THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY
MY TREATMENT for the tumour in my gullet, which was diagnosed last September 19, ended on May 3, after four bouts of chemotherapy from last September to November, surgery to remove the tumour on December 10 and four post-surgery chemo blasts starting in March.
A CT-scan in June showed me to be cancer free.
Regrettably, a CT-scan last week did not turn out as well.
The cancer is back.
I was cancer-free for three months; perhaps less.
On the upside of this very downward turn, the cancer is limited to my peritoneum, which I tell everybody is near Fyzabad; it’s south of my navel at any rate.
But it doesn’t matter so much where the cancer is as where it is not.
When my radiologist asked me to come to see him to discuss the scan, it was a confession that the news was bad: if it were good, he’d have happily told me over the phone. When I asked him if something had lit up, he paused, sighed and said, “Yes.”
And then I waited with real dread.
Because of the persistent cough since surgery, I braced myself to hear the word, “Lungs.”
Which would have floored me.
But it’s “just” the peritoneum – which may reflect only that I am more ignorant of specific anatomy than cancer generally.
There are apparently many cancerous nodules in my peritoneum, wherever the firetruck that is, but this is normal for cancer in that area. With the peritoneum, the doctors don’t even think of operating (because they could never get all the nodules and, if they got 999 and left one, there would soon be a thousand back at work; according to my admittedly less-than-medically-perfect understanding of the setup).
With the peritoneum, treatment is about containment, not eradication.
With luck, I’ll soon begin chemotherapy, one day of treatment every two weeks for, I think, four cycles, all of it aimed at keeping the cancer in one place.
As CT-scan results go, it’s considerably less than ideal.
But it could be a lot worse.
The cancer could have been where it is not.
Lungs. Liver. Throat. The gland that begins with “p.”
So my rollercoaster ride continues, ups and downs, ups and downs, more downs than ups in recent times.
And I drag my family and loved ones along with me.
It’s an odd place to be.
No one expects to be diagnosed with cancer; that’s something that happens to other people, not to you, and certainly not when you stopped smoking 35 years ago!
And, after nearly a year from your initial diagnosis, the last thing you expect – certainly hope – to hear is that it’s back. Especially when you’ve passed a couple of CT-scans like you’re driving a BMW and they’re on skateboards.
When cancer on roller skates whizzes past you in your Porsche, you get a kind of Trini sonic boom.
What happened there is the numbers caught up with you.
And you find out you’re on a rollercoaster.
So now you start calculating how best to line yourself up with the good numbers.
And now is when the crackpots palance out of the woodwork, dancing for your attention. My father-in-law mentioned to the doubles lady at the junction that I’d been diagnosed. The bara-woman knew her medical stuff, though: “Let he do what my cousin do: drink dog medicine! That chase out the cancer one-time!”
Can’t wait to try it. And just think: I’ll be rid of my fleas.
Small jokes, fingers in the dyke.
When the levee might be breaking.
It reminds me of the story of the horse who comes across a tiny sparrow lying flat on its back in the middle of a country road, its little legs held straight up in the air.
“What the hell is going on here?” asks the horse.
“Well,” says the bird, “I’ve heard it on reliable authority that the sky is going to fall today.”
The horse snorts in derision.
“And you!” he sneers. “You are going to hold the sky up with those puny little legs?”
The bird shrugs his wings.
“One does,” he says, “what one can.”
BC Pires is in the middle of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway with his legs in the air, which might excite an unexpected response but he jammin’ still