Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I learned as a Teacher

Teaching is in my blood. My father was a University Professor of History; I have always been surrounded with books. Bookcases were art and we had them everywhere, leaving little room for pictures hanging on a wall. I think I knew from the beginning that I would be a teacher.

To really understand this you need to know that I really hated school. I felt confined, restless and had so little in common with the other students. At seventeen, while supposed to be reading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" I dropped out of High School and began my world adventures, traveling across Canada on a train to Montreal and then, finding my ship, I sailed away on the SS Ryndam to Rotterdam, Holland. I aimlessly traversed Europe with no place to be and no time to be there.

I did return about six months later and went on to college, but dropped out of there too at least three times before finishing my degree and getting a teaching certificate.

In teaching I learned to make lesson plans, set goals, and crowd control!!! You have to be a little bit of Bob Hope and a little like Hulk Hogan to be a good teacher. Why should they listen to you anyway? My goal was always to teach, I wanted the kids to learn. I always passed out the "Final" test on the first day, the actual real questions they would be asked three months later.

No trickery to my teaching, this was it, the end game. I never asked questions with a specific correct answer, always telling the students that that could be looked up in the library, and now

of course, on the net! I was after reasoning and support of arguments, taking a stance and defending it, and the skill of writing whole paragraphs on one subject. I was after intellectual growth and I mostly got it. I think to this day that you get out what you want of life, set a goal

and make a plan and it will happen.

My teaching career was short lived, we have had earlier recessions, so with three years experience I was laid off with 35 other teachers and had to find a job. I could have moved, maybe should have. Texas was hiring teachers and Los Angelas, but I had just bought a house, a "fixer-upper" and had planted a garden! I have been in all 50 States, went to Europe several times and now I was a "homebody"! I liked where I was and needed to find out how to stay there. I needed a job!

I will backtrack tomorrow and tell you how I met my wife!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Film on the Editing Room Floor

picked up in segments and scotch taped together, run through an old 8mm projector, often blurry and with that continuous clacking sound, that is how these memories appear. I don't get the pure uncut version, they are memories filtered through time and I am sure, tempered by who I am today. Someone once said that when telling a story, "start with the now". Between this and my other blog I have gone back and forth searching for the beginning. I have been searching deep in that pile of transparent cellulose, cutting and pasting and taping when maybe the answer was on the top of the pile all along!

The most incredible fantastic thing is that I am alive at all. I had stage "three and one half"

Hodgkin's Lymphoma that had spread to my spleen and spine. There is no such thing as stage 31/2 but the doctor wanted to offer some hope. I fought that hard battle and the day to day account of it is here. Okay, that is a whole damned website, but at the top, where it says, "BLOG", that is it.

Art plays a big part in the make up of me. I have always liked a challenge, not in a competitive

sporty kind of way, but a personal best, doing more or better than I did yesterday. And I just plain like to make things, this desk I am writing on and the studio in which it sits, the house I call home and everything in between.

Art became powerful when I was fifty years old and decided to make my living at it. I threw away a career I grew to hate, completing the jobs at hand and laying off my remaining employees. That summer I became unemployed. I became an Artist! A work at home artist with a studio in my backyard, and a little pool, and a greenhouse, and the most beautiful of gardens.

Shortening the story a bit, it was all pretty easy. I used all my construction experience and applied it to my art, inventing some things and reinventing others. My "stuff" was available at

five local shops and two more down the valley a bit. One year I decided to try the Galleries just

for fun, just to say I did it. That was easy too. In a town used to $300 garden arbors I introduced them to $3,500 ones, always bigger and better, never imported, I made these. When giant entry gates were ordered from three designs I offered my own, and art deco, design with art, not just framed fence panels. My biggest thrill to all of this was in encouraging my competition to step up and do a better job. I kept no secretes from them, would happily tell them everything I knew. One can only copy what I have done not what I will do tomorrow.

I enjoy teaching and encouraging and inspiring others, that has to be a big part of who I am.

I'll tell that story tomorrow!

Old Girlfriends

Never die, in fact they don't even age. Caught forever in a memory they remain as we knew them, youthful, romantic and full of strength. I don't go to High School Reunions because I wouldn't recognize all the old people there. It is interesting how we see ourselves and how others see us.

I don't have the soul of an artist, that quiet desperation, that always hunting for something that isn't there, a need for silence and isolation and with all this a determination to become famous. I don't paint into lonely hours nor find much significance in the torrential rains pounding on my shop roof, battering my garden. I am only thinking I need to fix the gutters.

My paintings are fast and furious, an experiment in extremism, colorful, loud, nonsensical, without meaning at all. They don't exist except in this computer, the internet cyber world and maybe outer space if they get sent by radio waves. I make them quickly and while still wet, photo them and do it again, painting over the one just finished maybe seven times. The last one

might live the longest, tossed into a corner of my shop until I need the metal it is painted on.

This doesn't mean they are bad, misbehaved in some way. In fact I have sold some and do have a few that made it into the house. It only means they are not proper, oil on canvas, framed,

ready to be hung, established style and acceptable for an art gallery. OMG! That is IT! That is who I am! Now, how in the Hell did I get here???

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Writing this Blog

Writing is like mining, digging into a bottomless reservoir of lost images, near fatal escapes,
grasping in the darkness and hoping to find a shovel full of valuable words. My goal remains steadfast in wanting to know how did I get to where I am, not just with the cancer thing, but everything, that is what I am really doing in these two blogs. It is an opportunity at self discovery and I find the task daunting. It is not all of anything, a little dark and a little light, roads trampled, roads built for sure, areas of fear, great bouts of laughter and silliness, places where I could have and areas where I didn't. I have explored and created, loved passionatly and cried.
The slow process of cancer and recuperation from its voodoo cures allows plenty of time for
reflection. How did I get from "A" to "B", from that point when I was an idealistic youth, churning out poetry as if I were making peanut butter sandwiches, travelling the world at the drop of a hat, to any other point along the way and to where I am now?
It is like finding a painting and knowing it is seven layers deep. I carefully chissel off a layer, discovering texture, color and design not seen, not understood. There are layers and layers to go. The way I remember it makes a disorganized story, jumping thoughts, dreams within dreams, but I know the end or at least the now.
I will continue this thought for while.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday!

God knows we need more STUFF! Lots more! For thirty-five years I made my living building additions to accomodate "more stuff"! The funny thing is, over this time, most of that "stuff" is gone, making its way, broken and tattered and no longer wanted, to the local landfill.
The additions remain, still there and strong and waiting to be filled with more stuff! I don't know where we get this need from, to fill that empty space, that cavity we all have. with crap.
These days most of this "STUFF" is imported from China, really, like 98% of it! Thank God for small favors, huh? We can buy it cheap, on sale even, cheap enough to throw it away when it no longer entertains us! Life is grand and we can go shopping!
The worst jobs I ever had were from people in their fifties. Their children were long gone,
half way across the country, building their own additions for more stuff. They created this family and raise these kids in a three bedroom house with one bathroom and now they are gone.
Now they want the extra bathroom and a family room! NOW, for just the two of them, they want the bigger house and I always suspected it is so they can become farther apart! This is a trouble job and having done a couple of them, I am a little leery. These people want me to make them happy! Their life-long dream of having a big house with lots of bathrooms and a big family room is all on my shoulders, now, at a time when they no longer need it, and all to be filled with more stuff!
Mostly I would try to talk them out of it. How about a trip to Paris? or at least Hawaii or
some adventure that would endure, become memories and maybe even bring them closer together, a shared experience!
I give consumables for Christmas, stuff that can be used up and enjoyed, tasted and shared.
I like Calendars that last twelve months and are gone! Chocolate, coffee and tea, a spice collection, cheeses and any wonderful foods.
No cancer stories today folks, I am in the Holiday spirit!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

None of the Above!

I tend to put things in perspective. One of the stages you go through with cancer is the

"Why Me?" stage. That is sort of funny, there are probably a thousand reasons where I could have gotten cancer. Yes, I admit, I have had water from a plastic bottle! I confess to liking bacon and other smoked processed meats. My socks are only 50% cotton and the rest, OMG, could be anything. I don't even know what I have put on or in or near my body, unpronounceable

things for sure. I have learned that if you can't pronounce it you probably shouldn't eat it and that seems like a pretty simple rule. I am not even talking hotdogs here, we all know what is in them, but what do they really put in ice cream? We are importing food now from China! God knows what kind of murky waters that fish sandwich you ate were swimming in! Antifreeze is sweet, cheaper than sugar, and it is put into toothpaste!!!

What is funny is that I have smoked for forty seven years, have always spray painted without a mask, I weld in an almost sealed shop ( I leave a window open!) and and I never wear gloves or protective gear for anything! I have lived a very dangerous life and NONE of this "caused" my cancer! The voodoo doctors just don't know!

The dinosaurs lived on this planet for millions of years, humans, as we might recognize them,

for maybe 25,000. That is perspective. I see the war veterans coming home in wheel chairs and worse, I see very little children going through this same chemo-cure that I am and I see the homeless, the people who consider themselves "lucky" if they are living in their cars and that is perspective. I know there will be very hungry people, fighting the cold tomorrow when I am

feasting on a big turkey dinner with a few chemicals added. That is perspective!

Monday, November 22, 2010

You brought Protection?

.....Cancer is not contagious but you might think it is. Some people didn't want to see me because I was falling apart, others wanted to see me because I was falling a part! The strongest guy on the block, leaping buildings with a single bound, I had found myself surrounded by Kryptonite! You bathe to wash it off; you look into the mirror to wish it away. You know you can do this, there are a few bad cells surrounded by millions of healthy cells. It should be an easy fight! It was a freight train coming through the night and I was tied to the tracks.
I was new to this world of blogging and hadn't discovered the shared community, the thousands of us tied to these same tracks, hearing their stories, their struggles, their survival, and most important to me, their laughter and indignation, "How dare this train come my way!"
The entire train trip is HERE, read it backwards.
Sharing the experience makes it all easier, learning helpful tips on eating, dressing, and just getting up in the morning and it is like winning the lottery in a way. You will reunite with lost friends and make new ones from around the world.
A LINK to all my Websites!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

All from Memory

I am writing these blogs about my cancer (Hodgekins Lymphoma) from memory as it has almost been a full year. I had an earlier day to day blog, that if you read backwards will take you through the emotions and everything I went through. It is HERE!
Writing from memory is so much easier and I have the leisure of picking through the debris to attempt a story. Sometimes I go back and read the day to day blog, pick from that nightmare
and relive it here, but it is never the same as it was the first time. It is as if I have skipped to the end of the book and having read that last chapter, I am a little disappointed at the ending!
There was no sailing off into the sunset. The dancing girls never appear, nor does the brandy solution. No light at the end of the tunnel and no revelations. However, the bad guys are defeated and it was a harrowing tale with some twists and turns, a lot of gore and the Hero (me!)
gets to live another day! I guess that is what makes a story, huh?

My Other Blog is HERE

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dancing Girls and...

campfires and midnight kisses! That is what I wanted! I wanted out. Out of this madness, out of the cancer and out of the voodoo world I had been in, all encompassing and surrounding me in an insanity of sickness. It would be nice but marijuana doesn't really do that for you. Mainly I knew if I wasn't going to eat I was going to die. Not to be rude but I hadn't had a crap in over twelve days! There just wasn't anything in there to come out. The tiny bit of food I gave my body it wanted to keep. The synthetic marijuana pills helped a little bit. but they had removed all the "good stuff" from them and they were very expensive. I had absolutely nothing to lose, I was grasping at comfort. I got three "joints" for $20, sat down here and lit one up!

If you are not a smoker it will make you cough. The trick is to get it into your lungs and hold it there. Try a smaller breath but hold it if you can. Three or four puffs later you will get the hang of it and by then you will like it. Now, I don't want to misdirect you or lie to you in any way. Nothing beats bon fires, midnight madness, dancing girls and a fine single malt scotch!

Years and years ago, maybe twenty five, I was given some cookies, chocolate chip with walnuts, my favorite! That is all I knew about them and being the compulsive I am I ate three or four at one go. Twenty minutes later I knew something was very wrong. My head was spinning, the leaves and their trees would not stand still, and just everything was moving slowly.
Another twenty minutes and I remembered my college days, experimenting with marijuana. Then I knew what was in the cookies and knew I should only have had one!
Marijuana has never appealed to me, no drugs have. There is a particular loss of control
that has always been important to me that you lose while taking drugs. I like every 24 hours in a day and marijuana can make them seem like 40 or 16, altering time, surreal to the extreme.
One can sit and stare at a leaf for hours, not really thinking much, maybe feeling more, maybe not, and then this silence gets broken up with uncontrollable laughter! and here is the key part:
then you are hungry!
Pain will go away. I was lucky with my cancer in that I never had much pain except for my right hand which always feels, even today as I type this blog, as if it were stirring a bucket of cut glass. Marijuana will make all that disappear. The medical community and our society have long denied the "clinical trials" that marijuana users have known for a century. It can be fun so it has to be bad! I am still hunting for that doctor that makes chemo from fine brandy!
I really wanted to eat. My doctor wanted me to eat and he was worried. So, I did it and it was all pretty much like the above, a little laughter at nothing really, a lot of lost time, just a pleasant getting lost experience.
The next morning I went to breakfast with a friend! A real breakfast with real food! I had ham and eggs with gravy on the hashbrown potatoes and I ate everything except the toast!


Marijuana! Yeah baby!

I have always been a big man, strong as an Ox,
moving 100# of steel was never a problem for me. When I began this chemo process I weighed
225 pounds and eight weeks into this twelve week circus I weighed 175 pounds, losing about 5 pounds a week! I lived on one bottle of Ensure, a small cup of tapioca, and a very small bowl of jello. That is less than 500 calories per day and it was all I could do to get that down. I was lucky in that I was never nauseous, but all food was cardboard to me: "spit it out or die"! I had my voodoo doctor worried!
He finally prescribed some synthetic marijuana pills for me, saying I could take five or six of these per day. These pills cost about $20
EACH! and with my insurance they still cost me $100 for a weeks supply, my insurance company paying for the other $600!!! There is no reason on this planet that these should be so expensive, except somewhere someone saw an opportunity to make a profit! Drug Dealers!
If I took five or eight of them a day they worked a little bit, enough that I could, under a lot of pressure, drink an extra bottle of Ensure. My doctor mentioned "medical marijuana"! Maybe that would help?
"Medical Marijuana" is legal in Oregon but you do have to get the prescription and go through a process and become registered. Did I want to go through that whole process and be known? I am sort of a hippy, definitely a drop out, but my experience with drugs is pretty limited to a single malt scotch! I did want to eat! What to do?
Marijuana is so easy to get now, probably easier than a gallon of milk and the local newspaper.
If you have this conversation with your friends, three out of five will know where to get it.
I wouldn't know how to roll a "joint" if my life depended on it (and it may well have!) and my hands were pretty bad by this time as the neuropathy was setting in. I didn't want a "baggie" or "lid" (see, I am learning the lingo!) around my studio, or god forbid, in my house! I talked to a friend who had a friend who knew someone. Really, it was just like that! Carlos, maybe?
And the next day I was given an Altoid box, those cute little minty metal boxes, with three nice and tidy and professionally rolled (tight packed!) marijuana joints inside! I had them!
They stayed in a drawer in my shop for three days. On occasion I would take them out, look at them and smell them, should I? The third night I was alone in my shop. My wife works graveyard shift, so I had the house to myself. I did not want this to be a celebratory, happy, party thing, although, looking BACK on this experience, among friends with laughter and smiles
is the best way to do this! Anyway, I sat right here where I am now, in the office of this shop, in front of this computer and "lit one up"! I will tell you that story tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Symptoms with the Cure

I would develop a cure for cancer that involved aged Brandy, Bonn fires under a full moon, lots of music and the beating of drums and young maidens chanting and dancing circles around me. I should have been a doctor.

My symptoms came rushing all at once mid-stride through this process of twelve chemos. I have not found a way to describe the fatigue so you could really understand it. Those in our
"secret society" know it well and have equal difficulty in expressing it. It is just indescribable.

The first "sign" was when I fainted. It was the end of June and I was watering my overhead petunias, both arms above my head holding the hose and I just keeled over, thankfully landing between two tomato plants. From then on every time I received my chemos I got steroids. I don't think I would have made it without them. Within the next two weeks I lost all my hair and I do mean everywhere; it fell out in clumps, I didn't even have eyebrows! And then I couldn't eat. I never had nausea, a bit of luck there, but I just couldn't eat. I would put food in my mouth and literally my brain would say, "spit it out or die". I spat it out. I lost fifty pounds in two months and this is not a diet I would recommend. I aged five years every two weeks and became, like the "others", a very old man. I have no strength to walk around the block.

Then there are the finger nails and toe nails. I lost my big toe and thumb nails. They just sort of come loose and fall off. There is no pain to it. The nails I got to keep became curled and tight like claws. I didn't get neuropathy until the very end and it got worse long after I had finished my chemo. The day I finished chemo I was so happy and I was still alive but it would be at least a month later before the poison left my body and I began to heal, a long, slow process in itself!

Tomorrow I will tell you about the marijuana, it is not the same stuff you had when you were in college!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The First Chemo

The first chemo session isn't so bad and leaves you with the impression that you are pretty tough, not like the "other" patients , these really old zombie people in the chairs next to you. Ours is a brand new state of the art, over a $100,000,000 dollar Hospital and I am assuming that made me lucky although I really felt lost. The parking garage is five stories with elevators accessable to three of them and then, two different elevators leading to walkways to three different buildings all looking pretty much the same. I felt caught up in a Franz Kafka Novel. I had done something horribly wrong and I had no idea what it was, exactly where I was supposed to go or who to see. Soon enough I would become familiar with it all.
The Chemo waiting room is huge. Huge is such a tiny word for such a large waiting room.
It could hold a hundred people but in all honesty I never saw more than thirty there. Except for me, down to the last one, these were all old people, hairless every single one, thin and frail, even the children were very old. I was in a concentration camp.
You always check in first and I always felt as if I were interrupting something important when I did. Paper work is critical to this process, identities, insurance forms, blood work. Although I wanted it so badly, never was I told that I was in the wrong place! I really wanted to wake up from this dream.
It is all very efficient, ike going through a cafeteria line, "no thank you, I would not like that today." I think I have had my blood checked a thousand times and it is truely painless. The needles are sharp and the nurses are gentle, quick and precise. Modern medicine is pretty amazing, five minutes later they know everything about you. There are no secrets you can keep from these doctors. They knew things about me I couldn't even pronounce.
Next is the doctor's visit and that takes less than fifteen minutes and he is on the computer most of this time, checking statistics adjusting the recipe for this poison you are about to get.
In later sessions, as you hobble in because you are now part of the walking dead, he will tell you that everything is going all right, your good white immune cells, those that fight desease and keep you healthy are almost all destroyed. He is happy with that.
Next you are lead into the chemo room where you will find a very happy, cheerful, positive, and upbeat group of nurses. I am sure they are all on drugs, except for me all their patients are on the edge of life, that frail twilight period. However they do it, my hat is off to the nurses, it would be insufferable without them and they are always so damned happy to see you are still alive!
My chemo sessions took about four hours, some were injected pretty quickly and others were
dripped into me slowly and none of them were painful. Each time the nurses wore their haz-mat suits, this was pretty dangerous stuff. I had twelve of these cocktails, two a month for six months and for the first six I had no symptoms whatsoever! I gained eight pounds and didn't lose a strand of hair, continued working, doing my "art thing" and grew tomatoes in my garden.
I was begining to wonder what the big deal was and thinking deep inside that maybe this wasn't working at all?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The First Doctor's Appointment

That 1st doctor's appointment is the worst after that it is all pretty easy. You have had the biopsies, the blood tests, the cat scans, pet scans and x-rays and god knows what else and now you have come for the verdict! Have you been a good boy/girl? What you want to hear is you have the flu, a bad strain this year, take some aspirin and get some rest. We want that so bad and never get it, never. It is always some kind of cancer crap and you are here to discuss your options and possible treatments. I think I mentioned that my dad died of cancer, well he died of pneumonia, that "friend" to anyone who went through what he did. This was twenty years ago and they were really practitioners in those days, although they still haven't gotten it right and are continuing to practice. He was tortured to death and did it all, chemo and radiation and surgery. You don't get the opportunity to die another way, you choose as you go along and he made desperate choices.

I remember telling all this to my doctor and that I would be willing to try ONE method, so make it his best shot. I was not willing to discover a thousand ways to die.

So, I got even more tests! They wanted to know if my heart could take it and I assured them it had been broken before! and if my lungs were strong enough! The Chemo "cure" causes cancer!!! I so longed for ground up leaves and voodoo dolls, massage oils and midnight chanting around a big fire and naked girls chasing the evil spirits away! Instead, because I don't think these doctors drink, I got god-awful chemicals made from left over Mustard Gas from World War I and because I developed a blood clot, they gave me Rat Poison! What kind of weird surrealistic world did I get myself into? These were not the dreams of my choosing and like Dante, I found myself in the fires of Hell with reoccurring nightmares of getting sicker and sicker! My doctors were trying to kill me!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Diagnosis

I went to the doctor last January with a lump on my neck. I had this for three months and the damned thing wouldn't go away! In fifteen minutes he told me that I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma and $20,000 in further testing by "specialists" voodoo doctors this was confirmed.
It had spread to all my lymph system, into my spleen and was attacking my spine; I had it everywhere! Ten years ago this was a death sentence, so they have come a long way. I had a port thingy implanted in my chest and received a chemical cocktail of four varied and dangerous poisons injected into me every two weeks for twelve sessions. The nurses would wear haz-mat suits and full face shields while doing this. That was comforting!
Their are huge fears when confronted with cancer. It is not like being hit by a cement truck
and having it all over with - you have plenty of time to think about it, wonder about the why of it all and watch yourself as you wither away. This is sort of mass produced medicine with maybe a dozen or more of us getting our chemos at the same time, isolated by the ten feet of space between chairs. We would nod to each other in the waiting area with short "hellos" and how are you's but seldom was there any real conversation. Personally I think this whole procedure would have been easier with a little "group therapy" and a sharing of this experience with each other. There are things you learn along the way, easier ways to get dressed, food that you can actually tolerate, combating the indescribable fatigue to name a few.
Having cancer is like a prison sentence and sometimes you can actually get out alive.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bitch and Moan

That seems to be what I have been doing lately! I complain about the neuropathy in my hands that leaves them both numb and feeling as if they have been stirring a bucket full of cut glass. I can barely pick up a paint brush and can't feel it in my hands when I do. I really want to be 17 again or maybe 43? Sometime previous to this cancer and the horrendous voodoo cure. I want to get well fast! Well, it is a slow process and it is interesting how quickly I forget where I have been, literally at the edge of Hell, a frail old man looking over the abyss! My friends are just now finding the courage to tell me how bad I looked. I can reread my own blogs, this journal

I keep to realize where I have been and how lucky I am. The actual Day to Day encounters can be found on my ArtWanted Site and when I complain now I go back there and remember what it was really like!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Forever Young

On my OTHER BLOG I talk about my youth, reminiscing and reminding myself of my childhood adventures, and because I am a political animal, I throw some of that in too.
I have been to Europe several times in my life and each time I threw my watch away. I never had an itinerary, a schedule, a destination, no place I had to be and no time restraints. I think this is a key element to youth, an abandonment of time, playing outside until way past dark, forgetting to come in to dinner, and as we got a little older, "dancing the night away"!
Artists still do this, get so involved in their projects, just one more minute can lead to hours and time becomes meaningless.
Old age is watches and schedules and timetables and responcibility and that horrible concept that time can be wasted. We develop that notion that the clock is ticking louder and the hour will strike. When I discovered I had cancer one of the first things I did was to throw my watch away. Oh there are time pieces all over the house and on this computer so I was never late for the dozens of doctor appointments I had. I just never wanted to keep time with me like a chain around my wrist, giving power to that mechanical device. The time is now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Clean as a Whistle

For those of you curious I am all pink and clean inside! I watched the whole procedure on television, my fifteen minutes of fame! I am the "one in a week" who chooses to do this without anesthesia, that is about one out of 125! I escaped the '60' without getting too involved with drugs (okay, a little which I may tell you about later!) and I escaped this drug too. I already have crevasses and crannies in my brain that I can explore at will, I don't need any help. I was naked on the bed and "I just left". Except for my eyes glues to the television screen I was not there at all, probably in some warm water snorkeling with the fish! It is not really that I am a tough guy,
it did hurt a couple of times, like cramps, nothing like giving birth I would imagine, not as bad as smashing your hand with a hammer and it only lasts ten seconds or so.

I have just recovered (still in the process really) from Hodgeskin's Lymphoma and if I am to be attacked again by cancer I wanted to see my enemy! You have to be awake to do that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Living without Cancer

If you live through it cancer will take a year out of your life and change you forever. Next month is my one year anniversary and I am pretty amazed when I wake up in the morning!

The sun predictably rises, the birds are always singing, people in the early morning going to work, all that remains the same it is me who has changed. I went through twelve chemo voodoo

sessions and each one kills you a little bit, draining your energy in an indescribable way, adding twenty years to you, turning you into an old man. Now I feel as though I have reversed that clock, found some incredible time machine and am getting younger every day! It is a feeling,

like, wow, I dodged that bullet! and I begin to think how wonderfully, incredibly lucky I have been all my life! My life didn't "flash before my eyes" but it did give me cause to reflect upon it.

In my other blog I talk a lot about my youth, trying to figure out how I got to where I am.

Monday, November 8, 2010


That is next! It has been five years and they want more money! I have been here, done that, and it is the cleansing process, that "clean as a whistle" thing that is the worst about this whole procedure. When they say don't leave the house or get far from the bathroom, they mean it!!! The actual filming of my insides my plumber could do. He has the same tools, that fancy camera he snakes down my drain to find what is plugged up. We don't have National Health in the U.S.A., we are on our own, paying cash or if we are lucky a private health insurance.
I am very lucky! My cancer experience cost well over $130,000 DOLLARS! and my insurance paid all of it except the first $1,000. That is the real reason for this colonoscopy. That
fifteen minutes of being on camera costs $2,500!!! but since it is still this year and I have already paid the $1,000 deductable, the insurance company will foot the bill.
I might feel different if my doctor was a hot babe fresh out of medical school but he is an old
craggie doctor who has seen a thousand assholes! LOL!!!! It is a warehouse environment with a lot of waiting patients and he can do 24 in a day. Do the math, someone is getting rich!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peripheral Neuropathy

Chemo Therapy is a contradiction of terms, like "Free Love" there is no such thing, every thing has its price. "Therapy" sounds like a little nap on a couch or aroma oils and gentle massages. In reality when mixed with Chemo it is like taking a bath in a shark tank. There is tons of "collateral damage" some probably not discovered until autopsy when they cut you open to find out what really went wrong. I am permanently sterile which might come in handy someday, at least in my dreams it could be useful! The "cat scans" and "pet scans" are the equivelent of 420 X-rays and are known to cause cancer in themselves, so that is a great thought.

Your hair grows back and pretty fast too so that's no

big deal and the weight you lose won't stay gone!

What is bothersome are my damned hands! I have

"Neuropathy" in them something bad! They hurt

24 hours a day and the only difference is sometimes

they hurt worse, throbbing and swollen, like stirring

a bucket of cut glass. I am getting used to this; they

are not getting better. When I am not working I

wear rabbit fur lined gloves and that helps a lot. I

wear them when I sleep at night. I am anxious to return to work.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What to do?

I hate television. I was forty three years old before I weakened and bought one and I kept that little 19" Sears and Roebuck televion until three years ago, where on the spur of the moment in a fit of insanity I bought a huge 48" flat screen and a Blue Ray! I don't really know what a Blue Ray is. I have never hooked mine up. It is out of the package and has been sitting for almost three years as an accompany to the T.V. I thought I could just plug it in but it came with a lot of cables and instructions in four languages and frankly I just can't be bothered. I watch the news once in a while unless something horrible has happened or they are going on and on about politics and I hate sports, don't watch them at all. I have one favorite show and that is "House", apparently the most popular show on television! Because I am not up to date on this program I watch a series of reruns on Fridays where shows from three years ago are played all day long, a marathon of "Dr. House"! I don't take naps but always fall asleep while watching T.V.
so I suppose that is the same thing.
If you ever get cancer and I sincerely hope not, your energy level goes to about minus seventeen and this is from a guy who, in the past, has happily worked twelve hours a day!
It is unimaginable to not do anything.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I want to see if I am clever enough to LINK this to my other blog! Now we shall see if I am learning anything?

When I had Cancer (it never had me!) I grew very old very fast. I went from being 63 to being 93 in six months. Cancer doesn't really do this, the cure does; it is a mean mixture of chemicals

derived from Mustard gas used in World War I. Why couldn't they have discovered a good cure made from a fine aged brandy! and I still don't know why they didn't include a few "Happy Pills"

into this recipe so we would at least feel good about the process! Doctors have no sense of humor!

Now I am getting younger every day! Walking again, taking in the neighborhood, doing a little welding and I recently got my paint out!

Monday, November 1, 2010


I admit I am one of those Bloggers who look at the statistics. I need at least one other person reading this or there is no reason to publish it. I could just hit the "save" button and keep it for myself. There aren't too many people writing about Cancer on these blogs and I am trying to remove the generic from this experience. Its my cancer, my voodoo doctors, my experience, my battle and my survival. This is the way I did it. I'll try that LINK again! IF this works it will take you to another blog where I describe all this in real time as it was happening to me. It is over now, a war fought well.
The statistics are pretty cool actually and very detailed. Someone from Russia is looking at my writings! How cool is that! In 1958 as a child in elementary school we had drills and had to hide under our desks, a feeble attempt at survival in the event of a nuclear war! Now they read our blogs and we theirs! That is how friends are made.
This statistical map turns green when there is activity from a particular country and with more activity the darker the green; no activity and it remains white. We get to know who is looking at us and when they are not. This would all be an easier experience if we got into the habit of leaving comments then we would know what is interesting and what is not.

Be Prepared!

That is the boyscout motto and often it is interpreted to mean carry a prophylactic in your wallet! Several people have written to me about their own discovery of cancer. Is there any helpful advice I could give them? Keep a journal was the most important to me, a day to day accounting of what was going on and how I felt about it. Looking back on this experience it is so easy to make the list now. There are hundreds of cancer sites on the net. The Mayo Clinic has a great one with its own blog site you can add to or read. At the beginning of this process while I had some energy I would make a to do list, like if the roof needed fixing I would doit now, never put off until tomrrow what could be done today. Tomorrow you might not be able to do it! I would get my finger nails and toe nails trimmed real short because sizzors will be a tool you won't be able to operate. Get a haircut. It will be your last one for a year and you might as well start this process looking good. Don't buy any new clothes! But do make a list for what you want to buy when you have lost that forty pounds you will probably lose. Go out to dinner! Make a list of your ten favoeite meals and enjoy every one of them. You will lose your appetite and all food will taste like cardboard. Remember "this too shall pass". It is not a forever process and with a little luck you will get through it.

Oh, oh, oh! I almost forgot, my thanks to my friends who taught me how to make a link!