Skip to main content

The Black Tower


"It was nice of them, he thought sleepily, looking up into the ring of smiling eyes, to look so pleased that he wasn't going to die after all." 
-- P.D. James, The Black Tower


So, I saw the doctor this morning.

After weeks of ultrasounds, CT scans, blood work, biopsies, and radiologists, pathologists, specialists and primary care physician visits, it looks like I don't have a recurrence of thyroid cancer. One would think I'd be elated at such news, but it's more like a weary appreciation at this point. It's been a roller coaster month of uncertainty, and that can take a lot out of someone. Still, I'm relieved.

It was seven years ago during this time that my thyroid was an ever-present issue. December 2009 was when my neck first began to feel funny and I saw a doctor. It wasn't until April 2010 -- after several tests, biopsies, etc. -- that the surgery was done to remove the thyroid. Then, in June 2010 came the radioactive iodine treatment. Side effects ranged from becoming infertile for a year (no big whup), to setting-off metal detectors for three months (a bit more serious, but they provided a card for me to show security folks, if it were to happen).

During the intervening seven years, I've had a few of scares of recurrence, but they've (fortunately) proven to be false alarms. The past month has been the most recent occasion. There may be more in the future. It is this that has got me thinking today about what such scenarios are like, and how, someday, they may very well have a different outcome.

For the fortunate among us, illness is something that we may not encounter, at least personally, until a later stage of life. I feel pretty lucky to have been almost thirty-four before having to deal with cancer. Some folks don't have such luxuries. Children who have to grapple with cancer or other ailments have been dealt far worse hands than the majority of us.

Modern medicine does its best to assist us in staving-off the inevitable. We are advised on how to live healthier lifestyles. When that doesn't work and illness finds us, for some, pills do the trick. Sometimes, surgery is required. Perhaps some form of radiation? When all else fails, we have methods of resuscitation. Anything to eke out just that much more of this gift we call life.

Ultimately, we are subject to the reality that we will die. I understand this, especially every time one of these scares occurs. Someday, it won't be a scare. Luck will run out. For those of us who don't go quickly, of something like a heart attack or a stroke or an accident, the end will begin with a somber diagnosis. This is nothing new, of course. Billions of people who've already lived on this planet have endured it. Some, better than others. I only hope to face it with a semblance of dignity, far, far into the future.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

3/4

Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....


1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night


It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

Walk and Chew Gum

Yesterday marked a touchstone moment in the U.S., as students across the country participated in "walkouts." This was an occasion for students to express an array of thoughts and emotions, ranging from a desire for stricter gun control, to simply sorrow over the loss of so many of their peers to school shootings. They were peaceful protests, but protests nonetheless. Where you're at on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with what they did may vary, though not wanting to get shot in your school seems pretty reasonable to me.
Some folks have taken to sharing a meme on social media platforms this week -- in direct anticipation and response to the walkouts -- that encourages students to "walk up, not out." Following are suggestions provided for the walk ups:

Walk UP to the kid who sits ALONE and ask him to join your groupWalk UP to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hersWalk UP to your teachers and thank them!Walk UP to someone and JUST …

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.