Archive for Cancer

13 Oct 2013: An Opportunity to Teach

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 13, 2013 by spinoza1111

Last week, Dr. Cheung asked me to address three medical students/HKU undergraduates from my hospital bed concerning my cancer journey. HKU’s medical school is on the British model so there is no pre-med; undergrads are on a speeded-up track.

I had no time to prepare a formal outline but did a reasonable job all the same of coverage. I described my feelings of being very fit and healthy person and how they may have contrasted with a smoking habit that lasted until 2000 and a Nicorette/nicotine addiction that held on until 2012. I described managing the terror of the diagnosis result day fairly well through a spiritual practise.

I said that perhaps palliative care sounded less terrifying than it does to many because I had entered the cancer journey at a mostly palliative stage (IV/D1). I also described how highly addictive prescription drugs such as Fentanyl hold for me at this time little attraction since I’d always preferred booze. I do admit their usefulness as pain suppressants as the essence of civilisation which doesn’t allow even the Stranger to writhe in agony in the park (and doesn’t by default code him/her as an addict as a part of its lack of compassion).

It should be noted, however, that I didn’t make the last point in the above passage in my talk.

I thought of  the late Edward Said who lectured on English topics while being hospitalised for leukemia. These activities are very important for me at this time.


13 Oct 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 13, 2013 by spinoza1111

First-thing workout at 6:04: 20 minutes included 150 supine movements with weights, walking, 100 midrise steps (steps in stairwell, not lowrise steps in ward), and 50 slow dancing with walking stick (the old soft shoe: acceptable pain accompanied this return to the OSS.)

Notes on  a Pain Episode

For unknown reason, on the last few weekends, especially Sundays, I have had intense bouts of direct and referred pain; I think it was last Sunday when I first crossed “the screaming barrier”, bothering the other patients.

However, today I was able to endure 10/10+ pain in my butt and was able to practise Acceptance instead of “exclaiming”:  for as Lovel admonishes Hastings i’th’old play (Richard III), “Come, come, dispatch; ’tis bootless to exclaim.”

Notes on the Incomprehensible War

Some heroes included Sgt. “Breathless”. The Kid said, gee, Sarge, it hurts to breathe”. Sgt. Breathless. eyes scanning the dark, said, “so don’t breathe.” So the Kid figured that that meant finding a way to breathe at  a low level, more through his skin almost. So the Kid did this, and survived.

There was also Sgt. Rock who kept firing with his ass shot off. When the position, still held by his men and a dead Sgt. Rock, was relieved, the commander of the relief troops collected his leather belt bitten clean thru because the Sarge was busy killing Cheeseballs whilst in pain. This gruesome artifact hangs today in the Incomprehensible Museum.

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12 Oct 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 12, 2013 by spinoza1111

20 minutes first thing (5:30 AM): 100 midrise steps in stairwell, walking. Went back to sleep, woke up realising that this is the real deal. Barring a miracle my lifespan may be measured in months, there will be much pain, and I have moved too far away to make it possible for most of my family, with kids and responsibilities of their own, to come see me.

I need to face this steadily. I hope to prolong my life since as my father was, I am “pro-life” in the good sense. I believe in women’s right to choose while I believe Dad was mostly opposed to abortion, but like my Dad I do believe that old people should be allowed to prolong their lives however they can, and like him, I believe that assisted suicide is evil.

It’s wrong in my view to loudly assault women’s rights to autonomy (“if men could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament”) while throwing white men on the scrap heap in their fifties and blacks in their thirties or much earlier in the case of incarceration rates at insane levels.

I closely identify with my gay friends who have AIDS or are HIV positive:the frustration of their desire to stay alive and flourish. I mean, just when you think you’ve cut yourself a SLICE, the worm turns, you get some crazy spots or sweats and the Doctor says “the news is not good”.  Just when you think you’ve got it all, the big fat quivering SLICE, it’s all gone, the Enlightenment reversed and you find yourself, either in AIDS or what I have, you’re in the Seventeenth Century, a darkling plain of threats and fears.

To be “pro-life” in this sense is to be  pro your own life.


11 Oct 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 11, 2013 by spinoza1111

20 Minutes first thing (50 midrise steps), 150 warmup movements, with and without weights.

Sunday’s first agon, was the one in which I first crossed the “screaming barrier” where you bother other patients and have “10 over 10” pain, which breaks the measuring device of your own perception and therefore means that the “actual” pain could be higher than 10/10 having such values as 12/10 (with, possibly, part of the pain being caused by not-knowing if Aristotle is right and we long to know), taught me among other things that I may need these lessons at the endgame.

With possibly a lifespan of months and those months spent in increasing unawareness and no more godlike mobility.

Which exacerbates, does not reconcile the need to know. In Sunday’s agon I was still the observer, trying to store up “impressions” for my “journey” like Flashman’s blasted wife Elspeth in Madagascar or Boswell in Scotland…and making  a dog’s dinner of it, scupper my kidneys, else.

Which exacerbates and does not reconcile my need to be with my son and my granddaughters.

The Chorus begins, softly, with quiet cymbals, at first a confusion of voices and instruments later triumphant…

Pace we slow pace we soft
For ’tis known how well and oft
Philosophy comes a cropper at the solemn time of death

Pace we slow pace we soft
For ’tis known how well and oft
That proud man the cynosure of Nature
Is at Nature’s mercy at the limit beyond the Pillars of Hercules

Pace we slow pace we soft
For as Oedip knew so well
There’s none can tell
Whether beyond this life there’s reassurance
For he who has worn life’s many harsh robes of  ‘durance

26 Sep 2013: Paint It Black (1)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 26, 2013 by spinoza1111

Worked out 23..26 Sep with 20 minutes including 150..200 step aerobics first thing every morning.

But having increasing health issues including: standard hip pain and now, headache that spreads and increases to migraine levels.

Have 570.00 HKD in wallet and more in bank. Not too concerned about effect of USD government shutdown on social security payments on October payment of “my” social security since these checks have been coming and I have been able to save.

22 Sep 2013: Defcon 4 Level Crisis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 22, 2013 by spinoza1111

Total crisis for every time I go off painkiller the pain is truly unbearablw. I do not know what a migraine is supposed to feel like but I kinda sorta think I sorta think I got unsupportable pain. I mean, it is incapacitating. I can’t type or spell rords. I just typed “rords” instead of “words”: this sort of error is happening in every setence. I just dropped the firt “n” in “sentence”. I did do a 20 minute workout aeons ago first thing ago this morning.

When I do get enough pain killer the room shifts around mysteriously and I cannot stop singing silly songs, and I type slow as I am constantly fixing fixing [oops oops] silly songs. I have lost kinesthetic orientation so things will appear out of whack as in the beginning of Kubrick’s 2001, where “down” becomes “up” on board the moon shuttle.

I was going ti analyze Jubrick’s film but the pain and error rate is too high. “You cannot face it steadily, the patient is no longer there.” “The dove descendung breaka the aire with flame of incandescamt terror,” amd I am going to sleep.

Sep 17 2013: Crunk BOING Groan

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 17, 2013 by spinoza1111

OK, so guy’s got a CD player on which he insists on playing without earphones so his homeys in the same ward can hear bam ping a pong WHAM a lula yowl miaw crunk boink which is approximately a word picture of Chinese opera (I like Chinese opera).

ANOTHER guy is groaning loudly as he expires of lung cancer in all probability, that being the commonest form of cancer here. I also like my homeboys here.

So the overall effect is approximately bam ping a pong WHAM a lula yowl miaw crunk boink GROAN bam ping a pong WHAM a lula yowl miaw crunk boink groan GROAN miaw ping a pong.

And I am struggling to see with ever higher magnification powers to overcome chemo effects on my eyesight and to keep my computer alive so I can communicate this reality.

My God have mercy on our souls GROAN whang boink.