November 30 2020. The Ledges State Park at Long Lake.

Jim Lindberg

First post: Aug 29, 2021 Latest post: Aug 24, 2022
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Note:  PLEASE give us privacy at this time. 
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September 2, 2021
Life does change, sometimes very quickly.
Some of you know I love limericks and write them. Here’s one.
It successfully grew there, well hidden
The reaction? you’ve got to be kiddin’ 
No symptoms ’til tired, anemic
at the height of great epideemic
Jim led a charmed life … ’til he didn’t
On May 7th I had my annual physical and got the best numbers I have ever had. Feeling strong, doing a lot of hard, physical labor in the garden. That started changing in June. On July 12th I was significantly less energetic and went back to my PCP. My hemoglobin had dropped from 15 to 10. I was bleeding from somewhere in my GI tract.
So on July 12th my doctor immediately sent the request to Iowa Digestive Disease Center with the instruction to find the source of the bleeding ASAP. I talked to the PA on July 14. Instead of saying that they were unable to do anything ASAP, IDDC scheduled the endoscopy/colonoscopy for August 5. I should have walked out and gone elsewhere (not that it would have changed the outcome). We still don’t know the source of the bleeding but we do know several other very interesting things.
1. I have cancer. 2. It’s Stage 4 as in that’s incurable. 3. It’s metastatic as in it has gotten around. 4. It’s of pancreatic origin as in it doesn’t get any worse than that. So symptomatic cancer of the pancreas has had about a 15 to 20 year head start. Symptomatic pancreatic cancer? Get your affairs in order. Think of the late Steve Jobs who had all the money and resources in the world at his disposal.
Since I am 80 and not a fool, I am choosing to forgo any treatment to arrest the cancer or delay the outcome. I think about the treatments and potential for success (very close to zero) with pancreatic cancer, and I say, “Why would I choose to die two, three, or four times (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation). Once will be plenty.” I am at home and now in hospice care, which means no more diagnoses and no more treatment except for comfort.
While you are all my friends and I love many of you, you are not the “affairs I need to get in order”. If you are feeling the need to rush right over, those are your feelings, and you need to find a way to deal with them. Not me. I have plenty to deal with.
Those of you who see me in meetings will continue to see me until you don’t. 
I am fairly successful in living my life on a daily basis. I have done that with you. I have no need to revise our history including my words or our mutual experiences or pretend that our experiences together were different than they were. I will take responsibility for my feelings. You take responsibility for yours. I know how to reach you, and I will do that if I want. In the meantime, I do not want visitors, I do not want people dropping over, I do not want people calling, I do not want people texting, and I do not want people Facebook messaging me. If you want to write, Sandy is setting up an email account for that purpose ( I want privacy; I want to spend time with Sandy; I want to have some limited visits with close family. Another Swede said famously, “I vant to be alone.” Hear this clearly: that’s a boundary. Don’t cross it unless I ask you.
I have a strong spiritual life, but I don’t subscribe to the mythology of Zeus who was BC, the dogma of the 4th century Nicene Creed, Odin who was 8th and 9th century AD Swedish god, or any of the other gods who were created in man’s image. I do connect strongly to the words of some of the great thinkers and writers including some in The Bible, Native American spiritual thinkers, a few Buddhists, the Dalai Lama, a few Persians, and the great humans that I have met through the years. I do subscribe to the power of the arts, especially music. I am comfortable with that. I don’t need the certainty that many turn to. I had a very strong religious upbringing so my views on religion and spirituality are not carelessly thought out. Paul might have gotten a little carried away when he wrote in I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I see Paul’s quote as being about connection to spiritual gifts rather than to a specific god which is what he thought. I would guess that most of my friends see it otherwise. That’s your shtick. The Jewish word nephesh which is translated as “soul” refers to a living, breathing conscious body and not an immortal being. The Jewish view of soul and life is closer to my belief. Don’t count on seeing me in either Heaven or Hell. I am just one of 8 billion earthlings, lived here, died here, ain’t goin’ anywhere.

August 29, 2021

While we were disappointed that we could not travel and eat out the last 18 months, Jim has thrived during the pandemic - because he is an introvert. If you want to understand him, he encourages everyone to read the book by Susan Cain, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”

As a scientist, he read about a virus early on and we kept an eye out for news. We started early and stocked up on supplies. We got in a lot of walking and scenic drives around central Iowa. He was able to concentrate on building a backyard fence, doing lots of flower and vegetable gardening, working on genealogy, connecting with friends and family through zoom, and did a lot of cooking and dish washing. And of course, watching sports. We have grown closer as a couple and are sad for people who are not comfortable with their pandemic companions or are alone. We ordered frozen meat and learned to navigate online grocery ordering and even delivery for awhile. Now we order and drive up. We discovered we like to select our own fresh produce.

Jim had a glowing health report at his annual physical in May 2021. His doctor said “you're no fun!” and they both laughed. He was carrying 50 pound bags of mulch and doing strenuous work in the yard. Life was good.

In July he starting feeling very fatigued. He ate some fish he thought was bad and might be causing problems, or thought he might have a bleeding ulcer. A visit to the general practitioner revealed a drop in iron level from 15 in May to 10 in July. No wonder he was tired. We were referred for more testing - which is a long and frustrating story. Ultimately we recently got a diagnosis that revealed he has stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer.

We now have an excellent oncology team and have been so pleased with the care we are getting. And we have three doctors in the family who we can run things past and trust we get the best they offer as well.

Recently we told a very few close family members. We had to absorb this shocking news and prepare a plan for updating everyone and receiving contact with his many, many friends, relatives, former colleagues, former students, neighbors, etc.

Please respect our privacy at this difficult time. As Jim’s stamina and energy allows, we might be having visitors or zoom calls. That is unknown as this seems to be progressing rapidly and has left Jim very fatigued.

Many of you know Jim has quite a sense of humor and loves to write limericks. Of course, this calls for one.

     It successfully grew there, well hidden
     The reaction? you’ve got to be kiddin’ 
     No symptoms ’til tired, anemic
     at the height of great epideemic

     Jim led a charmed life … ’til he didn’t 
We welcome you to share your good wishes and memories here. We love you all and feel loved. We’ll probably be reaching out for assistance.

“It is what it is. It is enough.”
He lives in the present and has few regrets.

We are having our next adventure with each other - an unwanted one that we never expected or imagined. We’re together though. 💜    We’ve had a good life.

Thank you all,
Sandy and Jim

Jim requests no “drama.” That means rushing to his side, trying to plan things and fix this. He is quite aware of what is happening. We have discussed end-of-life issues for years and read all the books. His wish is to have a quiet and peaceful transition. My wish is that he has little pain.