Posted by: cg00n | November 9, 2016

The Nature of Reality

According to Mahayana Buddhism, we suffer because we are confused about the nature of reality.  What better proof of this is there than the 2016 US Presidential Election?  As for the theists among us, all I can say is that I hope that God’s ineffable plan is really good!  Interesting times are indeed upon us, perhaps thanks to the Chinese, and you know that saying about “sleeping next to an elephant”?  I think it’s restless.  Dickens could hardly have described my feelings better:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

So, in a more uplifted spirit, I am happy to announce that today was the first day of a new treatment regime.  My Interleukin-2 injections will continue, but now I will also get injections of BCG, an attenuated TB vaccine.  The potential side effects include all the ‘flu-like symptoms I get now plus tuberculosis 🙂  Fortunately, the latter possibility is extremely remote.  Dr. G said that, were he in my position, he would definitely be trying this new mix.  BCG is also used to treat e.g. bladder cancer.  The way it is supposed to work in my case is to provide an immune system target which is more “memorable” than IL-2 can manage.  If a skin lesion gets a dose of both IL-2 and BCG, the hope is that there will be a more lasting immune response than I get with the IL-2 alone, and this may be enough to get rid of the melanoma completely.  We can but hope, and I am cautiously optimistic.

Many of the people who have been getting the IL-2 treatment appear to be more-or-less cured.  I am not quite that lucky, but life is a whole lot better than it used to be.  The switch from surgery to topical injections certainly made a huge difference to my state of mind when we started four years ago.  Not so long before that I seemed to be running out of options:  now I have several, which is a Good Thing.  However, I have also put a ton of work into stabilizing my state of mind, and today found myself in the unusual position of being calmer than P in the face of momentous political events.  This I count as a major accomplishment.  Coincidentally, P and I will be at a mindfulness retreat in Ontario in the near future, which I think may prove beneficial right now.

News Roundup

Just for once, the in tray is refreshingly uncluttered:

And finally, my good friend Ms. KT of Calgary remains very ill in a hospice:  send what positive vibes you can spare in her direction.

Wishing you all peace and prosperity – good luck!



  1. Thank you for your comments.

    I have Stage 4 Melanoma and have recently started a regimen of Taflinar and Mekinist.

    I am a huge Dickens fan and enjoyed the passage you posted.
    I like a phrase by Hemingway- Courage is “Grace under pressure”. We all face challenges, but we choose how to respond to them.

    I wish you all the best in your treatment.

  2. Thanks for the update. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the new treatment works for you – and also that the trumpocalypse turns out not to be as bad as it looks.

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