IMO: Cancer & Altered Carbon

My mother has cancer. In typical fashion, the salt-of-the-earth woman is facing stage four lung cancer far better than I am. I have worried and wept since October when her back pain led to an MRI, and she lit up like a Christmas tree. Red dots punctuated her lungs, her spine, and lymph nodes. I have flown to Illinois as often as work allows to assist and be a shoulder to lean on. In the end, it is I who needed consoling. My mother would have been a great Buddhist. Her motto: “It is what it is.” 

I say, “You’re dying.” She says, “I’m living with cancer.” 

Recent rain makes the desert flowers bloom prettily. Watch your step!

I flew to Illinois to be with her last weekend. She is alone which bothers me, but she is exactly where she wants to be, in her townhouse surrounded by her favorite possessions and independent. Her routine has always been simple. Wake up at six and turn the television on for background noise. Walk the dog three times a day. Take a nap after lunch. Watch Jeopardy. Watch the news again. Eat dinner. Watch a Netflix series. Go to bed at nine. Repeat. 

I’m shocked by how therapeutic it is to try on her routine and escape my job, my responsibilities, and my hobbies. Like water lapping on the shore, she is the moon that directs the day’s rhythm. I breathe and begin to relax in her company. We buy ice cream cones and take country drives looking for eagles. We laugh at my inability to adjust to the fancy BMW I rented (I didn’t ask for one; the cheap cars were taken and it was all they could offer me.). Our bodies creak as we try to get in and out of the thing. The speed and smooth ride were like the sprinkles that covered my chocolate cone–a sweet indulgence, indeed.     

To contrast the quiet days, I downloaded Altered Carbon, season one on my phone since I heard it was great, and I like Science Fiction. Each night under my covers after Mom went to bed, I watched a couple of episodes and was impressed with the Blade Runner vibe, sophisticated worlds, and plot twists. My favorite character is Poe, who is AI and wants to be human. He provides the comic relief and is more human than anyone else in the grisly, narcissistic world of the haves and the have-nots. It is violent and for mature audiences. I’d like to read the trilogy by Richard K. Morgan for which Netflix developed the television series in 2018.  

According to Forbes contributor, Paul Tassi, season two is less exciting due to budget cuts. Who knows about season three. You can read his article about season two HERE.  All I can say is season one was highly distracting from the solemn situation facing my family. It sure beats listening to the news and panicking over the Corona Virus.  I have plunged deep into creating the rough draft of my third book in a six-part series. It takes place in World War II and two major characters are Jewish sisters who find themselves in the Philippines, 1942. It’s a safe spot to be, writing about the 20th Century while watching the futuristic setting of the twenty-fifth century.

At the end of the month, the April newsletter will be sent to those who have shared their email addresses with me. You are encouraged to join them. I’ll be sharing the research and the process of writing historical fiction. E-mail me at, and I’ll add you to the list.

Love & Friendship,


42 thoughts on “IMO: Cancer & Altered Carbon

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  1. The heartfelt tribute to your mother, and your honest and open account of day to day life is a diary of our times, interspersed as it is with a review of a streamed TV series. This is the sort of powerful document that will be read by future historians. This be be life in 2020, as it is known to future generations.
    Outstanding, Cindy.
    Your friend always, Pete. x


    1. You inspired me, Pete. I admire how you share your thoughts and feelings. I tried to be honest and real. I’m really happy you liked it. Now, have you seen Altered Carbon on Netflix? I think you’d really like it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, but I have read good things about it. Despite having Netflix and Amazon Prime TV, I am trying to spend less time watching any TV at the moment. It is so easy to let the evening slip away, the realise you can hardly remember what you watched. My thoughts about my life are going through some changes at the moment. I’m not liking myself that much.
        Honesty always works in writing, and as far as I can see, you have always been nothing but honest. x


  2. I don’t pray very often nowadays but I said one for you and your mum after reading this. This is a beautifully written post, and very, very moving.


  3. Ah Cindy, sorry to hear about your Mum, such a hard thing for you to go through. I can read in you words that you are both dealing with it with grace and in love, cherish the times you spend together.
    I got addicted to Altered Carbon and loved the first series. 2 episodes into the second series and I am cured, it has lost something and I am no longer looking forward to watching it while I do my ironing.


    1. Oh, good, Fraggle, I’m glad you liked it, too. The article I read linked said because of budget cuts the worlds from the first season were less awesome. Also, that something was lost when Joel Kinnaman wasn’t Kovacks anymore. I liked how the first series was a mystery–film noir. I wonder if the second series lost it’s appeal because the story line became too widespread, not as tight as the first season??

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cindy thank you for sharing your feelings this way. Your Mother is a gem and I really respect her attitude, and yours. It is possible to have peace even in the most trying circumstances and most of us have to learn that attitude over time. My sympathies to you and your precious Mom at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry about your mother. Though she seems to be taking it well. Is she taking any kind of treatment? How old is she? Normally cancer in older patients tends to “go slow”, which is good. Will you still be able to travel with the virus situation?


      1. Shrunk? Well, that’s good news. Always to take with precaution of course, but one takes what one can. Daughter #1 is an MD, working at the National Cancer Institute here, she says that treatments have improved very significantly over the past 10-15 years…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I believe her. In 2002, one with stage four cancer had six months or less. Now I’ve seen more and more people who live 2 years after the announcement. I hope that’s my Mom. Congratulations, you have a female doctor in the family! Where’s “here”?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Yes, let’s hope it’s the case for your mom.
            Yes, we have 2 doctors in the family. Daughter #1 and her husband. Since they’re infectologists, and epidemiologists, they will be on the front line…
            Here is Mexico. Bracing ourselves for the virus to hit hard. Should be next week, I guess.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I now see. I missed this post in March and likely many others. I am glad I am reading it now. As a bit of a worry wart I admire your mother’s spirit and courage. And your own. My Dad has recently taken to having a running far with my Mum where he quotes Bridge of Spies. “Would it help?”. It suits his sensibilities, he often counsels me “Don’t worry, worrying doesn’t change anything.” And even I have learnt, when there is something to worry about, you don’t worry, you get on with living.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. beautifully written! i am so sorry for the hardship your mum has experienced🥺 she is truly lucky to have such a caring and loving daughter! i hope you find peace of mind and always remember that there will be light after this dark road🤍

    I am also planning on writing a book about my sister’s journey fighting brain cancer and how I grew up with a sense of fear and hope towards this rocky experience, so stay tuned for that if interested☺️

    Liked by 1 person

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