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soccerfreaks's blog

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"Sittin' in the kitchen, just chewin' and a'bitchin', good people and tellin' lies"

(Norman Blake reference)

Corrine, Phil and I hit the Hot 'Lanta night, and found that it is not so hot after, say, 7PM, at least where we were. No cars, no people to speak of, no flashing neon lights, not even the wailing of sirens from police cars or ambulances, just a rather quiet, clean downtown with some tall buildings, a number of eateries but not an inordinate or even satisfactory number within walking distance (not after you've been in The Bottoms in Richmond, VA), generally, in this snippet of the city at any rate, a great credit to the people and to the pols who make it that way.

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"Almost heaven, West Virginia"

(John Denver reference)

I have been talking to my friend Cheryl in the Cancer Survivors Network for six years now. She was there when I entered the chat room for the first time, remembers my high and mighty attitude, wondering why people were laughing, telling jokes, flirting, talking about food, talking about children and grandkids, talking about jobs, and talking about sex, even if most of it was double entrendres, and then more about food, and with this constant undercurrent of humor and friendship.

I was new to the room, new really to cancer, having survived a lengthy surgery, four days of coma, and at the time undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

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"I hurt myself today"

(Johnny Cash reference)

Just as I was posting what I thought was a funny thing about me and my dog, I learned that a dear friend had passed away. In CSN (Cancer Survivor Network) we knew him as Ezekiah or, as I called him, Zeke.

It seems it was only a few days ago that he posted a pic of himself in the hospital, confident that he would be getting out and doing a bit of home care before moving on with his life.

I took him at his word, because he has always been an honest man, sometimes a brutally honest man, but always a kind man.

I remember that early on in our relationship, I called him an SOB, assuming it is of standard usage now and was certainly not meant to offend him. He did take umbrage with it, he DID take it as a severe slight against his mother, and I had to consider that sensitivity and literal understanding of words when we spoke in the future, which we did often once he forgave me :).

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"Walkin', yes indeed, I'm walkin'"

(Fats Domino reference)

Somehow in the midst of turning into an automaton, I found the energy to walk Cody this morning at precisely 9AM. Here is what I did: from three states away I shook his choke chain and presented his leash and he came running, grinning from ear to ear.

(Wendy, choke chains are not cruel. They actually save lives, of both dogs and people they would like to eat. Additionally, they are a very effective crowd control tool, even if the crowd consists of only one golden retriever with an enormous curiousity for dead frogs (I didn't do it!) and the fecal matter of other dogs)).

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"My saddle's in the rain"

(John Prine reference)

When I was a child I would infrequently find myself alone with mom on a weekday. I don't know why. As the oldest of six, I presume I was sick while all of them were off to school (she was never acquitted or even accused of burying her young and as far as I know they are all alive and kicking, some of us more alive and kicking than others, but none of us dirt inspectors while she has, regrettably, become a member of that dreadful occupation).

I bring this up because it is currently raging rain and thunder and lightening and I like it. There are weather scripts floating across the bottom of the television, telling us that this is serious even if they screwed up so that their annoying beepers don't work at the moment, Still, they say, there may be tornadoes anywhere from here to, oh, I don't know...THERE. They wonder why we die, why we don't take them seriously, when this is the best they can do.

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"Gotta feeling I've been here before"

(Steely Dan reference)

I had an appointment with OncoMan yesterday, one I only found out about the day before by calling to ask when I was next scheduled to see him, since I had just had this CT scan of the chest done, the one that would probably determine whether my 'opacity' was permanent or a mere aberration, frankly the one that might determine whether cancer was going to kill me sooner rather than later (or never).

For one of the few times I can remember, especially for one such as is this that might have a significant role in what our future would hold, my wife would not be able to attend, due to the abruptness of notice and work schedule. I did not have a problem with this. The last time we got really bads new, I had to soothe HER on the way home, even if I was the one with as little as ten months to live.

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"Have a cigar, you're gonna go far, you're really gonna fly, you're never gonna die"

(Pink Floyd reference)

CT scan yesterday, a scan of the chest specifically, where they discovered the so-called 'opacity' (smart people talk for solid mass; think 'opaque'; or think 'solid mass').

It's like riding a bicycle, if you hate riding bicycles but are forced to do it every three to six months and even more frequently at times, with the outcome determining, perhaps, whether you are going to live or die and certainly whether you are going to have to get back up on that bike again just as you thought you were getting rid of it forever and for the best of reasons: you didn't need it anymore!

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"To sleep, perchance to dream"

(William Shakespeare reference)

It is nearly 5:30 in the morning here on the east coast as I begin writing this. I have been up all night without the benefit of stimulants. No, I am merely in one of my all too frequent weird sleep cycles. I still get my required seven, eight hours of sleep, largely uninterrupted, but at this moment it is as if I am working the graveyard shift, getting home just in time to doze off at about 8AM.

I thought at one time I knew the reason for this. It began to happen, after all, only after I came home from my original surgery and began my subsequent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I KNEW, for example, that the steroid included with my chemo cocktail was keeping me awake for at least 24 hours, or so it seemed. I KNEW that my wife could wake up expecting to find a house that was virtually sterile in its cleanliness (ok, let's not go that far). I KNEW that while I was in the hospital for those two weeks of glee I was awakened at least every four hours so that my lovely nurses could verify that I was alive, that I had blood, that I had blood pressure, that I had a heart beat, that I had sufficient insulin but not too much, and, most importantly I came to believe, that I was awake.

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"The river runs deep but the water is cold as ice'

(J J Cale reference)

Part One of this is to say that these have beene exciting times. I have a CT scan coming up at the end of next week, and I have blown off a couple of other things until I get the results of this scan, to be honest, for reasons that will be obvious to at least some of you.

It is not a course I recommend, but I have to go my own road and all of that, and if the scan comes back positive, it may be that anything else is moot. We shall see.

In the meantime, as I've mentioned, my wife and I had a great time with another CSN'er and her family. And all along this way, a neighbor lady offered to tend to my yardwork if I would teach her to play the guitar, particularly to play certain peace/love related songs from various religious.

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"There's a speed zone ahead but all right, I don't see a cop in sight"

(Sawyer Brown reference)

The siren and the flashing lights behind us usually cause us to instinctively pull off of the road to the right so that the policeman can get to where he is going, but since I was already in the left-turn lane, and since the police car was immediately behind me, I figured out that I was the obvious object of his immediate affection, or at least attention.

I meant to turn in to the parking lot of the Inn where we, my wife and I, were to meet with a fellow CSN'er and her family for dinner, but in the excitement of the moment, I missed that parking lot by one and pulled into a space one lot over. The police car pulled behind us in such a way that I could not escape without driving my little sports car over the curb, up the grass embankment, over the next curb and onto the street, all without ripping up the underside of my precious little baby or being blindsided by on-coming traffic.


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