You’re Giving Me Too Much Credit

I’m posting my experiences going into cancer treatment for a few reasons. I enjoy writing. I also want people to understand the process. Many of us have friends or relatives in the same boat. It’s much more complex than I expected.

Lots of you have given me credit for being strong or having a positive attitude. Nah. This is just how it’s done. No ad libs by me.

I suspect there are people in my boat who are petrified and not getting proper treatment. Maybe it’s just diabetes or cancer by itself. There is no ‘just’ cancer.

This all seems scary. And it is. But there’s more scare than pain.

When my commenters says this shows some form of strength they are wrong. Nearly everyone is capable of what I’m doing. Saying otherwise doesn’t help those on-the-fence.

Seriously, so far everything has been annoying or uncomfortable, but no big deal. And I am a major pussy! Today, I let them put me under and stuff a camera carrying tube into my stomach. Not my first time to this rodeo. I knew it wouldn’t hurt.

When I woke up my first question was whether they did it? I felt nothing. Like I said, the prep was shitty — no fun. But it didn’t hurt. It didn’t. It was a pain, but anyone can do this.

Think of me on a conveyor belt driven by my HMO. Each step leads to the next. My doctors and their immense crews of nurses and assistants (my cardiologist is in a two doc practice with nine office staff alone!) are tracking and guiding me.

Specialists at this level of specialty are different than a primary care doc. This is what they deal with every day. And, they are communicating. So many of them individually, but they have to know each other’s business.

At this point I’m getting much more careful attention and individual care. I’ve been assigned a contact by each doctor, always a grown-up nurse who understands the business they’re in.

As they say, your individual results may very, but Hoag seems a very good hospital. You can tell by how its staffed and how many of the staff are long timers. I told my nurses how happy I was to be with adults. Experience counts.

The equipment looks new and very high tech–I’m a good judge of that. I was jealous of the monitors in today’s very specialized operatory, large and hi-res. Don’t think of it as operating room. It’s closer to a well equipped NASCAR garage. It is purpose built to do what it does.

As I said, so far so good. Bothersome, but not worse. That changes quickly on the next step. I’ve read enough about my Whipple procedure to stop reading about it. A Whipple veteran wrote to tell me it was called the Mount Everest of surgery. Yikes.

Am I willing to make the trade for what it brings? It seems a no-brainer, but I’m sure some people stop right here. I am a good candidate for a reasonably successful outcome.

There’s no time to be strong or have an attitude. You just do as you’re told (while making sure every step has makes sense in context).

You make a commitment and just wait for it to happen while you’re under. I’ll be fine when I go in. My understanding is recovery isn’t fun. I can do it. I’ve played with pain before, coach.

I really don’t know how much this is costing you. Yeah, You! Medicare. Thanks.

I heard the rack rate for a room is $7,500/day before extras. And everything is extra. Thank you.

I’ve been paying into Medicare since 1968. This is gonna be way more than I invested. Again, thank you. I am grateful to live in a place where we feel this way about each other.

My surgery is two weeks away. We’re doing this to balance competing meds. At the moment my calendar is empty until then.

13 Responses to “You’re Giving Me Too Much Credit”

  1. NancyB says:

    I think your writing helps you process it and certainly helps us understand it better because you are a very good writer!
    When dealing with doctors and procedures and medical bills at home I always say “I can’t imagine how older people, or those with no insurance experience or those with no one to help them deal with the appointments and paperwork!” It can be a nightmare.
    You positivity is a crucial part of it all.

  2. Geoff, I’ve pretty much withheld writing comments, well actually the comment I’ve wanted to write because it is difficult. We lost a long time friend to pancreatic cancer at the end of August this year. By the time our friend Steve went to the doctor with symptoms (weight loss and stomach/intestinal pains from eating)he was diagnosed as being at the end of stage 3 for this deadly cancer. Then when we heard about what he had we kept hearing about this type of cancer. It seems to rear its ugly head everywhere. That’s when you start reading up on it in the hope that somehow (emphasized) you can help. He was beyond help pretty much but was determined he did not want to die so he went through all sorts of treatments. His was not operable as it had already spread to the liver. It sounds as if you have been diagnosed early enough that you have a fighting chance. So fighting you are. So many of us who “know you” because of your on-air personality, now on Facebook and through your blog are behind you hoping that you will be one of the very few that can say they kicked pancreatic cancer in the ass. I think it’s also important to log your journey – and publicly because even though you may be scared to death on the inside, your determination to win shows on the outside. And with that showing of strength, you give others hope and help them with their own strength. Don’t ever doubt that what you are going through is courageous. Anyone who battles cancer is courageous.

    • Diane sargent says:

      Ouch !!!

      Let’s stick to Positive Comments only…….

      • Jennifer says:

        This isn’t the place for negative comments or pessimistic posts. For lack of better words (excuse me Geoff) but that was an asshole thing to say. He’s allowed to feel any way he wants to. He doesn’t want anyone’s pitty. He’s just here to tell his story.

  3. Mary Lou says:

    I am appreciating your medical and spiritual information. Thirty yrs. ago I almost died, major blood loss due to an abdominal pregnancy… The medical professionals and then some at Yale really kept me in the loop and actually saved my life. Considering that when they opened my up they had no idea about what the hell was going on in there. I woke up (sort of) after 5 hours of surgery. After I got home people were very worried about invading my space by asking questions about “what the hell happened” so I decided to speak and speak and speak. Knowledge is power so thank you for yours. Sincerely Mary Lou (CT).

  4. Bev says:

    Thank heaven for an empty calendar, now & then! Still, two weeks is a long time to spend contemplating surgery. Keep busy! Red, write, play cards & games, eat. Go to a genealogy website and start a family history, that’s really fun!
    Keep on keepin’ on!

  5. Ashley Adams says:

    Wow Brother Geoff. On many levels, wow. I am transfixed. You are using your excellent writing, seeing, and thinking skills for a truly useful purpose. Thank you and thank you. I feel a bit guilty enjoying your insights, and I am even as my heart is tugged by your experience. I always knew you were an extraordinary fellow. And this fits well into my idea of how Geoff Fox would take on cancer. You’re right of course. It isn’t heroic or brave. It’s just the obvious option. We play the cards were dealt or we don’t play …and all that. Here’s wishing you a great turn and river!

    Thanks deeply for this blog.

    Ashley

  6. Roberta G. says:

    Geoff , when we first started watching you on WTNH ,my husband and even my kids loved you instantly, why? Because you explained things about weather in a way that we understood what was happening.
    My niece who is 40 has had 3 different cancers in a matter of a year. The last one was pancreatic cancer. She went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She is a survivor why because like you she went in with a great attitude and attitude that she was determined she will be CANCER in its ugly ass. Well she has beaten so far , the only thing she suffers from now is lymphoma in one of her legs but she doesn’t let that stop. She beat pancreatic cancer and I know you are going to do why because you ask questions you listen to your doctors and because you are a fighter. Please keep posting your progress as you go , you may not realize it but you are helping many people including me. Your helping me to understand all that people go through when they have cancer. My sister is fighting breast cancer right now and light you she is a fighter and she listens to her Drs and most importantly she ask question and doesn’t stop till she gets complete answers. So I thank you for telling your story and please keep telling you are helping many people with each story you tell. We keep you and your family in our daily prayers and with all the prayers. Prayer also is a powerful thing. Keep up your positive attitude and keep writing your story I have a feeling it’s going to be have a great ending.

  7. Fran says:

    Love you….keep all of us in the loop….another curve ball is always possible….you have NOT struck out….keep swinging “Slugger”

  8. Shirl says:

    Love, prayers, and positive energy going out to you and your family. As a wife, I can imagine the journey that Helaine is on too. My thoughts are with her too❣

  9. Julie Koszelak says:

    Good morning Geoff,

    I love to read your blogs. You are exceptional at explaining complex things in a simple way. What you say makes sense. You, no doubt, have the “Mount Everest” of doctors available which is great. Thank you for sharing your experience. I read everything you write on here and will stay tuned with positive energy coming your way! 🙂

    Julie

  10. Koko says:

    Your writing this blog, may help you to find peace, to give you strength, to hear from survivors. For us, it is a way to stay connected with an “old friend”.
    We love your sties about Mr. Harold, he’s such a sweet man. I pray this isn’t too much for him to handle.
    As a parent, you know, no matter how old our “kids” are, we will Always worry about them.
    Seeing you go through all of the preparation, the heart procedure, the stomach issues, diabetes, jaundice, YET… still standing up, getting dressed and giving a forecast of the weather, makes us who see you feel that, Hey Geoff is strong, he’s ok. We just have to trust in your doctor’s and God, to get you through this.
    You are in NO WAY A PUSSY. Anyone who can withstand all the crap you are dealing with is strong.
    God Bless you all.

  11. Judy Falcigno says:

    Yes, everyone who goes through this just does it, but mindset is crucial. Yours is excellent (at least outwardly) and the blog serves a purpose. You write it all down, and share it with us who care what happens to you. You explain things well, you “do your homework”, as my late husband Paul said about you when you interviewed him many years ago about the QU Polling Institute. You ARE courageous, however you downplay it. Don’t discourage us from admiring you. (We kind of like you, too.)

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