Birthday – Version 2.0

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 – 3:06 am

(Note: Several more posts appear to be missing here)

Okay. If you’re all going to be like that, I’ll just let you all in on my DIABOLICAL SCHEME! I’m planning an Unbirthday Party, oh yes, a spectacular party that will be…spectacular!

You will all be invited – of course – friends, family and co-workers. The trouble is the Where and When. As for the When; I was thinking of having something on October the 29th, the weekend before I intend to go back to work. I may want to bump that date up depending on how I’m feeling, but the doctor keeps shaking her head whenever I tell her that I’m going back sooner than she wants me to.

(And if anyone has any ideas as to the WHERE portion of this little soirée, that would be fantastic. We could all meet at a restaurant and hit a bar later, or we could rent a small hall and cater the event for about the same money. Is $25-30 too much for some hors-d’oevres and some wine? I don’t…cater…so many functions…)

Mood: PAR-TEE!…..?

Wing Night

Tuesday, September 14, 2004 – 6:13 pm

I’m reviving Wing Night next Tuesday, the 21st. Meet at Hooters downtown around 6pm for All-You-Can-Eat Wings for $9.99! Let me know if you’re coming by phone, e-mail, or IM. I’m kinda hoping a large number of people show up, because we haven’t done this since Darryl moved away. There’s usually lots of room so feel free to invite other people.

Mood: WINGS!

[I](You) think I am not as [bad](good) as [you](I) think I am

– 11:16 pm

As we venture around the bend of Day 160 (has it really been 5 and a half months?) we have reached the Home Stretch as far as my treatment is concerned. I’ve completed my chemotherapy regimen (the joy) and yesterday was my final CT scan before the Verdict is read on whether or not the past 6 months have done any good or not. While I hold my breath for the results of that scan, I can spend the next two weeks enjoying the fact that I won’t have to be injected with any more orange poisons – and here’s to hoping that the next two weeks’ solace becomes a permanent state of affairs for me.

Recently I’ve been forced to do some serious soul-searching and reflecting upon the last half-year. I’ve always considered myself a strong person, both in mind and body. Even in tough times, I’ve been able to make my own decisions and live my own consequences – confident that I am the one in control of my own destiny at all times. Lately this has been called into question – that because of my condition I am not in control and I am not able to fend for myself. I not only find this offensive, but I find this a true stab at who I am as a person and where I stand in the world.

When people think of cancer, the most common image they seem to draw forth is that of the enfeebled senior citizen – wasting away in a hospital bed, chained to machines that are their only link to this plain of existence. Cancer comes across as a death sentence – something that has no other result than the sweet embrace of Death after a long and hard – but ultimately futile – struggle for life. This image seems to have been adapted to me by some people that I honestly felt knew me better than that.

Let’s get two things perfectly clear: I have never – never – felt worse in my life than when I was strapped to the rickety peach-coloured chairs of the chemotherapy unit. But make absolutely no mistake – I have also never felt like I was not able to make my own decisions. At no point have I lost sense of who I am or how I want to live out whatever remainder of my life I have left on this earth. The mere thought that anyone would suggest that I need others to make decisions for me because the cancer was affecting my logic somehow is completely ridiculous and purely out of my range of capabilities as a human being.

I think the problem here is that people are letting their perceptions of Cancer get ahead of their perceptions of me as a confident, strong-willed, existential person. I am not enfeebled. I am not weak. Cancer or not – I am the only person in control of my decisions and my life. If I didn’t like the state of affairs, I’d make the appropriate changes. Anyone who thinks I am not the same person I was a year ago has got some serious back-peddling to do.

So the next person who feels the need to step in “in my best interest” had better sit back and try to remember that – cancer or not – I am the same strong person I always was and always will be. And if anyone has any suggestions for what I should do with my life would they please write them down on a piece of paper, place them in the toilet, and take a big fat crap all over them – because that’s basically what I do with most things people tell me to do. What can I say, I’m also stubborn.

Mood: Cool, Calm, and Collected.

Getting Off…My Meds

Sunday, September 19, 2004 – 1:11 am

For the past week, I haven’t swallowed any pills. As part of my mental “recovery” I’ve basically decided to stop living the life of a cancer patient. The problem is, my body’s not quite ready to give up this lifestyle so easily. I’ve become dependent on at least two of my medications for normal daily operations, at least as far as I can tell.

I guess I’m just sick of being sick, but I’m going to ride this out for another couple of weeks before I really start getting impatient. I’m kind of just waiting for my body to realise it has certain responsibilities to fulfill – like digestion – that I would rather enjoy being able to do properly again.

Of course, we still have to take into consideration that I’m still within my “chemo period” until next Friday. It’s amazing that I only have one more week to go before I might start feeling better. I can only hope that my doctor’s prediction of “three to six months” before I feel “normal” again were wrong. (She’s only got 8 years of education and a decade of experience with cancer patients…what does she know?)

Mood: Ig-nant

Star Wars Trilogy Limited Super-Special Edition Redux Version 2K4

– 1:36 am

For all of you who are Star Wars fans, I’d like to point out that the Almighty George Lucas has once again dug up the corpses of Episodes 4, 5 and 6 and given them a right-good fucking with. That man just doesn’t know when to leave something that’s complete ALONE. For those that are buying the new DVD Trilogy on Tuesday, watch for the following new…”alterations”:

  1. The original Emperor in Episode 5 has been replaced with the “real” Emperor from Episodes 1, 2 and 6. Originally the actor didn’t look anything like the actor from Return of the Jedi. I’ll give Lucas this one, because it always kind of bothered me.
  2. Boba Fett now has an Aussie accent, just like his father from Episode 2! This one is just OBSCENE…but Go Continuity.
  3. The red lightsaber that Darth Vader wields now has the same “evil” whooshing sound that Darth Maul and Darth Siddius have on their lightsabers. It’s very subtle, but when their lightsabers power up, it’s a different sound than the “good” colour lightsabers. Is this really necessary?
  4. Probably the most obvious (and I think the worst) alteration is at the very end of Return of the Jedi. Luke looks over during the end “party” scene to see Obi-Wan, Yoda, and his father as ghosts looking on. For SOME reason (I argue insanity) Lucas has replaced the original actor who played Anakin Skywalker with HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN. WHY, GOD…I mean…LUCAS…WHY!!!?? It just doesn’t make any sense.

I predict for the next round of revisions, the puppet Yoda will disappear and be replaced by the Digital Yoda. Oh, and the actor that played the original Anakin will be digitally edited to be Hayden Christensen. I pity the original actor and his shrinking royalty cheques. And when they can resurrect Alec Guinness from his grave, they’ll re-do the dialogue where Obi-Wan says he was Yoda’s apprentice (Because we now know that he was Qui-Gon’s).

Mood: Biggest. Geek. Ever.


Monday, September 20, 2004 – 10:17 pm

There are three really amazing shows coming to Ottawa over the next couple of weeks; all of which I’m hoping to attend. If you’re interested, let me know:

Howie Beck – Thursday, September 23rd. Zaphod’s. $10 at the door. 8pm
Julie Doiron – Saturday, September 25th. Zaphod’s. $10 at the door. 8pm
Tegan & Sara – Tuesday, September 28th. Barrymore’s. Advance tickets at Ticketmaster. Also at Record Runner.

Mood: Entertained!

Official Birthday Party Announcement!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004 – 5:36 pm

OKAY I have the perfect vehicle for my Re-Birthday/I-Have-No-Cancer Party: The Department of Foreign Affairs CD Release Party!

So make your plans for Saturday, October 23rd at Babylon (Bank St. at MacLaren, next to Barrymore’s). Not only do you get to see a kick-ass band release their no-doubt awesome sophmore album, but you get to celebrate what will no doubt be the highlight of my year!

Department of Foreign Affairs Website

Mood: Celebratory

7th Inning Stretch

Friday, September 24, 2004 – 1:31 am

Today – Day 170 – is officially the LAST day of my chemotherapy. It will mark the last day in the three week “cycle” of my eighth and final treatment. Were there a ninth cycle, today would involve another fun trip to the ORCC. Luckily (luckily?) the maximum number of cycles they can give a person is eight, so I’m going to spend tomorrow doing non-IV-related things like grocery shopping and paying bills.

I’m at the mercy of the CT Scan results at this point. 5 more days remain until I find out if I’m a normal non-cancerous person or not…and it’s no wonder I’m not sleeping. All I can do is try to distract myself and start trying to plan my return to work. I’m more anxious than I think I was even when I was first getting into this business of being ill. Back then it was a simple matter of getting diagnosed, and if I did turn out to be sick then off I go for treatment. There was an obvious process of events there.

What happens now? What’s the process after chemo? Assuming that I am in fact in remission, do I just go on my merry way? Just a simple goodbye to the doctors and that’s it? Congratulations, I hope I never see you again EVER?

And what if it’s not gone? …

(Hey, you’re all thinking it. I just thought it out loud.)

Mood: Anxious (ya think?)

Drumroll, please…

Wednesday, September 29, 2004 – 12:45 pm

T-Minus 8 Hours until we find out the results of my CT scan from two and a half weeks ago. I think sleep is out of the question. It’s almost like the night before Christmas, except I’m not sure if Santa’s going to bring me a new pair of rollerskates or a big dose of RADIATION. Ho ho ho…

Everyone has pretty much assumed that the news is going to be 100% Jesus-approved goodness. I’m trying to remain as positive as possible, but at the same time I have to come to terms with the reality that I’m not exactly afflicted with a stubbed toe. The documentary on Terry Fox didn’t help…

I will say this. Assuming I have beaten this, I’m not going to give up on the “fight”, and I don’t expect anybody who knows me to, either. I may have beaten cancer (See? I can be positive too!) but there are people who won’t and even more people who haven’t begun their battle that will need help. If 1,300 students from St.Matt’s High School in Orleans can raise $108,000 for the ORCC, I think the rest of us can do just as good or better.

Now if I can just be an EX-cancer patient….

Mood: Wishful

The Rabbit Hole Deepens

– 3:54 pm

Okay. So I guess I’m legally obligated to say that I didn’t get Bad News today. However, it wasn’t the news I wanted to hear. I wanted her to tell me that my scan was clear and to have a good life. But she didn’t tell me to start picking out a headstone, either. I’m somewhere in between Good and Bad news in the big fat grey area known as “Precautionary Measures”, as illustrated in this handy dandy chart below:

(chart missing)

Basically, there’s still a mass in my chest. It could just be scar tissue, but it could be cancer, they just don’t know. My doctor doesn’t THINK it’s cancer, but just to be sure I get – you guess it – more treatment! I will be enjoying the pleasure that can only be had by having my chest irradiated every day for the next two to four weeks. The burning sensation means God loves me.

Needless to say all “celebration” plans are officially off. I won’t have much to celebrate come the 23rd of October, except maybe the fact that the radiation unit isn’t open on Saturdays. Sorry to ruin everyone’s day. I’m getting really good at that. Hopefully someday I’ll make it up to you, and not just by being a good excuse to buy a new black suit.

Mood: Just guess. Seriously. Guess.