What a question to ask, the answer to which is the goal of most people. How do we separate what is important in life from the other stuff? How do we go about our daily life and not remain oblivious to what is going on around us? Paying attention to the lives of others. Achieving a stream of consciousness that will hold us up in times of adversity supporting our resolve for a better life.

Spirituality is the single most important component of the answer. Our society has a quiet rebellion at the word religion which conjures up images of child and native abuse, control, extreme riches while the poor remain hungry all around, wars and extreme prejudices fought in its name. We are unable to separate religion in many of its current forms from the purity of the original teachings.

There are also a number of questions arising as the the accuracy of the holly works since these were translated and transcribed by humans who are prone to so many errors. Assurances of the purity of the works as protected by the Manifestations of God or God himself are of no avail. No one really believes that is a possibility. Studies of the Bible particularly have highlighted the number of errors that have crept into the works that we are reading today. The first Bible was published 1000 years after the crucifixion of Christ.

The subject of spirituality itself is fraught with issues. Is it possible to have spirituality without religion? Is not the basis of spirituality the same as that of religion that we take for granted now as good vs bad rules. Thou shalt not kill was introduced by religion and has become assimilated in society. Could that rule have evolved naturally or would we continue to believe that killing is a natural process of mankind. The wild west of the 19th Century in the U.S. would support the issue that killing was considered a normal part of life for many years, in spite of religion or spirituality.

Defining the latter is effusive at best and left to the individual. Spirituality appears to live in people’s lives according to their set of principles and guidelines. I would surmise though, that all aspects of it engender some sort of feelings of good will to all men. The prospect of doing good as opposed to evil, to advance society to the next level of accomplishment. Defining good and evil, accomplishments and the like opens its own set of issues and definitions that become very personal very quickly in any discussion. To make matters worse, there are few answers.

I would add two additional principles to spirituality. The Baha’i Faith goes to great lengths espousing the benefits of detachment and moderation. I have mentioned these in the past. I am coming to the conclusion that these three could easily form the bastion of human consciousness. All are difficult to achieve, nearing on the impossible. Mainly because we tend to attempt to define things in black and white. Where it only so. All definitions defie tight descriptions of any kind. Matters are made worse by advancing age as we see ambiguity all around us.

Detachment is the process of detaching yourself from material goods. I say this as I sit in a house full of beautiful art collected over the years. I always considered detachment also meant not having material goods, shying away from purchasing them. As time has gone by, I have come to the conclusion that far not acquiring material goods, the art of detachment includes the process of acquiring stuff but recognising the transient nature f what we acquire. The accumulation of wealth for the sake of it has never seemed like a good idea, or even a recommended path to happiness. On the other hand, you have a Warren Buffet who makes a fortune and gives most of away to benefit mankind. That is certainly a level of detachment. For the record, he gave away $35 billion of his $40 billion fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Detachment is hard to achieve since it is hard to define accurately, and again means different things to different people. At its most fundamental, I believe it includes the appreciation of one’s belongings without being unduly attached to them. Would I miss my art if it were stolen? Or burned in a fire? Undoubtedly. Life goes on at that point. We can always start purchasing again. Maybe go in a new direction. The silver lining that allows us to chart new ways as a direct result of the loss we have suffered.

Moderation is equally complicated. At first glance, it would appear that moderation encourages us to tow the middle line. How boring that would be. No excesses. On the other hand, would moderation allow the occasional excess as long as it is tempered afterwards? I am sure it does. We would not know what moderation was if we are always being moderate. That brings us to the mind bender of moderation within moderation.

Can the boundaries of moderation be moved? The answer is an obvious yes. A person participating in Xtreme sports will have different upper and lower boundaries associated with their level of activities. Their state of moderation, or what they would consider to be moderate would a totally different of values than mine. Same would apply to such mundae tasks as driving a car where we set different standards for ourselves.

We drove from Germany to Iran in 1962. My father had purchased a brand new Opel Caravan. The laws regarding importing foreign new vehicles into Iran had relaxed and my father decided to take advantage of the situation. He went to the Automobile Association in Germany to get a map and an idea of what route to take. It was an interesting drive of which I remember parts. He was told there two routes, easy and hard. Easy meant two weeks, hard was ten days over the grueling mountains of Yugoslavia and Turkey. We had lived in Ethiopia for ten years negotiating its mountainous terrain, mountains appeared to not be a problem for my father.

My father’s idea of a trip was to get from point A to point B with the minimum number of interventions. Bathroom breaks were non-existent. Leaving at 7:00AM meant just that. Be in there or incur his wrath. We made the trip to Iran in seven days much tot he shock of the Automobile Association Iran when we reported in. My dad’s idea of moderation while driving while slightly askew with the rest of the people in the car.

We are all very fast fast drivers in my family. Moderation means driving over the speed limit, not at the limit.

Moderation also applies to other aspects of life. Baha’is are told to take every opportunity to teach the Faith. Mention the name of our Manifestation of God, Baha’u'llah. Extol his teachings and so on. Even that has to be done in moderation. I have a cousin who is very active in the faith, in my opinion past the point of moderation by a large margin regardless of what upper and lower boundaries are set. She is in France right now, gone to spend time with her daughter. Her daughter works which means my cousin will have some free time on her hands. She will be organising some sort of Baha’i do there During her vacation.

I pointed out to her that this would no longer be a vacation. She should take some time out from teaching the Faith and become a tourist. I am not good at that, she says. Of course not. That requires practice.  You need to try it sometime. Go to the Museums, not the Louvre necessarily, but the Musee D’Orsay is fabulous and worth the visit. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Being a tourist requires you to practice being one to enjoy the process. In the meantime, go have a cup of coffee and talk to people. Incredible what you will learn from them. Recharge your batteries. It will make you a more effective teacher when you return. Moderation applies to everything we do.

If you are bored by how moderate you have become, move the boundaries. Being moderate does not mean boring.

Spirituality, detachment, moderation form the three pillars on which most lives can be lived fruitfully.

None can be achieved however, without first becoming conscious of what you are doing and how you are living you life. Stream of consciousness is vital. We are seeing this term appear more and more in all sorts of literature. Become aware. Consciousness allows you to heal yourself from some conditions. There are those who argue that I could heal my liver if only I was more conscious of its activities. Rewrite the genes that control it. It is possible. It has been proven with the new theories of Neuro Plasticity in which have rewired their brains to get rid of certain debilitating conditions including depression.

Another life long goal to be achieved. All of these are done simultaneously. It is not like you do one, than proceed to another. Every pillar is a support helping the others make sense out of everything.

Consciousness allows to become aware that the problem or issue you are labouring over is important or not. Helps balance  things out. Can you live like that every day of your life. I doubt it.

I am beginning to dissect and analyse what people say. This is fun and very educational. I have another post coming out on it. For now, I will mention one of them. Live every day like it is your last. Or take everything one day at a time. Both impossible to do. You have no idea when your last day is. And anyways, you will be dead on your last day. Not sure you want to live that way.

Given the prognosis that I have two months to live has creates a volcano of thoughts and feelings. None of which helps decide how to live every day like it is my last. Don’t have the energy for it. What if I want to sit and do nothing tomorrow? Is that a bad thing? Have I betrayed my last day objective? Would I not want to do something different? Not necessarily anything dramatic. Have dinner with my wife. Just the two of us. Hardly a last day activity people envision when they make the comment. You can have dinner anytime. Go do something else. But what?

The answer to your question, Iggy, is as old as the mountains we tread on. Achieving the balance that is required to live a full life, aware of the repercussions of one’s actions. I can tell you from my own experience over this journey, that the road to that awareness is long, will take unexpected twists and turns for which you are never totally prepared. It is worth taking the time every day to meditate. Probably toward the end of the day, on what actions you have taken, how this has affected you and your loved ones. How things can be fixed. The quicker you apply the fix the better. What the next steps are.

Baha’is have to say their prayers every day. A prayer consists of three equal parts. The first is reading the prayer, aloud or to yourself, the second is to meditate on what you have read, and the this is to take some action as a result of the prayer. Reading the prayer is the easy part. The rest require a stream of consciousness.

I hope this helps you in some way, Iggy. This has been a very difficult write. I would to hear not only your comments, but those of others. Please do not be shy, every comment carries a gem in it whether you think so or not. A lot of you write me eMails instead of commenting. I wish I could post those as comments. They are full of insight that you may not think are valuable, or downplay as simplistic. This blog has proven that there is no such thing. I have written posts that I have looked at later and thought I treated the subject too lightly, yet the comments make a liar out of me. Or the posts leave enough room for others to say something.

This is an important post tome. Please comment. Every word has value.

We ended back in emergency on Saturday afternoon suffering from severe abdominal pain. These visits are now becoming part for the new normal. It is always interesting to me how accustomed we get to life’s changes. Visiting emergency rooms has always been one of those things you try to avoid. It is now just a part of life.

I am always seen to right away. The critical case that I am. The staff are generally very nice and attentive. They did blood work, blood cultures, chest X-Rays, stomach X-Rays and an EKG.

We were looked after by an amazing doctor, John Dean Jammal. A doctor and a human being. I am a very lucky man. He had read my chart. No questions were asked. He thought at first, that I may have a hernia in my stomach wall. He pushed and prodded which hurt me a lot. Then off to do all the tests.

The freakiest part of the afternoon was the nurse who came in to do the EKG. She had forgotten her glasses at home and was working anyways. The EKG is pretty simple stuff. Her next job was to take blood from an alternate source than the Port-a-Cath, in case the latter is part of the problem. She had to find a vein from which to draw blood. I had my eyes closed the whole time, because I was not feeling so well.  It only occurred to me afterwards, as she was extracting the needle that she had the procedure without her glasses. Yikes.

The results, when all was said and done are as follows. The lungs are as fine as they can be. The are cancer cells in there, but nothing else. Crystal clear. The doctor said if my lungs were the main issue, I would live for another 20 years. The liver on the other hand was a whole different ball game and the main cause of all the problems. The liver enzymes were out of whack with reality with some of the numbers tripling since the end of September. The liver was irritating the stomach and the lungs causing the shortness of breath and coughs that are plaguing my life right now.

I am also severely constipated and have been put on some commercial grade laxative. Big piece of poo just sitting there. I am also not drinking enough water. Drink more he says. The body will release whatever it does not need.

Like everyone else, he was terribly amused by our use of Tylenol 1 as pain medication. He suggested, and prescribed a drug called Dilauded. It is a variation of morphine more specifically Hydromophone. I am allowed to take 2mg of it twice a day. They gave me on the way out. I look at it as Percocet light. It pretty much dulls everything. A whole new lease on life. No pain. All organs dulled. The only side effect I have felt so far is drowsiness. I could sleep for days on it.  I am taking one pill a day to see me through the day. Works wonders.

The other side effect we are very concerned about is that I might become addicted to it. I might have to go cold turkey to wean me from it.

The doctor laughed at that possibility. For some reason, he thinks that is the least of my problems.

He also recommended we go on a trip. Just the two of us. He said if this is a case of lying around the house waiting to die, might as well lie around on a hot beach somewhere instead. We pack all the drugs we could possibly need, including something to take care of a chest infection in case it happens (not likely). We also have to be prepared to fly home if things turn sour. Purchase two one way tickets home.

The doctor does a lot of Medivac work and sees a lot of people who are very sick. He said, that looking at me walk and talk, the colour of my skin, and my general good health, I should have no problems going somewhere for a week. We are clearing the idea through Dr. Hedley this week.

We have moved our appointment with palliative to November 3. They are supposed to take over from Dr. Hedley. I will report more when I know more.

Finally, the big party is set for this Sunday at 3PM. Thank you to David Powell for generously providing his house for the occasion.

I cannot thank you all enough for all the support you have provided.

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in August of 2009, had an operation in September 2009, and have followed Chemo treatments since. 18 sessions of FOLFIRI, which I am told is pretty invasive. I lost a lot of my hair, though not all of it, suffered from bouts of fatigue, hand and nail discolouration, cracking nails, and nose bleeds. Not a bad set of reaction. Quite mild in fact. I do believe my immune system has a lot to do with the reactions I went through. I also believe that the immune system was pretty fed up with being taken advantage of for so long ad was getting ready to give up on the whole thing.

My very loving sister mused out loud one day, that there may be reason to think that I should not be alive given the rampaging nature of my cancer. Two pieces of my colon are gone, as is a small section of the small intestine. It was touching the bladder, so a small piece of that is also gone. Meanwhile I still gave cancer cells in my pelvic area, both lobes of the liver, and legions in one of my lungs. The cancer has made itself quite at home. My sister may not be wrong, and she did not make the comment to make me sad or angry or anything. It was a comment that commended me on my positive attitude that had carried me through this far defying the odds.

What is positive thinking? The book, the Secret, talks about it as concentrating really hard on a topic to invoke the powers of the universe. In the latest stuff I have been watching, the videos of Dr. Bruce Lipton, it involves the ability of changing the very nature of your cells and genes.

You get fired from a job and can see new doors opening before you. Don’t worry, it was a lousy job anyways, better times are ahead. A storm rips your house apart, and you can see renovations coming up. Time for that new bathroom you were dreaming of. and the insurance company gets to pay for some of the repairs. A cup half full at all times. There is a cartoon in one of the New Yorker magazines of a guy going through the desert, obviously dying from lack of water and all he sees are a bunch of glasses of water that are half empty. I am not sure how this link will be good for.

I have always been a cup half full type of person. Very few things have taken me down so completely as to be powerless. But the above examples are easy to talk about. What constitutes positive thinking when you have cancer?

Is it a question of thinking the condition into submission? Surviving for longer than expected? Smiling and laughing your way to your inevitable demise some point in the future? Making light of the pain, the discomfort, the disruption of your life and that of other around you? What is thinking positive in relation to cancer or any other chronic condition? Will the condition go away?

Everything I come across on this subject seems to believe that we can make changes to either our environment or our bodies through the mind. If that were the case, I would suggest we all put our minds together on Monday morning at 9:00AM and think about child poverty and it will go away. It will be solved. Let us wake up every morning and concentrate really hard on our bodies to never get ill. To live longer and healthier. If the mind were truly in charge, we should be able to accomplish all these feats in a flash. No more poverty, pollution, murder, hunger and any other ailment that plagues the world at the moment. To say nothing of the end of chronic conditions. We would just use our mind sets and prevent them from happening in the first place.

Baha’is in a number of Islamic countries are being persecuted. Baha’is in Iran particularly are vilified and persecuted beyond reason. Elected leaders are jailed regularly. Their assets are confiscated. They are charged with being spies for Israel. Our headquarters are in Haifa, Israel. They were moved there when the area was under Palestinian rule. We are not spies. Our statues forbid our participation in local politics. Egypt has issued national identification cards without which you can rent apartments, get jobs, open bank accounts and so on. You basically cannot live without one. They have listed only three religions on the cards, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Baha’is took the government to court. They are effectively asking us to lie about our Faith. We requested that another option be added: Other. The request was refused, the court case lost. We are persona non-grata.

Whenever Baha’is are put in jail, we are asked to participate in a version of group prayers. The prayers take place in the privacy of your own home, but we are all asked to pray at a particular time, on a particular day in the hope that the power of all the prayers being said at the same time would invoke some sort of mercy for those jailed. My positive side says that maybe the prayers are working as things could be worse for the prisoners. On the other hand, none have yet been released.

Reality seems to dictate that there appear to be other powers at play. Powers beyond our us. Beyond our ability to influence them in any way. I was sure I would not get cancer. My mother died of it, but none of my siblings were affected. Yet here i am dealing with the condition. I am told that part of my success at dealing with things, the lack of huge Chemo side effects all have to do with positive thinking.

I know I have a good attitude. I am laughing a lot, joke around, and generally try to make the best of it. I keep telling people you have two choices to make, you can happy or sad. I tried the latter. It did not work for me. I am going to be happy as this condition evolves. Think of it this way. I want to make the best of the remaining years. Whatever time I have left, be it 2, 5, 10 years or more. Does not matter. I have a limited amount of time to spend with my wife, son, family and friends. We all deserve to make the best of it. We will talk about everything. Life and death. Good things and bad. The discussion is important. The conversations vital.

It is also vital that we be happy through it all. Is that positive thinking? Will it stop the spread of the cancer? I doubt it. Is that a negative expression creeping in? Not really. But we, collectively, wife, son, family, and friends will make the best of the remaining time.

I went to Montreal last weekend. It was a dual purpose weekend. The first was to see Fetneh of course. We spent three days together. The second was to see Hong Lan and continue our eduction, more specifically, my education.

I arrived on Friday afternoon after an excruciating time with the security people at the Island airport. The security lady did not accept the letter from the hospital that alerts them to my scissors. I need the scissors to cut the flange that holds the bag in lace. I do not need it all the time. I went through a period where my stoma was slightly inflamed which required trimming of the flange before sticking it to your body. This requires scissors, sharp pointy ones.

She did not accept that. Nor was she happy with the can of air freshener I carry with me. Much needed that can. Burping my bag, the art of subtly releasing the gases that collect in the bag, also releases an odour that could be used instead of fire alarms. Whole countries can be vacated to avoid the smell. Buy a smaller can she says. No such thing available, I say. Nothing doing. I lift my shirt up to show her the bag. I need the scissors for this. I understand she says. Why, do you have one of these? Well, uh, no. Then how can you possibly understand? I ask to see the supervisor. She is the supervisor.

She decides to make a couple of phone calls. She comes back with a photocopy of my letter, writes down my name and telephone number on it and the fact that I have a pair of scissors. We then tackle the can of air freshener. There is no way you can take that on board. I lift up my shirt again. This bag is full of shit. I am not swearing at you. Just that it is. The burping will inconvenience all the other passengers. I am past the point of embarrassment. People can look at my bag all they want. Other passengers are going by. Some stare at you as if some sort of terrorist evidence will leak out. Others ignore, or at least ignore the situation and walk through.

The security supervisor lady finally writes on the paper that I also have a can of air freshener, taking great care in writing the brand name on the sheet. I am not totally sure what the purpose of this paper is. I would hardly advertise my intent if a terrorist internet on blowing up a plane of ten passengers headed to Montreal to celebrate 9/11. I was sending a package to someone a number of years ago. The post office clerk made me fill out this very small green form. Maybe 5cm square. She wanted me to put my name and the contents on this form. Nothing really fit on there. I asked what this was about. She says they would need to identify the package if it blows up. I asked her what her think this tiny piece of paper would survive the explosion, and what makes her think I would put down the right information if there was a bomb inside. This was previous to 9/11. She just shrugged. Rules are rules.

We often put these rules in place as if they mean something. The security person at the airport has a piece of paper now that will tell everyone that she knew I had a pair of scissors on me as well as a possible incendiary device. Yet, she let me on. How does the piece of paper protect her? Or help in any way? Or have any purpose whatsoever?

I am finally allowed to go through with the scissors and the can of air freshener. 30 minutes of my life wasted.

I arrived in Montreal around mid day. I go for a walk. It is a nice day. I get a bite to eat at Basha’s. There is a couple behind me talking about work. She is speaking in English, he replies in French. There is proof positive I am in Montreal. The strangest part is that she speaks with a French Canadian accent. I have a light lunch and just observe people milling in and out. I am to join Fetneh at 6:30PM at Mahin’s for a Persian meal. Mahin has gone to extra length to make sure all the food is perfect for me. Organic meat and all. I go back to Steve’s apartment which he has kindly lent me and lie down. I have a lot of time ahead of me.

I decide to walk and see how far I get. Not a fast walk, but a gentle stroll stopping once in a while for a coffee and water. I am exhausted after two hours and not feeling very comfortable. I take a cab to Mahin’s to get there on time. The meal is delectable. There is way too much of it and I gorge myself.

We leave and I get back to my place to rest and prepare myself for Hong Lan the next day. I overdid things today and am going to pay the price at some point.

That point is not too far away. I have a restless night and develop a small stomach cramp just to the left of the liver. I also have pains along the bottom of my rib cage. These come and go and have there for a couple of weeks. Finally, I seem to be suffering from the beginnings of nausea which happens very rarely. I take a couple of Tylenol 1s so I can sleep, and a nausea pill in the morning. I carry a pharmacy with me at all times. I take a cab to Fetneh’s office and get there on time.

Hong Lan is gracious as always. She makes me watch a two hour video from a Dr. Bruce Liption. The basic message of a number of these people is that a positive attitude helps in fighting whatever it is you are ailing from. The cancer card is played since Cancer is at the forefront of all current conditions. You also feel very uplifted when watching the video. The message is positive and it appears to make sense. The seems something innately right about what he is saying.

The video goes into a discussion about genes and how they do not control our bodies as originally thought. The Genome project lists only 34,000 genes instead of the expected 200,000. The conclusion they have come to is that cells to the actual controlling of everything and we are understanding more and more every day the mechanisms used by these cells to do their job. Genes create the template upon which cells are created.

How are genes distributed to a new born child? It appears that the distribution starts taking place two months before conception. The thoughts, level of participation, attitude of the parents help determine how much of the father and mother’s genes appear in a child. It all sounds very cool. Two months before conception? What about accidental pregnancies? Too many questions arise and the original question remains unanswered. How is the distribution of genes determined? We still do not appear to know conclusively. Why do girls look like girls and boys like boys?

The discussion on the nature of cells was quite detailed. The only discrepancy tat I can see is what activates the cell to play its role. It is one thing to say that a cell receives a signal and acts accordingly. It gives rise to the question about how the signal gets to the cell. How does the body decide what signal goes to what cell? A bit of magic perhaps.

The world of appears, I have always imagined, works a lot like the body. A brain addressing and sending signals to parts of the body that are required to perform a task. All the parts of the computer have an address allocated according to predetermined rules. A signal is sent to a device at a particular address which then responds and behaves as expected. Once in a while, a device gets corrupted and ceases to respond and we have a general failure of the system. The signal that is sent to eh device in question is bidirectional. The device responds initially by sending a signal back confirming that it received the signal and outlining the nature of the orders it has received. No room for ambiguity here. Doe the body behave the same way? Are there predetermined addresses for everything? Who or what has decided the order of things?

The video also talks about nature vs nurture, and decided that the two work hand in hand. We are also introduced tot he concept of consciousness trumping both. We assume that what is written in us in our first years particularly are etched in stone. It turns out, as some of us have already discovered, that everything can be rewritten. The term of writing tapes is used to illustrate the point. The tapes governing your life are written pretty much in the first 6 years of your existence. These tapes can be rewritten. You can also, through the powers of consciousness, rewrite the nature of your genes. Consciousness trumps all. Positive thinking is the ultimate message.

I spent 7 hours with Hong Lan. I was exhausted by the end. We came out of the day with three action plans. I forget the third, so convenient n’est-ce pas? The first one is to turn this blog into a book. I will have to talk to Sharon Singer and Shawn Smith about that. The second is that I should pursue my picture taking more aggressively.

I was supposed to visit Mehran and Noushin at their farm in the Eastern Townships on Sunday. We rented a car for the purpose. The family has been fighting a cold for a little while now. It seems they have all sharing the germs. Mehran was still ailing and we could not go. Too bad. I hope he is feeling better. We might reschedule the visit for my next visit to Montreal. We kept the car and decided to run a number of errands for Fetneh. Stuff she would normally do by bus or taxi or with someone else who has a car. We also decided to pay a visit to my mother’s grave site. I said I have to prepare her for my visit.

We never made it tot he cemetery. The Montreal cemetery is on the mountain that is located at the centre of the city. There was a bike race and all access tot he mountain was blocked. We went in circles looking for a gap in the proceedings only to come away empty handed. Mom is not ready to receive me yet. Good news for me I guess. I was exhausted from the activities of the previous two days. The cram in my stomach was still there. It was more awkward than painful. I slept in the afternoon on her couch. Three hours. Longer than I expected.

Sunday evening saw us having Shwarma for dinner. I could not eat much. The meal of Friday night was still with me. In fact, it stuck around for about a week. We decided to visit Mahin again for a cup of tea. She was in constant communication with Fetneh wondering when we would drop in again. Gigi and Ivan were there. We had cups of tea. They kept filling them up. I had little choice but to keep drinking. We had a great time with the Vidals. I got to bed around ten. Two more Tylenol 1s to make sure I slept through the night.

We had breakfast with Mitra and somehow ended up spending the whole day with her. I had to leave to catch my 4:20 flight home (delayed to 4:45). Mitra and I are old friends. We spent much of my time in Montreal together. You forget these things until you spend a bit of time together again. It was very easy and relaxed. I was home.

Security out of Dorval was another beast of an affair. They accepted the letter and allowed to keep my scissors. The air freshener gave them hiccups until a supervisor placed it in one of their plastic bags. It fit in there perfectly making it a legitimate item to carry on. The security person then decided she had to check the rest of my bag. She went through everything, a bit like going through customs. I am not sure what prompted that exercise. She finally found an object to confiscate, my half used tube of toothpaste. Victory! I was free to go.

I rested the rest of the week recovering from the excesses of Montreal.

The level of confusion, for want of a better word is amazing. On the one hand, it is good news. Let the chemicals run through their routine and exit the system.

Take a couple of months off to reassess the situation.

Ponder the meaning of life.

Start working on all my projects.

Keep away from the routine of the hospital.

Janet was talking the other day about this situation. You start on this adventure in a bit of a daze. You ask a bunch of questions. According to Janet I was asking my fair share of questions. Except that I was repeating my questions. I was getting answers and repeating the same questions. As I said, in a bit of a daze.

You acquiesce to the advice given by the doctors. Specially if you like them. They seem to know what they are doing. Dr. Heldey has a huge collection of articles to his credit. Surely, he knows a lot of stuff about colon cancer and its metastasized state. He is very reassuring. All we can do is follow his advice.

There is a lot of talk of alternatives to the traditional medicines. There are no proofs, just a lot of information. It is very hard to sift through all the information. We have discovered that you tend to make sense of the information as time goes by, as the need arises to make sense of things. So much of the information is anecdotal. We have no idea if people are responding to the medication, the alternative choices, or not.

I have always maintained that I will not live just for the sake of living. I will not go through a regime that seems to be more work than it is worth. What price is life worth living for? All this work and you live an extra two years. Is it worth it? Probably to the people around you, but not for the person going through the chronic condition. At least not to this one. I keep reading about people going through all sorts of programs to live longer. Why the compulsion to live at any cost?

The health network has looked after me for the past year. Diagnosis, operation, Chemo. Everyone looking after the chronic. With a smile, a laugh and a hug. You, the chronic are being looked after by all these people. The chronic is not doing anything, while things are done to him. We are a bit powerless. Go to the hospital, give blood, get Chemo. Make sure you have taken your drugs before the Chemo. Go home, sleep, rest, make the best of the situation.

We have to move now from having things done to us to deciding what we need to do for ourselves. We have to follow through with some of the stuff we have been reading about. Make sense of all the messages we are getting. Again, sift through everything and make decisions.

I find the situation very confusing. Again not sure if that is the right word. I have a lot of projects to work through, a lot of time to figure things out.

We took a week off Chemo treatments to visit friends and relatives in Montreal

This has not been a stellar day. I have been very tired. I am guessing the Neulasta is taking its toll, quietly exercising its options on the bone marrow. The end result is good, more white blood cells. The trip is nothing short of horrific. I have to say that the last couple of shots [...]

I took public transit to the hospital. Janet and Devin are both working. This is really a non-issue. The streetcar is almost at our door. Very convenient. Arrived a bit early, taken in on time and released right on schedule. Another new nurse. Again, very official. Name, number and date of birth, over and over [...]

Following is a transcript of the eMail exchange I had with the customer service person at the Princess Margaret Hospital. But first, some background. I had a blood test done on May 3rd, in preparation for the Chemo session scheduled for the 4th. I always try and go the previous day. Gives everyone time to [...]

I am going through a bizarre set of events. I keep thinking and thinking and the thoughts provoke new thoughts, and I reverse my position don’t care about this or that, come to new conclusions, confuse myself to all high hell. What else do I have to do? It turns out that I have a [...]

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