Field notes. No. 1

— Second week of cancer treatment. So far,  so good.

— People tell me it will get worse, but today, after radiation and chemo, I ate, napped, walked and ate again. Even wolfed down my hideaway peanut butter and jam sandwich earlier in the chemo chair. Feel good except for the gasping that comes from that darned tumor collapsing part of my left lung.

— Ran into neighbor on the road at dusk who’s taking care of someone with a much more aggressive tumor than mine. Clearly not all ease and peanut butter sandwiches there.

— I can see that cancer does not discriminate. I see daily the range of people being treated. I am also impressed with the helpers and supporters coming with patients, from wives doing needlepoint to teenagers in gang outfits waiting on grandmothers. I get a kick out of the uncomfortable-looking , middle-aged guys in work boots, heavy shirts and jeans who would be restless in any waiting room. But they stick it out. With big guts, sun-creased faces and battered hands, you have to wonder when their time will come. I hope they would be as attentive to their own health as to the spouses and co-workers they seem to be waiting on, but I suspect they are not. You gotta love ’em, though, for getting the jobs done. As I leave the parking lot, I see an overweight, 50-something guy walking slowly down he street with a shopping bag. The walking looks difficult. I wonder when was the last time he saw a doctor or whether health care to him only means emergency room.

— I think each day that I am not seeing the hospice cases, nor the pediatric ones.

— Rawest part of the day for me was gagging on my own strong coffee at 5 a.m. It was shock to my way of life, but many who know me would say it’s about time.

4 thoughts

  1. John–I just read your blogs via Joe Monahan and wish you the very best and would enjoy talking or getting together for coffee or lunch–or whatever. You’ve been the mainstay of New Mexico’s political journalism for many years, and I expect you to continue that effort for a long time . Remember that you gave me my campaign slogan–“a strange man for strange times”–one of several goofy slogans we made up in order to avoid the usual campaign BS. Like “He won’t do a bad job.” Maybe that’s why I lost that closest in our history AG race by about 27 votes and might now be pontificating on the floor of the U.S. senate now instead of practicing law? (The problems were actually snow up north and a runaway Gov’s race). Remember putting my tongue in cheek quote about Shirley S.–“she’s lucky we don’t still burn witches at the stake”–on the front page? Not prudent on my part, as a candidate, at least with people lacking a sense of humor. I had a radical prostectomy 6 years ago and am fine except for the unpleasant and non-romantic mood enhancing side effects. Getting old isn’t for sissies, as they say, but I’m still working full time, running races, and racing an open wheel Formula Ford race car all around the country, which is an expensive hobby and one reason I am working all the time. Call me-975-3333. Bob Mac

  2. Hi John. I’m rooting for you here in California. I agree with the comment from Bob M. that old (-er) age ain’t for sissies! Just remember though that you survived Muto shorts, Hazel’s cooking (God rest her soul), and the Hatfield twins (Lloyd and Floyd) …. that was quite the night to forget!!!! Matt S. and I are looking forward to seeing you in Owens Valley in September. Stay strong and positive, John. I’m sorry you have to face this. From this friend, Bob Heberle

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