ELDER MUSIC: Recent Discoveries
Encouraging News: U.S. Cancer Death Rate Has Dropped. Again.

Cancer Treatment: It's Always Something (and a Book Giveaway)

In a repeat from last November, I appeared at the clinic for my Wednesday chemotherapy infusion last week but when the usual blood tests came back, my red cell count was too low for treatment.

The infusion was canceled and like last time, the tram took me from the waterfront campus to the OHSU hospital up on the hill for an overnight transfusion of blood. Two units this time instead of four.

And because I now have an internal bleed, a whole lot of tests:

  • Repeated vitals: blood pressure, temperature, heart rate

  • The usual bloodlettings for the lab

  • EKG

  • X-ray

  • rectal exam

  • combined colonoscopy (including the infamous prep)/endoscopy

There were probably other tests I've overlooked. Later, to help combat the anemia, an infusion of liquid iron which, the doctor informed me, looks pretty much like motor oil – and so it does.

I've been home since Friday evening, mostly sleeping due to the truth of the old hospital joke about it being nowhere to get any rest.

As I've mentioned here before, the staff at every level at OHSU is excellent. This time there were more doctors than in the past – maybe eight or ten or more - each with his/her area of expertise in regard to the internal bleed that needs to be dealt with.

All of them and the nurses, the CNAs and everyone else who attends to patients, are smart, knowledgeable in their areas of expertise, kind, caring and just plain nice people.

Next steps are that this week, I have a bunch of medical appointments to see what the decisions or choices may be.

Meanwhile, I have some new medications to take and what an awkward schedule they require. There is one I must take an hour before each meal, another to take 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner but not lunch, a couple that cannot be taken in combination with certain others and so on.

I'm working off a brand-new, home-made chart to keep it all straight.

Remember way back when I said I would not allow myself to become a professional patient? What a crock. The pill schedule alone ensures that I need to be aware of time and medications all day every day.

The doctors tell me the bleed, small that it is, is at the site of a connection between hoses (or whatever other body part) made during the Whipple precedure in June. If my interpretation is correct this is, essentially, a mechanical problem not a cancer issue. I'll know more later this week.

This all came out of nowhere for me. You see, I thought for the time-being, my job was, to the degree possible, to withstand the side effects of chemo until it was done in March.

I didn't count on an all new, out-of-the-blue medical event. There is not much difference at my end (as opposed to the doctors') between this and being hit by a truck in terms of how it interrupts my life.

But that thought also is a reminder that to extent possible, I must go on living as I choose. I can complain about the pill schedule, about being tired too much, about additional medical appointments and about the next unexpected medical intrusion but there is no point in letting them take over my life completely. That would be a terrible mistake.

As far as I know, pancreatic cancer is random. It might have been you, but this time it's me and there is no point in being miserable about something I can't change. Just live. And laugh. And make the best of what I have.

I know that sounds like I've gone all Pollyanna on you but is there another choice? I don't think so.

* * *

About two weeks ago here, I told you about a book of essays, No Time to Spare, by Ursula K. Le Guin. A few days later, TGB reader Lynn Lawrence emailed to ask for my snailmail address to send me a book.

NoTimeToSpare225It arrived within a couple of days - the Le Guin book. Lynn had missed my posting about it but had read an excerpt somewhere else and thought it was perfect for me. So we decided together via email, that I would offer another book giveaway – just one this time and do thank Lynn for it if you win..

We'll do it the same way as always with giveaways here:

Just tell me in the comments below that, “Yes, I want to win the book.” Or, you could say, “Me, me, me.” or anything else that indicates your interest.

The winner (you can live in any country) is selected by an online random number generator and I will have your email addresses from the comment form. I will then email the winner to get your snailmail addresses to send off the book.

The contest will remain open through 12 midnight Pacific Time on Tuesday 16 January 2018, and the winner will be announced on Friday morning's regular post, 19 January 2018.


I'd love to read that book....and so it is Me,Me, Me.

Stay cheerful through this difficult times....we admire your strength.

I need the book for the gerontology class I occasionally audit. Please.

Good to know you’re feeling better. Rest is certainly the best thing you can do for yourself.
Hugs and good thoughts

Ursula K. Le Guin is showing up a great deal lately!

As you said, “It’s always something!” But we just keep on keeping on. I hope you feel better and get stronger soon.

I'd like a chance to win the book. So sorry about the latest crisis; you are such a strong person.

I’m a long time Ursula LeGuin fan would love a chance to win the book. Sorry about the need for transfusions and infusion of iron. I hope it’s only a bump in the road.

Bought several copies and gave them to friends, each loving it. Love another one!

Glad to hear you're feeling better again. I hope the tests reveal something minor and easily addressed. We are such complicated bags of stuff, and there's always the possibility that something will go wrong for so many reasons. The Good Doctor just resumed after a short break, and it would be helpful if every hospital had someone with his insight and intuitive skills. In spite of his autism, youth and inexperience, Dr. Shaun Murphy always figures it out quickly and often comes up with a work-around even when things seem hopeless. It requires some suspension of disbelief, but it is entertaining.

Keep on keeping on Ronni!

Me, please, me.

Ronni - as always, you are amazing! Sending positive thoughts your way.

I was just diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. I've met with the surgeon's who will take my breast as soon as it is safe. Tomorrow is the first oncologist appointment. I am beginning a journey that you know well and have traversed with grace. Perhaps the book would help me maintain perspective. Please include me in the drawing.

Also please feel better yourself. You are such a precious touchstone.

Thank you! Yes, me, please!

Good morning
I do love hearing from you.
Please enter my name in for the book drawing.
Thank you

I'd love the book, one I've not yet read. Take care, Ronni, good luck with your new med schedule but if anybody can do it with grace and good humor, it's you!

I'm building a library of Ronni's recommendations so I'd love to add this volume to the collection. I wish you strength and determination as you work through your new medical treatments!

Glad it's a mechanical problem and not a cancer one. I would love to win the book. I'm a huge fan of hers and after you mentioned this book I put it on my Amazon list.

Please toss my name to the random generator. :-)

I wish I could put you in touch with a young teen who has told her mother no more surgery for her cancer, she'd rather die. I can post this on my FB and link to her I guess.

I would love to read this. Me, please.

Thank you. I’d like to be
In the drawing.
Wishing you some
good surprises this week.

You set the standard for how to live with cancer treatment. I admire your perspective; have followed and learned from your blog for years. My adult daughter has just finished a year of surgery, chemo, and radiation for breast cancer, so I have learned a bit about what is involved. I am an Ursula LeGuin fan and would love a copy of the book. Best wishes,

I never win anything. But, I never give up trying.
Ronni: In my thoughts daily.

I would love to have this book!

You are an inspiration and thank you for sharing your journey. I would enjoy the opportunity to win the book and share its wisdom with my Gerontology students as I practice it myself.

This road is bumpy, as you are experiencing. And it's helpful and lessens the anxious mind to hope for pop-up nuisances like this to not occur, while at the same time not expecting the ride to be a smooth, straight-shot.

I'm spending part of today listening to MLK, whose writings are welcome these days, and whose voice of strength and purpose is needed.

Keep on, woman!

I would love this book for my teenage daughter she is having a hard time with her tumor growing back two years after resection. She doesn't want any future surgery as the first was very difficult for her.

I would love to win this book! Please add me to the list! Thank you!

Yes! Me, me, me please. Would love to have that Ursula book.
And Ronni, I don't post a lot because others say what's on my mind, but I love your blog and always wish you the best.

I'd love to win the book: No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin. Thank you.

Gen Chato

I love LeGuin. I'd like to be included in this drawing.

I'm sorry to hear of your hospital trip, but so glad the care you are receiving is good. Hopefully the new pill schedule is working well and you can graduate in March to something much freer.

Knowing the energy you have to devote to all the medical demands, I am so very grateful for your continuing to manage this blog.

Ronni, you are the poster woman for dealing with cancer with grace, humor, and good sense. I hope your doctors find some answers for you this week.

I would love to win the book; I currently have it from the library, but it has to go back next Monday, and I probably won't have it finished by then.


Me, me

Thanks for keeping us up dated on your battle!

me,me,me,me (sung for you (only in my head)

A friend had a similar leak. As soon as it was repaired, he quickly recovered from the exhaustion. I wish that kind of speedy recovery for you!

Even when you are drained of energy, you bring sunshine to a bleak, snowy, Michigan winter day. Thanks so much!

I don't comment often, but I read you very often and have for years. I always admire your frankness. Today, your observation about pills resonated. We dealt with my dad's very lengthy illness and an unbelievable and ever-changing assortment of pills. We had a checklist, a bathroom pill-staging area, pics and descriptions of the pills taped to said bathroom mirror (because the pill design and colors seemed to change with every refill) and a pill organizer the size of a small laptop. Ayay. Totally agreed with your pill notes today.

I am sending you good thoughts and prayers. I think you can get through this. You are getting fine medical care.

May you Persist.

Living alone books are my lifeline. Pick me, me, me.

My mother and I both would appreciate the book--so us, us, us!!

I continue to admire how you are handling this arrow which fate has thrown at you.

👍 me

I am a faithful reader and sender to you the best vibes of the universe. May you welcome many more New Years.

Yes. please enter me in the book drawing. Out of the blue, at 75, I was diagnosed with breast
cancer - 4 tumors/double mastectomy. Your blog, sharing your cancer experience, has
been helpful to me.
Sorry to hear of your resent setback.

I decided instead of New Year's resolutions, I would pick a word for the year:
acceptance. When things happen, I immediately go back to that word which prevents
anger and other unhelpful responses.

I would love to win the book. I read every post and my heart rises and falls with every change in your condition and progress. It rose when you said it was a bleed rather than a cancer development. In the words of my favorite new song by Aaron Nathans, whose child is Downs Syndrome, "Hang on for the Ride." I think I mentioned this before. That phrase
has helped me deal with current intractable pain.

Thanks for the "make the best of what I have." I love it. That, to me rings so true, at least for the days one has the strength and wit, and maybe, just maybe, even on the days one doesn't.

I already bought and mostly read the Le Guin book, thanks to your good words. I am so enjoying her authentic truth telling, with just enough wry humour.

Roll on Ronni! With love, admiration.

I don't want to give you reason for a trip to the post office, so I just ordered one . . . and while I was there, I ordered "Words Are My Matter." ;-) Books are my downfall, but better than shoes or eyeliner!

I'd love to win this book. I'm a brand new reader of this blog...and keep getting lost in time reading old posts. Thank You!

I'd love the book.

Very best of luck for no more complications. Anemia is tough. Fatigue. Thanks for continuing to write.

I'd love the book.

But apart from that, I admire your strength and resilience and humour through this most challenging time.


I'd really, really like to win this book! Thanks for having another give-away.

In a few years down the road you will be very busy. And none of all your busyness will have to do with cancer. So glad to hear you are taking such good care of yourself. It makes all the difference. Sending Hugs and prayers.

Please enter me for the book drawing. Ursula has always been one of my favorite authors. I admire your attitude so much and love your blog.

Not much chance of my winning, but I'm lucky in other ways! Still is love this book!

In my various challenges I've been accused of being a Pollyanna but really what would we gain by focusing on the dark side?

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, but your horrible ordeal made my minor problem fade into nothing. Perspective is everything.

I have trouble keeping up with a few prescriptions and can't imagine the regimen that you have to go through daily. It's a darn good thing that you are a very intelligent lady and can cope with it all.

I am so sorry for this latest setback and bad day. I do hope the bleed is repairable without more surgery.

You truly are an inspiration to all of us and my admiration has no bounds. I think your blogs starting with the one telling us of your cancer diagnosis should be put in book form and published as a book for everyone to read when they have a similar diagnosis.

Your journey is a long and arduous one and we are lucky to have gone along with you as you transverse another hurdle. It give us courage to keep moving forward.

A book yes from me. Thank you!

Ronni, your posts are always so refreshingly candid - so genuine from both your heart and your mind. Thank you for your inspiration, positivity, information, humor and passion. Sending best wishes that this "mechanics" issue clears up quickly.

Yes, would love to win this book, too! Thank you!

I would love to win the book, but after reading the comments, others need it more than I.

My heart and thoughts are with you, Ronnie, and may this just be a blip on the radar of your journey and that the rest of the healing will go smoothly. You are a beacon of strength. But, like you say, what else can you do? Don't lose life, grab a hold no matter how it presents and live it as fully as possible! That is what you are teaching us.

Hugs and cheers,


Dear Ronnie
You certainly show that the human response to chaos, is often courage. Carry on the best you can. Many of us are holding you.

The wait list at my library is almost 20 people. I'd love the book... M

Consider me please (and thank you). Enjoy all of the TGB posts, and am sending you my hopeful wishes

Yes. (would love a copy!)

I want to be included in the drawing for the book.

Hopefully, all you will need is a small "hose" repair, and that will take care of the problem.

No time like the present. Thanks for sharing.

Glad you're feeling better. Cool you have great organizational skills to keep all those medical balls in the air. No one tells you what a monumental task that can be. Love and hugs.

You continue to express so much that I feel, going through my leukemia. I AM going all Pollyanna, and just used that expression to someone. And laughingly added, Who made me Dali Sally? But I read you, and speak with friends, and lose friends, and am surprised/shocked at a doctor's appointment: But it is part of it all, this day in a life. And I have so much, I truly do.

My thoughts and heart are with you. My thanks for your courage always.

Thanks for bein' brave & keepin' on! And, yes, include me in the book drawing, please!

Thank you for recommending No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin. I will order from my LOCAL BOOKSELLER and then pass it on in your honor. May you have meaningful moments today and onward.

Oh yes ! I would apreciate receiving this book .
Joanne Perrault

I would love to read the book, me me, me. I am also amazed at how positive you are in the face of all this medical intervention. Keep it up and keep living your life. Thanks for sharing it with us.

I want to win the book!
Hang in there Ronnie, this too shall pass. I have found in my own struggle with cancer, that I didn't understand anything until it was over. You, are far ahead of the game. You have the courage to face the feelings head on, not just barrel through them like I did.

Yes for the book from me, too .

Your attitude and language to yourself and others is a realistic beneficial healthy mental approach to coping with your situation IMHO — quite different than a mindless rose-colored life view I associate with going Pollyanna — which you are not. Continuing positive well wishes coming your way through this unexpected glitch. Hang in there! Am not requesting book though I’m sure it’s a helpful one.

Me me me!

And thank you so much for sharing your journey. It gives some of us strength knowing we are not alone.

I would love to read her book—it’s on my “get around to getting it list”.

Best wishes for no more "complications" and fewer pills in the future. It is what it is. . .but no one says we can't hope for major improvements!

Glad you're home, Ronni. And after yet another hospital experience, you remain positive.

Those pills! Looks as if computers were invented just in time to help keep track.

Now, once in a while, you do this to me. because of your post, I had to look up Pollyanna.

I remember reading the book as a small child (it was first published in 1913, and while I'm not that old...) Anyhow, I just looked it up on Wikipedia (just plug in Pollyanna) and it gives a fascinating history of the 2 books by Eleanor H. Porter and the 11 or more sequels by other writers.

In my opinion, this little heroine was just given a bad rap and made the best of it. Which is what most of us do when confronted with adversity. Not a bad lesson.

So let's hear it for Pollyanna !

And all the others who have written tomes, like "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale.

But Ms. Porter got there first!

Thank you - I would love this book!

Oh, how I would love to win a copy of this book ..................

I love what Salinda said, above.

Roll on, Ronni. Roll on!

Please enter me in the book draw, would love to have a copy of this one.

I totally get how annoying and frustrating it must be to have your life hijacked by the medical world. Better than the alternative I suppose, but still annoying. Here's to better days ahead!

I suspect this is a book I need to read. Thank you for suggesting it. It would be memorable to win it from your drawing. But, if I’m not so lucky, I’m lucky enough to now know it exists. I know the author from many fantasy books read when I was young. Had no idea there was more designed for who I’d like to be now. Thank you.

Thinking of you.... have been there (breast cancer with all the etc.........). Hang tough, keep on Sending love out.......

PO Box 357
I would love to read this book and would appreciate it mightily.

Would love the book!

I would love to have this book and promise to pass it along to several great ladies when I’m finished.

Add me to the book contest.


One winding road, one strong woman:


Your resilience is inspirational, Ronni. One might think: well, after all, what else is there to do but keep on keepin' on. But in fact I suspect some of us not as stong as you (I include myself here) might just curl up in a ball. Not you!

And it is so heartening to hear once again how great your medical team is. You are very fortunate in this, because it ain't always necessarily so.

I'd like to win the book, but if I don't it's going on my must-read list. Thanks for that!

I'd love to get a book from YOU, so add me to the lottery!

Would love to have the book.

Do you read all these comments? It's a full time job!

I’d love to win the book.

And thank you for giving so much of yourself, Ronni, and living as best as you can during this trying period.

Yes, I would love to have the book.

Thank you

I would love to have the book.

Many thanks.


I have wanted to avoid cluttering your email box, but have been following you as always and sending Healing thoughts.

This is a book I would love to read! Hope I win, and then I will pay it forward to some other lucky person.



Would love the book. You are an inspiration to all of us. Any of us could be in your shoes in a nano second. Thanks for giving us a roadmap !

Would so LOVE to be gifted Le Guin's book. Thanks!

I’ve never read Le Guin; Let it be me!

I would love to win this book! Thank you for sharing your life! Sending positive thoughts for healing both body and spirit! Thank You!❤

saying a prayer for whatever works for you
all the best
and Yes
Me,me,me please for the book

Thank you for introducing me to someone new. I would like a copy of this book.

I want to read that book.

Hang in there Ronnie! Yes please to the book!

Yes, I want to win the book. Thanks for the chance.

Commenting today feels a bit selfish to me, both for the chance to win the book and for the desire to let you know I'm holding you close in my heart and thoughts as limbo looms (have always thought that limbo is its own kind of hell).
Coraggio and thank you.

Le Guin is one of my favorite authors. I'd love to win.

The comments to this entry are closed.