough to endure the treatments and it will be his decision as to when he wants to stop. For the past two years he has been striving valiantly to stay alive. During his two week post-chemo episode of not feeling well he often speaks about stopping the chemo. But, as soon as he perks up a bit, his feelings change. I wonder if the power of positive thinking actually plays a big role in survival because my husband is an optimist. He told his doctors
" I REFUSE TO DIE " I on the other hand am a pessimist. Although, I don't know if I'm pessimistic or realistic! I know the severity of his illness and the end result. When you say cancer is cruel you are putting it mildly. It is an everyday struggle to confront a BEAST which affects not only the patient but the entire family. I don't know who to cry for first, my husband or my children who are watching him suffer.

Thank you for listening to me this morning; I think I'm venting. My husband just received his chemo a few days ago and we are starting with the side effects. I guess I just needed to purge a little and this blog is my only safe place. Sadly, there are no easy choices, but I know you will make the right one. I wish only the best for you and all the people of this blog community.

Sent by Sasha | 9:59 AM | 1-25-2008

Good morning Leroy. I hope all goes (went?) well with the Hospice folks this morning. I hope they can help you and Laurie think about all the decisions and choices and options that are on your plate right now. You are in my thoughts, today and always.

Sent by Suzanne in Houston | 10:01 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy, I've just finished watching The March of the Penguins on the Dicovery channel. What those creatures go through to survive, and carry on their species is utterly awe inspiring. If they could talk, I believe they would say quantity over quality! Their struggle is not of their own choosing, just as cancer is no one's choice. We just make the best of what is handed to us. May peace be with you today.

Sent by Leah | 10:10 AM | 1-25-2008

I want to go back to something Kevin posted a couple of days ago:

I believe you can get better if you want to.

This is the noble, bold, and utterly unrealistic vision of people who've never wanted anything as much as we want life, and who've never been so helpless as we are in that quest. Now, I'm not saying that attitude and positive thinking don't contribute productively to well-being, but if wanting--really wanting--to be well made us so, we all of us would be well. And the fact is, we're not. I have a hard time with people who in their mission to be upbeat say things like, If you want it you can do it, or, You can beat this thing! You're stronger than this disease...all these affirming, warm, powerful notions that don't really acknowledge reality. I have never felt like such a failure as when mets showed up on my liver and I had to call my parents--like I'd failed them, and everyone else, because if I'd really wanted to stay healthy, I would have done so. Of course they weren't disappointed in me...but I still am a bit disappointed in myself, and my inability to kick this thing.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I guess to say to Leroy and Laurie: this is YOUR reality, and you are under no obligation to be happy or peaceful or positive or any other impossible-to-conjure state. Cancer IS cruel, no doubt about it. It's one disease, and a thousand diseases, and while we all share some common emotions and concerns and experiences, we also each have individual responses. How we do what we do is what makes us who we are.

And you, Mr. Sievers, are one helluva guy!

Peace
jj

Sent by Joan Jones | 10:15 AM | 1-25-2008

It's all grey area isn't it? Like you said, you do the best you can and move on.

God Bless you Leroy.

Have a good day!

Judy

Sent by Judy Voller | 10:17 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy ~ I came across a quote the other day from Winston Churchill.
"Success is not final;
Failure is not fatal;
It is the courage to carry on that counts."

And you, Leroy have that courage to carry on. I read it daily in your posts and know that, no matter what it takes, you will find the courage to do it. My thoughts and prayers are with you always. Geneva

Sent by Geneva | 10:26 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy,

No wonder everyone wants to die in their sleep or be hit by a bolt of lightning! One of the hardest things about cancer is you have to live with it 24/7. Usually for a fairly long time. That is very wearing and tedious and frightening It saps your strength and courage.

Frankly, I find you amazing in your ability to find answers for yourself at every turn. Good answers. Adult answers. What a guy!

Blessings.

Sent by Diana Kitch | 10:30 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy, it sounds like you've got your head in the right place for now - I guess the struggle is always to stay that way, in the face of ever-changing conditions. We will all be thinking of you today, hoping that the hospice appointment is a positive experience.

Sasha, while I am the one who had (has?) cancer in my family, I know how very hard it was (and is) on my husband and children. Please accept my cyberspace hug across the miles, and know that we are all here for you, always ready to hear those things that are so very hard (and sometimes impossible) to say to the people around you.

Sent by Gretchen Hoag | 10:32 AM | 1-25-2008

This is a beautiful day ~ and that's all any of us really have. I pray for comfort, wisdom AND healing for you.

Sent by Pam | 10:36 AM | 1-25-2008

Acupuncture is a great choice. The results can also include increased energy and (for lack of better words) lifting of mental and emotional weight. There is a spot, where one's "third eye" is, that when treated, provides a clearing of mind and purpose, lifting above pain and anxiety. It helps with maintaining the will to heal. I hope it works as well for you as it did for me. As always, you're on my mind, and I'll pray for your continued improvement.

Sent by Marsha | 10:40 AM | 1-25-2008

Dear Leroy,
I have lurked here for a long time without writing because my experience was so disheartening. My husband was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer, told he had 6 months to live, and died in 4 1/2 months following twelve brutal months of chemo. It wasn't for a lack of fighting, or not hoping he would see our daughters graduate from HS and college respectively; he just had a bad cancer. I wish that we had contacted hospice because they were amazingly helpful in so many ways. What I know for sure is that you, nor anyone else knows when the end of your life will be. Anything that can make it more pleasant - hospice nurse, acupuncture, physical therapy, music, ice cream, Rowan Atkinson DVDs, whatever, is worth embracing. You are in my thoughts.

Sent by Denise | 10:42 AM | 1-25-2008

Hospice helped a friend of mine for 2 years with her pain...they are wonderful!!!

Sent by sue | 10:42 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy:
My wife is currently receiving acupuncture in a study of it's value in the recovery of Breast Cancer survivors. Both of us were originally skeptical but there is a definite lessening of pain in her back and neck. With over 40 needles each time, she has had no pain on needle insertion.
Go for it Leroy!
Love, Don

Sent by don winslow | 10:59 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy, I absolutely LOVED acupuncture when I had it years ago with a back injury. I wish my medical coverage would cover it, I'd sign up today. When those ever so tiny needles were in me, that was the only time I could sleep good. I look forward to your using up the time for your hospice nurses and showing up back at your oncologist's office and I want someone to take a picture of their shocked face as they walk into the room and see you sitting there. Ha! That happened to a friend of mine's mother. Then the doc said, "Well, I could give you some tests". She said, "No thank you" :) I'm praying for you Leroy. Many things running thru my mind as I read your blog this morning, mainly wishing you to be pain free, cancer free, comfortable and laughing until your belly hurts! Oh! And eating all your favorite foods and loving them too.

Sent by Linda | 11:07 AM | 1-25-2008

Today's post from Joan struck a particularly sensitive chord for me. I never know what to do with the often quoted belief that we can make ourselves well if only we want to sincerely enough. It makes me crazy to hear and read that.
I think what's most upsetting about this line of reasoning are my on-going efforts to make it so. After I let go of my anger, I begin to think maybe I just haven't tried hard enough the last three dozen times I've tried to make myself well. Gotta try harder, do better, believe more...
It sure would be glorious if we could will ourselves into wellness. In the meantime, I'm hanging tough and feeling so lucky to have found you, Leroy!! You and our cyberspace gang are helping to keep me grounded, supported and in touch with the reality of now. Thank you!

Sent by Anita Solomon | 11:26 AM | 1-25-2008

Dear Leroy and Marilyn,
My husband is in the same boat trying to chose between quality and quantity. He actually took a Chemo break for about 5 weeks after one year of treatment. Unfortunately, the quality of his life during the break seemed no better than when he was on Chemo. In fact, his cough got worse since the cancer was growing. He has chosen to try another chemo drug even if there is only a one percent chance that it might help him. Of course, he's even sicker since he was infused. He's not ready to give up yet though one doctor thought he was foolish to do Chemo anymore. I guess you can say that Chemo or no, quality or quantity, all decisions about cancer take courage. I don't know which I'd chose. Sometimes, I can't even decide what flavor ice cream to order.

Sent by Elaine | 11:38 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy~ Hospice helped my mother~in~law so very much. I think more than anything, she enjoyed the conversations she had with the ladies. They were like a neighbor coming to visit. But you have plenty of neighbors, us! Have a good weekend and you know we worry about you and all the Leroys over these few days. Its a relief on Monday to hear your sentiments. Take care~

Sent by DiAnn | 11:54 AM | 1-25-2008

Leroy: Experienced acupuncture two years ago. Approached with some fear and more skepticism. No need on either count. It can really help. Go for it.

Sent by Kathleen | 12:12 PM | 1-25-2008

I am glad you are meeting with Hospice! It is the Hospice program that will GAIN much from their conversations with you! This blog should be in their training manual! Actually, I think your doctor knew that and felt that for the whole community of these bloggers, and for all of their future patients, they need to learn from someone as articulate and honest as you! Please feel the love and will of this group of bloggers for added strength!

Sent by Lucy Groh | 12:28 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy, The day should be interesting, if nothing else. Moving in any direction is a good thing, it keeps your mind occupied. Pain is an eveil bedfellow, and you have been with it far too long. Take a chance, even if it is accupuncture, anything that helps. Have a nice weekend. Stan

Sent by Stan Wozniak | 12:34 PM | 1-25-2008

I'm so excited about your positive outlook on things. I had breast cancer some 20 years ago and I shared your same outlook. This positive approach is a blessing!

Sent by Sue Sheehan | 12:44 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy,
As I sit here crying, I have to tell you how much I love you. You give so much to so many people. Thank you Leroy.

All of you...you so enhance my life. You help me find courage. Thank you Sasha and Joan Jones and Al, and Laurie Hirth, and All of You. You take my strength and magnify it.

I'm obviously very emotional today. One of the saddest issues for me is the pain my illness is causing other people. My job has always been to help others...that is just the way it is supposed to be. Now, ironically, my pain is causing them pain.

Leroy, I'm sitting next to you today, all day. But don't worry, I promise I won't bring you down. I'll smile and share all of the love and joy in my heart. In fact, there is enough for all of us.

I feel better already. I hope you all do too.

Sent by Laurel M. Jones | 12:49 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy: Hope the acupuncture is effective, as always your sense of humor and irony is refreshing. Peace and love to you...

To Sasha and Denise: My heart is with you in the pain of watching a husband go through cancer. Hugs and blessings to you both.

To everyone: Yesterday my 13 yr old student Stephanie passed away peacefully after being taken over by metastatic ovarian cancer...she died at home surrounded by her cats, her stuffed animals and her grandparents. I'm still in shock at the aggressiveness of the disease in young folks. Thanks for listening...peace and blessings to all from Sherri in Texas, BC dx 4-06

Sent by Sherri Eggleston | 12:53 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy, as you said make the best decision you can and move forward. You can't keep looking backwards. Decisions are so hard at a time like this as when we are in pain and weak things look so differently. I know you will consider all and try to make the wisest decision and no matter what decision you make if it does not work out then try something different. We just don't want to lose a lot of energy in trying to make a decision. I pray that answers will come easily to you as you start your investigation into hospice, acupunture, and therapy. There is a wealth of information out there for you in these three. Our hearts are deffinetly with you and Laurie at this time.

Sasha, Our thoughts are also with you and John and family. I know it is hard for all.

Sent by dorothy in oregon | 1:38 PM | 1-25-2008

it's a strange moment, moving from 'theory' ("of course quality of life is the most important") to 'this decision is about *me*' or '...is about *my very own loved one*'. very strange. it should not last long; kind of like stepping over a mental railing that turns out to be a liiittle higher than expected, and you hook your foot and stumble a bit. don't fall. then you say, 'you know, if nothing else, these kind people have some amazing pharmaceuticals'. (this sounds kind of like a joke, but it is not.) you find all that is positive in what they have to offer, and realize that it is very good indeed. you will ask for those things that are the most liberating of mind, and liberating from pain. things will happen that will make you giggle. and you'll realize you're giggling, and how good it feels to do that. yep. quality of life.

Sent by mary | 2:25 PM | 1-25-2008

It is cruel. But it does keep things in perspective for me. Got into a car accident on the way to work today. I wasn't hurt, nobody was hurt. So, we swapped information and I drove away smiling.

Sent by Lisa | 2:28 PM | 1-25-2008

Today, I googled Does cancer hurt? and it led me right to your blog. I been reading ever since. My dad was diagonised with liver cancer 7 months ago and it is so hard to understand what is happening, or get him to do anything other than complain. I believe your words reflect much of what he would say if he could only find the words. While it makes me sad, I kind of feel like I at least know now. Cancer does hurt. I'll be careful what I ask from now one, but continue to read. Thank you for sharing.

Sent by hopetuch | 2:51 PM | 1-25-2008

Hey Leroy
It,s Mardi Gras time down here. So if you n Lori decide to make the trek....I have room. We have lots of comfy chairs for parade watchin, and even more food!!!! Not to mention the liquid tasty treats. I plan on being at every Margi Gras, til the cancer says different!
Les Bon Temps Roulle Mon Ami!
Liz Zimmerman

Sent by liz Zimmerman | 2:53 PM | 1-25-2008

To Gretchen,

Thank you and bless you for your kind words.

Sent by Sasha | 3:16 PM | 1-25-2008

To all,

Thank you and bless you for kind words.

Sent by Sasha | 3:17 PM | 1-25-2008

Dear Leroy,
It sounds like you have a little bit of that old fighting spirit back. All of your choices sound like great ones to me. I hope you and Laurie can do something you both enjoy this weekend (maybe a good movie and your favorite ice cream...m-m-m-m-m-m) Take care my friend and focus on one day at a time....after all...we none know if we have a tomorrow. Godspeed

Sent by Teresa in WV | 3:25 PM | 1-25-2008

To Joan Jones--AMEN!!!

To Leroy--Many thoughts and prayers and God's blessings to you.

Sent by Denise | 3:43 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy,
I'm looking forward to your accounts of these previously undiscussed resources and therapies. Investigating these things makes perfect sense. We are used to and, in fact, expect you to explore all possible options. You do us all a service by introducing these new (for you) approaches. Besides, there may be profound and unexpected benefits for both you and Laurie.
As always, you are both in my thoughts each day.

Sent by Gene Koeneman | 3:52 PM | 1-25-2008

Dear Leroy,

Whatever decision you ever make, I support you in heart, soul and spirit. God Bless you and everyone here as we try to make our way through this life doing the best we can with the hand that is dealt us on any given day with the information we have at the time. That's all you can ask of yourself, or anyone else.

My prayers for pain relief and healing are constantly with you.

Love to you and Laurie.

Connie

Sent by Connie | 3:55 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy...each of us finds that cancer effects each of us differently. We could have the same diagnosis, and it could react in you differently from me. What I am getting at is there are decisions each of us must make during the treatment process -- and they are the right ones for US. Whether we go for further treatment, partial treatment ..or no treatments, that is as individual as each one of us are. There are NO wrong decisions, just the best choice made at the time of a fork in the road. I have had cancer twice..and I have always said "quality over quantity". No one knows, but God, the day the door opens on the other side ... and I surely want to LIVE and not just exist while I am waiting for that door opening. So .. whatever you should do from this moment on..live for this moment--if they can alleviate the pain, then enjoy this moment .. it won't come again. Wishing you comfort for each moment of the day.

Sent by Jo Ann Baswell | 4:09 PM | 1-25-2008

Dear Larry,

Like so many others, I've been reading your entries from day one...a "first-time writer, long-time reader" so to speak.

Cancer first struck our family eleven years ago--very unknown territory at the time but now we are all too acquainted with its ways as just as you are from all your soldiering. I wanted to take just a moment to speak about a concept with which you are just now becoming acquainted: hospice.

Larry, I had no idea what hospice was about when our family was first introduced to it. But let me tell you, Hospice nurses and volunteers are an indispensable source of care and compassion -- not just for the patient, but the loved ones--at the most critical time. I don't think there's anything nobler or more important a person can do than make another human being aware that s/he is surrounded by love when the time to move on arrives. I remember being more grateful for hospice than perhaps anything along the way when my first sibling was called away.

I also wanted to let you to know that your blog inspired me over a year ago to schedule a colonoscopy and other diagnostic exams. All were negative thankfully, but I will be eternally grateful for the role you played in motivating me to be more proactive with my health. Even though I had already lost two siblings to cancer, it was your urging that pushed my conscience past the tipping point.

Lastly, I applaud you for your writing professionalism. There isn't an entry that doesn't enlighten, inspire, educate, entertain or move me in some way that I am not better for having read it.

Peace to you, Larry.

Sent by Mark H. | 4:16 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy- can anyone think of any other disease which involves so many constant and difficult choices? I can't think of any.
Isn't it nice to know you can rely on your good judgment and instinct to make these tough decisions. Never doubt yourself Leroy- we can all vouch for your common sense and good humor.

Sent by linda h. | 4:46 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy,

The further we all travel on the cancer journey, the fewer traveling companions we have. I sense that you're beginning to travel through country that not many of the rest of us have ever experienced. We read your dispatches with interest and with compassion, because we know that, one day, we too may get to know that part of the road.

We may no longer be traveling beside you, but do know that our thoughts, best wishes and prayers are with you.

Rev. Carl Wilton
"A Pastor's Cancer Diary"
http://www.cewilton.blogspot.com

Sent by Carl Wilton | 4:53 PM | 1-25-2008

I feel I am walking side by side with you...for years and years. One day it is a feeling of incredible strength and control of at least the moment..I am not dead yet!! The next, the curious slipping away of the body's strength permeates the spirit and you are left with a kind of "you got me." And back and forth this game of tag goes..day after day after day. I just try to keep saying each morning before I get thrown into the cancer fray, ok, not today, just not today...today I will find a way to stay bit ahead of the tag-You-got-me feeling....even if I am limping or even crawling..

Sent by Andrea Angell | 5:49 PM | 1-25-2008

Thank-you for your example of strength through adversity.
I want you to feel better.
My love to you and yours.
Joyce

Sent by joyce | 6:01 PM | 1-25-2008

Sasha--as always, you're in my thoughts. God bless.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get annoyed when someone calls Leroy Larry? Leroy never mentions it, but it's got to be kind of irksome to have your name wrong...especially when people say they've followed the blog for such-and-such time and still mess it up.

Please, Leroy, let us know next week what your hospice visit was like. As I've mentioned, I didn't find it terribly peaceful or spiritual or anything, but they were a tremendous help in taking the pressure off of me as a caregiver, and they gave Terry someone to talk to who wasn't a part of our social circle, someone who he could vent on who would take it without complaint. We both needed that, and they provided it. I know there were many times I fell short of expectations, and I was very disappointed that Terry chose to give up and accept death...but hospice assured us that both views were valid. All in all, it was the best we could have done.

Sent by Bruce | 7:11 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy and Laurie,
One of the first things I do after coming home from work each day is to check this blog and see how you are doing. I first discovered it when my husband was fighting lung cancer.
The monster just would not stay away from us. After he had a lung removed in 2003, we had 2 1/2 years of a so-called "cancer-free" life before Leon once again developed a cough that wouldn't go away. The ups and downs of chemo, radiation, loss of appetite, feeling too tired to play with the Grand-Girls, good check-ups, diappointing check-ups....
Sasha, my heart goes out to you as you, John and the kids face these things. After 37 years of marriage, I wanted to DO something to make it better for Leon but all I could do was love him and tell him so each and every day. As of April 7, 2007, he is no longer with me in the physical sense but he will forever live in my heart. So, Sasha, (and all) be thankful for each and every minute, take more pictures, record his voice, and tell him how much he means to you.
Enough said...Thanks, Leroy, for giving me a place to tell our story.

Sent by Jane Garrett | 8:27 PM | 1-25-2008

I hope you had a good day today and you find that your experiences with these new approaches make you feel hopeful.

We have an 80 yr old grandma who tried everything for her Crohn's Disease and found a lot of relief with acupuncture when nothing else helped.

One day our health care will value these other approaches...but that's a discussion for another time. Sleep well.

Sent by Sarah | 9:05 PM | 1-25-2008

I'm confused -- was there a Freudian slip (quantity over quality)? But you then seemed to speak of quality.... However, knowing your courage and tenacity, perhaps you do choose quantity. I hope that there is some means for you to choose BOTH quantity and quality -- maximum time, minimal pain, maximum happiness.

Wishing you peace and joy.

Sent by Victoria Ferreira | 9:52 PM | 1-25-2008

Leroy: The only place the needle hurts is in the ball of your foot and that is usually for sinsus. It works great for hot flashes, too, but don't think your gender has to worry much about that unless you are next to one of us. :>)

Burge has been gone 25 weeks and for some reason, both my son Mark and I have been dreaming of him. Mark had a very interesting situation where he was sitting with his Dad, who he knew couldn't be his Dad, but when he asked was told "I'm the person who is here to watch over you". I think he was there for Mark, in spirit. Mark spent two days after that dream chopping wood at Burge's favorite place along the Arkansas, crying and repeating that message (Like me, he can be Compulsive/Obsessive) and I think lots of things fell into place for him.

My dream was one where Burge was home and I didn't know how to tell everyone the funeral was a mistake. Right away, however, I started doing things we didn't get done...like a family picture. That too seemed to help settle some things as it felt like we finished off jobs that should have been done. It was hard to wake up and realize I was back in this world.

I guess my point is how much a part of us our loved ones are even when they are on the other side. I know a little how Sasha feels, as caregivers we don't always know what is negative thinking and what is reality, but I'm not sure it matters if we are right or wrong in the end. The connection is there and Now is what counts.

Also watched the History Channel program about the world coming to an end Dec 23, 2012 if the Myan calendar is right. Perhaps they stopping on that day because they ran out of rock or perhaps we are all doomed. If they are right...so many have not been...perhaps none of us will have to live with our decisions much longer. That's kind of frivous thinking right now, but any one of us could be next and we need to keep things in order as we go.

My love and prayers to all.

Nikki

Sent by Nikki | 10:38 PM | 1-25-2008

Hi Leroy,
I think my comments are not making it to you, but I ran across this comic strip I sent my mom while she struggled with cancer. I just found it in my emails and thought of you:
http://www.boltcity.com/copper/copper_034_steps.htm
I think of you often, and I don't wish you anything but moments of peaceful gratitude for life, for this crazy life.
crow

Sent by Crow | 10:40 PM | 1-25-2008

The first thing of sense that my brain produced post-diagnosis-talk was this thought: "It will never be enough."

Life's so magnificent that even if I got diagnosed at 100 instead of at 50, I would still say "It will never be enough."

Sent by Patti N | 12:05 AM | 1-26-2008

Leroy, I'm glad to find you again. I had moved and my email address changed and it has taken me months to catch up with you and I will look over the archieves as time permits. I am delighted you are here. I always look forward to your comments. I'm still in treatment (breast cancer with mets to bones and most recently brain) So, today showed stable from neck to thigh and hopefully my brain MRI next week will be just as good. I'm on minimal hormonal meds and pain meds but finally feeling like I might climb out of the depression I have felt since my cancer moved to my brain. I've been fighting since 2003 and not ready to make 2008 my last year ... my motto for the year is '2008 is my year to be GREAT'
I think this is my first post and I want to thank you for using your position to have this forum and be our cheerleader. My favorite daily read.

Sent by Beth | 1:14 AM | 1-26-2008

Leroy,
You may not be able to see the faces of all those who read your blog and care about you, but know we are here for you.

Sent by Eileen Peacock | 3:05 PM | 1-26-2008

Dear Leroy,
Many thoughts and prayers for you and Laurie. Thank you for continuing to write.

Sent by Connie Brown | 12:36 AM | 1-27-2008

Leroy, keep taking things one day at a time. With this cruel disease, we have to take our success in short doses most of the time. Courage in the face of daily struggle is what all of the cancer patients and caregivers live with each and every day. Your effort to write each day inspires all of us to ponder, write back and be encouraging to one another.
May you find some comfort soon.

to Joan J - I agree that positive attitude statements can come across as too 'Pollyann-ish' for those struggling each day. Believe me, you are not a failure !

Sent by Lou Loggi | 2:44 PM | 1-27-2008

Dear Leroy,
Do you ever have days when you just want to give up? I'm having one of those and feeling pretty suicidal. No, this isn't a suicide note, I'm just saying how I'm feeling. Very down, and very much not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. This is one of those times, for me at least, when I have a great deal of trouble just hanging on for one more day, and I wondered if that had ever happened to you?
Take care,
Kim B.

Sent by Kim Blankenship | 11:12 PM | 1-27-2008

Leroy and Laurie,

Much love during this time of exploration, research and decisions. And, to Sasha and Laurel, much love and comfort to you both from afar.

Sent by Amy in NJ | 11:52 PM | 1-27-2008

About