Losing Control Yet Not Giving Up

How will this go? How do things play out from here? What happens next?

I don't have the answers to any of those questions right now. I'm sure the answers will become apparent at some point, but we're not there yet.

I do see changes in my body. I'm not as strong as I was a few weeks ago, or a few weeks before that. I need more help doing some things.

Getting out of a certain chair, for instance. I used to get in and out of it without really thinking. Well, those days are over. I need to plan ahead if I can, make sure there's someone else around to help lift me up onto my feet.

It's just another little loss of control. A loss of freedom that the cancer has caused. And I hate it.

It scares me, too. How far will it go? How much of my strength will the cancer steal? Will I end up bed-ridden?

And always, in the back of my mind is the fear of falling again. I don't think I'll ever forget what that was like. Falling and not being able to get back up. Even though it happened months ago, the memory is still fresh.

On the other hand, I have to keep going. I have to move around, go from chair to chair. I'm not bed-ridden now, and I can't let myself give up.

So as it gets harder and harder to do the same things, I think all I can do is work a little harder to do them.

And make the cancer work harder to try and stop me.

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Leroy, trust yourself and the Lord to know when it will be time to rest. For now just keeping on going. God Bless.

Sent by mif | 7:34 AM | 6-25-2008

I'm sure that you are scared! Remember being little and when scared you'd hold your Mother's hand or sit in her lap? I hope that you can find an equivalent safety zone. And that you can "enjoy the view" from whatever place or position you find yourself in. Also make use of every modern convenience available for people who find their physical strength diminishing...like chairs that lift. It is hard on the pride but, when accepted, makes life so much easier. Warm loving thoughts going your way today!

Sent by Susan | 7:43 AM | 6-25-2008

Don't give up! Patience + strength (even if it is just inner)will help you face your challenges.

It is natural to be afraid after your big fall.

Your "army" has been showering you with love and praise. Please listen! Hopefully it will help you keep your strength and help keep fears in check.

Sent by Liz L. | 7:44 AM | 6-25-2008

Oh Leroy,

I am sorry about the changes you are experiencing. The loss of independence and the ability to what was once simple things must be extremely hard.

Chairs, you know there are those chairs that help people get into them and out them because they have a lift mechanism. That may help, you would not have to work as hard and then have energy for something else.

Prayers to you as these changes are present and you must make changes to your life. Continue to live!

Sent by Sue Chap | 7:46 AM | 6-25-2008

Take extra care on stairs. As your muscles get weak, the strength needed to push yourself up may not be there. As you already know, falling is scary. There are things you can buy/rent to help you get in out of a bath and for stairs. I hope you guys have all these now, just in case.

Sent by Irene | 7:47 AM | 6-25-2008

Good morning Leroy. I am sorry some things are getting harder to do. But do keep trying. Take that extra little precaution of haveing someone else assist you if needed so you don't fall. And as you said make that cancer work harder. I do know it is not easy to accept these changes and I will continue to keep you in my prayers that you will find strength to deal with all. Both you and Laurie. We all are walking with you two. Please have the best day that you can.

Sent by dorothy in Oregon | 7:49 AM | 6-25-2008

I was unable to get back to sleep after my adult son woke me at 2:30 (he is an alcoholic and his father's cancer diagnosis only gives him yet another reason to drink) - so I decided to spend some time at the computer reading through yesterday's posts. So many truly inspirational words - special thanks to Tricia from central Cali, Cathy Skubik and Miriam.

I know that losing control of the things you're able to do is difficult, Leroy. But try not to be afraid of being bed-ridden, if that should happen. My husband spent a year after his diagnosis and surgeries bed-ridden; it was hard on both of us, but it also provided some very special joys of closeness. We became a team as we worked our way through the daily challenges. We were lucky and he is walking again now - but he has those same issues as you with the struggle to get out of his chair and the fear of falling. Just take it one step at a time - and never give up!

Sent by Dianne in Nevada | 8:08 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,

In our local newspaper is a daily cryptogram called "Celebrity Cypher." Today's was made up of two quotes. One will definitely resonate with you, and I think goes with your post today.

It is: "To face despair and not give in to it, that's courage." The poignant part is that the quote is credited to your dear friend, Ted Koppel.

Was the timing coincidence?

To you and Laurie, thank you again and always.

Sent by Judie in CT | 8:09 AM | 6-25-2008

These will be the hardest of times & I appreciate your willingness to share these hard days with all of us. I wish I could grant you peace, but I do believe things happen for a reason. You are in my thoughts & prayers everyday. Thank you for helping all of us through the journey.

Sent by Kathy | 8:18 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,
Hang in there. Thinking of you and your family.
Hugs
Annette

Sent by Annette | 8:31 AM | 6-25-2008

Good morning Leroy, It's only 5:00AM here in Los Angeles, but even before my coffee, I always start my day wanting to know how you are doing. You and my husband are in very similar situations, and he also is losing control & not giving up. Laurie and I are walking in each others shoes. The changes we are witnessing, and feeling so helpless, is just overwhelming. My husband has been battling with stage 4 colon cancer for over four years now. He's had numerous surgeries with reoccurances, but always recovered after. He had chemo throughout, and has been a warrior. There's no more surgeries, chemo, and just watching the weight loss, poor appetite, progressing weakness, and now pain medicines. All the things he was able to do keeps decreasing. When I read your words, I hear my husband talking & feeling the same emotions. The questions you ask, I'm constantly thinking, and he must be also. Our 14 year old dog, also in bad shape, never wants to leave his side now. It's so heartbreaking! He hates that I'm doing so much more, and he can't help me out. He has told me that he feels very guilty leaving me, and it's more than we can bare. We are doing our best, as you and Laurie are, but it's so devasting knowing the inevitable and losing hope.
I send my prayers and thoughts to you both, and so grateful for your generosity to all of us out here. You have made of our journeys somewhat easier.
Heartfelt thanks to you and Laurie,
Pam

Sent by Pam Lever | 8:32 AM | 6-25-2008

Mornin' Leroy~ Seems that everything on radio & TV is depressing. What has happened to this world anyway? Where has happiness and optimism gone? And you, Leroy~ have you lost yours? Evidently the pain has not lessened much. Don't know how you can cope with it constantly. How can your poor body possibly rest and heal when they have picked, prodded, x-rayed it, etc, for so long now? Are you able to get outside to sit, lay in a lounge chair, get some air and sunshine? It might help you recover your will to live. My heart goes out to you and I wish I had magic words to implant in your troubled mind. Love you!

Sent by J C R | 8:41 AM | 6-25-2008

I remember like it was yesterday when I was helping my son move from a chair to his bed not 2 feet away. I helped him out of the chair and his legs gave way and next thing I know he was on the floor. I felt HORRIBLE. I could not lift him, not because of his weight, but because the cancer in his spine hurt so bad. He was angry, not at me, but because his body was letting him down where his mind was as good as ever. A family member came to help me and was able to get Theo in his bed. I wanted to cry but couldn't because that would have made him feel worse. He too, like you, gave the word courage a new meaning...

When I read your blog Leroy it also wanted to make me cry. But I won't because that will only make you feel worse.

Ask God for direction. Let Him show you how to get through this time. Like Footprints in the Sand, He is holding you now my friend. Let Him.

God bless you Leroy.

Judy from Wisconsin

Sent by Judy Voller | 8:44 AM | 6-25-2008

How's your swimming? Gravity isn't much of a challenge once you're in the water. Getting in and out might require some resourcefulness.

Hold Fast, Activity & sunshine helps.

Don Macleod

Sent by Don MacLeod | 8:54 AM | 6-25-2008

Hi Leroy,

We are here for you. Caring a lot. Feeling the fear & sadness & frustration.

Sending you strength, and peace.

Heartlight,

Gracie, Virgie, & Kim

Sent by Virgie & Kim & Gracie | 8:56 AM | 6-25-2008

Your courage ranks right up there with the best of them. You are a hero to me.

Sent by Nichole in FL | 8:57 AM | 6-25-2008

Move while you can Leroy, and when you no longer can, close your eyes and hop on a moving cloud.
Hugs & Kisses

Sent by Sue in Rochester, NY | 9:01 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,
I have watched my husband go from being such a busy, vibrant man to one who depends on a lot of "equipment". Some of the stuff is temporary but the oxygen,wheelchair and walker will be with him always. He, like you, has to plan the sitting situations because getting in any chair is usually easy but getting out is a challenge depending on the design. Everything he does is now a challenge which means it is also a challenge for me. So many adjustments have to be made but I keep reminding myself how far he has come from 10 weeks ago when he was on a ventilator with a very uncertain future. Because the cancer is prostate with bone metastisis he is only going to get more dependant on help to move around. At this point his greatest desire is to be able to ride his beloved motorcycle but that may or may not come. I think living this life makes us all so much more aware of what our future needs may be and it is a little scary but we all know how to adapt. If you need help, take it and make the day a little easier because you are already a hero. Being bed-ridden is a likely possibility for all of us but you can handle it. God bless.

Sent by kathie | 9:08 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy - don't give up. Keep fighting the fight and sounds like you are doing a great job of it. My husband was scared of many things too. The biggest challenge for him was memory problems. It was terrible for him. He forgot that he had cancer most of the time which maybe was a blessing from God. He still fought hard though and I think you are too. If I lived closer I certainly would come over and help out. Take it easy - but keep battling.

Sent by Deb from Michigan | 9:18 AM | 6-25-2008

We,too, feel helpless. Helpless to reach out and give you a hand. Like you we make it day by day forward and onward. God Bless.

Sent by Jo-Ellen | 9:21 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,
Cancer really sucks...but your will to keep on going will carry you through all the inconviences. I know it is hard on oneself to ask for help when we could do things just recently with assistance. I guess it is a blessing that their is someone their to help you, and show their love by assisting you. Accepting their loving help is also helping them have a little bit of control of this situation that you are both going through. Cancer will take a lot of things from you, but it can never take your spirit. If you become bedridden, then it will just mean it is where God wants you to rest and an opportunity for your loved ones to cuddle with you. You are a half full glass person....don't let cancer tricking you into the half empty attidude. It is okay to be scared...just be be willing to accept that you are brave and strong also.
blessings

Sent by Miriam | 9:24 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy ~
Speaking as a nurse and daughter of a wonderful father with cancer, I relish reading your entry each day. Thanks so much for continuing these! The increased challenges you face each day might make it easy to abandon these. They are so effective, so insightful, so well-written and capivating. I admire you more than I can say. I always turn the radio UP when you are NPR. I'd love to hear a new podcast, too. Your strong voice is so encouraging. I WISH I COULD BE THERE TO HELP YOU UP OUT OF THAT CHAIR. God bless you, dear. I hope today is a good one for you and that tomorrow is even better.

Sent by Carol | 9:26 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,

Your honesty and willingness to be so open with us is amazing and so very generous to those in Leroy's army.

No matter how I try I can't come up with any light response to your post. A hidden cost of cancer is the emotional toll which comes from the limitations on our strength and loss of confidence in our physical ability to do even the simplest things.

But, as long as one can sit up and make a fist to shake at cancer, the demon will be forced to work even harder.

Gentle hugs to you dear Leroy.

Sent by Peggy | 9:33 AM | 6-25-2008

Let it out Leroy!

I'm off to SF for next steps, where I'll dump your fear and mine, right in the bay.

Let it be.

Sent by Joan S. | 9:36 AM | 6-25-2008

Just try to never stop Leroy. Keep going.........from you cheering section in Chicago.

Sent by Lisa | 9:39 AM | 6-25-2008

Don't let that damn beast get the best of you Leroy!! Keep on keepin' on and maybe you can find some satisfaction in accomplishing the little things that you can still do on your own.

Love Graham from Sag Harbor.

Sent by Graham G. Hawks | 9:42 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,

I receive your blog updates by e-mail, but I rarely comment on the site. I feel compelled to do so this morning. My mother died of cancer when I was 14 years old. I have a lot of great memories of her, but the thing I admire most about my mother to this day is the strength she displayed in the face of tremendous pain and uncertainty. Even the "simple" things like getting up from a chair reflect amazing courage. Also, mom's candor about what she was facing was laudatory. I see these same qualities in your writing. Thank you.

-Matthew

Sent by Matthew Taylor | 9:46 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,
I think that might be one of the most difficult things to deal with--the loss of control and ability to do what we did before.
btw, excellent find Judie!!
It's been really dry in our area, and gardens are drying up if they can't be watered. My precious Dad managed to get a barrel loaded on to the back of his tractor and filled it up with water. He was taking it to the garden area, but it slipped off and spilled before he got there. Dad was too tired to do any more. It was a moment that marked a change in what can physically be accomplished. It was a sad moment. But this is the way it goes and is a time when attitude means everything. Yours is good, Leroy, though I'm sure you have your moments when it gets to you.
Take care, dear Leroy!

Sent by Linda Lee | 9:50 AM | 6-25-2008

I read your post today, Leroy, and it really resonated with me. All I can say is that I think with cancer, we do what we can, when we can, for as long as we can. It's true in life in general, and it's magnified when you're fighting cancer.

I am thinking of you and Laurie today, as I do multiple times every day, and I am wishing you some amount of joy and connection and "good stuff" mixed in with what I can hear is a tough time too.

Leslie in Boston

Sent by Leslie | 9:56 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,
I wish for you a "safe zone" from your fear and I pray for your strength to keep going!
Donna

Sent by Donna Green | 9:57 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,
Today I wish for a fragrant summer breeze and the warmth of the sun to touch you in every chair you choose.
Let us, "Leroy's Army" fight off the demons of despair for you today, take a rest.
Just breathe friend.
Much love to you and Laurie,

Sent by Debra in New Hampshire | 10:01 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,

You are so right; you need to keep on going. Keep moving. Take it a day at a time. You are strong, eventhough it may not feel like it at times. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. I go in for my CT and bone scan on Friday. I am in treatment for mtastasized breast cancer. My cancer returned a year ago May to my liver. I was in treatment for 6 months and off for 3 because my last bone scan showed some spots on my ribs and tailbone. My oncologist told me that metastasized cancer is like a chronic disease; it will never go away. Luckily I feel great and treatment is going well. However, I always worry when it is scan time. AHHHH...that's life with cancer. Hve a great day!

Take Care,

Mary

Sent by mary McLellen | 10:19 AM | 6-25-2008

Get 4 pillows...one for your North, South, East and West sides, Leroy. Have NPR's "office supplies division" send over some huge rubber bands to strap them onto your body.
No more worries about falling!
Keep your chin up, friend. Better days are coming as that radiation continues to do its work.

Sent by Pat | 10:20 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,

I am sorry to hear of your latest trials. I know it is scary, and my heart goes out to you. Bless you and Laurie and all those you love and are loved by.

Sent by Connie | 10:21 AM | 6-25-2008

Dearest Leroy,
Just take one day at a time and get through it the best you can. Don't try to do to much and relax whenever possible. May God give you a painfree day and a better tomorrow. Hugs to you and Laurie

Sent by Teresa in WV | 10:21 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy, I wish you lived closer to Michigan. After my mom died, we brought her lazy boy lift chair here (not knowing what to do with it). It turned out to be a God send when Pat got too weak to get out of a chair without assistance. It just gave him the extra boost he needed.

I still have the chair, I wish you could use it. Maybe now would be a good time to invest in one. They don't look as bad as they used to--mine actually 'goes' in my great room.

Laurie, a piece of advice caretaker to caretaker. I hope you've taken to heart the words spoken here before about taking care of yourself. Your role is going to expand and you'll need all of your mental and physical strength for the next year or so. On the plus side, the last year of Pat's life brought us to a new level of closeness that was almost spiritual. I'm so glad we had that time together. Having to help him with some of the most basic of needs (like getting out of a chair) showed him that a person doesn't have to do Everything by themselves to remain strong. After 26 years I didn't think that there was more to learn about each other but I was wrong.

Hugs to you both.

Kathy B.

Sent by Kathy B. | 10:26 AM | 6-25-2008

Bless your heart, Leroy.I hope and pray you feel stronger today. You're such a brave warrior! Of course, all any of us has is the illusion of control. But I'm so sorry your life is such a struggle right now. The unknown is scary. What is known is that you are and will always be surrounded by love and support, however things go.Thanks to Judie for the Ted Koppel quote above. It reminds me of another one that hangs on the wall a few feet from my computer:"Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me. But try waking up each morning and loving the world all over again. That's what takes a real hero."

You're my hero, Leroy.

Sent by Doris | 10:31 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,

How frustrating it is to not be able to do what you are used to doing. A couple of the notes above mentioned the chair that takes you in and gets you out; those are wonderful and should be used whenever you can! Just take care and let Laurie and others help you and accept all of our prayers and love.

Love, Janice Goldberg White

Sent by Janice Goldberg White | 10:32 AM | 6-25-2008

For me, one of the scariest thoughts about life is having to stay in my body all the way until I die, no matter what that may involve. As I grow older, however, that starts to feel just a tiny bit less scary. Perhaps in time I will even be able to begin to think of it as a comfort, that no matter what, I will always have me to be with me. My attempted post a couple of days ago did not go through. I wanted to thank you then, and so I will thank you now, for the simple and powerful sentiment, "I can do this." Somehow there is this sense if you can do this, maybe if I have to someday, I too could do this. Bless you, Joyce

Sent by Joyce Smith | 10:33 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy
This is what David and I fear too, and it's hard to be brave. I really admire your courage and strength in facing this and I hope that, in some small way, your blog family can help to keep your beautiful spirit strong. We are all facing the unknown, and when our bodies get weaker and less reliable it is harder to stay firm and focused. I do believe, though, that the weaker our bodies get, our spirits and souls can grow without boundaries and take us further than we can imagine. Our love is with you, every moment.

Sent by Tina from Alton IL | 10:35 AM | 6-25-2008

I'm at a loss for the appropriate words to express my feelings today. So, I'll simply say that the little flame of HOPE in my heart continues to burn and darkness dare not intrude into its light. It refuses to flicker when the winds of despair try to extinguish it! Hold on tightly, Leroy, like the little flame!

Prayers and blessings as always for you and Laurie.

Sent by Al Cato | 10:40 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy:
You may not be as strong in body, but you definitely are in spirit. Cancer challenges in more than just physical, but both you and Laurie are amazing.

Sent by Margaret | 10:41 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,

Please try to keep on keepin' on. Just remember cancer can't take the most important part of you, your spirit. I can see that in your title today "Not Giving Up".

Sent by Lisa Y | 10:42 AM | 6-25-2008

Success is not perfection but perseverance. I know each day gets harder. Just know we are all with you.

Sent by glenda | 10:50 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,

I echo Judie's comments and the serendipity of Ted Koppel's quote. Your spirit surpasses the strength of any disease. Take great care and know that we all love you dearly.

Sent by Kathy Seeley | 11:06 AM | 6-25-2008

Hi Leroy,
I hope you feel stronger today. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

Page - Gresham, Oregon

Sent by Page Hendryx | 11:06 AM | 6-25-2008

How will this go? What happens next? I probably ask myself these questions twice a week. For the past eleven months. Last July, the doctor reluctantly gave my husband an estimate of 2-12 months. We're starting on month 12 and those questions are in my mind often.

Asking them is good, because that means we're still moving and my husband is still here.

I smiled when I read your post, Pam, because I too have a dog who was diagnosed with a degenerative disease right around the time that John was diagnosed with cancer. So I ask those questions for both my husband and the dog. Somehow it doesn't seem fair to lose both, but as I always told my kids, if you want fair then you're in the wrong place because the world is simply not fair.

John is still trying to do yard work, but everytime he winds up in pain. Doesn't want me to do the lifting, so I smile and offer him some tylenol. I don't have the heart to lecture him anymore, just glad that he's here.

It's hard to give it up, isn't it?

Sent by Ricci | 11:12 AM | 6-25-2008

Blessings,

Sent by Jill | 11:12 AM | 6-25-2008

leroy, you are in my heart and thoughts as is laurie.

with love, liz

Sent by liz | 11:22 AM | 6-25-2008

Dearest Leroy, You are simply amazing. How unfortunate to have to face the loss of strength. I don't know if you have to climb stairs, but please make sure all your railings are anchored well so you can use them for support.

Laurie, take care of yourself. It's so hard to do that but it is important, so you have the strength to help Leroy. We are with you in thoughts every day.

Sent by Susan in the beautiful mountains of Colorado | 11:29 AM | 6-25-2008

Keep on keeping on, Leroy.. and BE SURE to keep on writing to us.. You make my day.. HUGS and prayers to both of you....

Sent by Patsy Elmore | 11:30 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy, I know these new things are very trying for you. Just remember whatever happens next the Lord is always with you He promised us that He would never leave us or forsake us. My prayer for you is that you will feel is presence with you at all time. I am praying for you and your family.

Sent by sylvia seawright | 11:30 AM | 6-25-2008

Sorry - I just have to add a postscript today. As I took my morning walk, I was listening to music on an Ipod that my 20-something son had put on there for me to listen to during chemo. I burst out laughing at the lyrics -- and they reminded me of you, Leroy. Here's the refrain: "I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me!"

Sent by Doris | 11:32 AM | 6-25-2008

dear Leroy
well, know what you are experiencing. my cancer (CNS Lymphoma) rendered me paralyzed for a while , and me, a very in control ,independent woman was devastated and a bit confused at my new life, a life of depending on people and not being able to count on myself. But i look back now and see that it was a lesson... that i had to learn. to let people help, to slow down to not be so bloody willful.. and now i am walking ,slowly and carefully and i too am afraid of falling and not being able to get up. All of these experiences have made me a very different person.and i guess that was the intention of the universe. i hope you feel better about the new you..

Sent by jody Salem | 11:34 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,
I am reminded of a quote by Albert Pike who said:
"What we have done for ourselves alone, dies with us,
what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
You truly have NO idea what you have done by blogging everyday. Sharing your pain, your life and your soul with all of us...and allowing us to do the same. However, there comes a time in all of our lives when we need assistance. No matter if that assistance be physical or emotional...we are all very fragile humans. Do not hesitate to seek assistance when it is needed. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or failure.
We love you...
We thank you..
Liz Z

Sent by liz z | 11:35 AM | 6-25-2008

Leroy, If I could, I would come help, but we are in the same little boat. I have one oar you have the other, and we seem to be mostly going in circles. This disease is so frustrating, I sense it in your words. What will it take next? Scared, yes, looking for a way out, but there seems to be only one. No choices are good it seems.

I am a little down today too!! Thoughts, Stan

Sent by Stan Wozniak | 11:37 AM | 6-25-2008

I didn't read all the responses and maybe this has been suggested. You need to purchase a lift chair. By pushing a button this chair will get you to a standing position. Unfortunately with my husband it is not his physical condition, but the dementia that often accompanies this disease. This chair has been a big help for my husband with Parkinsons. I am glad you are trying to stay as independant as possible.

Sent by Barb | 11:40 AM | 6-25-2008

If this were a neighborhood instead of a cyber community, you would have round-the-clock help whenever you or Laurie needed it. As it is, imagine all of us helping you up each time out of your chair. Perhaps it will nurture your inner strength and bring you peace of mind.

Sent by Patte | 11:53 AM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,
Truth be known we all have these fears. Thank you for helping us face them with you. You and Laurie are in my prayers.
Charlotte in Rural Ridge, PA

Sent by Charlotte Kewish | 11:55 AM | 6-25-2008

Your Army sends love as you lead us on the Journey. We could not ask for a more courageous leader.

Sent by Lucy | 11:57 AM | 6-25-2008

Hi Leroy

Just Keep moving and just keep being you - even when it's hard. My good friend Dave, a Doc who has helped many throughout his life and whose cancer is now approaching yours in its advance, sees this journey as a journey - not a battle. He and I both see mortality as a part of life - not necessarily its end, though neither of us is very clear about what comes after our bodies and brains come to an end. Personally, with brain cancer, I can still do everything I once did - just less of it and more carefully. I can get out of my chair, albeit carefully and attentively and ride my bicycle (but am forbidden from driveng -the quintessential sign of adult personhood in America). So I'm being nibbled away at by my cancer as well - just not as much as you -yet. Right now I am writing this despite a large and Persistent spot before both eyes. Is the brain cancer coming back? The last MRI says not, but who really knows? Be strong and don't let anyone take away your digniy as a person, whatever physicalcomptromises you have to make. You have done many of us a great service by showing us the way along what can be a dark, difficult,and otherwise lonely path.

Shalom and much thanks

John Shippee
johnshippee@hotmail.com

Sent by John Shippee | 12:02 PM | 6-25-2008

Dearest Leroy,
My heart aches for you today. I remember those Neil moments as well, when it was so very difficult for him to get around. We did what we could and I am just thankful I was there to help him through it. For us, our love grew even deeper because of it. Just know you have an army praying for you and supporting you and Laurie through all of this. Thank you for sharing your journey.
My 19 year old son always ends his emails with... "a man is brave but a hero is brave 5 seconds longer". You are our hero, Leroy.

Sent by Laurie Hirth | 12:03 PM | 6-25-2008

Every day I read your blog and all of the comments. I am moved and inspired and awed by your courage and the courage of all the people who hold you dear, even if they have never met you.

It's all part of the cycle--birth, life, illness, joy, work, sleep, pain, ecstasy, death--and, on some level, we have to embrace it all.

When I was really sick, I would return to Natalie Babbitt's book for young readers--Tuck Everlasting. It profoundly moved me. The bottom line of the novel is that a few of the characters have drunk from a fountain of eternal youth and the rest of the people in the area have not. The first group never ages. At all. Nothing can kill them. And this fact robs their life of meaning.

The fact that we all will die is what gives every moment--the good, the bad, the painful--meaning.

Reading your posting and the comments from your Family online reminds me that there are many many of us who Know that every moment we are above ground with those we love is a precious moment.

Every morning, when I read your post, I think, "Still alive, still thinking, still making us think."

Good day, Leroy. May there always be a strong arm to help you out of the chair.

I think of you and Laurie all the time.

Sent by Robin Smith | 12:05 PM | 6-25-2008

My husband has colon cancer which spead to his lungs. He was recently put on Hospice. He started his battle same time as you and he too is only 53.We have had the greatest doctors & caregivers. Yesterday was our last visit "at the office" for Tom to say goodbye to his doctor, chemo nurses, receptionist- everyone. It was hard for all of us but he continues to amaze me. He explained to his doctor that recently he was watching Titanic and related that he felt like the guy who gambled and won passage on the new ship the Titanic - who described himself as the "luckiest guy in the world". It was perfect. No regrets. We know his doctors, nurses all tried and we felt we just might cheat the cancer and he did but in the end his lungs will probably give out to ARDS. We got 4 years when only 1 was given. Our life has been filled with blessings, good and bad. Now we will try not to concentrate on the why's or how's but put our energy into making his life comfortable and filled with love.

Sent by Irene Sabourin | 12:16 PM | 6-25-2008

Leroy, Leroy, Leroy,
You fill up my heart. Your generosity of spirit is overwhelming. You have ministered to more people in more ways than you will ever know. I've read your blog for about a year now, ever since I heard you on NPR one morning. I saw you on the Ted Koppel special. I don't have cancer (yet?) but we all know someone who does. Your blog has helped me know what to say and do for my friend. I wish you peace and contentment, and hope that you can feel the outpouring of love from these words.

Sent by Renee Bostany | 12:21 PM | 6-25-2008

Bless you Leroy, keep on going. You are my hero! How frustraiting must be loosing control, of what little we had, but in many ways we are always loosing control and still we manage to continue.
Keep on going, keep on going; you Do Have The Strenght. Hope your pain is better.
Peace be with you and Laurie
Marelly

Sent by Marelly | 12:42 PM | 6-25-2008

Hi Leroy- I am quite sure that when Ted Koppel made his quotable statement he was thinking of you. Please recognize you have have a great effect on a lot of people and that the issues you face now are the same issues all of us will face one day- with ourselves and with our loved ones.

Your question and responses yesterday were so interesting. It is so obvious that when all is said and done it's all about love. Love- simple love.

Sent by linda h. | 12:52 PM | 6-25-2008

Sigh....when my Dad became so immobile, we purchased a lift chair...recliner that with the touch of a button, moved him into a standing position. It was so helpful and helped him feel more independent....and surely gave my back a bit of a break! And now that he is gone, Mom still hangs onto that chair. It is comfortable and she wonders if she might have use for it someday down the road.
I have been reading your posts daily since day one and I thank you for your insights. I recently read a quote I thought I would share with you and your faithful readers....
"When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that is those who, instead of fiving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share out pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." - Out of Solitude
Blessings to you this day....

Sent by Karen | 1:05 PM | 6-25-2008

Leroy, I am a need-to-know type person and those questions like "what's next?" are very bothersome for me. I have to often repeat to myself "not beneficial" when I feel stressed over not knowing. Thank you again for this wonderful site- I loved reading everyone's comments yesterday! You are so helpful, love and peace to you, Susie

Sent by Susie R. from OH | 1:10 PM | 6-25-2008

thank you for your courage Leroy. Your blog has meant alot to many people and helped me give voice to many of my same fears. I pray for you

Sent by cv | 1:16 PM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,

At the risk of sounding trite, a phrase from the Sixties-Seventies came back to me as I read your morning post. "Freedom is having nothing more to lose." I believe that. As we lose our independence and whatever else before we die, we are in the same position we were in when we were born - having to rely on others for things we learned to do for ourselves. Maybe the last act of love we can give is to allow those who love us to care for us - which makes them feel very good, indeed. Well, it's a thought.

Blessings.

Sent by Diana Kitch | 1:28 PM | 6-25-2008

After reading leroy's messages and inspiring responses these past few days I want to share this poetic expression from yesterday's "Writer's Almanac". It's about porpoises, grandparents, gratitude and kindness, and vanishing. It is about the mystery and the oneness of it all!
http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2008/06/24

Sent by Cathi | 1:52 PM | 6-25-2008

I fell off my bike on a descent last summer. Actually I went over the handlebars and brought the bike down on top of me. I had never had a fall like that before. I was stunned and then realized I was also hurt. In the middle of nowhere, the ambulance ride was an hour long.
Those first descents this summer were really hard, scary as hell actually. Then I realized, it's out of my hands for the most part. So my mantra became..in the shadow of your wings...it works. I say it silently down every screaming descent, it calms my heart.

Sent by Missy Patterson | 1:53 PM | 6-25-2008

Hi Leroy,

You are in my prayers every day. I know that your fighting spirit will help carry you through this time. I wish we could all be more helpful. You have all of us cheering you on.

Sent by Marcy in NJ | 1:54 PM | 6-25-2008

Eegads! Whoa, Cathi, DOLPHINS, D-O-L-P-H-I-N-S!!!

Sent by Cathi | 2:01 PM | 6-25-2008

Bless your heart, Leroy. Thinking about you everyday.

Sent by grace | 2:04 PM | 6-25-2008

your courage will burn forever!

Sent by Dave Wright | 2:32 PM | 6-25-2008

Thanks for your insight on falling. We could never understand why my father never wanted to get out of bed once he fell on the way to the restroom in the hospital. He needed to get the exercise, but he refused from that point on to leave his bed.

It obviously is a bigger deal than I guess we thought about at the time.

On the other hand, my mom fell numerous times and she just got back up and continued going, with a cane and then a walker. Maybe it's different for a guy.

I'm not there yet so I can't really say how I'd feel.

Thanks for another good post.

Sent by Scott S. | 2:43 PM | 6-25-2008

Breathe in, breathe out, stay in the moment. Hug your loved ones and go easy with yourself.
Each moment is precious.
Molly

Sent by molly | 3:04 PM | 6-25-2008

Leroy, I am moved by your calm reportage re: wanting to be as independent as possible, and noting the changes, and talking about your dreads. I hope you can be active in ways that work for you for as long as you wish. And I hope if ever you do grow weary enough that bed is the more comfortable option, that you can receive that comfort as a friend, and not as the dreaded state it seems to be now. More than what I hope for, however, I hope you get your life on your terms, and that you remain flexible too, whenever that will smooth your way. Cheering you onward and believing in your ability to chart your own best course through everything.

Sent by Sarah | 3:06 PM | 6-25-2008

Every time I hear about someone dying
"unexpectedly" I am jealous. Now it seems to me, that is the "way to go". Just drop dead, out of the blue, no warning. But alas, this can't be the way for us all. While I feel well at the moment, I too worry about what's next. I suppose there is a reason why we don't know what the future brings. I think maybe knowing would be even scarier yet...

Sent by Theresa Lovin | 3:30 PM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,

Stay strong. Rest when you can. Please know there are lots of love and prayers coming your way!

Sent by barbara j | 3:58 PM | 6-25-2008

These past few days my heart is overwhelmed by the posts and the comments. I have no words to offer, but I am "listening" and learning from everyones strength and grace. Thanks to all for sharing.

Sent by Sheara | 4:50 PM | 6-25-2008

Hoping you don't fall, and if you do, there is someone loving to pick you up and take away the pain.

Sent by Rose | 5:12 PM | 6-25-2008

Happy Birthday (late by several days) to you Leroy. We were away for vacation and just got home and I had to see how you are doing. I'm sorry things are so hard. I hope your pain level decreases. And the stresses.

In the mountains we had a hotel that looked directly down on a beautiful fast flowing river that was surrounded by grassy spaces, curves and dips. I sat half of one day and watched it while my husband did something more active that he wanted to do. As I watched and as I described the river to myself, it really hit me that this river is forever rushing,rustling forward, yet is always present. Eternal. I began to think of myself and my family as the river forever going forth but always, always here, present. I imagined the river whispering secrets, stories, the stories of our lives (my families, my friends) as it rushed forward. Telling the trees, the rocks, the earth as it moves along about our lives here.

This is just a sappy story - unless you have advanced cancer and/or another debilatating disease. For me it was a reminder. And such a beautiful one. That our lives do go on and on, our stories do go on and on. I believe this so surely - tho I have no idea in what form/shape/description, nor does it matter to me.

I think acceptance of the end of this life is, must be the hardest thing we need to do. I can't imagine how hard. But I think when the time comes we can ask for help with acceptance and that it will come. From somewhere.

Life is such a mystery.

Nancy O

Sent by Nancy Oliveri | 6:02 PM | 6-25-2008

Dear Leroy,

It's official. You really are Prince Valiant.

I'm still lifting and like Al Cato, I have the same un-extinguished, steady flame of hope for you.

This world we experience through our 5 senses isn't all there "is", dammit!

Unseen forces are at work, always.

Keep on keeping on, Leroy!

With love and admiration,

Sent by Janice J. , Los Angeles | 6:05 PM | 6-25-2008

Your courage in sharing with us is amazing, but don't be afraid to give yourself peace. You deserve it.

Sent by Karen | 6:29 PM | 6-25-2008

Leroy,

My thoughts are with you on your journey. As others have said above, breathe, feel the sunshine and the universe, know that you have touched many in a very positive way- more than many of us ever will. We walk with you.

Take care friend,

Dave

Sent by Dave | 6:47 PM | 6-25-2008

I hate to say it, but have you thought of an exit stratagey? What would you do if it gets to be too much, too hard? One of the toughest and most important things I had to do was consider what I would do if it became obvious I wouldn't make it. Hopefully it won't come to that, but better to think and talk it over now.

Sent by crawford | 6:50 PM | 6-25-2008

Leroy - Reminds me of another quote/poem tonite from a book I love:

"Try to love the questions themselves. Do Not look for the answers. They could not now be given to you because you could not live them. You Must believe that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds ou in its hand. It shall not let you fall." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Keep the faith - may you have everything you need, when you need it.

Sent by Beth | 9:21 PM | 6-25-2008

Just found your blog. Your bravery is humbling. I can't offer anything of value here except my best wishes to you on your life's journey.

Sent by Anita | 10:54 PM | 6-25-2008

Leroy.

My name is Joe and i'm 16 years old. I will admit, I cried after reading about you. I lost a dear friend who was only 8 to brain cancer recently. Leroy, you will be in my prayers forever. I will continue to check up on you everyday. Stay strong!

Sent by Joe | 11:52 PM | 6-25-2008

Back in September, my father was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer. He died in December. I cannot begin to imagine your thoughts now. I only know that as someone who was a caregiver and a daughter, I was grateful for the little time I had with my dad. I was grateful to be of some small help. I was grateful to be asked to help. Stay strong as long as you can, but please don't deny those who love you the chance to help. It is the easiest way to show you care, and those memories are dear to me. I wish you peace.

Sent by penny white | 12:50 AM | 6-26-2008

Hello, Leroy,

The post you made today reminds me of the beginning of my cancer journey. When the ovarian cancer took hold and started to spread into the lymph glands, it was taking every bit of nourishment it could get out of my other tissues. I was at 90 lbs before surgery and I am not sure how much of that weight was the mass and lymph tumors. I never asked. My normal weight is 150ish.

I am about 3 years older than you and I remember the fear as my muscle tissue seemed to decrease on a daily basis. Yes, there were falls and not being able to pick myself up. It was terrifying to me. I also remember as the fat tissue left my body of not being able to sit on the toilet with out pain from unprotected bones in my bottom and could easily slip into the toilet. There wasn't much left of me. I was anemic and the lower abdominal ovarian mass could be seen when I laid on my back pooching up.

I was given blood transfusions. I didn't expect to wake up from surgery, but I did that time. I know down the road there can be a replay of that. I cringe as I read your posts recently because those memories are strong and I know I will be in those shoes again someday.

Living day to day is hard in its own way, but getting ready to leave this existence is not any easier. It is the big unknown, the sorrow of leaving family and friends behind. Sometimes I wonder if dying suddenly like Tim Russert is better than a lingering death, but I don't see any advantages that would tip the balance of dying either way.

I know the release of the corruptible body and letting that incorruptible essense or spirit or soul that is you or me or anyone else be released to another existence is a reality. Energy doesn't die, it just changes in other forms. All cultures within their beliefs know that the energy of a person's spirit leaves the broken body like pulling a hand out of a worn glove. The day of passing is an ultimate form of healing that God can give when it is a person's time and God is the only one who knows that day.

Even with that knowledge in the scriptures, it doesn't make passing any less scary for the person who is passing or any less painful for those left behind to carry on until their own day of release to be reunited with family and friends who have gone before. Humans are just not built that way. We grieve losses.

Your posts are showing that fact as you know what is coming, but in turn, you are still fighting to have as much of life each day until your appointed day of passing arrives. You are grieving each little bit of life or ability as it leaves. I remember that feeling. I had made peace with death and was ready, but my appointed day was not when I expected and I have lived 20 months past that day, but I know it will come to me and to all people on this planet, sooner or later.

Tim Russert had no clue since his was a surprise to all who knew him or knew of him although I wonder if deep down he might have had warning before it happened.

I have tried to write other posts to you, but they never make it. This post may actually make it to you. I wish it was a cheerful, bouncy post, but that isn't exactly appropriate in a way, but I have followed your life for almost a year and I hope to get to meet you on the other side someday. In this life I feel very small and I will never have as many people care about me as you do.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I understand some of what you are dealing with now. It would be wonderful if your doctors found one more miracle so I send up a prayer for more inspiration for them and I send prayers up for the comforter to help you and yours during this journey you are on.

Sincerely,
Bobbie in Texas

Sent by Bobbie Hollis | 1:22 AM | 6-26-2008

Leroy,

When it is (IF IT IS) your time to go, I will Pray for your safe passage. Even if your Cancer remits (I will); I believe we all may pray and remember our loved ones, and those who touch us, beyond this life. Life is Temporal, our souls, immortal. I believe in eternal LIFE. Enjoy yourself if you can, you have made a significant impact on my life, and although I do not suffer from Cancer, seeing through your eyes has given me a greater clarity. Thank you.

Sent by Charles W. Schlager Jr. | 6:39 AM | 6-26-2008

Dear Leroy, I almost cried when I heard your voice on the radio this morning. And I'm moved by the courage and compassion your blog readers share. As always, you are in my prayers.
Donna

Sent by Donna Green | 4:17 PM | 6-26-2008

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