Column: Real-Time, Really Late

Column: Real-Time, Really Late


Kenneth B. Lourie

I’m not a night owl. More of an early bird, worms notwithstanding. But given the contents of last week’s column, “Scantsy,” I find it difficult to write about anything else while waiting for the results of my CT Scan. I mean, nothing matters more than these results in determining my next course of treatment/quality of life/life expectancy, so to pretend otherwise is a bit naive; and expecting a sound sleep is equally challenging, so here I am, 2:04 A.M., early Sunday morning, February 15th.

I can take it, really. I can function. You couldn’t tell by looking at me or talking to me to know that I think my life may hang in the balance. After nearly six years of scanning and waiting, I’ve found my level. I’m not morose or depressed or preoccupied, but I am something. Stuck in a kind of neutral, sort of. And though I am still positive about this negative, to say I can joke about it/be dismissive about it, or be unaffected by the potentially hugely complicated result as yet unknown, would be a bit presumptuous on my part and define “naive” in an entirely new way.

Certainly I understand that cancer is a disease and not necessarily impacted by my hopes and prayers; still, I’ve never wanted to be disrespectful of it. I’ve never spoken or written arrogantly about any success I’ve had combating this terrible disease any more than I would kick a man when he’s down. If, for the time being, cancer is not having its way with me, and I am able to semi go about my regular business – until the next CT Scan three months hence that is, then I am one lucky son-of-a-gun and humbled by my amazing good fortune. And until I know the results – definitely by my next appointment on Friday, February 20th, I am sleeping at night only intermittently and living my days fatigued by the lack of sleep accumulating from the previous nights before. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying why it’s 2:34 A.M. and I’m sitting on the edge of my bed hunched over and scribbling into this notebook.

The related problem is the speculation; being able to leave well enough alone, if it is well enough. And therein lies the dilemma. Somewhat surprisingly, my scheduled infusion went in as scheduled this past Friday. Typically, if there had been a change for the worse, treatment would have been delayed until my next appointment, where the oncologist and team Lourie would discuss the options. But that didn’t happen. Does that mean that my scan results were still encouraging and thus there’s no reason to change, or was it too close to the appointment to bother stopping and restarting again, if in fact that was our decision? Maybe? Perhaps? What if? What do I know? More importantly: What does my oncologist know?

So we wait. I’m not happy about it, but I am used to it. And even my wife, Dina, has gotten used to the delay; my brother, Richard, also. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier, as odd as that may sound. Just familiar. I wish there were a different means to this madness, but apparently there isn’t. Cancer rules, and I’m here to play fair – out of respect.

Kenny Lourie is an Advertising Representative for The Potomac Almanac & The Connection Newspapers.