Other writing (Page 3)

I share one big difference, and one identical thing, with Steve Jobs. The difference is he’s dead and I’m not. The identical thing is a neuroendocrine tumour on the pancreas. He lived with his for eight years. I’ve known mine for about three months. I have more money available to fight the tumour than Jobs had. When he died, Jobs was worth about US$10 billion. The Canadian health care budget for 2019 was CAD$264 billion. At current exchange rates, that clocks in at about US$190 billion. I can dip into this bucket of cash whenever I need to buy a bag of carboplatin and thereRead More →

If I ever have to make a choice between reading a book or getting chemotherapy, I know what I’ll do. Unfortunately, life seldom gives us clear choices like that. Lynne, and a bunch of doctors, made the decision for me. It was unanimous. We don’t care, they said, if you ever read another book in your life. You’re getting chemo, and that’s all there is to it. I can still read books on chemo. I got the thumb’s up on this. Not books on the topic of chemo. Books to read while I’m on chemo. Traditional books at home, e-books while I’m in the chair.Read More →

Cheering and booing swept across the country after hospitals cancelled elective surgery. People on the list for a colonoscopy sang out in perfect harmony: put it off for as long as you like was the chorus. The boos came from everyone waiting for cataract surgery who’ll have to put up with cloudy vision for a while longer. They will welcome the moment they no longer see the world through what looks like a Vaseline film. Those of us with more immediate needs like child birth or chemotherapy will still be attended to. For myself, there are no more grandchildren on the horizon. No grandnieces orRead More →

If you ever find yourself kicked off-centre and into the maelstrom of cancer care, one of the first things you’ll get will be a 3-ring binder full of useful information. Among other things, it will tell you about the drugs you’ll take, and the side effects you may or may not experience. One common effect of chemotherapy, the binder tells me, is a reduction in neutrophils. As you are no doubt aware, a significant drop in neutrophils brings on neutropenia: white blood cells drop and your immune system gets lazy. Your body is so busy dealing with the chemo that it forgets to check againstRead More →