It’s really fall

As we rounded a corner on the way to the bus stop on Thursday morning, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a wild turkey. It was one of a large flock (herd seems more appropriate) of turkeys crossing the road, including a very large tom. Fall in New England.

I’ve been spending a good deal of time in the woods photographing the leaves; I hope to exhibit large format prints of some of the many close-ups.


A week and a half ago, I was a passenger on my neighbor Arthur’s harley, for some open air leaf peeping. We logged three hundred miles on an absolutely sparkling day; it was so much fun.

One of the first times I saw Arthur, he was riding a sit down lawn mover while wearing a big sombrero and a bear claw necklace. I decided he was likely a character. And then I met his lovely wife Betty, who was battling breast cancer. Betty and I really bonded, and when she passed away last year, I was heartbroken. Arthur was devastated. This summer he bought the harley (Betty’s name is painted on the back) and got his motorcycle license. Arthur is 73, although he doesn’t look a day over 60. And the bike has been good for him; he says he feels like a kid when he’s riding.

Foot of Mt. Washington; pretending I'm at the wheel

So for some time now Arthur’s been saying, “if it’s alright with your husband, I’ll come pick you up for a ride”. Heck yes it was alright. Seven hours and three stops later, I limped off the bike; saddle sore but exhilarated. Thank you Arthur!

A week ago I met with the surgeon. It had been our hope that the biopsy could be performed via VATS (video assisted thoracotomy surgery), a more minimally invasive surgery. However, due to (once again) the ground glass nature of my tumor (versus a solid entity), the peripheral location, as well as the fact that it was probable that there would be scarring and adhesions from the previous lobectomy, he was not confident that it would be possible.

It was his suggestion that I have a CT scan prior to surgery, and that using the image as a guide, a mark would be placed on my chest above the tumor. He would use this site to attempt a VATS wedge resection, but if it proved too difficult, he would need to fall back on open chest surgery.

I have great confidence in my surgeon (Dr. Doug Mathisen), but the idea of open chest surgery again made me more than a little uneasy. Surgery was scheduled for the following Friday (yesterday), but after a conversation with Alice (Dr. Shaw) on Monday, she agreed that open chest was a lot to go through for a biopsy. In addition, the sinus infection I’d picked up after Sweden tested positive for a gram negative bacteria (Pseudomonas), and I was still on antibiotics. Even a vague possibility of residual  infection entering my chest cavity was a definite con.

So, despite a higher than usual probability of failure and/or post biopsy bleeding, I will have a needle biopsy on Wednesday. All things considered, it still seems like the most reasonable choice. I hope it is successful, and if not, the more radical approach is yet an option.

12 responses to “It’s really fall

  1. Hi Linnea….I agree with you Dr. Mathisen would do a wonderful job if that path is chosen. He did some biopsies on my then-husband which eventually turned out to be sarcoidosis….a very smart and talented doctor. Thanks for your kind words for my mom. The end was peaceful and not painful. Linda

    • Linda, Doug truly inspires confidence. And your mom was one of my inspirations…my friend, I hope you are well. Linnea

  2. Querida Linnea:
    I am very impress with your trip places and histories, feels good inside to visit our roots places.
    Makes me happy to see that you have stamina to burn candles at both ends.
    Your trip in the Harley is amazing, I wish I was the driver, I am going down hill faster than him…
    Reminds me of the movie Easy rider made around my arrival in USA, hippies looking for freedom and ending in flames

    Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson gone in their early seventies, Peter Fonda, your driver and I still riding.
    I know that I am inactive, sold the bike won in the cancer lottery to the son of Adriana, my best man in my wedding, yes the best man is the mother, the son sails a moth hydrofoil that probably appeals to you

    Since my bad experience with Tarceva chemo I ride less and Beryl is the car driver, too many pain killers make me sleepy.
    I can control the right torso sweating with DrySol, much better now but I have appointment with a dermatologist to talk about botox and nerve damage origin of the problem. I did well with Alimta but the canadian health plan does not cover maintenance, now reading my ex employer plan I found that they pay for Alimta, so cross your fingers, we may stop “progress”.
    Like Arthur said “if it’s alright with your husband, I” think a lot about your chest. I worry and hope for the best results in a biopsy.
    The picture of oak leaves is like in my street, plus canadian geese
    in the school fields. Like to see you well soon.

    • Guillermo, Easy Rider is one trippy movie. I’m glad I’m old enough to remember real Hippies. Too bad about your bike–but I think maybe I want to learn how to sail one of those hydrofoils; you can ride shotgun. My husband says that’s ‘fine’. Linnea 🙂

  3. Pat & Will Plattner

    To the Motorcycle Mamma of Blueberry Hill: our thoughts and all the good energy we can muster is going your way right now!! Catch it!!
    Sent with all our love 🙂

  4. Dear Linnea:
    The B day arrives (Big Biopsy) and I keep thinking of you.
    Can not think of anythink funny to say to relax, to forget.
    With my little girls I used a rhyme or I did kiss the injury better.
    This rhyme is said to have magical healing power. Parents gently rub or tap their fingers over a cut, bruise, or other injury in a circular motion, repeating the rhyme, and the injured child quickly feels better.
    Sana sana,
    Colita de rana
    Si no sanas hoy
    Sanarás mañana.

    Heal, heal,
    Little tail of the frog,
    If you don’t heal today,
    You’ll heal tomorrow.

    For a big girl in another cancer battle 10 points from the Art of War:
    Sun Tzu’s Principles
    Learn to fight
    Show the way
    Do it right
    Know the facts
    Expect the worst
    Seize the day
    Burn the bridges
    Do it better
    Pull together
    Keep them guessing

    He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious. – Sun Tzu

    • Guillermo, I love the soothing little rhyme (works too, I tried it). And I couldn’t be more relieved that to hear that you are in a Sun Tzu mood. Battle on my friend! Linnea

  5. The motorcycle trip proves you are one tough Momma…gave up driving mine many years ago when I became a road chicken. Know that that same toughness has gotten you through a great deal so far, and you’ll come through this part too.

    • Marge, road chicken is a pretty funny description. Somehow I don’t picture you as such…I can do biker chick (at least on a three wheeler!) thanks to my leathers from Goodwill. Hope you are hanging in there…Linnea

  6. Linnea: Thanks to all the Gods, whereever they are.
    You are fast back on the road without a flat after the puncture.

  7. Thinking of you and hoping all is well now…the day after the Big day. I saw you on the news last night…a brief bit on the clinical trial and crizotinib. Sending you warm thoughts and positive energy…’s to a speedy recovery.

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