August 18, 2007

How Canada's Health System Gets By

A Canadian couple received more blessings than they originally expected.

Woman has rare identical quadruplets
HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A 35-year-old Canadian woman has given birth to rare identical quadruplets, officials at a Great Falls hospital said Thursday.

Congratulations! ...but, wait. Where were the children born? Why?

The Jepps drove 325 miles to Great Falls (Montanna) for the births because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity, Key said. "The difficulty is that Calgary continues to grow at such a rapid rate. ... The population has increased a lot faster than the number of hospital beds," he said.

So, that's how the Canadian government health care system gets by. It's because their citizens come to the U.S. for care when their system fails. The expectant mother drove 325 miles to a U.S. hospital because Canada's hospitals were at capacity. I'm surprised that this fact even made it in the news, although it did, barely, as a side item.

If we ever expect to have quadruplets (no chance), you can bet that it won't be in Canada. And, Canadians just need to plan their heart attacks so that they have time to make it to our land of timely and private medical care--while it lasts.

Want to read more?

Continue reading "How Canada's Health System Gets By"
Posted by Woody M. at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 31, 2007

ABC's Robin Roberts: 'I Have Breast Cancer'


Cancer! Such an ugly word, I know, I heard it from a doc some 18 months ago and to be honest, it scared the stuffing out of me, but after the first hour or two, I resolved to beat that beast down and so far, I have. Today, Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America announced that she will be undergoing treatment for breast cancer in the very near future.

I never thought I'd be writing this. I have breast cancer.

It all started a few weeks ago. We had gotten the news that our dear colleague and friend Joel Siegel had passed away and we began preparing for our special tribute show for him. I did a piece about Joel's courageous battle with cancer, reporting on the way my friend had lived his life and been such a successful advocate for the importance of early cancer screenings.

That very night when I went to bed, I did a self breast exam and found something that women everywhere fear: I found a lump.

At first I thought, "This can't be. I am a young, healthy woman." Nevertheless, I faced my fear head on and made an appointment to see the doctor. Much as I was hoping the doctor would say it was nothing, she did a biopsy and confirmed that the lump I'd found was indeed an early form of breast cancer.

"I never thought I'd be writing this. I have breast cancer," boy, does that ever sound familiar! In January 2006 I wrote:
This is not a post I ever wanted to write. In fact, I don't think it is a post that anyone, ever, anywhere, would want to write. But I have a number of faithful readers and a number of irregular, but delightful readers and I think I owe them something. Thursday, January 26th, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Talk about a kick in the teeth."
I am so damn sick of hearing about this disease, and yet, if we don't talk about it we will never defeat it. And defeat it we must! So, Robin, I'm adding you to my prayers, my thoughts and with this notice, to the blogosphere and to the world at large, you have joined a club that no one in their right mind wants to join. But sometimes we don't get to make choices. Sometimes we have to deal with what is handed to us, and from what I know about you, you will do fine in that regard.

One of my earlier posts on this disease was specifically about overcoming fear, and that is the first hurdle.

George Patton once famously said: "Do not take counsel of your fears." and nothing could be truer. You can be afraid, but if you act on that fear, you imprison yourself and you feed the future a diet of failure and despair. If you act anyway, despite your fears, you may not survive, but you will have faced the future [and the fear].

For many, many years, when people have asked me how I am, I answer "Alive and well, fat and sassy - not necessarily in that order." I find that to be just as good an answer today as it was before all this cancer stuff started.

To be honest, I hope this post gets picked up and carried worldwide Robin, for a couple of reasons, some to let people know that there is hope and that what was once an absolute death sentence, no longer is. The other is to let people know that they are not alone in this fight. Several months back, taking a page from Glenn Reynolds book "An Army of Davids" I started a blogroll blog called An Army of Bloggers:
Cancer is no respecter of race, religion, social status, income or profession. It is an insidious disease that robs people of a quality of life and too often, of life itself.

Robin, I'm hoping that you too will become an advocate of early screening, aggressive treatment and active research. I suspect that you will. I send to you, advice that was so generously shared with me by Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary.

First, enlist as much love and support from friends as you can, and don't be shy. One of the great distinguishing characteristic of Americans is that they always want a chance to do something good. Many are doing good things for you right now, many completely unknown to you. Some people are afraid of admitting to cancer because they worry that others will treat them like freaks. A very few people will; most will rally in wondrous and surprising ways. Give them a chance to help. They'll come through for you.

Second, talk to other cancer patients. They have street cred others don't. For instance, you're probably now noticing twinges and random pains in far-flung parts of your body. This sort of stuff has been going on your entire life, and you have paid no heed. Now, however, the mere threat of cancer has you wondering whether the killer cells have fiendishly relocated to some unusual part of your body -- from your toes to your earlobes, along with every viscera and soft tissue in between. I remember thinking at one point that pressure in my forehead must have been a sure indicator of brain cancer. Instead, I just had sinus congestion. This sort of panic is normal: I don't know a single cancer patient who hasn't experienced it in one way, shape or form. I finally called my internist and informed him that I was going nuts and needed some sort of stuff to calm me down. He prescribed Xanax. I took exactly one -- conversations with doctors and other cancer patients managed to calm my nerves even better than drugs.

Third, learn as much as you can -- ignorance is your enemy -- but don't get too hooked on internet sites. Many of them are idiotic. Better to consult with your MD Anderson trained doc, who can steer you to stuff that might be helpful. Look especially for success stories. You'd be amazed at how far medicine has come in the last 15 years, and how effective the meds are.

Fourth, keep the fighting attitude. A friend of mine -- a survivor of simultaneous lung, breast and armpit lymph cancers -- described sitting in meetings with fellow breast cancer patients. Some just looked defeated, even though each one of them had far less severe cases than she had. Not one of the defeated-looking patients made it. You'll find that it's surprisingly easy to remain combative once you've begun to shuck aside some of the fear. Just think about the people you love and the things you want to do with them in the years ahead. That should be all the inspiration you need. Furthermore, you'll find that your attitude will change (likely for the better) the moment you get into treatment. It's like going from pre-game jitters to the game. Once the game is on, you don't have any choice. You have to play. So play to win.

Fifth: Realize that fear is a complete waste of time, even though it will creep up on you from time to time. Your full-time job now is to get well. Blogs are nice, but living is more fundamental. The most important part of the aforementioned fighting attitude is to set fear aside and get determined about getting well.

Sixth, relish and embrace your faith. I kept a file of what I called "healing verses," many of which had been forwarded through well-wishers. You can find them sprinkled everywhere in the Bible; Psalms and Proverbs are especially rich sources. Prayer is an amazing thing, and the healing power of prayer -- something I always suspected before getting cancer -- is palpable and real. You've seen the responses already on your site: These people are pulling for you, as are hundreds or even thousands who aren't writing. There's no greater honor than having somebody you don't know asking God to help you. Somehow, the word trickles back, and it will make you stronger."

When Mr. Snow's cancer returned, I sent this back to him, and since then, I know that others have sent it to friends of theirs who are fighting the good fight, so I implore you Robin, join me, Tony Snow, Elizabeth Edwards and so many others; don't quit, don't hang up, but with faith and love hang on and fight hard, fight back and Fight On!

Posted by gmroper at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 19, 2007

& Then I Had A Lump In My Chest

No, not me, but a new friend. It turns out that the lump was a something else, but he blogged the whole process. It was and remains a scary trip and the blogger "Duke of DeLand" tells the story in a straightforward manner. Great reading, drop by and give him some support.

Posted by GM Roper at 01:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 03, 2007

National Cancer Survivors Day - Spread The Word



June 3, 2007, my SECOND National Cancer Survivors Day. Wow, how delightful to be still here with my beloved family and all my friends, blog-brothers and sisters, and all of my readers.

Cancer touches way too many people, and it is a scourge that truly can be beaten. 75 years ago, cancer was almost always a fatal diagnosis, today, with all the advancements in cancer science many, many more people are surviving and thriving. I know, I'm one of them. Chris Muir, has his Day By Day crew celebrating and acknowledging the day as well.


060307.jpg

To help fight cancer, I've started a blog called "An Army of Bloggers" to enlist the blogosphere in the fight. If you are a blogger, please consider joining, if not, go there and support the cause anyway. Every bit helps.

Posted by GM Roper at 12:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 18, 2007

An Army Of Bloggers, Fighting Cancer

Slightly more than 15 months ago, I announced on this site that I had lung cancer and that I intended to fight it down to the wire. I did and I'm still here, still fighting and still bouyed up by the prayers and best wishes of my wonderful readers, fellow bloggers and by my family.

Two weeks ago, I had a CT scan which has become part of my routine now-a-days... quartely blood tests, CT Scans, and visits with my oncologist. When I met with him last, shortly after my CT scan and just before my daughters wedding, we talked about some new findings on my scan. It seems that there was a thickening on the adrenal gland of my left kidney and one of the more common sites for lung cancer to metastisize to is the adrenals. Well, talk about another kick in the teeth. But, being an absolutely incurable optimist, I was pretty sure, as was the doc that it was either inflimation or perhaps another cyst of which I have several. No big deal right? Wrong. Any one who has had cancer will tell you that a "change" is worrysome and the tendency is to check it out ASAP and make SURE that you will still be in full remission.

I got the follow up PET scan on Monday the 14th of May and a clean bill of health on the 17th. No evidence of metastisis anywhere. Whoosh!!!

But, the whole ordeal got me to thinking. My fellow cancer sufferor Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards, and many many more have also had recurrances and this is a problem that just won't go away. So more is needed, more in terms of research and more in terms of money to support that research. Some how, some way, we must find a way to beat that scourge.

And then it hit me, sort of a confluence of ideas that had perhaps been circulating around in my brain for a while, and in part, perhaps because I'm of an age where Eric Erikson has stated that we reach "middle adulthood" or between the ages of 40-65 years, in a stage that Erikson calls "Generativity vs. Stagnation." The idea, according to Erikson is that we reach a stage where we want to give back something that will outlast us (generativity) or we stagnate (reaching the miasma of "what's it all about, why was I here?"). You see this in middle aged individuals joinging clubs such as Lions, Kiwanas, Knights of Columbus and the Masons - contributing back to society as it were.

Well, I'm a blogger (along with a few other things) and I know that there are millions of us out there, blogging away, hoping to make a small difference in someones life, whether we blog about politics, art, technology or family. Whether we are voluntary firemen or soldiers or law professors, we blog, we care what we blog about and we are just narcissistic enough to think our thoughts are worth reading by others.

I also recalled reading "An Army of David's" by Glenn Reynolds, the esteemed Instapundit and was impressed with the concept that (from a review)

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when large companies and powerful governments reigned supreme over the little guy. But new technologies are empowering individuals like never before, and the Davids of the world-the amateur journalists, musicians, and small businessmen and women-are suddenly making a huge economic and social impact.

In Army of Davids, author Glenn Reynolds, the man behind the immensely popular Instapundit.com, provides an in-depth, big-picture point-of-view for a world where the small guys matter more and more. Reynolds explores the birth and growth of the individual's surprisingly strong influence in: arts and entertainment, anti-terrorism, nanotech and space research, and much more.

The balance of power between the individual and the organization is finally evening out. And it's high time the Goliaths of the world pay attention, because, as this book proves, an army of Davids is on the rise.[If you haven't read the book by the way, I strongly encourage you to do so]

And so it is with this effort, my thinking is that we cannot depend on government to do things that we ought to be doing ourselves. To this end, I have established a new blog that will have one purpose, and one purpose only. Fighting cancer! The new site is called An Army Of Bloggers and, despite me being conservative, this new site is not political at all but an effort of one little David to help slay the Goliath that is cancer.

As a cancer survivor I know full well the pain and suffering that cancer victims face, sometimes daily without cease for years and years. I have been lucky, perhaps far beyond what I deserve, but lucky none the less. People I've never met, and probably never will meet have wished me well. Those who know me say that they admire my pluck, but to be honest, it's not so much pluck, as it is incurable optimism that I can make a difference but I have to be around to do it.

I don't know if my cancer will come back, I don't know if I will have months yet to live or years or decades. I do know that regardless of what the future holds, the past has been glorious for me. I've lived a full and wonderful life and I'd like to see cancer cured in my lifetime.

I'm asking that each blogger go to the An Army Of Bloggers blog and consider joining the fight with me. But, whether one blogger does, or a million bloggers do, this fight is not over, and will be won someday. I'd like to be part of that victory as I know you would too. So, sit down to your desk, write out a check to your favorite cancer charity and get it in the mail. If you are a blogger, join the cause and get your blog listed on the blogroll. Imagine the difference we can make by raising a couple of million dollars to further research into a cure for cancer.

Posted by GM Roper at 07:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 27, 2007

For Tony ~ Fight On!


FightOn 4.jpgTony Snow's Cancer has returned.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Presidential spokesman Tony Snow's surgery to remove a small growth showed that his cancer has returned, the White House said Tuesday.
Snow, 51, had his colon removed in 2005 and underwent six months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with colon cancer. A small growth was discovered last year in his lower right pelvic area, and it was removed on Monday. Doctors determined that it was cancerous, and that his cancer had metastized, or spread, to his liver, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

She said Snow is resting comfortably after his surgery and has pledged to aggressively fight the disease with an as-yet-to-be-determined treatment course.

"He said he's going to beat it again," Perino said in an emotional morning briefing with White House reporters. "When I talked to him, he was in very good spirits."

Ahh, nuts! I'm heart-sick hearing of another good person with this damned disease. Back in January of '06 when I announced on this site that I had lung cancer, I received an e-mail from Mr. Snow encouraging me to fight on and have faith. A portion of that letter:
First, enlist as much love and support from friends as you can, and don't be shy. One of the great distinguishing characteristic of Americans is that they always want a chance to do something good. Many are doing good things for you right now, many completely unknown to you. Some people are afraid of admitting to cancer because they worry that others will treat them like freaks. A very few people will; most will rally in wondrous and suprising ways. Give them a chance to help. They'll come through for you.

Second, talk to other cancer patients. They have street cred others don't. For instance, you're probably now noticing twinges and random pains in far-flung parts of your body. This sort of stuff has been going on your entire life, and you have paid no heed. Now, however, the mere threat of cancer has you wondering whether the killer cells have fiendishly relocated to some unusual part of your body -- from your toes to your earlobes, along with every viscera and soft tissue in between. I remember thinking at one point that pressure in my forehead must have been a sure indicator of brain cancer. Instead, I just had sinus congestion. This sort of panic is normal: I don't know a single cancer patient who hasn't experienced it in one way, shape or form. I finally called my internist and informed him that I was going nuts and needed some sort of stuff to calm me down. He prescribed Xanax. I took exactly one -- conversations with doctors and other cancer patients managed to calm my nerves even better than drugs.

Third, learn as much as you can -- ignorance is your enemy -- but don't get too hooked on internet sites. Many of them are idiotic. Better to consult with your MD Anderson trained doc, who can steer you to stuff that might be helpful. Look especially for success stories. You'd be amazed at how far medicine has come in the last 15 years, and how effective the meds are.

Fourth, keep the fighting attitude. A friend of mine -- a survivor of simultaneous lung, breast and armpit lymph cancers -- described sitting in meetings with fellow breast cancer patients. Some just looked defeated, even though each one of them had far less severe cases than she had. Not one of the defeated-looking patients made it. You'll find that it's surprisingly easy to remain combative once you've begun to shuck aside some of the fear. Just think about the people you love and the things you want to do with them in the years ahead. That should be all the inspiration you need. Furthermore, you'll find that your attitude will change (likely for the better) the moment you get into treatment. It's like going from pre-game jitters to the game. Once the game is on, you don't have any choice. You have to play. So play to win.

Fifth: Realize that fear is a complete waste of time, even though it will creep up on you from time to time. Your full-time job now is to get well. Blogs are nice, but living is more fundamental. The most important part of the aforementioned fighting attitude is to set fear aside and get determined about getting well.

Sixth, relish and embrace your faith. I kept a file of what I called "healing verses," many of which had been forwarded through well-wishers. You can find them sprinkled everywhere in the Bible; Psalms and Proverbs are especially rich sources. Prayer is an amazing thing, and the healing power of prayer -- something I always suspected before getting cancer -- is palpable and real. You've seen the responses already on your site: These people are pulling for you, as are hundreds or even thousands who aren't writing. There's no greater honor than having somebody you don't know asking God to help you. Somehow, the word trickles back, and it will make you stronger."

Mr. Snow, I send that right back to you because I know that when faced with additional bad news concerning the self, it is easy to forget what wonderful advice you have given to others.

Mr. Snow, as you think of all the thoughts that will have to go into your fighting back, please take time to remember the sage words that you sent me.

Right now, I'm in full remission, in part because I followed your advice to the letter, in part because I had great docs, great nurses and great faith. Please return the favor and remember that there are many, many good folk out there winging prayers to God in your behalf. Fight the good fight, don't give in and don't look back. Fight back, fight hard and Fight On!

UPDATE: Linked by the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds. Thanks Dr. Reynolds, and people, please, PLEASE, PLEASE consider sending a check to the American Cancer Society, if we all band together we can beat this damned disease. So much has been learned, so much more can be learned through research!

UPDATE 2: Craig Hildreth M.D., who writes The Cheerful Oncologist (and one heck of a nice guy) has some good information on Breast Cancer and Mrs. Edwards. Include her in your prayers as well.
Dr. Hildreth has this on his blog which I think is priceless:

"Courage and cheerfulness will not only carry you over the rough places in life, but will enable you to bring comfort and help to the weak-hearted and will console you in the sad hours." -Sir William Osler
He also has an update on recurrent colon cancer. This is a must read folks, Dr. Hildreth writes better than any other site on cancer and related subjects.

Posted by GM Roper at 10:58 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

January 27, 2007

A Precious Year Of Living!

January 26, 2006 a full year ago I received a diagnosis of lung cancer. I posted on it here: "Thursday, January 26th, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Talk about a kick in the teeth." A kick in the teeth, "Indeed!" as Glenn Reynolds would say!

A full year has indeed passed, and your's truly is still here, still kicking and fighting the good fight. When I posted about the diagnosis, I sent an email to Dr. Reynolds and he was kind enough to link to my Fighting Cancer post. As a result, I received over 100 comments and something like 300+ emails. All, without exception wishing me luck, saying prayers or some similar comment. The response was overwhelming and sustaining like you wouldn't believe. I received comments and emails from other cancer victims encouraging me to beat it like they had. I received emails from families of cancer victims that had not "made it" and those were supportive as well. In all, I was blessed by an outpouring of care and concern the likes of which I've never before experienced.

I got the diagnosis on the 26th, had surgery on the 6th of February and started chemo-therapy a little over three weeks after that. And through it all, with some 17 additional posts on cancer (the archive for those posts is here) I continued to get well wishes and prayers. Those too have sustained me in this fight. On my birthday (Sept. 20th) I was at the oncologist's office awaiting results of the most recent C.A.T. scan and P.E.T. scan and got the word that I was cancer free. What a birthday present that was!

I have to tell you a story. While I was in intensive care, this nice young man came in and introduced himself as Dr. Lazo. "I'll be your oncologist," he said.

"I'm sorry," I said, "I don't mean to be rude, but you look like you are still in high-school." Dr. Lazo laughed and noted that he heard that a lot. I saw him the other day for a routine checkup and he still looks like he belongs in high-school. But he is a great guy and one hell of a Doc and I am lucky to have him in my corner.

Throughout this entire ordeal my family has been by my side. My beautiful and wonderful wife Norma, my daughter Jennifer and my two younger brothers Bert and Doug. A greater family no man has ever had! I've also had the support of a whole bunch of crazies that I associate with in several google and yahoo groups, notably The Wide Awakes, Wide Awakes Radio and South Park Republicans a nicer (but nuttier) bunch of friends cannot be found anywhere. Would I have made it without them? Possibly! But they made the struggle easier.

I have also been lucky enough to blog about the experiences, posting on such wildly divergent (well, maybe not) topics as fear and the Joy of Living and each post has garnered comments that have touched me deeply. And for that my beloved friends, I thank you.

This has been a tumultuous year, with periods of quite thought, a little fear, a lot of joy, the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds, and the sublimeness of living in the moment. Of sharing a hug with my wife and saying good bye to a friend as I returned home from a visit. A year of surgery, chemo induced nausea and determination to survive. And survive I have, thanks to Almighty God, the love of my family and thanks to you, my readers and dear friends, because of all of you combined, I've had another precious year of living.


Posted by GM Roper at 06:27 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

January 05, 2007

Important Information About Prostate Cancer


FightOn (3).gifTo change course to an important topic, there is a drive to provide men and their loved ones with information on prostate cancer--from detection to treatment. One out of every six American males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. The good news is that advance screenings provide early detection and diagnosis, and prostate cancer is virtually 100% curable if diagnosed early. Men over fifty and black males are at the highest risk. Learn more about the disease and early detection. Here are a few helpful links:

Emory University Healthcare Clinic - Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Introduction to Prostate Cancer (pdf file)

Posted by Woody M. at 10:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

September 21, 2006

The Big Six Zero


Fight On.gifThis will be, God willing, my last cancer post. No, not because I won't be around, but because by all appearances I will be around a while longer.

In January of this year, I announced here that I had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer, the Big C:

Thursday, January 26th, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Talk about a kick in the teeth.

The diagnosis is obviously freightening, but at the same time, it has given me a new resolve. And that resolve is to fight this son-of-bitch right down to the wire and I have every intention of winning."

I had surgery to remove the tumor, six months of chemo therapy that for sure beat me down as bad or worse than anything I have had physically happen to me and then a follow up CT scan that showed no tumors present. That occurred on August 11th and I posted on it as soon as I received the good news. My oncologist said, however, that a P.E.T. scan needed to be also done to detect if there were any new tumors starting somewhere too small for the CT scan to pick up.

With some trepidation, I had the P.E.T. scan on the 11th of September and yesterday, September 20th I had another appointment with the Oncologist to get the results. As I sat in the examining room, all sorts of thoughts flashed through my mind. "Will he tell me good news or bad?" "Where is he, why is he taking so long?" and especially, "Maybe he doesn't want to tell me the bad news even though he has had to tell plenty of others in the past."

Soon, the good doctor did however come in, sit down and "GRIN."

"The P.E.T. scan came back negative, you are cancer free."

Yesterday, the 20th of September was also my 60th birthday, what a really neat birthday present that news was.

And so, this catagory "Medical" is officially retired, the "Fight On Ribbon" has been moved to the right side of the post and I thank each and every one of you for all the good wishes, prayers and thoughts that you have sent my way. Thanks and God Bless!

Update: Welcome o' ye readers of Glenn Reynolds, the esteemed Instapundit.


Posted by GM Roper at 07:33 AM | Comments (27) | TrackBack (0)

August 13, 2006

The Battle Is Won, The Fight Continues!


In January of this year, I posted about receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer, the big C, the dreaded Ca, the smoker's bane. Glenn Reynolds, The Instapundit was gracious enough to pick it up and share it with his readers and friends of mine from around the blogosphere and friends I didn't even know I had were gracious enough to leave over 100 comments as well as over 300 e-mails from people around the world telling me that they were pulling for me, not to give up and offering prayers, advice and best wishes.

I also met and have corresponded with Dr. Craig Hildreth, the Cheerful Oncologist who has been a source of knowledge, attained wisdom and support.

I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of grace, of gratitude and knowledge that despite the problems in the world involving cultures, countries, politics there was still room for care about a given individual.

Nine days later I had major surgery, not knowing if I would wake up from the surgery, not knowing if the disease was too advanced to treat surgically, not knowing if the disease had spread to my lymph nodes, or anywhere else; but having a trust in God and in my docs and the knowledge that regardless of what happened, I was truly loved, and truly blessed. I gradually came out of the anesthesia, saw my wife and daughter and dear brother-in-law standing by with smiles but concerned looks on their faces and the news was, at that point good. No mestasis in the lymph nodes, my upper lobe of the right lung and indications that the cancer had been sucessfully removed from my body. A week in the hospital, a week at home with increasingly onerous cabin fever and I was ready to go somewhere, anywhere just to get out of bed and out of the house.

The following week, a meeting with the surgeon, with the oncologist and I had the opportunity to meet the fine nurses at the South Texas Cancer Center (Special Thanks to Dr. Lazo, Gilbert, Amy and Estella) and begin a 6 month ordeal of chemo-therapy. Each friday for three weeks, sitting in a chair, wondering about the future, sleepy from the Benadryl, trying to ignore the poisons being pumped into my body, but greatful for the advances in chemo-therapy none-the-less.

Each week the side effects grew cumulatively worse, then a week off in which to "recover" before starting the next series of three. Each week my beloved wife would say 17 to go, 16, and eventually down to "1 to go hunny bunny" and that ONE was Friday, August 4th. On this immediate past Friday I had my 2nd post surgery CT Scan and the results were the same as the 1st., "...NO EVIDENCE OF METASTATIC DISEASE..." The battle has been won, the war will go on until I have been 5 years cancer free and can then count myself a full fledged member of the cancer survivors network.

Regardless of what the future brings, know that I am a fighter and I will Fight On!. I have the support of friends, family and Almighty God. I have the courage to face what ever comes. Cancer has caused them to throw the worst at me and I have come through with determination to see this thing through to what ever conclusion comes.

So the watch word remains fight on, Fight On, FIGHT ON!!!

Posted by GM Roper at 01:37 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)

May 30, 2006

The JOY Of Living ~ Even With Cancer!


Sun-up came like a shy child, sneaking the eyes around the corner to see who was there. As the sky lit up, the world came alive and reminded me how great it is to be alive, even if you are recovering from cancer.

Before sun-up I arose with my bride and made coffee (with a little bit of chickory for a kick) while she got dressed to go to work. I walked her out and kissed her good bye, poured my coffee and sat on the patio to await brother sun. On time and in glory brother sun arose after making sure I was settled on the patio with a book and my morning cup of java. I stared up at the sky, listened to the wind in the trees, sniffed at the fragrance of flowers in the early summer air and listened at last to the gentle cooing of white-wing doves.

I wish I could share that feeling with the world, but I can't and more's the pity.

It occurred to me during that second cuppa that I really do enjoy living. I enjoy sitting with my arms around my bride, or kissing my daughter goodbye after she comes for a visit. I enjoy the interchange of ideas as found in blogs and in reading what others think. But most of all, I enjoy that quiet bit of solitude that I share with God in the morning.

Back in January when I announced on this site that I had cancer, I had absolutely no idea what my future held, other than I intended to fight this evil bastard down to the wire and I intended to win. I still do if you are curious. I received over a hundred comments on that post and well over 300 emails from folk wishing me well. One can share that, but one cannot truly understand the buoyancy to the spirit unless it has happened to you. And one thing I know, deep within my heart-of-hearts, it is not the only thing that has kept me going, but it sure has helped.

The other week, I went to church and got to announce a "Joy," that my CT Scan had come back clean. The congregation applauded and several people walked up after services and announced that they "knew" that things were going to be OK. How did they know? We have lost other church members to disease, accidents and the like, how did they know I would do OK? I don't have an answer, I don't know why some are, like me spared, and others, good people all are not.

I do know that a large part of this is truly the Joy of Living - even with cancer! Nothing that I can imagine would cause me to despair and give up. Nothing that I can think of would make me say that the illness and weakness brought about by chemo-therapy and having part of a lung removed would tilt me towards giving up and giving in.

So, as the sun has risen high in the sky, it is time to bring this little bit of posting to an end, to let you, my faithful readers, know how very much I love all of you (even the lefties out there) and how much you have touched this old guy.

Thanks for being my friends, and Thank YOU God for taking care of me during this phase of my joy filled life.

And friends, be assured that no matter what, I will fight on and beat this thing.
Fight On!

Posted by GM Roper at 12:27 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

March 27, 2006

Under the weather

Blogging may be slow for a day or two... don't give up

Posted by GM Roper at 08:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

March 18, 2006

The Cheerful Oncologist - What A Guy

One of the circumstances of getting a cancer diagnosis AND having a blog is meeting some of the most wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with. One of these folk is Craig Hildreth, M.D. who writes the blog The Cheerful Oncologist. Dr. Hildreth is a saint among docs. Being an Oncologist is probably one of the absolute toughest jobs in medicine, yet, Dr. H. goes about it with a smile, a word of encouragement and a caring for his patients that just seems to flow from everything he does. When I first posted about having cancer, Dr. H sent me an email and we have been corresponding ever since. Today, I clicked on his blog on my sidebar and read something that is absolutely beautiful. If you don't go read it, you will have deprived yourself of a true bit of written gold. A Green Light That Burns All Night Drop by, say hi and tell him GM sent you.

Posted by GM Roper at 07:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 14, 2006

Another Cancer Patient Needs Help

No, not me, although I'm accepting prayers at any time. No, this is an appeal from a good friend Jerome who writes The Protrusion. Jerome is a blogger who has all but dropped out of blogging which is a shame because he was really good at left leaning satire. But, back to the topic. Jerome is asking for help as follows:

Something Serious - Need Your Help Hello, Sorry to post after so long with something that doesn't even resemble satire or comedy, but this is too important to worry about any of that. Rachel and I have a very dear friend named Jake. Jake's girlfriend Christine has cancer, and in order to survive she needs a bone marrow transplant. She is Filipino, and unfortunately, it is important that the donor also be Filipino. It doesn't matter what part of the country the donor is in. More details can be found at Christine's website. I urge you to take a minute and go there, and if you think you know someone who might be able to help, please contact Jake and let him know at jacobkrueger@gmail.com. Apparently the procedure for donating is very simple, and it could save Christine's life. Thank you all so much in advance. Jerome

If you can help, or if you may know of someone who can help, please do! Thanks!

Posted by GM Roper at 08:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 11, 2006

Conquering Fear!


FightOn (3).gifFear, abhorrence, agitation, angst, anxiety, apprehensiveness, aversion, awe, bugbear, chickenheartedness, cold feet, cold sweat, concern, consternation, cowardice, creeps, despair, discomposure, dismay, disquietude, distress, doubt, dread, faintheartedness, foreboding, fright, funk, horror, jitters, misgiving, nightmare, panic, phobia, presentiment, qualm, recreancy, reverence, revulsion, scare, suspicion, terror, timidity, trembling, tremor, trepidation, unease, uneasiness, worry and they all mean roughly the same. Fear: noun n.

1. a. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.

b. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.

2. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.

3. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.

4. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.
Well, I guess number two can be ruled out; anyone who blogs can't be worried about looking foolish.

When I first received the diagnosis of lung cancer, my first thought was, "Not me, it can't be, it must be a mistake" followed immediately by "Crap, now what do I do," and of course the answer was "fight back, fight on." And this is exactly what I have done. But I've also watched my beloved wife cry when she didn't think I was looking. I've seen my daughter cringe inwardly, but put a brave front up as long as she thought I was watching. I've heard people ask "How are you doing, oh George, I'm so sorry to hear that."

And I have to ask myself, what do they know that I don't know. Why aren't I afraid, and if I really am afraid, why am I hiding it. When I told my employer that I had cancer she remarked "How can you be so calm?" The answer is of course that I could choose to be something else. But what would it accomplish? How would unmitigated worry help me beat the cancer, a task I fully intend to complete?

A dear friend sent my beloved wife a book called "Nothing To Fear" by Larry Burkett. Mr. Burkett is a financial guru who was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney in 1995, the book was written in 2003 and we can presume that he is on the road to full recovery if not already there. He is a Christian and approaches the fight with that perspective. That is fine; it definitely fits in with my faith as well. There are some things I'm not sure I agree with, having a stronger faith in established medicine and not quite sure of many of the alternative medicine routes, but be that as it may, it's an excellent book. One of the things that Burkett said that really struck home and reinforced my optimism is this:

FEAR OF DEATH: Cancer not only has a bad reputation, but also has a very bad track record, because many of the people who are diagnosed with cancer don't survive it. But you know what? The people who have good health don't survive that either. I want to keep reminding you, just as I continually remind myself, that nobody lives forever. We're all going to die from something.
As I have said before, no one gets off of this earth alive except for astronauts, and not all of them. Which brings me right back to fear. The fear of death is almost a universal. We may have faith in an afterlife, but there is in many of us a niggling fear that we don't know. The atheists among us don't worry about that, they "know" there is nothing else (boy, are they gonna be surprised. smiley face.gif) But real faith in an afterlife indicates that the fear of death is exaggerated and we should really cast it aside. So, as far as having cancer is concerned, either I will live in spite of it or die from it. If I live, I win because I get to be with my family, I get to do the counseling work that I love, I get to attend movies, dinners with friends, church and just sit outside and enjoy the sunset or sunrise. If I die, I get to be in heaven with my maker. That is a win also. A true win-win situation.

I'm reminded of my beloved grandfather Nat Melbert who had a long and active life as a Methodist Minister. He once joked, "I don't know why they always put fences around cemeteries. No one on the outside wants to be there and no one there can be outside." Daddy Bah (as we called him) exuded faith almost like no one I've ever met and his history is an amazing one. His body gave out after 90+ years and though I miss him, I never once heard him worry about dying. In September of '84, I received word that he was on his last legs and I had better hurry to San Antonio to see him. I drove up there as fast as I dared crying because I might miss saying goodbye. When I drove up to my mom's house to find out which hospital and room he was in, my Uncle Jimmy met me and said "like Mark Twain, reports of dad's death are greatly exaggerated." I rushed to the hospital and entering his room, Daddy Bah said "Hi Guy, I'm still here." [Guy is my family nickname - remind me to tell you that story some day.]

I learned a lot from my Grand Father, and optimism was one of those things. Because I'm an optimist, because I have a strong belief that I am a child of God I'm not worried about dying, that fear is not one that I carry around. I am not to say that I don't have fears, I do, but they are usually transient and short lived. Optimism does that for you.

Fear, from a psychological standpoint can be defined both psychologically and physiologically. From the physiological standpoint, symptoms can (but don't always) include increased heart rate, flushing, short/rapid breathing, urge to urinate or defecate, heightened sensory perception including hearing and vision, piloerection (hair standing on end), tightening of muscles in a flight or fight readiness and an increased startle response. All of us have felt one or more of those symptoms at one time or another. Many of us who enjoy horror films (I am especially fond of the American-International films of the late 50's and early 60's especially Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee films) like them because of the temporary thrill of the invoked fear response. But that appreciation is pseudo-fear, real though it may be for the nonce and boosting it may be for the system.

In real life, fear, especially psychological fear can be crippling because it robs you of the will to do. Psychology texts often define fear as: "A rational reaction to an objectively identified external danger that may induce a person to flee or attack in self-defense." While it may oft be a "rational reaction" the danger can be identified as both real and as perceived which may or may not be real. The Wikipedia site's entry on Fear states:

Fear is an unpleasant feeling of perceived risk or danger, whether it be real or imagined. Fear also can be described as a feeling of extreme dislike towards certain conditions, objects or situations such as: fear of darkness, fear of ghosts, etc. It is one of the basic emotions

Fear may underlie some phenomena of behavior modification, although these phenomena can be explained without adducing fear as a factor in them. Furthermore, application of aversive stimuli is also often ineffective in producing change in the behaviour intended to be changed. Fearing objects or contexts can be learned; in animals, this is being studied as fear conditioning, which depends on the emotional circuitry of the brain.

Fear inside a person has different degrees and varies from one person to another (see also phobia). If not properly handled, fear can lead to social problems. People who experience intense fear have been known to commit irrational and/or dangerous acts.

Some philosophers have considered fear to be a useless emotion; other thinkers note the usefulness of fear as a warning of potentially unpleasant consequences. Still others consider that fear is the fuel that feeds the ego's (as in "separating/judgmental agent") engine.[NOTE: There are additional useful links in the Wikipedia site, but remember that they are publically edited, not always by experts]

Fear can be engendered by being in a combat situation with the "enemy" shooting at you, or by receiving a message that "The boss wants to see you right now!" In both cases, the physiological response is the similar. But in the former, the danger is quite real. In the latter, it is a perceived threat, one that may or may not be a danger situation (unless of course, you know that you just recently screwed up and the boss has reason to see you "right now." smiley face.gif) In the former, you could get hurt or killed, in the latter, your mind is the controling factor even though the news may be good news coming (the boss is going to give you a huge raise, double your vacation time and make you the new Vice President).

There are many famous quotes regarding fear. Franklin Roosevelt's probably being the most famous: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." But his wife Eleanor said it better: "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Other famous quotes include:

Fear of self is the greatest of all terrors, the deepest of all dread, the commonest of all mistakes. From it grows failure. Because of it, life is a mockery. Out of it comes despair."
-- David Seabury.

"Fear; if allowed free rein, would reduce all of us to trembling shadows of men, for whom only death could bring release."
-- John M. Wilson.

"To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead."
-- Bertrand Russell.

"Fear cannot touch me. It can only taunt me, it cannot take me, just tell me where to go. I can either follow, or stay in my bed. I can hold on to the things that I know. The dead stay dead, they cannot walk. The shadows are darkness. And darkness can't talk."
-- Christopher Rice. A Density of Souls.

"Fear imprisons; faith liberates; fear paralyzes; faith empowers; fear disheartens; faith encourages; fear sickens; faith heals; fear makes useless; faith makes serviceable."
-- Harry Emerson Fosdick.

These and many more can be found here.

So, as George Patton once famously said: "Do not take counsel of your fears." and nothing could be truer. You can be afraid, but if you act on that fear, you imprison yourself and you feed the future a diet of failure and despair. If you act anyway, despite your fears, you may not survive, but you will have faced the future.

For many, many years, when people have asked me how I am, I answer "Alive and well, fat and sassy - not necessarily in that order." I find that to be just as good an answer today as it was before all this cancer stuff started.

I choose to face the fear, stare it down, and conquer. I choose to liberate myself from the cloying grip of worry and anxiety and fear, and look for that proverbial pony. Because, in that pile of manure, there must be a pony somewhere.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers. You can find more on this series by scrolling down on the sidebar for the CATAGORIES section and clicking on "Medical" At any rate, welcome, and stick around for a while, the ride is exhilarating.

UPDATE # 2/Correction: Larry Burke passed away on July 4, 2003. Thanks to reader Greg Marquez for the tip.

Posted by GM Roper at 12:52 PM | Comments (40) | TrackBack (2)

February 24, 2006

Thoughts on Mortality, Cancer and Life In General


FightOn (3).gifChildren and adolescents, young folk and even many older folk do not see themselves as being mortal in any sense of the word. I was 15 when my Grandmother died, the first close relative whose funeral I attended. I had an inkling of death, but never saw myself in the same situation, lying in a coffin, being mourned. We call this the myth of immortality or invincibility and we all have it to one degree or another. For many of us, that myth is never shattered because we die suddenly. Heart attack, accident, swift, sure and fatal. Having said that, others, and now me included, have that sense of immortality shattered in a single word: "Cancer" and suddenly we are faced with the prospect of death and our mortality stares us in the face.

I am fortunate, my cancer was caught early, and the chances for the magic five-year survival time are better than even, but not an absolute and not guaranteed. I remain upbeat, even from the first. I know, having been a psychotherapist for longer than I'm willing to admit (and no, Sigmund Freud and I were not classmates - he was in the year ahead of me - big grin inserted here) that a positive attitude is an absolute must in fighting back. One of my commentors noted that two sisters had breast cancer almost simultaneously, one who was an optimist, the other a pessimist. The optimist is still living, the pessimist, sadly, is not.

A few nights ago, resting a little uncomfortably prior to going to sleep, I wondered what it would be like when I cross over as the saying goes. I have never had that particular thought before, at least not that I remember and I remember thinking, I cannot go yet, I have too much to do. On the other hand, I also know, beyond any doubt that we are all going sometime, from something or other. No one gets off this earth alive except the astronauts, and not all of them.

So, how do I now cope with the sure knowledge (as opposed to an intellectual exercise) that I am indeed mortal? In my wild and wooly teen-age years my dad would comment "Son, I don't know what is going to happen to you.” I would usually quip back, "Don't worry about it dad, I'll probably be dead by the time I'm thirty.” Well, I am very nearly twice that now (fifty-nine if you must know) and I distinctly remember calling my dad on the eve of my thirtieth birthday and telling dad that I sure was glad I was wrong. He agreed and noted that he had been worrying about that for over a year. But I digress, mortality is the subject.

Erik Erikson is one of my psychological heroes. He was trained as a classical psychoanalyst but broke with Freud over Freud's psychosexual stages. Erikson renamed them psychosocial stages and predicted, correctly I think, that developmental stages started at birth and lasted until death. That we are always in play. His last stage of life, was Maturity. Erikson postulated that the psychosocial conflict of the Maturity stage was "Integrity vs. Despair" in which the individual looked back at life and if resolving for integrity, realized that his life was meaningful, that a legacy of some sort was left behind and that the life lived was a good life. If resolving for despair, one looked back on life, saw nothing of value, saw nothing worth the life lived, and began to fear death.

I would like to think that even though I am not fully at the "mature" level (which Erikson pinned at about age sixty-five) I have lived a good life. I have been more than happily married. I have raised a daughter who contributes to the next generation as a teacher, I have helped many clients improve their lives, and I have been loved.

Does that mean then that I am ready for the grave? Hell no!!! I have a lot of living to do yet and I have every intention of living a long, long time. Yet, I am also cognizant that I have lived more than half my life and the time remaining will not be another 59 years (barring some miracle of modern medicine). I expect to be at least in my mid eighties before I go. At least my mid eighties – maybe even older (insert another big grin here.) I used to tell people that I thought everyone should pick how he or she go... and I chose to be 144 years old and shot to death by a jealous bridegroom; and that he would have good reason to be jealous! It usually got a laugh. But, why not? Why let reality hammer a good belly laugh or let the vicissitudes of life destroy the enjoyment of life.

Should I die tomorrow (I won't, I haven't paid for this month's bandwidth yet) I know for sure that I will be missed, that I will be mourned and that I will have changed lives for the better. That is a good epitaph methinks.

So, faced with what 20 years ago was a death sentence for sure, I'm looking forward to the magic 5 year mark. I'm looking forward to many, many nights of cuddling with my beloved wife, I'm looking forward to helping some of the addicted kids I work with calling me and saying "Hey, Mr. Roper, I'm still clean and I finished High School too!” Won't that be nice?

Cheers to all of you who have wished me well, and remember, if you are ever faced with bad news, don't give up, don't give in. Armed with a grin, a belly laugh and love in your heart; Fight On!

Posted by GM Roper at 02:32 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack (1)

February 14, 2006

Cancer, Me and the Blogosphere


FightOn (3).gifWow, what a tumultuous three weeks this has been! From getting a routine chest x-ray to get my knee repaired to finding out I had cancer in my right lung, to making the announcement here at GM's Corner, to getting literally hundreds and hundreds of cards, letters (most via e-mial), prayers from people I've never before encountered and likely will never meet in person. Offers of assistance for everything from mowing the lawn (I live in a town-home, no lawn) to can I get you some magazines or something?

One thing for sure has happened. I have been touched by the hand of Almighty God through this ordeal. Now, I don't really care to get into an argument about religion or whether or not one believes, but for me, the hand of God has never been more clear than it is here and now. From the dark fear of the unknown that the diagnosis of cancer brings to the sudden realization that you aren't under a death sentence and you are not likely to die in the next 10 seconds is an amazing and difficult, and harrowing and marvelous journey for one to make. I'm not even sure that I can make sense out of it all.

In my first blog post about the cancer, one of the comments way down the list was "This thread is incredibly affirmative--you're touching people, GM. Bless you." and Mr. Larson is so right, this has been incredibly affirmative. One of the lesson's of life - if one is willing to listen that is - is that you don't get to control all of your destiny, that while you can be the "Captain of your ship" you are also sometimes set on by storms that sneak up on your blind side. And when those storms hit, friendship is the "safe harbor" that you need. I have apparantly, safe harbors all over the world and that too is incredibly affirming.

Discovery of cancer on the 24th, confirmation on the 26th, major surgery on the 6th of February, disturbing but ultimately incorrect news on the 7th, home on the 13th and today, Valentine's Day, spent at home with my loved ones. How do I count all the blessings that this has entailed? How do I tell everyone how much they mean to me? How do I thank those that have reached out to touch my heart with prayers, with concern and a willingness to keep me in their thoughts?

I have heard from those with strong religious convictions, as well as from those with no religious convictions at all. But perhaps unknowingly, they have all been united in sending me their best, and that has been felt by me from the top of my pointy little ole head to the bottom of my feet.

Dr. Helen (The Instapundit's Better Half) had a heart attack a number of years ago and when she commented with a note of support, she said "...stay positive--I know I will keep you and your recovery in my thoughts." Tony Snow of Fox News sent me a lengthy e-mail and noted a number of things for me to do:

First, enlist as much love and support from friends as you can, and don't be shy. One of the great distinguishing characteristic of Americans is that they always want a chance to do something good. Many are doing good things for you right now, many completely unknown to you. Some people are afraid of admitting to cancer because they worry that others will treat them like freaks. A very few people will; most will rally in wondrous and suprising ways. Give them a chance to help. They'll come through for you.

Second, talk to other cancer patients. They have street cred others don't. For instance, you're probably now noticing twinges and random pains in far-flung parts of your body. This sort of stuff has been going on your entire life, and you have paid no heed. Now, however, the mere threat of cancer has you wondering whether the killer cells have fiendishly relocated to some unusual part of your body -- from your toes to your earlobes, along with every viscera and soft tissue in between. I remember thinking at one point that pressure in my forehead must have been a sure indicator of brain cancer. Instead, I just had sinus congestion. This sort of panic is normal: I don't know a single cancer patient who hasn't experienced it in one way, shape or form. I finally called my internist and informed him that I was going nuts and needed some sort of stuff to calm me down. He prescribed Xanax. I took exactly one -- conversations with doctors and other cancer patients managed to calm my nerves even better than drugs.

Third, learn as much as you can -- ignorance is your enemy -- but don't get too hooked on internet sites. Many of them are idiotic. Better to consult with your MD Anderson trained doc, who can steer you to stuff that might be helpful. Look especially for success stories. You'd be amazed at how far medicine has come in the last 15 years, and how effective the meds are.

Fourth, keep the fighting attitude. A friend of mine -- a survivor of simultaneous lung, breast and armpit lymph cancers -- described sitting in meetings with fellow breast cancer patients. Some just looked defeated, even though each one of them had far less severe cases than she had. Not one of the defeated-looking patients made it. You'll find that it's surprisingly easy to remain combative once you've begun to shuck aside some of the fear. Just think about the people you love and the things you want to do with them in the years ahead. That should be all the inspiration you need. Furthermore, you'll find that your attitude will change (likely for the better) the moment you get into treatment. It's like going from pre-game jitters to the game. Once the game is on, you don't have any choice. You have to play. So play to win.

Fifth: Realize that fear is a complete waste of time, even though it will creep up on you from time to time. Your full-time job now is to get well. Blogs are nice, but living is more fundamental. The most important part of the aforementioned fighting attitude is to set fear aside and get determined about getting well.

Sixth, relish and embrace your faith. I kept a file of what I called "healing verses," many of which had been forwarded through well-wishers. You can find them sprinkled everywhere in the Bible; Psalms and Proverbs are especially rich sources. Prayer is an amazing thing, and the healing power of prayer -- something I always suspected before getting cancer -- is palpable and real. You've seen the responses already on your site: These people are pulling for you, as are hundreds or even thousands who aren't writing. There's no greater honor than having somebody you don't know asking God to help you. Somehow, the word trickles back, and it will make you stronger."

Through no action on my part, perhaps other than my humanity, I have been blessed beyond reason. I put this out to all of you today; God bless you, and thank you for everything. This particular fight with cancer has been mostly won, but the war goes on. I will lick this thing beyond any shadow of a doubt and though some doubtlessly dark days lay ahead, I know that bright sunshine and gentle cleansing rain will also be there in full measure and at the right time.

Blogging will continue, but I wanted to take this moment to say thanks to all you out there. Your help has been immeasurable whether you are aware of it or not.

Fight On!!

Posted by GM Roper at 01:56 PM | Comments (35) | TrackBack (7)

February 12, 2006

Good News! G.M. Going Home Monday!


FightOn (3).gifG.M. called to let me know that he is feeling much better and will be going home from the hospital tomorrow. He sounded much better (and, I think that I was more coherent to him, too.) G.M. is grateful for everyone's well wishes, phone calls, visits, help, and concern. He still has more recovery in front of him and chemotherapy to face, but the hardest part and biggest worry is over and beaten. I'll let G.M. tell you more upon his return to posting.

Manual Trackbacks:
Louisiana Conservative: Please help to GM. Join the "Fight On" campaign and help fight cancer. You can donate by clicking on the paypal button.

Posted by Woody at 03:40 PM | Comments (6)

February 11, 2006

G.M. and Woody's Brilliant Conversation

Yesterday, G.M. called me and we had a brilliant conversation. He is still under the influence of pain medicine and I was out of it from being at the office until 4:30 in the morning, having less than three hours of sleep, and yet driving at the time. To the best of my memory, the conversation went something like this:

G.M. : Hey, Woody. I'm out of intensive care. (Then some kind of mumbling.)
Woody : Great, G.M.! How are you feeling? Hey, idiot, get back in your own lane!
G.M. : My family and some friends just left. Thanks for helping me out. You have mmmphhh arranff good job.
Woody : Thanks, everyone has been helping, but we're really missing you. What is he doing? I have the right-of-way. Yeah, we can't really fill in and do the type of posts that you're good at.
G.M. : zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Oh, oh. Yeah. (Then, something or other.)
Woody : I'll try to do a post when I get home tonight. Wait a minute. My wife's calling. (Some time later.) Hey, sorry. Yeah, I mumble, mumble.
G.M. : Unintelligible
Woody : Huh? Hey, I better let you get some rest. I know you're tired from the visitors and recovery.
G.M. : Yeah, well hrumploan eorjoin tulu.
Woody : Yeah, I got all of that. Have a good rest and I'll try to do a post when I get home.

I hope this has been an informative update. Oh,when I got home, I fell asleep, which is better than driving that way. Anyway, G.M. is recovering nicely and we'll try to get up some more news for you soon. Thanks for your interest and stand by for more.

Posted by Woody at 05:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

February 09, 2006

Brief Note On G.M.'s Recovery

G.M. continues his recovery from surgery to remove cancer. Norma, his wife, has posted comments about his progress on the previous update, which you can find here.


FightOn (3).gifDespite a collapsed lung today, things look better and G.M. is expected to out of intensive care tomorrow. Chemotherapy may begin within two weeks. There is one positive piece of information and a correction to something previously relayed, due to some miscommunication by the surgeon to the family. Rather than removing the entire left lung, only part of it had to be taken. That will certainly cut down on the recovery period and provide a more normal life going forward for G.M. Plus, by leaving half of the lung, I'm sure that the doctor's bill will be half. Keep fighting, G.M.! We miss you and can't wait for your return. (Expecially since I don't know what I'm doing with the adminstration of the site, have accidentally deleted track-backs, and can't set up new authors. Other than that, I'm doing great!)

Posted by Woody at 09:20 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

February 07, 2006

Medical Update on G.M.

Norma Roper, G.M.'s wife, called today with an update on his medical status.


FightOn (3).gif There's not much new information at this point, but he is beginning to feel more pain as he comes out of the effect of the anesthesia. That's normal, but I know that he'll be clicking on the pump that administers pain medicine faster than he can change channels with the remote control. G.M. is discouraged in that he did not expect to wake up with his entire left lung removed. ( Who wouldn't be?) He also will have to start breathing exercises. But, I fully expect G.M. to fight to restore his health with the same fight that he took to fight the disease. It will be a few more days before we know if chemo treatment will be required.

Norma read your comments to G.M., and he enjoyed them and had some laughs. Please continue to pray for him and to share your thoughts so that G.M. can really experience how special all of you are.

Posted by Woody at 09:00 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack (2)

February 06, 2006

Serious Business: G.M.'s Surgery and 100,000 Thanks!


FightOn (3).gifAs regular readers know, G.M. was recently diagnosed with lung cancer which required surgery today. I believe that G.M. would want his friends to know how he is doing, so I'll share some brief information with you. In short, the cancer and surgery were more serious than what G.M. led many to expect, apparently because he was overly optimistic, or determined, about beating the disease. But, the good news is that he is recovering, but he still needs your prayers--as do his wife and daughter, who are with him.

Today's surgery was perfomed at Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen,Texas and which has a good reputation. The surgery was successful, but the procedure was more drastic than anticipated--or, related earlier. The surgeon found that the size and location of the tumor required removal of more than just the tumor itself or the lobe in which it was found--it required the removal of the entire right lung. G.M. is currently recovering in intensive care and is only assisted in his breathing by the customary oxygen tube, which is good. Next, physicians will determine if further treatment, such as chemo or radiation, should be recommended. I have seen other friends go through those procedures, and that is very difficult. I do not know the timetable for G.M. to go home from the hospital. A lot of recovery still has to be done there.

Keep G.M. in your prayers and offer your expressions of concern and support here, and I will make sure that he gets your messages. Also, if you would be kind enough to link this entry at your site, if you have one, that would help spread the word faster and to more people who would like to know G.M.'s situation.

On a brighter note that will be good news to G.M. and something else that he would want to share with you, today the site reached 100,000 visitors. I wanted G.M. to be on line to share that moment, but his wife is relaying this happy event to him. Having 100,000 visitors is quite a milestone for a "regular guy," especially since the site is barely a year old. It took seven months to reach the first 10,000 visitors and only seven more months to take that to 100,000. G.M. started this site with a few ideas and a lot of encouragement, and the site will continue to grow as he recovers and continues to receive encouragement from you. G.M., and I, want to thank all of you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your support and participation. You have become more than visitors. Many of you have become friends to both of us. You've made us laugh and made us think, and we hope that we have done the same for you. Congratulations on this milestone, G.M.!

There is another matter that G.M. has not asked me to share, but I feel that you should know about the need. The cost to maintain this site and to share ideas with you has been a financial concern. In the fall of last year, G.M. placed a small donation link on the sidebar to help offset his costs. Now, his financial concerns go beyond band width and have expanded to medical bills and lost income from missing work. If you can help and find it in your hearts to contribute, please go to that link where you can make your donations to him and to his ability to carry on his work and to meet his obligations. Again, I want to stress, that G.M. did not request that I mention this, but I feel that everyone wants to help in some way, and this is one way to do that. Thank you.

At this time, we'll continue to provide entries until G.M. returns. I cannot match his thought provoking posts, so hurry back, G.M. Still, I hope that you'll enjoy other entries that, hopefully, you will find interesting and humorous. I want to give special thanks for the support and material of Flight Pundit and Raven as G.M. recovers and as tax season makes greater demands on me. Also, we appreciate any other tips or stories that you might like to share for us to post.

Okay, that's a lot, but a lot had to be said to bring everyone current. Thanks again for your concern for G.M., your prayers, your financial support, and for your visits and comments that make this site special for all. As more information becomes available about G.M., I'll share it with you. Conversely, thank you for sharing with us.

Posted by Woody at 06:40 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack (1)

January 31, 2006

How The Cancer Got Discovered


FightOn (3).gifIn the original posting, Woody, my co-author here and a very good friend suggested that I explain the "Silver Lining" in this whole thing. Woody, Because you are so smart, I'm multiplying your salary by a factor of 30 ($0.00 x 30 = $0.00) How does that sound buddy?

At any rate, there is an entry (humorous to be sure) on a knee injury I received in Mexico in late February of last year (go, read and enjoy, then come back for the rest of the story).

Continue reading "How The Cancer Got Discovered"
Posted by GM Roper at 07:46 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)

January 30, 2006

Just a few words - Updated


FightOn (3).gifTest results are encouraging. Brain Scan and Abdominal Scan were negative for metastisis. Pulmonary function test was passed with flying colors (that was rough, glad I quit smoking). Next up is a stress EKG and then a conference with a surgeon. It is looking better. Attitude is very upbeat and positive, my beloved bride and daughter are relieved with the positive news even though I'm not out of the woods yet. Only God knows what the future holds at this point. So, while optimisim is the watch phrase, I'm not out of the woods yet.

For you smokers out there that are readers, QUIT. If you don't smoke, for damn sure don't start. I'm telling you, the fear and uncertainty that goes with the dreaded C word can make a convert out of you real quick. Don't let it get to that point.

To all of my readers who have been following this, thanks for all of your prayers. As I said in my first post, I'm a child of God and He will sustain me through this crisis in my life. Regardless of what the long term holds, know that I love you all.

Fight On!

One of my readers suggested this site: Cancergiggles. Wow, talk about someone even quirkier than I am... LOL. At any rate, any place that can add humor to the mix removes some of the fear from that same mix. Fight On!

Posted by GM Roper at 08:11 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Thank God For All Of You


FightOn (3).gif I'm headed to the hospital for another round of tests in preparation to have this damned thing out. However, I wanted to post very briefly and tell all of you how very much I appreciate all the e-mails and comments that my last post received. All were encouraging, I even got a few from some dedicated political enemies, one of whom noted "this is not the time for partisan politics, you are in my prayers."

To each of you who sent me an e-mail or posted a comment, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot tell you how uplifting this has been. More later, right now I'm out of the door with a smile on my face, cheer in my heart and the best wishes and prayers of my friends and family. FIGHT ON!

Posted by GM Roper at 07:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

January 29, 2006

Fighting Cancer - [Updated]


FightOn (3).gifThis is not a post I ever wanted to write. In fact, I don't think it is a post that anyone, ever, anywhere, would want to write. But I have a number of faithful readers and a number of irregular, but delightful readers and I think I owe them something. Thursday, January 26th, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Talk about a kick in the teeth.

The diagnosis is obviously freightening, but at the same time, it has given me a new resolve. And that resolve is to fight this son-of-bitch right down to the wire and I have every intention of winning.

Other than the diagnosis, some of the preliminary results are encouraging. There is no spread to the brain, and Monday I get an abdominal scan to see if there is any spread there. I have some good docs in my corner and my primary care physician used to teach Oncology at MD Anderson Hospital, one of the leading cancer hospitals in the world. I have a loving wife and a loving daughter actively supporting me as I go through this. I will continue to blog and I will keep you all updated as often and as frequently as I am able.

In the future, I will obviously post the occasional post on death and dying, on fear and on striving to live. Something I have every intention of doing.

So, my catch phrase for the future is FIGHT ON! I am a fighter, I am a child of God and I strongly believe that he will sustain me through this fight. I hope you, my faithful readers will continue to come to this blog and continue to comment on various issues. Just as I have no intention of giving in to this disease, I have no intention of closing down the blog.

I don't know what the future does hold but I know this; this thing can be licked and I intend to be one of the winners.

UPDATE: The outpouring of prayers, care and concern has been almost overwhelming. I've added a gif to the upper left entry on this post and will use that for each post about fighting this damned disease. The gif was designed by my friend Michael at Slobokan's Site O'Schtuff. Michael designed this site when I re-worked it last year and has been a friend and a great guy since. Today, he even put up a post on this post. Gadzooks I love this guy. Thanks Michael, from the bottom of my heart. And for everyone else, if you aren't reading Michael, you have no idea what you are missing.

Posted by GM Roper at 09:58 AM | Comments (107) | TrackBack (5)




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