Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I'm Still Here

(Based on “I’m Still Here,” from the musical Follies, with apologies to Stephen Sondheim.)

I’ve had my prostate wholly removed;
Margins clear. I’m still here.
Two months of radiation approved
The next year. But I’m here.
I’ve schlepped to clinics on my own.
Had drugs to lower my testosterone
Till that’s coming out of my ear. But I’m here.

I’m always eager to sign up for clinical trials. Hope that’s clear.
Lengthy consent forms line my whole house in great piles. Please sign here.
I’ll try whatever comes my way
With or without the F.D.A.
Seems there’s a new one every day, so I hear.
Helping science while getting clear, and I’m here.

I’ve been through Provenge immunotherapy, and I’m here.
Hope as we go henceforth, more biochemistry keeps me here.
I’ve been through countless blood tests, sometimes I just need a rest.
Not ready for “rest in peace”, no, my dear.
I’ve got a portacath now, and I’m here.

I’ve had Zytiga, Xtandi, Seviteronel.
So far they’ve had no effect.
When you’ve had Zytiga, Xtandi, Seviteronel
No other drug is suspect.

I’ve had Xofigo (Radium-two-twenty-three), and I’m here.
Where else can we go? Not many options for me, but I’m here.
I need a complete, durable remission. That would be sweet, but I’m just wishin’.
Dodging a more realistic vision, that’s clear.
Time for hospice may be near, but I’m here.

Walking ’round one day, next day can’t get out of bed, but I’m here.
For every fun day, I pay with days exhausted, but I’m here.
For any day I miss my nap,
Stiffness and pain and other crap.
Need to learn from my cats how to endear
Even while I am sleeping, and I’m here.

I’ve seen radiation and medical oncologists,
Not to mention the pee doc.
I’m sure there are more and more specialized -ologists,
Each holding a Ph.D. doc.

Good times and bum times, I’ve seen ’em all
And, my dear, I’m still here.
Appetite sometimes, sometimes just drinks that are clear. But I’m here

I’ve run the gamut, A to Z
Three cheers and dammit, C’est la vie
I got through all of last year, and I’m here
Lord knows, at least I was there, and I’m here
Look who’s here, I’m still here

Tuesday, February 13, 2018




Much of what follows is repeated from earlier posts. However, in light of what I’m going through, and the impending Valentine’s Day, I thought it was worth dusting off some of these thoughts and polishing them up again.
Love is the answer to everything. Unfortunately, the word love has become a worn out cliché.
We’re not talking here about couples finding sunsets to stand in front of while they gaze wistfully into each other’s eyes.
What we mean by love is the sense of being a part of something larger than your individual self. I thought long and hard about whether the feeling of being a part of some larger thing was enough, or whether you have to actually be a part of something larger.
I finally realized that it makes no difference. The sense of being part of something makes you a part of something.
This occurs at many levels, just as there are different types of loving relationships. You can be in love with someone, meaning that the relationship between you is itself a thing … an entity that deserves respect and attention. You can nurture or hurt that relationship.
A family shares a different kind of love, but it nonetheless stems from being part of the family.
There are larger groupings, like communities, schools, churches, clubs, etc. When someone loves his or her country, they identify with that country, and take pride in the connection with others who feel the same.
And being in love is the most fulfilling state we can be in. As individuals, we are all condemned to live in our own world of thoughts and feelings all day. We move around, observing each other, sometimes with envy or disdain. But actually relating to other people, sharing a few minutes or a joke or a conversation, or even just enjoying being together, gives us a sense of contentment.
You can love the environment, aware of earth as offering many resources and pleasures, but also needing care and nurturing.
Unfortunately, there is also hate … wanting to exclude others. There are whole groups devoted to hate of others for this or that insignificant difference among people.
Yes, there are a million cliches about love … hearts and chocolates and flowers … that suggest it is something sentimental and artificial. But real love is the only way to live successfully.
Because real love gives you a kind of immortality. The people who survive you carry a part of you with them. Once you have been part of a relationship, or a family or a community, you will be perpetually a character in those other lives.