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.

Death, Life, and Cancer Zombies

I’m reading a wonderful book about cancer— a biography of cancer— called “The Emperor of All Maladies.”  I would recommend it to anyone interested in both the story and the biology of this disease, as it’s filled with enough juicy facts (and plot twists!) to both entertain and to bring you well within the reach of feeling that you’re somewhat of an expert on the topic of cancer. (Not to be confused with the Tropic of Cancer— it doesn’t talk about that at all).  I’ve read a lot about cancer, thought a lot about cancer, and this book covers a great deal of it, in great detail.  I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

Gushing reviews aside (as if he needs my blurb for his front cover— he’s already got Oprah, the New Yorker, and a Pulitzer Prize), there’s something ingrained in the way he tells this story that rubs me (only so slightly) the wrong way: it’s a breathless, occasionally hyperbolic dramatist’s telling of The History of Cancer as The Biography of An Enemy.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the necessity of spinning a good yarn if you want to get people through 470 pages on cancer (and win a Pulitzer Prize and an Oprah Book Club mention in the process), but from the title to the subtitle and throughout the narrative itself, there’s this constant literary implication that cancer is a character: a humanoid creature with a mind, and a motive.  In other words, he anthropomorphizes cancer, and if you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning you know I don’t like to talk about cancer like I’m talking about Brandon.  And here’s why:

When you consider the gorgeous complexity of the human body (or any vertebrae, for that matter) with its interwoven matrices of different cell types and chemical types and organs and reactions and counter reactions all synchronized in a perfectly orchestrated ballet of life… the SIMPLISTIC BARBARITY OF CANCER is almost… hilarious.

So add this to the list of reasons that I take issue with turning cancer into a person, or an enemy, or even “a beast.”  If you’re going to see cancer as an evil thing with a mind and a motive— if you’re going to anthropomorphize it— you might as well do the same for saliva, or the lymphatic system (what a wonder!), or the fantastical (and fantastically functional) digestive microbiome working its ass off inside of your actual ass every goddamn day, just keepin’ things flowing without ever asking for a damn thing in return!

But we never do that, do we?  We don’t even anthropomorphize our eyes, and our eyes are a hell of a lot more interesting and complex (and beautiful and functional) than stupid cancer.  Eyes would actually be gods in our bodies if were anthropomorphizing the whole setup!  But when’s the last time you heard somebody refer to human eyes as benevolent gods bent on showing us the light, and illuminating our way, or bridging the gap between our minds and the visible world beyond us?  (Here’s a guess: never.  Or maybe in some random poem that I’m sure somebody is going to find for me.)

But if we insist on giving cancer a brain and a motive— and we do it all the time, so clearly we insist— then let me propose this: if cancer is a character in the story of our bodies, then it is only one character in a cast of millions.  And here’s the thing: it’s one of the dumbest goddamn characters in the lot!  All it does is get in the way!

In fact, one of the most interesting things about cancer is how stupid it is: it’s one of the only parts of your body that is just totally uncooperative.  But it still is (if you have it, and this part is crucial) a part of your body.

Cancer is on your team— it’s just not playing by the rules.  And it didn’t quit because it’s too old (like a heart), or because you drank too much and broke it (like a liver— speaking of which why do we never call our hearts and livers demons when they stop cooperating?)

The only reason cancer doesn’t play by the rules is that it’s been brain damaged from the start.  It was born that way.  And you’re the one who gave birth to it.  So can you really blame it?

The point is, cancer is really, really dumb— all it’s good at is fucking and making more of itself.  (Unfortunately, it’s really really good at that).  But it doesn’t even know what it’s doing it, and it certainly doesn’t have a grand plan, so don’t flatter it by calling it a “beast” or (Eyes forbid) comparing it to something as wonderful as a human being.

At best, cancer is a zombie.  But it’s a zombie whose horror comes not in biting or brain-eating, but in over-procreating.  (Think of how the English used to think about the Irish, or how some people still think of other people, because we’re all assholes.)

Look at it this way, if you insist on anthropomorphizing: Cancer Zombies just wander around aimlessly, each zombie splitting into two zombies every five minutes, eventually making just so many damn zombies that they’re eating all the food and clogging up all the highways and pretty soon you can’t even open the door to your house anymore because they’re piled up all over the lawn!  And when they break through your windows, they don’t do it with their fists, they do it because there were so many of them out there that they just got forced inside.  You can’t really blame them for over-occupying all your space— it’s just what they do!  (It’s all they do, in fact.)

So why, if cancer is a part of us, and it’s just one of the many many parts of us (and not even the most interesting one, by a long shot), why is cancer the one part that we turn into a thinking thing?  And why are we so afraid of it?

It’s simple.

Because we’re afraid of death.

We try to ignore death, but we can’t, because we know it’s coming.  (It’s definitely, positively coming.)  And so death lurks in the background, it has to hide in the shadows, and it gets creepy there because we don’t want to look at it.  And pretty soon, death turns into something that we FEAR.  It’s a spook in the night!

Would we fear death so much if we didn’t try so hard to ignore it?

There’s another big thing that we shouldn’t ignore (that we’re very good at ignoring) but we don’t fear at all, because it surrounds us each and every day, and (if we’re lucky) we like looking at it.  And that thing… is LIFE.

Life!  Now that’s something worth anthropomorphizing!

She’s a beautiful lady, Life.  She’s gorgeous, in fact.  With one of the most incredible faces— and the biggest heart— I’ve ever seen.  So caring, Life!  She walks beside us day after day, holding our hand even when we don’t realize she’s doing it.  Even if we tried to let go of her hand, we couldn’t.  Because she holds onto us, Life.  And it is only when SHE is ready to send us on our way that she finally releases her careful, caring grip.

And there is no need to fear that moment, because Life will take every ounce of us with her—she will carry us with her!— as she goes along on her beautiful, merry way.  We are an inextricable part of Her, and Her us, and it will always be that way.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Cure Your Own Cancer! Write All About It!

It’s funny to think there was a moment when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be writing about cancer.  It made me nervous.  I was already thinking about it too much, trying NOT to think about it so much.  I didn’t want it to occupy any more space in my brain than it already did.  Which was a lot.  (Pun and extended metaphor both intended and unavoidable.)

But I took a leap of faith and went for it.  And as it turned out, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made since I first got the cancer on/in the brain.  As it turns out, writing has not only helped me unpack my crowded brains of the too many things swirling around inside them; it’s also given me a venue through which I actually managed to cure myself.

Now don’t take that literally— I don’t mean to say that I’m permanently biologically cured of cancer.  Because I’m not, and probably never will be, unless by some sweet stroke of luck I die of a stroke 50 years from now and they  say “Well, it looks like he really was cured of that brain cancer after all!”

What I mean to say is that I literarily cured my cancer.  I wanted to see, to hear and imagine and feel what it would be like to be told that I was cured.  As in, the doctor closes a binder on his desk and says: “Go home.  There’s nothing else we can do for you here, because you’re fine.  You’ve got nothing at all to worry about any more.  Have a great weekend, and if I ever see you again it’ll be at that taco place you told me about in Redondo.  Their carnitas is fantastic.”

I wrote something like this (well, a slightly different version with less taco talk and a bit more suspense) about two weeks ago.  To try it on, to see how it felt.

It felt good.  So good, in fact, that the instant I pressed the “.” key, I started to weep like an old Italian lady.  I completely lost my shit, that’s how good it felt.  It felt so good that I was, in that instant, actually pretty much cured.

So when I went to the hospital for my MRI one early morning early this week, I felt an odd and totally new sense of anticipation swirling about me.  I love going to my hospital (all they ever do is things that make me not die), so I’m always excited to be there.  But this time I felt like I was going to a movie, or a show, that everyone was telling me would completely change my life.  Save my life, in fact.  I was excited.  It was weird.  Weirdly wonderful.

So while I sat in my underpants in the waiting room of the Mark Taper Imaging Center, I scribbled this in my notebook:

journal 1

journal 2

journal 3

journal 4

And it was.

And I am.

******************************
So that’s what art can do.  Thank god I stupidly chose to be an English major.

Incidentally, I made sure to mention all of this to my doctor, since he’s been kindly following the progress both of my brain and what it’s working on.  I told him how he totally blew a huge dramatic opportunity by not telling me that either I was cured, or was gonna die in like 3 minutes.

He laughed.  So did I.

Next time I go in there with a few pages of scripted dialogue that we both have rehearsed in advance.

******************************
PS:  If you’ve got the cancer, and you’re worried about it, try writing about it.
Write anything.
And if you don’t know where to start, try just writing the word “cancer” with an exclamation point after it as many times as it takes to make you laugh out loud at least once.
Cancer!  Cancer!  Cancer!  (for me, it only took 3 times)

Then write whatever else comes to mind.
Because there will be something.
And it’ll probably be good for you to let it out.

To miss, to miss nothing

I’d forgotten what it was like to miss someone, because I’d trained myself during the course of my first love (which was both very long, and very long-distance) to become numb to that emotion.  I either couldn’t handle that enduring and painful yearning, and blocked out my ability to feel it, or I just became so used to it that it no longer mattered in any context.  To miss someone or something became so normal for me that I completely forgot about it, even when that relationship ended.  It’s been years since I’ve deeply missed anything.

It wasn’t until recently, with all this pondering of life and death and living and leaving, that I can understand again what it would be like to really miss someone.

I can already see myself missing my father, whichever of us is the one to go first.  And not just at the age he is now, but at every age we ever were together.  I’ll miss all of those him’s, and all of those him and I’s together.  I can feel now what that will be like.

And it gives me happiness to know that this sensation, that missing, is built entirely on love.  It’s a longing born from beauty, and where it exists that beauty and the love upon which it was built still exists, and always will exist.  Not flickering, but strong, and forever.

And now I realize why I haven’t been missing anything this whole time.  Because I’ve been paying attention to it.  And it’s still there.  And it always will be.

ObamaCares Part 2: I’m Covered, and So Are You

Breathing any kind of sigh of relief has extra meaning for me these days, and this morning I got to let out a very important and very relieving sigh.

Thanks to the Afforable Care Act (and to my mom, who did the applications for me), I just got my new health insurance through the Covered California insurance exchange.

Not only was it a piece of cake to shop for and compare plans, but the plan I wound up getting is perfectly affordable. Like, unbelievably affordable. Having brain cancer and all, it would have been impossible for me to even shop for health insurance 2-3 years ago. I would have been laughed off the phone, then sent a “Good Luck!” postcard with somebody giving me the middle finger.

Because President Obama cares, however, I now have my very own fancy new health insurance plan through Blue Cross / Blue Shield. All my current doctors, hospitals and tests are covered, and so as of January 1st I will seamlessly transition from my old insurance (also supplied by the ACA) to this fancy new plan. Hooray for government and private enterprise working together!

So as I sigh this Great Sigh of Relief, I send a warm and sincere thank you to President Obama and everyone in Washington and Sacramento, who cared enough to make all of this happen. You’re all official Brain Guardians now.

It’s nice to feel protected by your country in a way that has nothing to do with guns. Which reminds me of something I wrote a year and a half ago (wow, have I stretched this chance out that long?), when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act…

“To hell with cynicism about government, about politics, about the left or the right or the top or the bottom.  To hell with cynicism forever.  Brain cancer to cynicism!  If we don’t believe we can do anything good, if all we focus on is the fact that we’re arguing and divided and that it’s all gone to shit and we’ll never be able to fix it, then what good is going to come of us?”

This morning, I find myself feeling extremely uncynical.

And it feels really good.

 

Minimize My Morbidity!

The 4th Quadrennial meeting of the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology is being held in SanFrancisco at this very moment.

Where's the brain?

Where’s the brain?

(They should have hired me to do their logo.  How there is no giant glowing brain on the far side of the bridge makes absolutely no fucking sense.)

At this very moment, I am missing “The Sunrise Sessions” (wasn’t that a lost Fleetwood Mac album?) which include the following lectures:

Sunrise Session 1: Maximal Safe Resection of Glioma – Current Techniques

– Maximizing Extent of Resection for Gliomas while Minimizing Morbidity, Mitchel Berger
– Current Concepts in the Resection of Glioblastomas: Why Do We Do It and How Do We Do It?, Walter Stummer

Minimizing Morbidity?  
Why Do We Do It and How Do We Do It!?

I’m not making this shit up folks, THIS is how hilarious the world of brain tumors is.
(Or am I the only one who finds it this funny?)

I ‘ll tell you WHY you do it– so I don’t die!
I won’t tell you how you do it though– that part I still suspect is at least 45% magical.

I’m not sure there’s a conference in the world I’d rather be at (and would be more enthralled by) than the WFNO Sunrise Sessions.  When you get cancer in your brain, you tend to become a bit of a nerd about it.  Why aren’t they live streaming this shit, like they do all the stupid Apple product announcements?  As a brain cancer sufferer (owner? host unit?) we should all get a direct feed into our head of the goings on at this conference.

If anybody is reading this and is there at the conference with an iPhone 5S, I would happily accept a FaceTime live stream of this particular Sunday Sunrise Session:

Sunrise Session 2: Minimizing Side Effects From Radiation

– Cocaine, Codeine and Caffeine: Isn’t It Time To Just Wake Them The Fuck Up?  Charlie Breda
– Can We Modify the Risk of Cognitive Impairment, or Should We Just Tell Them How Stupid They’re Gonna Get?  Prakesh Jai’alai
– Is It Fair to Characterize Brain Beams As Life-Saving Double Rainbows? Jerome McDougle

OK it’s possible that I made those ones up.  But I can’t be blamed, after all– I have a hole in my brain.  Who knows what those phantom neurons are up to anymore–  I certainly can’t be held responsible.

And by the way–  If I’m still around in 4 years, will somebody please inform me that this conference is happening BEFORE it actually starts happening?   I should have a really cracking brain cancer standup routine by then, and would be more than happy to deliver it as the opening Keynote.

God Is In The Pattern, and The Pattern Is Good

“God is what’s good in me.” – John Gunther, Jr.

As an unashamed atheist it surprises me the comfort and solace I find in a Catholic church.  But when I ponder this (the structure, the history, the longevity, and my reaction to it) it takes no more than a moment to become completely unsurprised.  For…

God is no less real than anything we make to be true.

Because it is in this making, this fashioning (of imagination, or iron, or emotion or stone) that we find the pattern in life, and amongst the universe. 

And God is in the pattern, and the pattern is good.

We see with breathless awe the pattern in nature (a forest, a snowflake, human love, the human mind) and in our awe we seek to ascribe a name to it; a reason, a cause, an explanation.

But in our naming of the beauty and grace of the world, it is equally important for us to not forget:

That the beauty and the good which we make to be true is no less real than that which we see before us, and around us, with such breathless awe.

It is in our hands to make more of it.

 

Major duomo

Writing and Writing in the Widening Gyre

Writing is the only thing I want to be doing… except all the pointless distractions that I invent to prevent myself from getting in the chair.

Even once in the chair, there I go writing something like this instead of what I should be writing.  (What should be writing?)  Or checking my email or bank statement.  Or the score of the Sixers game.
Shit I wanted to check the score of the Sixers game.

~~~~

I want to feel like an active participant in life again.

The main stumbling block is that I’d set the bar pretty high before, so it wouldn’t do just to “get back to work” or “build something” or “have a family.”  It wouldn’t do to be doing anything less than a multitude of wonderfully exciting things, to keep my insatiable curiosity mostly if not completely satiated.  Or wouldn’t it?  Wouldn’t it do?  What exactly would do?

The point is I feel that the (still functioning) intellectual portion of my brain is missing more things than it’s absorbing.  That missing-to-absorbing rate wasn’t even satisfactory before, but now it’s far less so.  Luckily, I went through an intense period where it was OK to reduce focus onto the insane here and now:  The Wild and Unpredictable and Ceaselessly Entertaining Trip of Getting and Fighting Brain Cancer.  It was OK during that period to not know how the Sixers were doing, or to be reading the books that I’ve been wanting to read, or seeing the movies I’ve been wanting to see.  I was busy not dying, and my brain didn’t work too good.

But now that The Wild and Unpredictable and Ceaselessly Entertaining Trip of Getting and Fighting Brain Cancer has settled down a bit (for the time being), I feel my focus wanting to shift back to the larger world beyond me.  Beyond my cancer.  Beyond cancer.  And I’m excited that I’m able to do so (for the time being), but having already been frustrated with my limited ability to absorb the world before “the accident” (Ooo I like calling it that, I’m going to call it that now.  I’ve never been able to turn that heavy & intriguing phrase, but have always admired it.  “Oh, that was before the accident.”  Or “the incident” {“accident” is better}), I’m no less disappointed (quite a bit more so in fact) in my even more limited current capacity to learn as much as possible and do something with what I’ve learned.  There simply isn’t enough time— and here I’ve got a hole in my brain, which you think would be good for storing things but turns out it’s bad— and there’s too much awesome stuff out there and where do I begin.

But I’m just bitching.  Now that is pointless (not entirely).  It is a distraction though.

Hey:

You can’t know everything.

You can’t have everything.

You can’t control everything.

You can only point yourself in a direction, put one foot in front of the other, and enjoy what comes to you and what you make of it.

Here I go.

~~~~

 

PS: When I began this blog, I said something about how I’d never wanted to write a blog because they always seem so self-indulgent.  With this post, I fear I have officially crossed that line into Official Self Indulgency.  I am, for some reason, publishing my personal diary/journal on the Internet, and by this act adding to the Great and Insurmountable Global Heap of Probably Useless Information that I’ll never be able to get through.

Well I may not have read everything… but, if anything, at least I’ve read this blog.

I forget most of it already though.

~~~~

Here I really go.
To write something I hopefully will remember.

(Or, even better, that someone else will.)

LIVING EVERY DAY LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST

…is a goddamn terrible idea.  If any person or self help book or famous quotes website has ever recommended you try living every day like it’s your last, I guarantee the person doing the recommending has never tried it herself.  Or she has, and she’s completely insane.  Because I’ve been living today like it’s my last, and before I even got to lunch I realized if I was doing this daily I’d wind up killing myself before dinner.  And then it really would be my last day.  Every day.  And I wouldn’t even have had dinner.

Let me give you an example of one (of the many, many) problems with this type of relentless day-seizing: if it’s your last day, does the day end at midnight?  Or does it end at sunset?  Because this whole time I was thinking midnight, and the sun’s about to go down and if the Hasidim are right… Well it’s just that I had 11:59 in my head not 5:58, and there’s still a bunch of stuff on this list and god thank god it was daylight savings time today cuz that gave me an extra hour but… shit we changed the clocks!  It’s 4:45 but that was 5:45, and now the sun’s gonna go down in like ten minutes.

Shit!  It’s midnight, not sunset, right?

Right??

Ok quick, listen, ‘cuz either way I don’t have a lot of time — I mean when it’s your last day ten minutes is about as good as six hours but I’m wasting time just typing this so just listen OK?!

OK.  It’s profoundly impractical to go through even one day thinking and acting like it’s your last, let alone Monday through Sunday for the rest of your life (which is supposed to be only the rest of today anyway).  I mean first of all, if you’re actually gonna do this— and I just tried— you’re on the phone all day.  I mean, ALL DAY.

It’s your last day on earth!  Think of all the people you have to call!  Like, your mom (duh), and that’s gonna take a half hour, and all the other assholes in your family, and anybody you’ve ever cared about or had a crush on or just wanted to sleep with cuz there might still be a chance, and all the people who are a little more religious than you who might have some say in the Heaven Level you get stuck in forever…  oh and that guy who watered your plants last week who you forgot to thank.  ‘Cause he actually owes you fifty bucks and… shit do I still have that guy’s number?

God, you’d spend half the day just trying to find all the phone numbers!  I mean, even if you had a killer Rolodex and a secretary and you get up at five, if you’re really living today like it’s your last day on Earth you’re slammed with phone calls until lunch time at least.  (And it’s not like you can just group text everybody and be like “C U later!”  Cuz you won’t see anybody later.)  And even if you’re lucky enough to get off the goddamn phone, now it’s already lunch and what the hell are you gonna eat for your last lunch ever?

You eat the best fucking steak in the world is what you eat, even if you’re a vegetarian (especially if you’re a vegetarian) and… fuck why didn’t I just have steak for breakfast?  I mean that omelette was good but it was a little burnt on the one side and aww man that was my last breakfast EVER?!  And they gave me home fries instead of hash browns??!  And they totally forgot the orange juice!   And that bitch better pray for me because of that sweet tip I left her that in retrospect she totally didn’t deserve.  But at least I’ll go to heaven.  She was really cute though.

Speaking of which, if you’re a certain kind of red blooded male you very well might find yourself spending 99% of your entire Last Day Ever just pathetically trying to have sex with someone who’s hotter than anybody you’ve been with in your whole life, or just having sex with anyone at all, all day, while eating steak at the same time, which is impractical unless you happen to run into a super hot nymphomaniac vegetarian who also happens to be living her day like it’s her last.  And she finds you attractive.  See what a pain in the ass this is?

And beyond just the practical stuff— ‘cuz that was just the practical stuff— there’s also the entire mythical world of shit that you’d really want to be doing on your last day ever but probably can’t but it’s nice to dream and who knows it’s your last day on Earth and you’re gonna die soon so why not shoot for the moon, right?  I mean isn’t that what this whole bullshit idea’s about anyway?

Oh it’s my last day on Earth!  I wanna be… I don’t know… hmmmmm… drinking champagne while skiing in Switzerland with a jet pack on and a Ferrari waiting at the bottom of the hill so I can drive it 900 miles an hour through the Alps (literally through the Alps) and then shoot out of a cliff into Italy and jet pack straight into the Duomo in Milan cuz I wanna see that again and plus I could confess one last time, and that couldn’t hurt, right?

Cuz something like THAT is what I’d actually like to be doing if I was literally living today like it’s my last.  Well that, and…

– Making amends with and buying ice cream for anyone I’ve ever been less than completely nice to, which is like… everyone…

– And rolling around on the floor with five Weimaraner puppies while being tickled by a nude Olympic women’s volleyball player and listening to all my favorite Beatles songs in a row, which is like… all of them

– And speed reading that entire list of books that I still haven’t gotten to, including the ones on that one shelf that I pretend to myself that I’ve read, as well as all those goddamn New Yorker back issues that they fire at you weekly as if you’re made of eyeballs…

– And swimming in an ocean and a river and a lake and a pond and a stream and then having a nice sweat in a sauna and doing snow angels and then doing all that again one more time but now in the nude with the volleyball player.

– And throwing a snowball at a monkey.  Which I actually did one time but I’d like to do it again with a larger audience ’cause it was really funny.

See there’s a lot to think about.  And since it’s only one lousy shitty regular 24 hour day (why can’t it be “Live every day like it’s your second to last!  And you live on Venus!  Where the day is 5,832 hours long!”), there isn’t even enough time to make lists of all this shit you wanna do, let alone do any of it.

And it’s not like you can save anything for tomorrow.

God I’m paralyzed with indecision just trying to pick between the eight thousand things I want to do one more time (like eat Count Chocula, throw snowball at monkey) and the eight million things I never did but wish I had. (Like drink a ’45 Bordeaux.  Or a ’46.  Or a fucking ’88 for that matter.)  And since it’s my Last Day On Earth I slept in a little cuz I thought that was justifiable, so now there’s only gonna be time for doing like… eight total things.  But… shit, now that I’ve spent hours hyperventilating about this and wasting time writing about it, now there’s probably only time for, like… seven.  Shit.

Shit!  It’s 4:52!  There’s half the day gone already… unless we’re going by sunset in which case I only have one minute left to seize… Shit!  What do I do!?

Here’s what I’ll do, I’ll tell you this:

DO NOT WHATEVER YOU DO LIVE EVERY DAY LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST, BECAUSE IT WILL TURN YOUR ONE REMAINING DAY INTO A LIVING 24 HOUR NIGHTMARE.

Just live like you know you’re gonna die.  Cuz you totally are.  I personally guarantee it.

That way, you can do whatever the hell you want.

I think I’m gonna have a glass of wine and go to bed.

Monkey + snow = Once In a Lifetime Opportunity

Monkey + snow = Once In a Lifetime Opportunity

Having Something To Look Forward To…

… might just be everything.

Having something to look forward to means you have hope.  And when you have hope, your concern is focused on something positive that’s coming your way.  Your outlook is bright (or in the very least there’s a bright crest of something on the horizon), and for a moment you’re cured.

I have something right now that I’m looking forward to.

No, I have two things.  No three things!

1) The bowl of kale & quinoa & who-knows-what-else soup that just finished warming up that I suspect is going to be really good (but might need a bit more cayenne).

2) Going running with my friend after eating said soup and writing this sentence (and hopefully a few to follow so I feel like I’ve accomplished something today).

3) The original thing I was thinking about, and referring to above, which I may or may not reveal at this very moment…

Moo hoo ha ha ha!  Not to get all suspensey (even though I’ve learned how well that trick works— human beings are suckers for temporary punishment in their entertainment [emphasis on the temporary]) but…

I’m looking forward to something.  A lot.  I’m excited about it, in fact.

And that makes me cured, right now at this very moment.  Cured of despair or depression, of the veil and the fog and the cancer and the fear.

All because I have something to look forward to.

What an affordable cure, looking forward: it doesn’t cost a damn thing!  And I suspect it may do the trick for things other than brain cancer: things like depression or rheumatoid arthritis or whatever-it-is-that-ails-you.

I suspect it’s a bit of a Free-Cure-For-All!

So find something to look forward to, if you don’t already have one.

And if you know about and care for someone who needs a cure (for anything), help them find something to look forward to.  Give it to them, if you can.  If you can’t, then help them find it.  And help them keep it in sight (because that’s an utterly crucial aspect of this whole trick as well).

I read an article not so long ago that’s really stuck with me, about an older man in a terrible state of health who knew the end was coming and who nonetheless steadfastly refused to give up or even slow down.  He lived to the end and he loved it (and was loved for it).  And all because he had something to look forward to.

Remarkable how powerful that can be.

And so I gave myself something to look forward to, even though I was scared (and still am scared) that it wasn’t going to happen.  And you know what?  I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I’m going to try, and I’m looking forward to it, and it’s putting the wind in my sails right now.  Right at this very moment.

I hope it happens.
I hope, I’m cured.
(When I have hope, I am cured.)

Gotta run!

– Chad

PS: this kale & quinoa & who-knows-what-else soup is really good.  And it did need a bit more cayenne.
PPS:  And now that I’m finished gulping this soup down I’ve gotta run (literally), so I can get back to that 3rd thing I’m looking forward to.
PPPS:  Here’s the aforementioned cat, out of the temporarily imposed bag:  #3 is something I’m writing.  Right now.  After I’m done with this post & this soup & this run.  It might be a musical.

It’s good to be busy.
It’s good to have things to do.
It’s good to have things to look forward to.

PPPPS:  Physically & mentally, I’m also feeling a lot better these days, thanks for asking.
(Because a lot of you have asked, so thanks.)
The medications have been cut down, and I’m far enough away from the trauma of chemo/radiation/havingmyentireworldshattered that I’m starting to feel like… shhhhhhhh don’t tell anybody!
(A normal human being again!?)
I did almost have a smoothie yesterday, but that was only because of a mixup with my medication, and who’s afraid of smoothies anyway?  Sometimes they make you SING!