Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Rug

Meet Link, the ferocious dog of my friend, Formula-6.
Fluffy white office dogLink stays in Formula-6's office during the day. The women who come in for appointments go ape shit over this dog. They talk to Link like they would talk to a baby human, which I've always found odd. "How's my little Linky Linkster doing today? Taking a nap, huh? I bet you're glad I just woke you so I could talk like this! Yes you are you tiny little white-haired cutey pie!"

I wish Link would bite them. If it was socially acceptable and Formula-6 allowed me to, I would bite them.

Link's hair got very tangled, so Formula-6 took Link to get a buzz cut. Except for on his ears and tail, all of his hair was trimmed, including above his eyes. Link was ecstatic when he first felt the peculiar sensation known as sight.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Birthday of Sorts

I remember what my adolescent brain understood on my first visit to my soon-to-be cancer hospital, and the rest is a blur. The main floor was enormous. It had an auditorium, a coffee bar, countless waiting rooms and at least three sets of elevators. The floor was granite tile.

Then there was the other half of the main floor with standard hospital flooring and countless corridors where the sick people came and went. I stayed in the former half.

The strange thing is this: of all the things I could remember, my clearest memories involved me pooping. Pooping is a constant, an action we must perform forever, which makes it easy to understand. If it was a clean poop then it must’ve been a good experience. If I ate Long John Silver’s and it was messy, then that might mean I needed to find a different hospital. Our minds like to find neat causes and effects, and though the quality of the poop and the quality of the hospital may be completely unrelated, I didn’t perceive it that way.

Fortunately, the facility was sparkling with more granite tiles, relative privacy, and the excrement itself was well-bound. It was the perfect start to my relationship with my hospital.

Dr. Dunks took me and my parents to the blood bank and said I’d need transfusions. He told me what side effects to expect from chemotherapy. But I can barely remember, because I didn’t understand. Maybe if he had told me in the john I could’ve produced a transcript.

It wouldn’t be long until I became familiar with both halves of the main floor and many more restrooms. Within weeks I would be able to walk from the parking garage to the pediatric cancer clinic, from the pediatric hospital wing to X-rays, with my eyes closed. I would learn the fastest route from nuclear medicine to cardiac imaging.

Seven years ago today, after too many poops in too many public restrooms, I became cancer-free. I have two of these “born free” days—September 14 and April 24—which are about half a year apart, and are two too many, or maybe just right. These days and years are piling up, and I’m now at the point when I must double-check how long it has actually been. I do this by subtracting 2001 (or 2003) from the current year, leaving me my years of freedom. It has come down to subtraction, just as I subtracted my cycles of chemo that I finished from the total I would receive. As much as things change—like my old hospital has been replaced by a newly constructed one—things stay the same.

I’m not used to the kind of long-term great health like I’ve had over the last couple years. It’s another new beginning for me, another freedom. It’s no longer necessary to count down to my next cancer anniversary. Now I can count up and take pride in being a seven-year cancer survivor, or even better, not worry about counting at all until it’s time to celebrate my next one.

Maybe I should count down to 100 years as a cancer survivor. I can live to 117 years old, right? Seven down. Ninety-three left.

Leia Mais…

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From Sydney to Beijing

American track stars were on the TV, but I didn’t watch. The 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney symbolized the end of summer and the peak of human performance. The best summer of my life was ending catastrophically and I was in a waiting room about to get a CAT scan of my lungs to determine, effectively, if I would live or die. I didn’t care that Maurice Greene and Michael Johnson were about to win gold medals. I just wanted my enormous dose of Valium to make it all go away before the needle biopsy I was also about to receive.

I always enjoyed watching the Olympics as a kid. I took pride in the accomplishments of the American athletes. I rooted against the “bad guys.” I went berserk when Michael Johnson won the 200 and 400 meter sprints in his gold Nike shoes. I mimicked Jordan on my indoor basketball hoop when the Dream Team crushed everyone. My heart sank when the Jamaicans carried their bobsled across the finish line. Wait. That was Cool Runnings.

After Sydney, my aversion to the Olympics didn’t last long. I saw more of the 2002 Winter Olympics in St. Lake City than anyone should have. With all-day coverage on NBC’s numerous channels, how could I resist? Ironically, it was a new illness that got me back into it.

This past Olympics in Beijing was fantastic; the best produced we’ll likely ever see considering how many resources the Chinese government poured into it. The Georgia Dome doesn’t compare to the Bird’s Nest or the Water Cube.Beijing Olympics Bird's NestBeijing Olympics Water Cube
My favorite event to watch was swimming, of all sports. I wish I looked like 41-year-old Dara Torres, minus the female reproductive organs.Ripped swimmer Dara Torres
I got into female gymnastics, which is only slightly less weird than liking figure skating. I thought many of the girls were hot until I saw that they were 18, or 17, or my God, 16! I’m just glad I didn’t feel the same way about China’s trolls. I felt much less weird being attracted to poor, sweet, 20-year-old Alicia Sacramone who fucked up in the team all-around competition.Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone
China will likely dominate every Olympics in the future, taking much of the fun out of it. Some would say the same for the United States in the past, but hey, we’re the “good guys.”

Leia Mais…

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ode to College Football

The Virginia Cavalier football team lost last week
I was there
They played maybe the best team in the country, USC
So I didn't care

I expected them to lose by 40 points
Keeping it to within 20 would've been a moral victory
They lost by 45
This may be the worst UVA team in history

Maybe I'm speaking too soon
I like the quarterback, who looks like a boy
I like the runningbacks, too
If Hamburgers and I suited up then we'd destroy

We'd still need to put on 100 pounds
And drop about 15 seconds in the 40-yard dash
And be able to bench press a bear
But that's neither here nor there

The Virginia Tech Hokies also lost last week
To a solid ECU team
They had less than 250 yards of total offense
Not a good performance

My brother was a Hokie, I used to love Tech
Michael Vick was spectacular to watch
An amazing athlete and oh so cool
He brought recognition and glory to his entire school

Then Tech joined the ACC and immediately won the conference title
The next year they crushed UVA in Charlottesville, I was there
And the fans gloat and talk Ohio State-caliber shit
Now I despise them as much as Vick hates Pits

Tech's quarterback, Glennon, isn't very good
They expect the backup, Tyrod Taylor, to be the savior
News flash: he has terrible accuracy, can't get the ball to his peers
Prediction: Tech will be on a downturn for the next three years

The Southeastern Conference is too strong for its own good
The teams will clobber each other and will all lose at least once
USC will beat Oklahoma in the National Championship
Unless Hamburgers and I had played the whole season, Coach Groh is such a dunce

Leia Mais…