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Damn scanxiety!

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

I have my three months chest/abdomen/pelvis CT on Wednesday. The anxiety is starting. I really don't care for the 1 week wait between the scan and seeing my oncologist. I was spoiled before. Used to I'd get scanned in the morning and see him in the afternoon and get the result.

Three things really bothering me of late. I've gained 25 pounds since my adrenal gland was removed last year. I have obstructive sleep apnea, and it's gotten worse. Could be the weight gain. Could be a new CPAP machine I recently got. I know bad sleep and extra weight are not good for me (in my mind they may depress my immune system and lead to more tumors or worsening kidney disease), but other than worrying about them I can't seem make any progress improving the situation.

The last thing really bothering me is my youngest son refusing to talk to me. It's been nearly 3 years since he declared "I was never there for him when he was younger" and he decided not to have anything to do with me. One of my biggest fears is getting seriously sick before reconciling with him. He has a lot of anger. Honestly, I don't think I did anything to deserve the level of anger he has towards me. I know I disappointed him and could have been a better father. However, I did my best. I can list all the things I did for him, but it's of no use. That's the way he feels, so what's to be done?

I was over at my ex-wife's yesterday to pick up my dog and he was there in the backyard. He could see me and I could see him through the kitchen window. He didn't wave or say hi. It's been like this for months. He lives there and when I'm by for any reason he avoids me. At family gatherings he comes but tries not to speak to me. If he has to, he will, but he's obviously not happy about it. Whenever I've reached out to him, he's gotten very angry.

Honestly, having him be like this is very, very hard. I think of it all the time and try to figure out what I can do but just keep coming back to the fact that he doesn't want contact with me, and so I feel like the right thing to do is to keep the boundaries he's established. So far, whenever I didn't, it made things worse each time. The cancer intensifies the idea that I must have been a really bad father. Who would disown their father when he gets sick unless he deserved it?

I wish someone in my family could get through to him. However, my older son and ex-wife have given up. They don't want to talk about it with me anymore and they don't want to talk to him about it either. I'm not the only one he keeps distant.

He seems to have a lot of anger issues. He's a smart guy, but really isolates himself. He refuses to get any sort of help and has been very touchy in the past when anyone in our family suggest he needs some help (with career, for example, or with advice on education or emotional issues).

He's been having some serious procrastination issues with other things in his life as well. He's 29 and still lives at home with his mom. Although he's incredibly bright (straight A college student) and talented he has refused to do any graduate studies or further his education. He's never had a girlfriend or dated anyone as far as I know.

I really worry about him.

The last few times I've gone to the doctor to get my results, I've gone alone. I'm thinking about asking someone to go with me this time. Of course for good news I'm fine alone. But if the news isn't good, I would rather have someone with me. When both of my tumors were found (two separate occasions) I was by myself when I was told about them. It made it much harder being there all alone. My older son might go with me but I'm not sure. His attitude has been that I need to be positive and he doesn't like discussions about there being the possiblity of another tumor. My ex-wife would probably go with me, but I hate to ask in a way. It's hard to impose on a spouse after a divorce with serious health issues like this. We are on friendly terms, but it's been 7 years since our divorce.

Hopefully, the scans will all be good and I'll win another reprieve.

This disease has not made my life better. I hear that for some people they move more deeply into a life of joy and gratitude after a cancer diagnosis. I understand that it's possible, but I have struggled with this. It's challenging to stay out of anxiety and fear. Living alone while fighting cancer is very challenging.

So glad to have a place to come and discuss my feelings.

Hugs,

Todd

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

My 21 year old daughter is furious at me having cancer. Quite often that fury is just directed at me.. Its upsetting me and obviously upsets her. Damn disease!

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

Thank you. Very helpful. Just knowing we aren't alone in this and that the reaction is not so unusual. I got caught so surprised that anger would be a reaction of someone you love getting cancer.

Just after my first diagnosis, my son said something to the effect of he might as well get used to me being gone since I'll be gone some day anyways. I was shocked. Damn it. I'm not gone yet. The ways people cope (or don't) with reality is amazing.

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1326
Joined: Oct 2013

Aww you two daddys, this is heartbreaking.

I wonder if it could be that they do not know HOW TO feel, HOW TO cope with their anger and hurt. Usually, right underneath anger is a whole lot of hurt. I just have this feeling, Todd, especially thatyour son has no clue what to do.

Do you both know the stages of grief? Shock/denial, anger/depression, bargaining then acceptance. Most of us get stuck in some of these stages.

Todd, I  also wonder if you son could be depressed which is a crushing, overwhelming mood disorderthat most cannot control. Its like they just want to curl up and die. Some blame others for how the feel.Some males tend to act out, become agressive then withdraw.

Most of this is beyond your control. He may need a professional to assess what is going on.

None of my business so do not feel you need to answer this. Just consider what Ive said.

IN the meantime, I am sending you both a healing hug and hope for reconciliation.

Hugs, Jan

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

I agree. I think he needs professional help. He won't go. He won't even admit he needs any help. He insists he's fine and can work it out himself.

My older son and daughter-in-law talked him into seeing a psychologist with the plan being that he would see her a couple of times and then we would see her together with her acting as an arbitrator. He went twice (alone) and then said he didn't want to meet her with me there and also didn't want to see her any more. He said he wanted to find his own therapist (I think he didn't like that I was paying for this even though I did not know her) and pay for it himself. But then he never acted on it.

He has admitted being depressed.

It's hard to see your kids suffer and have them refuse all help. I wish I could reach him, but he's very adamant that I have no contact with him. He's almost 30 years old and supports himself (other than living with his mom), so my influence is pretty minimal. I don't even see him but every few months at this point.

I'm sure you're right and he's suffering from depression and this put him into even a worse state. He's angry and perhaps blaming me for many of his problems.

I'm wishing him well, loving him from afar, and saying prayers for him and trying to let it (some of it) go because I have no control over it.

Hugs,

Todd

Jojo61's picture
Jojo61
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013

Hi Todd,

So glad that you could vent and voice your concerns here with us. You have been through a lot, and feeling like you have to face it alone is very sad, indeed. We are here for you. If I lived closer, I would be there in a minute to go to the doctor with you.

Others here might share some stories....about their families, their worries, their concerns. I don't even know where to start with mine. But my biggest worry when I had my kidney removed was with my youngest son. He has some issues as well. I was worried sick. I couldn't sleep at night. I sometimes wonder if my kidney cancer came through divine intervention just to force me to focus on something else. There is a saying...."a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child". When I read your story about your son, I really could identify (even though your story is different than mine). I really feel your anguish.

I have learned that worrying doesn't change anything. I always have been open with my kids, and yet we live in a delicately balanced relationship. Family relationships always get more complicated when a divorce is thrown in the mix. I still grieve for the loss of the family life I always dreamed of...even though I know that I wouldn't have had that family life even if I had stayed in that marriage. I am still pretty close to my kids, but I know they were hurt and I disappointed them when I left their father. They don't know everything, and that is the price to be paid. But they see that I now live in peace and am happy. Now back to my son....he has slowly improved. Each step of the way he has improved bit by bit. There have been setbacks, but still he is moving in the right direction. I saw him tonight and came home and told my husband how much happier he seems. The relief of that is indescribable. He resisted any help, would get angry if I stepped in, etc. I have learned to let him work through all of this on his own. He knew I was there if he really needed me.

I don't know if that process would work for you... to just let your son know you are there for him if he needs you and step back and see what happens. But REALLY step back. Put him completely out of your mind....take this opportunity to be good to yourself. Stop beating yourself up, dear man. You are a good man who is sensitive and caring. Try and focus on your health and develop a plan to live in peace. I highly recommend it.

I don't know if any of this made any sense or is of any help. I hope it did. You are a very important member here. We care very much about you!

Hugs

Jojo

 

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1326
Joined: Oct 2013

Well said, JoJo..

I didn't share Todd as I didn't want to take from your reaching out tonight. My 2nd daughter didn't talk to me (even when living with me) and resented me for more years than I can say. Over 20... I HAD to let that go.  There was so much she couldn't have understood at her young age...it was rather traumatic.

Like JoJo  said, you need to really step back and trust the Universe/Spirit/God, spiritual energy will reach him. You can always talk soul to soul or mind to mind but not physcially. yup. Once they are grown up, kinda sorta, these become their lessons to learn.

Again, I got this feeling that you being ill is just another focus on ...well...YOU ...and not him. Seeing a psychologist is good ONLY if he gets a medical assessment by an MD,  a psychiatrist. The therapist may have told him that he needs help and should  see a doctor and that is when he may have freaked out. Mental illness, mood disorders are hard to understand while you are in the midst of it. Ya know?

I will pray for him, for you, for your family. As much as he needs to know he is loved, he does not probably feel worthy of any of your love..  think about that. But still he needs others to keep an eye on him. Mood disorders need to be monitored.

One day.. lessons learned..help sought... ya never know. OH yea, my 2nd daughter and I are more close than ever once she became a mother. Funny eh? She's the one who checks on me the most.. see?

More hugs for a great man~ Will be thinking of you for your scan. But try really hard hon not to use up all your precious energy on worrying over something you have no control over, k?

Hugs, Jan

todd121's picture
todd121
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Joined: Dec 2012

I'm glad you shared. Since sharing this, I've heard so many people say they were estranged from a child for years. I had no clue this goes on in families. Appreciate you sharing this.

Thank you,

Todd

todd121's picture
todd121
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Joined: Dec 2012

I've been trying to do this. It is hard to let him know I'm here for him if he needs me and also not contact him. So I'm just not contacting him. He's pretty much insisted on that. He gets very angry each time I do contact him no matter what it is for. I decided I have to keep the boundary he set up and so I've not contacted him in months and it was months before the last time. A few months I went over unannounced hoping he might be free and we could talk. Big mistake. He was angry and quite hateful actually.

His birthday is coming up. I'm going to send him a card or a book or something with just a note saying I love him and not add anything else.

And I'll try and stop the worrying. :)

Hugs,

Todd

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Positive_Mental...
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

Todd,

Sorry you have to deal with this issue on top of the health issues.  Family--the people you are supposed to be able to turn to in times of need for love and support, but many times, many of us get nothing but more grief and worry from them.  I know of very few people who have perfect, let alone functional, family relationships with everyone in their family.  It sounds like you have a decent relationship with your ex-wife and your oldest son and as Meat Loaf sang, two out of three ain't bad. I count my lucky stars that I have a loving, wonderful and supportive wife.  Many of my friends had similar relationships withtheir Dads, and damn it, we all WANT the Ward and Beaver and Wally Cleaver  dynamic with our sons or at least sometihing remotely close to it. 

Your son is an adult now.  He has expressed his feelings.  You have tried many times to reach him.  Forcing the issue may make things worse.

Something that may work is to write your son a letter.  Tell him you are sorry for having hurt him in the past, you love him, and you would do anything to make your relationship better.  There is not much more you can do with an adult.  Sometimes, when someone reads words, as opposed to hearing them, they are more impactful.   I have seen this work, and I have seen it not work. 

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

It's a great idea. I have written 6-7 letters and then waited a few days and read them. So far, nothing looked right when days had passed. Perhaps I need to keep writing them until one looks good a few days after I write it and then mail it. Maybe more to the point/very simple would be best.

Thank you.

Todd

Jojo61's picture
Jojo61
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013

Exactly, Jan! "These become their lessons to learn". It is hard to do....but we have our own lessons to learn!!

And PositiveMentally had a good suggestion about writing a letter. It lets you get the important statements out, without interruption and with more clarity. It can be read over and over again....but if you do that - take heed that the tone sometimes can be misinterpreted.

Thinking about you, Todd!

Hugs

Jojo

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

My daughter and granddaughters are very involved with our lives. We see them 4-6 days a week.

My son lives less than 1 mile away. We see him  in passing every couple months. In my 5 years as stage 4 cancer, he has not once asked me how I'm doing. He visits for 5 minutes every several months. We have never been invited to his house or even out for pizza. Why? Who knows. He isn't hiding anything and is straight an arrow as there is. There is no anger between us. He is just some guy I know who lives down the street. Heart breaking.

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1987
Joined: Mar 2014

I’m so sorry that with everything else you also have this worry and sadness over your son. But as everyone said, he’s an adult. Makes his own decisions and is responsible for them. I know how logical and easy it is to assume it’s our fault, and that if we were better parents things wouldn’t be this way, but that’s not necessarily so. He has his own issues: anger, depression, lack of motivation, that may have nothing to do with you. Perhaps he needs meds to control the depression; perhaps he needs counseling to deal with the anger. But as an adult, only he can decide to take control of himself. Unfortunately you have to deal with the fall out of his behavior but as hard as it is to accept, perhaps it’s nothing personal. It’s just the way he is and you did nothing to make it so. My own mother wants nothing to do with me and hasn't since I was a child. What did I do to deserve it? Well, whatever a four-year-old can do because that was the age at which she left me and never looked back. So yeah, sometimes people are just the way they are because that’s who they are. And we didn’t do it or make them that way.

None of this may help but I think Positive_Mental’s suggestion of a letter is a great idea. Write everything you want to say to him, then sit on it a few days and keep reading it, amending it, etc. until you feel it’s perfect. Then give it to him.

Wishing you the best for your scans and hang in there. Hugs xo

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1326
Joined: Oct 2013

Aww Fox, I have heard you mention this before.

I just have this feeling he cannot cope.Out of sight, out of mind kind of thing.

I am a true believer in speaking to their "spirit"sending messages. Or sending him a note.Then its their issue to deal with and learn from. Still...

Hugs my dear,

Jan

hardo718's picture
hardo718
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

......glad to know I'm not alone, although I wouldn't wish this on anyone.  I have 3 daughters and the middle one is my cross to bear.  Always has been, always will be I suppose.  Even my other 2 daughters will ask how is it that we were raised in the same home, same rules, etc and yet Valerie is so much different.  (she's almost 36 by the way)  I believed the messages she gave me for years (that it was my fault) and I blamed myself and consequently was always trying to make peace with her.  I finally realized, after my cancer diagnosis, it has nothing to do with me, it's just Valerie.  No matter what it's never enough with her.  She never came around after my surgery, never offered to help even though she was closest distance-wise, never asked how I was (still doesn't).  I finally said to her once that I did my best as a mother, I apologized if it wasn't good enough for her, but that I refuse to continue the arguing with her.  I've accepted that from time to time she will go off on me, and I have continued to refrain from the fighting.  Does it hurt???......hell yes!  Cuts me like a knife.  The strange thing too is that whenever she needs something, it's our doorstep she comes to.  I have no answers to offer anyone else that lives through this, just know you aren't alone.  I chalk it up to family dynamics and say we put the "func" in dysfunctional.  I just keep telling her I love her, as I always have told her, and pray for her that someday she'll find happiness.  I will honestly say I never "cursed" my children with the "I hope you have kids that do the same to you", but she is going through some of the same these days with her 15 year old son.  She even apologized to me recently for the grief she caused.  Don't misunderstand though, she'll apologize and when the moment suits her, she'll strike out again.

Todd, not sure of your location, but if you're in Illinois I'd be happy to accompany you to your appointment.  I know how it feels to be alone at those times, my husband works the overnight shift and sleeps during the day.

I'll be praying for you, that your tests come back good, and your wayward son sees what he's missing out on.  I guess that's all we can do.  Life is so short, all we can do is to try to live our life to the fullest, be a good example to others and keep in mind that we can't win them all.  Our time is too precious to spend it focused on the negative.  Although if I'm honest, I know sometimes that's easier said than done.

Now that the weather is breaking a bit here, I met some neighbors yesterday.  (we recently moved)  The one gentleman has been battling prostate cancer that has metastisized to the bone.  He is very inspirational.  The other neighbors were telling him how he is always so upbeat and happy.  He said he's not, and that he thought he wasn't going to make it thru the winter but here he is, and he's thankful for every day.  What a sweet man he is.  I look forward to seeing more of him and learning from him about how to carry on with such grace.

Have a blessedly good day,

Donna~

donna_lee's picture
donna_lee
Posts: 963
Joined: Feb 2009

Wowee!  First, let's deal with scanxiety- Not fun to anticipate those tests. And having had them find recurrences not once, but twice, every test has meaning and emphasis.  It does get better as the years go by and you haven't reached that benchmark, yet.  You will, though!

The weight gain...Ugh.  I can't remember your physical condition, but all I can suggest is light walking and less food intake-of the right kind.  Perhaps your oncologist or regular MD can refer you to a dietician for help.  Insurance usually pays for it if you are considered pre-diabetic.  And in light of the adrenal gland removal, that could be a real consequence.

And the family issues.  I think we all have them.  I was the unliked daughter from the age of 4; and I was trying to please and keep mom happy for years, until I figured out nothing  I ever did or said would make her happy.  Then I became the distant and ungrateful daughter.  About 8 months before she died, I found out what it all stemmed from-when I was 4 years old, and the pieces fell into place.  She was the one with mental health issues.

You need some peace at this point.  As stated by others, (and I had come to the same thought before anyone mentioned it in their response) write him a letter-he may read it.

Let him know you love him and always have, that you miss being able to see him, and wish he could be with you on this health journey.  But you can't change him, you can only change  the reaction you have to his behavior.  So at this time in your life, you need to focus on your health and the problems it is causing; so until he chooses to seek help for himself and be a part of your life, you cannot focus your energy on worrying about him, although you still care about him.

Drop him a note or card once in a while; but don't let his issues consume you.  That way he knows you are still thinking of him and you can relax between life events.

Looks like a great idea on paper...Yeah!  But I can't do that, you say.  So you're going to sit and let this thing fester from the inside.  Nope-not you.

Those of us here on the board are part of your extended survivor family.  We care.  We want to see you focus on your health and living comfortably.  Remember-that if you don't take care of yourself, who will?  (And that's another of your concerns.)

We luv ya,

Hugs,  donna_lee

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks Donna (Lee)! I'm going to work on these things. It's all very good advice. I did see a dietician last year. I know what to do, I just get so busy with work and life that I don't eat right and exercise regularly. My weight is probably also related to my severe obstructive sleep apnea that is not being treated very well right now.

Ok. Time to pull my pants up and get on with it. :) It's what we do. :))

Hugs,

Todd

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm in Southern California, but I really appreciate the offer. And your story. It helps to hear.

Wishing you the best,

Todd

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

Sometimes I wish I had a daughter. I noticed my daughter-in-law is more sensitive and stays in touch with her parents better. She also has pushed my sons to be more involved with me.

It is heartbreaking. I agree.

When I had my recurrence last year, I had no contact from my younger son at all. No call. No visit. No card. Nada. I'm still shocked honestly. I may not have been the kumbaya dad he wanted, but I came home every day, paid the bills, took him to soccer, scouts, piano lessons, stayed home with him when he was sick, went to all of his school stuff, helped him pay for college, bought him a new car when he turned 18, and was always kind and respectful to him (no hitting, name calling, belittling). In short, the opposite of my childhood experience. Haha. Still, I know I wasn't perfect. And yet he's angry enough at me to cut off contact when I get cancer. Heartbreaking indeed. I just never expected this. My dad did almost none of this, and I've been kind and respectful to him continuing to this day because he's my dad.

Ok. Thank you everybody. I'm going to try and let it go. :)

Hugs,

Todd

 

Srashedb
Posts: 482
Joined: Dec 2013

I can't answer that since I only have boys; both daughters-in-law appear to have more contact with their parents than the sons but who knows?

my oldest son has a 19 month old son and he said something very interesting and very revealing this last visit; he told me that as his mother, I am 100% responsible for how he turned out. he said that he would assume full responsibility for how his son turned out. Very strange comment, almost childlike for a grown man. "You created me" and left me unclear if the good things about him were included.

as you recount all the things you did for your son as a child, my thought is (from a mother's view) that we did these tasks without expectations of being paid back. My mom  demanded total attention in her older years because she had done so much for me and I really hated that. I wanted to do for her out of love, not obligation.

the other thought is that maybe your son is afraid of losing you and avoids you for that reason; when I went through breast cancer, my oldest was 15 and rarely spoke of my disease but he would peak into the hospital room when least expected and a friend shared how sad he sounded. The youngest told me that I didn't have to worry about him, that he was learning to live without me.

so, as adults, perhaps hose fears still exist.

Sarah

todd121's picture
todd121
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Joined: Dec 2012

It's sad fox. You're such a big hearted guy. I guess it says something more about your son than about you. It's probably not about you (or me perhaps with my son).

Hugs,

Todd

Srashedb
Posts: 482
Joined: Dec 2013

our sons are grown and married; one has been attentive to his dad at the beginning and the other not so much. I believe it is their wives. My oldest is married to a cold fish who cares only about herself.

Todd, I will echo what others have said; your son has his own issues and you are not responsible. Many folks divorce and many children adjust. If he has depression, it is hard and painful but nothing you did.

we all know that stress and worry impact the immune system so please don't waste yourself by beating up on yourself. It is NOT your fault.

As to writing to him, that has never been much help with my sons but it is a great way to vent; I have written drafts to them but never sent them. 

The other thought is this generation is different than we were; we were there for our parents. I know that my sons would be there IF PRESSED but who wants that? We visited our oldest in Oregon last week and he asked me to "update " him on his dad's radiation. He never asked him how he felt.

 

mrou50
Posts: 389
Joined: Mar 2013

I wish I had some definitive answer for you but all I can say is I hope and pray you will be able to reconnect with your son.  My father and I were estranged for many years and then he just passed away, I don't know if I could have ever forgiven him for his abusive ways but I could have been a better person by spending time with him in his final days and then he would not have died alone.  I know your situation is much different but I hope it works out for you, I would hate for your sone to have regrets like I do still today that I did not try.

 

Mark

todd121's picture
todd121
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Joined: Dec 2012

It is one of my fears that he's going to regret it someday.

But I can tell you that your father wouldn't want you to keep punishing yourself over this. I know 99% of father's wouldn't want to cause their son such grief. He'd want you to be happy. So my vote is for you to forgive yourself already. I harbor no anger towards my son nor blame. I do want him to be happy and I hope he never is hard on himself about this. I just know your dad would say the same.

Todd

mrou50
Posts: 389
Joined: Mar 2013

Thanks for the kind words I hope I can get to that point some day.

 

Mark

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1326
Joined: Oct 2013

Well this discussion took a turn away from your scanxiety for sure.

Again, Todd, you mentioned your son has a mood disorder. He's not thinking outside of his own misery most likely.He cannot. It takes all his energy just to get up every day. Much energy expended on denying his ability to seek help.

Denial is a  strong emotion to suppress the truth.He has nothing to give anyone, especially if he feels less worthy himself. His thinking process is probably disorted.

Keep sending him the love..and somewhere, sometime, someone will connect him to the right help.I would still have someone keep a close eye on him due to this mental illness.

Hugs to you for being a great dad.

Try not worry about his regrets..those are HIS lessons.

Jan

marosa's picture
marosa
Posts: 333
Joined: Feb 2015

Have not yet been able to read all posts here but I so want to as soon as I can.  I touches a subject so, so strong, meaniful and emotional as can be. There are so many things that we don't have an explanation for, things that much as we would like to, we are unable or unskilled to fix.  I can feel the emotion just from having this page open at this post. It touches my heart.  I send my love to you all.  May we forgive ourselves and others for our shortcomings.

This post touches me even more at this moment.  I have been away because of my parents fragile health lately.  We are 7 siblings.  A lot has been coming afloat these days as it did a little at the time of my diagnosis.  Im trying to learn...

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