Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yesterday, Fritz reached the half-way point in his radiation treatment. He's a strong but deeply feeling man and has had a few emotional moments along the way. He's also been struck by the kindness of so many of you wishing him well as he goes through all this. He asked me if I'd post a piece he's written on the blog, and of course I said yes immediately. Here it is:

Strange thing this “cancer” business. I have been in it and around it for quite a while. My mother, sister and younger brother all died of one form or another and I have been going to the dermatologist twice a year for ages for him to freeze off spots on my head so they don’t develop into something tragic. In fact I even had one thing on my cheek operated on several years ago. But that was all on the outside. One could see it and feel it. Even the treatment one could feel.

But now it is inside. They poked around and said – good news is your prostate is small (it’s been massaged for 60 years!) – bad news is it's filled with cancer. So we heard the options and chose to get the radiation and hormonal treatments. Now every morning husband and I get up, I drink 24 oz of water – we drive into Manchester – I spend 15 minutes on a cold table while a monster machine rotates around, zapping at me. I think it is my friend but how can I tell? This cancer is inside me. I don’t feel it. I don’t see it. When the machine makes its zapping way around I hear it but I don’t feel it. I don’t see a ray of radiation. Is it all smoke and mirrors? Is there really something in there? Do I trust the doctor and all the technicians? I’m just a small mouse in this labyrinth not knowing what is really happening – if it is happening.

You see the same people coming into the radiation center each morning. We nod, say hello, comment on the weather, mention our plantings for the summer, smile. Some have lost their hair. Some seem a little halt. But we are somewhat cheery. I have my hair. I feel the same as I did before the cancer news. If I am all smoke and mirrors what am I doing here?

There have been so many words of support from family, friends, students and even from people I don’t know. I’m in their thought and prayers. But that may be smoke and mirrors too. I suppose I am in my Missouri mind right now. Show me. Show me that this routine is actually doing something. I don’t feel anything. I don’t see anything. Am I doing this right?

On Friday I was half way through the eight week sessions – each morning, five days a week. Some times it feels that the time goes quickly. Other days it seems that it will never end. Through it all I go along wondering which is smoke and which is mirrors.


Joe Jervis (Joe.My.God) posted the following headline a couple of days ago

Friday, May 14, 2010
BOSTON: Catholic Archdiocese Comes To Defense Of Banned Student

The student in question is an eight year old boy, the adopted son of a lesbian couple. The Archdiocese of Boston has been staunchly anti-gay; Archbishop (now Cardinal) O'Malley has been openly homophobic (Fritz and I once briefly shared an elevator with him at Boston General Hospital -- it was all I could do not to introduce us as one of those married gay couples who "obviously" were intent on destroying marriage and harming children). The boy was denied admission to a school in the Boston Archdiocese. Joe's comment on the headline and story:

Well, this is pleasantly shocking. In reaction to yesterday's news that the son of two lesbian moms was denied enrollment at a Catholic school, the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has issued a letter saying that it will not fund any school with a discriminatory admissions policy.

"Any such practice is at odds with our values as a foundation, the intentions of our donors, and ultimately Gospel teaching," said the letter from the foundation, which relies on corporate executives to help raise millions each year. The letter was signed by the group’s executive director, Michael B. Reardon. Jack Connors chairs the Campaign for Catholic Schools, which has raised nearly $60 million for major capital and program improvements in local Catholic schools. He called the incident an unfortunate aberration and said he was not concerned that it would discourage corporate donors. “But," he said, “I am disappointed that this faith that I love seems to find new ways to shoot itself in the foot." The archdiocese moved swiftly yesterday to clarify its policy and show support for the family. Mary Grassa O’Neill, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, issued a statement saying that the church does not prohibit children of same-sex parents from attending Catholic schools and that the archdiocese will “work in the coming weeks to develop a policy to eliminate any misunderstandings in the future."

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts is VERY displeased with the Archdiocese's reaction, saying, "The real question here is why two people who radically repudiate the moral teachings of Catholicism would want their child educated in a Catholic school."

My reaction to this is to note that O'Malley has hung back and taken no part in any of it, at least not so far as the public and the media have been able to tell. The Catholic Action League asks a very pertinent question, and my reply to them would be that the reason a lesbian couple want their child in a Catholic school may well be the same reason that gay men enter the priesthood or the U.S. Armed forces, knowing full well that they'll be persecuted and/or thrown out if discovered: they sincerely feel a calling to serve and will not let faulty policy in the institution rob them of their right to serve. In any event, at least some members of the Catholic organizational structure in Boston seem to have their heads screwed on right and I hope they aren't made to suffer for the fact.

for fritz - thanks for that passage and for sharing your apprehension. many prayers are with you.
Fritz -- you're in my thoughts and prayers here too. And yes you are doing it right!

Will -- thanks for sharing this.
Our thoughts are with you Fritz. Hang in there. You're half way through. We're all thinking positive thoughts for you and Will.
Salute to Fritz for telling it how it is. Ever seen that masterpiece movie American Splendour and the way it deals with Harvey Pekar's 'My Cancer Year'? Just marvellous without being in any way gooey.

Thought you might appreciate some very English elegant irony from James Fenton (albeit in the not always admirable London Evening Standard) about a certain persecuting Baptist hypocrite caught with rent boy:
Hi Fritz, Thinking of you. Glad you are past the halfway point on treatment.
Will, You tell that man of yours that although our friendship is a new one, I felt an instant deep bond with him. I am sending powerful thoughts to him and his prostate.
Most of them are of the healing sort.
I am sending you all the white light I can muster from Portland, Oregon.

Rolfe is suffering these days with
Dupuytren's Contracture & Crohn's. He has surgery for the 1st in June & won't be able to use his hand for 12 weeks. He is on meds for the latter that make him sick.

Let's all get well & drink a little wine & sit on the front porch... please?

my verification word is POODENTE...which is when your poo is done just to perfection.
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