The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our Walk of Life

[Catchy organ music intro] "Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies. Be-bop-a-lula, baby, what I say..."

I love that song - more so now than I suppose that I did in the 1980s when it came out. At that time, I was just finishing my undergraduate degree, and was hanging out with my volleyball friends a lot. MTV was a new thing, and the songs that were being "video-ized" were pretty popular. Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits put together a video that showed sports players' bloopers with his music playing in the background. I found it to be both funny and refreshingly unlike the other videos being shown - of bands playing the music live and trying to tell the story of the song in snippets, or even creations where the artist lip-syncs to the lyrics while "acting" then out. He was different, and imagined a wonderful walk of life that sometimes went awry.

I like it now for the memories of my life that it provokes... of many evenings with those volleyball friends in a bar called Dante's on Roosevelt in Seattle's University District - the smell of cheap beer (Tuesdays were $1 pitcher night!), the old video games that ate more quarters than they registered for play, the abused pool tables. We had some marvelous (though tipsy) times in that place, regardless if we won or lost. I wonder what Dan, Nebosja, Jim, Katie, Pam, Micky, and Bunny are doing these days...

Sometimes that walk of life is a trudge. Other times, it is skipping and laughing and burbling along. But we only get this one walk, and to me that bears remembering. Maybe I have said stuff like this before, maybe even in this blog (truth? I have not gone back to read through it... hard walk, that). But I felt like I should recall that we daily choose the path and the tempo of our walk. That we are not walking alone, and that the pace changes regularly. So, today, let's make the walk purposeful.


[Catchy music continues... "Here comes Johnny gonna tell you a story - hand me down my walkin' shoes!"]

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cancer bloggers

We all know who we are. We have been through a scare or two, and we think that perhaps there is something personal that needs to be said - for family, for friends, and even for the "just curious" out there in the worlds of the Internet. I am guilty of lurking my way into other cancer patients' and survivors' lives through the pains and fears, joys and triumphs, and even tragic losses that we post.

So, what is my point? Not sure, except that I still find myself drawn into some of these stories - almost like they are chapters in a novel. "Ed has a mostly normal, mostly carefree, mostly OK life and then "BAM!" cancer appears." Insert stages of grief, frantic internet searches for information about [fill-in-the-blank carcinoma, melanoma, etc.], tears, stoicism, decisions, fatigue, surgeries, injections, nausea, more tears, and so on. It is a consuming story, punctuated by sometimes charming or poignant insights, and sometimes those are recorded for some kind of posterity in a blog.

When you are following a cancer blogger, you engage in their dance with death. For a person diagnosed with cancer, well, for this person at least, that reality forces its soulful way into consciousness rather quickly. I remain hopeful for my longevity, but still harbor a suspicion that the proverbial "other shoe" is hanging in the air, ready to drop. Maybe that is what other survivors think too?

So when I see a blog "go silent" I worry. Recently, after a several month hiatus, a blog-friend posted anew to her blog. It made me happy. So, in the spirit of happiness, I plan to write here more often.  I-know, I-know, I wrote similar words before, but now I mean it. I will try for weekly at first. Call me on it!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Latent cancer ravings?

Hello to blog-land... yeah, it's been a while. Not been up to much, you? It's been such a long time, and I really do miss your smile...

Wait, hold on - no ripping off cheesy lyrics from 80's songs. OK, well, maybe...

A dear friend claims that she checks this blog for posts in a manner that could only be called religious (or maybe obsessive). This is mostly a test to see if her claim is true (you know who you are!) But at the same time, I am feeling a little anxious about my upcoming CT scan and CEA tests. You see, there is a pattern to my interactions with colon cancer - a periodicity of four years. Now I will grant that I have only two data points (March of 2007, and then January of 2011), but if that serves as any kind of predictor then we are looking at cancer detection in say, November of 2014. This is right around the proverbial corner. Alas.

So, the next month or so will be filled with varying levels of angst. I have a very distracting (and somewhat stressful) job these days - which is both good and bad. And I am still nursing a "broken" thumb (though it may actually be a detached tendon). EASY to forget the pattern, right? Oh, and my friends and family are always here for me.

We may be having our last throes of summer today and tomorrow. So - there's a warm wind blowing the stars around. And I'd really love to see you tonight.