All My Blog Friends Live Close By Redux
ELDER MUSIC: 1936 Again


UPDATE: 4PM PDT: I am overwhelmed with your love and good wishes. I so appreciate them and all of you. There is a rule, apparently, at Typepad that there can be no more than 100 comments which we have now surpassed. I have written to them and asked if they could forgo the rule for this blog post but will probably not have an answer yes or no for awhile. Meanwhile, know that I can read the additional comments offline. I'm so sorry - I apologize for this inconvenience.

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Believe me, this is not what you were expecting today.

Not your normal Saturday Interesting Stuff column. And it is something I never imagined dealing with on TGB. But there you are – shit happens in life. No one ever promised you a rose garden. And all of that.

Yesterday afternoon, I returned home following three nights in hospital, a bunch of tests, an endoscopy procedure to set a stent and having met more new people – professional caregivers of many stripes - in that short time than I've ever met in a whole year before. Diagnosis: pancreatic cancer.

Oooph. That's a kick in the gut. I can't pretend otherwise.

So I wasn't home to write today's Interesting Stuff and Peter Tibbles, the author of the weekly Sunday music column agreed that it's best to “tell readers what's going on,” he said. “They're a smart bunch.” And so you are.

Next Wednesday I'll meet with the surgeon again. He's in his mid-50s, I'm guessing, and get this: his entire specialty his whole career has been the pancreas and only the pancreas. It makes me wonder if there are physicians who treat only one leg or the other, one arm at a time, etc. (That's a weak joke, folks.)

Surgery will follow soon after that meeting – a week or more in hospital and then rehab for a week or two, they say. Of course, details are subject to change but now you know why posting may be spotty for awhile.

Anyone who has sent an email, please forgive me for not answering. I arrived home from the hospital to more than 800 new messages and just hit delete – too tired to sort them.

This isn't going to be easy and I could probably benefit from a crash course in patience about now. Is that an oxymoron, do you think?


I'm speechless. Sending good thoughts, karma, prayers, etc. your way, dear friend. If I were closer, I'd make a casserole & visit.........or whatever. Dee:)

Ronni, be very kind and gentle to yourself.

You are loved and respected by a few zillion of us. And I'm sure everyone of your readers would do anything we could for you. I know I would!

PS: I would have hit the delete button too.

Oh, Lord - I am so sorry to hear this. You do an amazing job of keeping it together enough to even compose this post. From another member of the club that no one wants to join.

I am sorry to hear this news. Sending good thoughts and prayers for a strong recovery.

Thank you for sharing this information.

As you can see, you have legions of caring people here. If there's anything we can do to help, let us know. Please. In the meantime, feelings and sending of love your way for strength and recovery.

Keeping good thoughts for you, Ronni, and for your team of caregivers.

I am shocked and so sorry for your diagnosis. Sending you good thoughts and prayers. I know you probably still feel bad, and I also imagine your diagnosis is extremely upsetting, but if there is any small way you can treat yourself well this weekend, I hope you do so.

As odd as it sounds, I appreciate your sharing this with us.

Be well.

Sending you all my thoughts and loads of good vibes, Ronni. I've been through breast cancer twice (and am still around) but I know how hard it is to go through decisions and and the whole rigmarole of hospital. You are a strong woman and you will beat this.

I can't even begin to think what is going through your mind. Thank you for sharing. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. You are a special person.

Pancreatic cancer is something I know very little about. I do know a bit from personal experience about going through surgery, chemo and radiation. (colon cancer at age 58)

You are very loved and have many friends. So sorry you have to go through this!'Make sure to have an advocate who takes good notes to go with you to appointments. It's amazing how your brain has trouble taking it all in and most doctors only say stuff ONCE. Plus you need to write down questions before you forget them! Will be thinking of you in weeks to come.

I am so sorry to hear this news. I hope you will take all the time you need to take care of yourself - your loyal readers will still be here when you return.
Best wishes that all will go as well as possible.

Wow, kick in the gut indeed and for all who care about you. I hope the results are good and the good times return soon

Oh, Ronni. Joining in all the thoughts and love being sent your way.

So much love to you. Thank you for your openness, we need to know this. Your honesty is a vital part of what you mean to me personally as a mentor and shephardess of aging for so many people. Please do find and designate an advocate you trust to make note of your medical journey, it will greatly facilitate your experience and recovery. Call on any of us to take care of whatever we possibly can, so that you can concentrate on taking care of yourself. I'm with you in spirit, my friend, ask for whatever you need. Sending much love.

Gasp! Yes. Take an advocate with you. I am holding youheart.

Thoughts are with you. Please keep posting when you are ready to.

We're here for you, Ronni. We do prayers, karma, wishes and thoughts. Take good care.

A chill went up my spine upon reading the intro to your column and I hated that the shock was indeed realized after reading your diagnosis. Your column has been part of my morning emails since you wrote the piece about your Mom and your journey of staying with her during her last illness. Hopes and prayers that you will overcome this.

Oooph! indeed! Please be hopeful and if loving thoughts and prayers will help, you're sure to come through this rough time. We're all sending healing thoughts your way.

I don't often cry for a complete stranger, but, then again, I feel that you are not. If I were a praying woman, I would indeed pray for you. Take good care and ditto all the above. A pancreas specialist is a deep plus.

My thoughts are with you.

WOW, that's the kind of kick in the butt no one wants to get.....THINKING OF YOU. PRAYING FOR YOU. SENDING POSITIVE HEALING ENERGY YOUR WAY.

We will gladly accept your posts when you can, and you know how well loved you are. Thoughts and prayers attend.

So sorry
constant prayers going your way.
Healing energy is being sent.
Enjoy so much reading all you share weekly.

Ronni sending prayers your way. May God wrap you in his comfort blanket as you go through this.

Gutsy of you to share. Keep reaching out. Lean on local friends and neighbors. You're such an independent person, it will be hard. Wishing you a speedy recovery from surgery.

JFC, Ronni, JFC.

Immediate tears here. But gratitude for your honesty and sharing of this.

What a shocker.

We just never know.

Keeping you in light and love.


Well darn. Good healing energy for your health carers to give you the very best treatment and care. That you be completely healed and do a Ruth Bader Ginsburg comeback stronger than ever. You are loved by so many of us. I quote you all the time. Best to you!

Oh Ronni. So very sorry. Standing by with all as a giant circle of supprt and love.

Dear Ronni,
I'm sure I will be one among many whose love and hugs and thoughts and prayers are with you. I love you and all you have done and will continue to do for this community and the lives you've touched. You are making such a difference in this world!!! Yours, Carol

Very Sorry to hear this. Even though I am a relatively new reader I have come to enjoy your postings and emails. Thoughts and prayers going your way for a speedy and complete recovery.

Claudia says it best. You are so special to all of us and you have a large support group that love you and will send healing thoughts your way.

Forgive us if we shed tears over your terrible diagnosis, but as Peter says, we are tough and will be here for you with our love and good wishes for a successful surgery and beyond.

Ronni, I'm sending healing thoughts your way. So sorry you have to go through this, but as others have said, you are strong and you can do it. We'll be here waiting for you whenever you feel up to posting.

Thank you for sharing. What a shock for you! ...and for us, who care so much about you! I wish for you to be blessed with the best of medical care and a return to full health. There are a lot of us out here rooting for you!

I bet Ollie is glad to have you back home! Wishing you the absolute best, Ronni. I can see where a crash course in patience would be lovely. Breathing, fifteen minutes of deep, slow, inhalations through the nose and exhalations through the mouth may help bring some calm.

Love you, Ronnie.

Stunning news for you and those of who know you through
Time Goes By.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
I am praying for your healing, your peace of mind and your comfort ...
Body, mind, and spirit.
Much love ...
Pat Crawford

Ronni, I'm so sorry for your illness. Sending healing thoughts and prayers for excellent medical care and peace for your spirit.

I'll just quote wisewebwoman and add a JFC... and also Light and Love, prayers, good karma, just every good imaginable... being a quantum physics hobbyist I'll go out on a limb and say all of that works - so you'll go into surgery glowing like a new star!

You'll be in the constant thoughts of all here and many more.


Damn! Sympathy. Stay strong. I can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound empty to me, but your readers care, and if we could do anything to make this all go away, we would. Having a strong advocate at your side is also good advice.

As has been said, so much love to you. You mean so much to me and countless others, and I appreciate your openness and trust in sharing this with us. If only we could drop off quantities of your favorite things and give a hug. We are here for you, and as Kim said. whenever you feel up to it. You do so much for us.

Wish I knew how to teach (and have) "Patience...NOW!" Meditation/deep breathing and favorite activities as well as routines as distraction are my only tools. Sometimes they work!

Much love and healing thoughts to you.

Oh, and PS: Be assured that in your times out we will continue to write, call and generally be thorns in the sides of our congressional representatives and federal agencies as appropriate and with a double punch for you!

I will pray for your healing!

Oh Ronni - so very sorry to learn about your upcoming surgery. When I think of you I think of a very good friend, a thoughtful person and so much more. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of what's happening in your life now.

Good thing that you are in the hands of a 50 year old pancreas specialist - so much new research being done now.

Hope your surgery goes well - and from my experience I would say ask for a "warm blanket any
time you can - it made me feel so good.

Warm caring thoughts go out to you.

Love, Millie

Never rains but it pours, so very sorry to hear this!
All the best to you, really hope your surgeon can do good things for you.
You are our hero.

So sorry to hear this, Ronni-- it's as though it's happening to a close friend, which you feel like, to all of us, a wise, tough, honest, kind friend. I'm joining in the circle of love and support and pulling for you to prevail.

Love you Ronni. I'm shocked and sorry to hear this. We've had this in our family and for what it's worth Portland is one of the best places for treatment. I'm keeping you and your medical team in my prayers. Hugs.

It's quite obvious that your readers love you. Now it's time to start loving yourself. If it means anything, I have a good feeling about your eventual success in overcoming this thing.

Dear Ronni: I went through this kick in the stomach when my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And then we went to work to do everything we could.

It may be a good sign that they are suggesting surgery (ie the cancer is still small enough) but please DO ask them whether doing the surgery will take care of the problem. DO ask them if all the different procedures that they are recommending are guarantees that you will beat this. Do check out the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care in Chicago 1 (847) 492-3040 DO not take Abraxane (if it is still being marketed as a cancer cure. It is all marketing.)

Sent with the deepest sympathy of what you are going through right now and with the affection that I have developed for you through our internet community.

Oh Ronni, I've so very sorry to hear this. As you can see, there are many of us who would move mountains to help you through this. So don't hesitate to ask. You'll be in the thoughts and prayers of all of us. Take good care of yourself.

You knocked the wind out of all of us too. We wish you such strength & patience.
So many of us are sending good & healing thoughts to you.
Hope you follow Ruth Bader Ginsberg's path.

Bummer news today. I second all the good wishes, and praises from your Time Goes By groupies as I are one.....

When husband had a cardiac arrest 4 years ago a friend sent me "Healing Abounds" which at the time was little consolation that he would survive the coma...but he did and has came back with his exercise, and eating routines that have him, once again, in top form.

So I am passing it on, Ronni my dear friend: Healing abounds. Sending much Love and hugs to you,

What they said--along with some additional hugs and high expectations for successful treatment. Nice to see you haven't lost your sense of humor.

If ever we needed to live in the same building again, it's now. I hope we can talk soon. When you are ready. We love you.

Oh Ronni, I'm only two years past my breast cancer surgery and recall all too well what a kick in the gut that cancer diagnosis is. And then the overwhelming deluge of questions to be answered and decisions to be made. I honestly think that was the hardest part.

Yes, always have someone with you to help take in all the information and ask additional questions. I'd have missed half of what I was told if a family member hadn't been with me, taking in the other half.

My thoughts and best wishes are with you. Know that you've an army supporting you.

Echoing the shock and caring of others who have posted. Love your posts and attitude on TGB, and will be sending prayers, vibes, and healing energies your way. You are a strong woman, a role model - and a winner.

Please add my good thoughts, prayers, wishes, positive vibes -- what ever it takes -- to those of everyone else here. I was afraid when there was no new news yesterday, that something was very wrong. Though this is bad, it is not the worst of my fears of what might have happened.

There were two thoughts that ran through my head when I read your words this morning -- you are still with us in this world, and cancer can be survived. For both of these, I am thankful.

Like others here, I wish I were closer and could do something tangible to actually help you during this time. The suggestions for an advocate and finding ways to get as much help as possible are some of the best. You are fortunate to have had years of experience researching and learning how to access these things.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a mailing address for cards? I understand if you don't, but people like to feel they are doing something and I know that there are many who would like to send you some cheery words by snail-mail as well as electronically.

You are a strong woman, Ronni Bennett, and you can lick this. But you won't always feel strong in this fight, and it's okay to give into and acknowledge anger, sorrow, fear and fatigue when it all feels like just too much. Those of us who have been through this ourselves or with another know that's normal, okay and a reasonable response. Take good care of yourself and let us know how things are going when you are able.

Just about everything that can be said has been said, so I'll get back to basics. HOLY C***! No one expects a diagnosis like that no matter how old we get. I've never been the type to take other people to my doctor appointments, but something like this might be an exception.

Best wishes and thoughts for a successful surgery and recovery.

Damn! I knew something was off when there was no post yesterday.
I join the chorus of shock and good wishes to you. And I appreciate your telling us about this. You have deepened this community by doing so. Best good wishes to you as you head into this maze of treatment, uncertainty, etc. I think I must have thought, deep down, that you are invincible. Well, maybe you are. Love to you.

This just STINKS! Please let us know how we can help.

Luckily I DO live close enough to physically help ... organize tiny meals to be delivered to you (once you know if you have specific diet), drive you hither and yon, or just come over.

You do live in a Village ...

So sorry to hear this, Ronni. Sending you very best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Life is not fair and this news really sucks---

Everyone familiar with cancer knows you do not want to go this alone--

You need to let those who care help you-- When they offer --accept it.

You will be encountering some really great people and some of the ones who step up will surprise you.

Keep us posted when you can --- we care about you.

So very sorry to hear this news. You have helped me a lot in accepting aging and feeling my way through this period of life. I have been a hospital RN, a home care R N and a hospice RN. I loved being in the health care field and working with people, but I still had much to learn from you. Take care Ronnie, and focus on cure, It does happpen ! I hope you can resume your column in the future. For now fight, fight, fight.

Ronni, this is hard news.

I am so sorry this is happening to you.

Your track record says you will survive this.

Please try go to every doctor appointment with a solid friend who will listen and take notes.

There will be a barrage of information given to you, and you will need to evaluate and make decisions all along.

Your friend will share the notes with you later, and, while you are in the doctor's office, you might not think of what to ask.

Your mind will be skipping all over the place.

Your friend is your back up listener. I suggest this from an ongoing medical issue with a family member.

Do whatever you need to do to keep your mind focussed on the here and now.

Your internet friends are on standby.

Write what you want, when you want.

A million fans can't be wrong.

XOXO from Montreal.

God bless you in this nasty journey.

Elated to know that J B Lockhart, above, (and presumably others) are nearby and will be right there for you, Ronni.

You, your words & philosophy have been a tremendous asset to our Elder community for so many years, and now we stand with you in this new trial.

When you are recovering from surgery, and away from this blog, I know I will be among the many people who wish you a complete recovery.

Stay strong, virtual friend.

Just wow.... big hugs my lovely.
No words for the rest. (((xx)))


So very sorry for your news. I am a 2 time cancer survivor, and must tell you, sharing is the best thing to do. My friends, and family and all on facebook were my biggest support system.Let people know what you need and don't be afraid to ASK and TELL folks exactly what is needed, be it just a hug, a meal, or sweeping the floor. People will say. " what can I do for you ", tell them!!
I know you will get through this most difficult time, a positive attitude, a sense of humor, crying in private, all are helpful.Prayers are very helpful I had people of many religions and belief systems in my corner, you do as well.I have become a support person for many who have cancer and support is NECESSARY!! I admit, I have lost a few and that is hard, but there are many of us in the survivor club, and you will be there as well. Take care, eat well when you can, rest often, and stay positive. thoughts and prayers. DK

Sending you "positive vibrations" at this time. (Love this blog!)

I am praying for you, Ronnie.

Sending love and healing energy to you. Hope you have an advocate with you, as others have suggested, and of course do whatever you need and want to do to make yourself comfortable and happy.
Thank you so much for your wisdom, for your willingness to dig out information and share it, for your humor and for your persistence. All these things will come in handy on this, your next journey.
With love and gratitude. Lola S.

Oh, Ronni, my heart goes out to you. Great strides are being made in treating pancreatic cancer. The husband of a friend of mine has made a quite dramatic recovery after chemo and surgery followed by more chemo. I am sending up good thoughts and prayers for your recovery.

I love you.

Oh, Ronni, I am so sorry. DAMN. But like many others, I am reminded of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's complete recovery -- I hear she is now putting out an exercise tape!

But just as we need her, desperately, to continue - we need you too! And look forward to a time when we can virtually hang out with you again.

As my Quaker friends say, I hold you in the light. As do we all.
[email protected]
Hang in there, take good care, and employ all the marvelous wit and energy and intellect you display to get through this. And yes, ask people for help, especially when it comes to listening to medical people, getting down what they are saying, etc.

What a shocker, Ronni. Am late reading your post today and do not have time at the moment to read all the comments, hope to do so later. As usual you have an admirable attitude towards this new diagnosis and I wish you a quick recovery. Don't forget (and probably it's been mentioned above) that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009. She's 84 now and going strong. Since the cancers she had a heart condition too. Here's wishing you well and loads of luck, we think the world of you.

I'm so very sad to read your news, Ronnie. Thoughts and best wishes go to you.

Everything I might have said, could have said, or would have said, has been said. But I had to add my voice if for no other reason than for you to know how many people care.

Sometimes simply leaving a note, that perhaps you'll read in the future, is all that one can do. Unfortunately, that may be more for my benefit than something that could be a help to you.

But God, I wish it could make things just a bit easier for you until the ambiguity of the whole situation is lessened.

In addition, to every good wish already sent, I wish you peace during this tumultuous time.

Since the days of "dinosaurs", we have been with your blog .
Needless to say, you are in our thoughts.

Dear Ronni. You are in fact dear to so many of us. Like others have already said, although we have never met in person, I, too, feel like this is happening to one of my closest friends. And I feel humbled that you have shared this will all of us.

I know you are a New Yorker at heart, and New Yorkers are tough. YOU are tough! And if you are ever not feeling strong on this upcoming journey, know you can lean on all of us for moral support. I join my good hopes, wishes, vibes & karma to everyone else's that are winging your way.

As a faithful reader of your blog, I too was worried when you did not post. Consistent with your courage and honesty, you shared this bad news. I hope that your resilience and sense of humor will sustain you during this journey and know that your ‘blog friends’ are with you in spirit.

There are not enough words.
Please accept my caring...and the caring of zillions of your faithful readers.

I too feel that kick in the belly and am very sorry you have this. I also join the many, many readers who are sending positive thoughts and healing energy. May our collective support and caring energy be a great help to you however it can!

So sorry Ronni! Blessings and prayers from me too!

My heart goes out to you! Yes, you've been sucker-punched.

Through your writing, you have sown so much information, support and love! I hope that it will be returned to you as a source of strength and sustenance as you do battle!

Hugs, Irene

Dearest Ronni ~ May you have fair winds and following seas in the journey you are about to embark on. You are such a wonderful mentor to your legion of followers and we are all sending you healing thoughts, prayers, strength and love. Stay the strong woman you are and we will be here waiting when you return.

Words fail me. Sorry and other such expressions are inadequate.

Your blog came to my life just a short time ago, but I take delight in each posting. Coming to know another via blog postings harkens back to a time when my grandmother Iva only had contact with her sisters via letters and a very occasional telephone call. There are many ways to know another. Thank you for letting us know you!

Ronni, I wish you well in this next part of your life.

You've been a role model for me. Thanks for continuing in that job. How wonderful to see your great friends circle you with love. Sending healing energy for your journey.

Holding you in positive thoughts. You'll get through this.

A friend of a friend just had the Whipple in January. And ......... she is heading out on a cruise next week! Her recovery was a challenge, but she got through.
I'm sure you're scared. Kick in the gut ..... big time.
Be gentle with yourself.
Sending all positive energy your way ....

to all: put it down to my feeling rattled. How an odd-looking line crept into my comment I have no idea. Ignore it, please, which you probably have already. I am sorry. I suspect it was something I saved to put into my contacts list -- but it ended up here.


Sending you my prayers and a big thank you for your wonderful blog.

I love you and can only send you healing wishes and huge hugs. Get well!!!!!

I have told you many times how much you mean to me, Ronni and I am heartbroken at your news but have every confidence that you will come through this with flying colors, as usual.

Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers every day as I continue to wish for your complete recovery.

Love you for all you have done for me. I wish there was more I could do for you.


Along with other commenters, I wish you well and thank you for taking us with you on your journey. We care and are here for you in any way we can.

I am so sorry. I have had cancer and my youngest daughter is dealing with breast cancer right now. It is a dreadful disease, but much more successfully treated than it used to be. I wish you well as you deal with this difficult time, and a complete and hasty recovery.

Serendipitously, I just learned today about Mealtrain, a free online service that provides a structure for providing meals for someone in need of that. It might be something of help as Ronni goes through surgery and the recovery process. Perhaps one of those here who have indicated living in the same area might find this helpful. Others not local might be able to participate long-distance by ordering a meal that could be delivered. Our newly elected young mayor and his wife just had a second baby a couple of weeks after he was installed as mayor, and their first child just turned a year old, so people were concerned about them getting through their first month of this transition and organized a mealtrain for them. It was the first I'd heard of it, but it makes this process so much easier. More info can be found here:

This is a follow-up to the post I just left. In exploring their site and services further, I see that it is also possible to organize more than just meals, through Meal Train Plus, though there is a one-time cost of $10 that covers the duration of the support period. This allows the coordination of housework, rides, multiple meals per day, and more, as needed. I wish I had found something like this years ago.

I've spent most of my adult life coping with severe rheumatoid arthritis (many surgeries, other stuff), and do NOT enjoy seeing other people being schooled in similar coping strategies. Ronni, I only know you through your blog, but love your words and ideas, and your heart. I'll be holding you in mine.

Very sorry to hear the news. I said a prayer for you at Mass this afternoon & will include you in my daily prayers. Best Wishes!

Ronni, my brave, honest friend, sending a hug and love your way. Will be thinking of you and wishing all goes as well as possible. Judy

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