Monday, February 8, 2010

Mutts, my grandmother and Cancun

My dog is a mutt. By looking at her you'll notice that she has some Labrador Retriever in her and some German Shepard. But with the way she acts, you'd think she even has a little greyhound. She loves to run around. Send her outside and she'll run in in a long loop that covers the back yard for many many minutes and until she gets pooped.  She's very fast, too. 

I'll never forget the last time I chased her. It was in September. I was still recovering from my stem cell transplant but I had enough energy to run a few laps with her. That day I don't think I had much cancer in me. But that was the last day. It was beautiful running with her. I had spent a year in Houston getting a new blood system and was finally free on a cloudless and warm September day. Before that year, I had chemo treatments that lasted eight months followed by the worst type of relapse filled with itching and chest pains. Two years of treatment and pain all out of me in the backyard as I ran like a maniac after a stupid dog. 

I felt wonderful. That was a long time ago. This is the third year that I'm fighting for my life. Every day I wake up and prepare myself for the aches, the cramps, the nausea, the vomitting, the headaches, the shooting pains, the obstructed bowels, the blood in my nose and lungs and the fatigue. God, I am so, so tired. I can't climb a flight of stairs now without being so very tired. There's nothing wrong with me. There is no medical term for a body that's just pooped.

There is a drug out there that can help me. I can get relief for about five months before the cancer comes back or the really nasty side effects begin. But that was my back-up. To use the military analogy, this drug is my reserve troops. When it looks bad, then I always have that drug. You don't want to use this back up because it's so powerful that when the cancer comes back, and it always does, it really comes back balls out. And then you options to fight it. 

Originally, Dr. O'Connor set me out on this path of waiting to use these reserve troops. Let's not use SGN right away. Let's use some other drugs to soften the cancer first and see how long we can go before we have to use it. Heck, we could go years without even considering it.

Dr. O'Connor changed his mind last week. He said I really need a couple of wins. I have a 5 cm mass in my chest now. That along with more than seven cancerous lymph nodes across my collarbones and upper chest. I have a lot of cancer in me. 

About ten years ago, I went to see my Grandmother with a baby Conner in tow. This was her first Great Grandchild and all during the pregnancy, she begged me to come by with him as soon as I could so she could see her Great Grandchild before she died. She had ovarian cancer. But when I saw her it wasn't what I expected. She was very sick. So sick that she really couldn't care about Conner. This isn't a criticism of her at all. I understand it. I have a beautiful baby girl. But I can't enjoy her. I am sick and it has consumed me. I think of little else because I can do little else. I have become a benchwarmer in my life. I watch what goes on now from the sidelines. I sit and watch. Most of the time I don't even speak. That would be a pain because I'd have to breath and smile or something. Way, way too hard. I know how my grandmother felt. You just get so darn tired.

Last night I dreamt that I picked up my friend Scott Corirossi at the airport in Cancun. I had a house there. And I was telling him how great it was to be living there. I don't understand why because Cancun would really annoy me in real life. Rossi acted like I wasn't there. That happens now in most of my dreams. People are acting like I'm not there. 


  1. Michael,

    Good morning from down under. I talk to the guys and we all think of you often. You'd probably find us visiting you more often but we want to give you time to rest. Please know that despite not being around physically, you're always around in our minds, thoughts and prayers. As for your dream, don't worry about Rossi. He was probably so consumed with a Cancun strip club's new promotion offering $5 lap dances that he not only wasn't paying much attention to you nor anyone else. You probably didn't notice Schmidt in there either as he was probably drinking his favorite Schmidt's Gay beer in the Lofty Lounge for Lofty Men. Reed would have been playing the bongos, jamming to Bob Marley songs with his brothers on some beach somewhere. Of course, Todd would be with you, checking out the local establishments to see which ones were open the latest. Me - I'd be sitting in the ESPN Zone writing down stats and formulas for my next fantasy season.

    We miss you, my friend - but you are not forgotten. If anything, we think of you more often. Your strength and openness has been inspiring and makes us proud to have such as friend as yourself.

    Side note = did you see the Big Game? Good to see the Saints win. Manning and the Colts have won so many times; they didn't need another one.

    Talk to you later.

  2. Bring the loves (2 & 4-legged) of your life close to you for some shared quiet time..a nap....reading a storybook...just to be close and enjoy the living quiet together. This may be the calm before the BIG storm so cast your fate to the wind, dear one. God knows and is sending Angels to comfort careful to not get feathers all over you!

  3. Just so we're clear, any dream that involves Rossi comes under the category nightmare.