Wednesday, May 27, 2015


This is hard: starting, building, making…

Every step forward costs three steps sideways, a shuffle back, a dip, a spin, and a dodge.

Every decision begets another. Each new decision takes research, perspective, understanding, vetting, guts.

Decisions beget decisions with no map, only choices.

Where are the cul-de-sacs? The pocket circles that spin me, disorienting.

Where are the dead-ends?

Where are the paths that reveal vistas? Alternates unexpected. Sidetracks delaying, enlightening. 

Where are those moments, insights, connections that spark creativity’s flow?

I long for them. It’s where I need to be.

My nerves ablaze, abuzz, vibrating at ear-whine frequency. Constant caffeine courses through me. Shattered sleep fails to refresh. Dreams ebb, flowing into and out of reality—tidal.

My nights are not peace. 

Nor are my days.

How much time do I have left?

What do I want?

What can I get done?

Ever the vapor trail, roaring at inception…fading away.

Now, clarity. I sense more than I see: I want more. To be more. To do more.

And I hurt. And I doubt. I'm damaged. And I pause. And…

I want more.


Live it.

What will be will be what will be.

I’ve got this.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Brain Tumor?

I’m not normal.

You knew that.

This is different.

I’m not like you anymore. My “normal” isn’t yours.

And that’s a problem.

- - -

When the headache hit me, my brain exploded, starlight fireworks behind closed eyes. Paralytic pain.

I'd felt it before, but that was a long time ago...

- - -

The former BCB and I bought house. It was a small rancher on a little land. Modest, for our just-beginning family.

It had trees. Soaring trees with leafy canopies that cast verdant shadows, cooling, soothing. Lovely.

We were living out of boxes when the microburst stormed through our new neighborhood. Trees shuddered and burst. Limbs and leafy stuff shattered and crashed.

And then it was over. And what remained…

A 70-footer lay athwart the power lines. The root ball emerged from the ground six feet from our daughter’s bedroom window. It fell in the right direction. If the storm had come from the other direction...

We were grateful in a way we couldn't express. Despite the violence, the house was intact. The runaway train passed, and we were safe.

We needed to clean up. I was young, male, immortal. Chainsaw in hand, I approached the fallen tree...

My neighbor saw the whole thing. I didn’t.

It must have been spectacular...

On my back, spread-eagle, limbs akimbo. Nerveshock, electric, screaming, vibrating, shattering. Brain explosion beyond pain.

The bough had shattered; the chainsaw vibration set something off. The twenty foot long, ten-inch diameter wood burst into six parts. My head took a direct shot.

I never admitted how close I’d come to dying.

- - -

The tree-branch explosion headaches weren't what kept me in bed. The vertigo did that.

Shattered, devastated. I held my head. I wanted to die.

I. Wanted. To. Die.

It felt like chemo, all over again.

- - -

Since chemo, I live in a constant state of...odd.

Dizziness, nausea, and vertigo come and go. My hands and feet go numb, or freeze, or sparkle with pins and needles. I hear things...tinnitus is real and present every minute of every day, and sometimes my hearing goes wonky. It is what it is.

But this was different. The intensity made me cry the cry where your tears flow, but you don't sob.

And that's when I started having trouble seeing. My left eye was in a constant state of unfocus. It would dial in and out, like it was sighting a microscope. But it never found its focus. Even after the tears stopped, even after I'd slept, when I awoke I couldn't focus my left eye.

I was terrified.

- - -

Paging Dr. Google! Paging Dr. Google!

During a lull I paged Dr. Google. I read. I learned.

It might be a tumor. I have family history. Mom had one decades ago.

It might be an inner ear infection. I have outlaw family history. My outlaw mother had an inner ear issue and she's functionally deaf in that ear.


- - -

My Jedi oncologist sat down. "Beth tells me you think you have a brain tumor." Beth is her nurse.

"I never said that."

"I know. She said you didn't say that."


"So, here's the deal. You might have a brain tumor. But that's unlikely. All the imaging we've done on signs. But you might. We'll test. It's probably an inner ear infection. But you never know. Get the CT, and we'll go from there."

I guess I'm good at the Dr. Google thing.

- - -

It says something when the CT nurse knows your face and is surprised by the orders.



He raised an eyebrow.

"I know," I shrugged.

"You know the drill..."

- - -

That was a Friday. The LAs were with me that weekend. It was a long weekend.

How do you hide that anxiety?

Saucer-eyed staring at the ceiling, tinnitus hum in your ears, how do you get through the night?

You do what you need to do....

I'm getting practice. I'm adjusting to my life's new cycle. Every six months I will be weighed and measured.

Every six months. Forever.

That's a short clock.

This, though...

This...I wasn't ready for this.

- - -

She emailed me. No signs of tumor. See an ENT ASAP.

And I felt...

Free fall.

Not Relief.

Not joy.


And guilt.


Yep. Guilt.

The boy who cried wolf. I made a big deal. It was nothing.

Raymond, Raymond it was really nothing

Except...I hadn't. Made a big deal.

I just want to live.
And everybody's got to live their life
and God knows I've got to live mine
God knows I've got to live mine
- - -

That free fall, that emotional abyss, that void...

That's a scary place.

My gods.

The opposite of fear isn't courage. It's void.

Have you ever felt dead inside?

- - -

This is what it's like, living in the shadow of cancer.

I'm my own, only advocate. I fight for me.

And it overwhelms.

And it makes me feel guilty.

Yet, it is what it is. I deal. Because I have to.

- - -

There's much more to the story.

But in answer to your question... I'm not dead yet.

And I have much to do.

And I have little time.

Unless I don't.

Which would be great.

But I don't believe it. Even as I hope for it.

Big things are afoot.

I see things clearly now.

Stay tuned...

- - -

What will be will be what will be.
I've got this.