Bits and pieces of this and that.

November 15th, 2022

Starring blankly out over the front yard a couple of days ago at our driveway that stretches about sixty metres (two hundred feet) to the road an image suddenly came to me of a road covered in red, yellow, and orange leaves much like our driveway is this morning. Unlike our driveway, however, it was clearly a one-way road and a dead-end to boot. I daydreamed about walking along this road, but as I walked, it became obvious that the end of the road was not clearly defined. It seemed to recede into a fog away from me with every step I took. 

So, my brain is being metaphorical on me, sending me covert messages about my future. 

We (Carolyn and I) had a meeting with a palliative care doctor a few days ago. I’ve been feeling abandoned by the oncologists that have overseen my case for the last many months. I guess I needed some assurance that I would get effective care from the palliative care team at the hospital here. I don’t mind going down a one-way, dead-end road, but I’d rather not go it alone if I don’t have to. 

It may be that abandoning radiation treatments has hastened my ultimate demise, but it couldn’t be for long. I remember vividly the spiking fevers I got after my last radiation treatment and the ridiculous stay in hospital while the ER doctors chased an infection that I don’t think was ever there. That doesn’t mean that it would happen again, but I’m loathed to take that chance. Myeloma is an infection, a growth of unwelcome protein in the blood that takes up space in my bone marrow and doesn’t prevent ‘good’ protein from doing its job. That’s what it is, an infection, and it will cause all kinds of effects including fevers. I just don’t need the treatment for myeloma to be worse than the disease itself. Now if I get a fever, I’ll know it’s because of the myeloma itself and not one of its treatments. 

And now we wait.

I’m not sure what we’re waiting for either. It may be a turn for the worse, meaning the reoccurrence of a nasty fever, which this time, won’t go away. Or it may be an attenuation of symptoms and a reprieve of sorts from the worse of the nastiness brought on by chemotherapy. Whatever. All I know for certain is that I don’t know. Well, there are things I do know for certain: I’m seventy-five, soon to be seventy-six. My maternal grandfather, Georges Leguerrier, died in 1975 at the age of seventy-eight. His wife, Julianna, my grandmother, died in 1989 at the age of 91. My father died at 95 years of age in 2007. My mother was 94 when she died in 2018. So, generally, my family is quite long-lived. It may be that I take after my maternal grandfather, Georges Leguerrier, who died at 78. I can’t imagine I’ll live as long as my other grandparents or my parents, for that matter. 

November 19th, 2022

It’s Saturday, 7:38 AM, and very cold, (-2˚C) at least for here. (Yesterday was even colder) But it’s crispy and dry too. The air is perfectly still. The house is warm and cozy. 

I’m feeling okay despite the increase in opioids I’m taking.* The pain in my legs seems to be attenuating. I walked to the bathroom without my cane this morning and it was not a problem. Now, I’m sitting in my recliner, and I don’t have any pain to speak of. It feels good for a change. I’ll walk down to the studio in a bit to put on some heat. I can’t let it get too cold or the paint freezes and becomes useless. Who knows, I may be able to use it sometime. 

It’s strange, but in my half-sleep this morning just before getting up, I flashed on me working on a painting that’s half finished in my studio. Twenty years ago, or even ten years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about going down to the studio to work on that painting and maybe a couple of others I have half finished. I may still be able to paint, maybe with watercolours for the most part, but only if I don’t have to stand at the easel. I think I can work that out. Still, I have to remember that what I was able to do without too much thinking involved ten years ago, I now have to seriously ponder. I may have the knowledge to do something, but I also need the stamina, and it’s the latter that is lacking in my life now. It’s simple really. For some time, I thought that knowledge was all that I needed. Then I realized through trial and error (much error) that no, I need to be able to sustain activity for some time if I want to get anything done. Getting older (and weaker), whether in good health or not will inevitably mean less energy and stamina. So, now, I don’t feel bad about napping in the afternoon, and maybe even in the morning if I’m feeling particularly sleepy. Napping is fine for people my age. Not all of us nap, but for those of us who do, we have to just accept it and relax about it. 

I could say the same thing about dying but dying and napping are obviously not the same. There is a certain finality in dying that is just not there in napping. 


*Opioids contribute to pain relief, but they also can leave me sleepy, dizzy and cognitively dull. This morning I woke up without a lot of pain and fairly sharp (if I do say so myself). 

9 thoughts on “Bits and pieces of this and that.

  1. Roger sending this to you with love. Al l things grow, all things go and you are going.
    Please take heart in IANDS
    Those who have come close to death say that they were free from pain, that they were happy and that they did not want to come back to life. I have never seen this myself, but I have seen peace on people who move on. I know that you don’t beliveve this, but what if it is true? What if you had the courage to let go and move on and passed on to a wonderful horizon. All things grow, all things go. You are a great teacher, always have been, always will be. With love and kindness K. Hey stand by for the big freeze. Last Feb


  2. I hope that you are not suffering too as much as Denise had to.

    On Sat., Nov. 19, 2022, 15:01 Roger Albert – Always a Sociologist: Now


    1. I wouldn’t compare my pain journey with Denise’s. That’s not very fruitful in my mind. I know that
      Denise had a rough go of it. I was always sad to see her go through her pain hell unable to do anything
      about it. She did tell me that she had some good meds, though, when I saw her at Lucy’s the last time. Her type of cancer is very different from myeloma. Let’s see how long I can live now that I don’t have any help from oncology.


  3. Roger, I’m getting older and weaker too! If I was in your situation I would take some psilocybin (never tried it…) and listen to some good music. Vivaldi or Pink Floyd.


    1. I listen to Vivaldi and Pink Floyd! Others too. I haven’t taken any mushrooms for a long time, and I’m not
      sure how they would react with the myeloma. Only one way to find out, I guess. Take care.


  4. It might be the little things that bother us most. For example, I love to make (Cornish) pasties. They are a reaffirmation of my heritage and cultural identity, Yet the standing and chopping looms big in my mind. So, I have figured out a workaround. I sit and chop the skirt steak, swedes, potato and onions in my lap on a cutting board and resort to Pillsbury readymade pastry As long as we are a few feet on top of the ground there is hope if we don’t panic. Perhaps


    1. Hi Marilyn. I’m ‘pensive’ these days. I keep imagining my last breath, and that’s fine. I can usually get out
      of it by drawing or writing, or even going outside, maybe down to my studio. I’m no where near panicking. Anticipating, yes, panicking, no. I would say that death is a relief, but that’s ridiculous, because it would be impossible to experience relief after dying. Enjoy your pasties!


  5. When I am stressed, I pick a colour and then look for it everywhere in my day. It helps keep me mindful and grateful for the wonder and beauty in the world.


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