A TGB READER STORY: Framing My Story
Crabby Old Lady Faces Cancer Season

Cancer/COPD Update – Greed Edition

Fall colors are gorgeous here in northwest Oregon this year. The most brilliant yellows, reddest reds, a wide variety of greens and some leaves so orange they seem to have been invented on purpose just for Halloween.

Me too. I'm feeling all dressed up and ready for a party or, at least, some ice cream. I feel so much better than I felt all summer.

Summer was bad but the odd thing is, I didn't realize it at the time. I thought I was okay if I didn't count the pain. Isn't it strange how it can take some distance sometimes to understand what was going on.

In July, I compared my cancer predicament to that of the characters in the TV show M*A*S*H who were stuck in a war zone:

”It is easy with a diagnosis of terminal cancer to feel despair,” I wrote, “wishing even that the wait for the end be over soon. But after watching M*A*S*H, which I do two or three times a week, I feel empowered to persevere, that there are people I love I want to spend more time with, books to read and this blog where you, dear readers, allow me to hold forth on whatever crazy ideas I have.”

Yes. But it turned out to be not that simple.

For the pain, I was using extreme dosages of over-the-counter medications which worked only to a degree plus they made my head fuzzy. Mostly I managed to keep up this blog but little else. Social life almost disappeared; I didn't have the energy.

It felt like I was winding down. Day by day, I was gradually accepting the idea that I did not have much time left. When I looked at my medical calendar, I wondered if my doctors just took off for the summer. It seemed that way with hardly any appointments scheduled compared to winter and spring.

At any other time in my life I would have been happy to have doctor-free days and weeks. This time I felt abandoned and there were moments when I wondered if absence was the doctors' way of telling me I was done for.

When the pains finally were under some control, my mind cleared a bit and what I noticed was a deep malaise, and a dwindling interest in just about anything that took more mental effort than watching a M*A*S*H episode.

At an excruciatingly slow pace over August and September, the pains subsided. Some are still with me but less like pain and more like a presence. I no longer need pain medication.

With the end of summer, the number of medical appointments has picked up. Earlier, I had been diagnosed with COPD in addition to cancer and now oxygen therapy has been prescribed. (What a huge load of equipment that entails.)

A physical therapist gave me some exercises that have helped with the remaining pain and stiffness in my hands and fingers.

Last week, the pulmonologist suggested a course of physical therapy meant to teach me how to live more easily with a breathing difficulty and yet another physical therapist gave me an excellent list of ways to conserve energy so that even with less than optimal breathing, I can still do much of what I want and need. All good.

The most profound change has been my mood. I'm me again and it took so little to make the difference: realizing that several professionals, who work with a lot of patients who share my kind of predicament, think I'm healthy enough to use precious resources that will improve my quality of life.

Having figured that out, I drove home from last Friday's appointment wearing a grin as wide as the whole outdoors. The fall colors blazed brightly and I wondered how I had allowed myself – pain or no pain – to become so dejected over the summer.

Few people with pancreatic cancer live more than a year or so after diagnosis. There was a time when staying alive long enough to see the Mueller Report was enough for me.

Well, that was a dud and now I've gotten greedy. I want to see the results of the 2020 election. Whether President Trump is impeached and removed from office or not, this is an election like none of us has seen before. I hope not to miss it.


My money's on you, Ronni!

I look forward to reading you. I hope that you continue to write as I feel that I have gotten to know you without ever meeting you. This is the way it will be in this century. We send love and receive love from places we will never know. So beautiful your gift.

I can see the leaves as you describe them, and feel the beauty. A gift.

I'm pretty sure that you did not "allow" yourself to become dejected and I am so happy to hear that you've been able to discontinue the pain medications. You are doing a great job of putting up with whatever comes your way on your journey.

I, too, am greedy. I want to keep reading your writings; so, you can see that I feel that I have a vested interest in how well you do.

Rock on!

Atta girl, Ronni, what a force you are to yourself and all of us.

I believe there are happenings to us and everyone which defy explanation and reason.

Embrace the good ones. It's delightful to visualize you driving down the road with a huge grin of a cheshire kitty, painting the palette with nature's colors.

Go ahead, jump for joy.

Once again, I'm echoing all the earlier comments, and am very happy to hear of the resolution of what ever it was that was ailing you over the summer.

Like Simone, I believe there is much going on that remains shrouded in mystery. We are a young species and there is much we do not understand. Among that, I suspect, is the physics that lies behind cosmology, with even the slightest shifts in planetary positions, especially in relation to the sun, bringing not only extreme changes in weather, but an unrest that leaves us feeling inexplicably out of whack even when the forces bringing it about are too small even to be identified. I'm very glad that's moved on for you, and I hope that you continue to ride this wave for many moons.

Carpe diem!

Thank you for the inspiring message on life, and MASH episodes, and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life, as they say, to see all of the things you wish to see in 2020 and more.

Wonderful news Ronni!


So very glad and happy that you are smiling wide, eating ice cream, and wanting to see and do things. Many blessings.

Now I have a smile on my face! Big hugs!!

So happy you are feeling better!

So glad your spirits are lifted! I too am looking forward to the 2020 election and hope to be toasting with you in great happiness at the results .

So glad to hear it, Ronni! Looks like we’ll all have to fasten our seatbelts for this unprecedented election -You’ve chosen a fine new goal!

Hooray, and keep on keepin' on, Ronni! ❤

Your clear headed descriptions are so refreshing and honest. You give me courage just reading them. I think referring to MASH episodes is a brilliant parallel to what we all go through, perseverance under pressure WITH HUMOR disarming the dire outlook. I'm so glad you've emerged from a dark summer of pain. I saw my sister succumb to pain with cancer involving her sciatic nerve. Pain can undermine the most hearty resolve. You came out of it wonderfully to continue writing and encouraging your readers with your powerful wit and intelligence. Thank you, we need you. And yes, this will be an election like no other.

I just realized that the man in the Oval Office has no sense of humor. That will be his undoing. I hope he is undone soon.

Sounds like a full life to me.

Ronni, so happy today to read your positive news and outlook. Am truly glad that you are in such wonderful spirits enjoying the beautiful autumn colors. I'm planning on an ice-cream lunch to celebrate. Hugs.

Cheers Ronnie! :-)

I so understand. You are going to love the election results.

The fact that you're feeling better has lifted my spirits too. I start most days with your blog--it means a lot to me. May the good days roll on.

Ronnie, Your blog is something that I look forward to. You are a brave man. There is no single activity that determines that. I admire you.



Happy for you! Thanks for sharing each post. It is the only blog I consistently read! You are one special woman!

Welcome back! Ronni, always amazed at your self-knowledge, wit, and wisdom.

You share with us your downs and ups . You speak your truth. Thank you for that.

My father died of pancreatic cancer so I know the pain you suffer. I am glad you are able to fight and continue your life like you are. Take care.

I love you! Reading this was a perfect complement to the holiday (Yom Kippur) as I rest and reflect at home between services. Having gone through the most difficult of prayers today & cried; smiled at the amazing music and messages about justice, to then read your note and in my head see the color that we don’t yet have was perfect! And your grin. I pictured it!

And then the last of your post where I laughed out loud: YES! Impeachment and 2020’s election are a reason to keep at it! Thank you.

When I return for afternoon services, I will say more prayers to keep you around!

Yes, the colors are vibrant this year. We drove to Fossil, Or., within two separate weeks and we even noticed the difference. What a fall! Much like New England and not too soggy for
this area.

We are glad to hear your spirits are up. When the sun comes out, the vibrant fall colors,
a wide grin, and a sunny day----you are alive! Enjoy. B

SUCH good news--for you and all your loyal readers. Daily, chronic pain can take a big chunk of joy out of life even for us fortunate-so-far folks who do not have cancer. I can't/don't want to imagine dealing with both, as you have.

Anyway, hooray for you and may the good times roll--right into impeachment and/or a resounding, overwhelming, no-doubt defeat of The Orange Apparition in 2020! Hope the Dems will get their act together, resolve their internal differences and get behind a candidate who can win.


Your wish not to miss political watersheds reminds me of my brother, who, for better or worse, drank with Obama's father and their cronies in Honolulu back in the day. My brother didn't expect to live long enough to vote for Obama, but he did--twice! He was always grateful for that. Hang in there--it's just getting interesting . . .

I felt like crying, reading your post, and then I broke out in a big smile. You're back! What wonderful news this is!

Thank you f or another wonderful post, Ronni. I'm so glad you are feeling like yourself. Now you have me feeling good, too! The sun is shining here in Michigan, and I am grinning. Life is always up and down in one way or another. Please keep writing! We need your insights and fun.

Woah, your kick ass news just made my day, Ronni.

Bien fait!

Enjoy the Autumn to its fullest! Glad you are feeling a bit renewed.

Like Linda posted, yours is the only blog I follow. Been doing it for years and hope you keep going long past Rump and his poison have vanished from D.C. Cheers.

Love the fall colors you describe — my favorite season. Glad you've evolved back to a good place, or as good as it can be. Yes, two friends gone after only a few months some years ago after PC diagnosis —
likely treatments have improved — so, you just keep goin’! O2 issues particularly challenging. Glad you got some helpful respiratory input. Persistent pain can be very wearing on disposition as I’ve observed, especially noted in husband with COPD, asthma years ago and experiencing other unwelcome pain myself past several years though not your situation.

Definitely, you need to see this campaign and election play out and perhaps you’ll want to share a few observational gems along the way. Then, you’ll need to be around to see how a hopefully newly elected administration deals with the mess they will have encountered. Oh my — will be something else!

yay! Ronni's back!!!
A lesson here in how dejection can creep in bit by bit, almost without our knowing it. Until one day the sun shines and the world is bright again. Judy

It did me good to read your post and also to read all the comments.Your blog is very important to me, it is a lesson for life, which I find often uneasy ...
Ronni, I send you a huge MERCI from France !

And reading this, I’m grinning ear to ear.😁 Love your spirit and happy you’ve gotten “your old self” back.🍁😍

Such a good sounding post...and comments! It's good news, and also a welcome feeling after you've been diligently sharing all summer while at less than 100%. I know the friends who comment on your blogs are all cheering you on...and I join them as well. I think I'll go ask my doctors for some physical therapy to help my lungs...they have said "stable" for my condition, but I'd like to have more. I'm not yet eligible for O2.

Wonderful. You are so lucky to have gotten the Whipple Procedure. It's working. I hope you make it to the 2020 elections are beyond. Seems like you have a good shot at it. As your only Republican reader (so it seems), I almost feel guilty rooting against the democrats.

So glad you are feeling better, Ronni. Keep on keepin’ on. Life is a mystery. And I share your love of the Fall.

Ronni, in your case, Greed is Good!!
Stay with us!!

You have so positively impacted my life and the lives of your readers. I appreciate your willingness to use precious energy to keep us a part of your experience. If only we could do as much for you.

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