I’m writing this entry smoking a cigar which was was born in Cuba, grown and harvested in Hawaii, rolled in Nicaragua, and then brought back to the hallowed Aloha Isles for sale due to the fact that tax laws in Hawaii make it cheaper to do so, as opposed to the whole process being completed in Hawaii.
“Smoking a cigar” I hear you say. “You should avoid everything that can cause/exacerbate cancer” I can see you thinking…
FUCK THAT SHIT! At the very least let me enjoy this…
I’m not a fucking moron though, I recognise the increased risk that enjoying a cigar creates, particularly in light of the fact that at present, my cancer hasn’t spread. Fortunately (I’ll get to it in a second), it hasn’t spread to my liver (or other organs, more importantly) and so I’m able to write this post in some sort of weird, hopefully prognostic way… I know on the face of it that it sounds ridiculous to smoke a cigar given I have cancer. Indeed, when I completed the admission forms for my pending surgery, I said that I was a “smoker” and added that I smoked a cigar once or twice a year. Tonight is my first cigar for 2016, and my second is planned for the party I have for when Miguel is removed from both my anoos, and my memory.
The last sentence above is a lie. Miguel will never escape my memory. Regardless of how effective my treatment has been thus far, Miguel will always be the shitty cousin. He will forever be a reminder that despite my awesomeness, I’m not immortal. I may be lucky. Maybe Miguel will be sent back to Mexico and he’ll never raise his ugly face again. Personally I don’t think I’m that lucky.
In a lot of ways, the present is far more scarier than what has passed thus far. To refer back to my previous post, the chemo and radiation in particular, continues to work for some time after treatment finishes. Indeed, the optimum time for surgery is up to 60 days following the cessation of radiation. My surgery is 59 days after I last let Zeus violate me. It’s good to know that my surgeon is up to date with the most recent medical opinions in terms of optimum time for surgery.
Not having to attend for treatment is great, but it brings with it a whole new fuckload of fear. At the moment, but for my specialists assuring me that the radiation is continuing to (hopefully) shrink the fuck out of Miguel, I am left with the (sometimes) overwhelming fear that the cancer, without any active treatment, is spreading through my body like gonorrhoea through a brothel.
And that sucks.
I live in fear that during my operation to remove Miguel they find metastases to my liver (or worse, other organs) that weren’t seen previously. I spend hours each evening reading medical journals about the efficacy of the monstrously tweaked treatment plan my specialists have prescribed.
I live in fear that I may be the 1% of people who don’t survive surgery, which my rational brain tells me is irrelevant because most people with my type of cancer are old, and even a simple fall/broken hip can spell the end for them, and that, statistically speaking my surgery should be a walk in the park.
I live in fear knowing that, at the very least, the next 5 years of my life are filled with blood tests. various scans, and other tests to detect whether Miguel has appeared in other parts of my body.
I live in fear that such news brings with it a realisation that, despite my best intentions, regardless of how hard I ‘fight’, I won’t have the measure of Miguel.
I don’t necessarily fear death, rather I fear what it means I miss out on. I fear being not being able to see Annabelle go to school. I fear not being able to see her become the incredible person which she will no doubt become. I fear becoming just a distant memory for her, someone who exists only as a photograph. I fear not being able to fulfil the expectations that Annabelle has of her father by virtue of me not being there. I fear not being able to enjoy the adventures that Lyndell and I would have had, but for Miguel. I fear not being able to grow old with Lyndell, who, for no reason other than bad luck, has to experience the above, and will have to deal with the aftermath of my demise.
Since my diagnosis I have tried to be positive, and to be philosophical about what lies ahead. That said, I’m not immune to asking myself the age old question “why me?” “Why not the fuckers I prosecute who have done nothing good in their life and who add nothing to society?”. I’m not a saint by any stretch of the imagination but I’m not a complete cunt, emphasis on the word complete.
Of course I loathe the fact that I (and by ‘I’, I mean Lyndell, our respective families, and friends) have to go through this.
I loathe that Miguel makes me a substandard father, husband, friend, and colleague.
I loathe that my ability to withstand the rigours of treatment thus far is not indicative of my chances of survival.
I loathe the fact that every time someone dies of cancer it’s reported that they ‘lost’ their ‘battle”. It implies that they didn’t try hard enough to survive. That’s just flat out, fucking bullshit! I don’t know many people in my situation, because I stroll into treatment, talk to my nurses and the loved one who is kind enough to give up a day of their time, and have my hot lunch. But, having sat for hours in a chemo ward I can tell you that people there don’t do it for shits and giggles. Sure, some of us are lucky to have options as to treatment, but in the end it comes down to the fact that the alternative is simply unpalatable.
Most of all, I loathe the fact that cancer exists. I loathe the fact that it has ‘touched’ my family, both immediate and otherwise. I loathe that cancer took my grandfather who managed to survive being a P.O.W during WWII, only to succumb to metastatic melanoma, decades after that misery; I loathe that my father and sister had to undergo surgery to cure this shit of a disease; I hate that Lyndell’s aunt and grandfather have had to endure this shitty merry-go-round that constantly keeps you second-guessing.
I don’t really know how to end this post, other than to say thanks for reading my rant, and thats exactly what it’s been.
Until next time, be kind to your colons…and each other