This Too Shall Pass (But when?)

I keep telling myself that this too shall pass…

But what will it pass on to?
And when?

Too often with the cancer you wind up trading one pain in the ass for another.  Sometimes you don’t even trade– you’ll often end up with two (or a half-dozen) pains in the ass at once.  How Cancerful is that!  It’s a real pain in the ass, to be honest.

I’m speaking figuratively, of course: the pains, while frequent and widespread (motley and multifarious, if you’ll allow the saurus), are typically  located in areas other than the derriere.  Like the head, for example.  I’ve had a lot of pains in the head.  But there have also been pains in the neck, and the knees, and the gut…  and now that I think about it, the derriere area has seen its own share of Cancerful controversy over the last few years too.  So sometimes the pain in the ass really is a pain in the ass.

Point is, there’s a lot of pains, wherever they may be located.  In the ass, or elsewhere.
For the sake of clarity, let’s just call them “a pain in the me,”  and get back to what we were originally talking about before this long pain-in-the-ass digression.  OK?  OK. Here we go:

I keep telling myself that this too shall pass…

But what will it pass on to?
And when?

Too often with the cancer you wind up trading one pain-in-the-me for another.  Sometimes you don’t even trade: you’ll often end up with two (or a half-dozen) pains-in the-me at once.  What a pain in the me!

To confuse matters, these Cancerful pains aren’t always painful  in the physical sense.  They can be intellectual or emotional pains.  Or, they can be physical things in your body that don’t actually hurt, but are so annoying and inconvenient that they still totally qualify as a HUGE pain-in-the-me.  (Which because I like acronyms and in the interest of brevity I will now call PITMs.)

This morning, i’ve got a few PITMs going.  One of them is in my gut, and this despite the fact (and not because of the fact) that I just had cake for breakfast.
Hey don’t judge–the last time I had cake for breakfast was after I had brain surgery (I earned it!)   And that was like a month ago, anyway.  This time, it was just because I happened to bake a cake last night before I went to bed, and what the hell else was I going to do when I got up this morning and saw a chocolate cake sitting there– eat cereal?  What am I, a fucking moron?

Anyway, my tummy hurts.  This has been going on for awhile.  And I swear it’s not because of my dietary habits; it’s a side-effect of a side-effect of all the cancer-fighting I’ve been doing.  All this surviving  has left with me with a pretty messed up gut, and that–my gut–was one of the things in my pre-Cancerful years that I never had a problem with.  In terms of size, or functionality.  My gut always worked real good.

Now, it’s a problem.  It’s one more pain-in-the-me,  in addition to all the other PITMs I still have, or will soon get.  For example, the tiny fracture in my back that I didn’t even know about (because I can’t feel it), which was apparently caused by medications, and not by anything fun like wrestling or climbing or trampoline-jumping.  Medicine fractured my back!  What a pain in the me!

But this is what happens.  You stay in this Cancerful fight long enough and you wind up with a lot of battle scars.  They come at you from all directions, and every single one of them is a pain-in-the-me.  The irony of surviving is that you get beat down.  It’s a war of attrition.  And the collective weight of all these scars eventually starts to feel like it might be heavy enough alone to bring you down, even though you’re still standing, despite the cancer.  (Or sitting, as I currently am.)

So when I told myself this morning that this one particular PITM I’ve been having trouble with– my newly surgically damaged vision — would eventually get better, I laughed.  At myself.  (Which is normal, when you’re having a conversation with yourself.)  I laughed, because…  well then what?

Because, when you’re Cancerful, the PITMs seem to just keep coming.  They come from every direction, and sometimes when you least expect it (much like the Spanish Inquisition.)  Surprisingly, some PITMs suck worse than the cancer that brought them on in the first place (which makes them part of the cancer, I guess?).  And they just keep piling up,  building on each other in one big Cancerful mess, until…


Hold on.  I gotta take a break.



OK, I’m back.

As you might be able to tell, I”m having a really hard time writing this post.  Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes it’s not.  This time, it’s not.

You see, this time, it’s actually difficult for me to see what I’m doing.  And I mean that literally:  I’ve had to keep my right eye closed the entire time I’ve been writing this.  With this new vision PITM I’m dealing with, for some reason that somehow makes it easier to focus on a computer screen.  But it’s still hard to focus.  And that’s not even mentioning the difficulties I have getting my brain to focus.

So there’s that, and the gut thing, and…. and even though I had cake for breakfast and I’m sitting in a comfy chair and a there’s a nice breeze blowing through the air… I’ve noticed several times in the last three hours (three hours!) that I’ve had to tell myself to keep going.  To just  finish writing this.

I’m telling myself that right now, in fact.  And I’m not even sure why.  I’m not even sure where I’m going with this.

I started writing this post because an idea popped into my head that I felt like I wanted to write about.  And I like writing.  So I started writing… but now it just feels like I’m complaining.  And I don’t like complaining.

I don’t want to complain anymore.  Ideally, I’d love to not have a reason (or many reasons) to complain anymore… but I know that that’s not going to happen.  I can’t just snap my fingers and make all these PITMs go away.  This is what I’m dealing with right now, and I have to deal with it.  This is where I am, right now, and it’s up to me what to do with it.

So what will the next paragraph entail?

I just smiled, when I wrote that.  I smiled, because it made me realize that right now, while this does suck, while all of these stacked up PITM’s are indeed a real pain in the ass, it is still up to me what to do with it.

I am lucky enough that it still IS up to me.

And that, my Cancerful friends, is bigger than a pain in the gut, or the butt, or the head OR the ass.  And sometimes it’s bigger than all of those combined.

So right now (Write! Now!) I’m going to finish writing this post, to cheer myself up.  I’m going to take this complaint about pains in the ass, and turn it into an encouraging, inspirational (and not painful) kick in the ass.

Because that’s all I got right now.  And you know what?  That’s good enough.  Because it was enough to make me smile again.  Just now.  And that’s a good place to start.

I think it might also be a good place to end.  Because even with only one eye open, it looks to me like I’m about to finish this post.  And I’m happy that I did.  Which means that I’m happy.   I just cheered myself up!  Which means that:

This, too, DID pass!

But what will it pass on to?

Maybe that’s up to me.

THE END.  (?)

15 thoughts on “This Too Shall Pass (But when?)

  1. It’s very tough Chad. I feel so bad for you. My husband Greg who was diagnosed with GBM a week after you has had a recurrence. It’s not easy. My motto is from the shawshank redemption “you can get busy living or get busy dying”. We try to squeeze joy out of every day. I’m thinking really positive thoughts for you. Lots of love. Mary

  2. Sending you love, and prayers for strength. I love your blogs, they are so raw and real, and beautiful and sad and hopeful and human. Hang in there guy. xo

  3. Sending thoughts of strength, humor, and extreme big picture thinking. I wish you an expansion of your cheer-your-self-up super power, with hopes that those powers will be as Kryptonite to PITMs. Much, much love is coming your way

  4. This is so very true and well put! I am not cancerful but a mom of a very bright 13 yo girl who has brain cancer. Facebook kindly reminded me that our struggle has been four years in the making and the very thought was “when will this end?!” (With some colorful adjectives) and yet you keep going…one foot after the other. The loved and somehow hated MRI is coming this weekend that will steer our fate one way or another. I have quietly followed your posts and although this sounds inadequate at best, I am grateful for your gift…both in expressing how we all feel and your positive outlook. Forward is the only way 🙂

  5. Thank you for writing. I know in my sisters cancer journey she wrote updates frequently in the beginning of her journey, but as she developed more battle scars, she stopped writing – I think because she could no longer be “positive” and upbeat. And she didn’t want to sound like a downer or complainer so the cheery “fight on” updates stopped.

    She and I talked every night at 9 pm and I treasured that time because I felt I got
    “good” info– not info that was heavily filtered to be positive.

    And through our day to day talking I got a much better sense and appreciation for the
    relentness battle scars, BUT also for the mundane every day living because she was doing exactly that living.

    So THANK YOU for continuing to include us in your journey no matter how many battle scars and pains you accumulate. If you want to write, then WE want to hear.

  6. Chad, I am glad you persevere in the face of so many PITMs and I’m glad you go beyond just continued existence to write and share. I enjoy reading the thoughts you translate to words. I admire your tenacity and honesty. You are capable of squeezing a bit of humor out of all the harsh situations you face. That helps us all. When I anthropomorphize the PITMs I imagine them slumped in the corner of a boxing ring like Glass Joe (of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out fame), each of them brutalized by Chad words and humor! Thanks for writing on 🙂

  7. Chad, your words have passed on so many positives ,much humour, enormous strength , limitless love and huge hope. Thank you Thank you .
    Before my son passed from this horrendous disease last February aged just 23, I shared all your posts with him . Chad You passed 3 years of hope and humour life, fight and strength onto us.
    I will be eternally grateful for your many gifts x

  8. Hi Chad its Nicola, I recorded a programme with you some time ago now about rhapsody in blue. I just wanted to check in to say that I still keep up with your blog from time to time and I am always so glad to see that you are writing. I know your interview will have encouraged, inspired and entertained a lot of people. Millions (if our radio listening figures are correct!). I just wanted to let you know that I am still inspired by you (and I’m sure that thousands and thousands of other people are – they perhaps don’t always write at once as I haven’t!). It’s a sunny day over here in the uk and I hope it’s bright over there too. However your day is today I hope you know what great things you’ve done. With warmth, Nicola

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