Bricks from Heaven & Bye Bye Borders

When I first told my sister Lisa that I had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, she told me how it seems so strange that so many people seem to have cancer these days. “Well, Lisa, ” I told her, “we’re killing ourselves.” She agreed relunctantly, and then talked about how we’ve just traded diseases — instead of dying from Polio and other historical epidemics, we now have cancer.

I thought about this conversation from a few weeks ago this morning because of a letter that Tara sent me recently, in which she wrote about the cancer as evidence that “we are fucking up our world, and it is rebelling by giving us cancer and other illnesses.” The idea, she wrote, struck her as a “brick from heaven” as she tried to understand my cancer, and her cancer, since she too was diagnosed, and went through rounds of chemo. She knows what it’s all about, and she has expressed that seeing me “join the chemo club” has put a new perspective on it. The letter she wrote about this is eloquent and I won’t pretend to convey its articulate nature, but the question she has been asking herself and her god lately is “Why?” The most apt answer to be found? “Why not?” We can’t expect to trample the universe without it kicking us back a bit, can we?

Each day I go through chemo I feel slightly weaker. The morning nausea (and the whining cat) have become a regular early morning ritual around here, and each day I look at Dawn and tell her that I don’t want to go to chemo anymore. Her answer never wavers, because the alternative to not going is being really sick and letting this cursed disease get the better of me — and that’s not an option. So, we trudge through a quick breakfast, I pop a Lorazepam, and we set off for the Dean Oncology Clinic in the (this isn’t a joke) Thompson Plumb building on John Q. Hammons Drive, up to the fourth floor and wait to be called back to the Chemo Ward. I try to remember the narcotic haze I’ve dipped into and I squeeze just one of Dawn’s fingers when they place the IV (Nettie advised I hold only one finger in case I squeezed to hard and injured Dawn) — today I put a death grip on her thumb until she finally asked for it back. I’m not going to pretend any of this is fun, regardless of my often relaxed and jokey attitude. It isn’t fun. In fact, it sucks. But we have to keep our chins up, eh?

Okay, to lighten the mood, here is a shot of Pee Guy — an “action” figure enclosed with Tara’s letter…


I’ll tell you, it sure helped my mood when I quit my job at Borders today. I told them I would do my best to work a limited week next week, and that’s it. It is such a relief. I see the job with CTM as a sign of the positive things to come after all this chemo is over and done with. It is an amazing thing when something like that just falls in your lap. And I am so grateful for the opportunity. Bye Bye Borders!



For those of you still jonesing for more shots of that collection room, here’s a couple:

The helpful aids

the helpful aids


The rules of collection

“the rules of collection”



make yourself comfortable



2 Responses to “Bricks from Heaven & Bye Bye Borders”

  1. Dude, the best part of the pics is the reflection of the draped chair! HA!

    And, it’s nice to be featured. I’ve got to tell you–when I bought Pee Guy, the man who sold it to me looked at it quietly, and then he said, “If you don’t mind me asking, what are you going to do with Pee Guy?” I said, “I have no idea, but he made me laugh, so I’m buying him.” And look! Now he’s been featured and enjoyed by even more folks.

    Do we dare disturb the universe? Indeed, we do. No wonder it’s kicking our asses with this freakin’ C-word. If we weren’t victims of the ass-kicking, I might just root for the universe/earth and it’s rebellion against the invaders. It’s kind of hard to root for anything related to being on chemo, though.

  2. I barely ever sat in the chair — even with the clean sheet covering it, it sort of grossed me out.

    As for the universe, I guess I agree. I am rooting for it, but it’s hard to do that when it’s whipping me in a very real and personal way. The whole thing is impossible to wrap my brain around. It’s as though I’ve taken on worrying about everyone I love, and how badly I don’t want any of this to happen to them. It’s been a very emotional couple of days for me.

    Secretly, I hate the universe.

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