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Common Bonds | Jim Lockehorizontal rule

photo of Jim Locke
Jim Locke was sixty-eight at the time With Eyes Open was filmed, and died shortly thereafter. Jim was diagnosed with cancer one year ago. In the last months of his life, his wife was his greatest support who often helped him out of despair. He and his wife attended support groups through the wellness community, which became like a family to him.

On His Wife's Care
I have a whole range of emotions and she has become inured to these emotions, as best she can, and I'm not always the kindest, forgiving individual. I have enough to do worrying about my disease, rather than worrying about medical bills or anything else. She takes care of that and all the other petty annoyances that come along with this illness. She is my life giver and my support and she makes the trivial stuff go away and I can focus. She is a rock. And as I said before, it's very difficult I would imagine for anyone, this part of the grieving process or the fighting process they may be doing this by themselves. It must be very, very tough.
On Learning about His Illness
It's a moment that you don't forget. It was one of those, good news, bad news situations. You go into the hospital on emergency for gall bladder surgery. The surgeon says yes, we got that gall bladder and that is a minor surgery from the standpoint that the body will function quite normally without it. That was the good news. And the bad news was that oh, and we found cancer in the gall bladder and it's metastasized into the liver. And from that day, I had been living with this overwhelming fear of, what next? We've treated it with chemotherapy, which was the first stage of the treatment. It didn't work. This alien force kept getting larger. The tumors kept getting bigger. This cancer is a very unforgiving disease. It knows no boundaries. It has no racial preference. It will go after anybody, wealthy, poor. It's not selective at all.

On Fighting Illness
We're fighting it, and it never leaves us. You wake up in the morning: it's there. It may recede, but it comes back in again, just like the tides. Depending on what goes on that day as to how prominent a role your fear of death is on that particular day, but nevertheless it's there and you're attempting to fight it. We're all in that same boat I think to not to roll over and, forgive the expression, play dead, but to give it our best shot. The one thing that disturbs me is that now I am ambulatory. I can drive a car. I can't do things that I used to do, play tennis, ride a bike, but that's okay, but I do feel that I may become a burden on my wife or my children and hopefully that won't come to pass. I don't know what will come to pass. I can't project. I'd like to think that I will continue in this state, knocking down the tumors as they occur and, and, without suffering the incapacitation that results when you're no longer knocking down these tumors and they take over and I'm hoping to avoid that.

On Support
It's like any support group, I think, and this is the only support group I've ever belonged to. We share our pain. We empathize. We've been there. We've had the surgery, we've had the chemotherapy. You're not going to blow smoke at these people and visa versa. They know what it's like. It makes you tenacious because you see, by god, these people have made it, are making it, will continue to make it, why not me? We don't want to let go.

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