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Somedays you eat the bear and somedays the bear eats you

flatlander's picture
flatlander
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2011

I was diagnosed with my kidney tumor back in November. About the same time two fellow firemen from other departments in the same state were also diagnosed with RCC. I had a partial nephrectomy, another guy had full nephrectomy and the third fellow passed away last week. I don't know how things happen or why. I have spent much of my life wondering about that answer.

I do know that tomorrow I am going bear hunting. A Doc in an ER that I kept ending up in after surgery went poorly talked to me about his love for it. It's part of a greater list of things I decided to do ASAP when I got on my feet again. I will keep you posted and remember; somedays you eat the bear and somedays the bear eats you....

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Flatlander, it's so good to hear from you. Many of us who've been here for a little while must have wondered how you were getting on and worried not to have heard from you (well, that goes for me anyway, and I'm sure quite a few others).

Your questions about life inevitably strike any thinking person and particularly anyone who's gone through what we have. Like you, I don't have the answers.

It's great that you can now get into your bucket list with such adventurous activities (though hunting any animal doesn't appeal to me). Have a great time out there in the wilds of nature. Where will you be (for some reason I'm imagining Minnesota).

On Thursday I met up with some old friends from the past - all members of a university weight-lifting club - I'd not seen them for 30 years or so. We met at Glamis Castle (home of 'The Queen Mother' [the late mother of our present Queen]. During the guided tour we took, we were introduced to a small stuffed grizzly bear that had lived there until it was killed in the fields by a highland cow. I quietly remarked to my Canadian buddy (part of our Club while he was doing a Ph. D. in military history at Edinburgh Uni.) that I thought it implausible that a highland cow could kill even a small grizzly. I remembered what Al had told me about the black bears that used to come into their yard in Alberta and the grizzlies that he had seen. I'd only ever seen big bears in zoos. Please remember that you probably can't run as fast as you once could and, as you say, "somedays the bear eats you...." We'd all hate to see you beat cancer only to be eaten by a bear!

Take care!

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Flatlander,

Glad to hear you're feeling well enough to take on the wild outdoors. (Though I'd personally be happier to hear that you were hunting for bears with the Paddington label at the local mall. But it's not about me.)

John and I also find ourselves talking about life, stage IV cancer diagnoses, and the way things just happen. In the past four months, we've lost three good friends to bizarre circumstances; two of the three were years younger than John. One was killed in what appears to be a robbery; one was riding his bike (in bicycle) and hit a pot hole that resulted in his being propelled into a busy street killing him instantly; and one was vacationing in Ocean City, when in a freak accident, while racing his two sons on bicycle to see who could get home first, he inexplicably careened into the path of a bus resulting in fatal injuries. Two of these people knew of John's diagnosis and were supporting his fight and always inquiring how John was doing. Who would have thought that they would be gone so abruptly and long before John?

Incidents like this make you realize, life and death calls are made by a higher force. Remember there's a reason behind everything.

P.S. Hope you're a lousy shot.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Flatone,

I've been wondering how you were doing, good to hear all is well. As you may know, I've lost several people close to me to RCC and recently a good friend was dxed and had a partial, he is doing very well. The way I figure it we'll get the answers to all of life's unanswered questions when we meet our maker, in the meantime?????

Here's a hunting joke for you;

What do you call a deer with no eyes?
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No ideer

What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?
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STILL no ideer

I wish you better luck than the bear on the hunt,

Gary

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

What would we do without you?

Phoenix Rising's picture
Phoenix Rising
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2012

Flatlander! Have fun and do whatever keeps your mind off the enemy within-- the physical enemy that is RCC, and the mental enemy that questions your ability to live and be well.

When I was diagnosed in 2009, everyone in my family was devastated and in prayer and concentrating on my healing; and during the same week, my younger, vibrant, healthy, dear first cousin, who was like a sister, had been lying dead in her home for a few days-- the victim of a blood clot in her heart. I lost two more much younger cousins, both of my grandmothers and a close friend in the three years since my diagnosis. I never thought any of them would leave me here, and that I would be checking out long before they did, yet, here I am.

I used to wonder what I did to deserve this, but I wonder no more! I started eating better, laughing more, visiting family more often, buying more cute shoes, enjoying the small things, understanding people.... Then I wondered why I had to get sick before doing all this, when I should have been doing it all along. Now I know I HAD to get sick to realize what I needed to do, or else I probably would have continued the same unenlightened path.

We should do as you are doing. We should enjoy what we do have and keep it moving.
Take lots of beer on the trip so you'll have plenty to tell us when you return. The best stories begin with, "I had had a few beers and...."

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Sometimes we must experience darkness in order to appreciate the light.

Love the pic bty,

Gary

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

Agree with you wholeheartedly as well as Gary on both counts. Rottweiler puppy?

Like your idea about a few beers - better story and diminished shooting ability! Win Win for the bear.

ourfriendjohn's picture
ourfriendjohn
Posts: 72
Joined: Jun 2012

Phoenix

Thank you for sharing that. I am going to put that third paragraph in my "words of wisdom" folder. I already have a few items from Gary and Alice in there. Now, if you are like me, the challenge is to follow your intentions. Best wishes.

John

BTW I had my right radical nephrectomy one year ago tomorrow. WooHoo! Life is grand!

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi John,

I'll bet this past year has gone pretty fast since that first couple really slow weeks. Its been almost 34mos for me and the time has flown by.

Here's to many, many, more,

Gary

ourfriendjohn's picture
ourfriendjohn
Posts: 72
Joined: Jun 2012

Thanks Gary,

It really has flown by. Your 34 years really gives me hope. I look forward to many more editions of your Friday Funnies.

John

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Only months John, by the time 34 years pass I'll be nothing more than dust.

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

It's been a year already! Life is grand.

The older I become the more I believe that we're constantly given signals, on what our life paths should look like, but--most of us--are too preoccupied with our lives to recognize them. Sometimes the strength of those signals need to be knotched up to get our attention, like in the diagnosis of cancer.

Again congratulations on your first anniversary and wishes for many, many more.

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

dup again - sorry

NewDay's picture
NewDay
Posts: 166
Joined: May 2012

Phoenix,

Love the photo!

Flatlander,

I'm with Alice on the poor bear, but I hope if you hit him that you are a good shot so the poor bear won't suffer and so you don't end up with a really angry wounded bear on your tail.

John,

Congratulations! And I like the idea of keeping a "words of wisdom" folder. I think I will also keep another folder where I will copy/paste some of the inspirational stories that are shared here so that, on a down day, I can just quickly go to it to put things back in perspective.

Kathy

flatlander's picture
flatlander
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2011

Many of you can rest easy for now as I checked my secret location and so far no bears have appeared on my hidden camera. I've either been working or with the children a lot lately so no time to go stalking for one. I am in New Hampshire and grew up a city kid in Boston so this is all new to me. It all sounded crazy to me years ago too.

On another note I had my first 'real' house fire at work last night. After we did our searches for victims and pets etc. We go back outside and wait for our next assingment. I'm standing there at age 40 with my 24 year old partner and toxic burnt plastic is floating over us in the night air. So I looked at him and he read my mind. I had mentioned to him at last weeks minor fire that all this smoke is like standing in carcinogens. I used to love a good fire but now even that is different. We mask up to go spray water and search rooms but outside its mask off. We monitor the air now more than ever but it is only for cyanide and carbon monoxide. So as I told the kid, it never bothered me before. But hell I never would have climbed up a hill with a gun in the morning before either. Cancer changes so many things. I appreciate so many things more, not that I didn't feel lucky before its just different. I don't know what I'd do if it came back, however it is my only fear most days. My yearly evaluation at work requeires us to write a goal. I found it so hard to come up with anything. I finaly said, Capt. My goal is to fu#$k*g stay alive for the next five years so I can officially be in the 'safe zone'. Not too much else matters. Enjoy everyday my friends as others have stated; some days you're the windshield and some days you're the bug.

Limelife50's picture
Limelife50
Posts: 409
Joined: Nov 2011

I never ate a bear dont think i would ever want to and i never plan on taking a hike in Alaska so i doubt a bear would ever eat me

Phoenix Rising's picture
Phoenix Rising
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2012

That is my favorite picture of my pookie pookie boo boo baby. He was 10 weeks old in the pic, and is now 8 years old and still just as sweet. Playing with him is great for relaxation!

ourfriendjohn's picture
ourfriendjohn
Posts: 72
Joined: Jun 2012

Alice,

I agree with you. In the words of John Lennon: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". A lot of times I think it takes a serious wake-up call for us to realign our priorities. It did for me and I have gained so much by listening to everyone here.

Thanks.

John

Now really: "pookie pookie boo boo baby"? He is cute.

flatlander's picture
flatlander
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2011

So only can find bear poop. Inlaws house down the road a mile has had trash ripped open twice and I have the bear on night camera 500' from my house. However no day time sighting of the bear yet.

Today I did get my first turkey while hunting. I said in the hospital I was finaly going to take the class and go hunting. So today was a victory for me.

As luck would have it however I winged a second turkey when I shot. So only being allowed 1 turkey I reluctantly carried both to my vehicle pondering what to do. Well as luck would have it, who pulls up? The local game warden helped me decide what to do; he took one and gave me a $124 fine for 'over limit'. He couldn't have been nicer, but he's got a job to do and I respect them.

So for me, I'm happy I got a bird and the kids and I got to grill it up. 11 months ago I didn't know if I'd see another wild turkey so I will pay the fine. He said being a first time hunter its an honest mistake in fall. He said I was so polite he would recommend no loss of hunting license. I didn't tell him, but how can I not be happy, I'm alive and so far so good.

Two weeks ago.I had a scare. Turned out likely prostititus. It could have been prostate ca. So my 8lb hen cost $124, it was awesome.

It tastes like chicken,

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 614
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Flatlander. I have to tell you, I just laughed my head off reading this last post! Glad you have a positive attitude about it. I am still laughing. The guy said he hated to give you the ticket, but he didn't have to. I bet he really enjoyed roasting that bird! LOL it is all good though. Wishing you more fun times, birds and cooking with the kids!

Gordon Charles's picture
Gordon Charles
Posts: 91
Joined: Jun 2012

Well, you got a turkey and in the running for a bear, what's the limit on bear poop?... any deer in your sights? As for the game warden, they just know when to be around and you're right... courtesy is the only way to go...planning a hunt does take on a special feel when you've got cancer in your resume. Enjoy the woods!

By the way... LOVE the scar Flatlander... mine is an inverted "T" on my lower abdomen...(well, duh Gordo.. it sure wouldn't be on my upper chest for a kidney extraction now would it?)

I must say I have a wonderful grasp of the obvious!

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

After my bear hunting barbs, don't you find it interesting your fine was $124?

Love the story,

alice124

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Perhaps we should refer to you as "The Game Warden" from now on. I didn't realize the breadth of your reach. Fortunately I don't hunt, but I was caught "parking" with a girlfriend once...but that's a different story, kinda like your doggie commentary. LOL

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

Gary,

Warden? Been called worse :)

You'd be astonished with my reach. Watch yourself Gary; you'll never see me coming. . .
U provide way too much ammunition.

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