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Bring it

You may have noticed the rather obvious lack of regular updates until recently. It’s not for lack of things to say. Rather, I became tired of sharing my complaints. Complaints from others are actually giant pet peeves of mine. I don’t have much patience for what I often perceive as someone being a baby. But look at a bunch of posts I’ve written. Harsh negativity. Whining. Darkness. Pain. A big chunk of this blog is heavy, downer material.

I didn’t want to keep adding to the never-ending noise of negativity already present in everyone else’s lives (whether personally or through media outlets). What good does it do?

I can write about things I love; Things I’m grateful for; Things that inspire. But two things stop me from that:

1. If I starting listing all I’m grateful for, it would never end. No, really. It would also be horribly cheesy, and full of sappy clichés. That’s what “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books are for.

2. It’s a matter of having things to spare, and NOT having things to spare.

I’m drained, mentally and physically. I cherish the things I’m grateful for (it really is an endless list). But I can’t share them with you. I can’t afford to. They are mine and I need to be selfish. I will greedily take their nourishment as my fuel, my ammunition. I even silently edited or unpublished previous posts praising my wife and daughter. It’s an attempt to reclaim the memories and moments as my own. A way of placing the treasures back in my safe, close to my chest.

On the flip side, the negativity, pain, frustration, anger, and constant drain of this body’s imperfection are all things I have in excess. They are overbearing, heavy, and at times, seemingly all-consuming. Of this darkness, I have plenty to spare. In fact, my spirit is begging for a release.

I will tell you one thing I am grateful for, though, which might not make sense: I’m grateful for anger. When enough steam builds, I explode, but into words. There is something to expressing the anger that enlivens me. Anger is often my inspiration. My own reminder that I am alive, and kicking. And powerful. That’s something truly wonderful.

What is the benefit of honest negativity?

One quite awesome side effect of writing about darkness is that by reading it, you (yeah, YOU) become part of my healing. I write it, thereby releasing it, and your act of reading is in a way, an acceptance of bearing part of my load. So, thank you, dear reader, for being a receiver of my upcoming wrath.

Also, by being honest with my anger and frustration, maybe another benefit will emerge. A reminder that I am the result of archaic cancer treatments done to me as a child. Treatments that haven’t really changed in over 20 years. Why the hell not?

Why are so many cancer sites inspirational? Why are we okay with being fed clichés and sappy stories? It doesn’t always end pretty. Hell, it sometimes never ends at all. You can’t wrap it up in bow (if you have, you are blessed by fate). Cancer is a bomb, treated with a nuke. Newsflash: it doesn’t end post-cancer. It’s the shit that keeps on plopping.

It’s NOT okay.

Inspirational stories, heartwarming survivor moments, and sugar-filled words of encouragement have their rightful place. But they also mask a reality. I’m here to remind of the wake of destruction this disease can produce. Over and over again. Relentlessly. How are we okay with the state of cancer treatments? Where’s the damn progress? Why are kids (and anyone) still being treated with bags of toxic poison?

Don’t look away. Don’t assume “it gets better.” Face the monster. Look it straight in it’s death-filled eyes. Ignore it, and it will continue destroying lives. Ignore it, and it will never be defeated. So I offer you myself, my pain, my piece of the Dragon. I am the Boy Who Cried Cancer, except I’m not fucking lying.

I am cancer-free yet no where near healthy. And I am but one of many pediatric cancer survivors stuck with post-treatment illnesses. Maybe your own child knows the hell of cancer. How will she or he grow up? Maybe my anger will ignite yours. And maybe that anger will inspire action.

Or maybe you will simply know that you are not alone.

To those kids who have walked through the wasteland of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery… To those souls robbed of innocence far too early… To those making sense of a wrecked body post-treatment… You are me. And we are not alone.

I raise my fist to you, and I will scream for you, as long as I can:


(From the 1976 film, Network)


The show “Louie” premiered it’s fourth season this past Monday, with an episode titled, “Back.” In it, Louie (Louis C.K.) visits a doctor for a consultation on back pain. This is a great depiction of an apathetic doctor, and almost feels like the ultimate answer I received after all the appointments/tests:

Even still, the doctor (Charles Grodin) does drop a grain of wisdom during his half-assed evaluation, when he says,

“Every second spent without back pain is a lucky second. String enough of those lucky seconds together, you have a lucky minute.”

Leave it to Louis C.K. to once again blend that perfect mix of absurdity, tragedy, and truth. Watch “Louie” Monday nights on FX, or: Amazon
// iTunes

Disney: Day 2

Monday, June 21, 2010:

Woke up this morning coughing, but in a good way. The stuff in my lungs had been breaking up in my sleep, and into the morning. I could breathe easier. I also woke up hungry, so I ate a sandwich I never got around to yesterday.

When we got to Disneyland, I told the group to go ahead without me. My wife stayed with me in the parking lot while I took an opportunity to medicate. This was the first time I tried that since yesterday’s cough-fest. Afterward, I put my shades on, got on the chair and entered the Park (actually, we spent the day at California Adventure – Disney’s sister park) with my wife. Within 10 minutes, I began feeling much better.

Yes. Today will be a better day. Let’s get this shit started!

First up was the Aladdin theatre show. I guess they will be removing this show pretty soon, so this was our last chance to see it. I don’t know why management would end the show. It’s really well done, especially considering it’s just one of many other attractions there. Thumbs up.

Next was my choice: Grizzly River Run (the whitewater tube rafting ride). I got drenched! I must have weighed 10 pounds more after the ride. This was especially fun because all six of us could see each others reactions. Good times.

After that was the Maliboomer. This shoots you straight up, then straight down (and up and down a few more times). I went on with my daughter. This was her first time on this “adult” ride (she was too short – and scared – last time we visited). When our seats shot upward, she screamed and never stopped. When we landed back down, she had a giant smile on her face and said she loved it. Seeing your kid giddy with happiness: priceless.

Speaking of rides that shoot you straight up and down, I absolutely LOVE them. The shooting up part isn’t great (makes me feel heavy and compressed) but the falling sensation is abso-friggin-lutely sublime. For those few 1-3 seconds, I feel ZERO back pain. Everything relaxes. It’s like God grabbing my spine and quickly but gently pulling it straight. To not feel gravity’s pull is absolutely freeing.

Then I took my nephew on the Silly Symphony Swings. We both really liked it. Everyone else was like, “Swings? thanks.” How can you not like swings? Oh well.

Next, my kiddo was dying to go on California Screamin’ – a full-on, roaster coaster complete with an upside-down loop and a shooting start. Too many G’s for me on a coaster like that, so I stayed out with my nephew. We waited by the pier to get a good look at our family before the roller coaster cart shot off into the distance.

My wife told me after that our kiddo kept screaming, “What a thrill! What a thrill!” during almost the whole ride. And when they came off the ride and back around to meet us, she said it was the best ride she ever went on. Good for her!

We also went on the Toy Story ride. You sit in a cart, with a gun in front of you and 3D glasses on. Then you move around in the cart, blasting away. Think Duck Hunt in 3D. I liked it. It tapped into my video game geekiness. Also, the 3D effect was really well done, so bonus points for no double vision.

I forget the exact order of the rides we tried but we also went on Tower of Terror. It’s like the Maliboomer (straight up and down) but with a Twilight Zone theme. Another free-falling ride = wondrous.

Oh, something pretty interesting happened when we all went on the Monsters Inc. ride. We were about halfway through the ride, when all of a sudden, the car stopped. Seconds later, the theme music stopped playing. Then came a voice over a PA system saying “Oops, ride’s busted, gotta walk out of here now.” Except in a nice Disney way. We were led out of the ride cars and got a chance to get an up close look at the props and creatures on the ride. We even got to touch one of the monsters fur as we walked past the display. The malfunction was totally worth it to see more of the behind-the-scenes stuff.

To end the night, we went to see the new World Of Color show. And thanks to my ol’ wheelchair, we got a dead-center, almost front-row seat. The show, as you can imagine, is colorful. It’s like the Bellagio fountains, plus lasers, plus constantly color-changing water, plus video projection.

So tonight, I am thankful for the fun day. And for feeling ABLE to have fun. What a cool day/night…