Wednesday, July 31, 2019


The physical aspects of cancer treatment and recovery are one thing, but then there’s the psychological part. For me, that means relinquishing freedom and control. Cancer had taken control, and those who would cure me were wrestling control from the Big C. All I could do was go along, follow instructions, submit.

It all came to a head yesterday. I’d been in the hospital a week and the seemingly constant parade of medical people drawing blood, taking vital signs, asking questions, changing IVs, giving instructions, dispensing meds, drawing more blood, and on and on had used up my supply of tolerance and patience. I lost my cool and snapped at a nurse, demanding to be left alone for a few uninterrupted hours. And it worked. They even posted a sign on my door to not disturb until a certain hour.

Then, on the way home from the hospital, finally with a little autonomy to look forward to, I got a call from the chemotherapy place telling me I had a new hydration appointment for later this week. AAAAaaaargh! Give me a fucking break!

The single greatest thing about my nomad life is the ability to run my own life. No one’s agenda to serve, no one I need to please, no one’s schedule to keep or permission to ask. I had retired from all that, escaped it, and lived very happily to tell the story. But the past ten weeks…? All of that had to be surrendered. And it has been exhausting, demoralizing.

Today Ceebs helped talk me down, reminding me the things they want from me were only to heal me as quickly and completely as possible. Yes, of course.

I had imagined hitting the road again in a couple of weeks, after the last meetings with the doctors, and not returning until after Thanksgiving when they’ll do a PET scan and other followup work. But that’s probably not going to happen so soon. I’m adjusting to that reality, accepting it.

I’m alive. I’m feeling better. That’s enough for now.


  1. The impatience is actually a sign that you are feeling much healthier. You have the energy to say...enough already, I just want out of here, I feel good enough to get out of here so let me go! Treasure and appreciate that you feel good enough to be cranky. Recognize it for what it is when you feel it and then you will just smile and be more tolerant of the irritable stage. It too will fade away just like the cancer has.

  2. I'm impressed! You got a hospital to post a do not disturb sign on your room!!! I will try to remember that the next time I am in the hospital--hopefully never. :)

  3. Ceebs sounds like one heck of a great person. Much credit to you, Ceebs!

  4. Why don't you marry that saint!

    1. We were for a few years. Short marriage, long story.

  5. Autonomy, turning the key, totally get it.
    Soon the ribbons of hwy will put this shit in your rear view mirror. Hang tough, the road waits. Labor day is when the crowds perish, perfect timing Al, actually.

  6. I'm impressed you held out as long as you did!

    GodDAMN that fucking canCER ENNYWAY!!!

  7. Al,

    As I rolled (slogged actually, with tears, heartache and mounting trepidation around my own future) through breast cancer with One El, then Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia with Double El, then Michelle's Mom's year-and-half decline during which I hired & fired caregivers (fortunately, there was the money for full-time care), I came to have an (even DEEPER) appreciation of freedom...and time.

    You look different in the photo in Out of the Hospital, back in the real world. At the risk of projection, you look both exasperated and astounded that you've survived (my feelings about my own circumstance). But I really appreciate the way you articulate the benefits of the nomadic lifestyle.

    Thank you.

    And again, welcome back.