Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Power Fist of Remission

No, I'm not in remission. But I'm gonna be! It's gonna rock your socks off!

So just a recap:
Cancer showed up at the door one day.
"Your boy, lymph node, said I could move in. So I'm movin' in."
To which I replied, "F-you, squatter!"
This is about the eviction process.

It was kind of a process getting the ball rolling. After doctor visits, surgery, and various tests, it was up to me to find an oncologist that fit my abnormally high standards. Honestly, I didn't think they were going to be, nor did I think I needed them to be. See, most of the time when something goes awry in you personal temple, your doctor points you in the direction of the person that takes care of it. From surgeons to radiology, your doctor generally has an opinion of where you should take care of Ailment X. Not so with oncologists. The thing is, you could be with this guy for six months to a year, and if he has the personality of a cabbage or makes you as comfortable as the one guy that sits next to you in an empty movie theater then this isn't the doc for you. That means the onus was on me to find mine.

Alright, my doctor (whom is a pretty cool lady) gave me a hand sifting through the list of the ones that Medical Mutual said was on the up and up. But like finding a DJ for your wedding, there had to be an interview process. Thankfully, the first guy that we decided on was a good fit. I think mostly because he's British, but the mountain of published work and awards the he has also kind of helps. Seriously, if someone were to tell you that you had the Big C tomorrow, you would want it from a very reserved, soft-spoken, tallish gentleman that calmly laid out his plans for your recovery in the King's English. He could have also told me that I had sweat stains and that I shouldn't drool so much and I'd have been pretty cool with it.

And so it goes with a Dr. J. Sweetenham: a very kindly and brilliant man that surrounds himself with other kindly, brilliant people. His fellowship doctor (not that I can remember his name. Sorry, man) and nurse were very helpful folks that have no beef cracking inappropriate jokes with me to ease the tension (of course you can find a vein, Julie, the heroin helps as much as it hurts). But getting back to the original point, Dr. J. (as we'll call him. Next week I'll ask how his sky hook is) took a look at my medical history, checked out my previous tests, confronted me in a freestyle hip hop battle, and basically told me that it's go time. Get your shit together because we're starting chemo next week, fool (paraphrased). After all of the back and forth and hurry-up-and-wait, this was like hearing that Christmas was tomorrow, and it just sort of crept up on you.

Last Thursday is when the magic actually began. It was a long day. The Cleveland Clinic, though, is seriously the cancer killing capital of the midwest; and just as much for medicine as it is for comfort. Again I'll remind you that I hate being sick, a disposition that extends to stints in hospitals. The air is stale, the nurses are rude, and the food is bad. The Clinic somehow found the right alchemy to subvert all of that, though (except, perhaps, the food, though it was still pretty healthy). Most rooms in the chemo ward, or section, or whatever it's called are private. I have my own bathroom, a television, and a kitchen stocked with complimentary juice and caffeine-free beverages (because I can't really have much anymore). A social worker met with me to discuss various support groups that are available to me and financial aid for helping to pay for medical bills and such. It's worth pointing out that the TV is equipped with the cutting edge technology of yesteryear known as a video cassette recorder (or videus analogus in captivity), but I actually see this as a benefit because I finally get to watch all of those VHS tapes I've been hording for the last ten years. All in all, it ain't my own home, but it ain't too shabby.

At the risk of this going longer than it already has, I'll leave you wanting more knowing that this is all the good stuff. In our next episode, we'll take the time to talk about how much it kinda sucks monkey ass to go through chemo (spoiler: it's shitty), and possible ways you can deal with it to get the skip back in your step.

I hope everybody had a great 4th of July, too. Be cool, fools.


  1. I thought you ditched your oncologist in lieux of stronger medicine! Get well soon buddy, keep in touch.

  2. John, you're my "John Colors" (aka "hero"). I hate being sick as much as anyone on this earth. But I have a friend who had Hodgkin's and her advice to you is "TAKE THE MEDICINE!!". She is referring to the medicine they give you for nausea. So there's my dose of advice for you. Hang in there!! Everyone is thinking of you more than you know. :-)