Tag Archives: cancer

Slowing Down

I have due to arthritis, now our dog is doing so as well. Her right front leg is getting a tiny bit lame or shaky during a long walk. My hips are worse so I miss those long walks she takes with my husband when he is home.

Don’t worry, I am not anywhere near to a having a disabled parking spot! I try and do walk seven blocks to my grocery store, 14 total blocks, three times per week. The more I walk, the better I am, even though my legs hurt and I have to lie down for 20 minutes. I can take Zoe around the block early morning when it’s cooler and we enjoy the walk.

My parents are gone and I’m the eldest and most frail so I am next. College friends, professors and mentors have gone. Do I wish to go? Absolutely not. I’ve work to do here and a little arthritis isn’t going to get me down. An old chiropractor marveled at my tolerance for pain… he’s the one that when I said I had a new car wanted to go out to the lot and see it. He wouldn’t let me tell him what it was and guessed it would be a fancy car and picked out a couple of cars. No, it was a new Army Jeep, 4WD, stick.

He was so excited and surprised at me, he asked if he could drive it, “of course!” My tolerance for pain came in when I needed to drive it to a client 100 miles away and back, same day. No A/C, hot weather, plastic windows and nothing with which to cushion my back or butt. Now that hurt. Plus my hair got messed up for a client meeting that usually lasted three hours before I could drive home.

Dad recently died and spent several years flying to cities that had facilities for his cancers. He spent most of his time at doctor appointments and scans and surgeries and other invasive procedures. I do not wish to start this now, or ever. I am young and strong and have work to do. Please, let me do it. Dee



The Fog Comes on Little Cat Feet

Carl Sandburg, about Chicago. I wrote an illustrated paper on it at age 8 for Mrs. T. Thinking I got an A++.

Now this fog is messing with my family. Cancer shows up, sneaks up. Unlike Mr. Sandburg I would not attribute it to a cat. Often cats are mascots in nursing homes and I have loved them over the years. My two talked and were not very stealthy. One taught himself to jump over the sofa and retrieve crumpled post-it notes! He also knocked my keys down from the counter, playing hockey with them. Anything but quiet. The older one never let me get in the last word until I held him in my arms and he was gone at age 13.

My mother died of cancer eight years ago. My father now has two kinds of cancer. His dear companion has another after surviving a different one years ago. I wish to ask when does it end? Not with death.

It ends when we finally have a cure for cancer. I’ll get it. My in-laws and husband will get it. When is enough?

I believe the organizations who raise money for diseases make the most money for themselves. Cancer is cancer, whether it be breast, prostate or whatever. Fighting among themselves for money is doing a disservice to all. Get rid of cancer, no matter what celebrity has a certain type that is popular for donors as of this moment.

Angry at the medical profession and scientists who depend on grants for specific cancers I am skeptical, however optimistic that someone will see the light. Dee

Dear Postmaster General

Dear General Brennan,

I sent a very special package to my father in Indianapolis for his 84th birthday for delivery yesterday. It was sent priority mail and required a signature. I was told after many hours on the phone that the post office cannot deliver this package (they tried once at 1:18 p.m. yesterday) unless they place a coral form out for re-delivery.

My Dad flew today to the nation’s premier cancer center. I wanted him to have this gift yesterday. Now it is in limbo, as neither my post office nor Indianapolis will allow me to get it back or have someone else pick it up or send it to my Uncle in Indianapolis.

Dad may never come back. Your rules are archaic and cruel. He got the equivalent of a “gold watch” and I framed the article for him. Now USPS won’t send the package back to me, allow someone else to pick it up or allow receipt to a family member in his neighborhood. Tracking number is 9**************.

My Uncle, in Indianapolis, is willing to accept the package and give it to Dad if/when he returns from cancer treatment. If not I would like it released immediately to me at my home address, and before October 6 when they will return it anyway without ever having to try to re-deliver. We paid for priority mail and are being treated very badly by your system.

No matter how many ads you put on television, people appreciate and pay for service. My dog looks for blue pants with a dark stripe because she loves our postal carriers. They all know her. But the system is messed up.

My Uncle’s  residence is *****************************. He has arranged for me to send it there, if he or a member of his household over 18 years of age is present to sign for it.

I will have this letter notarized and hope it is enough to get this gift to my ailing father. With thanks for your consideration of my request. If not, I’m willing to get a court order to get this package back or drive to the post office that is holding my father’s gift, show my Passport and demand it back.


Bully Pulpit

If I have one, I’ll use it. Ted Kennedy died of a brain tumor, a glioblastoma which carries a literal death sentence. My mother died ten months ago from complications of colon cancer. For the people who think “ObamaCare” involves “death panels” I’ll tell you something. My mother had several surgeries, one which caused irreparable damage because of a surgeon’s mistake. When the cancer recurred my sisters took her against her will in an ambulance, as she had not been able to eat or drink. and she went through a battery of tests.

In the end they said they could do more surgery and perhaps another colostomy and my mother said, in perfect lucidity, NO. No more tests, no more surgeries. The next day she was transferred across the street to a hospice that her pain doctor leads. For two weeks they took stellar care of her, encouraged us to be around and kept her comfortable. What was comfortable for her (talking or not talking) was not comfortable for us but this was about her. In the end my siblings agreed that against their wishes, if she wanted a chaplain to get a priest for last rites, it was up to her and I would organize it. She did and it was a moving moment for us all as we told her of our love for her.

When a terminally ill patient goes into palliative care that is hopefully the patient’s wish or that of his/her family or person designated in a living will. Our mother decided it was the end, that her body had its fill of disease and heartbreak. I would encourage people, especially those who have little family or who aren’t married, to have paperwork in order as soon as possible. I’m working on ours, even though we’ve been married forever, sorry nearly 7 years. We will both do our own papers and sign DNR’s because we don’t trust each other to let the other go. I know that in my heart.

We’ve had our own death panel and know that whatever healthcare system we’re a part of will not disregard our wishes. When Mom died the lead doctor said he never thought she would last two days, much less two weeks. And added that she was a tough lady and he wished he’d had the benefit of knowing her better. Sorry for the sadness, the one-year anniversary is coming up and I’m thinking of Mom a lot. In memoriam, Dee


One might say cooking muse but she’s more than that.

She started knowing little about cooking so learned some Germanic fare from her mother-in-law. Then she had a daughter who was in government and lobbying before cooking school.

Another daughter began as a baker but has rounded out with healthy foods for her family. Her son doesn’t bake but is an intuitive cook who learns and tests recipes and ideas until they meet his criteria of a dish worth eating.

The youngest sister is an expert baker and intuitive cook. Now you can see why I don’t do pastry and baking! I left that to the more accomplished members of the family.

The lady who taught us how to cook, and how to live, how to read and all about math, is in hospice and we’re all here to help out.

Mom taught us about a lot of things besides food, and by sharing food together, every meal with immediate and extended family will remind us of her unique intelligence, wit, and kindness.

We love you, Mom.

Feed, Maintain, Support

That defines “nourish.”

Nourishing a cancer patient who can’t eat is difficult for a family for a number of reasons. It is up to us to find out how to help in the best way possible. For a cook it is always food and whatever the patient wants.

When it goes beyond our scope of soups et al, we are at a loss as we’ve always been able to help others that way.

I gain strength from you, dear reader, from reading this post. Food is love, and will be all my life. Send a good thought our way, please, for the woman who gave me life. Thanks, Dee