What I'm Learning from Cancer - 2015


August 1, 2015

Getting old means getting used a lot of things you never even wanted to think about. Cancer used to be a very scary word - by now, it's just ordinary: chemo and radiation followed by periodic check-ups (so far, so good.)

I give myself 2 shots a day to prevent blood clots. I was appalled when they told me I'd be doing this for the rest of my life but it's become simply routine. Diabetics live that way too, after all.

My mother used oxygen tanks for the last couple years of her life. I never wanted that. Now I have the oxygen going whenever I'm home and I'm looking for a handier size to carry with me on the bus - where beautiful Somali girls now stand up to give me THEIR seats (and I'm even grateful.)

My doctor tells me, as age and COPD advance, I'll grow progressively weaker and more dependent; but as long as I can still read and write, I think I'm doing OK.

See Facebook Comments https://www.facebook.com/christopher.shillock/posts/1044240598933607



December 3, 2015 What a difference a year makes

A year ago in December I had just got out of the hospital and had to go home to the dump where I was living after I had been driven out of my place in Downtown Minneapolis. At that point it seemed like my family and the Twin Cities arts community all stepped in to take care of me. 
First my old college roommate, Linn Allen, came up from Chicago to visit.
Then Susan Opitz rented me a room in her apartment. The moving crew to 1801 (l. to r.), Ian Shillock, Stephan Bergeron,  Ed Jirak, Chris, Tabatha, Anne Calvit Shillock. Not shown:  Rich Patterson who took the picture, Stephanie Mitchell and Tim Mitchell
This summer Valur Gunnarsson came from Iceland to visit me - a rare event in flyover country. While he was here he decided to look up Bob Dylan sites. Thanks to Venus and Lynette, Tabatha and Rich, Cassandra Nelson and especially Nancy Miller who invited us to her house out in the woods for lunch. Minnesota doesn't have spectacular sights but it does have some great people to meet - in addition to Dylan.


Later in the Summer, my son Bret came up from North Carolina



When my cancer was diagnosed, my first thought was. "I want to get back to Paris."  I've just come home from a couple weeks there with Mina Agossi and David Devaux. Thanks also to Jordan and Iris. Everyone in Paris treated me like royalty!


Finally, my Granddaughter, Erica Shillock English told us I would soon become a Great grandfather. Unimaginable!


“If you don’t know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do.”
- from Latest Readings by Clive James


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