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This is one of several essays from my private cancer journal. It is not intended as anything than a record of my states of mind as I struggled with the disease and the effects of the treatment.

Mr. Heisenberg Arrives

man looking in microscope Sunday, August 20, 2000

A couple of days ago, I posted a dozen or so pages of my cancer journal to P5. It wasn't an easy decision. But more on that in a second.

My first realization was that I had virtually stopped writing in my journal since my work on P5 got serious, meaning over the last couple of months. I had some June entries and then nothing until one about our tornado warning dated 7/14 and two others that month. What was once my sole creative outlet has somehow been replaced by the Web site construction.

I don't know if it is the focus and drive that the site provides me or that I already spend hours on the keyboard and don't want to do more or if I have simply lost interest in reflecting and chewing on my condition. I don't know. I know I don't feel the need to rely on the journal as a way to express my fears or frustrations. At the same time, I've lost moments and information that could have proven useful to me or maybe another.

For example, I stopped taking my nilutamide about a month ago after the mid-June PSA test showed that I was going refractory. I'll have to see if there is an exact date. That is a pretty major decision, to stop the nilutamide, especially since it was made unilaterally by me.

And I've lost the changes that I went through since I stopped it and my reasons for doing it. This was stupid on my part.

Or that I had an appointment with my new oncologist three days ago and I stupidly missed it. Now I have to get a new appointment. What was I thinking?

Enter Werner Heisenberg.

Born in Germany in 1901, the principle that carries his name was published in 1927 and Werner won a Nobel Peace Prize for it in 1932. Regardless of what he actually wrote - and I have no interest in looking this up again - he said that one cannot determine the speed and position of a particle, that when one determines the speed, the position will be altered or to determine the position, the speed will be changed.

The reason is the measurement effects the outcome, somewhat like putting a massive thermometer into a small cup of water to get the temperature. Put in other terms, observation can change the outcome, such as when an anthropologist visits a primitive tribe. They hardly act the same.

In my case, my original cancer journals were not written with anyone watching but me. Granted I had an idea that I might - I stress "might" - make them available at P5, but it was only a possibility. I had not crossed that line, until a few days ago.

Now that it is a reality, my "journal" is no longer private. Oh, yes, I could refrain from posting an entry to my Web site. But the now very real possibility of observers (readers) may influence my style or what I say. Maybe that is my "truth in advertising" disclaimer, something that Heisenberg never imagined. But I have to say it.

I will try to maintain the candor I established before Heisenberg's arrival. After all, I've already admitted to a variety of embarrassing situations. Maybe there is really no where to hide after that. But it has to be known and admitted to.

Meanwhile, I need to catch up. But not today. It is Sunday. I worked at the prostate screening site at the Black Family Reunion festival yesterday until I couldn't physically do it any more. I was so exhausted that I slept for about 11 hours and am still aching. I need to spend the day resting. Maybe I can catch up tomorrow.

Nuff thinking and writing for today.


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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.