Here We Go Again

Steven just had his yearly CAT scan.  Just as an FYI, they (and I don’t mean the Betty Crocker “they”) have come up with a new style of CAT juice.  He used to have to mix a nasty looking bottle of white barium shoe polish-like substance with a bath tub full of water and drink the whole thing.  Needless to say, he was ever so excited to come home with a small 7-11 beverage style bottle labeled ‘Banana Smoothie’.   Sadly, Banana Smoothie barium still makes him skrinch up his face like both of the dogs just farted.  Nevertheless, he choked it down and went to the CAT scan after cramming for the test the night before.  Unfortunately, cramming is no better for CAT scans than it is for college exams.  Either you’ve got it or you don’t.  The difference is that in college you want it, in CAT scans, you don’t. 

The outcome was implied when the lab wouldn’t release Steven’s results to him.  Good news is always disseminated quickly.  Bad news is delivered by the doc.  Too bad that once you’ve learned the ropes in the cancer game, the inability to pick up test results is a super big red flag that some kind of suck-y stuff is about to ensue!

Steven’s oncologist is out of town for 2 more weeks.  He goes to Haiti every year for a month to help patients there.  Like he’s not racking enough brownie points in heaven for saving lives here…no, he’s got to volunteer, thus sucking up further by saving the underprivileged, too!  I’d be impressed if it didn’t make me look so bad for giving the finger durning rush hour to the old lady who stopped before the light even turned red!  I really have to work on that patience, understanding and compassion crap.  I’m just so busy…

Anyway, back at the ranch, the understudy doc gave Steven the head’s up that he’s got some cancer in the lymph nodes of his groin, neck and arm pit.  We’re not supposed to worry. They are “Like grapes”, said the doc.  Why do medical professionals always want to put a stink on fruit?  I love fruit.  I used to love grapes.  Now I’m going to think of them in Steven’s armpit.  I can barely choke down grapefruit any more, because that’s what the first tumor was…in his groin.  Even grapefruit juice tastes a little gamey to me now…in a citrusy-groiny kind of way.

But I digress.  What I’m feeling today is surprisingly…nothing.  I had a few minutes yesterday when Steven first called, where I got that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach, and tunnel vision like I was going to pass out, and that hot adrenaline rush that you get when you hear footsteps behind you on a dark deserted street.  And then it was gone.   

I’m beginning to think that the cancer-go-round is a ride that just like any carnival carousel.  The sights are familiar after a while because you just keep passing the same things.   You might as well make the best of the ride, because it doesn’t stop just because you feel a little nasous. 

Immediately that familiar wisdom kicked in and we remembered that you have take it in stride and not waste energy on stupid stuff.   Already I see a difference in us.  As much as we think we learned not to sweat the small stuff in life, we both fell back into those old habits.  And yesterday we both got those back of the head smacks that Gibbs usually aims at DiNozzo.  We’re starting to get our Zen back.

Not sure what’s going to happen next, but I know right now we’re enjoying the calm.  How weird is that?


We’ll Miss You, Steve Jobs

MacWriter-APPLEphotoI write my blog on my MacBook Pro.  Steven does his digital photography work on his iMac.  We call each other on our iPhones.  We also keep our calendars, contacts, shopping lists, banking, shopping, traveling, questioning and e-mailing on those iPhones.  When Steven had to sit through hours of chemo, he tried to relax and stay positive listening to iTunes on his iPod shuffle.  And, all of the backup files of our lives are on some iMagic storage solution that saves everything in Apple’s secret cyberspace world.  I can’t remember what it’s called, but I’m sure it’s something catchy like iSavedYou or MacBackup.  It doesn’t matter what it’s called, though.  The point is that we took a bite of the Apple and joined the cult years ago.  Today we are sad.

It’s another crappy example of how unfair cancer is to everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor; if you contribute huge advances to society or are just a boil on the butt of mankind.  Cancer doesn’t discriminate or cut any slack.  It’s a seemingly random sniper picking off unsuspecting and undeserving targets.

Being the pioneer and problem solver we knew Steve Jobs to be, I’m just hoping that we’ll find that he used his great ingenuity and insight, coupled his considerable wealth, to build a major firewall in cancer’s hard drive.  I hope we find that there is some top secret prototype iDrug in progress that will change the world.  It would be great to have a drop list that commands ‘Quit Cancer’ – that possibility helps me from getting too sad so I’m going to focus on that.

I wonder if Steve Jobs’ heaven looks like an Apple store…all neat and clean and full of white boxes with no clutter.  I hope so.  I think he would like that.