Another week of turmoil.

We finally made it the One of Kind Show. I was exhausted for some reason, woke up in the afternoon and insisted we go. Let us not miss this opportunity. We got there, rented and electric scooter and rolled inside. The scooter was the best thing we did. I even took my oxygen tank to emphasize the point.  We lasted about 2.5 hours at the show, then made our way home.

I was amazes at the rudeness of people regarding the use of the scooter. Some cut you off, others made comments just loud enough for you to hear, others did not get out of the way. All very interesting, and unnecessary. To make matters worse, it was a terrible show. I was standing in front of a painting at one point when another vendor showed up and the started talking about this that and another including the show itself. I stayed there for quite a while admiring the painting, but no one came to ask me if I wanted to buy it. I was not about to get out of my chair. Not the easiest thing to do. I left.

I have been knocked out for the couple of days. The doctors have reassured Janet that the show is the reason. I am eating well, and drinking not bad. One does not go from eating to dead overnight. Janet woke me up this afternoon to eat. It was very difficult for me to even open my eyes. Same thing this evening. Come down for dinner. Could barely open my eyes, so stayed in bed. Could have easily stayed asleep all night.

I woke up around 11:30, suddenly awake and lots of energy. Janet decided I should take advantage of the energy to update the blog since so many people are concerned by the lack of communication.

I must say it is a very strange feeling that I am going through. Quite scary on one level, well, on any level you can possibly imagine. Not sure where any of it is going. Janet keeps asking me what is going on. The simple answer is I am dying and all the thoughts and tribulations that go along with that. Sounds like a simple process, but get complicated really fast, and really does not explain everything. Is this a waiting game? Wake up in the morning and just sit around and wait to see what happens?

After my exceptionally brilliant piece on people visiting me, we are are finding ourselves cancelling visits. Cannot handle the conversation. We have at the very least, curtailed visits, limiting them to something we think we can handle. All very confusing to us, let alone to those wishing to grace us with the presence.

The blog is helping a lot with thinking through things. I have a visit with my psychiatrist this Friday, see how that goes. I am looking forward to it. There are a number of thoughts going through my head that are linked to the legacy post which I have promised and yet to deliver. It is coming, I promise. Have to get the thoughts in order. getting more complicated as we move forward.

The blog is getting very big, and we are running into technical issued. You may find it down sometimes. The techs are doing their best to keep it up and running. I am also trying to find a podcast from a CBC interview that talks about the fact that we shuld be preventing cancer, and not cure it since there is not cure for it. I have mentioned that many time before, but he has accreditations behind his name which makes him an authority so we have to listen to him. Yeah for accreditations.

All this to say I appear to be good. Blood pressure where it should be, blood counts where thy aught to be. We will get past this exhaustion thing as well. We are also going to try and get a handicap sticker for the car. I guess we can use the oxygen as the excuse. It will be good to have one. You get access to all the handicap parking spots, and can park just about anywhere you want. I am not driving any more. Do not trust the reflexes. I may also not be able to lift my feet to reach the brake pedals fast enough. Janet can take advantage of it.

All for now.  Good night.

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.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my operation. I am not sure if anniversary is the right word. I guess it would from the point of view that I am around to make this entry. On the other hand, I am not sure one celebrates an operation, specially an eight hour job.

I had lunch with my father in law the other day. I always enjoy his company (he may be reading this). We talked about the operation. I remember waking up and wondering when they were going to start. We are finished they said. I lost eight hours with those words. I have no words for what it feels like to lose eight hours out of your life. Almost a full day.

No recollections, no memories, nothing. Eight hours just went by and you have no idea what happened. You are alive, so it could not have been that bad. The lack of recollection is hard to forget or get over. My pa-in-law remarked that it is probably as close as we can get to death and come back to this life. Strange thought that. If that is what death is like, then I will have no recollection of that either. Except it may last a bit longer than eight hours.

I am seeing my oncologist this coming week, and my surgeon the week after. I might suggest we have champagne to celebrate. If only I drank. A number of my friends wanted to know if I was about to change my ways and start drinking.

On a separate note, I got a phone call from a telemarketer from the U.S.. She wanted to know if I wanted to move by business bank account to the TD Bank. I told her I was out of business. She went on to explain the benefits of making the move. I told her the company was closed. She went on again with her script. Again, I said, the company is closed. Oh, you are out of business? I told her that was a bit harsh and I still prefer to say that y company is closed. They can still provide me with some services, for instances coming up with a new business plan.

There was little point in continuing. She was very nice on the phone. Had a good way about her. I did not want to be rude and just hang up. I told her that I was not interested because I have cancer. She did not miss beat. Calcium is good for fighting cancer, she has read. A telemarketer is giving me cancer advice. Wonderful world is it not?

She mentioned that calcium creates an alkaline environment which is not favorable to cancer cells. She also suggested that I deprive the cancers cells of oxygen. I explained that while it was true that an alkaline environment is not favorable, I am not sure how much calcium you have to take for it be effective. It is highly probable that the amounts you have to take would damage your system. That is possible of course, but she had just read an article on calcium healing cancer. She was a nice lady.

I think every day of my friend who is about to go into palliative care. Her cancer has run its course, I accompanied her for her appointment with the department the other day. Strange to be there. I am glad I went.

I am a lateral thinker. Drives most people crazy. You see relationships where none appear to exist. Fo’ad and I were talking about this the other day. Most researchers appear to be linear thinkers. They are on a single minded mission. Some research appear to have an intrinsic value and we look forward to positive results. Other research appears more esoteric, and seem to have little value.

Little value, that is, until someone else comes along and sees something in the research that warrants a further look. The research is taken to another level, until someone, somewhere, brings the research to a useful end.

There are more of these examples that we know about. PostIt notes are, supposedly the result of researching the solution to one problem and coming up with the notes that we all know and love today. A number of items we take for granted in the computer industry were invented and shelved. The inventors found little value in the objects. The mouse, Ethernet connectivity that the web runs on, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) used in all major operating systems, were invented at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) owned and operated by Xerox. The brilliant scientists and thinkers employed at PARC kept inventing, but no one commercialized their products.

It tool someone like Steve Jobs who borrowed their inventions, most notably the mouse and GUI to create the MAC. A bit of, are you using this? Do you mind if I take it? No please, go right ahead. It tool IBM to capitalize on the computer by taking it one step further. They commissioned their engineers to come up with a personal computer using off the shelf components. No new inventions. As expensive as they original PCs were, this kept the price down.

I was the Marketing manager at a hardware and software distributor called Ingram Micro. We are going back many years here, pre Web. We had a meeting with Seiko, a company that is much larger than meets the eye. After all was said and done, one of the engineers showed us a touch screen that would run on a MAC. You might take touch screens as a given, specially with the popularity of the iPhone. You have also all seen them used in restaurants and others locations. Touch screens were a rarity in those days. Their performance was spotty and people were just beginning to let their imaginations wander to see what they could do with these. We all looked at the yellow screen and thought it was cool and wonderful. It worked quite well. None of us could imagine what it could be used for. Nor could the engineers at Seiko. We have not heard of the product since.

You are all familiar, by now, with Bluetooth, the technology that allows you to connect your smart phone to the ear piece. Bluetooth was originally created to offer a secure wireless connection between two devices in close proximity to one another, no more than 7ft, about 2m. The technology now boasts a range of over 300ft, 100m. The rules for technologies such as Bluetooth are set by a consortium. These rules are updated on a regular basis. The Bluetooth consortium was revising their rules to upgrade the technology. They were approached by a manufacturer of chemicals who suggested that one of the proposals who get in the way of a device being used by the chemical company.

This came as a surprise to all in the room. What would a manufacturer of chemicals have to do with Bluetooth? This was a technology developed for computers. It turns out that the chemical company had developed these very small balls that contained a thermometer and a Bluetooth transmitter. They would drop these in the vats of chemicals and could tell what the core temperature of the vats were. Essential information when creating these mixes. Linear thinkers meet lateral thinkers.

I would theorize that linear thinkers are mostly doers, while lateral thinkers are, well mostly thinkers connecting disparate dots. There are always crossovers. People who have a leg in each camp.

One always starts wondering at some point how these stories will relate to what I am going through. Here goes.

I am now taking part in a clinical trial run by Dr Robert Buckman. This is being done with the blessing of Dr Hedley. I am the only colon cancer patient in the group. Everyone wants to know the names of the drugs i am taking. I showed the list to someone recently. They were surprised that none of the drugs are new. Dr Buckman has taken existing drugs and decided on an alternate use for them, changing doses and treatments. Meet Dr Buckman,the lateral thinker.

The success or failure of the idea is rarely the issue. Success of a medical clinical trial is obviously a desirable outcome. Time will tell on this one.

Why does it take a crisis to find out who your friends are?What is it about a crisis that brings some people closer to you while alienating others?

We read and talk about people not knowing what to say, or how to behave, but I think there is more to it than that. Not sure what it is, have not read any studies on the subject. Maybe I should. Or not. There appears to be some opportunism or reverse opportunism in all of this.

A bit of – I have no use for this person any more. They have stopped being fun. Turned into a downer. All they talk about it their chronic condition. Not interested in watching sports any more. Not interested in shopping and all the other things that made you fun to be with. Why is the chronic person so quick tempered and angry all the time? Time for new friends, or more to the point, renewed friendships.

People rising to the occasion, visiting, talking, making their presence felt one way or another. Everyone catering to their strengths. Some just dropping by for a visit, companionship. Others making conversation, others lending you their cottages, or places to while away your time. Whether one takes advantage of the occasion, the offers, is hardly germane. One appreciates the sentiment, the offer, the gesture, the sentiment.

People are constantly telling me they might die any time as well. Avoiding the crisis. Death is hardly ever a pleasant conversation, nor is the specter of imminent death, whether speculated as something that is about to happen tomorrow or in ten years, a very pleasant thought to live with. Yet, here we are. Are people attempting to defuse the subject? Is there a benefit to telling the chronic person that there is competition to dying?

We would surely leads our lives differently if we believed truly that we could die at any minute, negating the doomsday scenario that prevails the chronic person. We live our lives the way we should, planning ahead, looking forward to watching in horror as our children grow up. Waiting patiently for the grand children, the travels, the parties, the friends.

Only a crisis provokes serious concerns about imminent death. The concerns soon evaporate as reality set in. We do not know when we will be lining up at the pearly gates. Even my friend who is dying and is seeing the palliative doctors has really no idea when the day will come. We just know that we have to be prepared for it in a way others don’t.

The crisis that is my condition has subsided somewhat. People have returned to their daily lives. This just a footnote to keep track of. So it should be. It is enough that it has disrupted the lives of one family, let alone a need for it to disrupt those of so many more.

What do you do with yourself when on Chemo vacation. The idea of the vacation is not a positive one. You are on vacation because the tumors have stopped responding. Yet here you are trying to take full advanatge of the grace period.

Chemo vacation brings its own set of thoughts to the surface.

Seeing the oncologist and negotiating a Chemo Vacation for a couple of months. The news is overwhelming.

That is a strange expression if ever there was one. Janet and I went through a brief phase where we attempted to determine the origin of our expressions. It was taking too much time and effort. We gave up. I might have to start that exercise again. I am bummed out. This has been an [...]

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 [...]

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