Monday, October 6, 2008

Looking The Part

We've all seen terminally ill patients in movies or TV dramas. They're frail, thin, often bald. They're on pill schedules. They're in bed most of the time, and when they do get out, they walk slowly, holding on to the arm of a nurse or a visiting friend.

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I think I've become that person. I don't really feel like that person, but I've realized recently that I don't look so great. I seem sicker to people around me than I thought I did.

I've been coughing a bit and have had some bouts of breathlessness, but I keep thinking it's a brief, temporary setback and if I just take it easy for a day or so, I'll be back to normal.

But I haven't been out of the house much for the past several weeks other than for doctors' appointments, and I haven't had the energy to do what I usually do with my days. I used to walk Toby to and from school. He started school six weeks ago and I haven't felt strong enough yet to walk the five or so blocks to school with him. Some days, I don't even feel strong enough to meet Josie's school bus at the entrance to our condominium.

I'm on the oxygen machine several hours a day and take naps most days. I sometimes have my meals brought to me in bed so I can stay hooked up to the oxygen machine while I eat. It's actually kind of nice. It's like having room service.

My condition is inconsistent, though. One day, I feel well enough to go out for dinner with friends or even a trip to the shopping mall. The next day, I walk out to the playground to watch the kids play and suddenly can't breathe or walk the 50 meters back to the house.

I'm still not ready to believe this is a permanent condition, though. I think we just need to wait until the chemo does its job. It's just taking a bit longer this time. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the perks that come with being that sick person from the movies - like having people wait on me hand and foot and watching trash TV while eating meals delivered to me in bed.


Leighbee said...

Those sick people get visitors bringing grapes too - I have some LOVELY grapes in my fridge ;-)

writerinresidence said...

You're doing it right, Shin. Keep on looking at the bright side. As always, I am thinking of you this morning and wishing you strength and good vibes. By the way, thanks so much for posting the pics of the kids - your family is beautiful and so are you!

Helen said...

Hello Shin,

Just wanted to say, I love you and you are still in my prayer.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,

The chemo will do the trick and you will be up and about in no time young lady!!

Hey I was at my physio the other day - she treats alot of people with serious illness and happened to tell me that there is a trial going on re breast cancer that uses sharks blood or rather the antibodies sharks use to fight disease. I don't know anything about it but I doubt heather would tell me something if it were absolute bulls#!t..

I will try and do a bit of research on it and come back to you.

Take Care


Anonymous said...


The professors name is Mick Foley. He is out of Latrobe Uni in Melbourne Victoria.

Here are 3 articles I found on him and the subject:

It appears this field of study is fairly new??? so I'm not sure if you have heard about it - probably have. His contact details are at the bottom of one of the sites - I think the first one.

If anyone else reading this blog has further info on this please let Shin know.

Take care Shin!


Shin said...


I saw a book about this shark-cancer connection, using the argument that sharks never get cancer, therefore there must be something in the shark's immune system that prohibits cancer cells from growing. Could be true; could be another crazy cancer concoction.

Unfortunately, I just don't have the time or resources to try everything possible out there, no matter how promising it may be, but thanks so much for your offer to research it for me. I appreciate your good intentions.

Anonymous said...

Hola Shin/Johnny,
Hard to envision you "looking the part" with so many beautiful photos of your smile and Josie and Toby on the blog. Thanks for sharing these. You do have handsome children. Tony looks like a stud as well. Was he a rugby player?

I read up on the shark antibodies bit. Systematic creation of antibody libraries is nothing new, but does take time and money before anyone can begin to systematically begin to derive a therapeutic from such an effort (which also requires additional significant money and time). I dont think this is worth your R&D efforts. Sorry to not be more hopeful. BTW - parts of the human body - such as the heart, rarely get tumors as well. Nobody knows exactly why.

I hope you get more time to see your children grow. I do think the journals are a wonderful gift.

I have a few stem cell trials that are starting up, and with conferences It looks like I will be living on a plane until New Years. Kasia and I will then begin to plot the creation of our own children (if we are to be so fortunate). Until then, I live vicariously through those I love who have children - including you and yours.

Un abrazo fuerte senora,

Shin said...


Okay, now I'm going to hang on to see YOUR children grow up. Get to it!

Anonymous said...

I know you are strong but there are just too many variables in life. I like to do research on the Bible but I am not religious. I hope these verses will bring a tinkle to your heart.

Luke 11:13
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
(You, as a mother, should know best.)

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Proverbs 17:22
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."
(It's hard to kill a happy man.)

The Greek word for 'repent' is 'metanoia' which means 'change of mindset'. The Hebrew word for 'heal' is 'dissozo' and 'rest' is 'sozo'.

Would you try to slow down the desires in your heart, for physical rest does not mean spiritual rest. When you are high-spirited, you will be well again.

Oh, Acts 11:9 'common' is a sin. So please be special. Be the one to live through cancer and whatever crap life throws at you.

P..S Anyone told you you look pretty recently?

Shin said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for those Bible verses. I hadn't read any of those before.

And yes, somebody HAS told me recently that I'm pretty - YOU!

Thanks! I guess the bald look becomes me!