« Wednesday Gumpagraph | Main | "The Arctic Is Screaming," "The Canary Has Died" »

December 12, 2007

Where I've Been Health

Regular readers will have noticed that posts have been conspicuously absent the past couple of weeks. Here's what's been going on. I've got issues.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an intestinal polyp removed that came up positive for two kinds of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system). Since then, I've had a number of tests and scans to determine the extent of the cancer. The good news is that no cancer has been found anywhere else so far. It could easily have spread to one or more lymph nodes, which is what typically happens with lymphoma, but that's not what the tests (PET scan, CT scan, bone marrow biopsy, blood work) have shown. I'm getting a few more tests done next week, and they may still turn up something, but so far it's all very encouraging. I have no symptoms whatsoever and generally feel great, which is also very encouraging.

My hematologist hasn't decided on a recommended course of treatment yet, but he says it's likely that he'll recommend chemotherapy. As I said, no cancer has shown up on the tests so far (other than what was in the polyp that was removed) but he's concerned about the possibility that there may still be tiny amounts present, possibly in multiple sites, so chemo now would be the prudent thing to do. If that's what the treatment turns out to be, it'll probably start soon after New Year's. It would last 18 weeks – six infusions three weeks apart. It would be a moderate dosage, not the really aggressive dosage that is used in some cancers, so he anticipates that I'll still be able to go to work and so on. There may be a few days in each three week period where I'll feel like I've got the flu, but overall he doesn't expect it to be debilitating. It's also possible that he'll decide instead to recommend a wait-and-see approach.

All in all, I feel extremely optimistic. I'm in good health and have been eating well and exercising regularly and taking good care of myself generally, so I think my body will be my ally in this. Meanwile, I'm trying to learn as much about cancer as I can as quickly as I can, including possible treatment options in addition to the mainstream ones of surgery, radiation, and/or chemo. If any of you has experience with cancer that you want to share with me, I'd love to hear about it. As I said, my attitude is completely upbeat, and I don't consider my cancer a taboo subject that people need to tiptoe around. I intend to take as active a role as I can in getting healthy and staying that way and then to go on to live the rest of my life. I'm more grateful than I can say for the love and support of family and friends and especially of my daughters Molly and Ali and my wonderful life partner Carie. I'm a very lucky man.

Posted by Jonathan at December 12, 2007 02:41 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb



I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma almost six years ago. The analysis is, in general, that those afflicted with it live, at maximum, about nine years. There are isolated instances of more than ten.

I opted out of the radiation/chemotherapy regimen. I have a long history in the anti-nuclear world and felt I knew the dangers in that aspect. I instead went to enzymes and diet and exercise, when I could. (A real danger is that fatigue gets to be such an issue that I don't push through it.)

After almost six years I have not had serious troubles--I did have a bone break in my foot [weakened bone strength is a trouble with myeloma] but I am trying to work around it.

A childhood friend has a son who was diagnosed with myeloma 14 years ago and is now very active. I think your attitude is essential and with the view you have of life and the love you have exhibited about your family, you will move through this with flair.

I've loved your website since I found it--quite by accident--and even though old Marxists are not supposed to be sentimental, I would miss you greatly if you could not continue it.

Thanks for all the comfort you have given me. Take care as you go forward and find health.

Norman Gover

Posted by: Norman at December 12, 2007 06:24 PM

Good luck. I have also enjoyed your posts and hope you can still find the time to continue.

Posted by: Mark at December 12, 2007 08:11 PM

Hi Jonathan,

I actually thought you have given up blogging because you were fed up with inaction of the powers that be :)

I have learnt in the last few years since I left university that the keys things in life (besides food, shelter & clothes) are good relationships, health and education. And I am happy to hear that you are eating well, exercising regularly and have your family with you.

Everything will be fine. It's allright if you take a break from blogging. Health is more important.


Posted by: Thanneermalai L at December 12, 2007 11:44 PM

Wishing you all the best. Many thanks for all you've done, and will do.


Posted by: Ken Peterson [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 13, 2007 12:01 AM

Happy to hear from you I have a delight when I open your web site. I'm sending you ALL best wishes.

Posted by: Lynne Launius at December 13, 2007 01:36 AM

We're all with you, guy. I've been struggling with my own issues, which I've chosen not to talk about except for a few pretty vague allusions, which I mention here only to say that they increase my respect for your ability to carry on and to continue to light up our small part of the universe.

Courage, peace, and joy to you to you and yours. I'll be a-watchin' for ya.

Posted by: LarryE at December 13, 2007 01:38 AM


Thinking of you and heartfelt best wishes. You're an important voice in the world, and I admire your strength, sir.


Posted by: Wolf DeVoon at December 13, 2007 08:47 AM


You are indeed an important voice, in the world, and for the last ~20 years, in my world.

You're the real deal. I remember very well going with you to distribute the essays you wrote providing analysis of the 1991 Gulf War, based on research you did at UW library, reading transcripts of hearings and proceedings. Then, as now, you worked hard to learn so you could teach, motivated by a generous spirit.

Thanks for opening your life to us, may peace and health be with you.


Posted by: Kent at December 13, 2007 09:13 AM


Thank you for sharing the information on your health issues. I wish you the very best and will look forward to more fantastic web logging from you.


Posted by: Clay at December 13, 2007 10:21 AM

Wow, what can I say? I'm reading these with tears in my eyes. Heartfelt thanks to you all.

Stay tuned. Lots more blogging to come...

Posted by: Jonathan at December 13, 2007 12:35 PM


Wishing you a full recovery and return to excellent health. I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, so I know how this whole thing can leave you reeling at first. Continue to take care of yourself and know I've been reading Past Peak ever since the '04 elections left me stumbling in disbelief and think I am better for it. :) Thanks for all you do.

Posted by: Adrianna at December 13, 2007 06:14 PM

Although we have never met, I feel like I know you and your refreshingly candid post re-inforced this sentiment. I sincely wish you ALL THE BEST, a very quick recovery as you are really do a brilliant service of keeping us informed on what's going on around us.

Posted by: Malcolm at December 14, 2007 10:15 AM

We love you Jonathan! I know you've got what it takes, and you have all of us, too!

Posted by: ivieee at December 14, 2007 10:49 AM

As father of a young daughter with leukaemia, my heart goes out to you and your family. Good luck with the treatment and keep us posted.

Posted by: Angus at December 18, 2007 06:04 AM

Wishing you all the best, will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

And knowing that you are a person of curious intellect, you will be informed and knowledgeable during your treatment. Which is important. Doctors don't know everything. I don't mean for that to be a negative comment, but after what happened to my mother last week at the hospital, I was reminded of an old saying from the '60's: Question Authority.

Knowledge is Power.

Posted by: Lane_in_PA at December 19, 2007 02:41 PM