ELDER MUSIC: Nearly / Almost
A TGB READER STORY: Not Giving Up

Time Goes By Takes a Break

Maybe I've been in lockdown too long and need something different. Or perhaps I've been pushing myself too hard (although it would be difficult for you to find anything I've accomplished around the house recently) and need a rest.

Just as likely, it could be that I want some time to quiet my mind so to think and feel what I have known since mid-2017 – that the days of my life are numbered. I've tended to forget – or avoid – that reality for a great deal of the past year.

Around 90 percent of people who are told they have pancreatic cancer are dead within a year of diagnosis. Me? In June, it will be three years. I only recently (make that this morning, Saturday) made a list of the major events during that time period:

• Whipple surgery with five or six months of recovery
• Two much smaller surgeries to fix an internal bleed
• Three rounds of chemotherapy
• A remarkable psilocybin session
• Tests showing me to be cancer-free
• Tests showing cancer spread to a lung and peritoneum
• COPD diagnosis
• Pulmonary rehab for COPD

And in recent weeks, what I believe to be late(r)-stage cancer symptoms: increased fatigue, body pains some of which would be funny if they didn't hurt so much, waning appetite, weight loss and a golf-ball=sized growth I discovered four days ago on an inner thigh.

It is placed in such a spot that I know there's a joke to be made about growing balls (or, anyway, one) at my age but it hasn't come to me.

Certainly the two doctors with whom I have tele-health appointments this week will tell me what is what about all this. I suspect at least one will want to book an in-person visit which, in our virus-ridden world, rather freaks me out. I mean, those docs work at a giant medical center with five hospitals, a medical school and many kinds of clinics.

Not that I won't go anyway.

When I was diagnosed, I chose to chronicle here what I thought, at the time, would be at most a year about my journey with one of the most deadly cancers. But the months kept passing and here we are in 2020.

I'm going to have a rest now, hear what the doctors say and return in about a week. Meanwhile, tomorrow there will be a new Reader Story and on Sunday next, there will be Peter Tibbles' music column. Unless something changes, I'll be back here a week from today.

Meanwhile, thank each of you for always being such a wonderful, responsive audience and excellent participants in the commentary. This blog grew into a collaboration a long time ago – it is what makes it special.

Be well and stay safe.

Comments

I don’t think that growth is anything to laugh about, it scared me just reading it. I think sometimes it’s easy for readers like myself to see all the new weekly content and put aside your medical issues for another day. (But I do worry for you when a ‘hot potato’ topic winds up getting 45 responses in a single day, personally I think that’s taxing.)

Anyway Ronni, just wanted to say you’re in my heart & thoughts this week, and thank you for the heads up. And I very much hope we get good news on that growth of yours soon.

And the same to you--be well and stay safe. Thinking of you as you deal with the tele-health appointments.

I'm sorry to hear that you have this new issue to deal with, especially during these days that sap so much energy even when we do nothing. I'm glad that you're taking the time off to rest and arrange what ever care is needed. I hope that it's taken care of quickly and I'm looking forward to hearing that joke when you think of one. We'll all be here waiting for you when you're ready.

Sending good vibes, thoughts, prayers, wishes -- what ever brings peace and comfort. Take good care!

You will know what you need and what is best for you, dear lady. It is a lesson I have learned late in life with the help of several gifted poets, writers, and your friends here.

I would like to offer you just a few lines from a longer William Stafford poem.
("Are you Mr. William Stafford"?)

He wrote every morning on awakening, his family says, and this is what he penned on the morning of the day he died, recounting a personal experience or perhaps a dream. (8/28/1993). Am I a foolish Pollyanna to find comfort in these words? Perhaps, but I never argue with success...where ever I find it.  As you may know, he lived in Lake Oswego.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"That's when sunlight came from behind a rock and began to follow my hand.

"It's for the best," my mother said—"Nothing can
ever be wrong for anyone truly good."
So later the sun settled back and the sound
faded and was gone. "   
 
With gratitude and affection for you and all the talented folks that comment here. C.

Dear Ronni, YOU are what makes it special! All good wishes to you this week during your doctor visits, whether tele-health or an in-person visit. By now the medical facility surely has made it very safe for patients to come in. Until next week . . .

Sending you good thoughts and love, Ronni.
You do what feels right to take care of you. We'll miss you - I know I will - but let this week be about you and not us.

Dearest Ronni, I came to your blog when Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Oct 2018. He used medical aid in dying in California in June 2019, and I still feel connected to you. So grateful that you have had three years post-diagnosis to meet your son and his family, to take that psilocybin trip, to share with us your COPD journey, and to just be on this earth a little longer. Facing death is no joke. Yet you have helped us laugh and that is important. I will be supporting you from afar as you go to the doctor, get whatever news is coming, and face the next decision. I am sending you a big hug from New Jersey; hold out your arms to catch it.

Ronni,
Have a wonder filled four twenty and a happy earth day.
May the force be with you.

Your post reads as written from the gut, and it gobsmacked me because I have been in denial that you are living 24/7 with effects of diagnoses, treatments, usual aging issues, and mounting stresses. You are wise to attend to yourself and consult with your crack medical team. We are each loving you with every step and decision you are taking.

✨🎈✨

Take good care of you, Ronni. Sending strong hugs and good energy your way.

Ronni - I have been a lurker here for about 2 years. I have appreciated reading what you share with us all. I wanted to finally pipe up and wish you well in your week of rest and wish you well as you contend with this latest medical concern. I have learned a lot from you!

Be well. Keep on doing what you know is best. I second what everyone else has already said.

Dear Ronni,

Thank you!

How extraordinary, with all that’s weighing heavy on your mind, that you made the time and effort to keep us informed of your need to pause and focus just on you! Wow!

Hope and pray you have the strength to get through the stressful week ahead, and hear good news from your medical experts.

Warm regards,
Ginnie Abramson

Have a good rest. And thank you for your loving and generous contributions on the subject of dying well.
I’m praying for you.
Sincerely ❣️❣️
Pat Crawford
Michigan

Ronni,

As happens, an unwelcome surprise sent me off in another direction.

To me, you're a treasure and trusted companion in this life.

Feel all your sensations. And make sure to carry with you the best of wishes from the countless friends you have here. We love you. We truly love you.

Whatever you need, for however long, is what we want for you.

I have no better words than those written here.
Thank you, Ronni, for yours.
And thank you to this community.
May all be well with you.

Prayers for you, Ronni

Have a good break and hopefully a good medical result. Like so many others I'll look forward to catching your update when you return from hiatus.

Best of luck, Ronni, with this new challenge. Like all your other readers, I am sending good wishes and hopeful thoughts to you. I look forward to hearing from you next week.

Ronni, I echo all the others in wishing you a good rest and contemplative reflection as you head into this next chapter. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I have co-facilitated a cancer support group for 16 years here in Albuquerque and have learned so much from those who participate. As a gift to them, I am forwarding your column to them today as I find other people's cancer stories always bring perspective and relief to those walking a similar path. Thank you for being who you are and all you have brought to us, your readers. Hope to see you back next week.

You know that we all are sending loving thoughts and prayers your way. Do what’s best for you and we’ll see you next week.

You've earned a rest. Do whatever is best for you and your peace of mind. Listen to your heart and know that your blog has touched, educated and made readers think over the years.

You are a most inspirational woman Ronni. Your generosity in sharing your thoughts and life helps me to focus on what is truly important. You will be in my thoughts and prayers through your new ordeal. Elisa

Sending good thoughts your way! xx

I'm joining everybody else in thinking of you, loving you, thanking you and praying for you. Be good to yourself this coming week and come back as soon as your ready.

Stay safe and be well to you, too.

Although I have not met you personally and very possibly won’t- I love you as a good friend. As a good friend, I am sending you a warm hug, positive thoughts and prayers for a restful and good news week.

Maybe it's a lipoma. Hope so. Rest!

As the Quakers say, I will hold you in the Light. I join the readers of this blog in supporting you through whatever lies ahead.

I will just echo all the wonderful comments that were sent to you. You can see how much you are loved and admired -- and what joy and wit and probing intelligence you keep
sending our way.

I know that like many of the others when I tell you that my heart skipped a few beats when
I saw the title of your piece for today -- At first, I was just pleased that you were going to
take a break, period -- but by the time I read the whole entry, I felt quite different -- surprised, alarmed, fighting my usual pessimism and, in the end, deciding that once again you have informed and educated and enlightened me. I am very grateful for that.

Well, if you can, enjoy the week ahead -- eat something you really like. read something
you have been wanting to read for some time, but hadn't gotten to it -- sit at a window
and watch whatever creatures are scampering about -- think happy thoughts. Watch a
video. Talk to some beloved friends.

And - what I hope most of all --- finish off the week vastly relieved because what you
were fearing has turned out to be harmless.

AND once next week has rolled in, come back to us! We will all celebrate!

Take very good care of yourself.

love, ruth-ellen

Dear Ronni,
I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now. And although I don’t usually reply to a blog, I feel compelled to tell you how much I appreciate you. You are truly a special gift and I’m sending prayers,love and virtual hugs your way!! I’m an 81 yr old live-alone who was given 3 weeks to live because the experimental chemo drugs didn’t work ....12 years ago!! Have a good rest and looking forward to hearing (seeing) you next week!😃

Sending and wishing you serenity. IMO, you have lived these last three years well, which is an accomplishment. May you receive what you must receive with acceptance and wisdom. May you sleep well tonight.

I have been a silent follower of your writings for some time, but today, I feel like I need to send a note to let you know that you have touched yet another life with your messages. Take a week, for sure, and know that I will be looking forward to hearing from you again. The ripples of your story spread far. Thank you, and carry on!

As you can see from these comments, we are all reaching out to comfort and reassure you, Ronni. See ya next week!

Take the rest you need. Sending virtual hugs to you, and thinking good thoughts as you face the challenges ahead .
Linda Jones
Oklahoma

Ronni

Be well and stay safe.
You are going to win this one.

>Love

Beatriz

Rest. Take care. Relax.

Dear Ronni -- I've been following your blog for a while. You amaze me--your courage, your love of life, your generosity in sharing your experience. Thank you. I wish you the very best in this next stage of your journey. Jane

Hoping for the best but fearing the worst, I'm sending strength. I know that's pretty woo-woo but I've experienced a sense of a net of loving support from friends and strangers alike when I was in a very tough place and I hope you feel it now.

Wishing you serenity, courage, and wisdom in the week to come and always. Virtual hugs to you from Denver.

Ronnie...I don't often comment but I wanted you to know how you have been there for me and how I wish I could do something for you. You have a strength that I have sought out in your writing over the past dozen years or more. I can only offer you healing thoughts and my prayers. Thank you and my heart is with you on this next journey. Take care and see you next week!

I would just like to express my admiration for you and what you are dealing with and how you are dealing. It is and you are extraordinary and I thank you. I connected through a friend with your blog a while ago and I look forward to it every day and will look forward to it again when you are back. In the meantime, I am sending you great love, many blessings and enormous wishes for your healing in whatever way that can happen! With love & blessings, Jaeni

Good Luck!, Ronni. My thoughts are with you. B

Dear Ronni,

You'll be in my mind and heart as you go through this coming week. I can never thank you enough for writing this blog or tell you how much it means in my life.
Much love and hope,
Page Day
Santa Rosa, CA

Whatever else you do in this life between now and the end of it, you need to take care of yourself, think about yourself, and worry about yourself. We're all grown-ups and can take care of ourselves, so you need to do the same. Please know that there are a BUNCH of people thinking about you, sending positive thoughts your way, sending prayers to whatever higher being they believe in, and hoping to see you back here soon.

Your journey and your sharing of that journey has been uplifting as well as heartbreaking for all of us. Whatever happens, whenever it happens, please know that you have made a huge difference in a lot of lives. Your legacy will live on, and I have every confidence that you will be here to see it happen.

Wish we could all have dinner with you, chew the fat (metaphorically that is) drink lovely wine (or iced tea) and laugh at this crazy crazy world together.

You know we are all looking forward to hearing from you next week. Meanwhile, your followers have said it all, and I second all of it. Lots of love and good thoughts to you.
Odette /Portland, Oregon.

We are all blessed from "knowing' you, and each other as well. Your blog has been the thing I turn to each morning, and I shall miss it for the coming days... but hope and pray you will be back to us with a good report.

And... thank you! So much!

Sending love and prayers your way dear Ronni.

I wish it weren't so, that golf ball sized something that may take you into medical environs for further investigation. For you to take a week off seems really right, and, as has been the case right along, I applaud your wise self care. Of course, I as well as others are all hoping that this is "just" another scare that will be able to be resolved. We'll all miss you this week , think of you, send out prayers and blessings, and hold you in our hearts. You mean so much to so many. Sending much love, and many blessings, Salinda

You have given us all so much with this blog. I thank you for your humor, your deep intelligence, your candor and all the energy and effort you put into sharing yourself. I think we are friends and that I wish I could be a help to you now. Know you are loved and held in many hearts during this new health challenge. And again, thank you.

I am so grateful for you, Ronni! I am so sorry for the latest development. You are in my prayers.

Dearest Ronni, I am so sorry that you have these new fears and challenges! I join Liz K in celebrating what these bonus years have brought you...above all meeting your son and his family and giving them the chance to know remarkable you! I join the circle holding you in our hearts and arms and hoping for more quality time for you but here to walk with you whatever path lies ahead!

No one else has mentioned this, so I will. A year or two after I finished chemo I got an inguinal hernia. It was a lump. I was very scared it was a tumor. It wasn't.
I had it fixed via laparoscopic surgery.
Ronnie, I'm hoping yours too will be something rather easily dealt with.

Dear Ronni: Your friends - - dozens and dozens of us, are sending you our admiration, love and strength. Available for your use as you go forward thru this next week and beyond. Great Teachers don't come around very often. For you we are grateful.

Good luck, Ronni. And a rest is always a good thing.

Hi Ronni,
Wishing you a peace filled week. I hope you see your doctor very quickly and that the news is what you and all your readers wish. You are in so many people's thoughts and prayers.

Ronnie, you are a wonder. You have shined a lovely light into the world and we, your readers, are some of your many admirers. Thank you.

You've been so tough with this nasty cancer that I know you deserve a good rest. I hope you read, eat, dream, and talk to your loved ones. Get someone in to clean your house! Put those doctors through their paces!

You have all my best wishes for this coming week.

Mary

You are in my prayers.

I cannot tell you what you (and this whole community) have meant to me since I entered retirement. What Wendl said, above. We want for you what you need.♥️🙏🏼🐶

Sending good vibes & hugs that will lead to refreshing rest & relaxation & renewed strength.

Ronni Bennett, I (we) appreciate you. You have touched my life, and the lives of so many, who will never know you personally. Like Wendl, I pray that you have everything you need, that your pain is controlled, and that you have the peace of mind that excels all thought. It is those of you who are willing to record your feelings and experiences, that leave a lasting legacy for the rest of us to learn from, take heart from, and gain courage from, the gift of your words. You have made a difference in this world. Thank you for extending yourself, and finding a way to give, during a very difficult part of your life. Praying for a gentle path for you, as you walk forward. Philia.

Ronnie, your column is full of such vibrancy and interests that it is easy to forget the medical issues you are dealing with, in spite of your talking about them. I respect the considerable time and energy you have spent on this blog, and I respect your taking the time off you need to take. May your angels accompany you to your medical appointments, may they comfort and cheer you and bring you confidence.

As hard as it was to start reading your post this afternoon, how is it you make us feel like we are the ones to be comforted? We love you, Ronni, and wish you comfort, peace and energy to emerge next week with good news. I hope a good friend is available to be with you on any appointments.

What they said.

And hugs.

Ronni,

Just want to add my words to the many who have commented. It seems as if all the words I would use have already appeared .....wonderful, enlightened, informative, compassionate, remarkable, amazing, AWESOME! You are all of the and more. So glad you are taking good care of yourself.

All the best to you.........you are loved.

Dear Ronnie,
Thank you for all you have given me.
I hope (I hope not selfishly?) they give you another lease on life. Ice cream and cake this week? Gin and tonic? Long showers and great memories of wonderful times and happy days? I hope so. Good luck my dear.

Not that you needed to grow a set... You are already quite the powerhouse without actual cojones. Personally, I'd rest, ignore the damn bump unless it hurts and indulge in luxuries, be they food or silks or flowers or whatever. Stay comfortable dear woman and return soon if you choose.

Ronni, I wish you nothing but the best outcomes during this fraught time. You’ve made my life better, you've made me more thoughtful, you've made me smarter and more empathetic. You have my sincerest thanks. I hope you are able to take this week to rest and ponder and find some sense of ease with everything that is going on with you and with the world. You are and will be ever in my thoughts and heart. Looking forward to your return next week.

You are loved.

Hi, Ronni,
The TBG boat, "THIS END UP" is ready to take you on a restful tour of the Williamette River.
For an added surprise, Willie Nelson is the muscial captain.
Have a restful time.
You are appreciated

My heart sank as I began reading today's blog.
Ronnie: You are in my thoughts and may the universe look kindly on you for a long time to come.
Take the well deserved rest, and we all look forward to hearing from you after the "lump" has been investigated. Maybe by then someone will have found a joke about growing balls, or in this case, one ball, by a woman no less.

"Be well and stay safe."

You are the one for whom we all say: "Be well and stay safe."

Know that you are thought of, and thought about, and wished the best.

If anyone deserves a rest, you do. But we sure do look forward to your return.

May this time give you comfort and peace of mind and heart.
You are a treasure, Ronni, a treasure!
If only all of us fans here could carry just a tiny bit of your burden ....

Everything has already been said about love I know - but that is all we can send you and it is a very powerful force - you are well loved Ronni - enjoy the week of rest - you deserve it -

Somehow I knew I had to check in today. My love goes with you, good friend.

Well, damn, one more thing! Taking a break to focus on you as you address this latest issue seems wise — ideally resolved with minimal complications. Appreciate your apprehension, but take a few short breaths or a deep one. Will be sending positive vibes up the coast to you. Looking forward to your return here when you’re so inclined.

Best of luck to you, Ronni - I look forward to hearing from you next week.

I had a telehealth appointment with the cancer center about a month ago, in place of my regularly scheduled appointment. I was their guinea pig, the first telehealth conference attempted. It went fine. I’m also not having my regularly scheduled monthly labs done, the doctor feels my numbers have been stable enough to go for 3 months without bloodwork; hope that’s the case.

I realized this morning that taking care of myself has started to remind me of working in nursing homes years ago. And - as I told them during the conference - I don’t now how someone with incurable cancer develops hypochondria, but somehow I’ve managed to accomplish it!

Hope all goes well - Jackie from Nebraska

Ronni, I wish you well & hope you are able to get some rest this week. I so appreciate your honesty & directness with all of us - your fans! See you in a week.

You are a bright shining light. Please take very good care of you.

Sending you love, light, peace and joy. ♥️

Lots of good vibes coming your way, to deal with whatever it is. In South Africa, we wish you sterkte! (strength)

Ronni,
You mean so much to me and your blog has been my inspiration for many years now. Thinking good thoughts for you and sending much love from Idaho.
Francie in Boise

Dear Ronni, please take the time you need. We'll all be here when you get back you know, and I just want you to get the rest and the information you need. Somehow the unknown can be way scarier than the known. (I'm leaning toward those benign conditions that have been mentioned.)

You always are the inspiration and example of better living and thinking for me. I wish you all those things already mentioned - especially the sterkte!

Holding you in my heart and sending love.

Very well deserved break.Kick back and have some fun

Maya Angelou wrote; "Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” Rest, knowing you matter to many, dear Ronni.

Ronnie Bennet- Prayers for your radiant health.
Ellen Greenlaw

Totally hoping for the best! As an agnostic (atheist?) I won't be doing any praying but will certainly be thinking of you.

Ronni, I wish for you a restorative “intermission” from your responsibilities as you transfer your focus to your own well-being.

I am fairly new to TGB but I have already benefitted greatly from what you have created.

I celebrate your life-affirming accomplishments here, and your personal ability to encourage and connect with so many.

Gratefully, Barrie

Ronni ~ You are such an inspiration for me. Thank you. I’m thinking good thoughts for you and sending big hugs from Connecticut.

You are in my prayers - I have read you for years - have trouble getting a comment through - my husband had prostrate cancer a few years ago and reading your column really helped me - now I have stage 4 ovarian cancer and I am struggling but I find myself thinking of you often - how brave you are - and it gives me strength - and fills me with hope - please take a good rest and I am hoping that all will be well - this isolation and solitude are not healthy in the long run and when I communicate with people I feel so much better ..waiting for your return. We will miss you. Mary Ellen

Yes. What everybody else has already said so eloquently.

And also...
One of the things I've learned from you Ronni is "Just keep going". Not that you've ever said that, to my knowledge, and maybe it's not even what you want to convey. But it's what I've taken away from listening to your cancer journey.

We're dealing with stage 4 cancer in our family too. Everything has been thrown at it: endless chemo, radiation, a stem cell transplant and then finally when everything else had failed, enrollment in a CAR-T medical trial, which miraculously finally stopped the recurring tumours, at least for awhile. Now though, ominous symptoms are starting to reappear and so is that familiar feeling of dread.

But over the past couple of years, as we were reeling from one crisis to the next, I'd sometimes say to my family: "Ronni Bennett just keeps going. She follows every medical protocol they throw at her, no matter how arduous or terrifying or boring as hell. She just does it. It's like that old saying... when you're going through hell, just keep going".

I'm not sure why that's such a comforting concept, but it is. Somehow it focuses your courage and your attention where they need to be.

So thanks for that, along with all the other thanks we owe you.

I hope your week is good, in whatever way that's meaningful for you.

I love you Ronni and I continue to hold you in the light of that love and concern. Today is Earth Day and I hope you have a chance to be outside and breathe in the fresh air and enjoy a little bit of spring time. I'm looking forward to seeing what next week brings to us here in the Time Goes By community. I skimmed down through the comments and I was gratified by how many fans and friends you have who are mostly "lurkers" but who just want you to know of our positive regard for you and the work you do and have done.

I hope you are resting well and waking each day feeling refreshed.

Rest aisy as my people say, Ronni and take all the time you need.

Alarming to read about the ball, not funny at all in light of your other health issues.

Know you do such a marvelous job here of keeping us informed on all aging processes and not just your own, such a huge contribution for us elders.

I hold you in light and love during this fresh challenge.

XO
WWW

Just stopping by to say hello tell you I miss your posts. Enjoy the quiet and see you back next week.

Thank you for your many thought provoking posts. Look forward to reading more when you're up to it.

What can I add that won't be simply an echo? Very little, and why add anything when there's so much worth echoing? I wish you the best of care, Ronni, and a quieting of your concerns. May your rest break bring you ease.

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