OK, I fully expect the copyright police that are trolling the web to nail me for this blog title but I am using the picture with the registered trademark symbol, right? Besides, there is no better heading for this blog that I can think of. And I have a hard time imagining someone who makes a gazillion dollars off drawings of stick figures would give lowly me any grief. Heck, I didn’t give them any grief when they stole Craigslist from me.
But there you have it. A lung cancer survivor, almost a year after initial diagnosis, claiming that life is good. But at the moment, I can certainly claim that opinion. No hip pain, no known hot spots to deal with, no more scans for at least another 6 weeks to stress me out, and for those of you that are friends on Facebook, and to whom I keep rubbing it in, another wonderful vacation in Hawaii. Some of you are aware that my wife and I have been the beneficiaries of annual trips to Hawaii, courtesy of my brother and his wife. This is our 5th year basking in that generosity and I can think of no better vacation than to spend it with family. To the right is the view from our deck overlooking Kaanapali in Maui. A bunch of golf, eating copious amounts to keep my onc-doc happy, and plenty of libations to stay hydrated. And I’ve been very hydrated, thank you very much. Hey, those 6 bottles of Rombauer are staring me in the face every time I open the fridge. What else am I supposed to do?
In fact it was 12 months ago on last year’s trip that I was feeling pretty crummy thinking I had a bad case of bronchitis or something. Just a few things have transpired since then, eh? Yet, as I approach the anniversary of my diagnosis in a few days, I feel better now than I did back then. Take that bogus statistics. I’ll save the cute celebration clip art for the anniversary blog to follow in about 12 days.
And yet, I’m no dummy, despite what my “dumbbell English” test scores back in 1970 might have revealed. I know I am in for the fight of my life, this year as well as all of the years to follow. And follow they will. I realize that I may well be in the eye of the tornado at the moment but I will certainly take that location versus being out on the F5 edge of the whirly thingamabob. How do you like that high-brow term from someone who works in a science museum?
Earlier in the week, just two days before leaving on vacation, I was experiencing an increasing level of discomfort in my upper right chest, radiating through to my back. It was difficult to take a deep breath. The fact that it was getting worse had me very concerned. I was trying to ignore it but decided to call my uncle-doc for advice and he sent me in to urgent care to get a quickie (no, not one of those kind) x-ray to just be sure nothing nefarious was going on. Take that dumbbell English. The x-ray confirmed no new fuzzies invading my breathing premises. Final best guess is that it was from hitting a (very) large bucket of balls the week before in preparation for our trip and my body was just then castigating me for my stupid maneuver. OK, maybe I am a dummy after all.
I had already made up my mind that if something wasn’t kosher but that delaying any additional treatment for another two weeks wasn’t an issue, that I was not going to fess up to anyone 2 days before leaving for Hawaii. But the findings made that little lie not necessary. I do have to admit that because my last day in the office was crazy busy, I forgot to call my wife and tell her the good negatory news. So when my radio-doc’s office called home to schedule my next regular scan, since she could not get a hold of me, she assumed I was hiding the bad news and that the radio-doc was calling because they found something. It took some convincing that I was not playing hide and seek. Especially after I confessed that I would have if the results were not good.
So I have one more analogy to leave you with before I head down to the jacuzzi with my pina colada. How many of you have had a pachinko machine, or even know what one is? The kind I’m thinking of is where you drop a metal ball, like a large ball bearing, though a series of pins and where it ends up at the bottom is anyone’s guess. That’s how this journey has been at times. Just when you think you are heading down a certain path, PING, the ball takes a whole different track. PING PING PING PING. So, rolling with the punches is definitely a character trait that is highly recommended for a cancer patient. I know, easier said than done. But considering the options of dragging myself and others around me through the muck of doubt and worry, versus riding the roller coaster and occasionally throwing your arms up in thankful glee, was not much of a debate.
As Cookie Monster might say: “Positive energy good. Negative energy bad.”
Business as usual. Day at a time.