Health & Medical

Life in the Slow Lane

Dearest Suddenly Senior friends,

Last we checked in, both Carolyn and I had been declared in remission from our cancers. Free to travel again, we thought. Free to be us again at last!

(Read all the columns to learn about that, starting here with Suddenly Senior’s birth.)

But remission never lived up to its reputation. We’ve been sick as hell. No energy. No appetite. Lots of pain.

A condition known as “chemo brain” keeps us from writing much. Words don’t work the way they used to. An after-effect of our chemo and radiation, chemo brain can make the world exceedingly difficult to understand and interact with.

We’ve even lost our manners, dear friends, a truly sad thing in the eyes of two of the most polite people you’ll ever meet. Hundreds of you write us, praying for our recovery.

We’re too often too weak to answer. We seldom pick up calls anymore.

Yet we keep in touch. We keep learning. We’ve discovered that old Commie, Leon Trotsky was right on the money when he stated old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a person. He noted, “With age, you can be sick as a dog while laughing like a hyena.”

This is an original and surprising time for all of us geezers. A time like no other (even time changes dramatically!) But once Carolyn and I seriously considered the many rewards, it has been worth the pain and inconvenience of it all. So far.

Like life itself, all you really need is a good sense of humor.

Fighting cancer these last two years has taught us that nothing is hopeless. Even the trip to hell and back has its scenic delights. We’ve learned to live with all manner of aggravations from life-threatening infections to skin diseases impossible to explain.

You know what? It always could be much worse.

The Best of Times, The Worst…

We’ve learned that each day is precious. And often boring. Until evening, anyway.

For in spite of the medical disappointments, dear readers, Carolyn and I celebrate life and joy every night that we can find the strength. Usually, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 or 10, we put all our strength into massaging and pleasuring one another. And joke. And have such a good time just being us together. With candles and the best music, we can find.

Life is good.

We told you ten years ago at the beginning of this Suddenly Senior trek https://www.suddenlysenior.com that we’d illuminate aging like it was as it was happening to us. Exactly. Horse’s mouth.

Five hundred columns later, this is it today from Suddenly Seniors aged 68 (Carolyn) and 74 (Frank).

Life, they say, becomes all the sweeter when you are faced with your own mortality. And watching a loved one battle against all odds changes the way you think and feel. We are so thankful we still are together. Life without one another is unthinkable.

What Now?

Remember? We were the couple who traveled the world, hopping planes, trains and old clunkers of busses in Africa, China, and Russia. Brazil. Siberia! All over this hemisphere, too. And it was free! All we had to do was write the truth. Which, I believe we have done better than most.

We want to do that again. We’ve already lined up our old friends at Caravan Tours for a couple seats next summer on a slick tour bus, comfortably treating us to nine days of Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies, two of the most gorgeous places we have ever been. To see all that again would be to revisit heaven.

So this is the latest chapter in our story and our answer to all of you who have so kindly written. We’re living life in the slow lane, enjoying almost every moment we feel energetic enough to do so, and planning for the future, albeit uncertain. We thank you for your letters and your prayers.

Almost forgot to ask, “What are you up to these days?”

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