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(Neil Young reference)

I suppose that if you are a cancer survivor of any consequence (:)) you have received the obligatory motivational books from people like Lance Armstrong. My suspicion is that you can tell what shape you are in by how many books written by Armstrong that you get during a hospital stay.

I received two, for example, and had I known then what I know know, I am pretty sure that I would I have realized I was going to die at any moment.

This is not a slam on Mr. Armstrong. I am sure he is a fine fellow and that he won all of those Tours de France without steroids or other cancer-causing agents. I am just saying that if you get enough books written by this guy about his testicular cancer, you are probably toast.

I actually received more than two of his books, but do not count the extras of the ones I had already received. I was apparently toast.

Curiously, when I went into the hospital the second time, I received religious literature instead. I do not know what kind of omen that is, much as I can not figure out what it means that my dog eats my phone box, but I am scared nonetheless. Not that I am dying or that the Lord is coming for me, but that someone will force me to read this stuff.

I paid my dues. That’s all I have to say about that subject.

I am coughing again, coughing a lot, and this concerns me, although no one is sending me religious literature or bicycle cancer books at this time. The last time I coughed like this, I had to point it out to my GP and insist on a CAT scan which led to a PET scan which led, ultimately, to the lobectomy. I fear more of the same.

I fear, in fact, that the pronouncement I was given last June, that I was dying, is coming true. And there is nothing curious or unusual about that.

I talk to other survivors, and to a person, they say that they have a fear, either up front or back in the deeper regions of their minds, that the Beast will return. So this fear is not uncommon.

I try to ignore it, to be honest, but now that the cough is becoming fairly routine and fairly insistent, I have some concerns.

Just concerns.

It is like this, though: you do not merely bounce from one cancer to another, as far as I can tell from talking to other survivors and from the literature I read. There is a reason why a cancer of a certain type suddenly shows up in a new place. And they can tell me that they hope that it is a new cancer, as I do as well, but the bottom line is that, in my humble opinion, it probably is not a new cancer.

I do not want to be the only guy at the party with spinach on his teeth, and with no one telling him that he has spinach on his teeth, you know? I have a clue.

This is not a wish-fulfillment sort of thing. Dying is the last thing on my list of things to do before I die. Trust me. I happen to like this place, I happen to LOVE this place. I don’t want to go anywhere. Well, I want to go to New Orleans, but I don’t want to get buried six feet under, and I am not ready for some sort of rhapsody if such a thing is in the cards. New Orleans, yes. The rest, no.

I am content here. I love it here. It bothers me that I cannot eat with the same savagery that I once did. It bothers me that I cannot go out on a golf course, yet, and suck as I once did. It bothers me that I have to have chemotherapy and checkups and blood work, and now a spinal MRI. That all bothers me. But I LIKE it here. I LOVE it here.

I do not want to leave. And I fear that I will be doing so. This cough is like the old cough. A problem, mark my words. Maybe it’s ‘just’ pneumonia :).

In the meantime, chemotherapy today. The long version. Carbo and Taxol. My wife was going to take me, to make sure my stubborn rear made it there, but there has been a change of plans. She will meet me there. I insisted that I was a grown up and could carry my sorry *ss to the Chemo Palace myself and she believed me. Silly woman.

I will go, though. I gave her my word. Last time I did that, we ended up married 🙂