Too much of good thing?

Monday, I had a bone marrow biopsy.  Not as painful as some folks claim. No report yet on whether the Hodgkin’s lymphoma has gotten into the marrow

Today, I saw my old neighbor in Omaha, Dr. Jim Armitage, who is one of the world’s leading authorities on the treatment of lymphoma. He is at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. What a gentle, kind man! He will consult with Dr. Nate Green my local treating oncologist. I have great confidence in Dr. Green as well.

Earlier, I had a CT guided needle biopsy of the lymph nodes but the PET scan that followed isolated activity in the left lung as well as activity in the lymph nodes. Dr. Armitage therefore suggested a biopsy of a nodule in my left lung revealed by the PET scan. While it is unlikely, he wants to rule out the possibility that there are two different kinds of cancers taking a bite out of me at the same time. So, off to UNMC on Friday to have a CT guided needle biopsy of the left lung by an interventional radiologist. Thereafter, the pathologists at UNMC, who are also world-class when it comes to lymphomas, will be able to tell if the growth is the product of Hodgkin’s lymphoma or some other cancer.

At the local hospital, I will have the port installed tomorrow through which chemotherapy will be administered.  On Thursday, once again at the local hospital, the ejection fraction of my heart (pumping capacity in lay terms) will be tested so that the doctors have a good baseline. Certain chemo drugs can impair the heart and with a proper baseline that concern can be monitored properly during the administration of chemo therapy.

Hopefully, early next week, Dr. Green will tell me what he and Dr. Armitage have decided is the best course of treatment. After that, I can start planning on how to balance my caseload with the demands of treatment. My wonderful colleagues have offered to lend a hand in any way I might need. But, I can’t make any firm plans until I have a better insight into what may be ahead. In this regard, I am very sensitive to the fact that lawyers need to know where they stand, but feel awkward inquiring. (“Say Judge, I know you have cancer and all, but are you going to be able to try my fucking case that you continued twice already?”) Truly, as soon as I have firm plan of action, I will let my colleagues and members of the bar know what I will be doing.

To conclude, let me ask a question: Can you ever get too much of a good thing?  By the looks of things, I am out to answer that age-old question. More later.


PS.  I appreciate the many words of support and encouragement.  When I can, I will respond individually. But for now, know that I appreciate the thoughtfulness. That appreciation even extends to David Stickman, Nebraska’s excellent Federal Public Defender. In part, David wrote: “This type of cancer must be like the guidelines, no longer mandating a harsh result. Advisory in the sense it must be properly diagnosed (and treated) but then wholly disregarded!”  David Stickman, March 7, 2014 at 8:46 am. David, you have no shame, but I have always liked that about you.

29 responses

  1. I’ve enjoyed your blog a great deal and hope you make a full recovery. I clerked for Justice Tom Chambers for twelve years through several bouts of cancer. He was able to keep up his caseload in part through skyping into oral argument. He passed away late last year with nearly everything finished. Miss him terribly, but man, we got to do good work.

  2. I know you’ll make a complete and total recovery if only so that you can reconsider the demise of “Hercules.”

    Wishing you all the best!

  3. Judge Kopf – Thanks for your honesty (I guess it’s now called transparency) and your continuing sense of humor. Your blog has generated so many friends and well-wishers for you. I want to add my name to the list.

    As you know, we were recently thinking about Judge Richard S. Arnold. I want to quote what Judge Arnold said in the 20 Questions blog post on November 3, 2003. The blog, How Appealing, is written by Howard Bashman.

    Judge Arnold said, “I have had a form of lymphoma since 1975. From time to time, it needs to be treated, though it does not usually interfere with judicial functioning.”

    It seems that you are following in Judge Arnold’s career path. Unfortunately, that means you can forget about your nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    My very best wishes to you. With so many fabulous doctors, I am sure your treatment will be very successful. Elaine Mittleman

  4. Judge Kopf, Remember to follow All Your Physician Instructions! Always ask questions for Clarification! Remember I am a Nurse and a very Strong Patient Advocate!! You will succeed and you can Never get enough of a Good Thing! You are Surrounded by Love! Love is the Greatest of ALL!!! You Will Succeed with a Complete Recovery!!!

  5. Can you ever get too much of a good thing?

    Grab every good thing you can, Squeeze it oh so close to your being and love every minute you have it in your reach. Live every day like it’s the very first one only better because you have words and you know everything. This is what makes it all so grand again and again.

    Wish you the best of everything and so appreciate your Herculean effort to search, reason, understand, share and, most of all, live.

  6. Nothing like living and breathing. I will come to you to shoot portraits if you want. Every one wants to see you and hear you. Keep thinking and healing. Fight dude. No reruns.

  7. In my fog (which I’d blame on my browser, but it’s a poor man who blames his tools for his own failings), I’d missed your resurrection and your news.

    Albeit a bit late to the gate, I wish you the very best, and I hope and expect to hear of your complete recovery.

  8. now as a patient in need of good professional medial advice please think about what ineffective assistance of counsel would feel like in the medical world.

  9. We wish you all the best, man. I just had stem cells taken from my hip in an experimental attempt to re-grow cartilage in my knees (too many marathons), and it hurt like hell for two days.

    I’m still awaiting the resolution of an emergency motion fully briefed in November, and that is with a young and healthy judge. To be pro se is to be a black man at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in 1960. For us, “equal justice under law” is as unreachable as the frieze on the SCOTUS building.

    Get well soon. I would hate to mark the passing of the last honest judge.

  10. I wish you a robust ejection fraction and nothing but reasonably good news. Work will sort itself out. One day at a time. Thinking good thoughts for you.

  11. Q. Can you ever get too much of a good thing?
    A. Never. But it usually ends with too much of a bad thing (like, for example, every hangover of my life including this morning’s).

    [Insert extremely inappropriate “ejection fraction” joke here.]

  12. At least, we could say MJ was “as sober as a judge” 😉 :

    “Chief Judge Edward Nottingham is a familiar figure for long-time ATL readers. The Colorado federal judge has starred in past posts such as “Chief Judge Nottingham: Putting the ‘Ho’ in Your Honor?” and “Chief Judge Nottingham Likes Strippers; Handicapped People, Not So Much.”

    A quick recap of “Naughty” Nottingham’s misadventures: being too drunk to remember how he spent $3,000 at strip clubs over two days, calling 911 on a paralyzed lawyer in a wheelchair after she confronted him for parking in a handicapped space, and having his name show up on a list of clients of a Denver prostitution business.

    Well, he’s back in the news, folks, and though we’ve retired him from Judge of the Day, we’ve decided to give him a nod at the request of many tipsters. The Department of Justice has launched an investigation of “Naughty” for asking a prostitute to lie on his behalf.”

  13. What do You think about a Judge using a handicapped parking space? I would like to know Your Opinion?

  14. Anon.,

    Federal judges are entitled to valet parking anytime and anywhere, so I don’t trouble myself with such trivia.

    All the best.


  15. Unfortunately for Judge Naughty, Walgreens didn’t get the memo. Guess they treat you better in Lincoln…. 😉

    For those who don’t know, Nottingham was chief judge of the federal District of Colorado and of course, one doesn’t need to wonder why he was never prosecuted for taking bribes. You can’t afford his expensive hobby on a federal judge’s salary and even if you could. the wife would get suspicious pretty quickly. But of course, if he ever started to sing like Beverly Sills, most of the Seventeenth Street law firms (and quite possibly, the Bush adminstration) would be implicated, as a bribe requires two parties, and news reports mentioned multiple judges as partaking in the ladies’ services. A deal was cut, and the owner of the brothel had his laptop filched. No investigation into the latter incident occurred.

    Judge Naughty is now a rent-a-judge. He didn’t even have action taken against his law license.

    Corruption has evolved into a sport in Colorado.

  16. Marc,

    I have thought some about your question. Like many questions, I simply don’t have much of a good answer. That said, the great majority of lawyers I deal with, and the physicians who are caring for me, are competent professionals who care a lot about providing good advice.

    All the best.


  17. Jeff,

    Thanks so much for your kind note. As for fog, don’t worry. It envelopes all of us most of the time. Unlike you, few of us realize it.

    All the best.


  18. Lorin,

    You are a very kind man. As I think about what happened to you as a judge, I wonder about the madness that punishes someone with your talents.

    Take care, my friend. All the best.


  19. Anna K.,

    Being a good German, I do what I am told. So, you can be assured if a doc tells me to do something, I will do it. More generally, I appreciate your perspective as a nurse. It is comforting.

    All the best.


  20. Elaine,

    Dear friend, I thought about your reference to Judge Richard Arnold. It tickled me. Being compared to Richard, even if the comparison relates solely to cancer, makes me feel very good. Thank you.

    All the best.


  21. Gary,

    Thank you Gary. We are both getting old, but as we age, friendships become ever more important. Your note prompted that reflection, and I very much appreciate it.

    All the best.


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  23. Well, I’m on a rollercoaster. Ever so happy to see new posts, hate the reason. Hate the cancer, happy for the outlook. ALL the best Judge! I pray this can be the easiest thing you’ve ever beaten!!! In the meantime, I’ll be happy for every post you make as I do enjoy them! You’ll be in my thoughts and in my prayers constantly as you go through this.

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