Tag Archives: cancer


Well I am at the Cancer Clinic tomorrow for a series of tests.  I guess “cancer clinic” and tests says about all it needs to. 

The cancer they are testing for is almost “always fatal” according to the literature I have read about it.  The good news is that if it is found right away, it can be cured.  The bad news is that  I am well past “right away”.  From what I have been told and read, the symptoms I am showing are consistent with both a type of cancer and this long term infection.  In 4% of cases, it is cancer.  Since it is a fast acting cancer… well you get the drift.  While there is a 1 in 25 chance that I am screwed, there is a 24/25 chance that I will be okay.  Of course with it being election season, the margin of error is…

To be blunt, I don’t expect them to find cancer but something is wrong with my ankle and foot that is beyond the infection.  I can feel something in my ankle.   From what I have read and been told, ankles kind of mutate when they have a bone marrow infection, so it could just be that.

That being said, if they tell me I have cancer in my leg, I’ll be be able to say…. well I don’t know what I am going to say.  Nothing witty comes to mind right now.  I’ll have a witty line ready for Tuesday.

As for around here, the focus will always be on next summer.  Wendy wrote up our plans for 2016, which is to spend about 10 days in a rustic Banff National Park campsite and use it as a basecamp to explore a lot of trails around Lake Louise and Banff.  We picked out a 2 person hiking tent for next year and I intend, well hope to use it.

How to Die in 5 Easy Steps

You need to read this essay by Shoshana Berger’s essay on How to Die in 5 Easy Steps

There’s a lot of talk about taking control of how you die. My father had an advanced directive, but it was so crude in its instruction—basically don’t revive me if I have a catastrophic event like a heart attack—that it didn’t help us make any of the decisions we were faced with during his decline.

Some have the foresight to write elaborate directives, asking to be brought to a remote place to have a last moment of transcendence, or to be surrounded by family at home, or be bathed and wrapped in white cloth and buried in a pine box. But more often than not, people don’t write anything down or muster the courage to bring up the end of life with their loved ones at all, leaving death at the wheel, playing the dirty trick of steering for them.

I started to do this last week.  It’s a challenging and weird exercise in figuring out you want your life to end.  Do I want to keep my online presence alive or when life ends, is it all over for me online and off.  What the heck happens to the dog?  Can one play too much Bon Jovi at my funeral? Can one play too much Bon Jovi at any public event?  Should I even have a funeral?  Do I want to die around family and friends or alone?  Where do I want to be buried?

With my mom dying of brain cancer, statistically I have had to ponder that fate as well.  The reality of dying young and from cancer.  How do I fight it?  Do I take chemo and die painfully or accept death and shorten my time on earth.

A lot of stuff to think about.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

– Robert Frost

Holding on to what we got

An excellent essay in Salon describes what Christmas means for a women with terminal cancer.

When your partner is dying, the idea of a shiny new Lexus as a symbol of commitment — to anything other than monthly payments — becomes particularly odious; "diamonds are forever" takes on depressing new meaning (because life isn’t forever). No, love isn’t "a car in the driveway with a big bow on top." It’s pushing a wheelchair. It’s cutting off all of your lover’s hair as it begins to fall out in large clumps during chemo, and massaging that patchy head to give her one of the few physical pleasures left to her. It’s laughing while browsing a wig shop where the only other customer is a transvestite prostitute. It’s relearning how to cook after three decades of marriage. It’s giving shots through a layer of belly fat. It’s sitting side-by-side in a hospital bed watching TV.

Steve Fonyo O.C.

The Toronto Star on Steve Fonyo losing his Order of Canada

He figures he deserved the prize when he received it, and ought to be able to keep it.

But there’s something curiously apt about his losing the Order of Canada, yet retaining the Humanitarian Award he also shares with Frank Sinatra. The ballad of Steve Fonyo has always been mercurial.

The Order of Canada Award A high-school dropout, he’d lost a leg to cancer when he was 12. Little wonder that Fonyo duly found sufficient inspiration in Terry Fox to embark on his own sort of run-and-walk across Canada.

That, and the fact they both hailed from British Columbia, was about the extent of the similarities. Where Fox was charismatic, blue-eyed and golden, Fonyo always seemed strangely detached. His manners were crude, his speech awkward.

There was even a species of resentment in the land that someone like Fonyo would dare to walk in Fox’s footsteps, sullying the great one’s legacy.

Fonyo’s journey was mostly met with indifference until he hit the British Columbia border and money, finally, started to roll in. A victory lap ensued at B.C. Place stadium; he’d become a hero of sorts, feted as such.

In the usual ceremony at Rideau Hall, then-Governor General Jeanne Sauvé made him an Officer of the Order of Canada. A month later, it was Sauvé again presenting Fonyo with Variety International’s Humanitarian Award at a Toronto gala.

Fonyo’s life has been more or less unravelling ever since. He could never really outrun the shadow of Terry Fox nor, it seems, his own dark demons.

By the end of 1987, he’d watched his father die of cancer, split with his fiancée and been charged with impaired driving. Fonyo was also broke, which is why his 1983 Chrysler LeBaron convertible had been seized by the bank for failure to repay a $21,000 loan.

He’d used his beloved red sports car as collateral to finance another charity run, this one the length of Britain, itself a sad denouement that raised little awareness and scarcely any money.

The odd good thing did happen. A group of Vancouver car dealers kicked in enough money to reclaim the Chrysler LeBaron, have it repaired, and then returned to Fonyo.

And he got to carry the Olympic torch on part of its journey to Calgary for the 1988 Olympics.

A year later in Edmonton, though, the artificial leg he’d used to take part in the local Terry Fox Run was stolen from his car, which Fonyo had left unlocked in a parking lot overnight.

It just went on like that, a carousel of mishaps and run-ins with the law, the rubric of which always seemed to be, `what was he thinking?’

This would include the time Fonyo hit his landlord on the head with a crescent wrench, opening a gash that required 29 stitches. Or the time Fonyo was charged with stealing his own car after he’d sold it to a pawn shop. The car in question: A certain 1983 Chrysler LeBaron.

It almost seems inevitable that Fonyo would get caught writing NSF cheques to supermarkets to pay for cigarettes, which he’d then barter for cocaine.

I think all Canadians remember Terry Fox’s failed run and his death and then Steve Fonyo picking up the torch and finishing the run for him.  It’s wasn’t long after that that the first new stories that documented Fonyo’s struggles started to appear.  I wasn’t surprised to hear that the Order of Canada had kicked Fonyo out but I was surprised that it hadn’t happened already.