Thanks again to the literally hundreds of people who posted comments and sent emails wishing me well with my recent illness, and in some cases sharing their own tragic or hopeful stories of illness and healing.
I'm feeling much better. I went to see a specialist two days ago, and after much careful examination I got about the same analysis that I got from the clinic doctor—that cancer is not ruled out completely (mainly because of my history as a smoker—I smoked two packs of filterless Camels or Player's Navy Cut a day from about the age of 14 to about the age of 28), but that it's most likely a lung infection, i.e., pneumonia. The prognosis is good but the differential is curious...basically, if I continue to get better it means I will continue to get better, whereas if I get worse I will probably get worse. That sounds oxymoronic, but the upshot as that slow continual improvement strengthens the diagnosis of a "resolving pneumonia," whereas if I get suddenly worse it indicates that it might be cancer or some more serious infection. If the latter happens, I will need a "bronchoscopy," which means that they dope you up and send a little feeler down into your lung to dredge up a bit of the nasty muck to see what it is. If I continue to feel better, it may take four to ten weeks or even longer (!) to get completely healthy again, but it also means that that's the eventual probable outcome.
Meanwhile, I took the dog for a walk yesterday and found six blocks to be a little beyond my limit. (Lulu's limits are theoretical, having never been plumbed.) I'm surprisingly weak, especially in the legs—walking had that classic "rubbery legged" feeling. But I really feel quite good generally and I'm back to my old tricks as you can see.
Meanwhile, my friend Carl, who has written for T.O.P. on many occasions, had a very serious crisis last Friday. You can read about it at Working Pictures, along with some very sensible cautions for working out-of-doors. Sincere best wishes for a speedy recovery to Carl.
I was humbled to hear so many stories from people about near-death experiences, loved ones lost, cancer and cancer scares, and living with life-threatening illnesses. So many people are fighting really serious battles, much more challenging that this bout of mine, and to each and every one of them I return the same kind wishes that so many people have extended to me.