Cancer

2016 July 18

An Unwelcome Guest

Topics

Microscopic image of pancreatic cancer cells.

Source: Dr. Lance Liotta Laboratory, NCI

Most visitors to this site will likely have heard the news already, but I have pancreatic cancer that has spread to my liver. I don't smoke, I don't drink, and there's not really a history of pancreatic or liver cancer in my family—so this was completely unexpected.

View An Unwelcome Guest

2016 July 19

The Calm During the Storm

Topics

International Space Station view of hurricane Ivan and the eye of the storm.

Often throughout my life, I've been told that I “radiate calm” or words to that effect, which is typically a good thing. Given the recent circumstances, though, I think there is a concern I may be taking this conceit too far. More than one person has looked at me as if saying, “Shouldn't you be more distraught?” I know this because one of the first people to think so was me.

View The Calm During the Storm

2016 August 5

What to Do? What to Say?

Topics

Hamlet contemplates the skull of Yorick

I continue to be deeply moved by the volume of support via email, website comments, letters, phone calls, and visits. Occasionally, someone apologizes for taking a long time to respond or not knowing what to say. But there's no need for any apology.

View What to Do? What to Say?

2016 August 14

Just the Facts

Topics

Sergeant Joe Friday, from the Dragnet TV show

Enough of this nostalgic nattering! Sgt. Friday would not be impressed. The cry goes round Derwood and environs, “Give us the facts!”

View Just the Facts

2016 October 17

Breaking News

Topics

Breaking News

[Apologies for the less-than-stellar audio quality… someday I'll have a real recording studio. In the meantime, feel free to turn on the closed captions.]

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2016 October 19

My Plate List

Topics

Dinner entree, as plated and served by a fine restaurant

Michael J. Bennett

I know I said I don't really have a bucket list, but after not being able to enjoy my favorite foods for a few months I do have a new goal. It's a plate list.

View My Plate List

2016 December 1

No News Is Good News

Topics

Clopper Lake

There hasn't been much to report lately, which on the whole is good. Both the radioembolization mapping procedure (AKA the dry run) and the actual RE procedure itself went smoothly—I was awake for both, but the sedation kept things pain-free. Recovery period was about a day, which meant I was able to enjoy a terrific Thanksgiving. Both sides of our family were there, as well as a co-worker of Anne's who gave us tips on emigrating to Canada. Not that we're considering it… much.

View No News Is Good News

2016 December 9

Some News Is Still Good News

Topics

A calendar of 2016

Saw the oncologist yesterday, and the CT scan results are “as good as can be expected”—no sign of cancerous growth or spread. Of course if we entertain the unexpected, we could hope the cancer would actually be disappearing instead of holding steady. But it's too soon for the radioactive yttrium-90 particles to have accomplished much. Maybe by the next scan in a couple of months.

View Some News Is Still Good News

2016 December 22

The Beard Is Back!

Topics

Elliot shows off his full beard as of December 23, 2016

That seems to be the rallying cry among those I meet now. And in truth, I'm thrilled. Losing hair elsewhere was not exactly a new experience, but I've been bearded since college.

View The Beard Is Back!

2017 January 27

Today Is Wednesday…

Topics

Members of the Mickey Mouse Club, circa 1956

Just saw the oncologist recently, and once again there's very little change. The pancreatic and liver masses haven't grown significantly, and my CA-19 (blood cancer marker) level is still around 310. That's down from an initial high of 1,600.

View Today Is Wednesday…

2017 March 19

Strictures on Eating

Topics

Diagram of the stomach connecting to the duodenum (small intestine)

Two days ago, the Plate List Tour was scheduled to visit Rasika, DC's temple of fine Indian cuisine. Did we partake of pleasing portions of paneer? Taste tangy tidbits of tandoor? Nibble on nourishing nuggets of naan?

We did not. I ate a simple dinner at home that night. And it was delicious.

View Strictures on Eating

2017 April 2

Crossing Swords in Stamford

Topics

My nametag badge from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

I've been solving crosswords for, oh, decades now. I even have a vivid memory of my parents bringing home the inaugural issue of Games magazine back in the fall of 1977. So I've gotten pretty good at both American and English (or “cryptic”) crosswords. But I've never competed in a crossword tournament… until last weekend.

View Crossing Swords in Stamford

2017 April 8

Fee, Fo, Fum, Fiola

Topics

Fiola

Radiation starts in a few days, so the Plate List Tour is on hold until I see how the lasers affect my digestion.

In the meantime, you are cordially invited to share in the Tour's previous outing: Fiola. This contemporary Italian establishment offers à la carte courses and a tasting menu prepared by Chef Fabio Trabocchi. Most of us opted for the tasting menu, but with one crucial exception…

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2017 April 28

Dynamite With A Laser Beam

Topics

Elliot stretched out and immobilized on the radiation bed

Two weeks of external radiation down, one to go. So far, it's a bit of a mixed bag.

The radiation treatment itself has been relatively smooth. But it may have exacerbated my ongoing stomachache. This abdominal distress started right after I got the stent in mid-March, and at the time the docs said some discomfort was normal as my body adjusted to this foreign invader.

View Dynamite With A Laser Beam