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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.

Moyers and the Mayor

rvy with mayor and herschel chal Wednesday 9/13/00

Last night we saw what I think was Part 2 of Bill Moyer's PBS special on death and dying.

There was a man with ALS, a disease that slowly takes away motor functions until finally you can't swallow.

There was a woman in Portland, dying of cancer, growing weaker, who was choosing to end her life as they can do legally in Oregon.

There was a man with liver failure who had to be sedated so heavily because of the pain that finally he was just in a coma, which was how he died.

The man with ALS was a disturbing episode, because of the disease. That is a terrible way to die. But I associated more with the woman dying of cancer. She looked bad but I suspect it was from the chemotherapy that she had taken to try to abate the disease. I know it didn't help her quality of life. She had lost most of her hair and she was debilitated. She was the only one who spoke metaphysically of death. The man in the coma didn't talk. The man with ALS spoke mainly of the process of losing his functions.

The wife of the ALS man said that he had set several limits to what he would endure before he would kill himself. (He had been an animal vet and he had drugs there that could kill.) He said when he couldn't wipe himself, he would do it. That came and went and he continued. Then he said it would be when he couldn't feed himself. Same. One limit after another came and passed and he continued on. I can see that process. It is important to set the limit but it is another to do it. Each them did remark on how if one has the capability to do it (kill oneself), then one is still alive and so hangs on a little bit more.

I need to find some material on how PCa kills, as to what one might expect. I know there will be pain and I will grow weaker. I just want to know what to expect from this Beast. I've already been through some of it, to a lighter degree. I just want to know what to expect and when. But then it is such a slow process. I know that I'm moving about slower than I was a few months ago. It doesn't happen overnight.

Today is the meeting with the Mayor and the photo-op. I need to decide what else has to be done in preparation. To think that I used to do this sort of stuff so much that I would think nothing of going on national TV and now I'm sort of wound up about a photo-op with a mayor. How odd. I must be out of shape. (laugh)

I'm going to go to the PBS site and see when the next Moyer's special is.


I went to the site but wasn't in the mood.

I'm not feeling that good. Between the PSA news and that show, it is not fun. Maybe getting out and having to be social with the Mayor will jump start me a bit.


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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 <>.