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My stupid cancer has returned. This picture has nothing to do with that. Just thought something beautiful would be appropriate here.
The good news is that after this next surgery, I should finally be able to talk and eat again without pain. Even Mexican food. Especially Mexican food!
Cancer-free, it seems, does not mean free of cancer. It means a scan cannot detect it. The scans after the first surgery led to the magic words: “you are cancer-free.” Apparently though, some lingering cells, undetected by the scans, got busy and decided to throw another party in my tongue.
We caught this second cancer early. Re-excision (the next surgery) will involve removing the cancer and some additional tissue around it. They may need to do some reconstruction of my tongue by importing tissue from somewhere else. I was thinking about James Earl Jones – I wouldn’t mind sounding like him – but they say it has to be from my own body.

The lesson from all of this is the value of persistence. Never, never, never give up. (The actual quote from Churchill is “Never give in, never, never, never–never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”) Take it from me or take it from Winston, the point is the same: persistence.
Persistence: First, of course, just because you have cancer (again), don’t throw in the towel. Just get busy and and do what has to be done. Work the problem, as they say in the flying business. But second, don’t take no for an answer. The first time around, after 5 health professionals had told me they didn’t know what it was but it was not cancer, the 6th took me more seriously and found it. This time around, a biopsy and scan in the Fall did not detect it. But as the symptoms started worsening in the last month (pain on contact with food or teeth, and sensitivity to spicy food) I pursued it relentlessly so that the people in masks with surgical knives in their hands can now go back in and kick all the remaining party-goers out of my mouth.
We have some logistical issues. Our home is in Portland, we and our motorhome are currently in Phoenix, and the potential places where I might have the surgery are in Portland, Tucson, and Houston. Time is of the essence; this is not a cancer that patiently waits until surgery is convenient. So, it is time to get busy. Work the problem.
But not to worry avid readers, I am fine. I was prepared either way. Disappointed yes, but not discouraged. After all, I have Mexican food to look forward to again when I get past all this.

17 thoughts on “Persistence

  1. Wow! Again, our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family

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  2. Houston sounds like MD Anderson–am I close? I only know this from reading regarding my own family. I vote for 1) the best, most experienced, and 2) the fastest. With your motor home all you need is a destination and a parking lot! Is there a tongue cancer specialist at Stanford or UCSF?  We would like you close!


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    1. You are so kind! It will be at OHSU in Portland. It’s a great place and can’t beat the convenience – only a block away – and all the kids and grandkids are nearby.


  3. So sorry to hear the cancer is back. That’s inconvenient, but with your persistence, positive attitude, getting after it and prayer, you’ve got it licked. Muriel and I will pray for you and Carol as you deal with this inconvenience. Keep us posted.


  4. Hi Ken
    So sorry to hear the news re upcoming surgery. Love your positive attitude. You are a survivor at heart. Cheers and praying for good results.
    Bettie & Ron


  5. You are such an amazing individual! I love your positive energy and determined spirit. I look forward to seeing you happy and healthy in the near future.
    Best Wishes ❤️


  6. Cheers to Mexican Food!!! One of my favourites.. Good on you for being persistent. I always tell people they know their body better than anyone else. They need to listen to it when they know something is wrong. I am pushing my doctor and in the process of finding a new one who will take me seriously when I say, something is not right. I don’t think it is anything serious but would like it investigated.

    Take care and keep us in the loop. Go where ever you are comfortable……or in the States, maybe it is who has a good reputation.

    Hugs and Prayers

    All My Relations *Mim*

    *Honoured to walk with my feet on the land of the Hodinohso:ni and Anishinaabe Relations, the Land of the Dish with One Spoon and Williams Treaty* *Be part of Reconciliation in Action *

    On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 5:25 PM 2 WASTED MINUTES wrote:

    > Ken Fransen posted: ” My stupid cancer has returned. This picture has > nothing to do with that. Just thought something beautiful would be > appropriate here. The good news is that after this next surgery, I should > finally be able to talk and eat again without pain. Even Mexica” >


  7. Hi Ken. Sorry to hear of the return of the nasty party-goers. Will be looking forward to hearing where your next party crashers are from. Keep in touch. We are pulling for you. Love your attitude. Winston has a wonderful way with words…. a great quote to dwell on at the moment. 🤞


  8. I’m very sorry, Ken.
    If you have confidence in the team in Portland, it makes sense to have the surgery there. More convenient to be treated and monitored close to home. And if post-op treatments are needed it would be so much better to be home and close to family. Thank goodness they said this was small. Hopefully they’ll use wider margins at surgery and that they watch you like a hawk, certainly more closely than they did before. Thank goodness you had symptoms that told you something was awry and that you were persistent in asking why you were having them. I’m so grateful someone finally took notice, listened to you and checked it out. Keep us posted, okay, on what happens and when.


  9. We are in Tucson the end of Feb and beginning of March — if that is where you end up going to beat the cancer, we could certainly check in on you!! you are in our prayers!!


  10. Ken,

    Sorry to hear about your recurrence of cancer. Hope your surgery goes well. Appreciate your thoughts on persistence. A good word to us all, whatever challenges we face.

    Prayerfully, Gordon

    On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:25 PM 2 WASTED MINUTES wrote:

    > Ken Fransen posted: ” My stupid cancer has returned. This picture has > nothing to do with that. Just thought something beautiful would be > appropriate here. The good news is that after this next surgery, I should > finally be able to talk and eat again without pain. Even Mexica” >


  11. Dear Ken,
    I am sorry you have to face more surgery. Your spirit is incredible and your humour is such a great way to approach this next phase. Please know that Howard and I will pray for you & your family as you navigate the next step .


  12. You have a great attitude; that will go far in helping you heal. Hoping that this time, they will get all of the little boogers and they won’t come back! Here’s to enjoying Mexican food agin! We’ll be thinking of you.


  13. Ken, I’m very sorry the cancer has returned. I pray you will get through this next surgery with clean margins and a great outcome. Thanks for keeping us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ken, I was so sorry to hear this news. I will be thinking of you in a special way as the laser knife does its work under the skillful direction of your surgeon. You and I have shared a common journey (my tumour being removed from my tongue in Nov 2017.) Best wishes; warm thoughts. Enjoy the cream of broccoli soup – there will be lots of it in the coming months. – Ted (Winnipeg, MB)


  15. Dear Ken,
    i just received your sister Shirley’s email forwarded to me by my sister Wanda Doerksen. This came as a “shock” to me. I knew nothing other than you and Shirley were touring the country in your motor home.

    I will forward this to Phyllis in Boquete, Panama where she lives and to a number of friends here in Fresno who know you asking all of them for prayer. I beleive they will all do so. As will I, begining right now!

    God hates cancer. Sickness and death are neither his will nor plan for any of us. Jesus at Lazurus’ grave expressed deep anger at death. [Modern translations are “wussy.” In Greek, his anguish and anger are more pronounced.]

    At times like these, i turn to the Scripiture, particularly Psalms which so wonderfully proclaim God’s greatness and power, but also the praise and pleas of men in trouble.

    Let “the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” [Phil 4:7]


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