Monthly Archives: December 2008


It is 7:30 in the morning on Tuesday. I wake up this morning and I feel great. I feel human. I feel a little sleepy, but I feel normal. The round one chemo has left my system and I am a semi-functioning adult. My energy level is back up to where I can walk around a grocery store if need be – before I could force myself to get to the stopsign halfway down the block and back.

Today is a good day.

Today is a dangerous day.

Today is the day we go in to start round 2 of the chemotherapy. 11am. 3 1/2 hours.

Last week I was scared and I didn’t want to do it. The way it makes you feel is difficult to describe. It’s sort of a nauseous feeling that won’t go away plus a feeling of complete and utter hopelessness. Your energy is sapped from your body to the point where even chewing is difficult because it takes too much of your sweet reserves and then both these feelings just stick to you for like fifteen days and it blows hard.

But today I feel good.

Today I feel excited to go in. I watch the clock tick around sometimes and think – every second. Every second I am one second closer to the end of this. I suppose, though, at the end of the day it all comes down to drips. One drip closer, one drop closer.

Gotta get sick to get better.

Just wanted to let everyone know that today the wife and mother and I are ready to go in and fight this for the next five.

Please keep up all the praying. They make me feel grrrrrreat!!!!!

John

THE GRAND MALL

My mom is staying with us through our “ordeal”. She’s been here for almost a month and it’s been great having her around. She helps out with everything and has made it so much easier on my young bride and myself, but mainly it’s just nice (at risk of sounding fruity) having her around emotionally. This is all way more tiring than you may imagine…..or maybe not. Maybe you imagine it being way worse than it is. Maybe being here and going through it is actually easier – being able to see it and know what’s going on.

Either way…..

Yesterday my mom and I were driving to Hollywood to take care of some biz’nus. We were driving down the 170 and we popped onto the 101 – these are freeways – and we’re chit-chattting and I’m feeling good. All week has actually been pretty good. I start my second round of chemo this coming Tuesday and it’s been long enough to where I’m starting to feel like myself again. So anyway, we’re chatting and things are going well and we take the Highland / Hollywood exit and we’re driving up the ramp and then I woke up in an ambulance.

Shocking, right?

I’ve got a paramedic leaning over me saying, “Can you hear me? You had a seizure.”

Okay.

“Where do you live?”

“……..I don’t…….the valley…..?”

“Do you know what year it is?”

“………………2006……?”

“It’s 2008”

i couldn’t remember anything except my wife’s name. About 45 minutes later it all started coming back to me.

Scary.

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They rushed me to the hospital and when they found out I had cancer told us they wanted to do a CAT scan because the type of cancer I have has a tendency to spread to the brain and brain tumors can cause seizures.

Great.

So they hooked me up and juiced me with the iodine and scanned my brain and……….it came back negative.

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i don’t have brain cancer.

For the first time in my life we were all thankful that I ONLY had testicular, lung, and lymphomatic cancer.

Thank you, God.

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So what caused this? I’ll tell you what.

I’ve had seizures since I was a child. They are small. They are called Petit Mal – petit – small. Many of you have probably seen me have them. When I’m very tired they come on more frequently. My eyes roll back in my head for just a split second and them I’m back. They don’t interfere with my daily life because I’m on medication for them.

My doctor has told me to take 3 pills a day (depakote) but they’re really expensive – about $130 for one pill bottle – so I took it upon myself to only take one a day for the past few years and it’s been working out great until……..well, until about two days ago.
The hospital said my depakote levels should be at 50 and they were at 12. This coupled with the fact that for whatever reason I haven’t been sleeping well – pre-seizure I’d gotten about six hours of sleep in three days – and like I said, when I’m tired, they come on more. So the low levels mixed with my sleep deprivation is probably what brought it on.

Needless to say, I am taking my pills three times a day. We were able to find a generic version of the pills for…………$10 / pill bottle.

Can you believe this?

Anyway, all is well now and we’re back on track. It was really scary not knowing who I was or where I was and my mom sounds like she was freakin’ like a mohikin.

She says all of a sudden I yelled and then started locking up and curling into a ball. She threw her hand across my chest because I started tipping over onto her and she pulled up onto the sidewalk and dialed 911.

She’s from South Dakota so she has no idea where we are and she’s just shouting out the closest street sign she can see and trying to remember what exit we just took when suddenly five people appeared at her side.

One of them cradled my head and the other grabbed my hand and they helped her out until the paramedics showed up and then they were gone.

Believe what you will. Nice people, Good Samaritans. I’m going to believe they were real life angels, there and gone.

That’s that. That’s my life in a nutshell lately. Thanks for reading.

The one thing, though….the one thing I said to my mom in the hospital once she and my wife showed up, I said, “Man…….lucky I wasn’t driving, hahahaha”

MY FATHER’S PUBIC HAIR, A BIOPIC

Got admitted to the hospital yesterday on a whim. Had some blood drawn at the clinic and they said my white count was too low……WAY too low. They wanted to pump me up with some platelets – the stuff they yank out of your blood that causes scabbing. I’m still wondering who’s I got – maybe some starving college student? Maybe some near homeless fella? Maybe an immigrant named Juan? Who knows? Some Good Samaritan out there, getting stabbed with needles at fifty bucks a crack so I can have my platies.

So I got all checked in and they doused me for about forty-five minutes. All said and done it was about a 12 hour process. Hospitals work slow. Uck. The hospital beds on the 2nd floor are like prison beds and everything was broken. All the buttons on my bed were broken save for the “elevate back” position.

The nurse who came in to give me my IV let me know that she was “the best” before jabbing me in my elbow, my bicep and my forearm before finally getting it to stick.

We watched a show about face transplants on TV. Man gets malled by bear. Man needs new face. I have no real problems.

They ALSO got a count back on my HCG levels – that’s those pesky cancer markers. A quick rundown on those – they started at 32, then jumped to 300 then jumped to 900, which was like, “whoa”. That’s “whoa” bad news, remember? One dose of chemo, easy does it and……….back at 300.

Lucky guy?

Doubt it. It’s the prayers. It has to be and I refuse to believe anything else. I think we feel like often times praying doesn’t “work” or doesn’t work how we want it to…..but you know what? It’s gotta work SOMETIMES – otherwise it wouldn’t be a million year old practice – and right now is one of those times.

Miracles at work in our lives, folks.

Take it in.

Today I’m feeling GOLD. Those platelets really got me back on top. I’m eating and drinking way more and oh yeah, they gave me vicodin so that was nice.

My folks have been staying here with us to help out – well, my dad was here for about a week and a half but then the old man had to get back to the grind – brotha’s gotta eat, y’know – but my mom is sounding like she’s going to stay with us in LA for the long haul.

I was in bed and chilly earlier today and so she brought me in a blanket from her bed. i took a nap and when I got up I realized there were, like…..inch and a half long black hairs all over me. I couldn’t shake em. Each time I thought I’d brushed them all away i’d find more. Then I went and took a pee and there were just a BUNCH of them all over the toilet seat – these much shorter, ew.

Anyway, I asked my mom if my dad sheds?

He’s a fairly hairy fellow and I’d just figured that he’d been………..what’s that called when a bear loses it’s fur in warmer climates? They’re from South Dakota so I just thought he was doing that and when she brought the blanket in from their bed, y’know, I got run off.

It was about this time that I ran my hand through my beard, just sort of one of those “hhhmmmm” things and low and behold, the largest chunk of hair I’ve ever seen just rolls off my face.

Today I have officially started to lose my hair.

Good news is, it’s not really depressing, but it is sort of gross. I’m saying like……I can pull out enough hair from my face to fill up a bathroom brush, it’s so much. And it just slides out painlessly, like some mangy old gopher’s coat.

Oh well, at least I know I’m not sleeping in my daddy’s pubes, hahaha.

THAT SAID, all good things!!!!

HOW ABOUT A FUNNY PICTURE OF MY DOG?

im coming to get u!