Monday, July 23, 2012

The End is Near

I’ve read time cover to cover since I was 18 but recently it had a great article that I felt I could seriously relate to (,9171,2119904,00.html). The comic referenced there is here. But the great line from the article is: Any story that can be ruined by giving away the ending wasn’t worth your time in the first place. Friday, the original neurosurgeon weighed in and said the cancer cells aren’t showing up anymore with the contrast. And he wants to monitor it once in six months and once again in six months and then once a year if it holds. He’s like me a skeptic and he told me a story about one of his patients that went on a special diet and the tumor just disappeared for six years and then he got off the diet and it was back and he died a few months later. It’s eerily similar to a story that a friend from LA told me about her brother who had a glioblastoma who went on some anti cancer diet and it disappeared off the MRI and he got off the diet and it "came back" and killed him. I’m not on any significantly different diet than I was a couple of years ago but I do eat healthier and I am going to Livestrong’s Cancer and Nutriton class soon but somehow I breathed pretty easily Friday and have slept really well since then. I am going to die and it may be tomorrow by a train wreck but for the time being… it looks like it’s not with a time bomb.

A friend of mine became a scuba diver as I am because of something I said. He asked me what the difference was between snorkeling and scuba diving and I told him it was the difference between masturbation and sex. He signed up shortly afterwards. I'd talked to the doctors on the phone and on email and somehow seeing my original neurosurgeon with models and images in person felt more real than anything else had to that point.  At the appointment Friday, he showed me the MRI’s, the original ones, the ones where the brain refilled and the “gap” in the brain that would never refill from part of it being missing, a black hole in the middle of gray matter. I’ve worn a shirt many times that Todd gave me, I gave him a piece of my mind but that was the first doctor that spent some time pointing it out, the piece that was gone. I went over some medical records there with him and over and over again, it pointed out how many people were in my hospital room that weekend by the nurses, the neurologist, the neurosurgeon. I had a few people who offered to come with me to this appointment but in the end I only took one; she was headed to be with her mom that weekend who doesn’t live far from the neurosurgeon and she was sitting there paying attention, clearly nervous and for the first time that I can recall, clearly laughing nervously at some of the things the doctor said. Her mother showed up before the appointment was up and Kiana wanted to stay longer till the end and hear the conversation but they were heading out of town. She would call later that night and said, “Dad I think you’re going to live no matter what the doctor said” and then asked what the doctor said. Having an eloquent 5 year old is something else. 

It felt a lot more real at that appointment and by coincidence I had invites to a few parties this weekend, 2 going away parties, 2  house warming parties and a birthday party (which was internet memes). I went to all of them trying to remember and keep building how that hospital room scene got created. In simple frankness, I think if my brain operates the way it does now, that hospital scene may not have been the same. I didn’t remember the names of some of the people I’ve met since then, a couple I didn’t remember hardly at all. The social skills of asking how this is going are still there but before the surgery part of the reason I had so many friends (the main reason is I love people and how fascinating they are) is that I had about perfect memory and no matter how long it had been I could remember what we last talked about and ask them about it and now I had to use a few more cues and then I asked more details about their lives. I did some dancing, some drinking, some praying since Friday. I also cleaned up the house and coached that marathon training group. I’m trying to decide what is financially responsible and physically possible to do when I go cheer my mom on for her first half marathon since if I do anything I’ve got about 2 months to train. I took down the infinity necklace that hung on the rearview mirror. I still don’t have a job or any job offers but the attorney thinks that we can come up with something relatively reasonable with the county. I’m hoping he’s not too big of a dreamer. Spoiler alert: I’m still going to die. And it may still be unpredictable and random and ridiculous or it may drag out. But I want to take that quote and self apply it that if we knew the ending and if that ruined the story, the story wasn’t worth my time in the first place.

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