Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Miss My Bike

Weather here is supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny today. Days like this would be great to bring the bike to work and go for a ride at lunch. I suppose I'll settle for a walk. I miss my bike.

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Own Little Victory

The question of which Pennsylvanian has it worse, me or Ben Roethlisberger, has been raised. Here is my analysis.

Ben: Riding his motorcycle in June when he T-boned a car and crushed his jaw.
Me: Riding my bicycle in August when I was hit and run by a pickup truck, scraping the entire left side of my body in road rash.
Loser: Ben Roethlisberger

Ben: Diagnosed with acute appendicitis; emergency operation to remove the appendix.
Me: Diagnosed with testicular cancer; emergency operation to remove “Lefty”
Loser: I think we can all agree this one is Me

Ben: Concussion knocks him out of commission, still shaky on his return; throws four interceptions and loses AGAINST THE RAIDERS
Me: Bronchitis knocks me out of commission, but I work from home and still manage to close a deal
Loser: Ben Roethlisberger

Ben: Backup comes in and performs admirably; people begin calling for Charlie Batch (!) to replace him
Me: As long as I’m closing, I’m golden
Loser: Ben Roethlisberger

How about that! In the final analysis, as bad as I had it, I am not even the worst-off person in Pennsylvania. How refreshing, that my life is better than last year’s Super Bowl Champion quarterback.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It is finished...

I finished my radiation this week! I actually feel pretty good...check that...REALLY good (which is to say, normal). After the radiation was over, my body spent a couple days purging it. I was still very nauseous and had some "intestinal issues", but all in all, the transition has been easy. Also, I noticed the front of my abdomen didn't have any signs of radiation, but my back got a little burned.

Next Steps
Now I begin ten years of tests and follow up. Most protocols seem to indicate five years as a massive indincator of success, but people who work with testicular cancer say ten years is the REAL cutoff for total success. Either way, I'm just glad to be through with radiation.

Welcome to the Club
I had lunch, which I set up via networking and a cold call, with a prospective client. I had never seen him before, and when I met him, I saw he had lost the use of one side of his face. He sat down and explained he had cancer, and they had to take out the muscle controlling the side of his face because it had cancer in it.
"Yeah, I have cancer, too."
I felt bonded to him. We talked about our respective cancers for a while, and then moved on to business, but it was always there. We concluded by wishing each other well with continued recovery and good health.

I remember when I was looking for help when I first got diagnosed, and I turned to a very health conscious person who had cancer for his advice. Before he told me what I wanted to know, he started out with: "It sucks. But, welcome to the club."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Be Still....

I went to my General Practitioner yesterday. He did a couple of basic tests, asked me some questions and told me I had bronchitis. Basically, it means I have to take it easy for a couple of days, get lots of rest, and drink lots of fluids. As a Fish, the last one is easy, but the other two are a little harder. Still, after spending the entire weekend in bed, I figured a couple more days would do no harm. I have now watched more television in the last four days than I have since college.

I've also been reading, and am just starting Snow by Orhan Pahmuk. While I've just begun, I must confess I really like his style of writing. My friend Susan gave me a book after the surgery called Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs, which has inspirational poems from the dawn of man through the twentieth century. I turn to it in times like this, just opening it to see what's in there. Today, I found this poem by Emily Bronte, the last words she ever wrote:
Last Lines

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven's glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear

0 God within my breast
Almighty ever-present Deity
Life, that in me hast rest
As I Undying Life, have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts, unutterably vain,
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thy infinity
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality

With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears

Though Earth and moon were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And thou wert left alone
Every Existence would exist in thee

There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.

I read something the other day (again, I had the time) from a book my friend Bill sent me (Cancer: Fifty Essential Things You Must Do by Greg Anderson)[Note: If you know someone diagnosed with cancer, I recommend getting them this book first. It is filled with practical advice, profound help, and incredible stories of healing and hope]. It said I must choose to live a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't necessarily mean I will be healthy all the time, but that I have the power to make choices that positively affect my health, every day, often from moment to moment. He also asked me yesterday about my "genie", the dark force that creeps out when you're not looking, not paying attention or just can't keep bottled up any longer. Actually, I've been keeping it at bay very well; between prayer, meditation and just learning to be okay with being still (the hardestof the three, I assure you). When the genie comes out, instead of shoving it back in, I acknowledge it, address it, and send it away with force. It holds no sway, because I choose not to give it power over me.

All things considered, my friends, in spite of the adversity slung my way, I am still doing quite well. I have also dipped into Job, and while his burdens were much greater than mine (can't even imagine!) I am getting an understanding of his character. Thanks, as always, for your thoughts and concerns, but rest assured, this too, shall pass.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I think the radiation and the bike accident have simply worn me out. I got sick on Friday and have been pretty much in bed all weekend. It totally sucks, but what are oyu going to do. Off to rest....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Video of My Trip to California

It was all just a big misunderstanding, but I'm glad I lived to POST THIS VIDEO.

Slow and Steady...

...wins the race. I'm wrapping up my first full week of radiation treatments today. I am tired, and somewhat nauseous, but otherwise okay. I leave work, get treated go home and take a nap for about half-an-hour to forty-five minutes.

I am eating normally for breakfast and lunch, and midmorning and midafternoon snacks. Dinner hasn't been great for me, but I'm still trying to get something in at night. Had pizza last night because I had a craving for salt. It really hit the spot. I have lost about 13 pounds since the whole ordeal began, and am now at 190, which isn't bad (I'm 6 feet, so I'm almost at my fighting weight...Bernard Hopkins, BEWARE!). I'm not going to recommend this as a way to lose weight, but it has to be better than starving yourself to death(check out the woman on the magazine cover...UNCONSCIONABLE, as Cassandra and Lou pointed out!).

Everything is healing from the bike crash. The road rash has all but disappeared, exept for three holes where I must have hit rocks when I landed. They left two holes in my forearm and one on my thigh. I'm still stiff in my left calf, and there is bruising all up and down my left side (doesn't hurt, though...or perhaps it's just relative), but otherwise I am good. Took my bike to the shop, and while he couldn't declare it totalled, he did say the damage would adversely affect the handling of the bike, and that it was not repairable. We shall see how that goes with insurance...

I still have another week and a half to go with the radiation, but the end is in sight. Thanks again for your thoughts, well-wishes, phone calls, e-mails, PMs, and especially prayers. They are very much appreciated.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Maybe I was Misleading You...

Yesterday I posted this picture of a linear accelerator.

My friend Eric wanted to know if mine looked like this...If I was able to request other pictures...if I got to play Nintendo? The truth is: NO. Mine sits in the back of a dimly lit room, with no picture on the ceiling, no brightly lit machine. Mine isn't even new and shiny like this one. It's more like this artist's rendition, showing how one is rotated through different angles:

Okay, maybe it's not that bad...but it's not like the first picture, either...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I went to Dr. Kottapally and got my measurements for the radiation. It’s kind of funny because I was expecting something high-tech and he took a CT Scan and then whipped out a Sharpie and drew the pattern on my abdomen. Basically, it’s a rectangle, about 4 inches across and 8 inches long, from the base of my sternum to just below my belly button.

I started the radiation treatments last Wednesday through Friday. It’s a fairly easy process. I showed up and Stephanie, the office’s cheerful receptionist, checked me in. I went in and met Tracy, Mark and Jeff, who introduced themselves as the technicians who will be responsible for my care.

I dropped trou and laid down on the table on my back. They covered Righty with a lead shield to keep him from harm and adjusted me so I was aligned with the target field for the linear accelerator.

I’m fairly certain they put the shield in the freezer about an hour before I got there. Nice… Then they left the room, zapped me from above, the machine spun on its axis and zapped me from the bottom (I call it "radz to da abz"; my wife called it "radz to da nadz"). It all takes about fifteen to twenty minutes and then I am on my way.

I felt pretty awful by the time Friday rolled around, as the effect of the radiation is cumulative. I didn’t feel much like eating, and I was really tired. Other than that, though, it was all right.

The Funny-Profound
One of the things I have been trying to do is to keep the whole thing from my eight-year-old daughter. We recently lost a neighbor to cancer, and I'm afraid the word “cancer” alone would be too difficult for her. When I got home, I took my shirt off without thinking, and she walked in and saw the marks Dr. Kottapally had drawn, including a cross right in the middle of my abdomen. I froze, but she just looked and said, “Huh! Holy Spirit” and pointed to the cross on my belly.
“That’s right” I said, confident she had the correct answer.

I had a cavity, my first one in probably about 25 years. But of course I did. Normally, this would piss me off to no end, but now it’s just a cavity, one more thing to deal with.

My wife and daughter had perfect checkups, so that’s a great sign. Go GIRLS!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Life Catches Up...

I've been swamped lately, but more soon.

"Thank you Lord for thinkin' 'bout me
I'm alive and doin' fine."

--Five Man Electrical Band

Monday, October 02, 2006


I slept, finally, this weekend. An amazing ten hours on Friday, eight hours on Saturday and seven hours last night. It has made a world of difference. I feel clearer, lighter.