In This, My Eleventh Year

“You should write something,” she said, “like, ‘I’m still here.’” As in, I’m still alive. It’s my 11th year now – 10 years and counting – since they found cancer in my pelvic lymph nodes. In this decade of the ups and downs of cancer, I find that I pass milestones less frequently, my self-discoveries […]

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The E and the H Words

I can’t believe I said it. I actually used the “E” word talking about my cancer. E. As in Enjoy. No, no, no. I do not enjoy — and never have enjoyed – having cancer. Cancer Sucks, as my t-shirt shouts. But there’s cancer my disease, and then there’s cancer my experience. Cancer, my disease: […]

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Kicking the Can(cer) Down the Road

My most recent semi-annual cancer check-up came last year, quite coincidentally, on my birthday. “Semi-annual.” That’s the check-up that arrives so soon that there couldn’t possibly have been that much change in your cancer. Yet it’s also the check-up that’s so infrequent that maybe — just maybe — enough time has elapsed for something to […]

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Of Beginnings, Odds & Ends

Beginnings Autumn, 1942. Mother is in the hospital for a hysterectomy after years of (what were then called) “female problems.” She awakens after her planned surgery, tactilely examines her abdomen but finds no bandages, no stitches — nothing binding her back together. At the last moment, there had been no surgery, no hysterectomy. She inquires, […]

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Living with Cancer

Seven years, three months and 24 days into my cancer journey, I’ve arrived at a new way station on this indeterminate itinerary: Living with Cancer. Oh, I’ve known since pathology reported after surgery (“carcinoma in two lymph nodes”) that cancer would inevitably be a permanent part of my life, that an outright cure was of […]

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No News Is…No News

In the written record here over the past three years, you can find a pattern to my regular cancer check-ups: January, April, July, October. Then repeat the next year. JAJO. So you might ask, where’s the report on my April 2014 check-up and PSA test? Is something wrong? Am I OK? Or as I was […]

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Fried Chicken and Champagne

Tuesday was my quarterly cancer check-up, and we had decided some weeks prior to celebrate the occasion with fried chicken and champagne, a special gift bottle from Sue, a lovely lady and friend at the gym. Fried chicken has become a rare and special meal for me, given the low regard that fried foods must […]

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Survivor

As a cub reporter at The Washington Post, I wrote my share of obituaries, and, back then, The Post required a cause-of-death in every obit. “He died of cancer,” a family member would sometimes offer, “but we don’t want that in the newspaper.” And more than once, after I explained The Post’s policy, families preferred […]

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