Friday, October 28, 2011

It must have been that guy's wallet

Don't give any money to breast cancer causes. I know, I'm pissing off everyone who's had relatives with that monster. But hear me out.

You get out of the elevator on the seventh floor of the NYU Cancer Center building and it resembles one of those Mexican buses. Ya know, it's jam packed, people are elbow to elbow, hanging out of the windows and even sitting on the roof. And somone usually has a chicken. When the nurse finally calls your name, three hours after you checked in and after some very sick person coughs all over you, the nurse repeats your name three or four times while you crawl over the bodies.

In the meantime, two floors up, people exit the elevator and are soon greeted by the calm, soothing voice of the receptionist who asks you to have a seat and oh, there are drinks for you free of charge. After a trip to the kitchenette, people prance across the carpetted floor as classical music plays and then land in a soft, comfortable chair. A couple minutes later, a nurse comes out to see you and apologizes for the long wait.

You get what I mean? Breast Cancer is the cool kid. Hodgkin's is the fat kid who never washes his hair. So please, if you're gonna run in some half marathon for a cause, run for the fat kid.

The last post, boy was it depressing. Well, I have some better news. In fact, I think it's great news. The big lump in my boob is not cancerous. It's just a big lump in my boob. The medical peeps say it's probably a reaction to the heavy meds they've been shooting into me. But that conclusion took awhile to figure out.

First I had a mammogram. Ladies, I think you will agree that it's not the most comfortable process. The last time I was asked to get into so many positions, I was single.

A couple minutes later, a radiologist came out and asked me to come into her office. My friend Todd is an excellent poker player. He rarely loses money and that's when he's in Vegas. One night while at the best casino on the strip (O'Shea's), he taught me the ins and outs of playing the game. Since then, I've even learned to catch a tell every now and then. A tell is when someone does something that tells you what kind of hand he or she has. It could be all kinds of things. A tell from a doctor is when they pull up a chair next to you. Then you're in for serious shit. But this time, the doctor didn't pull up that chair. She sat in her own and told me that she believes the lump isn't cancerous but only a biopsy will tell.

About a half hour later another doctor was performing a needle biopsy on me. Because my lump was right under my nipple. She took her very long needle and stuck it directly into said nipple. Then she poked back and forth. She did this for about a minute and quite nicely apologized the whole time. Then she did it again. After looking at my cells and not finding any cancer, she did a third time to be sure. Again, she found nothing. As I mentioned in my previous post, very pathetically, I was in need of a break. I got it. Yeah baby. It was probably the wallet.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Well, that was fun.

I have a lump in my left boob. It's either a lymphoma relapse or breast cancer. Odds are on the relapse. If that is the case, then the best treatment out there for hodgkin's is no match for my monster. Basically, since this didn't work, it's doubtful anything will. The tumors are back and this time they're not leaving. The best I can do now is slow it down. I'm very tired. I never thought it was unfair that I got this. People get diseases every day. My buddy Scott, Cari and Susan at work all have Crohn's. But I do think it is very unfair that I have never been able to enjoy a relapse. I'm going on year four. That's 1,460 days. It's hard. Every morning I get up and the biggest goal is to find the time to forget, to feel better or hide what I feel. Most of the time I can get an hour or two at night. Within a couple of months that will be gone. I just wanted a couple more months. If you're tired of reading about my whining once again, I'm sorry. I wish I could write about something else. I think I'm going to have a beer. It will hurt. But I don't give a fuck.

Oh, one other thing. After we landed in New York, the guy in front of me deplaned but he left his wallet on his seat. I picked it up and gave it right to the flight attendant. I didn't even check to see how much he had. Wouldn't that good deed get me a month or two without this disease?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A note to my kids

Ironically, I can't figure out how to embed Steve Job's 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

But Conner, McKenna and Madison, I'd like you to read/watch this. Everyone can too if they want.

Am I going to have to eat herbs?

Steve Jobs died today. Cancer doesn't care who you are. I, as well as everybody in design, owe him a big favor because he showed the world that design matters. If used correctly, design can be more than just an aesthetic pleasure. It can change everything and anything.

I've gotten lucky the last two times Icame ro New York. About a month ago, I happened on a good deal for a hotel in the downtown area of Manhatten. The cab driver pulls up to the hotel and across the steeet was some kind of busy construction project. I go up to the lobby and holy cow, thar's Ground Zero. The hotel overlooked Groumd Zero. My room overlooked Ground Zero. I could barely sleep.

A month later, today, I weasled my way into another downtown hotel deal. This was on Wall Street. I'm in the middle of the Occupy Wall Street protests. I went down to take a look at it. I gotta say, there is an aweful lot of earth tones down there. A lot of wool, too. It smelled of a college dorm and looked like a college lecture just got out. There are a couple hundred youngsters and lots of police people. The people are yelling stuff. The police aren't. I decided to chime in and I yelled too. I screamed, "My underwear is riding up my ass!" And, "Let's hear it for 100% Cotton!" Only some people cheered me on but I think they were French tourists.

I don't care what anybody says. These protests aren't about the inequalities in our economic system. No, this protest is wholly and solely the result of the Grateful Dead. You see, if the Grateful Dead were still touring, all these young people who look like the haven't showered in a few weeks would be spending their time enjoying the confusing riffs of the Dead. They'd be doing the white guy dance, chewing on some mushrooms and then talking about the waning influence of the middle class in our economic and political lives. I usually picture a teepee, too. I never understood the attraction but my friend Sarah somehow enjoyed the Bands sounds. There's no Grateful Dead now. Where are you Gerry Garcia?

I see Dr O'Connor tommorrow. My run with this treatment is about up. My gut hurts. I'm itching more. I have lump on my boob. I don't have a plan B. I wanted to go to Houston but now I'm not so sure if I even can get into the trial. I'm getting tired. Unlike most cancer heads, I've never really had a remission period. It's hard to wake up, notice that you feel like crap and realize that oh yeah, I have cancer. I'm doing that everyday. A rough count puts me and cancer reintroducing ourselves to each other for about a thousand mornings now.

Every time someone with cancer dies, I do something I'm not very proud of. I count the years they struggled with it and compare myslf with that hoping to go as long. Steve Jobs went almost eight years with his monster but he went to Switzerland and ate nothing bit herbs for a while. I'm only butting up to year four. It would be incredible if I went as long as Steve Jobs. I hope I don't have to eat herbs, though.

One other thing, being down here allowed me to see the grave of my hero, Alexamder Hamilton. He was the father of our economy. He made sure our dollar was worth something. He forsaw the intricacies of interstate commerce. He led a bayonett charge in the last major battle of the war. He wrote most if not all of President George Washington's speeches and with him, helped forge a brand new society. Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton fought over what type of country this should be. Jefferson wanted a country of gentlemen farmers with a weak and non-existent federal government. Jefferson won, for awhile. After the Civil War, the country slowly but surely tilted all the way toward Hamilton. He is most likely the only Founding Father who foresaw what we are today. He was an orphan who ran a trading company at nine years old. At thirteen, he was turned down by Princeton because he told the dean he wanted to finish college in three years. Only being thirteen years old, the Dean thought he was crazy. Almost as admirable in my mind is how he was human. He was very vain. His son died in college after he was challenged to a duel, a fight over his father. You would think he would stay away from duels but he didn't and died as well, at the hands of Aaron Birr (even after he shot his bullet into a tree). Yes, he was vain and he did cheat on his wife one time. But I compare that with his rival, Jefferson, who owned slaves and betrayed Washington. I'll take Big Al. It was cool seeing his gravesite. Sad, too. I was so inspired to be so close to his actual body. But then I heard about Steve Jobs. I hate, hate, hate death.