It's October and it feels like autumn. New month, new season. Yesterday I sat around the ole laboratory for a couple of hours and thought about Fred.
The justified fear part of me, that which has been holding out, seems satisfied for the moment. I believe that I don't have cancer, as all the western medical people say. Although, let me be precise, no one says for sure and no one knows for sure. They say the chance is small and, after a three week break to celebrate my 60th birthday, it seems that I'm ready to take my chances. I could get swine flu and die. I could find out Fred's nature is cancer and be very sad I didn't do more to take get rid of him. There could be a major earthquake tomorrow.
Fred is still with me, as strong as ever, but he's not a big mysterious death cloud. He's more like a rainy day I walk through with discomfort if I don't put on a rain coat and take my umbrella. I may still go to great trouble and some expense to get another opinion on the cancer question from a Chinese diagnostic expert that Dr. Iva knows, but I'm not making that appointment this week.
As many people with disabilities have pointed out, the drama of an able-bodied person with a sudden life-threatening diagnosis draws attention and support in the way a long term chronic illness rarely can. Sometimes that's pretty annoying. Our culture is addicted to drama and our culture of support is fractured. But sometimes it's right too. I lived with confusion and fear this summer and I needed more people to talk to me about what I was thinking and feeling. That, and writing this blog, has helped me mark out a path and keep myself at a steady sprint along that path.
As I've gotten to know Fred, he's assumed most of the aspects of a long term chronic problem. He takes a lot of focused attention; he affects my activities every day or two; he threatens me with a surgery and costs me too much money and time in medical offices. In many ways, he's like the asthma I've lived with for 30 years or so -- A related but separate problem in the same major organ. I know how to live with the trouble Fred is brings me and the path has become marked out.
-Continue to try for a diagnosis with sputum test and bronchosopy
-If no diagnosis appears, try antibiotics and anti-fungals
-Diagnose, if possible, by which treatment works.
-Monitor Fred's shape and size with X-rays.
Do any of us need a blog?