“But What if it’s Cancer!?”


I saw the pathologist Dr. Benedict this morning-she was doc #4 to examine a walnut-sized lump that had suddenly appeared on the left side of my neck. She poked it with a needle 12 times in order to withdraw tissue samples that would be used to determine if it was, uh…cancer. I won’t know for a week.

“What if it’s cancer?” I’ve asked myself that question about fifty times today. But rather than try and answer it, I sat around and conjured up all the terrible potential consequences of this frightening diagnosis.

Cancer has been far too frequent a visitor in my life.

It took my mother before I even knew her, and it dragged my father through a painful and undignified 3 months before finally sucking the final bit of life from his 90-pound body.

Cancer claimed my father’s brother and one of his sisters. My niece has been bravely staving off cancer’s death-lust for 15 years now; it took her leg but not her life. (That changed on the day after Christmas, 2014, when her family bravely decided to remove her tumor-ravaged body from life support.) My sister-in-law  recently had a malignant tumor removed from her breast. It seemed my destiny that one day I too would be forced to lace up the gloves and step into the ring with this very formidable foe.

I was sad, I was scared and I felt a strong sense of vulnerability that I’d not felt before.

The specter of death became reality for the first time in my life. Sure, I knew intellectually that I was going to die some day, but I’d always figured I’d face that truth at a more appropriate time. Well, that time had arrived.

For several hours I allowed my thoughts to ride roughshod over my psyche.

Then my brain decided it was time for the chaos in my head to end. For no reason I can determine the panic subsided and I was overcome with gratitude for the blessings in my life. My first thought was, “I don’t live in Syria.”

I thought that was an odd thought, but it opened a floodgate of reminders of how fortunate I am and have been throughout my life-I needed that. And then the answer to that panic-inducing question came to me:

“What if it’s cancer?”

Well then, I guess we’ll deal with it.

I’ll be inspired by the courage of my family and friends who bravely, sometimes unsuccessfully, did battle with this ruthless, indiscriminate killer. I’ll pull together every resource available to me and slay this demon, because I still have much to see and do, much to give and much to share.

All that’s “if”, of course.


  1. Dan Sung says:

    jerry, good luck with everything, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Nita says:

    STRONG is the word we use in this house. Thinking positive thoughts but always remember that the word STRONG is what defeats any ugliness.

    Love you Roone

  3. admin says:

    Thanks, Nita. I know you know too much about this.

  4. admin says:

    Dan, I really appreciate that. And BTW; nice job on that cute little baby girl!

  5. Darrell & Susie says:


    We missed the post, so glad you decided to put it out again. We will certainly pray for a negative result! Know that we’re there for you…

    Darrell & Susie

  6. Frank Petrarca says:

    Jerry – I sincerely hope this all works out… Please do keep us posted.

  7. Trent says:

    You gotta get Medieval like Marsellus and F&ck that cancer up!!!Boyeeee!!!

  8. Roone, as a kid anything I didn’t like I called selfish and this is very selfish. My prayers are for this thing to be completely contained and taken out soon. Please start visualizing that everyday!! as I will too. xoxoxxo

  9. cy says:

    Jerry had no idea when I saw you yesterday, good luck, sending positive thoughts your way.

  10. Sandra Grinkmeyer says:

    Roone, I’m so sorry to hear of your recent health challenge. I was not on Facebook much today so I missed it until now. It actually could easily be an ingrown hair, however, I had a boil (or something) on my abdomen about five years ago–it hurt like hell and would not come to a head. Finally in a ton of pain I visited my dermatologist who would not touch it because she said it might be MRSA. She backed away from me like I had the plague. What a horrible ordeal–I had to take antibiotics to reduce it still not knowing if I was harboring MRSA. Anyway it all turned out to be not much and I have a small scar today in that spot. But the pain of it all had me in a tizzy for several weeks not knowing. It is the not knowing which is the worse part. There are many lumps and bumps on skin especially as we age and I would suggest that you have one of those lumps/bumps. The best thing to do is what you did–see your doctor and find out and then take care of it. Even if you get the worse diagnosis (which I know you will not), there are many ways to combat cancer–and the good news is that they work. So do not fret — you probably have one of those lumps/bumps that many of us develop. So stay positive and do let us all know the outcome. You have my prayers and thoughts.

  11. Roone,
    I am Linda, Susan Richman’s sister. Usually I hear all news from her, but not this! 14 years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
    I know the stab of fright and fear that one feels when. (in my diagnosis), there is no cure. I pray that you knock this stupid disease away forever. As I am writing this, Dave and I are preparing to go to Washington DC, to speak with onr Representative and our Senators about the disease and how we must make sure that money gets into the right hands, and if we can just stop the progression of it, that would be a tiny step!!!!

    Say “Hi” to Joan for me, and tell her to get ready for some flea markets. I have a scooter to help me get around big flea markets: so I am ready!

    Linda Armstrong

  12. admin says:

    Linda, how good to hear from you! How could I forget the bride of Dave Armstrong, one of my brothers’ best friends. I will indeed tell Joan we “spoke”, so keep that scooter’s battery charged!

  13. admin says:

    Cy, we spent 3 years together at North Central and since we reconnected via the Hyundai I’ve gotten to know you better than I ever did at NC. If I knew how much I’d like you I’d have been nicer! Thanks for your thoughts.

  14. admin says:

    Thanks, Susan. You’re a dear friend and I appreciate your thoughts.

  15. admin says:

    Thanks, Frank. BTW, I had a couple Founder’s Breakfast Porter-that’s some crazy stuff. We need to sit down together one hot summer day and enjoy some of your home-brew.

  16. admin says:

    Thanks, Pikes, I’ll keep you posted.

  17. admin says:

    Thanks, Sandy, I appreciate your perspective and caring.

  18. admin says:

    Yeah, “With a pair of pliers and a blowtorch!” Thanks, Trent (the guy who introduced me to Red Hot Chili Peppers).

  19. Spencer says:

    Roone – along with my thoughts and prayers, I have empathy. As you may recall, both of my parents died of cancer, It was tough emotionally for both to deal with the pain, as it was for my sister and me. Hopefully, it will not be cancer. I look forward to your updates on the tests.

  20. Mickey Shmikler says:

    Rooney – Best of Luck as you meet this challenge. I love how you changed your mindset as a positive state of mind is critical to a successful fight! My prayers go out to you and I hope you get good news!

    Mickey Shmikler

  21. admin says:

    Thanks, Spencer. I had forgotten about your parents. I know they both smokes and I hope it wasn’t lung cancer. That’s what took my father and it was damned ugly at the end.

  22. admin says:

    Mickey, my first friend and still my friend after a 50-year sabbatical! Glad to hear from you, and thanks for the wishes.

  23. Charles R says:


    Looks like you have lots of people who care about you. I read all the posts. Fight it for them and me


  24. Pamela James says:

    Roone; Keep this positive approach! We are praying for you! You are like one of my big brothers. When I would come to Indy ,as a kid, to visit I would always ask if Roone was going to be there. You always make things fun! I am sure you will keep finding the bright side. Love ya! Your silly cousin Pam!

  25. admin says:

    Pam, I’m really happy we have connected again, it’s always good to read you FB posts and know what’s happening in your life. I’ll look back pn this one day as nothing more than a minor annoyance in my life–thanks.

  26. admin says:

    Charles R, I’m lucky to have so many friends and family pulling for me. And you can count on a fight to the death with me emerging victorious.

  27. Lou says:

    You are too cantankerous for the big C to deal with. My thoughts are with you. Your favorite brother in law.

  28. admin says:

    Thanks, Lou. My thoughts are with you and your (our) family today.

  29. […] Part I [you may read it here] I shared my experience of discovering a lump on my neck and a bit about the process I went through […]

  30. admin says:

    Thanks again, John; we’ll talk soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *