Life has not been easy

The last few weeks have been tough on me.

My cancer – melanoma – is now resident in my lungs as three distinct spots as shown by a CT scan. I have been assured that a new drug is available and is specifically produced to eliminate melanomas that cannot be removed by surgery. The last two melanomas in my upper chest area were removed by surgery.

The pills are from Navartis Pharmaceutics in Quebec. They are called TAFINAR and MEKINIST. The capsules are apparently quite toxic as I am not supposed to touch them in any way; I take them from a spoon. The small pill is only taken in the morning and is supposed to assist in the absorption of the TAFINAR capsules into my body.

In the last few months, I have been noticing that my state of confusion is increasing. The confusion appears to be where am I, what am I doing and why? For example, I should take the two cancer pills at 9 a.m. and at 9 p.m. Presently, I am varying between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. This is not good. I also am supposed to take another 10 pills timed at 9 a.m., noon, dinner time and bed time. I am not doing a good job keeping to this schedule either. Confusion is my middle name, lately.

I have given up golf for this year. I am concerned about my balance and one of the worst ‘accidents’ I could have sustained is a fall and the resulting injury. They tell me that the fall isn’t the worst, but getting up often results in greater damage. If I fall I am supposed to lie there and wait for professionals (911) to come to get me up and check me out for damage. This is hard to do.

I still do some gardening but for the last four months I have not been exercising regularly. Friends say to me that for an 83-year-old I am doing pretty good. I know that is not true – and more exercise is one of the greatest requirements for growing old gracefully and allowing for the accompanying ailments. And do I ever have accompanying ailments, such as:

  • a dementia of some sort – abnormal profusion of right basil ganglia and temporal lobe;
  • autoimmune disease – dermatomyositis – affects all over the body;
  • osteoarthritis all over my body – knees, back, hands; and
  • a hearing impairment partially solved with a cochlear implant.

Back on our vacation of 10ten days in June. We stayed in nine hotels for one night each, and, one hotel in Calgary for two nights while we visited our kids. We also had a four-night stay at a home in Whistler for four nights. The two best days were the two spent on the Rocky Mountaineer train – first class all the way from Kamloops to Vancouver. I lost track of where we were and the day of the week. Good thing that my three companions kept track of me. No more multi-destination vacations for us.

I think that it is important for all of us to substitute the words “Brain Health” for “Dementia”. After all, the brain really does run the body. We need to think of keeping our brain healthy – not fixing a damaged brain. I wonder whether my autoimmune disorder is actually a fault of my brain. My body is really messed up. I really do need to get back to the Three Pillars to Good Health that I discusseds in previous columns. Changes must be made in order to live the good life.


Bob Murray is retired from the graphic communication (printing) industry and has been living in Seaforth since 2015. Murray was diagnosed with Dementia in 2013 and works hard to stop the progress of the disease to AD. He shares his experiences in his column entitled “My Voyage with Dementia.””.  Follow him on his blog entitled Voyage with Dementia –

Bob Murray