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  • Writer's picturehendomoab

Yes...I'm Still Here - Redux

Updated: Jan 16

Well my-oh-my - what’s this? A post to the blog? Wonder if the website even still works. Yes - several months after my last reassurance that the blog was not over - it has sat fallow again - sort of like that corner bed in the garden that you have every intention of tidying up and replanting - but alas nothing happens.

As I was sorting out this post in my sometimes (almost always?) befuddled mind I made a quick check back to when I had last posted and I discovered it was in May. I also quickly discovered that what I had planned for this post was largely a repeat of what I said in May - thus this entry will become “Yes - I’m Still Here Redux.” If you missed the fascinating entry from May - it’s only a three-minute read according to the website.

First - a health update - and it’s not particularly cheery nor is it unsuspected. I’m pretty much at the end of the active treatment road for this damn cancer. The combo of drugs that have worked for nearly a decade have finally failed and have little to no effect. I am on yet another new clinical trial but it is admittedly a hail-Mary pass and the chances for success are likely fairly small - who knows though - maybe I’ll be the breakthrough case? The trial combines a monthly infusion of radium with a fairly new immunotherapy drug that has shown some impressive results with a handful of other cancer types. You do need to remember that almost a decade ago I was given an initial prognosis of between 12-18 months - and like a bad penny I am still haunting the hallways of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

Having spent the last 9+ years seemingly managing side effects from treatment more than dealing with the disease - I can tell you I’ve met my match with these damn radium injections. Seriously - especially for a Cold War kid like me who spent years scrambling under my desk at school for protection from Soviet nuclear missiles (how stupid was that?) - it just didn’t sound like a very good idea to inject a radioactive element directly into the bloodstream. You can only get the injection six times at one-month intervals - any more than six and I think you’ll turn into a human glow stick - perhaps handy for a camping trip, not so much for working in a darkroom - not that I’ve been camping in quite some time and I’ve not been in a darkroom for decades. I’ve had four of the injections thus far and am scheduled to get the fifth next week as long as my blood cell and platelet counts remain high enough. I will be so glad to say goodbye to radium. it has quite simply kicked my ass.

So what comes next if this combo fails to control the beast? Likely I will enter hospice care - and no, hospice is not about just waiting to die, rather it is a shift away from actively fighting the disease and placing all of the efforts on quality of life, comfort, and maximizing what physical abilities that you do have. I am very much at peace with that decision. Of course new therapies and being approved all of the time so if something looks promising I can certainly opt to give it a try - but I am damn tired of chasing the rainbows.

So with that cheery diatribe out of the way - a bit about the future of the blog. Even though you’ve heard it all before I really do intend to become more regular with my posts and updates - there will come a few changes though. As I said last time my barrier from posting political entries will cease. Not because any of us need any more partisan political bullshit in our lives but maybe just to post a few of my own observations in a space that I somewhat control. I am totally aware that I’m not going to change anyone’s mind - nor will I try. I will welcome and respect your contributions and only ask that if you can’t be civil take it to one of the hundreds of other venues available.

Heretofore I have never really profiled anyone that is still alive - not because they can no longer defend themselves but I really didn’t want to have anyone wondering why I profiled a particular person and why not them - hopefully the profiles will speak for themselves. I am indebted to so many people out there and it is time to publicly acknowledge a few of them without waiting for them (or me!) to journey to the other side.

Finally - as the clock seems to run down maybe I just want a chance to perfect a bit of the grumpy old man personality. Oh sure - many of you will say I’ve been perfecting the curmudgeon role for decades - but I’ve hardly every ventured into the “get off my lawn”brand of old man grumpiness.

And of course just as when I wrote the post about “Cards on the Floor” - I have a bunch of started but never finished entries - like a deep dive into my dad’s fascination with the slime molds found in old-growth coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest - bet you’re waiting for that one!

So my friends - buckle up - more to come and hopefully soon.

Peace be with you - Hendo

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