The Book / Writing

Bullet Dodgering



Out with the old (the one on the bottom), in with the new. The blue bill is what constitutes a daring fashion leap for me.

A few weeks ago, my lymph nodes* decided to get together and send up a warning flare that landed on my forehead in the shape of a curious bump. I did what any self-respecting macho man would do: went digging in my wife’s make-up and found something beige to cover it up while otherwise ignoring it in the hopes that it would go away (a sound, proactive strategy, am I right, fellas?). On days when I decided to I wanted to go make-up free (know what I’m talking about, ladies?), I would just throw on a Dodgers cap.

But eventually I came to realize that the thing wasn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it seemed to be getting bigger and redder by the day, testing the limits of what my mad make-up skills could do. Also, I couldn’t wear my Dodgers hat forever. It was getting old. So I did what any self-respecting Dodgers fan hiding a growing forehead bump with an aging cap would do – I ordered a new Dodgers hat. It arrived today! See photographic evidence. Go, Dodgers!

But still the thing didn’t go away. My lymph nodes sure do a flare with flair.

So I finally broke down and went to the doctor’s office and discovered that while the thing on the forehead didn’t appear to be a problem, a thing on the forearm looked like it could be. So maybe some thanks to the lymph nodes are in order for sending up the warning flare and getting me to the doctor’s office. The nice medical people took a punch out of my forehead bump and stitched it up. They also took a chunk out of my forearm, which was a delight. They sent them out for biopsies, and said we should get the results by Monday or Tuesday.

Schrödinger’s Cancer

Monday and Tuesday came and went – no results. Wednesday came and went – even more no results came in. Turns out the brain, even when it knows that bad results are unlikely, does funny things when waiting for biopsy results, especially when they’re taking an ominously long time getting back to you.

I call it Schrödinger’s cancer. Both realities simultaneously exist. The little headache you have is either the result of not enough Diet Coke today or the beginning of the end, thanks to brain cancer. The little cough is either the last gasp of allergy season or is the beginning of lung cancer. If you assume it is one, it is probably the other. Best to not dismiss either possibility lightly. So you keep both scenarios in play, and it gets exhausting after awhile.

But Thursday came, and I got the results. We ended up going with the living Schrödinger’s cat. The forehead was fine. Lymph was just having a little fun with me. The forearm, on the other hand, wasn’t. The “C” word was mentioned. But if they fully removed the bad patch, which was about a square inch of prime forearm real estate, they’d be getting it soon enough that it shouldn’t pose any further problems.

And then there were lots of needles and scalpels and scraping and burning and scraping and burning and nasty smells and stitches and all I wanted to do was pass out but I couldn’t because I was in charge of the jokes in the room (although they were the ones that had me in stitches) (buh-dum-CHA!) (quality stuff like that) (I take my joke responsibilities seriously).

In any case, back before the Thursday results call, while I was still pondering the potential reality of one of the big “C” scenarios, along with a gazillion other thoughts that swirl around with that, I thought that at least I’m writing the book that I’m meant to be writing, and I should try to finish it and make it good, if possible, being my last project and all, even if the only people who will read it will be my seven blog readers (or six then, on account of I technically would not be able to count myself any longer).

But even though I appear to have dodged a bullet, I decided that I’m still glad I’m working on this project finally. Maybe it would be a bit much to always gauge whether to do a project based on whether we would do it if it we knew it were to be our last (one of my favorite projects involved, for example, a giant meatball – not exactly last stand material, but still glad it is part of the family). But maybe at least once in awhile we should use that as a measuring stick. I also thought that even though I’m apparently sticking around, I should try to make the book good anyway, or at least as good as I can. Not to be macabre or anything, but let’s face it, you never really know when a project will be your last.

Like this will be for me if the Giants win the pennant.

* I hope I’m getting the technicals right. A lot of big words were being thrown my way while I was in the middle of my “wait, what was that part about the scraping and burning?” stupor.


3 thoughts on “Bullet Dodgering

  1. On the one hand, you made me laugh (you being in charge of the jokes department and all). On the other, geez. I’m sorry to hear this and hope all goes well from here on out.

  2. I agree with Diana, you really made laugh a lot because I a familiar life changing experience with my a cancer diagnosis & when through all the paranoid feeling you so elegantly described. It reminded me how creative & talented you are!! Write your book and not just one!!

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