Let us presume, for the sake of this column, that I only have papillary thyroid cancer stage IV, and that my years as a non small cell lung cancer patient, also stage IV, are over.
As my brother, Richard, has often said: "If the oncologist is happy, then I'm happy."
...it was first rate.
...to get a second opinion about one's first cancer; especially if there's now a second cancer to consider.
What I'm thinking about – and being thankful for, today, is the disappearance of all the side effects I've been experiencing during the last four weeks or so since I began my pill regimen for my papillary thyroid cancer treatment.
As Jackie Gleason would say as he segued from his monologue into the sketch comedy that followed on his Saturday night entertainment hour on CBS.
Not that I want to give you a blow-by-blow concerning my treatment switch over to thyroid cancer from lung cancer, but the last two columns were written four weeks ago in the same week in expectation of a weekend away, so these observations will be new-ish in that they will be hot off the press, so to speak.
Two-plus weeks into my thyroid cancer treatment, all is as I anticipated.
There are two generic types of cancer: the cancer that you have, and the cancer that has you.
Eleven years, six months and two weeks, approximately, after being diagnosed with "terminal" cancer: stage IV non small cell lung cancer, I have begun my treatment for stage IV papillary thyroid cancer.
As I was telling my long-time friend, Rita, over the phone on Saturday afternoon, as a cancer patient – and I know this is going to sound ridiculous, short-sighted and stupid, I am not always forthcoming and honest when it comes to sharing new symptoms with my doctors, particularly my oncologist.
I don't remember much substance from my freshman-level psychology 100 class at the University of Maryland in 1972 except that the lecture hall sat approximately 600 students, tests were graded on a bell curve (with which I was totally unfamiliar), the professor always wore black leather pants, and he brought his dog to every lecture.
After 11 years and almost exactly six months since being diagnosed with stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, the party is apparently over.
Whether or not I'm certain about my attitude toward being a dual cancer threat (non small cell lung and papillary thyroid, cancer), only my subconscious knows for sure.
After more than six months away from the infusion center, due to the treatment for my papillary thyroid cancer stage II, I make my return on Wednesday, July 22.
And not just Tuesday, either. All week in fact, I'll be waiting to hear the music.
"Very interesting," to quote Artie Johnson from "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," that "crazy-kooky" comedy show from the 70s.
We had to euthanize Biscuit, our oldest cat, on Saturday, June 20th. He would have been 14 on September 20th.
For those of us living in states where mask-wearing is mostly mandatory (indoors: yes, outdoors: not nearly as much), it is very easy to hide one's emotions.
Apparently, I'm back in the lung cancer business. According to the video visit I had June 8 with my endocrinologist, my thyroid cancer has not moved into my lungs where my oncologist thought it might have – given the results of a previous biopsy and some surprising tumor inactivity in my lungs.
…is greatly exaggerated." So said Mark Twain. So said W.C. Fields. And so said Kenny Lourie.
That wasn't so bad. Approximately 29 hours in the hospital in a private room and all I had to do was drink as much water as possible and shower half a dozen times.
In two days I will have completed four weeks on my low iodine diet (no chocolate, no salt, no dairy, no bread) with four days remaining until my one-night hospital admission and subsequent seven-day medical quarantine at home.
Nearly three weeks into my low iodine diet, in preparation for my hospital overnight on May 28 when I will get my radioactive iodine therapy, to be followed immediately by a medical quarantine at home for a week, I wouldn't say I'm thriving. More like persevering. I can't really satiate eating "rabbit" food, and what culinary pleasures I can enjoy, I can only have them in small quantities and infrequently at that. I won't give you a list, but just consider what any 10-year-old likes to eat.