Art’s Story

Site created on March 11, 2020

Welcome to my Caring Bridge site. Here's what I posted on Facebook just over a month ago, when I first found out that I had HPV-positive squamous cell throat cancer. I will be using this Caring Bridge site for updates, if you're interested:

Dear friends. Social media is a new phenomenon in our lives, so it's with a little trepidation I send this out to you. I would prefer to speak with each of you individually. And I hope you will feel free to speak with me via email, if you are so moved...

I've been diagnosed with squamous throat cancer, and will be entering treatment soon. It happened rather quickly, and I just had it confirmed today. So I will be stepping back from all my jobs and projects to focus on my own healing. That includes not being on social media much, if at all.

Having been with Mary and my dad when they took their last breath, I've been close up with death. It comes for all of us. So it's not with fear that I enter this curve in the road, but with an elder's eyes -- aware that each joy, each adversity is an opportunity. I won't be battling cancer. I'm not at war with my body. But I will be paying close attention to myself, something that I've found surprisingly harder than I ever thought possible, so easily does life's busyness distract us.

If this next adventure leads to health, I will be back on line. But for now, I send you blessings. And this little poem:

PALEOHIPPIE CANCER

-for Kyra

Let’s skip the call
My throat’s sore so it’s easier to write
At 74 I’m ready for the next adventure

Getting wheeled through the hospital
sidebars up & all prepped
for Surgery Room #1
A laryngoscopy & two biopsies

Banded on the wrist
like an old coot doing decoy duty

The floor nurse
introduces the operating room
nurse to her set-up team

Trippy listening in
Just before going under

“Treatable”
the docs attest

Starting to grok
pulling a Yul Brenner
after all those years of uncut locks

“Have the Tables Turned”
asks the cancer survivor of the
yet-to-be-treated cancer
patient?

Time to right those tables
Jump up on them

Bloom
As long as it lasts 


(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10220837148295334&set=a.1303215057284&type=3&eid=ARC7KAuHq4Q7UQqWxOJwzXNvxpPggaLJuWWHhusAxT0U63D8JByInvX4FK_kc9VRtAUrv-agcpsLdBAr)

Newest Update

Journal entry by Art Goodtimes

Aug. 6th, the 75th ANNIVERSARY of our country's first use of an atomic bomb, unleashing the nuclear genii on the city of Hiroshima. My grandmother was born in Japan, an orphan, left on the doorstep of a tavern in Yokohama or Nagasaki before the war. She spoke English with a Nipponese accent. Married a sailor, took a steamer alone to San Francisco and had several kids ... I didn't see my first TV until I was 7, and the first image i remember was an explosive mushroom cloud filling the luminous screen from the U.S. Bikini tests in the Pacific ... So, for me, it's deeply ironic that I get a second lease on life personally as we remember this human catastrophe that killed so many non-combatant civilians, including women and children, indiscriminately ... My PET scan was good news. No sign of any cancers in my body. All my doctors were pleased -- my otolaryngologist Duane Hartshorn and oncologists Vernon King and Kyle Work. All said I was doing good for just three months out since my treatment. Still some taste issues. Lymphedema on my throat that I'm learned to massage. Though they say the swelling will shrink eventually ... I still have my feeding tube, but I'm hoping to be able to eat enough orally to maintain my weight and get it out in a couple weeks ... After 25+ years trying to lose weight, my dietician Katie says I am still recovering and need to NOT lose any more weight. Happily I've gone from 185 to 140 pounds, and I feel great about my body mass index (which is completely normal, not even overweight). But she warned me that I needed strength to heal for at least the next year. And she encouraged me to indulge whatever foods appealed in doing that -- a very different strategy than I've employed for a quarter century. Cancer changes everything, I'm finding ... But now it's thumbs up for me. After months being cared for by my brother poet and friend Danny Rosen of Fruita, who opened his home to me, I'm excited to move back to Norwood into the Willow Fan Farmhouse that the kids have bought -- for me and as a wily investment in Colorado. It will have all the amenities I've done without for my 40+ years in this state, trying to live my own version of voluntary simplicity. And I'm hugely grateful to Iris and Bert for making my old age a happy time of new beginnings as well as continued endings. And blessings to all of you who've contributed to my healing and well-being. It's another huge irony that it's been an illness that has gifted me with wonderful new and old connections with all of you -- my clan of friends. Bless you!!!!
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