Monday, June 05, 2006

today

Zero 7 feat. Jose Gonzalez - Today



mondays.
some of you will roll your eyes when you read this,
but i never really had anything against mondays.
in fact, there was a part of me that kind of
looked forward to them: a new week. beginnings.

when i started chemo at usc, and it was determined
my visits would be weekly, i was asked
"is monday ok?"
"perfect" i said

now i'm not sure how many weeks i've been at it over there,
but some things have changed during that time:
1. my skin (see earlier posts)
2. an aversion to needles (huuuhwhabrrrk!)
3. mondays suck

its a pavlovian thing, you see.
like a trained dog, my body has come to understand
what it means when i wake up monday morning,
drive to the treatment center,
plug that IV to my arm,
and take it in.
it means yuck.

it means a week of getting your ass kicked all day
by an opponent you can't even see.
it means getting one bite into a delicious meal
and almost throwing up on your friends.
it means tons of sympathy from your friends
and unending pampering from your girlfriend
(but that's not helping the point, so skip that)

coming home after treatment
i tend to feel like a toxic waste mop,
and so, i've decided to do
what any responsible person would do when
their body is filled to the brim
with chemicals and experimental drugs:
write.

i've fallen into the habit of waiting
for something significant, or a scrap
of good news to sit down and blog.
bad habit.

writing heals
and in this case, it also informs.
so, for the sake of my health,
and for the sake of this blog,
mondays are now also for writing.
see you then (and maybe in between).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

under my skin

Roberta Flack - Tryin' Times

mmmkay...
hmmm.
yes, i see.

so, perhaps "acne" was a bit of an understatement.
my face, my neck, my ears, my chest, my back
have been blanketed with a lovely corvette red
rash-like coating and "countless" tiny fucking pimples.

no, junior high was never quite like this.
lets... yes, lets say its a little more like
an episode of the X-Files. a bad episode.

after a week of trying every over the counter
cream/lotion/elixir/salve/bathtreatment/magicalspell
that we could come up with, chas and i found ourselves
back on the oncologist's office on monday
ready to get another dose of Erbitux.

Taline, the nurse practitioner for my oncologist
passed me in the hallway, took one long look,
smiled, and said "you're not getting chemo today".

whisked into the crazy german's office,
he and she both too turns marvelling at the extent
of my freakish skin, especially the area on my back
where i had been treated with radiation,
and consequently had no rash or acne.
"fascinating!" he shouted through his thick accent

this is interesting stuff.
seems they might write something up about it.
publish it.
funny how things turn out, right?

we've gone from junior high
to x-files
to science experiment.

the good news is i got a prescription
for some antibiotics and pimple cream.
its been two days, and i think i can notice improvement...
or maybe thats just more side effects

Sunday, May 07, 2006

31 going on 13

Ray LaMontagne - Crazy


do you remember your first pimple?
i do.

i had just started 7th grade,
my first year of junior high school,
and along with my newly acquired braces,
glasses, and lack of self esteem,
came my very first pimple.
like many sypmtoms of puberty,
it comes with a hidden sense of pride
in feeling like you're growing up,
and now experiencing things you've
only heard about through others.
however, that sense of pride is usually
eclisped within seconds by the greater concern of:
"ok... so what the fuck am i going to do
about this thing on my face?"

31 years of age now.
older. wiser. stronger.
and over the last five months of chemo,
i've experienced some unpleasant side effects:
diahrea, nausea, farts, fatigue, penile enlargement...
(yeah, ok. fine...)
but on monday, i started a new type of chemo (erbitux)
which brings a new, and somewhat nostalgic side effect
back into the fold: acne.

fun, right?
but not only that, the oncologists want me to break out.
if my body exhibits a strong reaction of acne,
then it means that i'm responding to the erbitux
and that the chemo is actually doing its job...
of turning me back into a 13 year old...
hooray.

so here we are,
almost a week into it,
and my forehead looks like its
slowly morphing into that of a klingon.
and i'm happy.
sort of.
except now, again, i have to wonder
"what the fuck am i going to do
about this shit all over my face..."

Monday, April 24, 2006

balls

writing this post from jay's mac,
and for some reason, it doesn't recognize
the blogger "link"... ergo no music.
balls.

other than that, today has been a good day.
as we all know, life goes in cycles,
and things were pretty rotten last week
both internally, externally, and well, just in general.
so after an unusually good night's sleep
(relatively speaking, of course)
and a binge of personal hygene this morning
(oh crap, is that really how do you spell hygene?)
i decided mondays are my alloted day of the week
to truly kick ass and get things done.

up until recently, i considered myself fluent
in the language and nuance that is my body.
hunger. fatigue. thirst.
these were all things that i could pick up on,
and easily distinguish the difference between.
a little voice spoke up inside and said
"water"
and i drank water, and felt better.
"tuna sandwhich"
and i ate tuna, and felt full.
"rest"
and i did, and it was wonderful.

problem is, these days
that voice speaks chinese.
or maybe its japanese.
or one of those ancient fucking languages
that died out because nobody could fucking understand it.

welcome to the terrordome.
hunger doesn't feel like hunger anymore,
it presents itself as an ache and pain.
fatigue feels like fatigue, but coated with
a lovely ache and pain.... acheypain shall we call it?
thirst? don't really get thirsty,
just feel acheypain.
(figure i'd better keep myself hydrated,
because thats always important, right?)

like most men, i've always had a fear
of holding a crying baby, and not knowing
what it needs, or how to make it stop.
problem is, i'm the baby now.
acheypain... acheypain... acheypain...
what the fuck is it?
am i hungry? should i rest? want some ginger ale?

chas and i disagree on the subject,
which is of course, natural.
i think pain meds and watching the nba playoffs
are the most obvious cure for what ails me.
she doesn't. she thinks getting out of the house,
staying active, embracing life... blahblahblah...
crap.
fuckin girls...
think they're so smart.

so here we are on a manic monday,
and i'm crossing things off my to-do list,
taking gladys for a long walk, getting ready
to ride my bike down to the beach. and i feel good.
i'm not doing jumping jacks, mind you
but its an improvement.

and i'm watching the playoffs tonight.
you can bet your ass...
right honey?

Friday, April 14, 2006

It gets better

Delroy Wilson - Better Must Come (via Thievery Corporation)

enough bad news.
its time for some good.

granted, it has to be looked at carefully,
like those wierd images they used to sell on campus,
where if you stare at it long enough, or from the right angle
you see a hidden image of the space shuttle or something...

right.
so here it is: superman is alive.
he is living and breathing and living in los angeles.
admittedly, he does come in the odd package of an overly excited,
relatively short, middle-aged german oncologist
at USC's Norris Cancer Treatment Center.
his name is Dr. Heinz Lenz, and he is my hero.

our story begins with apathy.
that is the name i will give my HMO oncologist,
because that's all i ever got from him.
apathy. chemo. apathy. new chemo. apathy. pat on the back.
after consecutive unsuccessful treatments he gave up
and sent me to USC to seek out a second opinion.
what i found, was a second perspective.

from the beginning, his oncological nurse Taline
set the stage with a level of detail and thoroughness
that was unlike anything i had experienced thus far.
she put together our case history, inquired about the pieces
that didn't seem to make sense, and pointed out the places
where mistakes had been made, or something had been missed.
if superman had a sidekick, she would be a shoo-in.

Lenz entered the exam room with all courtesy
(oh right, i forgot to mention i rolled into Norris with Chas,
and both my parents. i've got a fucking entourage!)
he introduced himself to everyone, then sat directly across from me,
and with a heavy gaze and in his thick german accent, gave me my options.
and then the options after that.

going into the appointment, i felt a sense of dread.
i was ready to be underwhelmed by someone like "apathy",
and given some half-hearted experimental trial
with a shrug of the shoulders and a pat on the back.
instead, i was given hope.
and it was a welcome change.

he was intense.
he was passionate.
he was almost impossible to keep up with,
and i think he's completely fucking nuts.
i'm in.

i go back to USC next week for some tests
and will begin treatments shortly thereafter.
superman, lets fly

Saturday, April 08, 2006

restless restful

devics - song for a sleeping girl


there is something about having the right music when writing,
and therefore, one would think it be the same for reading.
(yes york, its on.)

its saturday night and once again i've shown chas what its like
to be with a real winner: laundry, leftovers, and to-do lists. just plain fun.
she's passed out from all the excitement, and i'm on the computer.
in our defense we did go out last night, had an exhausting day today,
and just got a new mattress from sit n' sleep. its incredible.

i've been having trouble sleeping for a number of reasons:
lower back pains (is this from cancer or weakened muscles? both wethink.)
overactive mind (tried melatonin. i think its time for something stronger.)
an old and tired mattress.

we started with the most obvious: the mattress.
but before you go running out there yourself,
be warned of the mattress store racket.
buying a mattress isn't anything like buying a tv,
where there's a basic standard for models,
you can price shop that model between vendors,
and be happy with the price and product bought.
with mattresses you're entering a whole new world.

as you know, every mattress retailer advertises
"won't be beat" "lowest prices guaranteed" "whatever".
how do they all do it? even though they're all selling
the same name brand (Sealy, Serta, etc.)
each bed is made differently, and with a delightful
name to go with it like "Providence Cream"
"Saffron Delight" or "Butterfly fucking itself".
here's the trick: all retailers sell the same brand,
but none of them will carry the same name,
and therefore none will carry the same bed.
comparing prices becomes impossible.

to sum it up, we ended up at Sit n' Sleep
(the mattress salesman was so lame he almost
inspired me to start a script based on him)
and i don't even remember what kind of mattress we got,
but its the softest thing either chas or i has ever laid down on.
and i'm my way there now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

news

listen.

it was a cold and rainy tuesday morning when chas and i
set out across town to see my oncologist, to get the news
from my latest CT scan, and see how this bullshit cancer
was responding to the latest chemo i had started.
the weather wasn't helping our nerves.
does good news come on dreary days like this?
apparently not.

it wasn't good news, and yet it wasn't terrible news.
the cancer is still spreading in my lungs. a little.
i will stop taking the avastin, go to usc immediately,
and discuss some new options with their oncology department.

it wasn't altogether a surprise. the lymph nodes in my neck
are still swollen, and have become my own informal way of
determining if the treatments i am taking are working or not.
very much looking forward to the day when these fuckers go away.

so here we go again.
setback. regroup. attack.
break down. pick up. breathe.

its the morning after now, and thankfully, the sun is out.
my list of things to do is long.
its time to get started.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

for shit's sake

real quick:
i've had this beef for a while,
and it just f'in happened to me again.

you know the feeling you get in your gut
when you flush the toilet, but instead of
the usual satisfying sound of "guh guh guh",
you're hearing the hiss of water rising?

sucks right?
whats worse?
the solution.

i think most of us learned, around the time
of our first overflow, about the knob.
(not that knob, pervs)
i mean the knob that turns off the water.

now, here's my problem: design flaw.
as said water is rising up, i have to reach behind the toilet,
frantically knock over the plunger,
throw the toilet bowl scrubber across the bathroom,
and with some dexterity turn off the water.
meanwhile, the farther i reach behind the toilet,
the closer my face is getting to the one place
i'd like more than anything, to avoid.

what the fuck?
why not have "the knob" on the top of the toilet.
one could look down with a bird's-eye view,
and strategically make the big decisions.
why not put it by the light switch?
hell, put it in the bathtub!
anywhere would be better.

all i know is i've had my face way too close
to some things i wish i'd never seen.
am i the only one who thinks this?
could this be a million dollar design idea?
i think so.
lets make it happen...
please?

Monday, March 27, 2006

it all comes out in the wash

one of the many fantastic things about having a girlfriend
is they get you to do things you would otherwise not do.
like take a bath.
i graduated from bath-taking around the time my legs became
long enough to prevent me from getting my whole body in the tub.
so, that would be five years old?
i stood up. turned on the shower. haven't sat down since.

enter chas.
after listening to me complain about a sore lower back
for approximately 1.7 seconds, she stopped the drain,
turned on scalding hot water, and added baby bath (right?).
a couple of candles later, my ipod is playing a selection of
the great lake swimmers, i'm completely naked,
cursing out loud as i slowly descend the more valuable parts
of my anatomy into water thats so hot it might as well be boiling.
and then.
i'm five again.
like tasting a forgotten flavor, i remember just how serene it feels
to put oneself in a bath of clean, soapy, beautiful hot water.
(hot tubs in germ water need not apply).
i felt like a tea bag.
steeping all the bad stuff out of me.

how did i fit in the tub?
yoga, of course.
oh i didn't mention that?
yeah, i'm taking baths and doing yoga.
let's call that tea "sublime sissy", shall we?
call it what you want, it fucking tastes good.
thanks, babe.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

performance piece

there is something completely tragic about
finding an artist whose music you instantly connect with,
only to discover that, oh wait. they're dead.

if you listen to jazz, this probably happens on a daily basis,
but for most everyone else that moment happened in college,
stoned to the core, listening to marley, or maybe hendrix,
and wondering what it would have been like
to see this person alive and performing.

have you ever had that conversation with anyone?
listing the top five live performances you wish you could've seen.
that was a scene in high fidelity, wasn't it?
john cusack and jack black making their list in the record store...
crap, getting off the point here...

i was introduced to nick drake's music a few years ago,
just before volkswagon used "pink moon" to sell their cabrio.
(unsuccessfully tried to find a link for the spot, actually very sweet)
i'm a complete sucker for singer/songwriter folk music,
and the emotion in his music is only heightened by the tragedy,
and shortness of his life. oh, didn't i mention that?
yeah, he's dead too...

so it was a strange thing on monday night,
after running through the rain across cahuenga blvd
and into the hotel cafe to hear jose gonzalez play that i thought to myself,
"this. this is what it would have been like to see drake perform live".

playing to an audience that was wet with rain, heavy with expectations,
and short on patience after suffering through a forgettable opening act,
and an intolerably long wait before getting to see the headliner,
it could have been a disastrous show.
quite the contrary. the little man and his guitar held the room.
living in LA and going to see live music is a little like
going out to dinner when you have kids:
"oh god, please behave, please behave, don't be lame."
and from the beginning, the crowd was involved, respectful,
recognizing his better known songs, and applauding for them.
nobody was on their phone, or trying to conversate over the music.
it could have been new york or boston in the 70's,
and that could've been drake singing up there on the stage...

and the moral to the story slowly crept up on me...
oh, wait. this is better than that.
this is an artist writing his legacy in front of our eyes.
we're listening to him right now, hearing some songs
for the very first time. this music was happening now.
and so, i let it happen.


follow the url below to experience some of his music:
http://www.myspace.com/josegonzalezmusic

Monday, February 27, 2006

new school

how to beat cancer:
step 1. combine a generous portion of delicious lemon-pledge tasting super immune-building powder supplement with OJ:

step 2. enjoy!

a vanguard approach in the multi-pronged attack of cancer therapy
is to drink something so putrid and disgusting that the cancer cells
are fooled into thinking your body has started to decompose,
and they die on contact.
amazing.
i feel it working...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

for fuck's sake

this blog began shortly after i started fighting cancer,
as a place to inform family and friends,
as a rug where i could sweep up my mess,
and an outlet, as i fought.

and so, although i should be calling people on the phone,
and really talking and explaining the news,
this seems like a better place for it:

do you remember what page we were on?
let's see, we had the diagnosis, covered the chemo/radiation,
got through the surgery, and were dancing through post-surgical chemo,
on our way to candy mutherfucking moutain? right?
detour.

a few weeks ago i started feeling some swelling in the lymph nodes
on my left side, between my neck and shoulder.
wierd. called my oncologist: "don't worry"
emailied my surgeon: "wait and see"
continued with my chemo, returned to see my oncologist
a few weeks later for a standard blood test.
took another look at my neck, and sent me for a needle biopsy:
cancer cells.
fuck.
underwent a series of scans to see where it was,
and discovered that my cancer has returned,
with a fucking chip on its shoulder.
the cells are highly differentiated,
which means its a much more aggressive type
than what i was initially diagnosed with.
it has metastasized to my lungs,
and obviously, localized lymph nodes.
fuck.

so here we are. stage 4.
wait a second, how did this happen?
how did we get here all of a sudden?
feels like just a minute ago my biggest concerns
were what to eat for dinner and having clean underwear.
now i'm fighting for my fucking life?
fucking serious?

you know how in every medical drama,
the surgeon comes out of the operating room,
rips the mask off his face, and with a sigh of relief
tells the family "he's gonna make it... he's a fighter."
i always wondered if i was that guy,
laid out on the table, what would happen?
would i have the fight?
"uh... sorry folks, he just ate it. seems he was a big pussy."

no. this is my fight:
started a new kind of chemo yesterday, hopefully with better results.
reading literature about cancer nutrition, fascinating stuff. eating right.
yoga every other day. building the mind-body connection.
started an entire regiment of immune system building supplements
(one of them is a powder drink... i'll fucking gag if i have to describe it).
meditation and positive visualization. fruity, but i'll try it.
walks. bike rides. stupid movies.
laughter.
love.


silver linings are lame, but here's mine:
its been less than a week since this latest chapter unfolded,
but the quality and quantity of love,
of help, and support i have felt in that time
is something i will never forget.
truly.
i am blessed.
(aw crap... getting schmaltzy... quit it.)


point is.
this cancer has come back aggressive. nasty.
it hits hard, and so i'm hitting it back. in the balls.
the IV of chemo pumps into my veins,
and thousands of little lazer wielding spacemen
are swimming in my blood, zapping the fucking cancer cells.
take a bite of broccoli (and all its anti-cancer nutrients)
and i imagine i'm biting cancer in the fucking face.
bending into some impossible yoga pose,
i'm sweating cancer out of my fucking body.
fuck cancer.

leave it to my creative director to give me perspective:
"this cancer is a burglar, he's in your fucking home,
and he wants to kill you. what are you going to do about it?".

i'm going to kick its fucking ass.

Friday, February 10, 2006

rant

i've worked at the same company
for something like four years now,
and over that time i've witnessed
quite a bit of growth:
we've expanded into new sources of revenue,
pursued new clients and opportunities.
but while the number of employees has soared,
the structure we work in has remained the same
(except for the fact there are desks lining the hallways,
and new offices carved out of old closets...)
but this is just anecdotal, the important thing
is that while our numbers have nearly doubled,
the bathroom is still the same size:
one urinal.
two stalls.

well, thats actually a lie.
truth be told, there's really only one stall.
the two are set up side by side,
but the differences between them are dramatic:
the farther one is handicapped-accessible,
and therefore larger, spacier, and better lit.
it allows one the luxury of walking around a little,
to truly ruminate on whether one's business is over,
and maybe even do a little jig if it so deserves.
the nearer one is smaller, cramped, and dark.
really, its the danny devito next to arnold schwarzenegger.

however, the biggest difference is privacy.
follow me closely here...
if you're sitting in the large stall
and someone sits in the smaller one next to you,
you can see their feet (and consequently know who's pooping),
but because of the angle, they can't see you.
of all the differences between the two,
this is the one that truly tips the scale.

sure, i sound completely neurotic,
but i know i'm not the only one.
whenever i'm in the large stall taking care of things,
i'll hear the bathroom door open, and a quick "guffaw"
or sigh is followed by the sound of the door closing.
they see the little red dot on the door
(to indicate that the large stall is occupied)
and instead of taking the small stall,
they just walk...
people would rather wait
than take the small stall.
which brings me a step closer to my point:

yesterday afternoon, shortly after lunch
(also known as ruch hour in the large stall)
i charged into the bathroom, saw the red dot,
washed my hands in the sink (thats my way of playing it off),
and returned to my edit bay to count the seconds of what
a normal human bowel movement would take.
my second chanrge was equally unsuccessful. red dot.
christ! this wasn't good.
baja burritos with chicken have no mercy.
i returned to my office,
performed some yoga-esque breathing exercises,
waited what felt like an eternity,
and then took to the hallway like a noble
walking to the guillotine.
this was it.
opened door. red dot. defeat.
small stall.
i accepted my sentence with head bowed.

stuffed and cramped into my dungeon,
i started playing my song of farts and splashes,
and it slowly dawned on me, i was playing a solo concert.
the audicity of this fucker.
was he reading? did he fall asleep?
aw shit...

was anyone even there?

with deft skill, or complete ignorance,
someone had made the door look like it was occupied,
when in fact, it was utterly vacant.
i don't know how many suffered that afternoon,
on the ninth day of february,
but i am sure it was many.
i was there.
i was one them.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

sparks


fuckn' hell.
i should be writing more often than this.
its a fight.
but sundays are a day of surrender.
and sunday night even moreso.

this week was an ordinary week.
a good week.
full of work, chas, friends, stuff...
exercise. fuckn' shit. raquetball?
it is quite a moment at 30 years old...
(oh shit, 31 years old)
to admit to yourself you've never been
as out of shape in your life as you are now...
fuckn' hell.

stretch.
remember.
body.
strength.


ok, so its superbowl sunday.
10pm.
the smokey aftermath is blowing by.
jay and i sold our souls to costco, home depot, and albertsons
so that we could pull a barbeque out of our arse...
and it was fucking worth it.
completely.
steaks. ahi. skewers. beer n' guacamole. what was forgotten?

it was a great group of people to balance the game,
the food, and the mutherfucking commercials...
commercials.
when does one pee?
miss the game or miss the culture?

guilty confession#1:
completely sold on the promos during the game,
eneded up watching "grey's anatomy" after the game.
tried to find the michael stipe and coldplay cover of "in the sun"
they used in the episode... too bad. too new.
listened to joseph arthur as we cleaned up the house.
listening to coldplay now.
feels like talking to an old friend.
strange how that changes.


what else?
chemo continues.
lymph nodes swell.
yecht!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

the love ride




i have decided this will be the year of the bike gang:
riding out today on a perfectly beautiful sunday,
we rolled six deep:
york, julie, zach, charlie, chas, and myself.
and with all modesty, we rolled badass.

about midway through the ride, we came upon
what looked like an audition for the final scene of "torque"
(if you even know the movie reference, i'm impressed).
anyway, there was something like forty rice rockets passing by,
and aside from some pretty basic style fundamentals
i.e. full body leather suits with retarded splashes of colors/logos
they rolled REALLY badass:
traffic yielded. heads turned. kids asked parents.
it was impressive.

today was a great fucking day.
riding to the farmers market, sitting in the sun,
checking out the art exhibit at the pier: ashesandsnow.org
drinking beers at the bitburger.
felt the love.
it was beautiful.
and something to do again...
and slowly build our numbers...
until we see that f'in rice rocket posse again,
and fucking throw down, yo!
what!?!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

it is a happy birfday

sitting down to write.
its cold.
i'm tired.

not ideal conditions.


my memory walks to the frig and opens a beer.
a place writers have found inspiration since writing began.
but these are not those times.
so instead, i walk to the stove and boil water.
pour a cup of green tea.
and sit down again.


it was my birthday yesterday.
31 years old.
i'm comfortable with my age.
confident with my life.
but lets be honest, not a sexy number.
its odd, unbalanced, sharing none of the glory
that its younger brother "21" wields...
no, not sexy at all.

my last few birthdays have been celebrated
by traveling someplace new, and (usually) someplace far.
however, as i've burned through all my vacation/sick days
for what may be the next five years, this year would be different.

chas and i continued my fledgling tradition
by taking a ferry from long beach harbor
to catalina island (all of one whole hour away).
officially, we stepped off the mainland and therefore
travelled "overseas" to what honestly feels like a faraway land.
golf carts are the dominant mode of transportation.
buffalo roam in force.
old people are everywhere.
(a great place for feeling young)

biggest changes i've made now that i'm 31:
1. new email address. (a whole different story)
2. use cnn.com for my news/info gathering. why?
york did it, so it must be mature.
3. and beer is now tea. (see above)

other than that, things are still very much the same.
and it is a happy birthday.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

in the middle


halftime?
intermission?
c'mon glass, there's an analogy here somewhere...

with some argument from my insides, i can say now
that i have completely recovered from the surgery.
i am walking, moving, and living just like i used to.
and its fucking great.

most times, the thoughts of cancer, of surgery, of everything,
receeds to the back of my head, and quietly lays down for a nap.
but they wake easily...
running my hand across my belly, there's a twelve inch reminder:
of the weeks past, of the months ahead...

visited the oncologist this week and got my chemo recipe:
1 two hour IV treatment of oxyplatinum every three weeks
2 pills of xoloda taken twice a day between treatments
six cycles.
simmer.
for best results add supplements during treatment.


so here we are,
and i still don't have a metaphor...
the short break before the last climb?
ewey, thats cheeseball...
the deep breath before... aw gad thats worse...

honestly, it sucks to start over again.
to have worked back to feeling normal,
and to have to give that up...
but the last couple of weeks have been great,
and if anything, they are a reminder of what
it will be like after these six cycles are done...
that is something to look forward to.
on that note, i've included a picture from christmas in mexico:
chas and i warming our feet by the fireplace.
yum.

Friday, December 09, 2005

slaying my dragons


the back door is open, the sun shining in
(is that a warm breeze i detect?)
put the headphones on,
time to write.

listening to my new favorite band: clap your hands say yeah!
quite sure they are now forever linked to this period of my life.

things are improving. daily.
went to an art opening last night with some friends,
and even managed to go to a nearby bar afterwards
to share some wine, and talk snot about art and life.

however, i do think i'm getting an early taste
of what it will be like when i'm old:
after standing and walking for a while, i was pooped.
i had to search out a place to sit and rest:
"no you guys go ahead, i just need to sit down for a moment..."

putting away the puzzle that chas and i assembled
(okay it really was all her... she is FREAKISH with those things!)
decided to take a quick pic of it before returning to its original state
(it glows in the dark, but the camera couldn't quite get an exposure)
if you can't quite tell from the picture, its a knight on a flying unicorn,
slaying a medallion-wearing dragon in an underwater cave.
fucking awesome.
thanks to charlie heath for a great get-well present.

yes, things are getting better:
one piece at a time.

Monday, December 05, 2005

home sick

this is what its like to be at home sick:

1. the days go by infinitely faster.
its frickin' monday again? really?

2. puritanical work eithic=guilt
whenever someone calls, i feel compelled to give them detailed accounts of what i've done with my time, and the things i have accomplished, even if its utterly asinine "...and then i changed from my walking shoes, to my house shoes... mmm, comfy they are!".

3. what have i done?
secretly, i thought this recovery period could be recalled in later years by scholars as "anthony's most prolific creative period, a time from which his genius was truly unleashed..." or a time in which he watched movies, took walks, and short naps.

4. man becomes dog.
i feel myself coming to understand the relationship dogs have with the mailman: when you're least expecting it, all of a sudden, there's someone AT YOUR DOOR! i can see his shadow, the lid on my mailbox slams, and then he's gone! such an invasion of privacy, i almost barked this morning.
just take my netflix and go!

5. i have become one of them.
there was always a mystery to the masses of people i would see mulling about when everyone else was working (and no, i'm not just talking about the homeless). i mean the cult of people who hang out at the coffee bean on an idle tuesday afternoon, the small mass of hipsters shuffling along abbott kinney blvd, seeming to have no destination or time frame. they can't all be actors, can they? walking on the promenade early this afternoon, i looked into a storefront window, and in the reflection (gasp!) saw that i had become one of them.
do you think they all have cancer too?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

where i'm writing from


so, yesterday sucked.
ate two bowls of cereal in the morning,
and it completely knocked me into nasty.
felt all bad things while trying to function,
and finally surrendered to a four hour nap
(is four hours still considered a nap?)
watched a movie, and spent the rest of the day
in a grouchy, vegetative state.
yeeeesh.
needless to say,
i'm planning out my diet today
with a little more discretion.

i know there will be more bad days,
that its part of the process:
excpecting anything else is naive.
but in recovery you get used to progress,
accustomed to improvement,
so much so that when you take a step back
it feels like its so much farther than it is.

this morning,
showered.
rested.
a long list of things to do,
things that will get done
instead of slept on.
people to call back.
out of minutes on my phone, but fuck it...

make today as good
as yesterday was bad.

its all part of the process.

Monday, November 28, 2005

monday monday

woke up at 7am, showered/shaved,
got dressed like i had somewhere to go,
and then sat myself down at the computer.
starting today, i work for myself.

made my to do list:
contact the bank and hospital
file for disability
finish writing appeal to blue cross

ok.
so working for yourself sucks.


planning on being out of work for two weeks, maybe more.
three hours into it, and i'm already bored out of my skull.
adding to my to do list: "find a side project"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

exit/enter

fuck.
so i walk out of the hospital,
or rather, i do a sad hunched/shuffle version of the way i used to walk,
and i breathe the air like its the first time,
and i smile at the sky like i'm seeing an old friend,
and its so cliche i have to laugh a little,
because i have become a hallmark card.

its ten minutes since my victory lap around the fourth floor,
complete with high fives from the nurses
and goodbyes from the other patients,
thirty minutes since i was unplugged from my last IV/attachment
and allowed to shower for the first time since the morning of surgery,
six days since i entered this hospital to live within its muted colors,
and it feels fucking great to finally be going home.

i walk to a nearby bench to wait for chas to pull up the cruiser,
and sit with some effort, finding a posture that seems more akin
to a zen buddhist than cancer pantient, but it works
and it gives me a moment to think about it all.
cancer.
surgery.
friends.
family.
life.


all the words and all the advice echo
and i remember this is far from the end,
that in fact, there is no end.
i had cancer. they cut it out.
but even if its not in me,
it will be a part of me.


other patients come in and out of the doors,
some sporting wheelchairs, others wearing obvious wigs.
this is my team?
can't we re-pick?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

and i am a creature of habit

going to the sidelines,
we always see the game
with a different eye.


can it be that i'm only a week from surgery?
that this is the last week at work?

although part of me smiles at the thought
of not being here day in and day out
and having to drive across town twice a day,
another part feels slightly shaken.

my office,
my edit bay.
my little meditation room.
it is a place of security and comfort.
a personal place, a private hideaway
(yeah, until someone bursts the door open
by mistake thinking its the stairwell)

and the people.
friendships that have grown out of this place,
and acquaintances, that despite their sincerity
never seem to get beyond these walls.
they will all remain, running in place,
wearing the carpet just a little thinner beneath their feet.

who will be in my bay when i am gone?


it is a strange thing to disconnect yourself
from the routine and system you're accustomed to.
and i am a creature of habit.
morning pb&j.
afternoon walk for coffee.

planning on working from home a few weeks after surgery,
and then coming back to the office in the new year.
i guess thats the new routine.
the new system.

an interesting holiday season this will be.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

its all happening...

the weekend has expired,
left itself in small pieces
in forgotten places
(it is sunday night, after all)

picking them up, folding them neatly,
and putting them away
(monday comes better that way)


the best news in recent memory came thursday afternoon,
when meeting with my surgeon for my post-therapy, pre-surgery cosult
he told me the tumor had responded very well to the radiation and chemo,
and had dramatically reduced in size allowing for a much smaller section
to be removed when i have surgery november 16th.

i was however in mid-exam when i received the news,
and tempered my joy until the anal-scope was removed
and my ass was lowered from the mechanized exam table
that had it perched 5feet high in the air.

needless to say,
once i was back on my feet
i was ecstatic.


went to see charlie kaufman at the writers guild,
and was reminded of so many things,
so many good things.

halloween party at a house
i don't live in anymore.
everyone dressed up as someone else.
but there were some familiar faces,
and it was fun, especially the part when i went home,
quiet home.
peaceful home.


feel like a squirrel nesting in here,
trying to get everything ready
with winter fast approaching.
counting my acorns.

good news:
happiness is available for all
in the form of $12 slippers from target.
they might've changed my life.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

everything goes better with pictures


i'll try to get a picture of my tumor,
but in the meantime this is an image i took at nublu in new york
when i was visiting my family last weekend.

forgot how much fun it is
to shoot live music.

her name is karina zeviani,
she played with thievery corporation a couple of weeks ago
and sounded fucking great.
although it might have helped that my bar stool
was all of three feet away from her microphone.

and all of a sudden


getting ready to meet with my surgeon this afternoon,
writing my list of questions to ask him... kind of slowgoing...
question #1 "how much is this going to suck?"
question #2 "how long is this going to suck for?"

this month has flown by,
and as eager as i was for the surgery to arrive,
its two weeks away, and i can't help but feel
like thats suddenly much closer than i thought.

as a follow up to the chemo and radiation therapy,
two days ago i had to go in to get an imaging scan
of my abdomen to see how my insides are looking.
as is standard practice, i had to down two liters
of barium contrast (with a delightful citrus flavor).
it was disgusting, and i'm quite sure if i ever need
to vomit on cue in the future, i'll have plenty of motivation.

still facing the obstacles of blue cross.
writing my appeal to get my surgeon Dr. Beart covered*

feels something like writing a personal statement
to get into a college i know will never accept me.
but maybe if i write something so absolutely brilliant...
right.



*quality costs money.

this was written on the 18th

it wasn't a long day, per se
but its getting late,
and a long pull from a tall bottle of beer
slows my mind enough, that i can discard the to-do lists
what was done and what was forgotten,
and just let myself appreciate the day
for what it was and what it wasn't.

so often i am on the verge of easing,
but the small splinters jab just enough.

is it possible to be organized and together
without being a complete tightass?
working on it.
answers pending



doctors.
assistants.
bureaucracy.
forms.
rules.

body.
health.
mind.
tumor.
blood.
organs.



fuck.
i've never been good at games,
bending when the blurs let them.
and why am i the one that has to keep calling them?
keep pushing them, organizing them, fighting for my health?

this isn't the way it should be.
they should be coming to me,
calling me to remind me, ask me,
help me, fucking fuck them.

i'll fucking do it.
keep me conscious during the surgery,
so i can keep an eye on the fuckers even then.

such.
bullshit.

but why would it be any different?
cancer didn't make me grow wings out of my back,
why would it make the health care system
suddenly efficient and simplistic?


alright.
enough rant.

Friday, October 21, 2005

the first post.


this could be the beginning, or possibly the end.