Thursday, March 21, 2002
Ted says hello to everyone. He’s feeling very good right now and he’s quite bored, so give him a call. The effects of his chemotherapy peaked about a week or so after he took the last dose. During this time he was taking some herbal medicine that his friend Victor Choi gave him, but eventually he felt so nauseous from the smell of it, that he had to stop taking it. Just the thought of it while telling me about it, made him gag. Victor had asked him to taste it before he “imported” it into the states to see if he could stomach it. Ted said that at first it wasn’t so bad, but after a while even the smell of it while it was being cooked up, made him wretch. He’s stopped taking it for now.
On Monday Ted will start his chemo again and along with that, some radiation. The chemo will take place every day for a week and the radiation will go on for 51/2 weeks. He spent about an hour and a half under this machine where they looked at his body from all different angles and eventually a computer decided where they were going to put tattoos on his body to make the spots where the radiation machine was going to do it’s thing. Now when he goes in, it will only take a few minutes and he doesn’t even have to take his clothes off. Best of all with x-rays, there are no needles involved. Ted’s sick of needles. His x-ray doctor has given him some pills to help with his stomach, which they expect will be a problem with the dual treatments. Ted hasn’t had a drink since this whole thing started, but now it seems that it might be possible to have I glass of wine with dinner. He’s pursuing this possibility with the powers to be. No alcohol at all!!!
On the other hand he’s eating like a pig. He has to, to keep his weight up. This he enjoys, as would many of us. As I said earlier Ted’s bored. The only people he’s met around the compound he lives in are “old farts”. No young tarts to keep the blood pressure up? I asked. No; only old farts. How boring. I’m bugging Ted to get some high speed internet access so that we can keep in touch through e-mail. I just had a thought!! Maybe Ted could give advice to our agents over the internet, even with internet phone service that doesn’t cost. He could set himself up as an advisor “for a fee.” Kind of like an online coach.
I’m sure that Ted is feeling the pressure of not earning any money right now. Ted has been a very productive person all his life. He has dedicated himself to helping others become better, more productive and in doing so, has felt I’m sure, a great satisfaction with his successes. Ted’s willingness to help others goes way beyond the desire to help his immediate family and close friends. Ted truly feels that helping, is a major part of his “reason to be” It’s who he is. Feeling that you are helping is a very good feeling. And being paid for feeling that you are helping elicits an even better feeling. Let’s just admit it, feeling productive feels good. But what do we mean by productive? Well productivity is the answer to my question.
“There has been life on earth for a few billion years. Estimates are from 3.4 to 4 billion. From the beginning of life here on earth, many million if not billions of different life forms have come and gone. Of the many varied life forms that remain today, what is the one and only single trait they have in common? “
Being the most productive living organism within the specific environment that they currently inhabit.
If this is so, the definition of the words, productive, living organism, or even “living” and “organism” and “specific environment” beg to be defined.
If the most productive are not alive today then how can it be explained that a lesser productive organism beat out a more productive organisms within the identical environment. By definition it’s impossible.
Monday, March 04, 2002
Talked to Ted today and he is now feeling the effects of his chemotherapy treatment. They told him that the peak effect of the chemicals comes about 8 days from the day they stop pumping the chemicals into his body. That would be next Monday. He now feels somewhat nauseous with a kind of lump in the upper part of his stomach. He also gets tired more easily and can’t do his power walks. He walks around the area they live in and has to have a rest when he gets home, or even has to lie down. He didn’t sound nearly as enthusiastic as he did the last time I talked to him. All in all, he says it isn’t too bad. On the 12th the doctors will tell him how long and what further kinds of treatments he will need. It’s not all that clear when the radiation treatments will start and how long the chemo will go on for. We will find out more on the 12th.
It would be nice if everything was clear cut and defined in great detail so that we could know what was going to happen in the next few moments, or even the next few days, but this isn’t how life works.
There has been life on earth for a few billion years. Estimates are from 3.4 to 4 billion. From the beginning of life here on earth, many million if not billions of different life forms have come and gone. Of the many varied life forms that remain today, what is the one and only single trait they have in common?
Wednesday, February 27, 2002
Ted had his first chemotherapy on Monday. Initially the Doctors weren’t all that sure that he needed to have chemo and radiation. They were very confident that they got all the cancer during surgery and testing shortly thereafter further increased their confidence. After further discussions though, it was felt that it would be prudent to have the treatments just in case there were any cancer cells lurking around that they missed. The rule seems to be, an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when the prevention won’t kill you and if you don’t take the prevention and the cancer comes back, there may be no cure. So far, Ted reports that the chemo isn’t so bad, but they tell him he may have more negative effects as time goes on. He will have chemo every day for a week and the effects are cumulative. He is then off for three weeks to recover. He then gets chemo and radiation for a week and then off for three weeks again. This pattern repeats for six months.
An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Is this a rule of life? What are our current rules of life? We have rules for physics, for mathematics, for chemistry, for living within our society, but what are the rules that govern life? Do we have any? Do any exist? Are there irrefutable laws that govern life, like we believe that there are irrefutable laws that govern the sciences? For thousands of years humans have been searching for the laws that govern the physical aspects of our universe. We think that we know some of the basic laws. E=MC2, Matter cannot be created or destroyed. The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second and is absolute. The effects of gravity can be calculated precisely, even though we haven’t a clue how gravity actually works. We have come a long way in physical sciences, but there is much still to learn. (Clarification; I have an approximate mind. I could look up the exact speed of light or the exact information for every thing that I am going to profess in this blog, but I won’t because it would take up too much time and being accurate to 100% doesn’t particularly add to what I say. All figures that I give are approximations and are not then necessarily 100% accurate, but give a general idea of what I am talking about).
But about life, how much do we know? What are the rules? What are the laws? An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Survival of the fittest. What goes around comes around. The good die young. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Have the courage of your convictions. It is an ill wind (that blows nobody any good). Dead men tell no lies. A fool and his money are soon parted. What is done cannot be undone. I think, therefore I am. Make (or leave) your mark (on something or somebody). Don’t beat about the bush. Boys will be boys. Do not look a gift horse in the mouth. A miss is as good as a mile. There is no smoke without fire. Still waters run deep. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. Not the only pebble on the beach. Die on the vine. You have made your bed, and you must lie on it. It is a small world. Take the bull by the horns. Don’t be like a bull in a china shop. Beard the lion in his den. If you don't ask, you don't get. Face the music. Fight tooth and nail. Be as strong as an ox. Like ships that pass in the night. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Call a spade a spade. Don’t get your wires crossed. Turn a blind eye. There is nothing like freedom. There is honour among thieves.
Are these rules our rules of life? These sayings have come into existence because in some way and in some times they ring true and because they in some way are representative of the basic rules of life. These aren’t the basic rules themselves, but skirt around the rules and express the rules in human experience terms. The actual rules are hard to define, possibly because we don’t want to believe that there are any basic rules and the ones that seem obvious are in some ways not very acceptable.
Saturday, February 23, 2002
Ted's chemotherapy starts Monday. He flew up from Annapolis (Baltimore) to look after closing some bank accounts and to make arrangements for his boat. He stayed with his daughter Asha the first night and then with Barb and myself for the last two. We threw a party for him last night, so everyone who loves him here could give him hugs and kisses, and for them to see how well he has recovered from surgery. The place was jammed. Ted is one of those people that everyone loves. He will do anything for you. In some ways this may be a negative, but it sure makes for good feelings.
Ted left Toronto in a hurry. It seems that in a just a few days he went from being his vibrant, bubbly helpful self, to someone totally different. He turned yellow. He also turned skinny and tired. Blockage of the bile duct. Cancer. Ted's wife Sherry was working in Baltimore. It turns out the best place in the world to deal with cancer of the bile duct is John Hopkins Hospital just around the corner, so to speak. Ted had been scheduled to move to Annapolis at the end of the year, at that time only a month and a half away, but within days of figuring out what was wrong he was gone, gone to John Hopkins. There, they “wippled” him. Now, three months later here he is, looking great. But it’s not all over yet. Chemotherapy and radiation to come.
Just before Ted left to fly home we talked about how lucky he was to have the tumour on the inside of the bile duct and not the outside. On the inside the tumour only had to grow to the size of a pea to block the duct and set off the alarm bells. On the outside it would have grown much larger and would have had time to spread. Lucky him. We also talked a bit about what he felt were the differences between Americans, at least Annapolis Americans, and Canadians. Ted says that Canadians seem to have a broader outlook towards various aspects of life and the world, but this may have more to do with “big multicultural” city (Toronto) vs. small town (Annapolis), than any real differences in national outlooks. We also talked about the inevitability of dying, "A rule of life"? Which brings me to the theme of this blog. If dying (from life as we know it) is absolutely inevitable, and therefore a basic rule of life, what other basic rules are there and how do these rules affect the way we are, from local to world politics, from religions, to business, to personal relationships?