Saturday, October 13, 2012

A GUEST BLOGGER'S STORY

I received an email today from a former colleague of mine in Indianapolis.  I knew of his battle with cancer previously.  But I thought this piece of writing was so beautifully done that I asked his permission to post it on my blog.  He generously granted that permission so here's the story.

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I am a fairly emotional person. Apparently I display it only through my work. Now, that I think about it all of my feature reporting for TV and Radio has been based on what I feel must be right. Then I would find someone with those virtues and extol them. These found me.


Just the other day as I got out of my car a man (and his wife) came towards me from their position of waiting. I thought it might be for a bus, but they were not in the correct spot. Maybe he would ask. Then he told me they were waiting for a taxi to “go see the maples.” My first impression was that they were Japanese. He corrected me. “We are Korean, visiting from Chicago. We came by the big GreyHund last night. I have been here 35 years and no learn English.”

I convinced him his language was fine. I did not tell him he was miles away from the color of “the maples.” Then the taxi came to take them back downtown. They could not get a hotel there last night since they had no credit card. Somebody referred them five miles out of the center city for a fifty-dollar night. We met; I did not really help. I did not give directions miles away to the colorful trees. But he felt the need to talk about it. He came to me with her in tow. Then they were gone.

At their elderly age they were ready to get up and go to see things. They had no plan. They just went. They had a purpose. And they just went. Happily.

This was the same day I went… to hear the beginning of my prognosis for prostate cancer which has become very aggressive since we first took note in early December, last year. Since then there has been a plan and a purpose but it did not seem obvious to me. Every three months I receive a hormone shot to maintain the speed of the cancer growth into the lymph system. Happily, the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test shows a great reduction in numbers indicating cancer. But that is almost too late.

A full-body bone scan early this year indicated the presence of lesions in my liver, possibly in my pelvis, and maybe more. A month ago it was determined with a new MRI that a major growth on my left femur just below the hip was the reason for a major complaint while attempting walking. That curtailed my part-time position as a tour-guide inside the Lucas Oil Stadium for a while.

Immediate surgery to “burn” the tumor off the bone with RFA (radio frequency ablation) proved it was the same cancer which had traveled from the prostate.

Confirmation is one thing. Consternation is another. We are advised as older males to be constantly vigilant for the prostate problem. It can arrive in young males too. It is the most prevalent cancer in males, after skin cancer. Prostate Cancer can start with no symptoms. Apparently mine started without me. It was immediately labeled aggressive and has been so. I have been told not all cancers are detected. I have one which slipped through.

The doctors mentioned many months ago that there would be no cure, just maintenance. Maybe two to five years of maintenance. They mentioned it again this past week… along with the fact that several other methods could be used, including some new ones just on the market. Each month there will be a shot (Xgeva) to maintain the bone loss (which allowed the tumor outside the femur) plus another attempt to curtail the growth in the lymph system.

Many friends constantly ask the regular question “what did the doctor say?” This, then, is an effort to compile the words he said along the way. Mostly it has been a wait and see procedure. Now, it will be a more aggressive approach to an aggressive cancer.

For now, there is no radiation or chemo planned but that may change.

I am an emotional man who lives alone, but I am not lonely. I have many friends around the world. And I have my family here in Indianapolis, my hometown. On the way home from the doctor I became suddenly aware of my future while listening to one of my favorite styles of music. It prompted many tears… of realization of how good I have it with my medical treatment.

I have a plan. I am pleased, too, that I met that Korean couple just passing through Indianapolis to see “the maples.” I will continue to follow this adventure of mine, as far as it goes.                                                       
                                                           ---Will Murphy

          
 
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Thank you, Will, for sharing your story and all the best of luck with your treatment.

13 comments:

  1. What courage! Thanks for telling your story and I hope you can get into remission. I wish you the very best of luck.

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  2. Quite a story of inspiration. Wishing you all the best.

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  3. Oh that is moving, so much from the heart. The line:

    'I am an emotional man who lives alone, but I am not lonely' is beautiful, simple and resonant. Please know that you have made people you don't know, a long way away, stop and think and feel with you. None of us quite knows how much life we're going to have, it's how it's lived that matters, and you have shown us a glimpse of what is clearly still a life very well lived.

    All good wishes and the best of luck.

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  4. I will leave it to others, those who have the words, to describe Will's experiences. For me, something was touched at a depth about which I know nothing. As I let Will's words flow into me, down into those depths, I felt both my own fear of what could yet be, and also something fine that lies beyond description or conscious knowing.

    When I reached beyond, through Will's cancer, the plans, the undoubted courage that he has, I touched something, some kind of loving matrix perhaps[?]. I don't know what, but I felt uplifted. I knew that in the end none of us is truly alone. Certainly Will is not alone for in giving of himself he draws us all to him.

    I wish all that is best for him, whatever that might be.

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  5. Beautifully written - I'm glad that Will allowed you to share his story with us.

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  6. Thanks Will and thanks for sharing. I have so many friends traveling this journey at the moment. Now I think it is something we will all have to deal with in one way or another. I hope things go as easily as possible for Will.

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  7. Good luck Will, will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.Thanks for sharing, you may have helped other men tonight to see their doctors for a regular check up.

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  8. A tremendous piece of Inspiration!
    Thanks for sharing and the best Will for finding a lot of "maples" around you.

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  9. We have no choice really. We either give up our joy of life and die right away or continue to see the maples as long as we still can.
    My wish for Bob is to enjoy whatever time he has left in emotional peace.

    ReplyDelete
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