(Travis Tritt reference) 

The doctor’s office called me to confirm my appointment for 1/23/08. This is with a doctor I have never met, and the young lady asking the questions did not know me.

After we got past my slur (“I’m not drunk; I had half of my tongue replaced…”Oh, no, you speak fine! You speak better than my teenaged son!”…”Is that a good thing?”) she asked approximately 100 questions. Most of them I have seen or heard before on approximately 100 occasions. They are rote to me now. These folks are surprised, it seems, that I remember my medications and my doses and are even more impressed when I add, “Orally, once daily.” (I remind myself of James Bond at these times; you know: “Martini, shaken, not stirred”.)

Maybe they are just amazed that I can speak at all, once I tell them what I am taking :). That’s a joke: I’m not taking anything that you wouldn’t find in most household cleaning products

It used to be that I could fill out those questionaires by checking off the No box all the way down, and let’s please move on, now, if you don’t mind. Now I get to the cancer section, and a few other things, and I get hung up, not only on dates, which are always a problem, but on the Yes/No part too. I have to ask my wife, sometimes, “Did I get one of those?” Sometimes even she doesn’t know.

One thing about a big surgery at a good hospital: they are going to cover all of the bases. I remember riding around in a gurney or a wheelchair for an entire week, from test to test, for some reason only one per day, or so it seemed.

So they called me today and we went through 100 questions together, and once again I was amazed at how complicated the answers are now. My son asked me, in fact, when I hung up the phone, “What was THAT all about?”

I think he suspected I was on one of those phone sex things, so I set him straight, which bored him.

In any event, here is where we are: I like to believe that people just don’t die from cancer. My mom had breast cancer in 1974 and lived another 20 years, into her 60s. I have many friends on the CSN site who have defied odds, and who are living on and living strong.

But of course, some of us do.

Die, I mean.

As I learn more about cancer, I become more confident and more skeptical. One article says we are moving forward, we are using DNA to help people, we have vaccines, the world is wonderful.

Another says that studies show cancer survival rates have not improved in the last 25 years. I am once again wondering how naive I am.

If you are new to this world, these may be things that come to your mind from time to time. Be aware that a great number of cancer survivors simply ignore this stuff.