Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I am not a cancer survivor.

It is important to understand what this means. From the day I was diagnosed to the day I woke up from surgery to remove the final traces of cancerous growth in my body, there elapsed 140 days (or, just a bit of one-third of one year, 38% to be exact). In that time, I received chemotherapy on 27 days (19%), and went through roughly 3.5 hours of surgery.

At no point in this process was there a consideration that I might die as the result of the disease. There was no point at which anyone involved imagined it would take more than six months at the very worst.

For most cancer patients, the process takes months or years, there is a real threat of death, and even the treatment leaves the person wasted and weakened. For me, the process has been a tremendous annoyance. Nothing more. I have spent most of the last half-year angry, upset, depressed, sullen, and vicious – and mostly annoyed. I have not reached into the depths of my psyche to realise something new about myself as a person. I have not grappled with my feelings of mortality and impotence. I have railed against the arbitrary universe, but I always did, and will do. I have taken nothing from this experience, because, ultimately, this experience was nothing – compared to the suffering that most cancer patients go through every day for months, I have no right to complain, and nothing beyond a handful of feverish nights to point to and say, “that’s what it’s like to have cancer."

I have been extremely lucky. For a time, I held in my body the greatest killer in the natural world, and the experience was like dusting away flies. I can move on with the remainder of what will perhaps be a long and healthful life. It cost me virtually nothing.

I do not - I fear I never will - understand how it was that I developed this disease. It doesn't matter. It's gone. I have scars now that I carry with neither pride nor shame. This happened. I dealt with it. I wish I hadn't needed to. May no-one reading this ever have to do the same.

February-June, 2005

One Year Later
You know what? Maybe I am a cancer survivor after all. And maybe that's a good thing.

June, 2006

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Aw, hell

At 7:30 in the morning, 15 June, 2005, I will be entering the hospital to have a mass removed from my left lung. I will be in the hospital for 1-2 nights. This is considered a major operation, but I am an ideal candidate, and my recovery time should be minimal. This will be the last cancer-related incident I shall have to undergo.

I will conclude this narrative when I'm on the other side of surgery.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I'm still here

I felt the need to post that I am not dead, so that the two people still occasionally checking this site will be reassured on that point.

As it stands, this is the condition of my health:

I have a mass of some sort in my lung. It could probably stay there (60%) but we can't know 'til it comes out. The coming out is scheduled for June 15, having been pushed from June 10 a few days ago. I have been pursuing a holistic approach towards healing myself, but I doubt its efficacy, and I will not be eschewing surgery in favor of holistics; if I eschew surgery, it's just because I don't want a chunk of my lung taken out. I really fucking don't want a chunk of my lung taken out.

1 June - followup evaluation to see if the holistics did anything at all.
2 June - breathing class
4 June - blood work (Eastwood, 2002)
6 June - pre-op evaluation
8 June - breathing evaluation
15 June - fucking goddammit cocksucker. Also, Batman Begins opens, and I strongly doubt I will be able to attend.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The short version: I need surgery, and it is going to suck.

The long version: there is no long version. I need surgery, and it is going to suck, and the alternative is a very premature death, and that doesn't mean I've decided yet.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

It ain't over 'til it's over

And it ain't over.

At some point, a "5-10% chance" that I'd need surgery turned into "about 40% of cases need surgery." I don't know if he was lying to me then to ease my mind, or lying to me now to ease my mind, or if there's some Kabbalistic difference between the two statements. But the point being, I need surgery. In all other ways, I am in all-but-unbelievably good health. I am recovering from chemotherapy with nearly (but not quite) unheard of speed and efficiency.

Just, there's something in my lung. Maybe a bit of tumor (bad!). Maybe a bit of scar tissue (benign). Maybe a nifty little thing called a teratoma (will eventually turn into cancer; next week or in 2030, it's impossible to predict). We can't know without removing it. And so remove it we shall.

I know nothing else right now. I talk to a thoracic surgeon one week from today. After that, I'll know the where and when and everything else worth knowing.

Honestly, this is more annoying than upsetting.

But I am finding it difficult to maintain my sense of joy.

Monday, April 25, 2005

These are the days of miracle and wonder

I went and got myself a CT scan today, and with a little bit of luck I will learn in three days that there's not one damn speck of cancer left anywhere inside of me.

In what I cannot believe is a coincidence, I have been happier today than I have been in oh, about twelve weeks. If I believed in the soul, I'd say I had a weight lifted from it. As is, I'll just say that I am profoundly relaxed and (dare I - I, of all nihilistically gloomy men! - say it) full of joy for life. I can't bring myself to believe that there's anything left to worry about.

A 5% chance that I'll need surgery to remove scar tissue. But what's 5%?

Come on, Thursday! Let's get it over with! I'm soon to move on, and begin my fucking life again! God, it feels good to say that! Everything feels good!


Thursday, April 07, 2005

It's over!

I have received the last dose of chemo I will ever receive. And I have suffered no ill effects today; perhaps a little fatigue (damn you Benadryl!), but certainly no fevers or anything else unpleasant.

I'm done with chemo. I'm done with motherfucking chemo! I still feel all excited saying it...I know it's only been nine weeks, but they've been hell. And they're over now. Yeah, it'll take a while for my body to recover (I won't be doing any marathons this month), and technically, I haven't been "cleared" and it's possible that I might yet need surgery. But the chemo is over. Which is a very wonderful thing.

Josh Elder - whose personal experience puts my whiny two months to shame - gave me a bit of advice awhile back: "those first few weeks post-chemo will be some of the best in your life. Savor them." Thank you, Mr. Elder. I think I shall.