My journey to shoot for the moon.

Posts tagged ‘Lung Cancer’

A Letter to my Neighbors

Dear Upstairs Neighbors –

I realize that we have beenSugar thrown together by fate. But we must learn to live together.  At least, until one of us moves out.  It may not be the best of circumstances, but I am positive that we can find some way to tolerate each other.Kirby 1

I do not believe that my family and I are stellar neighbors.  I know that we have our faults.  I’m confident that you wish that my dogs didn’t bark so much. I wish that too. And honestly, we’ve tried a number of things to make them stop barking, but they are dogs. Perhaps you should look at it from this standpoint – if someone breaks into your apartment, we will probably know that something is wrong because the dogs won’t stop barking (at seemingly nothing) and call the police. So, you are safer because my dogs bark.

And I’m sure that you wish that the bass connected to the TV didn’t vibrate your floor. I would imagine that you wish my kids didn’t slam the door so much, I’m also sure that there are a hundred other things that you wish we did or did not do as your neighbors.


I have wishes too; dreams of a quiet afternoon without basketballs bouncing above my head. I have visions of what it would be like without the weekly elephant bowling tournament that goes on in your living room.056

Collin Jackson from Washington, DC, USA

Collin Jackson from Washington, DC, USA

None of these “faults” are newsworthy.  They are just part of living in an apartment.  In fact, if those were your only “faults,”  I venture to say, we would get along just fine.

IMG_2372However, I must ask you a question.IMG_1918 - CopyIn what world is it okay to drop your cigarette ashes down on me?  I don’t smoke.  Never have.  And f you read my bumper sticker, you should have been able to guess how I feel about smoking and cigarettes.  LungCancerMy husband has Stage IV Lung Cancer.  Now, his Lung Cancer wasn’t caused by smoking, but most people assume he was a smoker.  And even if my husband didn’t have Lung Cancer, I wouldn’t want to be showered with ashes as I tend my container garden, on my patio.  I wouldn’t want to clean up the cigarette butts that you let fall.  I don’t appreciate having to breathe your smoky air, but you are within your right to smoke outside your apartment.  There is nothing I can do about that.  But, really?  Sending ashes down on me?  That is the epitome of rudeness.  It is so far beyond rude that it should be criminal.

I don’t know how you could have been oblivious to me being on my patio under you.  I was talking to Sugar and I’m sure that you heard me.  You must have heard the squeak of my screen door opening.  I should have let out a loud, “HEY!” when I got rained upon, but I was shocked.  You could say, I was shocked into speechlessness.  I cannot believe that someone would have such blatant disregard for another person.  But I suppose. since you are a smoker, there are a number of things that you disregard.

There are several very simple solutions to this problem and I hope that you will consider them.  You could quit smoking altogether.  You’ll be healthier and save money.  If that isn’t an option, you could use an ashtray.  If you don’t have an ashtray, you could use a soda can or any number of items that I’m sure you have lying around.  If you can’t find something appropriate, please let me know.  I will give you something that will work.  The beautiful thing about an ashtray, is that it catches ashes.  I’ll bet that you didn’t know that.  Such a simple little thing that would prevent your ashes from raining down on me.  Oh, and an ashtray can hold your cigarette butts until you can properly dispose of them.  Then you wouldn’t have to send them down onto my patio.

Photo by J. Brendan Adamson

Photo by J. Brendan Adamson

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Your Downstairs Neighbor

Chris’ Cancer Update – May 2013

It’s been a long time since I posted an update on Chris’ Cancer.  Unfortunately, it isn’t because there wasn’t anything to tell – but it’s been more of a case of me being overwhelmed.

The cancer cells in Chris’ lung are “stable.”  This means that they aren’t growing and they aren’t shrinking.  The tumors that were in his lung are essentially gone but there is still cancer cell activity.  Much of the activity is in the pleura (the lining/sack around the lung).  For now the doctors will watch and see what happens.  But they do expect that, at some point, it will become a “hot spot” of activity.

The area of most concern is Chris’ brain.  There are four stable tumors in his brain.  They are watching those and will treat them with radiation (again) if need be.

The side-effects from the drugs are still quite bothersome for Chris; I know he could do without the gastrointestinal upset and the fatigue.

In June there will be an announcement about a new drug being used to treat Lung Cancer.  This drug is a “Plan B” drug for Chris – he will go on it when the drug he is on stops working and the cancer in his lung starts to grow.  So there are new options for Chris, when we get to that point.

Meanwhile, he is still working full-time.  And, things are continuing as they have been.

James Family Update – January 2013

I’ve been remiss. I haven’t updated anyone for quite some time about Chris. I really wanted to wait until the holidays were over, especially since it wasn’t good news. (more…)

Responding to Dear Abby – Advice for Non-Believers

Recently, there was a Dear Abby column where the writer asked about how to respond when someone said (in response to hearing about a serious illness or death), “I’m praying for you.”  I did write a response, but who knows if it’ll be published.  And then I started thinking that I was quite qualified to write my own blog post on the topic. (more…)

August, 2012 – James Family Update

Chris and I saw the oncologist on Wednesday. Basically, things are still stable. The cancer in his lung is unchanged. Two out of the three tumors in his brain are also unchanged. However, the third tumor possibly has increased in size slightly.

The thing with scans is that they are accurate only to a certain point. The new scans had a much higher resolution than the scans done in May, so it is hard to tell if there has been a change. But if there has, it is slight.

This is good news – things are stable. So we continue on as we have. The next set of scans will be at the end of Sept./beginning of October.

For the rest of us…I start back to school on Aug. 7. David starts high school on Aug. 13 and Michael starts 6th grade on the 14th. We are expecting a busy year, as this will be the first year I am working as a full-time teacher (with papers to grade and lessons to plan, etc.). However, it should be exciting.

The boys and I visited my parents in NC in June and Chris and the boys just came back from a visit to Chicago. Michael is playing soccer and David will be keeping busy with Band, Theater, and Honors/AP classes. David will also be volunteering with Kid’s Alive as a jr. counselor and Michael will still be attending.

Thank you to everyone – FB friends, fellow bloggers, the kids’ teachers and school staff members, the boys’ friends’ parents, our friends, co-workers and family for your continued support and prayers.


I didn’t look at my blog while I was on “vacation.” Didn’t glance at it at all. Usually, I check my stats once a day to see how many people are reading. But not while I was taking a break. Today was the first day I looked at the stats while I was on “vacation” and boy was I surprised! (more…)

Chris’ Cancer Update – June 2012

On Wednesday, Chris saw the oncologist.  I am still a bit blown away by what was reported, (more…)

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