19 June 2013:Insects buzz, air smells sweetly and trees, well, they uh tree!

5:30 AM: 20 mn: first walked at dawn, doing two storeys of steps pushing off on alternate feet: lovely air smells/insect buzzing/trees treeing at dawn: best time of day, will hopefully be able to experience dawns now on a daily basis owing to a new commitment to motion and exercise: this new commitment owing to the dramatic improvement in my health which I can’t allocate between chemo and movement. It started not so much with the chemo as it did when I lost Netvigator access to the internet from my hospital bed and had to walk the short distance from the ward to the common room with wireless.

I discovered that the wireless in the common room is fast: that the room is peaceful and friendly, with a manager that always laughs joyfully when she speaks: that there’s hokey but nice Christian New Age music. And, it’s a (short) walk from my ward in this small and user-friendly hospital. The walk associated with an immediate improvement in health.

Congee wasn’t the dreaded sweetened oatmeal-like porridge. I dread it every day although I can savor a bowl, when it’s very hot. Pity I can’t sprinkle an unsweetener on it. Guilin hot sauce probably not a good idea.

Only needed one painkiller rather than two.

Off to Queen Mary for chemotherapy and ooooh my Chemo-Sabe brought me an 85% Cacao Lindt bar which was to die for, and which uses only “raw” sugar. Why o why do uncultured convenience stores fail to stock this type of choc?

I find that I have another chemo session in three weeks which is good. Since there’s few side effects (tiredness and blurry vision on occasion) I don’t care if I’m blasted with this toxin since it kills weak and degenerate cancer cells first.

Interesting how moral metaphors have always recurred in cancer treatment (cf. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Cancer, the Emperor of All Maladies). Lower class British women punished before National Health for being lower clawss and having cancer by being subject to increasing amputation as the only available treatment for breast cancer for women unable to afford “Harley Street” (pre NH posh) doctors.

Cancer a punishment for smoking: but to me in the 1970s and thereafter, until my cancer and retirement occurred simultaneously, and my parents, smoking was a mitzvot since it helped you study and work hard.

My chemo has been a dream chemo, with minimal side-effects confined to occasional tiredness and blurry vision. I believe I have one more session but would be willing to have my doctors pile on more if they are affordable and if more chemo will help kill more cells: I could take more side-effects if this was so.

But my doctor says, only slightly grimly, that I should “use the time” as if it is limited. She’s right. Chemo is NOT a cure, it delays cancer growth and allows you to reconcile with family and in my case, with the sudden, Social Security funded freedom from paid labour, be creative (perhaps developing a Kant course pack for the iPod using my Critique notes and commentary), doing things I love.

I can also use the time to see if rather intense, regular exercise like my one to two workouts every day make a difference keeping in mind that the “running guru” of the 1980s, Dr George Sheehan, died on schedule of prostate (in a considerably more primitive treatment and chemo environment which has improved exponentially since the 1980s) despite keeping on running.

Today, I not only have access to better treatment I also know, as perhaps Sheehan did not, that the body doesn’t care whether you run, or swim, or climb stairs, and I can do two out of three (my attempts at running in place produce pain at this time). The ability to do this every day rather than just on “good” days like Jobs and Sheehan may make a difference.

And what is this life for, and how many of us know when we will die? “Behold I come as a thief in the night”. I free time to be able to smell the mountain and the forest next to Grantham, and tell you how the sun rose, “a Ribbon at a time”. In my experience this type of text is even better than real estate advice.

Kant

Grinding on, finished another three passes through pp 201-266 (analytic of concepts, the hardest part of the Critique), working on a chart that represents Kant’s theory comprehensively as a directed graph with no cycles. This shows how ALL concepts, with NO exception, are derived from sense-data in Kant and this is in profound agreement with Hume…who might not had he lived to Kant’s epoch returned the admiration.

He may have found Kant impossible to understand and chucked the book into the fireplace, having written that metaphysics books should be “consigned to the flames”…not quite realizing, as Kant realized, that just as atheism is as indefensible as belief, negative metaphysics (“it’s all sense data”) is just…more metaphysics.

I strive to understand this difficult philosopher, Kant, not Hume, as a way of dealing with the accusations of verbosity so often hurled against me, something tied to both my German roots, and the way we German-Americans lost our roots owing the persecution of GAs during WWI in America.

BTW, I have found that my iPod software (iTunes) will without an iPod run not only sound programs but also video, and free videos of lecture are available from Harvard in all disciplines. I have been listening to lectures on the Critique and watching sample videos from Harvard and Columbia’s narrative medicine programs when my eyes tire.

More later for unusually I find myself under pressure to clear out of the common room (it’s almost 10PM and past my wonted bedtime).

3 Responses to “19 June 2013:Insects buzz, air smells sweetly and trees, well, they uh tree!”

  1. You seem so at peace with your situation. I’m jealous. I still have lots or work to do to get to where you are. Work isn’t the right word, I think it’s more like getting comfortable and being ok with my situation.

    Regardless, I’m very happy that you tolerate the chemo so well. That is truly a blessing.

    • spinoza1111 Says:

      I will have to “graduate” to more expensive chemo or what is called in Hong Kong “bunny-piggy” trials where I am test subject. Lacking any health insurance outside Medicaid for the former in two years when I qualify for Medicaid, I may have to “punt” once this chemo treatment starts to fade as chemo will. This may mean a combination of continue heavy exercise if possible with acceptance once I can figure out how to get my surviving son to acknowledge me.

      Thanks for your notes. I am following your struggles. Gather your family and count each as one blessing would be my advice.

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