—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

Shannon’s Journey, 13

Untitled photo
As usual, Shannon was calm and collected as she waited at her oncologist’s. Today, she’s seeing nurse Julie, who is going to examine her and hopefully give her positive news, you know, like everything’s going fine.

Of course, if she didn’t have to have any more chemo, didn’t have to lose her hair, didn’t have to be sick after each treatment, it would be better than fine.

Still, if you gotta have chemo, you could do far worse than adopting Shannon’s attitude. She’s not afraid of it. She won’t shrink from it. But she doesn’t like it, so she might as well not worry about it. But it’s hard to put it out of your mind when it sends you to the hospital.

Untitled photo
Julie was only in the room for a few minutes when she asked Shannon to get up on the table. I remember when I was a child and old Doc Gibbons would have me get up on his table. He was a scary man and oftentimes he’d stick me in the butt with a needle, which I didn’t like.

When I saw Shannon, looking up at the blank ceiling, I couldn’t help wondering if she was as afraid of what was going to happen as I was of that old doctor.

However, looking back on it, the doctor was a kindly old gentleman, who still made house calls, when most in his profession had given them up. I know now, I should never have been afraid of him. And I’m hoping whatever fears Shannon’s going through are as groundless and those I felt in that old doctor’s office.

Untitled photo
Once on the table, Julie poked and prodded the way medical people do. “Does it hurt here? Or here? How’s that feel?,” and Shannon confessed that most of the pain was gone and that was good. However, she’s not shitting anywhere near as well as she’d like. Actually she said pooping, but that’s such a girly word.

“How much?” Julie said.

Shannon held up her index finger.”

“That much.”


Julie said she’d prescribe something for that. And I kinda shook my head. Vesta and I had been around Shannon so much that she wasn’t embarrassed to talk about that or any of her bodily functions in front of us. And what I’ve taken away from all of this is not only does cancer suck, but the cure does too.

Untitled photo
Table exam over, Julie is telling Shannon about the results of her labs tests, the ones taken in the hospital, where they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.

She said Shannon had a urinary infection and apparently a very bad one. Well obviously it was bad, she had to go to the ER and they admitted her and held her there for two days, poking, prodding, testing and who knows what else till the cows come home and when they let her go, they weren’t any the wiser.

And, Julie added, it’s possible Shannon also was experiencing some of the side effects of the Neulasta. You remember, that drug that costs $6000 a shot. The one that’s supposed to help her immune system, so she doesn’t get a common cold and die.

And the vomiting was a side effect of the chemo.

So she had a lotta different bad stuff going on in her body, so I guess it’s no wonder the doctors were confused.

Untitled photo

Here is a photograph of Shannon and Nurse Julie. Like all of the staff at her oncologist’s office, she is very nice and caring. Getting cancer free is a very expensive process, even if you have Cadillac insurance, so if you have to pay out the do re mi, you might as well be paying it to an office full of nice people.

Untitled photo

Visit with Nurse Julie thru, now it’s time to deal with paperwork and there is always paperwork, endless paperwork. If you think you might get cancer someday, start practicing patience right now. Start practicing perseverance too. And get yourself some accounting skills as well. And a speed reading course would be good.

Untitled photo
And shock therapy is a must. Cuz you’re gonna get shocked when you see what some of this stuff, that’s not covered by your insurance, costs.

Speaking of the cost, Shannon’s kids have started a medical fund to try and raise some money, you know, so they can pay their bills and keep their heat on in the wintertime and so they can pay their rent and eat, stuff like that. Plus, there seems to be endless copays Shannon has to put on her credit card. And then there’s the stuff the insurance doesn’t cover.

Right now her kids are trying to raise $2500, but it’s not going to be nearly enough. I’m guessing they think if they ask for more, people might not give. They should raise it to $25,000, but they probably won’t, even though that won’t be enough either.

Cancer is so very expensive.

Untitled photo

“Hey, Shannon,” I said, “Look this way.” And she did. And she saw the camera. That’s one way to wipe the shock right off a girl’s face. Put a camera in front of it and she’ll smile every time. Well, almost every time.

Untitled photo
Shannon and Vesta, just before we left Dr. Reganti’s office. She didn’t come today to see Dr. Reganti, but I saw her dashing from one room to another and said hello. She’s got a lotta patients and she looked like she was up to her eyeballs in ‘em this day. And that is just heartbreaking that there are so very many people who need her services.

They really do gotta come up with a cure. President Obama want’s to put Joe Biden in charge of a Moonshot for a Cancer Cure, you know, like President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon inside of a decade. He wants a billion bucks for the campaign and I say, give him whatever he wants. We need a cure.

Untitled photo

Leaving Shannon’s oncologist, we passed this white wall on the ground floor with gorgeous cloud filtered sunlight coming in the window opposite. And I had a camera, so—

Untitled photo
Untitled photo
Untitled photo
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In