Saturday, June 30, 2012

The War Rages: My June Cancer Peep

Robin Roberts

Good Afternoon the Small Fraction of America that Reads “Both Nuts,”

Former SportsCenter and current Good Morning America anchor, Robin Roberts, has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare bone marrow disease that, left untreated, leads to leukemia. She is undergoing a conditioning regimen in preparation for a bone marrow transplant. Survival rates are very low for MDS because it often afflicts the elderly. Robin’s immune system will be wiped clean and remain dangerously weak as she waits for her sister’s donor marrow to graft. In the meantime she will watch for symptoms of rare fungal and bacterial infections including pneumonia, and graft-versus-host-disease, an attack on her body from her new marrow.

I know this because I survived MDS which, like for Robin, was caused by the treatment from my first cancer. I know much more, actually, and if I’m willing to discuss my nuts then I can’t hold back here, no matter the consequences…

Robin interviewed President Obama in May about marriage, but that was a facade for a private Obamacare discussion. President Obama required that the SCOTUS uphold the health care law for reelection. I require the use of the acronym SCOTUS be punishable by a forced Yanni concert. And Robin required fresh publicity with Levi Johnston gearing to break into television and snag her airwaves. Good Morning America has seen enormous ratings gains, but Levi’s speaking talents and charisma make him a risk worth taking.

Robin’s solution was to fake a disease in which only nine living Americans survived, of which only two are literate, of which only one cares enough to dispute. Robin could not have developed MDS because celebrity cancers are treated with the venom from the golden lancehead, one of the rarest snakes. And their venom never fails. I learned this from my coworker FormerBackupUSCQB, who learned through Ryan Zimmerman > George Bush (both) > T. Boone Pickens > Sarah Palin > aliens. Aliens know everything.

The SCOTUS upheld the health care law, Robin secured her GMA spot, which saw a ratings boost from the farce, President Obama continues to have a 50-55% chance of reelection, and I lose. So does Yanni, who could use the extra concert attendees.

I wish Robin the best of luck and I’m here to answer any questions related to her “disease.” Though I can't afford to answer questions about this conspiracy or aliens.
Robin Roberts interviews Barrack Obama at the White House

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


3:45 p.m.: “I have a date tonight, so talk me up when she arrives,” I say to other “models” at the Cure by Design fashion show last Friday.

“I already follow you on Facebook, and I already talk a lot, so I’ll make you sound great,” MamaJ, another model, says.

I continue chatting with some models who I’ve never met and some who I partied with at 2011’s Cure by Design. Ashy and P-Sky were as goofy as last year. The three of us burn the path for [insert famous male model name here because I can’t name one] et al.

5:45 p.m.: I walk with Ashy to meet his wife since guests aren’t allowed to mingle with the models yet, and cocktails don’t start until 6:30. This reminds me to tell my date not to arrive at 6:00, as I previously mentioned. “Let me know if you’re here early and I’ll sneak you in or something,” I text her.

7:00 p.m.: The male models discuss our five-second poses. The other childhood wrestling fan and I suggest we enter as D-Generation X—me as HBK and him HHH—and pose with the “Suck It” gesture. The crowd would love us; the event coordinator not so much.

7:10 p.m.: I decide on my pose, but in order to enact it I’m going to need some juice. The kind that ends with odka.

7:28 p.m.: “Hey, were you still planning to come? I’ll stop telling people I have a date if not,” I text.

7:48 p.m.: Another text: “So I’m walking in 20 minutes. If you don’t want to hang out anymore then I’d be disappointed, but regardless it would be beneficial to know. I’d actually be impressed that you bailed on me for such a big event haha.”

8:06 p.m.: I strut onto the stage in front of the fanatical crowd as “I’m Too Sexy” plays. Despite the blazing lights, I make out a sea of smiles and claps. I slowly walk the runway, smiling, waving, searching. I think I glimpse my date going apeshit for me! Nah, someone else.

I reach the end and prepare to pose. I slide off my jacket and transfer it to my left arm as I reach for my tucked-in polo with my right. I begin lifting my shirt. Halfway up, I let go and make a cutting gesture to the crowd. What a tease. I can’t help but smirk. I shuffle back, grab my rose, and toss it towards a random woman in the crowd.

Date or not, I am a rockstar in this moment, when two-hundred people applaud and scream because I am a cancer survivor, and an author, performer, clothes-wearer, inspirer. They cheer for me.

Modeling Eddie Bauer at American Cancer Society's Cure by Design charity fashion show in Washington, DC
Modeling Eddie Bauer at American Cancer Society's Cure by Design 2012, at the Ronald Reagan  Building & International Trade Center. Photo courtesy of Jason Dixson Photography

My friend, Sec-Z-Bec, wears much jewelry, but never adorns a piece that lacks meaning. I share that sentiment, and besides watches I’ve never worn jewelry. On the last day of our First Descents rock-climbing trip, the survivors were given baci bracelets, from the Laotian culture. It is a belief in Laos that pieces of ourselves get lost, and the baci bracelets bring those pieces back to make us whole again.

Lings needed to feel whole again: four days after our baci ceremony she had her ovaries and appendix removed. Her cancer has returned and she is going back on chemo, this time indefinitely. Lings is the brightest of rockstars.

I didn’t think I needed the baci bracelet because I had never felt more whole. I was healthy, strong, happy, and swelled with superesteem. But, as I am learning, those aren’t the whole of me. I learned on my trip that I should never again feel the need to justify the pieces of myself. I learned something similar last Friday.

This year I’ve met girls at speaking gigs, my First Descents trip and even Cure by Design who seem to appreciate the whole of me. I now understand that some people don’t, which is ok. I cannot will them to appreciate me, nor do I want to. I’m wasting time even dwelling on it. Surely I have neglected to appreciate the whole in others, as well.

As soon as I exited the stage my date texted me an explanation and a deeply sincere apology. I do not resent her regardless of which organic/inorganic me she sees. She helped me find one of my lost pieces. My baci bracelet will eventually fall off, but I will always be open to learning more with one exception: how to be an actual model. I like the Cure by Design method better.

Leia Mais…

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Cupidity

Read this first:
Plenty of Fishies, Only One Benjy

I bungled the economics. First, an analogy: Apple offers more than 700,000 apps in the App Store. Google Play now has over 500,000, but when I first got my smartphone there were less than 100,000 Android apps. Some people may have been swayed by that discrepancy, but since the average subscriber only uses 50 apps, that level of variety doesn’t matter.

OkCupid online dating
The online dating site Plenty of Fish has more users than all other free sites combined, and despite two female friends proclaiming OkCupid better, I was swayed by the 20 million vertebrates. But I can only date one at a time (five at most if I was a machine a la my friend, C-Smoke). I made the switch after realizing OkCupid is overwhelmingly better.

OkCupid also tugged at my sense of efficiency: a small fraction of my messaged cupids replied. This became frustrating and seemed a waste of time. Then I considered the alternative: spending hours and money at a bar without any real interaction, while competing with more noticeable and outgoing males.

However, saying these are “real interactions” is a stretch. I saw this as a surprisingly fun game to get more cupid response. I found research on what kind of message, and profile photo and content, leads to increased responses. Much like so many aspects of life, I had to sell myself. It wasn’t all fake, though: I still refused to relinquish my silliness. Cupids may have found me odd but I recently stopped caring what others think, a path illustrated years ago by my careless friend, Zeke. In fact, my sarcasm led one cupid to call me “a moron and rude,” after which I explained that I had just made a joke related to her job description, and meant no disrespect. She apologized, assuming I was another creeper she often received inquiries from. I must be the least creepy of the creepy bunch.

American Cancer Society Cure by Design in Washington, DCOnce consistent conversation or a personal meeting ensued, all fakeness ended. I figured my personality—or at least my Vietnamese custom-fit dress shirts—was the best salesman I had. It worked enough to land a date for tomorrow night’s Cure by Design charity fashion show, an American Cancer Society event, where I will be a “model.” That reminds me to apologize for not offering that date via this blog, as I had previously suggested. I know some elderlies were dying to go.

I had mentioned this event to my cupid before specifying, “So, the models are all survivors…”

“…Oh,” she said, in the precise inflection I expected. But she was not dissuaded. I would have been disappointed if she had been, but not upset because, as I learned rock-climbing weeks ago, I will never feel the need to justify myself again. Some others won’t accept parts of me, which I accept.

Last year’s Cure by Design was a blast, and tomorrow’s promises to be cupidly so. I really hope my cupid agrees, but if not, then back to the fishless sea I shall go.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hippy or Hipster, Just Not Hippie

Two weeks ago I returned from a rock-climbing trip in Moab, Utah, paid-for through the organization First Descents. My group consisted of 15 cancer survivors, 4 expert climbing instructors and freelancer Jayme Moye who is writing an upcoming story about our trip.

Eight people also volunteered to nurse our wounds, cook nutritious food, and manage the program. Although they repeatedly thanked us for sharing our stories and making their lives more rewarding, their contribution made our trip possible. So thank you, Rainier, Wacky and Criquette of Wacky Warriors, Doogie, Larry, Daryl, Googley, and Scooter.

These odd nicknames were a component of our trip. My nickname was Hippy, and I wrote a story about this alter ego on the First Descents blog. I may have spent more time on this story than any other, laboring over every word and notion, and I am pleased to share it with you:

Some participants hoped for—and found—a sense of comfort among a group of similar people. Maybe I'm wrong but I sensed that for some, like KMac, the trip was life-changing. It was moving to see my new friends transformed in such a short time.

I had beaten the shyness out of myself recently, so outgoingness wasn't a concern. Actually, I began the trip expecting only an adventure. I ended up finding much more, of which the deep conclusions I'll make you read in my story published on First Descents' blog. Here I'll stick with pretty girls: I found a proximity to several of them, an historically uncommon scenario. Whether this is a function of my increased charm or the trip's girl-to-guy ratio of 2:1, I'll know soon enough (hint: stay tuned for upcoming story My Cupidity, unless my four-month-old superesteem nosedives below the threshold I'm willing to disclose).

This was one of the best experiences of my life, and I plan to make it annual, which First Descents makes possible in return for participants raising money through challenges. To all survivors reading this, I demand that you consider a First Descents trip.

Rock on!

Arches National Park in Moab, Utah
Me with my desert ladies at Arches National Park
Climbing "Wall Street" in Moab, Utah
About to climb "the crack"
Climbing "Wall Street" in Moab, Utah
Maneuvering through "the crack"
Arches National Park in Moab, Utah
"Hippy" and "Lil Wayne"
First Descents rental lodge in Moab, Utah, for rock-climbing trip
Our lodge, wedged between mountains and red desert
Rappeling down 150 foot drop in Moab, Utah
Descending a 150-foot free rappel, wearing my turkey hat, earned for being rad
Climbing "Wall Street" in Moab, Utah
My arch nemesis of a move. If only I had Lil Wayne's height.
Rappeling in Moab, Utah
Rappeling like a champ
Sunset in Moab, Utah
An unforgettable trip

Leia Mais…

Monday, June 4, 2012

Podcastin' and Low-Carbin'

I had the pleasure of being a guest on The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore. We touched on subjects from cancer to almond butter. Did you actually expect me to stay on-topic for thirty minutes? Jimmy is the man, with a much better headset and voice than me. I'm better at eating gummy worms (only during my Cheat Lunches). We are even. Gummy worms rule.

You can listen below or from his site linked above, which has other great content, though unfortunately nothing elsewhere about gummy worms.

Leia Mais…