Friday, May 28, 2010

The destination

In the end, its not the medals you have upon your chest
But if somewhere underneath them, if you still have a heart left
If you can feel the pain of others, if you can even feel at all
When you glance at your reflection, is it standing straight and tall
The destination is a measure of the steps that you have taken from the beginning to the end
The destination is the sum of all your weaknesses subtracted from the sum of all your strengths.

We have left Bandon yesterday, Ken did my last shift as the hospitalist. We had given our notice for September, but last week in a private session with the hospital board, the administrator reported that one of the other doctors had committed a very serious HIPPA violation. This was completely not true, this other doctor was never given a chance to tell her side of the story.
She is also the doctor who has challenged the administration the most. So since we are the ones who challenge the administration the "second most" we decided we had to leave. We have spent 13 years being good doctors to the people of Bandon, and to think our reputation could be smattered by the twist of the tongue by someone who prefers not to be questioned, we just are not going to risk that.
Last night was a very tearful night thinking of all the wonderful people who work there. The relationship that Ken and I have had there has been the most wonderful.
I guess I feel in some ways as though I have run away from a task I had committed to as well. Taking on the chief of staff position last year, I fully intended to complete the full 2 years and I feel I have let down a lot of people who were encouraged by the progress we were making bring together the issues of the other parts of the hospital, with the medical staff.
From the last medical staff meeting, it was clear that there were factions there who did not want me there anymore and so I decided to give in to my weaknesses and quit. That, I did for my health.
Everything I read about cancers clearly show an association between high levels of stress and the emergence of cancer. Many people I correspond with admit that the year or two prior to their cancer, WAS the most stressful time of their lives.
The last 3 years have been very stressful. It is not the actual work, I love that, it is the "politics".
I have taken to listening to some of my songs recently, and yesterday whilst running was listening to the destination. Perhaps this was a time to give in to my weaknesses to preserve my health. I have plenty of strengths.

Today being a new day, we are heading north to Seattle, we are meeting Ken's sister, Pat, and my sister, Linda, at Tulalip, tonite. Do a little shopping and some gambling???
Then tomorrow we head to Seattle to the Folklife festival. Our little band is playing on two stages on Monday. The ALKI stage from 1-1:30 and on a stage that is doing a Dolly Parton tribute at about 1:40

I have been feeling really well the past few days. I saw Dr Cook last week, and he said that he likes to do a full CT chest, abdomen and pelvis every 6 months as surveillance, making certain there are no new recurrences. I asked if they could possibly do an MRI instead, just to avoid all that radiation, he said they really did not show the same level of detail as the CT.
Since I am seeing the GI guy up in Portland July 1st, I will wait to book the CT, to see if perhaps there is something more specific he suggests.
My bloodwork, the cancer marker is still low, which is good. My white blood count is also still low (as low as it was during chemo, or even lower at times). We talked about this, I told him, it seemed as though perhaps it would always be low. He said that might be so, and that there was likely no greater risk of infection. I wonder if this would be a concern with dental work??

Anyways lots of changes for us, there is clearly a sense of sadness leaving Bandon, and since we still have the house, we hope to have one more BIG PIZZA party there.

jankenb @

Saturday, May 22, 2010

a song came true

Hi Everyone

So I wonder how often songs come true....... Well a song about a dream comes true?

I sort of feel like my song “Here on the farm” has finally come true.

Who would have thought that a song about being a farmer could come true, by leaving the country and moving to a city.

To anyone unfamiliar with my song “Here on the farm” I will include a link at the end of this so you can download it or just listen to it.

I have about 20 tomato plants planted in pots, in the garden and 8 of them hanging upside down in plastic milk jugs (and one bowel prep jug).

I have two oak barrels plum full of potatoes. I planted them in layers and waited for the shoots to come up and continued to bury them, now the first barrel has about 20 healthy appearing shoots, and the second barrel I am only half way up. (you can apparently grown 100 lbs of potatoes in each barrel).

I have taken tall paint barrels and cut circular holes in the sides and have stuffed each hole with strawberries.

We moved the wood frames from our raised beds over in bandon. I filled the first 6 inches up with weeds I had pulled. I then covered the weeds up with cardboard, and then we then brought in loads of compost soil from the local mass production composter company.

The reason I put the weeds on the bottom was to allow them to compost without the risk of them growing, hence the cardboard covers. PLUS this decreased the amount of soil we needed to purchase to fill the raised beds. I have about 30 red pepper plants in greenhouse still (too cold to put them out yet)

I recently read about cattle panels, which are 1/4 inch thick metal rods welded to make a fence panel (to keep in cows), sold in units 4 feet by 16 feet. They are used for “vertical gardening”. We have several of them, and I have zuchinni, cantelope, yellow squash and more tomatoes that we are going to grow up the panels.

I feel SO LUCKY I found 4 rooted asparagus plants yesterday, so am starting an asparagus patch. I have recently read that celery is hard to grow, and since it is something I can eat, and always loving a challenge, have started 50,celery plants that I am going to try to grow into the fall.

We have planted plum, nectarine, apple, and pear trees, as well as many more blueberry bushes.

We are working hard to improve the soil, but I am thinking that the native soil might not be so bad. I have never in my life seen more worms. Everywhere I did, I can usually see 5-10 worms with every shovel. I tend to dig more gingerly, trying not to slice a worm in two. I have never seen night crawlers before and the first few I saw at first sign I thought somewhat grotesque. THEY ARE HUGE! Knowing what important work they are doing in my garden makes it much easier to ...... embrace ? ..... if that is the right word. :)

Mark our neighbour has said that night crawlers fetch a pretty decent price amungst fishermen. I was thinking perhaps as a promo for my cds, I could give away a night crawler with the purchase of each and every cd. The ones that are mailed out would arrive, just worm castings, a cd and a worm, (or two).

Have I mentioned how much I love growing things?

The way I feel, it is hard to find organically grown food, and much more expensive, so the more I can grow myself the better. A friend recently told me about the “dirty dozen”, which foods were the most important to buy organically grown.

I was at whole foods market yesterday and regular red peppers were 3.99 a lb and 7.99 for organically grown.

I will try to put in photos of my garden soon, too many rainy days to take pictures.

My vision has completely come back to normal, cannot see computer screen with out my 200 readers and I can see quite clearly in the distant.

This is the link the hear "Here on the farm:

Just scroll down the page to the album "for all of his wealth" and open it and then down the the song "here on the farm"

I have set it up so it can be downloaded. Somehow it seems so relevant now to me.

A song came true. BTW these pics are not from my garden, I got them off the internet.


Janet Bates

jankenb @

Friday, May 14, 2010


I guess I have spent the past week trying to come to terms with leaving this job. ...... and also trying to explain it, to me, and to others.

I have truly loved my work here, the nurses could not be better to work with anywhere. I have loved this job.
I do have many other wonderful things in my life and I guess I need to move on to them. I DO have to do it somewhere else though.
I have my wonderful garden, my music, my great husband and friends and family and my life. You just cannot have it all.

I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that the hyperbarics did not help me much. I hold to the possibility that the treatments may have prevented my problem from getting worse.
I was doing better during the treatments (than I am now) except that the rectal bleeding started then in a bigger way than in the past. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I just needed to do it a bit longer, and unfortunately no one seems to know the answer to that. None of the doctors at the clinic seemed to know much about the whole thing, and my gastroenterologist knew nothing about it.
So I am hoping that the Gastroenterologist at OHSU might know a bit more about it.
Oh and I just found out this week that my insurance is going to pay for the hyperbarics, it has been rather stressful with regards that.

However I am slowing coming to terms with the possibility that there is no further improvement possible. Working on developing a whole new way to eat. I might have to go back to meat, not being able to eat legumes and being a vegetarian, I tend to be hungry all the time.
I am eating tons of spinach, which I am growing tons of in my garden, as I need the added iron to make up for the bleeding. So far my blood count with respect to that is doing OK.

I have planted tons of potatoes as well, though Ken and I have not been potato eaters in the past, we will become potato eaters with all the new changes. We are growing them in oak barrels and layering them.
I really need to post some pics of my garden when I get back to Eugene.
But this next picture is Ken and I with my sister Angie and her husband Kelly, at a James Taylor/Carol King concert we went to a week ago. INCREDIBLE night.
OTHER GREAT NEWS Josh got a GREAT report card for his first full university term AND he has a job...
bye for now LOVE

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

time to go

Hi everyone

Well what a wild ride the past few weeks have been. Last Tuesday we resigned our jobs at the hospital. We both love our jobs and the people we work with, but the politics just got to be too much. For years we have worried about the future of the hospital and challenged the direction of the administration, and we somehow just decided that there was nothing we could do and we would likely live longer if we just stopped trying.

You know the saying Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to accept those I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Serene is the only thing I have felt since we made this decision.

I am sleeping better than I have in years, laughing more, and somehow can see the future much more clearly.

We gave our notice as the First of September.

We still have 3 years until Ken can tap into his retirement, and have this very large mortgage (until we sell our house), but we are determined to make it work.

The univerisity (in Eugene) has already expressed and interest in both of use, and we can still do shifts and holiday relief back in Bandon.

Not quite sure how I will come up with the funds to do another cd, but perhaps with more free time I might work a little harder at selling all the ones we already have. :)

I am work work working on the garden as well. I have two books to help me with growing a sustainable garden in a small space. We are using whatever techniques we can to maximize space. Potatoes for instance, we are growing in Oak barrels and layering the seed potatoes with sand and compost, I have read where this can yield as much as a hundred pounds of potatoes. Strawberries I am growing in plastic buckets, and cutting circular holes in the sides and planting more strawberries in the sidewalls of the buckets. I have bamboo teepees for the cucumbers and beans.

I have already had 2 meals with the spinach I have already grown.

With regards to my health, well I guess my mental health has just had a great boost.

It is now a little over 3 weeks since my HBOT treatments finished. I feel that I am doing much better. I have much less abdominal pain, and much less nausea. I find in moderation I am able to eat many more things. I still have the bleeding, now pretty much on a daily basis. I think that part of the problem is that for the small bowel problem I have to take a low residue diet (which I can be more relaxed about now), but for the colon bleeding, I should be on a high fiber diet, which I just cannot do.

Anyways, since thus far neither my oncology surgeon, nor my oncology radiologist, nor my gastroenterologist seem to know much about any of this, I asked if I could be referred to OHSU, which is the main referral center in Oregon. The gastroenterologist said that if the bleeding gets to be too much he could do argon treatments, which means burning the area that is bleeding. From what I have read you can get permanent rectal ulcerations from that. I seem to have ended up with all the “rare” complications thus far, so am wanting to find a doctor who knows something about the effects of radiation on the bowels.

So I have an appointment for July 1st. up at OHSU in Portland.

The hairdresser I have had for years, is very hard to get into, and I have had my hair “woven” with colour every 6-8 months. I usually schedule a year in advance. Well needless to say I kind of got off of the list. I am quite excited because today I am back on the list and getting my hair done today. Ken thinks it is getting scruffy and I need a cut too :) I am savouring every centimeter though.........

Other news Josh got straigh B’s on his 3rd term of university and actually also did a full course load, AND he is looking for a job today. Yea! !!

Upcoming festivals ........ Folk life in Seattle at 1pm May 31st

Oregon country Fair July 10th and July 11th times and stages TBA Eugene

Bye for now LUV

Janet Bates

jankenb @