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I hope we one day get to fund “transformative” research. At some not-too-distant point in time, this will become my crusade.

NYT article on Cancer Research Funding


When I was a kid in the South Bronx, there was a trucking company next to our house. To keep thieves out the owner erected a large, chain-link fence and, when I was about 10 years old, he put a trained attack dog in the yard. He was a HUGE German Shepherd and the owner wouldn’t even name him because he wanted him to be fierce and ferocious.

During the day they kept him chained up in the back, but when the yard shut down for the night, I would see the dog from my house pacing around the yard behind the fence. I started to feel sorry for him and went over with a box of Milk Bones. And I threw them over the fence to him. After a few nights of this he started to wag his tail when he saw me and I would sit down by the fence and try to pet him through the holes.

One night the owner came back unexpectedly…a short, bald, Italian guy named Vito (think Paulie of the Rocky films). He saw me sitting there and marched to my house and told my mother to keep me away from the fence before I got killed. “That dog,” said Vito, “Is a trained guard dog…special license to have him…. He’s nice to her when there’s a fence between them but he’s trained to kill.” My mother said stay away from that dog.

And I didn’t listen. Kept going back. Named the dog Norman. And Norman seemed to like me. And I liked Norman.

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Last night after all the boys went home, the girls and Michael and I watched Steel Magnolias. Michael laughed through the beginning of it but was asleep by the middle.

I’ve seen Steel Magnolias about 25 times (no exaggeration) and I had gotten to the point where I didn’t cry during the cemetary scene. But last night I did and Gina, who had never seen the movie before, did too.

It’s really so close to how I feel

All the kids and grandkids were here. After a few down weeks with some scary downturns, Michael started coming back around on Wednesday and hit full throttle on Sunday (yea!).

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This is the article about work and serious illness by Andrea Kay (At Work) that is running in Gannett newspapers this week (different newspapers run Andrea’s column on different days) and quotes me about Michael’s illness:

Career Priorites Sometimes Mean A Life Adjustment by Andrea Kay

I am marshalling all of Michael’s medical records together for a review by Sloan Kettering. It’s expensive but I want to know.

Andrea Kay who writes an At Work column for Gannett Newspapers (and is a well-known career author) has written a column about working while taking care of someone gravely ill and Michael and I are in the article. If anyone buys Gannett Newspapers (which includes USA Today) and sees it, please let me know. It will run sometime over the next week (different newspapers run it at different times).

I know I haven’t checked in and I apologize. Michael has had a very down week and several complications. When he’s having these weeks, I don’t get the daily smile or “I love you”‘s and it still surprises me that after 9 months of this abnormalcy, I still miss him so when he’s completely out of it.

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Michael got sick again last night. He woke up with the same stomach flu like symptoms he had last week but this time it seemed worse. It’s obviously not a flu but some weird intestinal thing.

Last night Gina and I cooked chicken and rice and we had fruit salad for dessert. We all sat at the table. He ate a lot. Then my caregiver and I got him ready for bed, then I gave him his meds and he started to fall asleep.

I went to bed early but then I woke up at 12:30 and came down and he was awake. Lately I’ve been sensing when he’s awake and it wakes me up. It’s like having an infant. You know when the baby’s awake even when the baby doesn’t cry. Michael doesn’t make a sound but I sense when he’s awake. I came down and I sat with him until about 1:30 when he fell asleep.

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Michael has a stomach flu. He’s been really sick the past 2 days. I worry about this in his weakened state. I have to say that what I’ve noticed the past few days is that he looks worn out. I feel so horrible that there isn’t anything I can do for him. He never ever complains. He just got finished vomiting profusely and I asked him how he felt and he said fine and gave me a smile. Whenever I hear anyone complain about anything these days I simply want to whack them upside the head.

UPDATE: He’s still sick and trying to keep food down. Hospice ordered some anti-nausea medication. He never complains and I wondered if he cried a lot as a baby. We’ve never talked about that so I asked him, “Did your mother ever say what kind of baby you were?” He was leaning over in case he had to throw up and he looked up at me and said, clear as a bell, “Small.”