An update to my last, mistaken, update

Today, on Facebook, I created a “Secret Group” titled “Richard Flantz’s life’s ending”, & invited 81 friends, so far, to join it.  I will feel more comfortable posting my updates etc to this group of more intimate friends than to the public at large.
I know that some followers of my blog who don’t use Facebook would want to follow the posts and comments published in this group. The best I can do at present for these followers is to repost here the content of my posts there (but none of the comments & interchanges), while not sharing these reposts on my public Facebook timeline. Fyi. If any of you want more than this please tell  me in a comment or by email…

Here is my first post to this group, posted there earlier today:

Yesterday I posted a happy meme proudly announcing that I’d stopped taking the opiates & would go on with what vaping the good herb could bring me.

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I felt like a happy hippy hero again, it’s a feeling I’ve often liked.
But that was braggadocio. That high lasted only a few hours, & further vapes later in the day kept me stoned but brought little relief.
By night-time it was pretty bad, & this morning I just had to give in & take a dose of Ordine, & a few hours later another one as well as a slow-release Targin… & now it’s just bearable again.

& I want to share the following excerpts from recent correspondence:

My (only) cousin Charlie, who’s a year younger than me, & a doctor, wrote in a reply to an email from me, “It’s clearly a difficult balancing act between pain and constipation.” To which I replied today: “Yes, definitely a difficult balancing act!
Thinking about it, I find it surprising how little one hears about this phenomenon, & even more surprising that with all the advances in medical research, there as yet exists no effective relief of unbearable pain that doesn’t bring with it the sometimes at least equally unbearable pain of constipation. Then again, all this starkly (& funnily) images the limitations of being human…”

& my dear friend David Rothfield wrote in a comment to my blogpost Update / Opiated, 2017/12/24–26: “Whatever you decide about the chemo, we know it will be for the best. Yes, quality is preferable to quantity, but right now it doesn’t sound like quality. After that bout of pain you describe, there was no doubt relief, but at least after child birth, there is the delight of seeing the new life that you have brought forth.”

I thanked him for these & his other warm & wise words, & on these points I wrote:
“& you’re right on both points: what I’ve been going thru since these pains began is certainly not quality — & after the more excruciating moments there is never the delight of new life, only the relative relief of a less excruciating pain. & since these pains aren’t cancer related, & the scan shows the cancer isn’t growing quickly, the chemo question is irrelevant, & trying it would be only an additional anxiety-ridden hassle. I’ll see if the doctors can find some way to treat the spinal condition, & if they can’t then I’ll look for a way to end it all as painlessly as possible. & I’ll keep updating for as long as I can.”
& to my blogpost Update-2017-12-28-stoned-on-herb-no-longer-opiated, my dear young friend Jayson Berger wrote: “Brave man, brave choice, my heart is with you. Fight fight against the dying of the light!

I replied:
“ thanks, jayson!
(but I really don’t feel i’m fighting against
& i’m certainly not raging against
whatever will come.)

Jayson: I was playing on Dylan Thomas’s poem but was careful not to use the word rage which I have a difficult time associating with you but rather was referring to the numbing effects of Morpheus on creative light.

Me: I know you were riffing on the brilliant [but (so I’ve long thought) conceptually flawed] Thomas villanelle.
But it’s important for me to be clear that for me this isn’t a fight, & that I’m not fighting anything.
& I’m not sure the morphine is numbing what creative light I still have — & if it is, so it goes..
& the light itself, it was there before me, & will go on after I’m gone.

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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.

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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.