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Contest Winners and Cancer Update


EBook_SocialSilverSurfers2016-web150On Friday, I wrote about a new eBook reporting on a survey about how elders use the internet. One of the authors, Erin Read who is a friend of mine, offered to give away three copies to TGB readers.

Now, with the aid of a random number generator, we have the online names of the three winners:

Gloria MacKay
Cynthia Friedlob

Congratulations all. I have forwarded your email addresses to Erin who will contact you to arrange delivery of the eBooks.

Erin tells me that part of her company's mission is to support those who work to enhance the quality of elders' lives so she will also send a free copy of the eBook to Anita Franzione who teaches a public health and aging class and to Judith Levkoe of Seniors Across Canada both of whom entered the giveaway.

Those email addresses have also been sent to Erin who will be in contact with you soon.

That was fun and it generated a lot of conversation too. I'll see if I can find another good book to do this with soon.

My friend Jan Adams, who blogs at Where is the Way Forward, has been walking the Camino de Santiago while visiting Spain this summer. She took the time to email this photo of a purple awareness ribbon at the Ministry of Health building in Madrid.

Purple ribbonMadridJan680

”I have been unable to confirm that this display of the purple ribbon on the Ministry of Health was really about pancreatic cancer,” she writes, “but as soon as I saw it, I wanted to capture it for you.”

And I'm thrilled to have it even if we don't know if it is meant to be for pancreatic cancer. That's because there seem to be more diseases than colors to go around and you can see the long list of them that use a purple awareness ribbon here.

Jan's photo gives me an excuse to update you, dear readers, who have emailed or left comments asking how I'm doing. I haven't written much about my cancer treatment lately because there is so little to say – which is, of course, good news.

I began chemotherapy infusions on Wednesday 13 September, repeated on each of the two subsequent Wednesdays. Also on those days and every other day of the week, I take two tablets in the morning and again in the evening of an oral chemo drug. This is my week off from infusion treatment, then I start another round of once a week for three weeks while continuing the daily oral chemo.

Did I mention how gruesome a few of the potential side effects can be? How about the dangers of infection due to a drop in the number of my red and white blood cells and platelets from the chemo? And other possible signs and symptoms that can even require an emergency room visit?

Many of you who have commented here about your cancer treatments are way ahead of me in knowing all about this stuff. Me? I'm still new at it, still learning.

But as I enter the third calendar week today of my six-month chemo treatment, I am – knock wood, cross fingers, light candles, etc. - side effect free. Whoo-eee! In fact, I have been feeling so good in general that sometimes I wonder how that can coexist with such a virulent cancer.

The hard part is how busy the chemo team keeps me even when I'm at home. I have pills timed 30 minutes before meals, with meals, 30 minutes after meals, some in the morning, some in the evening and one to take before every meal or snack I eat for the rest of my life along with two or three others I will need daily for as long as I live.

Here is a photo of what is, apparently, a permanent new feature of my kitchen:


Also, there is lotion for my hands and feet throughout the day, mouth rinses, exercises to keep up my strength and those six meals a day. I haven't been able to do six, but I can usually manage four and sometimes five.

Don't even ask about the food restrictions. I'm experimenting carefully and have been able to add a few “new” foods but mostly, for the time being, meals are boring and repetitive.

But guess what? I'll take it. I'll take it all (with some whining) because compared to what others in my condition go through, I'm getting off easy.

Given how dangerous and aggressive this cancer is, I know how lucky I am, and my gratitude grows by the day. Here is partial a list of why:

Only ten percent of people diagnosed pancreatic cancer are eligible for the Whipple surgery which is pretty much the only thing that can help. I am one of those few.

Although it seemed to take forever, I healed relatively easily from the surgery and have been back to full physicial capacity for well more than a month.

My chemo treatment takes only an hour once a week. Some at the clinic sit there with an infusion going for eight or ten hours and/or do it several times a week.

So far side effects from the chemicals have passed me by.

I am old enough for Medicare which pays for all but a small amount of this expensive treatment.

I happen to live where there is a world-class cancer institute with renowned physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals highly experienced in my kind of cancer.

And I have you, dear readers of this blog, who send greetings of good cheer and hugs and light candles and wish me well every day.

What makes me even more grateful in that regard is I'm not even all that likeable. Among other failings, I am short-tempered, cynical, cantankerous, impatient, judgmental and more.

Thank you all so very much for being on this journey with me.

ELDER MUSIC: Believe It Or Not

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

There is a song by DON COVAY called Believe It Or Not.

Don Covay

Don played rhythm and blues, rock & roll, funk and various other genres of music. Some say that Mick Jagger pretty much pinched his singing and performing style, and the Stones recorded his songs early on in their career.

Believe It Or Not is from the fifties and Don name-checks so many songs I thought I'd use it as the basis for a column. I've haven't included all those he mentioned, there are too many, so it's just the ones I like. They are pretty much in the order he references them.

♫ Don Covay - Believe It Or Not

The first that caught my ear was Peggy Sue, and that, of course, was written and recorded by BUDDY HOLLY.

Buddy Holly

Buddy and Little Richard were my two favorites from that time; they kept me sane. Their songs are included in today's song, so I can indulge myself.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

LITTLE RICHARD is very well represented.

Little Richard

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, suggested that I only have one song from each artist, but when Richard is in the mix, I'm going to have them all. You have been warned, starting off with possibly his most famous song, Tutti Frutti.

♫ Little Richard - Tutti Frutti

Without stopping for breath, Don managed to mention another song by LITTLE RICHARD.

Little Richard

In this case it's Good Golly Miss Molly.

♫ Little Richard - Good Golly Miss Molly

The prolific song writing and producing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote the next song for THE COASTERS.

The Coasters

The Coasters didn't really take themselves too seriously, although they certainly recorded some fine rhythm and blues and rock and roll songs. Their songs could go either way. The one Don mentioned is Yakety Yak.

♫ The Coasters - Yakety Yak

Way back at the school I attended their predominant color for sports and such was purple. Naturally, when this next song became popular, the other schools started singing it, trying to get a rise out of us. We took it on board, and sang it back to them as a token of pride.

If you were listening closely to the initial song you know that I'm talking about The Purple People Eater. This was performed by SHEB WOOLEY.

Sheb Wooley

Those well versed in TV and movies will know that he was also an actor and played Pete Nolan in Rawhide and Frank Miller (one of the baddies) in High Noon. There were many other roles as well but they are just the ones that tickled my fancy. Here's that song.

♫ Sheb Wooley - The Purple People Eater

I said there's going to be several from LITTLE RICHARD, but you can blame Don for that. I hope you're as big a fan as I am (or you at least like him somewhat).

Little Richard

His next song is Long Tall Sally. Way back I had to wait for the Beatles' version to determine what he was actually singing. It's easier these days with the web.

♫ Little Richard - Long Tall Sally

Okay, that's all for Richard. Now we take the musical quality down somewhat. Well, considerably, really. Ross Bagdasarian was a musician who played many instruments and wrote songs that became huge hits for other people. He created a musical persona called DAVID SEVILLE.

David Seville

He was responsible for all those Alvin and the Chipmunks songs, films, TV programs and what not. He also recorded the Witch Doctor.

♫ David Seville - Witch Doctor

Michael Jackson had a really awful version of Rockin' Robin that became a big hit. Fortunately, the original by BOBBY DAY was a lot better.

Bobby Day

The song was written by Leon René, also known as Jimmie Thomas (I think his real name is superior). If you're unfamiliar with the original, here it is.

♫ Bobby Day - Rockin Robin

Like Byron, LARRY WILLIAMS was mad, bad and dangerous to know.

Larry Williams

He wrote and performed some of the earliest and best of the rock and roll songs. However, he later seriously dabbled in drugs (dealing and otherwise) and violence and died of a gunshot to the head in mysterious, and still unsolved, circumstances. One of those early songs is Dizzy Miss Lizzy, covered by many over the years.

♫ Larry Williams - Dizzy Miss Lizzy

BOBBY DARIN wrote the last song, Splish Splash, as a bet from the disk jockey, Murray the K.

Bobby Darin

Bobby was up to the task and the song became his first hit. Most people think of Bobby as a singer in other genres, not rock & roll, but he performed pretty much every way possible.

♫ Bobby Darin - Splish Splash