Thursday, April 30, 2009

He takes and he takes.

One thing about being really sick: you don't really know you're really sick. People don't tell you. You just think, "Damn, I don't feel good today." It doesn't occur to you that you could be closer to death than you think. 

Many times, people do the opposite and tell you that you look good. Doctors here don't tell you that you're in bad shape because they don't believe it. They think there's always an answer even when there isn't. My doctor kept saying that he's seen much worse, which he probably has but that still doesn't mean I wasn't really sick. Besides, he probably told those people he's seen worse, too. 

I was really sick. I couldn't turn my head to the left or right very far because the cancer sort of wedged my head in like a football player with pads. I could walk to the Walgreens one half mile down the road, but couldn't make it back. My heart was constantly feeling like it was going into cardiac arrest. The cancer had effected probably more than ten nodes and was spreading down my body and no longer across. 

Now, I'm feeling much better. But the only chance to stay permanently well is to get really sick again. Assuming I get the final go-ahead tomorrow (a seeming formality at this point) and tomorrow's tests come back without lung spots (they shouldn't), the chemo is going to break my body down to nothing and then build me back up again. They have to purposely kill my bone marrow, empty it all out and then fill me up with my frozen ones. It's a long and involving process that only clinically ends in three months. 

I'll be sort of like the six million dollar man. One wierd thing about that show is the guy barely goes through rehab. I mean, he's got a couple legs and an arm and he's fine in weeks. And did they just suddenly build some blood vessels for him? What about nerves and skin and everything else? Didn't anyone in the seventies ask these questions? Couldn't anyone call Bull by the time the Bionic Woman came along?

I'll get into exactly what will happen in a blog at a later date. I know you've all been incredibly supportive so far but I have to tell you that the coming months are when I'm going to really need your help. For neighbors and family members, I need to especially reach out to you. Sherri and I haven't figured out the caretaker job yet. I think she'll be down here for most of it. But being gone for two months straight is a lot to ask of her. So I think we'll do a couple weeks of celebrity caretakers. What we really need is people to help with the kids. Thanks for the help so far. I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth by asking for more now. 

One last thing. As you can imagine, there is a huge online community of cancer survivors, including Hodge survivors. What you probably didn't know is how helpful and close everyone is. Doctors and especially nurses get you what you need when they're on call but they can't be there at the wee hours of the evening when the wolves howl. These people are. One particular girl named Jessica was always cheerful, inspirational, informative, thorough and genuinely caring. She went out of her way to make sure your irrational worries are at least turned into rational concerns. She knew it all because she went through it all and she was always the one person who summed up a situation with clarity and ease. Chemo. Stem cells. Clinical trials. You name it. This girl had it done to her and she was still standing to pass on her knowledge. This morning at 10:40, Jessica died. She fought really hard for years. She had two young kids and a husband. She was only twenty six. There was a message board announcing her death. The title read, "Jessica is an angel." 


  1. I would hope by now that you've realized that whatever you need, you just need to ask. I spend my days dealing with people at their worst and listening to them talk about how much they hate their former or soon to be former spouses, but despite that, when you get right down to it, most people are not complete jackasses. I can only assume that the people reading your posts and helping out in whatever capacity they can are of the more normal variety human being and willing to give a little more where necessary. As such, whatever you need, just ask for it. It's a strange thing, but those who are asked to help and are able to do so get more out of it then the person needing the help. Some sort of psychological bullshit that I can't explain because I was too hung over to go to class that morning or because I have since assassinated those particular brain cells. The bottom line is that you should feel free to ask whatever of whomever without worrying about it being a burden. Just get better as a means of paying it back.

  2. A BIONIC Herlehy!

    That is crap-down-the-pants terrifying.

    At least you would get to find out what Lindsey Wagner's real 'Sleep Number' is...

    Lee Majors is my man crush.