Still Alive

Biz-card-1-finalExactly six months ago, Liz asked my medical oncologist for my prognosis. Six months, he replied. I was shocked. Liz was not. She felt I had declined since a year ago. I attributed any decline to medication side effects. And I never accepted the six-month prognosis.

In any case, I told my oncologist I had tickets to go see Joe Bonamassa on November 13th, so he had to keep me alive until then. He did. The concert, three nights ago in Louisville, was an experience I haven’t had in decades: an actual rock/blues concert. My friend Jim and I were in the sixth row. Bonamassa played nearly all his solos over on our side of the stage. And he finished the show with my favorite, his cover of “Sloe Gin.” I’m quite certain Michael Rhodes’ pounding bass riffs did nothing but good for my bone mets. Now if only I’d been able to eat sticky toffee pudding at the same time, it might have effected a complete cure.

So I’m still kicking, or at least shuffling like a slipper’d pantaloon. I can still walk two miles. In fact I feel about the same as I did back in May, with the exception that, since I started CBD oil in August, my GI issues have improved. I’ve been able to reduce my prednisone.

My oncologist said he will no longer guess at how long I have to live. He has no idea. Even though my PSA is still going up (30.7), we are sticking with my present treatment until something better comes along or until I start feeling a lot worse.

Given the lack of an expiration date (I’m now predicting 1-3 years), I decided it was time to be something besides a person with cancer. So I am now a writer. This doesn’t mean I’ve published a book. But I have written one and am busy revising it. Unlike super-disciplined writers, I do not set an alarm for some wee hour in the morning to have uninterrupted writing time. Instead, I squeeze in writing when I can, some days just a few minutes. Rarely, 2-3 hours.

At the beginning of the month I went to a writing conference. I enjoyed this more than any conference in decades. I even made it through the long days with some temporary meds adjustments. At the conference, I learned what I should be doing differently or not doing at all. And I learned that even relative strangers like my writing. So I will plod along, not anticipating earning any money from this activity but at least having the satisfaction of feeling I am helping and occasionally amusing people in a small way. Stay tuned.