Slow Healing

I went back to see the infectious disease doctors yesterday.

There's not a lot they can do from the outside. They poke me and prod me and ask if it hurts, but that's about it.

I seem to be healing up pretty well. I have to take their word for it because I've never seen all the scars on my back, although I've been told they're impressive.

We keep doing blood tests, though we've learned in the last few weeks that they can be wildly inaccurate. But I guess it doesn't hurt to keep taking them.

And we decided I would stay on the antibiotic. I tolerate it pretty well, so there's no harm in continuing to take it.

So all in all, it was a pretty routine day at the doctor's office. No new crises. No new problems. We seem to have this infection pretty much under control.

It's the annoying cancer that causes all the problems.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the 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.

Thank God for small favors! If you reread your blog from just weeks ago it would sound more like "What Cancer? Just get the goo out of my back - and the drains too."

So I would say that you have the infection under control is a very good day, because those drains were certainly making you miserable.

Best wishes for continued fight against all annoyances, pains and suffering big and small.

Sent by Liz L. | 8:14 AM | 1-17-2008

I am reading frustration and you still "sound" down. I am not complaining about that really. Infection under control is a good thing, REALLY. Healing well in spite of all the various treatments you have undergone is also a good thing. Those are positives. Waking up each day is also a good thing.

Laurel, I am very sorry for the sudden loss of your sister, that is often harder than a loss from a chronic condition or cancer.

Someone mentioned wine.... have a few bottles, I would be willing to share with friends. :)

Sent by Sue Chap | 8:26 AM | 1-17-2008

Hello Leroy,
It's great that you have shared such a personal experience regarding your cancer but at the same time do you think that writing about it everyday reminds you even more that you have it? That it turns your moods more dark and dreary? I "check" in to see how you are doing and hope only the very best for you. Cancer has shown its ugly face in our family many times and its not been pleasant. In the end though strangely enough better things have happened because of it, families grow closer and you are more grateful for the life that you have.

Sent by Rose Rabine | 8:27 AM | 1-17-2008

Leroy - yeah!!! at least a visit to docs without a surprise or detour in plans/treatment.....
Even simple things become huge victories. Hang in there - what good book are you reading?? My pile keeps growing and I keep looking forward to working my way thru all of them!
Hope you have a peaceful day.........
Many hugs....

Sent by Ruth Chermok | 8:38 AM | 1-17-2008 wish for you? Routine...a series of ho-hum days made up of wonderful ordinariness, simple pleasures, and time enjoyed with family and the friends you love.


Sent by Peggy | 8:42 AM | 1-17-2008

I think you - and all of us - should do something you alluded to in your blog on yesterday -- take a friggin' break and do something we normally would not do. It doesn't have to be enormous - why not go to a new restaurant you always wanted to try, get a pedicure or massage, sing karaoke, call or email someone out of the blue you haven't talked with since college, look at photos from a great trip, tickle a baby - do something that says 'i'm still in it!' I just bought a bottle of $125 champagne - I've always wanted to know what it would taste like.

Sent by bettye | 8:47 AM | 1-17-2008

Laurel, I am so sorry to hear of your sisters passing... my prayers are with you and your family.
Leroy and all, hang in there! Hugs and prayers!

Sent by Laurie Hirth | 8:53 AM | 1-17-2008

Leroy, a trip to the doctors with no bad news is a good trip. Just keep on keeping on. It may not seem like it but you have came a long way..Try to have a good day.

Sent by dorothy in oregon | 9:06 AM | 1-17-2008

Good Morning Leroy. While this appears to be another "Gray Day", your morning message contains the glimmer of light and brighter days to come.
You seem to be gaining on it once again and I am so happy to hear that the infection is under control. As far as the scars and reminders of your last battle with cancer, hey, Plastic Surgery can take care of the body damage once the disease is under control. Maybe this relief and vacataion from messing with your body will give all those good Genes still inside you to revive and combat the invaders. I can't help but believe that the more you cut into and pick on the cancer, the more it snarls back and keeps moving on into other areas. Give your strong body a chance to recover! We are in for some Wintery weather here today. On the "Sunny side". I received a good report from my Mammo that my "C" is not rearing it's ugly head after 25 yrs as I had feared. See, there is some sunshine, after all. Now if my eyesighe would only improve and allow me to paint once again, I would be a happy camper! Talk to you later Leroy!

Sent by J C R | 9:15 AM | 1-17-2008

Thank you for this news, Leroy. I do not know how it feels to be sharing your updates with so many people you would not recognize if we bumped into you on the street, but I'm thankful to know you have access to the infectious disease folks, and that you are healing up well. Glad, too, that there were no new crises or problems. That constitutes good news , and I hope you will be able to rest in that today. Not sure if you are getting any of the lovely snow falling on much of Virginia today, but if not, I send you its great, unhurried beauty as it tumbles from the sky.

Sent by Sarah | 9:56 AM | 1-17-2008

Thank God that some days are mundane. That certainly beats feeling worse or getting bad news. Leroy, try to do something today that you really like and enjoy this wonderful MUNDANE day. Big hugs to you and Laurie

Sent by Teresa in WV | 10:03 AM | 1-17-2008

Leroy - You just have to put your faith in the hands of your doctors. Maybe continuing the antibiotics will help make you feel a little better. Hang in there. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Sent by Joan Beth Smith | 10:14 AM | 1-17-2008

I'm with Peggy... go have a few boring days, followed by a few weeks of quiet tedium... with maybe some dull thrown in for good measure....

Sent by Brit | 10:22 AM | 1-17-2008

Just that little annoying cancer. You make me crack up sometimes. Thanks for the laugh. Always thinking of you.

Sent by Lisa | 10:26 AM | 1-17-2008

Really glad to hear that the infection seems to be under control. Have a great weekend-am thinking of you.

Sent by Jen | 10:32 AM | 1-17-2008


Yesterday was a WIN for you - your body is healing nicely from a very dangerous infection, and that is such good news. Do something today to celebrate - a good book, a glass of very expensive wine, a funny movie. I'll be smiling too.

Sent by Amy in NJ | 10:53 AM | 1-17-2008

Message to Joy,

Your posting yesterday was beautiful. Your son's quote brought me to tears - how insightful for a young man just starting life. How wonderful that he already understands it's the simple things we need to appreciate the most.

God bless.

Sent by Amy in NJ | 10:57 AM | 1-17-2008

Dear Leroy,
I'm going through some rough times here with my husband. I have no comments at this time...........just prayers for all.

Sent by Sasha | 11:01 AM | 1-17-2008

Dear Leroy and all,

I'm so glad your appointment was routine. You don't need another crisis now. You need time to be stable and get rest, and heal.

I was reminded yesterday of the importance of taking life one day at a time. Right now, I'm taking it one hour at a time. I think that is good advice for all of us. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the fear or the dread that we lose the ability to stay right here, right now.

Thank you all for your support and condolences on the death of my sister. I didn't fully realize how much you all mean to me. In a sense we truly are all in this together.

We are leaving for Portland today. The funeral is tomorrow.

One hour at a time. No, I think 15 minutes at a time will work better.

Sent by Laurel M. Jones | 11:04 AM | 1-17-2008

Leroy - Congratulations that your back is healing well. I have been thinking a lot about your post yesterday and am wishing you happiness and comfort, and for you to be immersed in the everyday things that you love most in life. There has been nothing mundane about your life. Many of the things you saw in your career I know were horrifying...I can't think of anyone who sets out to explore life more fully than a journalist such as yourself.

To Laurel, my heart is with you and your father as I am so sad to hear of the loss of your sister. I lost a sister unexpectedly and know there are no proper words...I wish you and your father strength and eventual peace.

Sent by liz | 11:07 AM | 1-17-2008

Just keep rowing that boat, Leroy. You're doing everything you can do, and for your back, it has worked.


Sent by Kate Fuehrer | 11:23 AM | 1-17-2008

Leroy, another day to rejoice and be glad! Isn't it good to have a "normal," nothing exciting news happening day?! Hard to imagine that those of us with cancer CAN have those days...but we do! "Rejoice and be glad," my friend.

Sent by Jo Ann Baswell | 12:11 PM | 1-17-2008

Leroy, The time it takes to recover is slow and agonizing. All you want is to feel well again, so you can move on. It will take a little more time this go around. It seems the cancer, while very annoying, is also very circular in its attack to the body. The fatigue gets to you too. The body just doesn't heal as fast anymore, and other things. You are frustrated with the whole process right now. Take a step back. It will get better, just not as fast as you would like. Stan

Sent by Stan Wozniak | 12:14 PM | 1-17-2008

It was during my father's cancer that I stumbled to your blog, and I have been reading ever since. I learned a lot from the blog you posted everyday: your courage, spirit, openness, sharing. I feel the pain, joy when I read your blog, even though I am not a cancer patient. " To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. You certainly have made more than one life breathe easier.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and keep up with the fight.

Sent by Andrew, Diamond Bar, CA | 12:15 PM | 1-17-2008


This is the first time I have read some of your blog. I am sorry to see that you are not feeling your best. Most doctors I have come into contact with do not have a good understanding of the importance of sound nutrition. It seems to be something that is not focused on in medical schools. I did read about a cancer researcher who is 83 years old, and he drinks 10 cups of green tea every day. He has published over 500 professional papers related to his research work. He says that most of his published scientific papers have been on the subject of green tea and its ability to protect the body against cancer. I wish I could remember his name. I read about him several days ago. I think his initials were JW.

Sent by Kevin | 12:17 PM | 1-17-2008


I read your blog daily and send my good wishes for your complete recovery. I want to know how you are doing as a result of the recent stroke? Has your eyesight returned?

Sent by Jim Robinson | 1:02 PM | 1-17-2008

The ups and downs of cancer. One day you feel you can conquer the world; the next, it sounds like you feel, is it all worth it?

Yesterday's post was very pungent to me. "I still find myself surprised that I have cancer sometimes. I mean, how could that have happened to me?"

I find myself driving the car, washing the dishes etc. asking myself that question often. It's about a year ago today that I started having horrible pains in my stomach, which they thought was divituculitus, but when they did surgery at the end of Feb '07 they found colon cancer stage III.

I am 43 and due to the guidelines of only 50 and above are advised to get colonoscopies, obviously hadn't been screened, and when I was, it was already pretty well advanced.

Since learning I have this disease, I have read about so many other younger people (many younger than me) who have been diagnosed, many with stages 3 & stages 4. Sadly, only in this week I have known about two that died of it who were diagnosed only within the last 6 months.

It really is the silent cancer, yet I hasten to add it's the nation's second leading cancer killer (3rd in the UK). About 112,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer annually, and about 41,000 new cases of rectal cancer are diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Every 4 minutes, a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. Every 9 minutes, someone dies of the disease.
I urge urge urge anyone who is reading this .. please if you feel the signs listed in this link : Go to your doctor, and if you feel that their diagnosis isn't 100% feeling right, push for a colonoscopy.

Also click here for general information about cancer, signs & symptoms also:

Hopefully, by acting early you will not be finding yourself surprised that you have cancer and wondering "how that could have happened to me?"

Sent by Jill Curtis | 1:22 PM | 1-17-2008

Get Laurie to take photos of your back. You'd be amazed at the scars. I wish I had someone to take pics of my radiation markup. Today was #17, more than half way, 16 to go. I got up on the table and laid down in exactly the right position. They did not even need to move me an inch!

Sent by Dianne (DC) | 1:47 PM | 1-17-2008

Good Afternoon Leroy, Laurie and All,

Leroy, It's natural to feel some let down sometimes, and quiet time is needed to gather your strength. The antibiotics themselves can make you feel tired and a bit down. I think that once you can safely stop them, you will begin to feel much better.

Laurie, I'm sure you are ready for some quiet time too. Some fine wine and a good book to discuss with Leroy might be a welcome reprieve.

To All, Laurel, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. January is a difficult month for me also. I lost both of my parents and a sister-in law in January (separate years).

We did have a surprise in Charlotte this morning. There was about an inch of snow on the ground, our first in over two years. It brings back memories of winters in Pennsylvania when sliding through intersections on slippery roads had become an art form.

The brighter days of spring and sunshine can't be far behind.
God Bless!!

Eileen Pruyne
Charlotte, NC.

Sent by Eileen Pruyne | 1:57 PM | 1-17-2008

I'm glad you had a rather normal day for the cancer world. I read your blog everyday. As a stage 4 colon survivor, 2 years in remission, my heart goes out to all you have been through and continue to go through.
I was helping a friend, 52, through his cancer Journey, and everything that could go wrong, has. He is now in a coma. His colon cancer was caught early, but all the complications are changing everything. He may have brain damage if he wakes up. He has a leak, and they need to go back in, not to mention a clot. This poor guy has been so anxious leading up to surgery, and I have been encouraging him from the beginning that he can get through. I feel pretty helpless watching everything fall apart. I believe praying helps, and this group of readers are strong and powerful. Please think or pray for Rick in Seattle to wake up and have a full recovery. Thank you.

Sent by Anita Mitchell stage iv survivor | 2:00 PM | 1-17-2008

Hey Leroy,
My tests are often misleading, too. I'm tested monthly for CEA (carcinogenic embryonic antigen), which is something of a marker for abdominal cancers--like the one I discovered--and a few other things. My line of work, cleaning houses, causes me to vacuum almost every day. Vacuuming stirs up particulates into the air (big surprise!) and the particulates irritate my lungs (not noticeably to me) just enough to trigger a higher than average reading of the CEA. A couple of months ago my oncologist's office called to do an early CT scan because the CEA was even higher than it had been. After a couple of days of worry, it turned out to be nothing more than a higher number of particulates in the air--possible from the CA wildfires.... Since I discovered the cancer I had, I'm not going to stress over these tests unless I feel like something is wrong.
Very best wishes, XOXO

Sent by Katie | 2:22 PM | 1-17-2008

To all who think that Leroy needs a day off say, "YEA!" Hey Leroy, spend the day watching a movie or painting or whatever makes you happy. Take a day off from us. We will understand...come back and let us know what (if anything) you did. Take some time for you my friend. We love you and want you to be refreshed.
Liz Zimmerman

Sent by liz Zimmerman | 2:52 PM | 1-17-2008

I wake up each morning to your courage--and it allows us all to get by with our little problems in contrast with yours. You give us courage--and we must give you courage--having been through the cancer of my mother, my father and my sister, let alone my baby brother. I know how courageous you are.
Courage, my friend.

Sent by Judith A. Hoffberg | 2:53 PM | 1-17-2008

Oh yes, annoying cancer! We do different things to distract ourselves from it, but all too often, it stays there and moves back into the forefront of our thoughts. As forgetful as we become, cancer - the one thing we would like to forget - is the one thing that won't quit annoying us. Rats! But it is worth it to keep trying.

Sent by Martha | 3:04 PM | 1-17-2008

Dear Leroy,

I've run flat out of things to say. I don't know how you come up with something every day, and I know it's your job, and there are a lot of people hanging on your every word, but for your sake.... I wish there was a week or so that you could just stop and not even think about cancer AT ALL, if that's possible. Just step away, run away (at least in your mind or literally if possible). I know you can't forget you have it - your body won't let you, but just the pressure to keep coming up with something for us everyday. Of course I always want to know when anything significant happens with your health. I only speak for myself, but when you get really, really sick of talking about crappy, crappy cancer, tell us about some of your adventures. I'd love to see another happy picture of you on a donkey, smiling. (maybe a LARGER donkey). Anyway, I love you, and pray for you every day, as well as everyone here. Be good to yourself.

Sent by Connie | 4:00 PM | 1-17-2008

Leroy, I just had my third port implanted yesterday. Just another day with cancer. I am afraid that I'm reaching the end of the road. Although I'm currently receiving treatment, we've recognized that chemos are no longer very effective at killing the cancer. Most probably, I will stop treatment once these particular drugs stop working and then, like you wrote a few days ago, the cancer will win.

However, for now, I choose to remember the Monty Python scene where the old man kept saying, "But, I feel better." Took quite a bit of effort to clunk the old guy over the head. That's what I envision will happen to me, cancer may finally clunk me over the head but in the meantime, I will insist that I feel better.
I hope you feel better too.

Sent by Cary Vera-Garcia | 4:57 PM | 1-17-2008

From: John Reilly
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 6:52 PM
To: NewsLetters
Subject: RE:The Latest from NPR Blogs: My Cancer

??????or it is about getting to the end the best you can. I am in the same battles as you. The Beast keeps coming at me but I am not backing down. Whether I am standing up, on my knees or flat on my back: ??????I will not go quietly into that good night???I shall rage, rage against the dying of the light.??? After 25 years of pastoring UMC churches I have finally had to take medical disability. You, Sir, have been a voice crying in the wilderness for me. For the last 6 months I have waited daily for your ???My Cancer??? blog. I think about you daily, I pray for you daily and there are days when I cry for the both of us. But you words and your thoughts give me strength and more importantly courage. Thanks you from a fellow traveler in the wilderness of cancer.

John Reilly

Sent by John | 5:07 PM | 1-17-2008


I just got home from a two week vacation in Kona. I didn't always have access to a computer so I've been absent for a day or two. You are a powerful fellow. I thought of you each day when I got up and lifted a glass or two to you. Looking at the whales in the ocean and watching those unforgettable sunsets put me in a philosophical frame of mind.

The ocean and the whales and the sunsets will still be there after all of us blog members are gone, from one thing or another. I just loved the feeling I had of being a small, but important, part of things universal.

If you can, go back there another time. It is just magic and puts everything into perspective. I think there is a kind of freedom in acknowledging that all of us are just a tuft in the fabric of everything.

Meanwhile, congratulations on getting the infection corralled. Not so easy sometimes.


Sent by Diana Kitch | 5:51 PM | 1-17-2008

No news is good news!

Sent by Scott S. | 6:06 PM | 1-17-2008

Cancer sucks. But Thank God for a "normal" boring day. I think we would miss you if you took some time off, but maybe a break from airing your life to us, would give you a breather. just a thought.
Here is wishing you that the status quo remains so for a long, long time.
Best wishes from the tropics (St. Thomas)

Sent by Julie | 7:07 PM | 1-17-2008

Just saying Good Night to you Leroy. Hope your slumber is deep and full of wonderful dreams.
Outside it is a typical Wintery World! Cold and Icy, but skies seem to be clear. Breathe deep tonight and think how wonderful it is to take these deep breaths.
May you wake up optimistic. It may not be a Gray Day tomorrow!

Sent by J C R | 8:00 PM | 1-17-2008

Leroy, I know what you mean about that "annoying cancer". I used to say that, except for the cancer, my husband was in excellent health. Geez!

Sent by Marilyn | 8:33 AM | 1-18-2008


NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from