April 23, 2018

— This is the presentation I gave at tonight's Celebrate Today dinner, Memorial Hospital's quarterly celebration for cancer survivors —   

   Four years ago, I was at this dinner for the first time with my sister. It was Volunteer Appreciation Night, and my sister, Clara Fromme, volunteers at the cancer center and I was her guest.

    In April of the following year, 2015, I was here again, this time as a newl...

March 16, 2018

   In 2015 I spent this week of March in an Indianapolis hospital, where I underwent a biopsy that revealed I had non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Physically, that was one of the most painful weeks of my life. (I say “one of” only because weeks preceding and following it were equally agonizing.)

   Some time after my admission, my nurse apologized for not being able to start pain medication before a doctor saw me. “I know this is sup...

January 25, 2016


            What makes you angry?

            Financial concerns?


            Mass shootings?

            You are not alone.

            Are you angrier today than...

January 1, 2016

     Cancer came and went this year, but some repercussions linger. Recent images dictate that I see a neurosurgeon and an orthopedist. At the end of 2015 I find myself:

     A little less carefree

     A little more withdrawn

     A little less energetic

     A little more reflective

     A little less confident

     A little more empathetic

     A little les...

September 14, 2015

   I don't like to complain. I try not to bear grudges. I know that lots of people have it worse than I do. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

   I know that if I think too much about my health and current work status it is a quick sink into depression, so I try to keep a sense of humor about it all.

   Given that, here are my two observations of the day:

   1. I am working on a brochure about my Life Stories work....

July 22, 2015

Thank You to:

Those who cleaned my litterbox.

Those who mowed my grass and trimmed my weeds.

Those who brought me meals.

Those who brought me ice cream and smoothies.

Those who gave me flowers.

The person who shaved my head.

Those who did my grocery shopping and laundry when I didn't have the energy.

Those who called me on the phone.

Those who took me to the hospital, and those who visited me there.

Those who sat by my bedside, especial...

July 2, 2015

   As it happened, when I was transferred from Jasper to an Indianapolis hospital in March, I was transferred to a hospital outside of my insurance network. I was at the Indianapolis hospital for six days before someone in "care management" visited my room to inform me that I was out-of-network and likely would receive high medical bills. The following day, I was dismissed.

   Not long afterward, the denied insurance...

June 19, 2015

   I had my fifth chemotherapy treatment Wednesday. Every three weeks, I receive regular chemo and then, because of the location of my tumor, I receive intrathecal chemo, in my spinal cord. So maybe it's more accurate to say I had my ninth and 10th chemo treatments Wednesday.

   A friend asked me yesterday how I am feeling. I decided to expand on my usual one-word answer of "Okay."

   My energy is starting to wane, I'm...

May 17, 2015


 In January 1996, I took three days off from my job as a reporter for the South Bend Tribune to interview my father about his life. It was my first foray into what today is my work with Life Stories.

    During those days on the farm where I grew up, I learned about my father's life growing up in that same place. I also learned just how sick he was at that time. He was dealing with three kinds of cancer (lung cancer, sk...

April 13, 2015

  I am not my hair. I am not my hair. I am not my hair. ... Which is a good thing because my hair was cut and discarded yesterday. With or without a cap on, I tried to avoid mirrors for the rest of the day — but I caught my shadow a few times last night: on my white walls, in the window, on the TV screen. Definitely a bald shadow. I'm trying to look at it as one more milestone on the trip, one more milestone I'm making it thro...

April 13, 2015

  After weeks of separation, the thumb and little finger of my left hand were able to touch each other last week on their own accord, without my using the other hand to put them into contact with each other. My gratitude to physical therapists. (And can typing be far behind?)

April 13, 2015

  Much has happened in my life since I last wrote a post here two months ago.

  More quickly than you might relize I left the “a” out of “realize,” I went from noncancer patient to cancer patient. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Stage 4. It is a non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which a kind of white blood cell called lymphocytes alters the usual blood cell makeup. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, it usually starts in ly...

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