Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh, the people I'll meet!

August 28th, 2007

Dear Readers,

Each year in America, about 12,000 people die of bladder cancer. I
might become one of them.

I found out today I have a lot of "dots" (as the doctor called them)
in my bladder. Almost surely cancer, and almost as surely malignant.

Something tore a little during the scope exam, and I passed "tons" of
blood along with as much urine as possible. The pain was
indescribable. After taking a Flomax pill, it started to flow pink,
and now it looks normal in color and hurts a lot less -- but wants to
happen every couple of minutes! I can't get through one edit pass of
this document!

The operation is scheduled for this Friday. Under anesthesia,
they'll go in and try to scrape off ALL the "dots." If they
puncture the bladder, which happens about 1% of the time, that's a
complication. If they don't get it ALL, or it comes back, THAT's a
complication (they'll give me medication to try to clear out whatever
the surgeon misses).

And if everything goes well, they tell me the scope they used about
eight hours ago won't hurt as much, after they've done it over and
over and over. Every three months for about six times, then every
six months for about six times, then every year for as long as I live.

What a personal introduction to cancer! My dad had it, my older
brother died of complications from leukemia, and now me.

My dad fought across Europe on the ground during WWII. He survived
numerous battles and endured terrible hardships along the way. He
died a year ago this same coming Friday. Dad once wrote to me:
"Getting old is not for wimps!" I'm learning how right he was -- and
I'm only 51!

I have one article I hope to finish by Friday. I edited it for
months (and have since ignored it for a few months, too, so when I
pick it up I can read it with as fresh an outlook as possible). It's
an introduction to atoms and radiation for the lay person. Several
nuclear physicists have already seen it.

And I have an animation called Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer which I
hope to release as the last thing I do before I go to the hospital
for the operation (the exact time has not been scheduled). I'll want
to update it later if I get the chance. I've been working on it for
two or three weeks and wasn't planning to release it any time soon,
but under the circumstances, I hope to post it online before I go get
my insides scraped out.

And speaking of that, while ANY operation has risks associated with
it, this whole thing is not supposed to necessarily be a death
sentence. A lot of people live for years after being at this
stage. Maybe I'll be one of THOSE.

If the outcome is not so good, well, there are a lot of cool people I
hope to meet when and if I get to heaven. If there's a heaven. We
all have our doubts, our beliefs, and our faith.

I've made arrangements for a final goodbye to be sent if anything
goes really wrong, I actually wrote something a few years ago which
I'll try to find and clean up which would be "just perfect for the
occasion." Its theme is simply that one day you'll wake up, and
everything will be different. Everything will look the same, but it
won't be. It will be your last day on earth.

I certainly hope Friday isn't mine. Fortunately, the odds are: I'll be back!

Bless you all for receiving these newsletters all these years. In
lieu of well-wishes, please write your Congressperson and ask them to
re-examine nuclear power in light of all we've learned!