Return To Kowloon, Part 1: Guess What I Just Did?

I Flew To Hong Kong.  Again.

I flew to Hong Kong.

And this time, despite the T-Shirt, I’m totally sure I’m not gonna get a brain tumor.  Hell I’m so sure of that, I’m not even going to bother to get an MRI while I’m here!

“But isn’t that what you normally do when you’re in Hong Kong?” you say, quite perceptively.

“Yes, that is historically true,” I reply, “but why would I need to, when I just got an MRI yesterday in LA, and it looked exactly like this!

Clean as a whistle!

Clean as a whistle!
(If that whistle was made of healthy non-cancerful brains.)

Not a spot of cancer to be seen!   Just like the last one, and the one before that.  Hooray!

And guess what else happened yesterday?  I got my last (and arguably most painful) TRIPLE SHOT IN THE ARMPIT!

IMG_8847

 

See that little bulge under my girlish armpit hair?  That’s the ICT-107 Brain Cancerful Vaccine (or sugar water, depending on my luck) seeping into my lymph nodes.  For me, the most painful part of having one of the most deadly forms of cancer has been getting needles in my armpit, and then having to hold my hand up in the air for 15 minutes afterward.  That’s how lucky I am, and why you will not often hear me complaining about any of this (although if you’re scoffing right now because you have heard me complaining– hey, step off!  Have YOU ever had 3 needles stuck in your armpit and then had to hold your hand in the air for 15 minutes afterward?  Yeah, didn’t think so.)

So anyway, yesterday I got a clean MRI, and I got my last shot of (hopefully) magical armpit juice.  And since it’s almost exactly two years from the day that I was checking out of this place…

Saint Teresa's Hospital, Kowloon

Saint Teresa’s Hospital, Kowloon.
April 20, 2012.

… I figured this might be a good time to go back to Hong Kong.

But why the hell would I want to Return To Kowloon?  (As my mother asked, quite expectedly and quite hilariously, when I told my parents on the phone yesterday.)  OK, I’ll tell you why.

See, there was a moment when I was here two years ago (two years ago!), post surgery, when I was walking around somewhere weird (which is everywhere here), looking around at the weirdness, and thinking to myself…

“I wonder if I’ll ever come back to this place.”

My gut immediately said “Probably not.”  The Law of Probability (ungoverned by my gut) said (quite rudely) “No fucking way, Peacock, are you kidding?  You’ll be lucky to survive the flight home!  How about settle for Ocean City, New Jersey.  I might be able to get you back there.  Even that’s only a 37.24%”

Now I’m not one who likes to be told what I can’t do, so when all of this rushed through my head, it made me sad.  It put a limit on my life.  It put a cap on my hope.  It was the beginning of the glass ceiling that all of us Cancerful People feel above us at almost every moment, when we’re feeling uncured.

But then–BUT THEN!!– my next thought was a nice one.  My next thought was this, filled with wonder and unknowing and certainty and hope:

“If I ever do find myself in this place again, if I ever am able to come back to Hong Kong… that will mean that something really really good happened.”

And so it has.

And so I decided to come back.

HK flight note

Touchdown!

Touchdown!

And after I landed (safely!), just when I was leaving the airport, I SAW A SIGN!

HK sign

 

And when I saw that sign, I thought to myself “I’m so sorry, sign.  I hope you had a good service life.  I’m just now reaching the beginning of mine.”  And that thought made me happy.

And so now I find myself back in Hong Kong (miracle!), feeling great (miracle of miracles!), working on a movie.  A movie that cures cancer. (Miracle of miracle of miracles!).

HK Laptop

And if those first two things could happen, then why not the last one too?

Speaking of signs, when I went for a walk around the block about an hour ago, I saw another one:

a good sign

a good sign

That’s a pretty damn good sign.

(And if you’ve ever wondered where I got the title for this blog, it’s not from there.  That is a complete coincidence.)

More signs to inevitably come tomorrow, when I Actually Return to Kowloon.

So stay tuned: I almost guarantee you that I am going to end up in the hospital!

 

PS: A humble and deeply felt thank you to the generous and loving friends who have gotten me this far.  And by “this far” I mean both “to Hong Kong,” as well as “still alive.”  I certainly could not have done (or even dreamed of) any of this without yous.

NEXT POST…  Return To Kowloon, Part 2: a Spoiler, a Thank You, and a Possible Seizure

Brain Chanceiversary 2: Another Rhapsody In Blue!

So I think the ghost of George Gershwin is haunting me.

I woke up this morning, April 10th, 2014, and realized it was my 2-year Brain Chanceiversary.

This was the day, two years ago (TWO YEARS AGO!) that I had my first brain surgery, in Hong Kong.  This was the day that it all started; the day that I began my ongoing Dance with Cancer.  This is my cancer birthday.

So I woke up this morning (hooray for that!), and the first thing I did was turn on the radio, as I normally do.  It was tuned to Classical KUSC (91.5), as it normally is.

But here’s the weird part: the instant– the exact instant— that the speakers came to life, guess what I heard?

I heard a clarinet.  Like somebody had cued it up for me.  Like it was the soundtrack to a movie.

“No way,” I thought.  This was a clarinet that I recognized.  This was a clarinet you’d recognize too– it’s possibly the most recognizable clarinet ever recorded.   So why was it so weird for me to hear it this morning, of all mornings, on my brain cancer birthday, at the exact instant that I got out of bed and turned on the radio?

Because it’s the clarinet that plays at the very beginning of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue.”

The same “Rhapsody In Blue” that I mentioned in this post back in September.

The same “Rhapsody In Blue” that was written by a guy who died at my hospital, at my age, of the same brain cancer that I have right now (George Gershwin, 38, GBM).

The same “Rhapsody In Blue” that (because of all of the above) I used as the subtitle and theme song of the movie I have been writing for the last year, which I hope will not only cure my own cancer, but a lot of other people’s as well:

MOVIE TITLE

And as if all of that wasn’t coincidental enough,  here’s where it gets really weird:

I was just on a beautiful BBC radio program called “Soul Music” last week, talking about this very song, and what it means to me.

soul music

If you’d like to listen to it, you can find it here (the program begins around the 1 minute mark):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03zb49y

gershwin

So either I’ve been following George Gershwin around for the last two years, or he’s been following me.

Either way, I’m happy to have his company.

And grateful that he came by to say Happy Brainchanceiversary.

Thanks George.

Sometimes I feel like I’m living a Rhapsody in Blue.