It turns out that I do have cancer […] of the lung…

Yesterday I shared the letter below on my family’s page on Facebook.
Today I’m sharing it here, so that my friends &/or occasional readers may know about my recently discovered current condition & about how I feel about it.
I’m adding a selfie I just took of me while breathing in some oxygen from my recently acquired lightweight portable oxygen concentrator.
With love to all, & with special love to those I know & love specially, you know who you are.
I hope to follow up with individual communications.

selfie2017-05-20 14-47_150

Dear Each of You in/on Flantz Family

You each of you know I love each of you (each for your special self), & I know each of you loves me (each in your special way). & knowing that does more than sustain me, it helps me feel good not only about the past but also about the present & what future I have left. & I don’t want any of you to be sad about what I write to you here. Every life must end some time, & if we cherish life I feel we should also cherish each ending, especially of the life of someone like me who not only has had a good life, but is lucky enough to have the time & this opportunity of communicating with his friends & loved ones about what’s happening, & the hope of further communications, individual &/or collective. (Thank goodness for Facebook! [& the Internet!])

So: after a chest X-ray (taken when I was hospitalized for a chest infection) showed suspicious shadows, I had a biopsy, a CT scan, & then a PET scan. It turns out that I do have cancer (adenocarcinoma, to be specific) of the lung. Surgery or radiation are impossible because of the already eroded condition of my lungs through emphysema & COPD most probably caused by decades of smoking.

The prognosis of the doctors (a lung specialist & an oncologist): without treatment, I have ±-6–9 months, with who knows what parts of me it will expand to & what accompanying pains, etc; with a form of chemotherapy that is relatively non-intensive & does not have intense side-effects, followed by the new immunotherapy which the oncologist says hardly has any – perhaps up to another 2 years.

I have an appointment with my oncologist next Tuesday, & by then I hope to decide whether to try the treatment or not. My feeling, since my talk with him in hospital, is that I probably will, or at least I’ll start, & we’ll see how it goes. I’m also slowly checking out alternatives, & in the meantime have started taking a daily dose of cannabis oil, which I’ve seen quite a few serious people swear by, & which also gives me a bit of a nice high.

I’m limited in how much I can move physically without getting so out of breath that I need to sit down to get my breathing back to what is now normal for me & my heart rate down from the speed-up it gets from the expending of effort. I’ve purchased an ogygen concentrator which I can use when needed, & that helps.

& I’m in good spirits, glad I’m still here, glad to be home, with Nitza, who’s also in good spirits, understanding, & supportive & loving & brave; near Jonathan & Ora & Emmanuel & Amalia; & nearly near Zohar & Tali & Omri & Shamaya, who love me & whom I love, & not near physically but near in heart to Ohav, & he’ll (hopefully) be visiting in September. In fact, I feel there’s something liberating somehow in knowing I’m in the last stage of my life, in having an idea of how much time, more or less, is left. In fact I feel fortunate to know this, & don’t particularly feel sad or sorry about it, I’m certainly not into raging against it (as young Dylan Thomas thought old men should). I’ve had a good run, I’ll celebrate my 81st birthday in two weeks & two days from now knowing it might be my last, & will try to do the best I can with the time that remains, to connect with whom I love and with what I love, to do the “office” work that still needs to be done, to do what I still can do of what I like doing, to express what I still feel I want or need to express, & to leave as little of a mess as I can for those who remain to deal with.

Did I say I love you all? Well, I do.
Let’s all just keep loving.

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2 thoughts on “It turns out that I do have cancer […] of the lung…

  1. Richard,

    Thank you for sharing such loving and courageous words. I certainly hope to be able to emulate you in my final days. And Happy birthday!!! Thank you for standing with the Palestinian people. I’m 46. I hope that in my lifetime I get to see an agreement that is satisfactory to all parties.

    Regards,

    Miguel Heredia

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Richard,

    A moving and fitting response to the situation you find yourself in and facing what we all have to face. As you say you now have a name for it and a time frame.
    In the meantime I wish you the best of times and much joy with family and friends.
    I probably won’t be in your part of the world soon but anything is possible.
    Be happy dear friend

    b

    Like

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