Goodness Gracious St. Ignatius!


If you have ever had the chance to sit by the beach at night to hear the thunderous waves while smelling the salty wind, you know how relaxing that experience is.  Tonight I write from beautiful Hillsboro Beach; relaxing, reflecting and thinking about the events of the long-awaited results of the day.

“Near resolution of a previously seen hyper-metabolic focus at the gastroenterology junction since the prior study, indicting an excellent response to therapy.”    Whew…that’s a mouth full!  

Of course the conversation with the oncologist did not start out that way as he was startled to see us sitting in the waiting room.   “Bern” he called out; “you look GREAT, I did not recognize you at first!”  (We both look at each other and said…’We’re not dead yet!) If he only knew how much ‘The Little One’ hates to be called, ‘Bern’…but not today!

In layman’s terms, the reports indicates that the majority of the tumor has been removed by the ‘intense’ treatment; what is left of the tumor we hope, will lay dormant for many years to come.

‘Cautiously Amazed‘ is two words that come to mind.

The oncologist recommended that ‘Bern’ live his life as he is able.  ‘Enjoy what you can, do what you want to do.’   You don’t have to worry, doc…The Grim Reaper will have to chase us, we do not intend to grow any daisy’s under our feet.    Out of the woods, yes?  When you think of it, how many of us are really out of the woods?   You know the story…death and taxes;  It’s all in the attitude, don’t you think?  We hope and pray that what is remaining of the (little) tumor leaves us alone, let it lie idle for many years to come.

PET scans are pretty magical and pretty revealing, too…

“There is a large calcified gall stone in the gallbladder.”    Oh Boy…here we go again, another health calamity  to deal with.  The gall stone explains the pain in the back; we’ll deal with this on Monday morning, enough is enough for one day.  Aging gracefully has nothing on us!

One of the key components to age gracefully is to have acceptance of your reality. Fiercely independent most of his life, “The Little One’ knows and accepts that he just can’t do it solo.  There will be some good days, there will be some bad days…it’s just the process of aging gracefully.

Unfortunately for many LGBT seniors, aging gracefully often comes with some difficulty.  In my opinion, our bodies age by our metabolism and what we choose to put in it; our mind ‘ages’ because of our personal experiences and understanding — it’s not all relative.   I’ve never been much of a political person and my theological training has always leaned more to the social side of dogma;  bias aside, should we all not be given the opportunity to age gracefully?

Unless you’ve lived in fear, you never really know what it feels like.  Many LGBT seniors live in fear of being outed, in fear of being mistreated, in fear of the type of care they received simply because of someones personal bias.  Some are fearful that their life long partners will be turned away at their bedside because of someone’s bias.   Think of being in a hospital, nursing home or an independent living center and living in fear because of someones bias?   The closet is no fun.

It’s concerning; having empathy for  bigot is simply a misplacement of morals.

While societal norms have adjusted in recent years, we are all products of our youth.  What is ‘accepted’ today, in most cases was not on the books when we were kids.  Imagine the climate that  an 80-year-old LGBT senior faced when they grew up in?  That is their reality.  We are all a product of the societal norms in which we grew out of; some grow out of it, some over come it, some don’t care about it, some live it their entire life, many are in fear of it.  Acceptance is a two-way street.

Having the experience as a caregiver himself  for  his partner Herman of 43 years for the last 9 years of his life, provided ‘The Little One” with a keen sense of his own needs as he ages gracefully.   (History aside, 43 years together is a feat, no matter what side of the fence you’re on!)     We are fortunate that we have not experienced bias in relation to health care, yet I carry my legal documents where ever we go because you just don’t know what or when you’ll need it.  However the legal documents don’t necessarily open all the doors to the closet.

We  started on this health journey just about a year ago when we had the first flare up with the esophagus while enjoying a meal with a number of friends in Indianapolis.  Over this past year, we’ve learned a bit about ourselves; we’ve  met some new friends, had some friends leave and we have grown closer.  In our diversity, we’ve all had one thing in common and that is  we’ve all aged gracefully,  I hope.  We can’t avoid the aging process, we just do it!

Care-giving will always be an honor; and just like his health…there are going to be some good days and some bad.    It is all about the attitude: every sunset should have its dream.

I think we can see Paris in the Springtime.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Caregiving, Esophagus Cancer

4 responses to “Goodness Gracious St. Ignatius!

  1. That Grim Reaper better bring his sneakers because he’s gonna have one heck of a run catching up! The body-and-mind aging process has always fascinated me, especially now that it is starting to no longer run parallel in my life. I’m running as fast as usual in my mind…my body, not so much. It IS ultimately the attitude one keeps that hopefully can keep the aging body and mind as close…to each other…as possible.

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  2. Glad to hear that the tumor is dormant for now! I stumbled upon your blog (not searching for esophogeal cancer info) and enjoyed reading. You have a great attitude. My mother passed away in June from esophogeal cancer. I took care of her for a week before she went into hospice for the last 3 days. It was very difficult because she couldn’t walk, talk or eat. Dealing with the cancer would have been the easier part, but my older brother (who is an alcoholic and who she allowed to live with her) was physically and mentally abusing her. Life is truly a gift and wonderful most of the time, but some of the things that people have to go through are horrendous. My thoughts and prayers are with you both!

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    • Sherryl,

      Thank you for taking the time to write today; I appreciate your thoughts and kind words. Our deepest sympathy with the loss of your mother! Alcoholism is such a devastating disease and addiction; it was great that you were there with your Mom during that last week. I’m sure you provided her a great sunset to her life with your daily presence.

      I will look forward to reading your blog; I truly love the pictures that you have posted and the two quotes you posted on December 3rd are simply terrific…
      Your attitude + Your choices = Your Life
      Collect experiences…not things!

      I am glad you stopped by to say hello…I will look forward to reading more about your travels.

      Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons!
      Chris

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