In each equation I calculate, the result is always time

December 23rd, 2013 § 25 comments

IMG_5877For three days I’ve been mostly bedridden. During two days of sixty degree weather I didn’t make it out of the front door. What I believe is a virus sidelined me for the weekend and today (Monday) I’m still trying to get strength back. Thankfully I think it’s my immune system making me the target; no one else in the family has gotten it.

Tomorrow I will go back to Sloan-Kettering for another attempt at a thoracentesis. I have had many people ask more about the process and what it is. This was a very good summary with a graphic. It kind of gives me the willies (does anyone even say “willies” anymore?) to look at that.


When even television seems too much,
And hours go by staring out the window.

I listen to the sounds of my children playing,
I hear life go on without me.

It was a day like this that I wrote the lyrics to the song “Six Minutes,”
A day I wished for the time to go. Just go by faster.
But as on that day,
Today I am aware that these are the days I’m fighting for.
If I didn’t want them I wouldn’t be doing all of this.

I know that this is a tough day. Tomorrow will be one, too.
But I also know that someday, hopefully long from now, it will count as a good day, a great day.
And that realization scares me too.

I spoke with a patient care representative at Sloan about some of the mistakes that were made on Friday. I told her my story and we talked about some ways she could follow up. I told her I wasn’t angry, I know mistakes happen, but I thought there were ways to try to make sure these things didn’t happen again. At the end she gave me her contact information. I said, “I love my doctors and the care I get. But there are always ways to improve. I appreciate the chance to give those suggestions to someone who can do something about them.”

Then I started laughing. “You know, I hope to be calling you with suggestions for many years to come. That will mean I’m still here, trying to help patients get better care and trying to help doctors and nurses provide it.” She started laughing too. “You know, I really like that perspective. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it put that way. I like thinking about more suggestions as meaning more time.” We thanked each other and hung up.

And I thought about it.
Everything is an equation now.
Everything is a calculation.
Everything has a cost.
I try to balance risks.
I study statistics and results.
But in each equation I calculate, the result is always time.
Nothing is more valuable than time that I am able to enjoy the world and those around me.

§ 25 Responses to In each equation I calculate, the result is always time"

  • Kirsty Aversa says:

    I wish you years and years of time!! Hope things go well for you tomorrow.

  • joannefirth says:

    You are so right. Time is everything. I have everything crossed and have been thinking of you constantly. Wishing and hoping and wishing and hoping some more for so many things for you. For you to feel better. For your procedure to go well, giving you easier breathing. For you to get your strength back from this nasty virus. I’ll be checking in to see how you are doing, hoping that my wishes and hopes become reality and that you will be back on your feet very soon. xo

  • Marisa says:

    Here’s hoping that, though difficult as the day will be, the procedure goes off without a hitch and you can get relief for your lung.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hope tomorrow is as easy a day as possible.

  • Jo Nanson says:

    I pray that tomorrow will go well. Often very senior staff work over the holidays, so the care can be very good. My son was born on Christmas Day and the care was wonderful. Hopefully you will feel much better with the fluid out of your chest.

    Its difficult many times to accept help but one has to realize that allowing others to help is a gift to those who mostly feel helpless.


  • I am so so glad that you called and shared your experience with the hospital representative! Praying tomorrow will be easier…

  • Kate says:

    Wise words Lisa. The time to hear children laughing, Precious. And the time you spent helping others by giving feedback to the hospital. Precious to all patients who benefit from that feedback. You are making a difference.

  • Rebecca says:

    I’m glad they responded to your tweets with a phone call. I had that happen once with a hotel. Not quite the same thing though. I hope you are able to give them advice on how to improve years from now too.

    I hope tomorrow is a successful experience with no mistakes by the people you are depending on to help you.

  • Susie Simmons says:

    Two years ago in November I contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized with a pleural effusion. I had difficulty breathing and was in a great deal of discomfort. My thoracentesis was scheduled for first thing in the morning, but as it happened, was delayed until late afternoon, by which time I was hungry and crabby and needing coffee. Once the procedure got underway, however, it went smoothly and the relief I felt was almost instantly palpable. I hope this also is your experience. I’ll be thinking of you!
    Susie in Texas

  • Lisa,

    I’m so sorry you had a rough time on Friday. I was thinking about you all day and have been offline-wrongly thinking, no news is good news. I should have peeked at your twitter feed. I know MSK is very good about paying attention to the twitter feed. I’m not surprised they called.

    I’m also so sorry you wound up with a virus in the midst of this. I will be thinking of you tomorrow. Please PROMISE you will let me know if you want company during one of those days you will be spending lots of time as part of the new trial protocol.

    Sending you love.


  • Lisa Lurie says:

    Just sending you warm, healing thoughts through cyberspace. Time is such a precious gift. As a child of a mother who battled lung cancer, and now, a daughter cherishing each precious day with a father who has Alzheimers, I appreciate that time, and making the most of it–is so important. You are so wise Lisa. Keeping you in my good thoughts and wishes, Lisa

  • Kirsten Crosby says:

    You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Hoping tomorrow is uneventful & that you are back home enjoying your children’s laughter in no time.


  • Karen S. says:

    Just a short note to say that I am thinking about you and wish you all the best with
    your procedure tomorrow. I hope it goes smoothly for you,

    Karen S.

  • eileen says:

    Lisa, we’ve never met. I’m just one of your many fans … and one of so many who will be thinking of you tomorrow and sending you love and prayers for strength. I hope you will be able to feel that energy washing over you.

  • Beth Gainer says:

    Here’s hope that you will have lots more time. I hate that expression, “killing time.”

  • Margaret Crowe Klippel says:

    Your postings are so powerful, and have come to mean so much to me. I hope that all went well on your Christmas Eve visit, and that your days improve.

  • Mary says:

    Though we have only met via your blog, so many times thru out my day I think of you and hope that you are receiving whatever you need in that particular moment- an embracing hug, laughter with a friend, the smile of your children, the words of encouragement from a stranger, the support from your Doctor…the list goes on.

  • NS says:

    You are in my thoughts everyday. I am really wondering how you are and how Tuesday went? Praying you are alright and that you have been able to rest and get some strength back. Sending you a hug.

  • Amy Hallman Rice says:

    Lisa, I have been thinking of you and hope that you got some relief on the 24th and that the virus is abating. I wish you continued strength and the space to fall apart and rage when you need to. You inspire me every day. I am hopeful that the new trial will produce good results: time, time and more time.

  • huey says:

    Lisa I found this blog and so sad to hear about you getting cancer you were so pretty

  • Wilson says:

    Yes cancer is something that is no fun sad to hear so many people affect by this terrible disease

  • Thanks for sharing rip

  • Kathleen Brown says:

    I am re-reading your posts. You were so very brave and truthful. I hope your children and family are doing well. I hope you are at peace and being a guiding light unto others…

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