Monday, November 30, 2015

It could always be worse - just ask Chief

Entry 4 in the colorectal cancer blog journal "I've Got a Mass in My Ass".

Spent some quality time with the kids at the oncology ward last Friday, because what's more fun on a ped day than watching your old man parade around bare-assed in a hospital gown?  Actually, I think it was a useful exercise because it gave them a better understanding of the treatments I'm undergoing and the excellent care I'm receiving.  I thought it was especially important for my youngest, Allison, who's only seven years old, although she has already weathered numerous health care crises owing to the multiple deaths of her imaginary husband, Chief, who has expired and come back to life on no fewer than a dozen occasions.  According to Allie, Chief has been shot, burned, pushed off a cliff, hit by a bus, eaten by a labradoodle and fallen through a plate glass window, among other untimely demises.  Cancer would be a vacation for the poor bastard.  Allie seems to be holding up quite well under the circumstances, due in part to her imaginary emotional support companions- Fucksack the dog and Bleembloomblombloms the cat.  (I'm not making this up.  She is, but I'm not.)

Congratulations!  It's a liver!
The doctors have been keeping a close eye on my liver because that's where the particular type of cancer I have is most likely to turn up if it spreads. I went for an ultrasound on my liver last week and got the thumbs up, although I kicked myself afterwards for not asking for a picture of the grainy ultrasound image that I could keep in my wallet and use to bore the shit out of friends and casual acquaintances.  They still don't know the sex of my liver - we thought it might by a boy, but that telltale sign turned out to be a cyst.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Everything is relative, including cancer

Entry 3 in the colorectal cancer blog journal "I've Got a Mass in My Ass".

It's been hugely gratifying to receive so many well wishes after my first couple of blog posts on dealing with a stage 3 colorectal cancer diagnosis.  In light of the much-appreciated accolades for having a positive attitude and approaching this challenge with humour, it's worth reiterating that it's easy for me to crack wise because I have a decent prognosis.  Nothing is guaranteed and I won't know whether and to what extent my radiation and chemo treatments are working until the surgeon boldly goes where no man has gone before, but I feel fine mentally and physically, which is more than can be said for some of the people whose paths I cross on a daily basis at the hospital.  Last week, I shared a waiting area with a father and his teenaged son.  The son was undergoing treatment, and his dad's emotional burden was palpable.  It was unspoken but obvious that he would trade places with his boy in a second - as any loving parent would - and it made me grateful that it's me and not one of my kids who's been dealt this hand.  I can only imagine that father's feelings of fear and helplessness.  There but for the grace of God...

Shout out to the gang in radiation oncology room 6
I go to the same treatment room at the hospital and deal with the same staff just about every day, and when they found out I work on the radio they thought that was pretty cool.  I thought it was cool that they thought it was cool, because they're all in their 20s, and their curiosity about my work reassured me that not everyone under 30 looks at pre-millennial pop culture and technology with fustian hipster disdain.  Anyway, I promised to give them a shout out on the air at 8:15am the next day, didn't remember until 9:45 and got one of their names and the name of their department wrong.  And they still thought it was cool.  Suck it, hipsters.

They're magically antimetabolic!
My hospital-appointed dietitian says Lucky Charms don't cure cancer, to which I say, "It's never been tried."  And that's why I'm a visionary pioneer in the field of medical research when I'm not cranking out yesterday's hits and the day before yesterday's classics on lite and refreshing Jewel 106.7 FM.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Does this hospital gown make me look fat?

Entry 2 in the colorectal cancer blog journal "I've Got a Mass in My Ass"

Note to self: Not all hospital gowns are created equal.  Before my radiation treatment today, I grabbed one out of the usual pile and headed into the changing room, where I soon found myself uncomfortably attired in something that barely covered my nether regions and didn't even come close to tying up in the back.  Clearly, there was a laundry room mix-up between the Royal Vic and the adjacent Montreal Children's Hospital.  I looked like Mama Cass in a mini-skirt.  Only prettier.

Cancer has its privileges
Want to save money on parking at the new super-hospital?  Get cancer.  Daily radiation/chemotherapy treatments entitle you to a $60 a month parking pass, which represents savings of thank-you-baby-Jesus percent off regular rates.  Before my treatments started, I waited three hours one day for a doctor to tell me something another doctor had already told me two weeks earlier, and then I paid $25 for parking.  The left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing, even though both hands had been wrist-deep up the same ass.

Bacon causes cancer?  Whatever.
One of my radiation room moles tipped me off today that tomorrow I have to meet with my arch-nemesis: the nutritionist.  She'll probably tell me bacon causes cancer, when the more relevant question is "Does bacon exacerbate cancer?"  Anyway, I went over to the Rail bistro at Playground Poker in Kahnawake after my treatment for some last-hurrah bacon and eggs with a side order of the greatest breakfast potatoes in the history of the world.  It was nice to catch up with my friend and former K103 colleague Paul Graif.  By the way, Paul, "Hey, you've lost weight!" is not an appropriate greeting for a cancer patient.  Ya fat fuck.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oh, great, another "Look at me, I have cancer" blog

  About ten weeks ago, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer, which apparently isn't as bad as it sounds.  Right out of the gate, the doctor who performed the colonoscopy that revealed the tumour assured me it was "operable, treatable and curable."  
   Of course, I've shared the news with family, work colleagues and close friends and I've mentioned it in passing to some acquaintances.  There's no reason to treat it like a state secret, but neither did I want to go public because: A. people have their own problems and don't need to be burdened with mine, and B. I didn't want to be perceived as a self-indulgent attention seeker.  If I want attention, I'll write a hawkish anti-Islamist blog or tweet some brutally honest common sense about taking personal responsibility to piss off the terminally-offended progressive left.  Works every time.
   However, on a couple of occasions, people whose judgement I respect have suggested I should write about this journey - not so much for therapeutic purposes, but because a lot of what's happened to me over the past two-half-a-half months is so goddam funny, like the time I passed out and fell on the floor during my first consultation/examination with the colorectal surgeon.  There I was, buns up and kneeling on the examination table while he's up my ass with some kind of oncological divining rod, waving it around like he's conducting the triumphant finale to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.  It wasn't the pain as much as it was the discomfort that overwhelmed me, and the next thing I knew I woke up on the examination room floor, with the nurse apologizing for not catching me and exclaiming "I've never seen anyone faint THAT fast!"  Meanwhile, the doctor, who happens to be movie star good-looking, tells me to stay down for a couple of minutes until I regain my strength.  I don't often compare my lot in life to the fortunes of others, but I've got to tell you: as I was sitting on a cold hospital floor with my pants and underwear around my ankles under the sympathetic gaze of an impossibly handsome surgeon, I might have felt the slightest twinge of inadequacy.
   Fast forward to today, and I just completed my fourth round of five-day-a-week radiation/chemotherapy treatments.  The radiation room staff was listening to the Beatles on Spotify, and as I was lying on the table getting zapped, I drew inspiration from my great and good friend Dave McGimpsey and thought up a few bogus, cancer-related Beatles song titles, including "Molly's Got a Mass," Tottenham Tumour" and "Bloody Uncle Anus".  They're not in the same league as Dave's "Nigel and His Chippy", "Nasty Colonel Pickles" and "Sammy Likes His Crumblies", but I thought they were pretty good. 
   To summarize, so far, so good.  I feel fine, I haven't lost weight (which for a change is a good thing) and the prognosis is positive.  If I can get through my next appointment with the surgeon without falling off the table and cracking my skull open on the floor, I should be able to stay on the right side of the dirt for a while yet.  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for listening.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I lost 15 Twitter followers and I feel great!

   If only I could lose weight the way I lost Twitter followers after the Paris terrorist attacks, I'd be in fighting trim in no time.
   Actually, I only dropped about 15 Twits in the 24 hours immediately following the latest round of mindless carnage and subsequent social media brouhaha.  (For the record, losing 15 pounds would still leave me 25-30 lbs shy of my target weight, but I suppose it would be a start.)
   Anyhoo, back to my supposed Islamophobic intolerance that so offended some of my social media acquaintances that they felt compelled to bail on a tenuous online relationship that never had so much as a  "hail-good-fellow-well-met" to begin with: the details are fraught with irony. 

   My first offence was to call out much-reviled British television host Piers Morgan for not waiting until the bodies were removed from the crime scene before tweeting the shopworn apologia about the attackers not being "real" Muslims, as if "Allahu Akbar" is a motivational cheer reserved for the Dubai Mighty Camels of the Emirates Hockey League (and that's an actual team from an actual league, so don't blame me for perpetuating stereotypes - blame them).  Morgan and other "useful idiots" refuse to take the Islamic State at their word that everything they do is in the name of Islam, and anyone who points out that inconvenient truth is automatically labelled a bigot, even when they go out of their way to acknowledge that ISIS is not representative of all Muslims.  It's standard intellectual dishonesty practiced by self-righteous hashtag activists who never met a smear they wouldn't apply to anyone who doesn't march in ideological lockstep.  
   The second tweet that got some knickers in a knot was this one:

   If you've read a newspaper or watched television in the last year, you know that's a reference to then-Liberal leader and newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's widely-mocked comment that Canada should suspend air strikes against Islamic State in favor of offering cold weather survival aid and advice to ISIS victims.  Some people thought the tweet was in bad taste, but taste is subjective, and I thought it was relevant and fair current affairs commentary, however biting.  For those who didn't understand the reference because they don't follow the news, tough tits.  Educate yourself.  And spare me the bleating about criticism of our new PM being tantamount to "playing politics".  The election is over.  You want to talk about playing politics?  Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was (and continues to be) blamed for everything from climate change to the heartbreak of psoriasis by anti-conservative partisans whose disdain for the man precludes any semblance of fair and credible commentary.
    I'll leave you with a couple of essays that underscore how the schism in Western political ideology has never been wider.  I'm more inclined to the Breitbart point of view, both ideologically and because they tend to maintain a sense of humour, which I believe is important.  The Salon post also makes some excellent points, especially about ill-advised western foreign policy adventures, but I can do without the victim-blaming, and Christ, they can be whiny and condescending.

Feedback is welcome but anonymous comments will not be posted.  If you don't have the courage of your convictions, they're not worth reading.