SUNLIGHT IN OUR SMALL CORNER:
FIGHTING LUPUS PREDATOR
[HUNTER BEAR AUGUST 30 2007] WITH MANY COMMENTS -- UPDATED
WITH, THINGS AND THINKING [HUNTER BEAR -- SEPTEMBER 29 2007]
Things are difficult enough for everyone -- everywhere -- that I have not
been inclined for some time to share my personal medical challenges with an
especially difficult version of Systemic Lupus [SLE] with anyone beyond our
immediate family. However, I can report some good news -- and so I am simply
now doing this quick little broadside.
We have been through a "kidney scare" -- but all has turned out to be OK. A
routine blood test awhile back detected a possibly significant problem that
might -- might -- be a harbinger of serious kidney developments with
secondary implications that could bring a return of diabetes [this malady
had left when we ended the steroid drug Prednisone.] Lupus had initially
attacked a number of my vital organs, including kidneys, and the medics have
watched that sector about like a fire lookout studies the terrain these days
in forest fire-ridden Idaho. When this possible problem was abruptly
detected several weeks ago, there was concern. My primary medic, a young
Mormon [no objections to my coffee consumption], whose medical conservatism
I appreciate, asked me several questions about over-the-counter painkillers
that I might be taking. When he learned that I had been taking Motrin [
ibuprofen ], which ironically had been suggested several years ago by other
docs], he wondered if this might be the root of the problem. He was not at
all sure since SLE is wildly unpredictable. So we stopped that immediately
and waited a month to see what happened. [And there was always the chance
that, in any case, irreversible kidney damage might have occurred.] So we
marked time while I continued to eat well and drink pure mountain water,
continued my daily pre-dawn walks [160 so far] in heavy Lowa mountain boots.
A couple of days ago, more blood was taken, the tests were expedited, and
the results show that my kidneys have returned to normalcy. The next routine
blood tests will not be for six months. In the meantime, there was one of my
periodic comprehensive eye exams by another doctor designed to ensure that
my primary Lupus med, Plaqenil, was not causing any side effect damage --
and that my eye/nervous system relationship was in good order -- and the
results of that multi-faceted exam indicated all basically OK on those
No more Motrin. I am not planning my next incarnation.
We, along with many others, continue to be greatly concerned about the
paucity of Federal funds for Lupus research and the obviously insane
objections in some quarters to stem cell research. Lupus, as many are aware,
is a predator to which women in general can be vulnerable -- and which also
affects minorities [Native American, Black, Chicano, some Asian groups] very
disproportionately and regardless of gender.
We fight on.
As Ever, Hunter [Hunter Bear]
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
FROM BARBARA SVEDBERG:
Dear Hunter, Thank you for the medical update. I continue to hope that the
progress against Lupus goes bravely on. I like to know how you are doing
and to imagine you in your mountain home. Barbara
It seems that one of the conundrums of medical, or pharmaceutical,
science is that methods and treatments that have been seriously developed
and rigorously tested can still have unexpected and dire effects. It also
seems that your doc is a Godsend.
And don't forget there's always the time-honoured Finnish folk remedy
for just about everything that consists of "bathing in the sauna, drinking
grain spirits, and ingesting pine tar." In which precise order, I don't
I am glad to hear it was no problem.
Ibuprofen are great when they work, but they can do damage
Well, that's great news. I'll wait with the new obituary.
Do you use a different painkiller now? I use old-fashioned aspirin.
I'm relieved to hear that your health is improving and hope that it
continues. Thank-you for the update.
All the best,
Good to know kidneys have returned to normality.
We control Jim's acne rosacea with diet - limited but not eliminated
beer, fried food, corn chips, that sort of thing. And no coffee. He had a
dream of a little dragon coming out of the coffee mug and biting his face.
That did it. We believe in that kind of dream. So he dumped coffee and in
two months, it really made a difference. Acne rosacea can lead to blindness
and so we don't mess around with it.
Dear Hunter (Dr. Salter):
Thank you for the update. I remember you daily in prayer. I have had
you in my thoughts a lot recently . . . .
My greetings to the family.
Dear Hunter Gray,
Sorry to hear you had a crisis, but am glad to hear you are getting
I have not taken ibuprofen for many years because of adverse effects.
(It gave me terrible cramps.)
Also-- I avoid aspartame-- which has been criticized widely, is used
widely-- and has been accused of causing or making worse many illnesses
(including Lupus!). It is used particularly as a sweetener-- so watch that
coffee if you are substituting Equal for sugar!
I was shocked when I investigated a story about how the European
analog to our FDA declared the sweetener safe-- clearly (to me)-- putting
economic interests over public health interests.
This is what I found:
Dubious EFSA Announcement of Aspartame Safety Saturates Mainstream
Even if aspartame were 100% safe-- I avoid it because I do not wish to
pass on any residual to the war criminal Donald Rumsfeld who made much of
his fortune making it widely available in this country.
Thank you for keeping me on your list for news. Stay well! I want to
read about your planned trek to Sycamore Canyon next year.
Robert B. Livingston
so happy about your good news.
Glad to read things turned out better with your health. I enjoy reading
the posts you send. They bring a little peace to my hectic days. Thanks.
with comradely regards,
SUN! SURF! SOCIALISM!
THINGS AND THINKING [HUNTER BEAR] SEPTEMBER 29 2007
Although the SLE has been quite pervasive, it has not affected my Mind [which can often happen in these severe cases.] Avoiding a retreat into self-pitying solitude, I've continued to read and write [letting, as I always have, my fine spouse, Eldri, do the family arithmetic.] I avoid medics as much as possible, even those with whom I have considerably rapport -- and I sure as hell avoid hospitals. Family members and friends and our Furry Little Buddies have all been extremely supportive and helpful.
Dear Hunter, Thank you for your health update. I was very
pleased to read that you are doing so well and the picture was very
good and you look good. It is good to be in contact with you. I
have started going to school to learn Swedish better and am enjoying
it quite a lot. It is good to be around young people and to be
polishing up my Swedish. I watch while things appear not to be much
better with USA. I think that the administration is trying to
bankrupt the government both financially and morally and am
frightened that the congress does not seem to be able to stop it as
I had hoped they would. I like being retired.
Keep on being well. Pax, Barbara
MARTHA ELIZABETH TURE:
Hi, Hunter –
Do go into Sycamore. I swear there is something there for you something wonderful.
A satisfactory report is always good news
- no more than I expected, but good news nevertheless. Greetings to Eldri and
FAMILY COLLOQUY [MACK AND ME]
NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: 10/01/07
This little exchange between Mack and myself -- some quite personal stuff and thoughts -- may be of interest to our many friends on these lists and to various family members sprinkled thereon. As a rule, I do not, of course, post family-type communications and colloquies. [When he wants something kept in a privileged context, Mack always precedes that, journalist-style, with "not for publication.
FROM PETER [MACK] September 30 2007
Thanks for the update. We had a blast furnace of a wind here -- 30, 40 mph -- all weekend until tonight, when the temp dropped about 25 degrees in a heartbeat. Dawn thinks it's probably the same system that brought snow to Idaho.
I don't worry so much about your physical health as I do your state of mind. You've always seemed to have superhuman strength. I can't fathom pain getting to you. But I do worry about the rhythm of monotony getting to you -- you were always so busy helping others, getting involved, stirring things up. Keep your guard up against solitude and its ugly stepsister -- self-pity.
We had Scott [Winter] and Deena and family over for dinner last night, and your Web site on our computer on our kitchen table. Scott couldn't believe that picture was taken this weekend. Didn't think you'd changed at all.
Things are OK here. Scott [son] finished his summer job mowing lawns, and they want him back to help clear snow this weekend. He's going to try to return to college tomorrow. He owes for last quarter, but he's saved just enough to pay his tuition bill.
Jack's a short-haired hippie. He bought a loud African-inspired T-shirt at the hippie store, and he unicycles barefoot to work. He used to be shy and introverted, but he attracts a lot of attention when he's unicycling to Taco Johns.
Hunter's football team won handily yesterday. He's the biggest player on the field -- and I'm sure the opposing team's parents must be wondering if he's really an eighth-grader -- but he's so afraid of hurting these kids who are literally half his size, or smaller.
Tomorrow, I need to get serious about our 50-year anniversary coverage plan of the Starkweather killings.
Later [Peter / Mack]
FROM HUNTER [HUNTER BEAR] October 1 2007
Thanks, Mack, for your good letter. We are delighted that the 4 1/2 day Trail Ride in the wilds of western Nebraska proceeded so well and in such a humanly/humanity fascinating fashion. Not surprised you made it -- but, as parents, a bit relieved that there were no mishaps. You'll do others, I'm sure, but I still suggest a good and steady Mule.
SLE is a "deadly disease" -- the verbatim med text characterization -- and most who have it die ultimately from either it directly or via its effects. I intend to be an exception to all of that and the fact that we have managed it effectively for decades -- long before we knew that It was It -- speaks for a favorable personal prognosis. The docs are surprised at my progress. And I keep walking, every early morn.
As I believe my new post -- Things and Thinking -- indicates, "self-pity" is as far from me as the Mountains of the Moon. My thus far 73 years of life speak very strongly to the absence of that quite negative mood condition.
Solitude is, however, an inherent part of my nature. I have always been a rather lonely person and, from very early childhood onward, I've practiced the interesting art of talking to myself -- and then discussing/debating with me. It produces sound judgments and, very much, rich insights and creativity both deep and high. I spent the entire Summer of 1960 in Solitude -- check out the attached link for a good photo of my habitat at that point. While there, I thought some things through, rejected my already settled plan to go off to Philadelphia, Pa. to work for a labor ed program and, concurrently, decided to take my mint-new Master's degree, and go into college teaching, at least as a starter. It came to boil down to a choice between Bemidji State and Superior State. At that very time, Eldri -- soon to be met by me -- faced the precisely same choice as a Lutheran college student advisor/counselor. With obviously no conscious awareness of each other -- separated by vast distance -- we each chose Superior. And that led to Mississippi at the end of its ominous Summer of '61 and a huge family.
Think that one over. As you say, Later -- but let's talk by phone one of these times. Here is my Great Solitude Link:
Glad things are going to well on your end. Best, D [Dad]
Good Afternoon Hunter,
I wanted to underscore to the people on the Sycamore List serve the
importance of making friends with solitude. Your own writings on this
subject and descriptions of your own experiences with solitude are powerful
For myself, I didn't "court" solitude--indeed, was terrified at first about
living alone, being totally responsible for my well-being, without a life
vision and slim knowledge of myself. Today, I look back on those nine years
and know that I came of age then. It just took me so darn long!
Today, I frequently seek solitude and quietness, and am glad when "...the
house and I are alone." That quote is from May Sarton in her Journal of a
Solitude (WW Norton, 1977).
Alice M. Azure
Maryville, IL 62062
HELEN: [Helen is a Native lady, afflicted -- as am I -- with a quite
serious version of Systemic Lupus. She is a very brave soul. -- Hunter.]
hope you're feeling well , i've read your message, i wish i could write as
well as you , i'm having some rough times lately, i fell at the shopping
center two weeks ago everything seem to have been o.k. i went to the
hospital to be checked ,they said everything was good, but since then i'm
falling apart, i've had so much pain , it's hard to deal with , anyway if i
can make we're going to new york next week , i think i told you four of my
children live there, one son i haven't for over three years , also a new
grand daughter, and a new great grand daughter, we'll get to see everyone , will
be wonderful , so wish me luck, are you still able to do your walks ? give
our very best to your wife, look forward to hearing from you soon.
FROM HUNTER BEAR TO HELEN:
Thanks so very much for your fine letter. Take it from me, you write very
well indeed: organized, clear, and always with a solid and meaningful
message. You do OK!
I am doing fairly well at this point but, as we all know, one can take
nothing firmly for granted with Lupus. I am very sorry about your
ups-and-downs. They aren't pleasant -- as I know so very well.
Occasionally I have slight, brief dizzy spells but they are very brief.
I am much better in the early morning -- so I get up at about 2 a.m. and
coffee-up, drink cold water, smoke my pipe, watch television. And then, I
do my regular walk about 4 a.m. or so. It's getting cold here so I wear a
coat and gloves. Wear my wide-brimmed Western hat. Take a cane, just in
case, but have not had to use it for some time. In mid-afternoon, I start
to "fade" somewhat and usually turn in by 8 p.m. In between, I take my meds
and eat good meals prepared by the very capable Eldri -- assisted by some
younger family members. Eldri is doing just fine.
I am very glad you are able to travel -- to the Four Directions: Kentucky,
New York! And what a great group of family you have! I am sure your trip
and visit will be truly memorable.
Our very best to all of you. You give me inspiration and we are very
Keep fighting! Our prayers and best thoughts go to you good folks always.
Your friend, Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
From Maryam: [An extremely fine healing prayer -- obviously from a tribal
setting -- and a most welcome and encouraging message which I greatly
(mishaberach is the communal prayer for healing in hebrew congregations)
May the Great Bear be healed with a perfect healing.
May the mountains and the bear greet each other on their morning walks.
May the power of the bear be strong in healing.
Peace Joy and blessings to you, Hunter.
I am a SNCC woman of Detroit, Mississippi & NY.
Have been reading your posts for years.
only now am taking some time in my life to read and write as i've been
longing to do forever.
and in reading your post today about Lupus I wanted to at least
let you know that I have been grateful for your long & loving writing...
before the electronic times... when we sat and listened to each other...
there were never too many words.
you bring me back to those times of sitting and listening.
in awe of spirit speaking thru each other.
I am forwarding your post to my dear friend Stina Marie Santiestevan who
has had lupus a long time.
i know she will be interested and enlightened by your experience and
no doubt there are many out there who have sat in council with you, who have
also never taken time to speak aloud.
Peace be with you,
(Marilyn Lowen, formerly of Tougaloo... a house down the road from the
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER
JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
Check out our Hunterbear social justice website:
[The site is dedicated to our one-half Bobcat, Cloudy Gray:
Hunter Bear's Movement Life Interview [Lengthy]: