Friday, September 09, 2011

Open 24/7

Jay at Ron last summer at the Villa Sorrento restaurant in Lewes, DE

This was my friend "Jay."  While Jay (not his real name) was alive he asked me never to publish his picture on my blog. Jay died last November so I guess he doesn't care now.

Yes, this is yet another posting on the subject of Life and Death.  Lately I have begun to realize that I am not immortal.  If you're a regular reader of my blogs you'll know that recently I had two consecutive blood tests with a high PSA score.  A good friend of mine is now undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer.  I may (or may not) have prostate cancer myself.  My next step in this procedure is a visit with my urologist which is scheduled for October 21st.  In the meantime I am reevaluating and tidying up my Life.

I have never forgotten what another friend of mine told me years ago when he was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer.  His doctor told him "Get your life in order.  You have four to six months to live."  How would you like to have a matter of fact pronouncement like that slapped in your face?  I was with my friend when he cleaned out his desk at work.  He never came back to work.  He was dead six months later.  He was 48 years old.  I have never forgotten how stunned he was and how all the life went out of him.

Well, I"m not at that point yet folks.  I assume that once the digital exam is done to me by my urologist I will go back to my happy and carefree ways.  However, I am preparing just in case.  One thing is for sure, if I do have cancer I have decided not to take the route that my friend Bob C. is doing right now - fifteen weeks of radiation, five days a week.  I'll go for the radio active seed implant, no matter how humiliating it will probably be to get them implanted.  I've been humiliated before, one more humiliation won't make much of a difference in my life.

Face with this scenario all kinds of things are going through my mind.  I'm thinking a lot about things that I want to do before I become unable to do them either because I'm physically unable, tied up with treatments or just plain dead.  Curiously, I'm not all that concerned about being dead.  To me once you're dead, that's it.  It's like you go to sleep and never wake up.  No dreams of course.  No, I don't believe Charleton Heston God will be waiting for me sitting on a golden throne in the clouds in his white toga at the gates of Heaven.  Just ain't going to happen folks.  Sorry to disappoint all of you True Believers.

I'll tell you what I do fear though, a long and lingering painful death dependent on others for my basic life functions.  If I'm ever in that situation that's when I will get religious and pray for a quick death.  That to me is not living.
All Saints Cemetery, Beaverdam Road, Angola by the Bay, DE

Now that I rehashed those thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind, let me tell you what I did today.  Bill and I left early for the All Saints Cemetery on Beaverdam Road at Angloa by the Bay.  That cemetery is one of the loveliest in this area and it has been relatively untouched by fellow Find a Grave members.  We spent about two hours this morning while I took 870 pictures of grave headstones.  I will spend the next three days (or more) posting the inscriptions on those headstone to my Find a Grave account along with the pictures of the headstones.  That my friends is what gives me peace these days.

Back to my friend "Jay".  Jay and Bill used to stay in constant communication by phone.  Jay stayed overnight here once in the spare bedroom I had for my Mom (which she never got a chance to use before she died last September).  Last October the calls from Jay stopped.  Bill was hurt at first because he thought Jay had dropped him as a friend.  We knew Jay was sick.  He was wearing a bag after having part of his colon removed.  I told Bill that Jay was probably in the hospital.  As time continued and we heard nothing from Jay I assumed the worst.  A couple of weeks ago I stopped at his friend Ed's house in Rehoboth Beach to inquire about Jay.  Ed confirmed the worst.  He said Jay's condition had worsened and he was in a nursing home.  He said Jay got very depressed.  He lost the will to live.  The day before he died, Ed said Jay was informed that Medicare would no longer cover his costs.  Jay died the next day.

  • The good news is I'm not depressed. 
  • The good news is that I've lived a long time.  
  • The good news is that I will be 70 years old in a month. 
  • The good news is that I've lived a long and good life and have been very fortunate.  

Sure, I've had a few disappointments but for the most part I've done pretty good for a poor boy of average intelligence and education and looks.  I have no complaints.

Funny thing, the song that is playing now on my Playlist is "Just a Little While to Stay Here."

So, now I'll get back to posting my treasure of photos that I took this morning at the cemetery.

Have a great day!


  1. Anonymous4:19 PM

    Hi, I am your annonymous person from Annapolis. I don't pretend to be an expert on prostate cancer, but I have been in medical sales for 28 years and have spent some time with the urologists at Hopkins.
    They have told me that all men develop prostate cancer at some point, and the older you are when you get it, the slower it is growing. So being diagnosed at 70 is a lot better than 50.
    Sometimes it is growing so slowly they do nothing.
    Wait until you get all the scoop from your doctor before you let this get you down. Then, get a second and third opinion if you want.
    The highest rated urology department in the world is at Johns Hopkins. It's not that far from Rehoboth if you want to go there for an opinion.
    Wishing you well, Lynne in Annapolis

  2. Thank you Lynn (my Anonymous person in Annaloplis). Good advice. I'll take it. I know my prognosis is good. More than the high PSA count, I'm thinking also of turning 70. The year have flown by and I have so much to do yet. For the first time in my life I feel like I won't get it all done. Maybe that is what has me down.

  3. Ron,

    For today you are strong and healthy and happy that is of utmost importance. One day we will all die but I'm glad you're not sitting around waiting for that day. You have an extrordinary view on life my friend.

  4. Bobbi,

    A few years back I looked up an old high school classmate only to have him tell me he had terminal cancer. I said to him "I don't know what to say." He said "It's okay. Actually, I'm curious about what is on the other side." We had our class reunion and everyone knew he wasn't long for the world but he was his old self. One would hardly know that he was facing death like we all are actually. Only most of us don't know when. At my age I'm closer to it than many. It is a strange feeling though to finally come to face to face with my mortality. I have no sadness nor fear but I am concerned with tidying things up. Anal to the end huh Bobbie? Sounds like a subject for a blog post to me.

  5. Ron,

    Having reached 70 seemed to bring some change of thought. One is not so much an anxiety to get everything done as to reduce those things. Sometimes we need an editor. I look at doing now what I enjoy doing and doing that rather than trying to dot every i and cross every t in my life.

    Actually, I think when we stop worrying about how much we can get done we get more done.


  6. Keep your spirits up, Hon! I'm keeping you in my heart and thoughts... ((HUGS))

  7. Lar,

    A good comment! Actually you're right and that is what I am doing by default. I am doing what I enjoy doing now and I'm finding I'm getting more done. You're one smart guy! I knew there was a reason I had you for a BF.


  8. Nobody knows when or how they will die; it could be something completely unexpected...
    Take the advice of your doctor if you trust him, do what you think is right for you, take one day at a time and live life to the fullest.

  9. I good rule is to live life as well as you can, so when you know the end is coming - and it could happen at any time - you won't have regrets or feel deprived.

  10. Anonymous11:08 AM

    "And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow."

    and that you seem to do everyday in sharing your trials and tribulations ron


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