University of Virginia seminar studies tension between “The Science & Lived Experience of Autism.”
Despite a recent surge in attention and research over the past decade about autism, controversy exists.
Although this title invokes the nickname of one of my three male cats – Andrew, to be specific – he is in fact not the point of th is column.
As a diagnosed-as-“terminal” cancer patient (is that better, Rebecca?), I feel I am due some accommodations. However, when offered or given, I am hesitant to accept (not always, though; I’ll be honest).
If my experiences as a cancer patient/ “terminal” “diagnosee” are at all typical, then the following generalization might in fact be true: certain situations and/or feelings that were once tolerated before diagnosis are nearly impossible to tolerate after diagnosis: traffic, waiting in lines, rudeness, compromise, sacrifice, delayed/deferred gratification, to list just a few. Life becomes so much more precious, that wasting some of it – or the perception of wasting some of it – on unpleasant, unrewarding, aggravating, stressful, menial tasks, obligations, duties, etc. becomes almost too much to bear; on a consistent basis, anyway.
Having reread last week’s column a time or two now, I’ve realized that I neglected to update you regular readers – especially those of you who read my most recent pre- and post-scan columns: “Abyssful” Ignorance and Scant Know For Sure Anymore – on the previous week’s scan results. Once again, I have defied the odds – maybe statistics would be a better word?
Not that I live day-to-day or even month-to-month, but I do live – in my head anyway – quarter-to-quarter; that interval representing the usual and customary time between my recurring diagnostic scans. The time when the rubber hits my road.
Hopefully not. But you never know – per last week’s column, until you know. And the preferred pattern seems to be that waiting to be spoken to in person, a week or so post-scan, is the best the process can be; or at least, that’s the process that suits the doctor/HMO.
After six years, four months and two weeks since being diagnosed with stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer (the “terminal” kind), I can say with certainty that I have no sense of what my next CT scan, scheduled for July 15th, will indicate. Previously (multiple scans over multiple years), I’ve felt something in my upper chest/lungs where the largest tumors are located and the subsequent scan showed nothing of consequence.
Being diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer (no, they’re not all “terminal”) is “a heck of a thing,” to extrapolate a bit from Jim Valvano’s memorable 1993 ESPY Awards speech given a few months before he succumbed to his cancer.
Throughout my nearly six and a half years of cancer treatment, starting at the initial Team Lourie meeting on February 27, 2009, when my oncologist suggested I take that vacation I’ve always dreamed of (to which I exclaimed “WHAT!?”), my quality of life has always been important to him.
As Father’s Day approaches, (written Thursday, June 18th) I am reminded of one of my father’s standard lines which characterize his positive attitude on life, for which I am eternally grateful – because I inherited it.
Recently I attended a “Celebration of Life” event, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, created to bring attention to, and educate the public on, cancer. As a long-time cancer survivor, nearly six and a half years now – and one treated by doctors at Kaiser, I was asked, along with a cervical cancer survivor, to sit on a “survivor panel”; to share our cancer experiences, and offer, along with two oncologists and a pulmonologist, our respective insights as “treater” and “treatee.”
Given some post-chemotherapy eating challenges I’ve experienced during the past few months, and the subsequent weight loss which has occurred, my oncologist has prescribed Dronabinol, common brand name: Marinol.
Really, Matthew Weiner; on the penultimate episode of “Mad Men,” Betty Draper/Francis had to be diagnosed with lung cancer with her life expectancy said to be “nine months,” with nothing more than “palliative care” available?
No. That’s not my stomach talking.