ELDER MUSIC: A Good Year for the Roses
A TGB READER STORY: What Will You Share in Your Last Lecture?

Cancer and Mood Changes

Did you ever wake up in a bad mood that affects you all day? Was it a dream that caused it? Hormones? Something you ate? Who knows?

Other times you can – sort of – identify the cause: you're frightened about something or worried or sad or unhappy for reasons that are generally obvious. Aside from chronic depression (which news stories tell me is widespread), dark moods eventually lift and we move on.

Nowadays, since I was diagnosed in October with inoperable cancer, I can easily identify the cause of black moods: it is the aftermath of chemotherapy, those days when I'm physically unwell that produce grim thoughts and feelings.

That's when I become convinced I will die before the day is out, before I have finished notes for my healthcare proxy and beneficiary to help her find all the information she will need.

It's when I imagine I will die before anyone thinks I will and lie rotting in my bed until someone wonders where Ronni is.

It's when I can't read or watch television because my deep, dispirited mind tells me there is no point to doing anything because I will be dead soon.

Yes, I know I have told you about how much I believe death is part of life, about how curious I am about these last weeks and months, and how lucky I am to have this have time.

But I also have days with dreadful thoughts that drag me down below where I think I can ever crawl back out again.

At the time, this always feels more real that the good times - until...

Like Saturday morning when the chemo fuzziness and fatigue lift and I'm a normal person again. (And no, I don't need any advice - I'm just reporting the weather from the frontier.)


Storms can lessen in ferocity or even blow over — weather changes — frustratingly unpredictable at times. Positive vibes heading up the Coast!

No matter the "weather" on your "storm front," I'm always glad I read it.

Thanks for keeping it real Ronni.

Yep, looking UP at the snakes. Grrrrrrrrr....Love You.

❤️ glad the storm passed and some light returned. Peace and love to you. Your honesty and ability to express this is very helpful to me and I am sure others.

Ronni, thanks for sharing your thoughts honestly. They are helpful, appreciated and a gift those sharing your thoughts but don't or can't give voice to them. Warm hugs.

No advice - hopefully no one would dare!- just appreciation for your honest description of life at the frontier, Ronni.

(((xx)))... so hear you xx

I guess it's not just our moon that waxes and wanes...

Weather. Changes. Thank you!

No matter how much you know by reason it ain't so, what's happening right now often feels like how it always was, and how it's going to be forever.

This is a general truth about how our minds work. It applies to both good things, and bad.

My seas appear to have been calmer than yours, Ronni. I have swells and troughs, no breaking wave crests. Perhaps that's because I am further from the shore? Or perhaps I am in a different part of the metaphor-ocean altogether, and my weather is not ever going to be as stormy. I don't know. I won't know until it happens.

Churchill used to call it 'the black dog' - I hope that he moves away for a while soon and lets the light i. -mixed metaphors, i know, howeveralso genuine thanks for your honesty.

I came across this from poet Mary Oliver that fits: "Attention without feeling is only a report."

You always give us feeling, which is what makes you so special to us.

Thank you, for your honesty in sharing this last trip with us. I don't often comment, but I read your blog with the interest of another fellow traveler on this plane, knowing that at some point I too will face the same emotions as my time here ends.

I hope I can face my ending with as much courage, honesty, and love as you have shown us.

Thank you for being you.

You sharing your experiences is a gift! Thank you and know we are thinking of you.... make sure you have a great play list of music!!! With healing and grateful thoughts from Michigan

Speaking of moon, the dazzling red moon laid itself out as the day approached to honor a fiery, brilliant and wise man.

I try to figure them out and manage maybe 1 in 7, which disappears quickly and forever when not written down at the moment.

Ach! "figure dreams out..."

Love you, Ronni. Thanks for keeping it real even as it reaches the uncomfortable lows, too.

Ronni, I have decided, after studying your blog page banner, that I like the picture of you fourth from the right best. You look to be on top of your game there (stage and age unclear to me). Your current situation often draws me to your banner contemplating your life's stages and it is fourth from the right that is most interesting--to me. No advice from me today--JUST THIS!!

That's my 40th birthday, John. A long, long, time ago...

virtual hugs to you my friend. Blessings and love.

Darn, I somewhat foolishly had harbored hopes that the psilocybin trip had put you in a continuous happy-connected-with-the-universe-and-it's-all-good place. Well, of course not. Still, my heart is with you. Babies, ancients, saints, and the dying, should, by all that is fair, be exempt from suffering. Wishing doesn't make it so.

You are a light. Much love to you.

I second Susan.
Hugs and love!

Yes I have those days Ronnie although the grim reaper isn't knocking as loudly on my door as he is on yours. Awful, aren't they. However, I some time ago stopped worrying about my dead body being in my bed until the maggots are creeping out from under my apartment door. That really won't be MY problem!
I hope they pass quickly for you - I expect just describing them so well will help kick them gently out the door.
Take care and be good to you!

Acknowledging your courage, commitment and honesty. You are the real deal and thank you for your leadership.

Just noting I'm here and thinking about you always.

Thank you for your reportage. Thank you very much.

Hooray for the sweet relief when it passes.

Dark days are perfectly understandable. Peace and love,

Nothing to add to all of the above. Love to you. Thanks for being honest. Thanks to all of you on the list for your honest and thoughtful responses. What a fine community you have made, Ronni.

Ronni, your words are so honest and loving, and I draw tremendous strength from reading your blog every week. Your musings are about a journey we all must travel.

Just saw this article in The Atlantic; it might interest some of your readers: "How Do People Communicate Before Death".You are communicating with us through your insightful blog, for which I am so grateful.

Thank you for your posts...I know I will be on this same journey at some point.im a pancreatic survivor as of now....what you share is so invaluable to me. Hugs . Kisses, and peace.

Thank you. We are all a part of your legacy.

These are the thoughts that would have me seek out a roomful of kittens or the unmitigated glee of several two year olds.

I am almost three years since my cancer diagnosis. An immunology drug has ben very successful and I feel fine. No depressions. The chemo before that did not work very well. I am grateful and keeping busy, as always....even planning some travel. I know everyone is different. I wish you well

Thank you for keeping it real. I'm sorry that some days "real" is so dark and miserable. Some days life just sucks.

Ronni, nobody will ever leave your side long enough for anybody to "wonder where Ronni is".
The dark side can take over, but never will for you. You are the guiding
light and pioneer for too many.

Ronni: I know I do not comment often to your posts, although I have been reading your posts for quite some time now, but after reading this one, I just had to comment on your last paragraph and hopefully it will bring a smile to your face. It is the part where you say "and I'm a normal person again." First thought that went through my mind was Ronni Bennett....normal..... ? Where did Ronnie go?
Hopefully, in my own twisted way, I brought a smile to your face. Until next time!

Thank you

Hugs, more hugs and extra hugs.

Hugs all over the place.

From us to you.

A million fans can't be wrong.

You're a good weather(wo)man.

You continue to teach and challenge. Thank you.

I'm just a pebble tossed into this stream of comments, sending my own ripples on the surface, and guessing that there may be some waves going into the depths too. Being normal is such an occasional gift in my life too.

Your openess is such a gift to many of us who may be facing this sooner than later. Thank you and glad the sun has come out again for awhile. Peace.

Write until you cannot. Even if it is one sentence. Not for us, but for you. Wishing you calm.


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