Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Perfect Poo

I’m not claiming it was symbolic—so many cancer people search for deeper meaning behind events, while I just see probability and randomness. But, at the time it was difficult to deny that this was a clear sign from God that I would survive the aggressive cancer. Yep, clear as day, like an angel flying down from heaven to relay the message…from the toilet bowl.

I was sixteen, visiting for the first time the hospital that would treat me for the next year. I hadn’t yet learned the value of taking Imodium AD prophylactically which I sometimes do now: before weddings, outdoor day events, and Chinese buffet outings.

I was touring the main floor of the hospital—not the side with nuclear medicine and diagnostic machines and operating rooms—but the side with the auditorium, granitoid tile floors and coffee bar. Mother Nature called, and despite my reticence to let loose in public bathrooms, I didn’t want to have to remain clenched when the doctors detailed my 60-70% chance of surviving.

The facility was very clean and bright. The toilet paper was well-stocked, and not with that gritty, single-ply material that rips through your anus. I was alone with the whole room to myself.

I set down two sets of three squares to avoid contracting crabs (unlikely for all of you who take me seriously). I dropped trow and took my seat. Would it be a positive experience, or one of those gel-like shits I like to call “million-wipers”?

On the contrary, it was one of the cleaner poos of my life, not even requiring a single wipe, though by rule I make three passes at a minimum for insurance purposes. It was a make-my-day shit, or in this case, make-my-year shit.

There would be many more poops to come in this hospital. Poops in plastic measuring containers, in hospital rooms, and in lobbies, including the same lobby as this first poo. There would be hard poops, harder poops, and rock poops. There would be runny poops, liquid poops, and brown water poops. There would be poops that cause me to twitch with pain and others where I nearly blackout from pain.

But after my first perfect poo, all my fears were wiped away as I now knew that nothing could harm me. The next year of my life would be similar to school, only more compelling and with a higher proportion of hot girls (i.e. nurses). I cleansed myself of my body’s waste before the chemo and radiotherapy cleansed me of my disease. It was such a beautiful, natural, and weight-reducing thing. If flushing out my body’s garbage could be this sanitizing, then the drips and pokes and energy waves and pukes—and subsequent shits—could be, as well. And now over ten years later, I see that they were.

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dudes of Cancer: Monsieur September

The Benjy

As the story goes, JD had been harassing his younger brother for days and baby Benjamin quietly accepted it. And then, when no one was looking, he grabbed his biggest, baddest toy, and smashed JD over the noggin with it. That was the day the young sociopath who would later be referred to as “The Benjy” was born.

The Benjy strayed down the opposite path his loving parents had chosen for him. Skipping elementary school during the day, he occupied sleazy neighborhoods slinging crack rock. And in the evenings, he shunned his piano teacher and soccer coach to pimp out mostly young women (and some very old men) in the red-light district of Manassas. When his mom or dad drove to pick him up from his lesson or practice, he threatened potential tattletales with his now infamous symbol—inserting his index finger into his rear end (sexual orientation was a gray area for The Benjy). Urban legend has it that children who were shown the symbol twice were never seen again.

Gender roles were similarly confusing to him, as he passed on neighborhood tackle football games in favor of sewing a sarape—sort of like a Mexican cape. He loved that cape. The Benjy’s favorite middle school outfit was Redskins Zubaz pants and his sarape. You would think this would lead to endless teasing, but his anal symbol continued to terrorize would-be hecklers. The Benjy had a free pass to wear spandex in high school, and just in time, too—he would need his delusional super powers to defeat the bone cancer he was diagnosed with at sixteen.

Some say The Benjy’s disease was karma for all those kids who supposedly vanished in his presence (no proof currently exists). Others say that a nine-year-old simply couldn't have handled that much crack cocaine without eventually developing some kind of tumor. Though his doctors and family pleaded with him to undergo traditional cancer treatment, he declined. Instead, he gave his cancer the finger-in-the-butt, and miraculously, it, too, vanished.

The Benjy then opened up a crystal meth lab at a local Red Roof Inn. His goal was not money or a high. He actually desired a second cancer, in order to test his theory that a finger in the ass is the cure-all—just as some people claim extra virgin olive oil or Windex to be. Sure enough, cancer invaded his bone marrow. He had a second battle on his hands.

The Benjy repeatedly showed his cancer the symbol, over and over and over, to no avail. He was crushed, and nearly lost his faith in his superpowers. He began questioning everything—the law of gravity, the potential of his Redskins, and even the popularity of his Zubaz pants.

The Benjy conquered, as he always has, this time by giving his disease the continuous “finger,” so to speak. He is now disease-free, residing in Arlington,VA. Though still crazy as hell, he has abandoned drugs, pimping, and super heroism, trading his cape for Brooks Brothers dress shirts and ties.

Today, he celebrates exactly nine years of freedom from his first cancer. Next year will mark ten years, an achievement worthy of perhaps an out-of-town trip to Vegas or Huntsville, Alabama, an equally fun destination. If said trip is chosen, The Benjy will begin recruiting trip mates in early 2011.
author Benjamin Rubenstein preparing for friend's wedding

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It was the event of the century…literally. 9-9-9, T2theZ called it: September 9, 2009, 9 innings at a Washington Nationals game, 9 hot dogs, 9 beers. T2theZ transformed the event into a fundraiser with donations going to The ALS Association, a fitting charity considering it is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig's Disease.” I joined his charity team, and as a group we raised over $150.

Long Island's Colony Diner's strawberry shortcake
T2theZ was the only team member to complete the challenge, finishing 9 hot dogs and buns that he provided cheaply, as well as 9 16-ounce beers that Nationals Park provided expensively. I was there more to laugh than participate. Consuming a few days’ worth of calories within three hours isn’t my cup of tea (with the exception of my annual trip to Colony Diner in Long Island, where this strawberry shortcake last week nearly made me poop out my appendix.)

The large beers were equivalent to 12 regular-sized bottles. T2theZ may not remember finishing, but we have proof in the form of expertly-drawn pictures of frankfurters and beers. I couldn’t resist a delicious cinnamon pretzel in the shape of a “W,” which is why a squiggly thingy is drawn under my name to the right of our poster.

This year the hot dog, beer, and baseball gods have one-upped themselves. The Nationals have a home game on September 10, 2010. Thus, our team is back with 9-10-10: 9 innings, 10 hot dogs, 10 beers. T2theZ is determined to show ALS who is boss and finish the challenge. He is also hoping the game features very slow relief pitchers and a lot of runs.

Though you may not agree with the motives behind our charity event, you can still contribute to the cause on my ALS donation page.

I will once again forgo all those dogs and beers, and will root for extra innings.
Raising money for ALS with 9 hot dogs 9 beers and 9 innings

Leia Mais…