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Votes

“Chemo-Nosabe”

Although I’ve not seen the current “The Lone Ranger” theatrical release, I am of a certain age and generation who grew up watching – on black and white television with no remote control and only three watchable channels – the original “The Lone Ranger” (starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels), along with other weekday-afternoon and Saturday-morning classics like “The Rifleman,” “Roy Rogers,” “Sky King,” “Superman,” “Leave It To Beaver” and “Ozzie and Harriet” – in my house, anyway. And though the “effects” weren’t nearly as “special” as they are in today’s movie/television productions/versions, nevertheless, the effects on me, personally, were far greater. Can you say wholesome goodness? The Golden Rule? Do unto others…

What little I know about life and death and sickness, I wasn’t learning from these programs. And since I was raised in an extremely healthy household with an extended family that didn’t seem to be too sick, too often, my upbringing had zero exposure to cancer – other than asking a girl for her astrological sign. Even into my adulthood, I had very little experience with this dreaded disease, and when I got married and connected with an entirely new and different set of people/backgrounds, cancer was amazingly still not impacting our lives. Obviously, we were all very lucky.

Well, I certainly know about it now: stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer (the terminal kind) diagnosed at age 54 and a half. Thank God my parents weren’t alive when I was diagnosed; I imagine the news would have taken years off their lives. As it was, they lived full lives and died at 87 and 86; my widowed mother having died nearly three months before my diagnosis was confirmed. Certainly my parents would have provided great comfort to me, but predeceasing me was probably for the best.

And what’s also been for the best, since my diagnosis, is what I’ve learned about my situation, a situation unlike any with which I’ve had experience. Previous to my diagnosis, my knowledge on the cancer subject would likely have fit on the head of a pin. Now, it’s a bit more, not too much, but more than enough, as you regular readers know. And mostly that knowledge has to do with chemotherapy and targeted treatment, the two primary treatment protocols for stage IV lung cancer patients (stage IV means the cancer has metastasized and is inoperable; there is no stage V).

The most distressing thing I’ve learned is that chemotherapy/targeted treatment is no friend of mine; more like a necessary evil with no guarantees of success. Though these treatments may be an enemy of the cancer/tumors, they are no silver bullet and no Clayton Moore-type lifesaver (maybe if my oncologist wore a mask and yelled “Hi-Yo Silver” every time he saw me, my progress would be different). Granted, I’ve survived way longer than I was originally “prognosed” to do so (“13 months to two years”), for which I’m extremely grateful and fortunate. However, only reruns last forever.

Perhaps the years I spent watching these programs instilled in me a certain positive hopefulness that somehow things would work out okay. So far they have. And even though these shows have mostly disappeared from the airwaves, I haven’t. See you next week. I’ll be right here.