Cancer Update – 28 November 2018
INTERESTING STUFF – 1 December 2018

The Alex And Ronni Show

Before we get to the latest edition of The Alex and Ronni Show, some housekeeping notes.

In the past couple of weeks, I've had some trouble breathing. The simplest things like bending over to tie my shoes or just taking out the trash can leave me heaving to catch my breath. Actually, it's been hard to do almost anything more energetic than sit at the computer these past days.

On Wednesday, my oncologist ordered a new CT scan which shows that the cancer in my lung is getting worse than expected at this point causing the shortness of breath.

A different chemo may help and the side effects, as they have been explained to me, are probably manageable. I'll begin next week and we will know within two weeks or so if it is helping.

As I think I mentioned not long ago, all my life I have kept journals with the goal of helping make sense of my world and figure out what I am thinking or believe. With this cancer diagnosis, I moved some of that to this blog and many of you have been kind enough to assert that these posts are a help to you and others.

To the degree that is so, I am grateful that my meandering thoughts and reports about my predicament have some value. Your comments buoy me, make me feel better and often contain useful information or, even better, make me laugh.

When I started this blog 15 years ago, of course I had no idea this is where it was heading. And I didn't know how important this “job” would become to me. I segued straight from work when I retired to this new work. I still love doing it and I will continue for as long as possible. It is what I do.

Some of you comment privately via email and I appreciate that too. But because of this latest cancer development and its effect on my energy, I can't get nearly as much done as before. Although I've tried (and mostly succeeded) answering all your email notes, I need now to take that pressure off myself.

So you're welcome to email me still, but I won't be able to answer anymore. I hope you will understand.

And now, here is the most recent Alex and Ronni Show recorded last Tuesday before I had received this latest cancer news.


About 20 years ago it occurred to me that voicemail greetings were boring and one never knew when they'd been updated or voicemail checked. That's when I started leaving a new greeting every workday with a highlight or 2 for the day. After a while, some folks would complain if I answered my phone because they'd called to hear my message for the day. Well, that was easy and I didn't have to share too much of myself so I kept it up, and that was where my daily Facebook posts started. I still don't blog reliably.
You matter to a lot of people, Ronni. Thank you for sharing.

Well that's just s---t, and double s---t! I hope the new treatment will help with your breathing. I'm saddled with 2 machines that help my life continue...and a few drugs I can go about and breath most of the time. When I travelled a week ago I was glad to go by car and take only 6 hour days, with frequent rest stops, and doing the breathing treatments in a motel each way. Nebulizer two times a day, and then C=PAP for night time. Ain't modern medicine grand! I look forward to hearing whatever you choose to share have been a focal point for so many of us elders here!

Love the hat!

PS: Love you!

I am here to receive from your experience ... as much or as little as you are able or willing to share. As I have repeatedly said, we learn from those who are transitioning to the next part of their journeys. You are an outstanding teacher and friend to many here. Thank you for taking us along.

Ronni, I'm sorry that you are having trouble breathing, and hope that your new chemo will help with that. Wow, I love the hat, that's one elegant chapeau! And you do it proud, which is not at all surprising. Love and blessings and prayers for your journey.

15 years? You are a pioneer on so many fronts. And I thank you.

Well, the good ship "THIS END UP" will right itself. The crew is with you. Thank you for sharing.

Wow, Ronni, if I were in your place, I doubt seriously I could sit there calmly and discuss my condition. You are amazing. (And I, too, love your hat. I'm a sucker for feathers.)

Fabulous hat. Fabulous you.


Hi Ronnie - I hope I have your Last Inning courage. I also hope you have someone with you or someone you can call on when needed. Because I am alone I have hired a senior's helper via a company selling such services. In my case my helper does my heavy housework after we have had a cup of tea, a cookie or two and a catch up chat. She is wonderful - should have been a nurse. I mainly hired her because when I am playing my last inning I want to know I will have a hand to hold [and a clean apartment!] - it may be hers or it may be someone else from the same company but I want a warm human hand in mine if possible. I consider checking myself into a hospice for the same reason. I wonder what your plans are?
Don't worry about getting your house in order - they will take care of it. I say that but I suffer from the same affliction - if they have your password our executors will be able to get all the info she needs. I print off important stuff and put it in her binder.
Take care darlin. sending my love your way.

Not being able to breathe properly becomes exhausting. Go slow and easy - or slower and easier as the case may be.

My New Age friend from the 60's would recommend surrounding her friends with white light when they were ill, so I am imagining you surrounded with a gentle, sunshiny white light helping you through and onward.

Courage and humor as always.
with affection

The hat is attractive but may be a lot, especially around the house. I’ve been meaning to tell you about the Chemo Beanies that my mom and several friends used/have been using.

There are a lot of styles, from elegant, multi-tiered to very simple. The importance feature is softness. Mom wore wigs on many occasions but confided to me they were uncomfortable—too tight or too loose, but invariably scratchy.

Mom liked the so-called sleep caps at and bought them in multiple colors. Soft as cashmere. And with winter coming on, they will also be cozy and protect your scalp from dryness.

Google “Chemo Beanies” for a great assortment.

Hope too you have made arrangements for your Pile of Puppies experience.
Fondly... Mary

Gorgeous!! and the hat's great, too:-)

Thank you, Captain, for your Truth and sharing it with us.

Ronni I have discovered you for just the past several weeks..I'm the one who wrote that you remind me of myself a bit from your looks, sense of humor, journaling all my life to having pancreatic cancer and the whipple surgery.
Right now I'm enjoying the gravy so to speak ...I don't know when the cancer will be present again...but I know it will know I've wondered today, how does one embrace their death...I want my family and friends to help me to positively and confidentially meet my passing...I don't know how to do that..
But that is what I wish for. I hope you have made plans for someone to take up your baton. You can't be replaced but your mentoring needs to go on.

I'm hoping your day will have a little humor in it......thank you lovely person...wished I had met you a long time ago but grateful a connection was my mind and heart I'm holding your hand.......Glenda

They all say it for me.
I like your painting over the mantle. I like his books, and I too like your hat. Both your words fit our lives well.

Your internet friends are standing by like a herd of cats.

Big cats with powerful eyes and cuddly sides.

Cats on guard.

They won't back down.

Lots of love from Seattle, Ronnie xxxxx


Sorry, Ronni, with no e! I will show you the bloody respect of spelling your name correctly. And I use the word Bloody as a Brit...said with a British accent it's a bloody good word!!
Anyway.....still love you and your spirit, always xxxxx

Juliet (from Brighton in the U.K. but has been living in Seattle for 14 years)

So happy to you see you talking with Alex. I love that hat on you and those feathers. I'd chose a wig that was my real hair color too. I wish I could rub your back for you; I have a lung disease and know those muscles can really tighten up when your breathing is rough plus it's scary. I see a really great pulmonologist but when I get worse and go see her she listens to my breathing and then invariably says "now breath normally." Last time I couldn't help wheezinf our a laugh and saying "if I could do that I wouldn't be here," even though I know that isn't what she meant. I'm holding you in my heart Love you much.

Wheezing out a laugh, can't type this morning.

Do love the hat and think you are amazing. So sorry you received lousy news. Hope this other chemo can help. You are a true champion and are helping so many with your honesty. I hope all the engery of the many good wishes being sent your way helps to keep your spirits up.

Hi Ronni,
I've been reading your blog for 1-2 months now, following your "predicatment". My 96 yr old mother passed Sept 21 and I've been reading this wonderful book, "Advice for Future Corpses", by Sallie Tisdale, which I think I heard about here.

I have never commented here, but I want to ask you a question about your spiritual beliefs. I don't think I've read anything about this subject on your blog - your own spiritual beliefs, about what happens after death, in your opinion, or at the moment of death. Do you believe in heaven & hell? Do you believe they are places? Do you believe in a Soul? What about Consciousness? What do you think happens after death?

I really like reading what you have on your mind. I hope you can keep it up as long as possible. Thank you for doing this.

"in my mind and heart I'm holding your hand.......Glenda"

Oh Glena I really like that - maybe all of Ronni's readers are actually holding hands - hers and each others in her name, in her boat and over her waters and with thanks to her for sharing. I imagine she has made our sooner or later last journey somewhat easier - I speak for myself, from the boat Ronni rows. It rocks!

Happy Holidays...Chanukah for me, quieter this year, crazy world, take good care, stay warm, and thanks for all the sharing you are doing.

a friend designed a book and online If I Died Guide, it has all the list things.If You Died Guide
Info and Ads
Create a Page
they are on Facebook, check it out, as per your end of discussion with Alex.

The hat...Bella Abzug! It's a NYC thing!

Echoing comments about the hat -- it is very nice and tasteful and suits you well. However, I visited the site that Mary M. mentioned above and there are so many choices for head coverings of all sorts. I had no idea. But something else I saw there that I really had absolutely no idea of is eyebrow wigs! They are astonishing and lovely, and if I'd ever known such things were available I might have removed my own crazy eyebrows and gotten some replacement ones long ago. But by this stage, I've learned to live with mine, and as long as I still have any, I guess I'll continue to do so. But if there comes a time I lose them entirely, it will be tempting to check those out.

I have a question that today's column raises -- do you use a fingertip oximeter (or other device) at home to monitor your oxygen? And if you do or did, is there anything you could do at home about low levels?

I very much enjoy your conversations with Alex . Thank you for continuing these and sharing them with your readers. Today's bit about how much work it is to get organized before dying was really something. It is unfortunate that your time, at this point, has to be so invested in that administrative work, but as Alex says, you do have a knack for it. I hope, though, that you're taking well deserved breaks from that now and then too.

All these heartfelt good wishes somehow buoy me up too, Ronni. So thanks for sharing.

Love the perky hat

Dear Ronni - I think of you everyday as my younger brother is exactly in the same place you are. Your approach to living the rest of your life and death are very similar to his - such wonderful and brave souls. I was so happy when you were pronounced "cancer free" - you were my example of the wonders of new treatments - my brother was taking a new medication which was to stop the growth of his cancer - he was given up to three years to live - they told him that four months ago and now he has ended up with only weeks to go... the cancer really is everywhere now. My husband is also on a treatment to keep his cancer from growing - and everyday I am amazed at how a simple trip to see your Doctor can change everything. You feel great - no pain - just your regular check up and then you are told you have cancer - and your world is upside down - You are in my prayers everyday and I am hoping your new chemo results in months of renewed energy. Love the hat - Thank you for sharing your story - it helps in so many ways. Mary Ellen

I very much appreciate the work you are doing now, for us.

I love your fierce and feisty intelligence! I'm watching (and listening carefully) to the latest Ronni and Alex show. Love seeing you.

This is my first time to write to you since you told us about your terminal cancer. I have written a few times before, but I was so stunned about the turn of events, so bummed about it, that I couldn't write anything -- even though I am inspired by your openness and ability to communicate. I keep reading you, thinking about what you write, thinking about you, and am so grateful I found you a few years ago. The first blog of yours I read I learned to call myself an elder and call people out when they use ugly terms for all us precious elders.

Sending you love, Ronni. And, thank you so much. I'm so glad your blog will be available for a long time.


Hi Ronni,

Thank you, thank you for this blog. I found Time Goes By some months before you announced you had cancer and, though I'd been reading you only a short time, I was greatly saddened at the news and sorry I hadn't found you years earlier. Thank goodness for Archives and the good news that your blog will continue to be available. You've been, and continue to be, a voice in the wilderness of growing old in a youth-oriented society.

Two years ago my former husband had the same diagnosis, went through the Whipple surgery and is, at the moment, cancer free but is well aware that it will most likely return. Your open and courageous conversation has helped me understand some of what he's been through.

Always loved Woody Allen's line: "I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens." I dare say most of us would agree, but your generosity in sharing your experiences will help shed light on a path our society has chosen to keep in the dark. I hope to follow your excellent example of sharing, laughing, and living to the utmost when my time comes. Sending a virtual hug along with encouragement that your latest chemo treatments make your path an easier one.

- Jackie

Just wanted to give you a vote of confidence and appreciation! I have cancer too, at 59, man with prostate cancer. My oncologist has given me basically 4 years, but when he told me that I could see in his face he told me it could be half that.

I have subscribed to you for a few years and read every now and then but now with your cancer I can really relate.

So thanks! Oh, and one thing you might check out is lastpass password saver. You can designate people to have access to your information. I plan to give my son access, and it has links, account names, and passwords for all my financial stuff; even flight miles I may not use; plus you can put secure notes in there unrelated to anything.

I know what your thinking; I wonder what I have time for too.

I am in McMinnville Oregon!!

Sincerely, Mark

You are a sweetheart of a woman. My affirmation for more good days then bad. I am so sorry.

Well, shit. Shit, shit, shit. Fucking cancer.

My husband died of COPD, so I have seen shortness of breath at close hand. Conserve your movements as you can and see if the dr. thinks supplementary oxygen might help.

Your giant cat friends are all purring up a storm in a circle around you. It's not death, I think, that's the worst of it, it's dying. Please lean on us as you can.

Bless your heart.

Much love to you, Ronni! It breaks my heart that you are going through all of this! I am thrilled to hear that your blog will continue to be available online at no charge to you or anyone else. I wonder if you can buy the URL 'in perpetuity' or for 100 years or something. I am sure that there are a lot of us, including me, who would happily contribute toward making that happen! Big, big hugs! Ali

As long as you feel like it, write whatever you want. You mentioned that the readers' comments give you some joy. You created this blog many years ago. You have worked it hard.
My heavens you once had a fully researched post five days a week.

It is time now to let the blog give back to you in your time of need. We stand with you.


My reply got lost somehow. It certainly wasn't much of one. Just C -R-A-P! You didn't need this complication.

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