On the Medicinal Value of Some Bucket List Items

The secret of being a bore… is to tell everything.
Voltaire

And yet, there I go. This is my blog, which no one reads, so I can go bonkers.

During a short hiatus, we (this is not a royal “We”, this “we” is actually we—my wife and I; I am not allowed to meet alone with the people who gave the Hippocratic Oath, for it is evident to everyone—but me—that I am chronically unable to understand them correctly) met with the team, treating me—A.K.A., The Mandarin Factory—several times.

At the first of these meetings (the negotiations with the pharmaceutical company that develops the immunotherapeutic drug my doctor decided to try on me since my current chemo cocktail was doing a much better job on the host than my Cancer Al tenant/pet, were at that time not yet complete) my doctor looked at the results of my blood test and became noticeably confused.

“Have you had a blood transfusion?” he asked, “I do not recall ordering one for you…”

“Nope.”

He checked my file. I had not had a blood transfusion.

“But your numbers are within or even better than normal, how is this possible?”

I had no choice but to confess.

Continue reading “On the Medicinal Value of Some Bucket List Items”

On Smoking and Other Indulgences

Recently—a week ago—on June 1st, 2017 and (as one of the countless apps I have on my phone informed me) the 20014th day of my life—I finally received full absolution to do whatever I wish.

I can drink (which I never stopped), smoke (which I stopped—not quit, mind you, stopped—eleven years, four months and four days ago to date, but can start over with no effort whatsoever*), talk (if I suddenly want to), leave the toilet seat in an upright position, touch art in museums, and cross the street on a red light.

Continue reading “On Smoking and Other Indulgences”

On the Scale from Zero to Ten

I stumbled upon this picture on Unsplash and simply could not resist posting it. This is how Castle Stormhold should look from the shore, assuming the architecture of the castle itself is adjusted to fit my description and all the clouds are removed from the sky (it has been a drought there, so the air is extremely arid). Small details aside, the feel is, nevertheless, perfect.

Back to the title of this post, however (and trying to stay on-topic).

I could never figure out how to effectively challenge the cretinism of the question “please, rate your pain on a scale from zero to ten“.

Continue reading “On the Scale from Zero to Ten”

On The Writing Process (if what I do can be called that)

Well, it is writing, of course, even if the procedural aspect of it is reduced to poking the keys on the iPhone’s keyboard (wrong ones more often than not, recently) with numb fingers (or picking more or less right keys with a stylus—while struggling to keep it from slipping out of my numb grip).

And yet the velocity of soiling the virtual paper with the magical symbols is not as important as deciding which they are and what they say. Continue reading “On The Writing Process (if what I do can be called that)”

Before I Forget

This photo was taken on the western-most observation area of the Grand Canyon. This is the spot, where I would like my ashes to be… (whatever it is they do to ashes—scattered? spilled? tossed?). To end up, eventually. At sunset, preferably—the view is nicer.

The place is not that hard to find (I think we took a shuttle bus from the main parking lot), and it is much more beautiful than on this photo—it does not do it justice (much like all 500+ Grand Canyon photos I brought from that trip).

Just saying.

The Rumors of My Resurrection Were Slightly Exaggerated

Last Monday’s upper endoscopy showed that my tumor is NOT gone, as I was led to believe by my doctor earlier.

Now, another six sessions of chemo later—although it has decreased in size (by about 30% in the esophagus and 50% in the stomach area)—it is still pretty much there. Small wonder I still cannot swallow without chewing everything but drinks to mash.

Continue reading “The Rumors of My Resurrection Were Slightly Exaggerated”

On the Holiday Season

As much as I love the nation’s favorite Pagan’s holiday, I have to admit (damn, I fear I need to watch for that particular expression—I have to admit—or all my characters might start to sound alike, er… like me?) that ’tis the time to be worried.

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Part II is Finished!

Part II is finished (first draft of it, that is), bringing the tally of words to a staggering 473 thousand. Go me.

It was a difficult one, considering the fact that I had to deal with several characters, simultaneously climbing their individual arcs. Now, since I have dealt with it, I can move on to more fun stuff, like actually hunting—a dragon.

Continue reading “Part II is Finished!”

Random Things to Think about while Waterboarding another Cockroach in the Kitchen Sink

There are a few (the order is random as well). Some, are more entertaining than others:

  • Why does Hillary dress like a cartoon character? Queen Elizabeth II does, too, but she is a queen, she is allowed. She is basically a fictional character anyway.
  • There should be a limit to the number of my own funeral parties that I have to host per week. It gets depressing after a few. Same goes for the cards. My fault, though. Should have kept my mouth shut.
  • I finally have my dream metabolism—no matter what and how much I eat, I lose a pound a day.
  • Today’s episode is brought to you by the letter C and the number 4. As in 4% survival chance (that number had been recently optimistically upgraded to 30—if I make it to the test trials—but at least I have an appointment scheduled for January next year! This is the first doctor’s appointment I am excited about).
  • If you were miserable yesterday, but today you look back at that day with a warm and fuzzy feeling, what exactly does it say about your state of mind?
  • And finally: how come that after working most of my life (with some unfortunate and not at all enjoyed unemployment gaps) I cannot afford to simply stop working and concentrate on my treatment? Although I feel quite ancient, I am apparently too young to retire with a less than ridiculous income, nor can I can expect Social Security Disability Benefits to cover me (I have started the Social Security application and see absolutely no light at the end of the mine shaft)—once I do that, my medical insurance will be over, and I will not be able to afford one on my own, while also clearly not being eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, because my wife makes too much money. Nobody cares that “too much money” is still not enough to pay for my insurance, our current apartment, food—human, cat and dog—and other necessities (like cigarettes and red wine). The system is effectively sentencing me to a painful and not-so-quick death, unless I keep on rowing. Well, I guess, it is what it is going to be.

On that note, back to the Ward (the scene split again, damn it, could not keep going without losing momentum), need to steer my main characters to the second inciting moment. Almost done with Part II!

Sighting time. Here, dragon-dragon-dragon…