photo (21)

As expected, my hair began to fall off such that Joan complained that I was worse than our old shaggy, long dead, and much beloved dog whose ashes we keep in a cedar box in the den. She was horrible dog, but we loved her dearly. My mind wanders.

Given the wifely complaints, I shaved the rest of my hair off. I am now as bald as Korey Reiman, a great young criminal defense lawyer who is bald (I hope) for reasons unrelated to ill-health.

I start the second cycle (round) of chemo on Tuesday. The first cycle (28 days) was pleasantly tolerable. The severe pain in my left leg is gone. I stress this point only to piss off the few crazoids who wish fervently for the cancer to eat me up. My mind wanders.

The worst part of the treatment is fatigue. While I work most everyday, I go home in the early afternoon when the fatigue rolls in like morning fog. A kindly nurse at the clinic told me that the fatigue caused by chemo drugs must be experienced to be understood. She is right. When the fatigue hits speaking out loud feels like lifting heavy weights. Walking seems like a death march. You put one foot forward but doubt that you can lift the second one to continue.

Five more months to go.




31 responses

  1. The Gardener

    As we move from there and then
    All the way to here and now
    Things must move and we feel pain
    From roots pulled from the ground

    We cannot see the roots we have
    They lie deep within the ground
    And when the Gardener uproots them free
    We feel lost and we look down

    He knows we are to grow in beauty
    And not to stay the same
    We must be moved to someplace else
    Or we will never change

    Then He plants us in a new place
    A different time and space
    He makes our roots to grow again
    Till we once again feel safe

    We would never choose to move
    We’d stay rooted in one place
    But the Gardner knows it’s pain from change
    That illuminates our grace.

  2. At least you have the consolation of knowing that you are still a handsome son-of-a-gun! Rest well. And be good to Joan!

  3. Love the movie star “bad ass” look. Hollywood will be calling. So glad the severe leg pain is better. I believe that pain started here in Siouxland when you were trying a very tough civil case. All things considered it going to take a lot more than this to take you down, especially with your new look. Remember, your fan club is large and we are here for you anyway we can help.

  4. Hey Judge
    You look great and the hair will return .
    For my money you just keep pissing them off !
    Be well and a very happy Easter to you and all those you love.

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Judge,
    I’ve followed your blog quietly for some time, now; I like what I read there, even if I might sometimes disagree. I’m here to offer you encouragement, although I’m “without standing” because I have not walked your path. I have no idea what it’s like to face a disease such as cancer. I did have a heart attack September 2013, and I can tell you that going through rehab is worth every bit of the trouble and time, When you finish your course of treatment and “beat the rap,” head for a rehab facility (NOT a live-in, if you don’t need that!) and start rebuilding your body and your spirit.

    Thanks for your intellect and your humor. And thank you for the years you spent on the bench. It’s clear to me that you did not take the duty lightly, and you gave it your best. In my 67 years I’ve come to appreciate a man like you more than you know.

  6. Your a Winner Judge, I know You!! Stay Strong & surround Yourself with Love!! Finish your treatments, feel better so You, Joan , and I can go out to a Baseball game!!

  7. Judge:
    The new look becomes you. After all, a man is much more than just the hair on the top of his head.
    Cancer is going to regret messing with you.
    Stay strong.

  8. Keep the bald, even when your hair starts to return.

    And, suck it up, Buttercup–you can do five months standing on your head. Which has the advantage that when the fatigue rolls in, you won’t have to concern yourself with how hard it is to drag that back foot forward for the next step. You’ll be walking on air. But wait, there’s more: with your head firmly anchored to the ground, your mind won’t wander so much. Garonteed.

    More seriously, if a single datum means anything, my coworker reported that, for her, successive chemo cycles got easier to handle.

    Eric Hines

  9. Anna K.,

    When Joan and I were first married we went to a baseball game where Keller, our son, was playing. Keller fielded a hot ground ball and turned to throw to first base, and Joan screamed out, “Hit him in the kidneys Keller.” I knew then why I married her. Thanks for the smile.

    All the best.


  10. Gosh, Les, what a nice note. Thank you so much.

    What I have learned through this blog is that our country is populated with many good and smart people who can disagree without being disagreeable. Before I started the blog, I was beginning to wonder whether we had become so polarized that frank but civil discussions were no longer possible.

    Anyway, thank you for your kindness. All the best.


  11. Richard,

    Bald is in, you say. You mention Ben Kingsley and Bruce Willis. With all of that, why does, Joan, my wife say I look like a “walker.”

    All the best.


  12. Judge, being bald is about the number #1 fear of most men. I started going bald the day I took the oath of office and I am still hanging on to about 60% of my hair. Your humor and courage cheers us all up when when should be cheering you up.

    God Bless You.


  13. Judge Rusty,

    Thanks for your kind comment. As an aside, don’t confuse virtue with necessity. Writing is therapeutic for me.

    All the best, and keep as much of your hair as you can!

    All the best.


  14. Walter White would approve of your new look. One day at a time. Keep up the good work, but get the rest your body needs. Doin’ good, Judge.

  15. blah, blah, blah,… bleach Die if you must.

    Otherwise buy a new suit to match your color.

    You look like a fucking concerned ghost.

    I bet you are talking to that ghost too.

    Life is fucking good!

    The rest is walking.

  16. Judge, I am currently undergoing chemotherapy for Stage IV rectal cancer and I have to say that I cannot agree with you enough about the fatigue from chemo. It is indescribable. I am fortunate in that my firm and my work as a transactional lawyer permits me to work from my home, mitigating some of the effects of fatigue (e.g., fear of nodding off and killing myself or someone else while driving). I cannot imagine how hard it must be for someone whose work is anchored to the courthouse. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I will be praying for your successful treatment and recovery.

  17. John,

    Thank you for writing. I have a very close friend who went through Stage IIIB rectal cancer treatment–chemo and radiation–so I have more than a little understanding of what you are going through. Tough, very tough. That said, my friend is in remission, and, of course, I hope the same for you.

    And, oh, yes, the fatigue. If we could bottle and sell just a little bit as a cure for insomnia, we would both be in high cotton.

    All the best.


%d bloggers like this: