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I am now 85 years old. It has been a good life, not that I always knew what I was doing or where I was headed, but these days I have a good feeing of satisfaction. I recently moved into a retirement community called Rockridge in Northampton MA. I did this because I sensed that the days were dwindling down and my physical capacity was starting to show significant changes.
Most recently, after enduring a year of series of yes and no biopsies inside my nose, I finally got the definitive finding - carcinoma in my nasal passages, source unknown. To make a long story short, on Tuesday, November 22, 2016,d I will report to the VA Medical Center in West Roxbury, MA for surgery to remove the cancer. As you can imagine, the nasal passageways are a little tricky to navigate. The doctors have decided the best approach is to go in through the roof of my mouth to excise the cancer. This results in a hole in the roof of my mouth that needs to be closed so that I can breathe, eat and speak normally. So, a fairly complicated and probably painful process lay ahead of me, I think. Also in the last few years I have developed right side heart failure, a further complication that carries the risk of stroke or death during the surgery.
The Sanskrit Mantra tattooed on my right ankle is translated as "Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone very far beyond, all hail!" Where we all go eventually. Just a part of the journey as we used to say.