The Disease Begins to Come Into Focus
Some Reason for Hope

The Joy of the Ordinary

Nobody tells you – well, nobody told me - how busy they keep you when you're sick. And these aren't things you can blow off.

Except for the weekend when I was fairly well wiped out from all the “work” I had done in the hospital the previous three days (and so it had seemed to be), I have had at least one medical appointment a day and there are more booked.

Okay, I lied. Monday there were no visits but there might as well have been: there were five telephone conversations with doctors and other medical professionals, some lengthy, and a lot of new information to absorb.

During the calls, I was a crazed note taker, scribbling as fast as I could. Most of this is new information about which I have no previous useful knowledge and therefore no past references to call on to make the information my own.

So after the calls I spent a lot of time rereading and organizing the notes to be sure they will make sense later.

All this does not account for phone tag and then the wait time on return calls – sometimes up to 30 minutes. I understand there are a lot of other patients whose conditions are at least as serious as mine and I don't begrudge that kind of wait. I just get tired from it.

And now, thanks to those health care people, I have checkups and followups, appointments, tests, etc. scheduled well into August. And they haven't even done anything to me yet. Whatever the outcome of treatment, this kind of busy-ness isn't going away soon.

Then there are the household chores. Enough kitty litter and cat food to last through a long hospital and, possibly, rehab stay so the helpers have what they need. A list of what to take to the hospital: The internet is fabulous for this kind of minutiae but it can't find the small travel hair brush I KNOW is here somewhere.

There are banking issues to arrange, usually in person, automatic bill pays to set up for my absence because god knows credit card companies and utilities don't care if you're sick when the payment is late.

Meanwhile, the electricity in half the kitchen outlets is suddenly dead – that's annoying - but no way to have the electrician here until I know my upcoming schedule. Plus, unrelatedly, my bedroom clock broke.

When I complained about some of that to a friend via email (hopefully with some self-mocking in my “voice”), it was a surprise to be told that I should lay those chores off on helpers, and that I am not doing “this” well.

Maybe so but I'm a beginner at "this" and here is the thing: I have just a few days before treatment begins, probably with surgery, and then my life changes to something completely new. It is a long surgery, a long hospital stay, a long rehab. And, I assume, chemo after that.

Maybe it will be successful. Wouldn't that be wonderful? But maybe it won't.

Either way, during these frightfully few days I have left before signing on to be a patient for god knows how long – maybe forever in terms of my personal life span – I am relishing the mundane errand.

While I can still do them - the chat with the bank manager, making the lists I need, buying a new clock and all the rest of the things I have been doing every day for my whole life and not appreciating until now - they feel important and comfortable and real and even almost miraculous in the current circumstance.

How wonderful it is to have just an ordinary day. How deeply I want more of them. And more after that. For as long as I can.

Today is a big day. After months of my “mystery malady”, what seems like a gallon of blood given for tests during that time, more different kinds of scans than I can recall, while some of you read this I am meeting with the surgeon and will learn about my immediate future and, maybe, beyond.

Thank you for all your kind wishes. I am enjoying them and appreciate every one of you so much.



Keeping good thoughts for you today and every day of this journey.

Hi Ronni, I hope you remember me, possibly your sole reader in Turkey a few years ago now. I stopped following TGB when my partner got sick in 2010 and, long story short, was eventually diagnosed with PSP, a terminal neurological condition for which there is no treatment. He needed care from 2014 onwards and I was sole carer until he passed in January 2016 aged 68. I am only now recovered, I hope. Amazing that when I finally get around to looking at TGB again I find you are about to embark on a journey through illness. In fact I am so shocked I don't know what to say apart from all the usual stay positive type things. I am actually sure you will handle whatever comes extremely well. You have an enquiring, critical mind, a huge community of supporters who, if they may not be able to help in any physical way, as is my case, can still provide welcome distraction via on-line communications. I am still in Turkey and shall stay. Now have to go back to find what is happening to TGB in your temporary absence. Good luck. Pat Temiz

There is no "way" to do "this" well. You are doing remarkably well to get your mind around all the "stuff" of daily living that you have done automatically for so long.

The mind and the emotions, dealing with the unknown, are spinning. You are pushing through that, in preparation for what you is your best guess.

If ever courage is called for, this is the setting. Your clear thinking, travel brush be hanged, regarding what needs to be done and the relishing of having those chores to do, while the reality of why the need at this time is swirling there in your mind--sureal!

When we really face "who knows what tomorrow may bring", time stops while we are thrown into the vortex of its whirl.

Thank you, Ronni, for your openness and sharing. You are in my thoughts and
prayers. Hoping you are finding the medical professionals to be in your corner and that you feel supported on every hand.

S.C. Jones...
Re: "...while the reality of why the need at this time is swirling there in your mind--sureal!"

You know how we often talk about how time speeds by as we get older? In recent years, I blink and a week goes by.

It's been just seven days since I got this diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and it feels like weeks. Time is now crawling by. I go about my day doing some chore, cooking dinner, catching up on reading the news or whatever and after awhile I think may two hours have passed but when I check the clock, it's only 20 minutes or so.

This isn't a once or twice occurrence. It's several times every day. Or trying to watch an episode of "House of Cards" one evening, I asked myself if this would ever end - it felt like it had been going on for hours. I don't know if that's a commentary on the quality of the show or just this new time conception.


We will be here with you on your journey.

Ronni, we will be here every day as part of your support system whenever you need us.
Getting through all this information is your job right now. Maye keeping it all in a journal or some kind of calendar system where you have it all on hand. I am hoping your day goes as well as it could. My most positive thoughts are out there for you.

blessings and good wishes to you. I think you are handling it all fabulously. You are a courageous, brave woman.

Ronni you can still make me laugh--maybe I am the only one who sees the humor--sorry.

"When I complained about some of that to a friend via email (hopefully with some self-mocking in my “voice”), it was a surprise to be told that I should lay those chores off on helpers, and that I am not doing “this” well."

Pre surgery it is good to keep your mind occupied. It is after surgery you have to have that person lined up to do those chores your brain and body won't be so sharp for accomplishing.

Go team Ronni---

Have read your posts for years & been struck by your curiosity, openness and sense of wonder. I know these traits of yours will be part of this experience as well.

I was with my husband as he spent time in the oncology clinics and the hospital at UCSF. Almost without exception the doctors, nurses, staff treated us with respect and caring. And what surprised us but proved SO helpful - humor.

I know that you will also be surrounded by dedicated professionals. Thank you for continuing to write.

Well, there you are ... reacting and acting and sharing. Don't know many people who would be up to as much. I have no "advice" but am filled with admiration and respect and a pretty useless desire to do SOMETHING, clean Ollie's litter box or whatever, for you.
Have been thinking of you every day and will continue to do so, whether there is news or no news ... and just praying that no news will reveal itself eventually to be good news.
In bocca al lupo for your "ordinary" day and to-do list and for the parallel world you are being forced to enter.

Ronni, Please be assured and comforted that there is a very large choir out there, singing your praises, encouraging your caregivers and adding straw daily onto the camel in the White House.

I think you're amazing. Such a diagnosis would have most people curled in a corner.

You are inspiring. You always have been ..... but now more than ever.

You're grieving the loss of your good health, so be gentle with yourself.

Sending positive thoughts your way for an uneventful recovery from surgery.

Thank you for everything in the past and for these new notes. We all love you and wish you the best and pray for you.

Your brief comment, "after months of my 'mystery malady,'" made me do a double-take. What were your symptoms leading up to this diagnosis? I thought the diagnosis had come out of the blue, not after a long-term health issue. I also didn't think there were any symptoms of pancreatic cancer and that's why it is such a hard one.

Sending healing thoughts out for you this morning and all the ones to come. You've gotten through an amazing number of tasks while waiting for the next steps to begin. No wonder your time perception has resorted itself.

Thinking of you!

Thankfully, you are at the surgery stage. My father waited too long, ignored the symptoms and was stage 4 inoperable before he passed.
They do run you through the mill on appointments -

the heros are the people who keep going. putting one foot in front of the other while not being assured of the outcome.
there is no right or wrong way to proceed, do the best you can and know you have touched so many people with your candor and willingness to share your journey. You are a hero in the ways that matters. We will walk with you, with thoughts and prayers and if there are other needs, please let us know.

Keep on keepin' on, Ronni. And S.C Jones, I really like your post.

It sounds like you're going through mindfulness times as you find yourself "...relishing the mundane," experiencing the ordinary( and often dismissed if even noticed) daily living with a heightened state of attention to your senses and thoughts.

You've never been in this place, nor have I (so I don't truly know), but from what you write, you're using your extensive life experiences and tools to work for you during this time.

As are we, your readers. Because we care deeply for you.

Thanks for writing, sharing.

My husband the electrician says to check the GFI button on the switches in your kitchen. It may just need a simple reset. If that doesn't work, call the electrician. Hope this helps though!

I have enjoyed your blog so much over the years, we look forward to what you have to reveal to us on the next blog. We are keeping you in our prayers and hope you are with us many more years. love and thoughts for everything good is sent to you.

I traveled a similar path over 25 yrs ago Ronnie...tho a different diagnosis, breast cancer. Once I had a treatment plan in place, that became my new normal. Treatment was over and my next new normal began, the rest of my life. The "bestest" thoughts coming your way as you pass thru your new normals...joining many "thrivers" of life... ((Ronnie))

Barbara's comment about a calendar is a really good one.

I had forgotten ---when my husband was going through all his appointments, etc. I started a loose-leaf notebook which was on the kitchen counter and went to the hospital with us. I started a new page every morning with any concerns or reminders and It was filled everyday with issues and medication and changes and appointments.

You wouldn't believe how useful that became when we were asked --so when did that start? or what was the date that medicine changed or what was that doctor's name? So many things you will not even remember you did at some point.

You or your care takers can catch up on your status ever so much easier -- just a thought.

Thank you so very much for making the time to write to us/me. It's so hard to do First Things First when everything seems to be First.

"She was powerful not because she wasn't scared, but because she went on strongly, despite fear."(Atticus Finch)

"The year I drowned, I took the NO. 6 train uptown in New York to the Hispanic Society of American to visit their collection of ancient maps." is the first sentence in Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic by Nora Gallagher her memoir of an illness. She writes about the mappa mundi and the derroteros (courses and pathways); her derrotero "would be of the smaller coastline, the individual rock. I would draw it to tell others what to watch out for, what I learned. Or what I knitted together, what sufficed. No Essential Truth, but a geography worth recording."

At some point she writes "Tolstoy and Eliot had generosity, irony and hope - three basic tools, it turned out, that I would need for survival in Oz." Yes, so far you demonstrate all three. There will be days when you loose one or all three and I surmise this rag tag group of readers, I for one, will hang on for you.

Ronni, I rarely post because everyone has already posted good thoughts, information, suggestions, ideas, etc., and it is the same here. Lots of good info and suggestions for you to ponder.

I like Kate R's comment above. Each phase of your journey becomes your "new normal," and you go on from there. Your lifelong habits of seeking, delving, researching, etc., will help you as you take the next steps. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Stay strong, but let others help, too.

Victoria and others...
Thank you re calendar. I have kept a notebook/journal/diary/calendar/etc. at my side 24/7 all my life. Although I suspect that has something to do with my faulty memory; I have always depended on the notebook and so it continues.

There is nothing to add to the outpouring of love from your many admirers except to say that all of your vast team that is rooting for you will be there as you go through this difficult journey. If only we could be there in person to deal with the electrician and all of the irritating small things that distract you.

Your illness will consume your time and energy so please rest when you can and let the neighbors help in any way they can. When someone asks what they can do, tell them and don't take any more on yourself than necessary. God knows that will be enough.

You don't know me although we communicated via email once over a year ago.
That was when I started writing about growing older. I write from a very personal point of view, almost like a diary. I write about growing older without family, friendships, memories, lessons learned and forgotten, and anything else that creates a burning in my gut.

When I began to write, I searched for role models. There were hundreds of articles almost daily with advice about how to eat, exercise, assisted living, finances...but none about just growing older. And then I found you.

You have been my virtual instructor, inspiration, thought provoker and more. My essays are now published regularly on Jewish Sacred Aging and elsewhere. I am writing a book of short stories and essays with my own photographs. I am being transformed by the experience. And so much of this exciting adventure, embarked upon when I was 70, is because of you.

Now, you are teaching me what it is to be brave. Not just in facing your disease, but in having the courage to write about it. Not clinically. But in your own wonderful voice. It breaks my heart. It makes me value each moment. It makes me consider what I need to do to prepare for my own health issues already in progress. Most of all, it pushes me to continue writing. To tell my story. To reach out. To be genuine. To not worry about what others may think

I include you in my nightly prayers and think of you often. I lack words to encourage or empathize. They seem inadequate. So please know that I look forward to more of Time Goes By. That you have more time. That this time, with all it's difficulty and pain, goes by successfully. And most of all, how you make the time going by for so many of us funnier. better informed, less frightening, and something to look forward to.

Ronni, you are in my thoughts, and will remain so.... holding you in my heart and praying the universe grant you some blessings today.

It is so hard to say anything meaningful at such a difficult time, especially to someone I only know through the inter webs. So I will rely on the hippie phrase "hang in there". While I was caregiver for my mom I kept a single notebook filled with anything related to her care. Some people might call it a bullet journal, to me it was just a messy set of lists and calendars and ideas. But it makes a difference in keeping everything straight. So, that is a suggestion for you.

This is Sali in Israel. Wow, I am smacked against the wall by this news. I have only occasionally been following your blog the last few months as I mostly do Facebook a lot, and for some reason when I see it there, it often will not stay on the post. Anyway, by chance I read it today. I am so glad that I did. This whole getting older thing is such an interesting stage in life, and a real bitch too. I always assume that we are so close, and that we do not need to even communicate often to be in touch and know that the other is there for us, but then when I get news like this, I come to the state of feeling so far away. I do not have much experience in this. But one piece of advice is to let people help you whenever possible. I have so far been reasonably healthy but the last 2 years am really feeling the difference that age makes. Yaakov has been having a lot of health issues with both his eyesight and not walking too good and I have been dealing with all the bureaucracy for him, so I relate a lot to your talking about the endless phone calls and making of appointments etc. It is very tiring, so go easy on yourself as much as possible. I don't seem to have a good phone number for you. I will email but understand that you will not have lots of time for emails. I am sending you tons of love and hugs and more hugs. I guess that I just expect you to always be there forever and ever, :) Yaakov sends his love too of course. Your realistic look at life is so refreshing and helpful to everyone, both blog friends and others. Sending you good vibes and mental strength and again more hugs. You are a leader and an inspiration and a role model.

This is Sali again. I forgot to say that the idea that someone posted about keeping a notebook for all the appointments and when different things happen sounds really useful as my memory gets worse and worse, so I am going to try it. I have always resisted keeping a journal, but this is going to make life easier. Your blog helps so many. oxoxoxo


As the others, I wish you well. I have some comments about the medical whirl. First, if at all possible record your phone calls. Your brain will selectively key in on only some, probably the scariest, information. Recording can help you with detail later that your vast note taking cannot. Along those same lines, take an advocate/trusted friend with you to all appointments. This person can also take notes and may have questions you wouldn't think to ask. It gives you someone to process information with after the appointment.

If you need a day, take a day. Medical staff are schedulers, they want your answer NOW about procedures and timeframes. Try to remember that this is your body and your life. I think you have touched on this before in the blog. Almost nobody will ask you what quality of life is to you, they will focus on percentages and procedures. Have that friend with you ask "Why are we doing X?" "What do we expect to learn?" "What will we do with that information?" Exhausting medical routines that are only to monitor a disease process they can't do anything to stop will exhaust you. You may chose to forgo those and spend your energy elsewhere. After all, it is your life.

If you are unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend Atul Gawande's book Being Mortal as well as the many youtube videos he has out there. He talks a lot about patient-centered versus disease-centered care and quality of life.

With much love and respect,


My heart, thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for your wise words and sharing over the years of this aging journey. I - we - will continue to share this journey with you. Please ask for support when you need to!

Please know that my thoughts and energies are holding your health and well being in positive light...though of course I'm very glad you have a professional support system, and hope that there are friends in the flesh to take on some of the needs that may pop up in the near physical supportive team. You are doing everything that is right for the moment, and I am sure you'll continue to do so. Time does change based on our own little inner clocks, doesn't it? Give us a dose of adrenaline and it is amazing how we see every little thing in so much detail.

Nothing long - just a wish for a successful surgery and a speedy and uncomplicated complete remission/recovery. There has been some good advice in the other posts so nothing to add beyond the well wishes.
Just know that you are not going through this alone - there are a lot of folks pulling for you.

Holding you in my thoughts. Like Darlene, I would love to be close enough to help with those annoying details...slip in while you're at appointments and get the electrical problem solved. I can't improve on what she said. We are your team!

When you mentioned an ordinary day, I thought of a poem on the topic by Norman MacCraig that concludes with something like, how ordinary extraordinary things are; how extraordinary ordinary things are.

That's been my experience in times such as you are facing. I learn to appreciate both, the ordinary and the extraordinary.


You have not been far from my thoughts since your post about your diagnosis.

I wish you the very best.

P.S., when I'm in crisis, I always start dithering about unimportant details. It's probably a needed distraction.

Good luck, Ronnie. I will be praying for you. Love the blog.

Dear Ronnie, your posting today really reminds me of a time when I had an operation and sort of went off on the deep end. fortunately, you, unlike myself, seem to be able to keep things in perspective. Isn't it amazing what will bring us to the realization that the "ordinary" is truly quite "extraordinary" when we don't have ordinary at some time? Your attitude will, I'm certain of this, bring you to great peace with all of this. Peace.

PS: I'm a new comment-er as I just discovered you blog from DJan's Sunday posting. I also posted a comment on your previous posting. I don't see how--with all the multitude of friends you have, that you will ever be able to read all of these comments. You are a treasure I think. Peace.

Hi Ronnie
I am echoing Marci's advice that you need someone to accompany you on all your contacts with the various medical professionals and to take careful and timely notes. I'm sure you are an astute note taker, but I have experienced that situation where a doctor gave me information which gave me a scare (which ultimately turned out to be a false alarm) but literally seconds after leaving the building I realized I had not 'heard' all that had really been said. You need an advocate joining you to be your backup eyes and ears in your current battle. Best of luck, you are in my thoughts.

Being a night owl means that I'm not a morning person, so I arrive late to TGB/comments most days. But I always arrive! Everything I would say has already been said--and usually better than I could have said it. So I'll go with hang in there. I look forward to seeing you back on TGB after all "this" is done, and during whenever you feel like writing. Best wishes all the way!

My thoughts and wishes are with you during this challenging time

As muddled as my mind is of late I wouldn't know where to start. My daughter just sent an email with a quote at the bottom..."Hold On...I need to overthink this". It just hit me as maybe that is why my mind isn't as clear as yours seems to be. :-)

Continued good wishes to you.

Everyone above has offered encouragement to you today, Ronni, and I'll join in those wishes. Adding my thanks for your continued posts.

I am reminded of this fragment from something I know by heart: "We go forth into the world not knowing what trials await us through our journey through life..."

You are facing these trials with fortitude.

You've been with us, your peers, all these years and now we are here for you.

It's interesting that your sense of time has altered so drastically. You are no longer on any kind of autopilot, so everything registers. I finally gave up on this season of "House of Cards." With the Orange Cheato in the White House, I don't need that show. You are in my thoughts daily, and I too feel differently when I see that there's a new TGB. I want to know what's happening in your life, and it's the only way I get to participate.

That said, I hope that if finances becomes a problem, you will say so and I'll pop a bit of cash into your account. Money should NOT be something that messes up your equilibrium. Sending you lots of virtual hugs, too. :-)

Well I knew you were a strong woman, it's evident from reading your blog over time...........but I'm amazed at the way you "scribble" the notes on the phone, and then organize them immediately. I wish I could do the groceries or the kitty litter box, but like so many others, I'll be sending good energy and prayers daily. Yes, you are a treasure.

Oh Salinda...
I'm not scribbling "on the phone." I'm scribbling on paper WHILE on the phone. I don't text either - heh.

This is the first time I send you a comment. I always read your blog and get so much out of it, that I owe it to you. First of all, knowing you, you'll not need a lot of encouragement to know what to do. Like you, I am a former career woman in NY, (and London and Mexico Cit)y. )Currently, I live in San Diego and hope to publish my second and third books this year and next. You give me hope, opinions, something to think about, understanding and a rare view into the life of a career woman post-career. The warmest wishes and I'll be thinking of you.

re: Penelope James -- Weren't you my doctor in the Denver area many, many years ago?

Ronni, you are an inspiration to all of us. Best wishes for a successful surgery, an easy recovery, and a happy, healthy, fulfilling life afterwards.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Ronni, as a former resident of New York City, you know how to handle the curve balls life sometimes throws your way.

Like someone suggested, if a friend offers to help in any way, accept the help.

Damn, I am upset about your diagnosis.

Just returned from downtown hospital with my sibling who is halfway through her cancer treatment.

The nurses and doctors are angels.

Take care.

Dear Ronni, many of your blog followers, friends, and family members are probably making valuable suggestions to you right now so as to help you on this new journey you are undertaking.

Recently I went through a major surgery and found the following CD extremely helpful both before and after. I found it on Amazon and it was the Publishers Weekly Award Winner for Audios. The name is "Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace." It is a guided imagery meditation for physical and spiritual wellness. I listen to it while lying on my bed. The speaker is Susie Mantell. Peace.

Ronni ~ Hi, I'm one of your readers who has been subscribing to your blog for only about a year, but you always capture me with your cleverness and straight-forward and candid opinions. Most of the time I laugh or cheer, and sometimes pass on to others your keen observations. Today, you caught me off guard and as I was reading the 53 cimments I realized that tears were streaming down my face.

You are such a wonderful ambassador for those of us who are getting older. You sometimes provide the "light touch" sometimes you educate and instruct. Sometimes, you just share a Sunday of music.

Thank you for also sharing through this challenge when, I think, most of us would only share after the challenge had been successfully met. (Or most likely, not at all.)

You have touched me more than I ever would have thought, and I look forward to "hearing" all about your experience when you come out the other side.

Much love, light, and healing energy to you.

I send you the warmest healing thoughts for your healing journey. You have many friends here on this blog. Use us for support.


Do you have meals on wheels in your area, Ronni?

If or when it comes to the point you don't feel like cooking, MOW delivers to your door. You can choose meals from a list.

Frozen or ready to eat.

Home made by volunteers.

The meals are good.

I was so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, Ronni. I've been reading your blog for a year or so now (since retiring from full-time work) and have enjoyed it very much. Your post today resonates with me so strongly because I received a colon cancer diagnosis 6 weeks ago after emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction. It's been a wild ride since I went to Emergency for severe stomach pains. They gave me a few weeks to recover from the bowel resection and get used to having a stoma, before starting me on chemo last week.

My treatment has been first-rate (thank God for the public health system in Australia) and friends and family have been wonderful and I'm grateful for all of that. BUT there is something totally empowering about making sure you have all the information you can get about your illness and treatment. Some people have said it's best not to overburden yourself with info but I guess it depends on what kind of person you are. I prefer to know everything. And it sounds like you are similar. So go for it. And leave the small stuff - well, as much as you can.

The surgery, recovery and chemo and/or radiation won't be easy, to say the least. But thousands of people get through it and I find it helpful to see myself as one of the lucky ones who are clear 3 years, 5 years, 10 years later. I'm sure you know how important the mind-body connection is. As cliched as it is, I know that being positive mentally will make a difference to my ability to get through this. Meditation helps with some of the dark moments, as does living in the present as much as possible.

And yes, the small things can be so sweet and make you greedy for life. I was walking down the street doing some shopping several days after chemo had started. The side effects had all seemed to disappear even if only for a little while. I couldn't help but smile as I walked along and start singing to myself 'I feel normal, oh so normal...' And a nice woman smiled back at me. A sweet moment indeed...

Wishing you all the best,

Hi Ronni,

I faced the big "C" 5 & 1/2 years ago.
I'm a cure, you can be to. Remember, your doctors are saying they can treat. They don't say it to everyone. You need a nonaggressive form, early diagnosis and the right team is doctors.

Everything that happens to us is God teaching us something. You have to find what that lesson is. It could be a reminder to put everything in proper perspective.
Put yourself first is a good place to begin. Life is a lottery and I believe you have a winning number.
I will pray for you Saturday and each week I attend.

Good things,

Know you in my heart as I keep on keepin' on and you do the same. That is what we do, isn't it? So much work, this living lives. :-0

Your blog title says it all "Time Goes By" - but with no guarantee of smoothness - you see yourself as a hard nosed journalist but in actual fact you have been a 'carer' - showing and helping us all to deal with the vicissitudes of life - particularly ageing - and cancer is certainly one of the downsides of ageing - so now it is your turn to be a 'receiver' - take all the help you can get - it can be difficult for an independent person - I know - having had cancer earlier this year and finding myself viewed as 'old and frail' was a real turnaround for me - but a sense of humour and strong willpower - both of which you have loads of will see you through - go with the flow and come out the other side stronger - all the best Ronni for a bumpy few months.

Ronni, I am so sorry to get this news. I hope you are able to crash this off in some fashion, and I am sure that if anyone can do that -- you can.

Hoping you're able to take it easy today after such a week.


Ronni, I've long wondered--how does anybody do this medical urgency thing "right"?

I had emergency gall bladder surgery a few years ago and unthinkingly took both car and purse to the hospital. My husband somehow misunderstood the words "watch my purse whatever you do" when I was wheeled into the OR but I did find it, safe and sound, hours later piled in the big plastic bag with my clothes. Luckily, we could prevail upon friends to drive the car home because of course I wasn't allowed to drive.

So how to do better next time is a burning question for me. With your autopay bills and travel hairbrush, you are already WAY out in front of where I was. The endless phone calls, voicemail trees, recorded music, and doctors' office waits of Big Illness, alas, none one of us can fix.


I follow you for many years and admire your position on the various problems related to aging.
I live in São Paulo, Brazil. I am 78.

I am having mielodisplasia for five years now, and I will need to recompose my blood every week till I die.

Now I am fighting a skin cancer that scares people that look at me.

I have a big titanium protesis put in my colunm in order to walk again,

If I endureand have a good attitude I will still live well many years.

I hope your doctors give you the support and the confidence my doctors gave to you.

All your friends need you and we are following your disease with our hearts.

Good luck dear

God Bless you


Oh, Ronni, I've been away and am so sorry to learn of your diagnosis...keep relishing the mundane chores as you want to, but also line up plenty of helpers for after surgery! Your post reminded me that, having a chronic health condition, I figured years ago it amounts to a part-time job at least! Do remember though that your acute situation will taper off eventually. I had open heart surgery 2 1/2 months ago and am feeling a little more normal every day, and having fewer appointments too.

Let me add my voice to the chorus of others who are pulling for you, big time, and will be here waiting whenever you feel like writing! More good thoughts, prayers, healing light are coming your way from San Jose, CA.

I am so sorry, Ronnie. It sounds like you are in good hands! I submitted your name for prayers from Unity. They will pray for you for the next 30 days.

Please keep posting.

Prayers for complete and total healing & recovery.


Blessings to you, Ronni.

Have also been away...for over a month with limited tech access. Hated opening your blog and learning that you are up against this battle! Want to just reach through the monitor and do anything and everything, but that can't happen. Do be upfront without hesitation if there is even the slightest thing we can do to help you or Ollie. If we are creative, there may be things we can do for you remotely.

Best of caregivers to you and easy moving through your journey, Ronni!

I have been a faithful reader of your blog since you were in the other Portland. I have enjoyed all of your blogs and listened to the Sunday music. You have been an inspiration to me when my husband was in the process of dying. I am so sorry this has happened to you. I will send all the good karma I can muster to help you in your battle. And even say a few prayers while you are on your journey. On another more positive note, You have not mentioned your cat for a long time. I hope he is okay. Our companion animals can be a great comfort when the bottom falls out of our lives. You Have become a daily bright spot for so many of us. good to talk with you today on what I am going to call "Lutz Lane!" What a great idea to name each of the paths...

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you navigate this journey!

sending love.

Wishing you the gift of time...a long life with health and contentment! Many thanks to you for all that you have given to us all over the past years...and hoping that you will be able to continue to write the blog for many more! In the meantime, though, please take all the time that y0u need away from the blog. Someone above mentioned money. I am sure that there are many of us who would reach out to help financially if you need that! If so, please let us all know, and we will do what we can to help!

Rooting for you, from South Africa. You've been such a source of wisdom and good common sense for me in the territory of aging. Thank you. I look forward to hearing the saga of your triumph over this terrifying disease.
Nan Jolly

Good Morning Ronni,

Your post sends me off into my day with a powerful push to enjoy every moment.

I am sending love and light along with every positive wonderful feeling in my sou can sing out to you.

Please think about having someone advocating for you while you are in the hospital.

Sending hugs and love,
Dana Ainsworth

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