Cancer: Bad News Travels Faster than Good News

April 1, 2011


If I had ever doubted that bad news travels faster than good news, then I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when my wife’s operation reported the presence of a malignant cancer. At first it seemed as if she might get off lightly. There was no evidence that any of the cancer cells were left, and it seemed as though some radiation treatment as well as a simple pill would reduce the chances of recurrence to a negligible level. However, as the days went by and new pathology reports were received, things got somewhat less certain.

Currently we are being assured that three months of chemical therapies of a more serious nature  followed by radiation treatment will reduce the chances for recurrence to reasonable levels. We won’t know any more than this for about a week when she is scheduled to take her first cocktail, as she insists on referring to it. I may spend the same six hour session having one of my own. Mine will probably resemble a really large martini.

She gave me permission to include a few of her own words, a part of her message which she has repeated on her own blog as well as mailed out to her many friends and family.


…Everyone was away over Christmas, so I went to my surgeon in early January and scheduled surgery for early February.

Of course, I caught the flu and gave it to Charles. I made a resolution.  I am NOT going back to an SSPC convention in Las Vegas.  This is the second SSPC convention in Las Vegas.  I came home with the flu both times.

Surgery for the lump was Feb 21.  It was malignant, but all CANCER cells were contained in the lump.  Nothing elsewhere- no lymph node involvement, no margin involvement.  A great success.

But- cocktails are on the way.

There is a procedure to reduce re-occurrence of cancer in the whole body. I was given a little pill for estrogen sensitive cancer.  I was promised a side effect of hot flashes, which didn’t really bother me as I already have hot flashes. Then a follow-up report came in.  The little pill won’t really be effective against this type of cancer.

Yesterday, the oncologist and I discussed the change. I go in for four treatments of a chemical cocktail once every three weeks, starting on April 6, and again on April 27th.  This doesn’t sound nearly as much fun.  But I have an excuse to take a nap whenever I like.  I am told the typical patient can continue to work, but be prepared to be dragging.

Keep in mind, this is the current routine protocol for people who had all of the cells removed.

I am bulking up by eating popcorn for the time when I will lose my appetite.  I can gain 3 pounds a day on one bag of popcorn. Sunday, Charles,  Ed, and Rita, and I are going to see Osage County at Zachary Scott Theatre.  I plan to bulk up on wine and good company that day.

I’ll let you know how the days are progressing.  In the meantime, I keep on working.  I enjoy what I am doing.  I am trying to balance technical brain-dead engineering with creative novel writing and publishing.  The garden is coming along nicely.

I don’t expect my wife of 38 years  to slow down to accommodate any of these merely mortal  inconveniences; she’s not the slowdown sort of person. It’s a part of what I admire about her.  I believe she’s planning a trip to Anchorage, Alaska, to lecture a shipyard how to prepare steel for repainting in the latter half of April.


About charles frenzel

I've been writing all my life. I've also painted, composed, sculpted, contributed to molecular research, advanced some mathematical concepts, lived on a sailboat, and worked for a Nobel Prize winner. Nothing in my life has pleased me more than to share my life with my wife and friend of over forty years.

View all posts by charles frenzel

One Response to “Cancer: Bad News Travels Faster than Good News”

  1. Ilo & Ted Says:

    Charles and Lydia Frenzel..we love you !!! hope you get better
    very soon,


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