Thursday
Sep222016

High Five Moment? 9/22/16

Apart from FINISHING MY TREATMENT TODAY(!), I had my final weekly visit with the radiation oncologist yesterday. I see him once a week to check the burns and see if there’s anything else going on that he needs to know about. I’m very pleased to say that apart from increased fatigue and a bit of pain, there’s still no big bad side effects. Woot!

“It looks like you’re responding well to the treatment, Mr. Huttsez. Apart from a continued increase in fatigue over the next week or so, I don’t foresee any peeling or other side effects being a problem.” Good old Dr. Obvious was full of happy news. “Do you have any questions?”

“Well, yeah. Now that my treatment is ending I move into checkups every three months, right?” I asked.

“That’s correct.” answered Dr. Obvious.

“Ok, cool. Dr. Lee said that I’d be doing blood tests before each check up. Is that to see if the cancer came back? 

“Not really. The blood test will be more to check that you’re producing enough white and red blood cells after the chemo. Dr. Lee will most likely call for a periodic CT scan.”

“Got it. So, when’s the High Five Moment?” I asked.

“High Five Moment?” Sometimes I confuse Dr. Obvious.

“You know, the moment where you and Dr. Lee walk into the room and say, ‘Mr Huttsez, we’ve got great news. You’ve done it! You’ve beaten cancer! We’ve cured you, Mr. Huttsez!’ Then we all high five and go out for Guinness and Bushmill’s, my treat.” Poor Dr. Obvious got this sad look on his face.

“Well, there isn’t a... High Five Moment, unfortunately. Let’s say in 40 or more years when you die, not from cancer, we can say you’re cured. Otherwise, there’s no real way of knowing, I’m sorry to say.” Fair play to the doc, he handled the let down like a champ.

“Alright,” I said after a moment, “I guess it is what it is. Well, I’m gonna choose to believe that you and Dr. Lee kicked it’s arse. I don’t want to live in fear of looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life, so I’ll stay positive.”

“That’s the best thing you can do.”  said Dr. Obvious. Obviously.

 

Later, on my way home, my brain and I got into it a little.

“Well fuck, this is some bullshit. No high fives? Always wondering if it’s gonna come back?! It’s like having the sword of fucking Damocles dangling over our head!” My brain is often hard to deal with. He tends to be a little.. reactionary. He’s also way more sweary than me. “You know what? Fuck that guy!” See?

“No, not ‘fuck that guy’ at all.” I replied. “He just told it like it is. Yeah, it’s very possible that it’ll never come back, but they can’t say for sure. He’s a doctor, surely you’ve learned by now that they hold their cards pretty close to their chests. We just need to stay positive.”

“Ok fine. So you’re saying that we just go along all lahdy da, skipping about like twats as if nothing happened and that there’s nothing to worry about?! Ha! Eat another brownie, Hippie, because you’re living in lala land. There’s no way in Hell I’m gonna be able to ‘stay positive’. They want to check us every three months for the next five years, for fuck’s sake! It doesn’t exactly look like they think it’s gone.”

I sighed. “Chill out man, the three month check up is standard operating procedure. Look at it this way: we found a lump on our own, now it’s us AND a team of doctors looking for that shit. The treatment went well, dude. Why do I say that? Because the PET scan showed that the cancer didn’t spread. The chemo did what they said it would do. This means they know what they’re doing, ok? We’re in good hands, and we have to learn to live with joy and not fear the unknown. If that’s living in lala land, then sign me up. Negativity will bring negativity. It’s like in ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when Luke asks Yoda what’s in the cave, and Yoda says...”

“Yeah, yeah. ‘Only that which you take with you.’ I’m your brain, it’s my favorite Yoda quote, too. Alright dude, I get it. If we stay positive, positive things will happen. I gotta warn you though- I’m pretty sure that I’m gonna freak out every now and then.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less. Thanks for coming around. Even though you’re my brain, and we’re kind of the same guy. I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are...”

“Fuck you, Hippie.”

A brief glimpse for you on how I deal with shit that sucks.

The next time we see each other, I’ll be “the artist formerly known as Cancer Patient” and starting down the road to cancer survivor. I can’t wait.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

 

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

huttsez.com

Monday
Sep192016

Random Observations From Under The Ray Gun 9/19/16

So, I’ve been hammering away at daily radiation treatments for the just over three weeks now, and I’ll have my last 4 ray gun blasts this week. After that no more scheduled cancer treatments, no more driving nearly two hours everyday to the radiation clinic. It’s been a fucking slog and I’ll be well pleased to see the arse end of all this bollocks. MAN!

Going in to the radiation, I was feeling pretty anxious about all the possible side effects, especially after the difficulties of chemo- 30 pound testicles topped a rather sordid list- but so far I’ve come through really well, considering.

Fatigue is pretty high, and I’ve been having some gnarly, but infrequent, sharp pains in my groin. My doctor says it’s due to “internal swelling”. I showed great restraint by not saying “That makes sense. I’m more used to considerable ‘external’ swelling, if you know what I mean.” 

 I’ve got some nice pink radiation burns on and around my junk, but “It doesn’t look like it’s going to peel, Mr Huttsez. This is a good thing.” I like my radiation oncologist- he’s a true King of Stating the Obvious. “Peely junk” is on every man’s list of things to avoid, just under “an erection that lasts for four or more hours”, and “sitting naked on a yellow jacket’s nest”. Fortunately, I’m not quite as interested in his bedside manner as I am in his ability to be a cancer fighting badass. I’m confident that he excels in the latter.

OUCH

So, what’s the radiation been like? Funny you should ask because I’ve prepared some random observations of my time under the ray gun so far. In a loose list format.

 

Random Observations Of My Time Under The Ray Gun So Far

 

 

  1. The machine itself is quite impressive- I’ve dubbed it “Optimus Prime”. It’s got a huge flying suacer on a curved arm that rotates around the table where I lay, blasting that lymphona (and hopefully my sperm count!) into smithereens. It has panels and arms that articulate and move around, with lasers all over the place. I’m actually hoping that it has a “wanking attachment arm” that will give me a happy ending at my last treatment. Note to self: check with the staff to see if this is an option. Also, is it possible for the happy ending to be applied with some lavender aroma therapy, as this would be very relaxing? That would great, thanks.                                                                                                                           A wanking arm doesn't seem too much to ask. And very doable.
  2. There’s a very bright LED light that blasts out a fiery, evil red light when the machine is turning my bollocks into Chernobyl. I call it “The Eye of Sauron”. As one does.
  3. I gotta talk about the music. Apparently, the radiation center picks a Pandora channel, usually classic softish rock, or old school, chillin’ R’n’ B. Seems fine, right? It’s just background, after all. Well, on my second visit I’m waiting in the Bull Pen (aka waiting area) in my spa robe/ mumu, and “Live and Let Die” comes on. “Fuck me, that’s a tad awkward, isn’t it?” said my brain. “Yes. Yes, it is.” I replied. I wasn’t particularly bothered because it’s my favorite Bond song, and if you can’t have a laugh then what’s the point? Some other songs that where fairly whince-tastic: “Candle In The Wind’ by Elton John, “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, “Last Dance With Mary Jane” made me think of Robin Wright in Forrest Gump, all fucked up on coke and considering suicide. Nothing like a little pick me up before you head into the room where you’re getting treatment for a disease that makes you look death right in it’s beady eyes, lol. Pandora fully redeemed itself last week, however,  when I got my treatment to Barry White’s inimitable “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Baby”. Having my groin gently caressed by the tender fingers of radioactive fire, whilst hearing the dulcet tones of the Love Walrus has been the highlight of all my cancer treatments so far. Baz, I should have turned to you sooner.                                                         I can't get enough either, Baz.
  4. I’m particularly pleased to announce that I haven’t shat meself. Yet. As my doctor would say “This is a good thing”.
  5. I totally dig hanging with my Cancer Bros in the Bull Pen, shootin’  the shit. Normally, I don’t get to hang with anyone, as they run a really tight ship, getting you in and out with German precision. A couple of times there’s been an ambulance in the parking lot bringing someone for emergency radiation that caused a back log in the Bull Pen. On a quick side note: it’s things like this that remind me how lucky I am. Some poor person is so riddled with cancer that they need emergency radiation?! I closed my eyes in the changing room, and sent that person all the love and light that I could muster. Because I could. Because I’m still fucking standing. That’s why I’m lucky. The silver lining of this dark reminder was getting to hang with my boys. I came out of the changing room in my blue radiation mumu, and there were three other guys in the Bull Pen chatting away like they were at a sports bar or a friends BBQ. The vibe was good. We were all equals in our mumus. I opened with-

 

“Has the waitress been by yet?”

The enormous Treeman with the massively swollen and pink jaw replied, “You just missed her dude, but we ordered a pitcher so it’s all good.” His voice was a cross between Sam Elliot and Darth Vader, and the mumu I was swimming in looked like a muscle shirt on him. We all cracked up, and I stuck my hand out to Treeman, “How ya doin? I’m Huttsez.”

“I’m Samuel, pleasure to meet ya.” he rumbled. I took my hand back from his granite handshake, and gave it a rub.

“Pleasure to meet you too, Samuel. Quick question. How the Hell did you get cancer, dude?! You appear to be made of actual stone.” We all had another laugh and settled in to our chairs a bit more, feeling comfy. We were a good room.

I met Johnathon, the lawyer from Mill Valley. Samuel, the Treeman, aptly worked at a lumber mill on the big fuck off saws. Pete was a Vietnam Vet turned mega hippie, who had been living in Humboldt County for 30 years (Oh yeah, Pete? Doing a little farming?), and then me, High End Construction Superintendent and man about town. A cool mix. After chatting for a bit, we inevitably ended up trading cancer stories. It felt like that scene in Jaws where Dreyfuss, Shaw, and Scheider get drunk and show each other all their scars from bites and shit. It was pretty cool.

“Esophageal cancer,” said Johnathon the lawyer, “two surgeries, no chemo, 15 rounds of radiation.” Samuel, Pete, and I “dayum’ed” and nodded our respect. Esophageal cancer is no joke. Johnathon went on. 

“Yeah, it’s been a haul. Makes you see what’s really important in life.” We all nodded in solemn agreement. “How about you guys?” he asked.

“Mouth cancer, one surgery where they took a piece of my thigh and grafted it on to my face, 6 rounds of chemo, 15 rounds of radiation.” Samuel said. “I’d rather work the big saw at the mill blindfolded than go through this shit again.” I reached out and gave Samuel a fist bump.

“Well, I did most of my heavy treatment 8 years ago for prostate cancer.” Pete The Farmer told us. “I’m back in for some radiation because they didn’t like a few spots on my last scan. It’s probably nothing, but they just want to be careful. Back then I did one surgery, 8 rounds of chemo, and 20 rounds of radiation. It was a bummer. Literally!” We all laughed at his joke, as only dudes with cancer could. 

“Damn Guys, you’ve been through the wars.” I said. “Well, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, 2 surgeries, 3 rounds of chemo, 20 rounds of radiation. Shit’s been real and I’m a different man now.” My Cancer Bros nodded again as we all silently concurred that we were changed men. Confronting your own mortality in real-time will do that. Believe.

We went our separate ways with warm hand shakes, and words of encouragement, a motley crew of dudes from different walks of life with a common foe and common goal. It was rad. 

All in all, the radiation has been relatively smooth, considering the litany of horrific side effects that you can get. Another affirmation of how bloody lucky I’ve been so far. You never know what’s over the horizon, but I know it could’ve been so much worse on this journey to get to where I am now. And where’s that? Why, ALMOST FUCKING DONE, that’s where! So stoked.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

 

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

huttsez.com

 

 

gofundme link- if you can help, we sure could use it. Humble thanks.

Sunday
Aug072016

Halftime Talk 8/7/16

“FYI, no evidence of abnormal uptake on PET. Proceed with radiation as previously planned.”

My oft glazed eyeballs have read some beautiful poems in their day, but this piece from my chemo oncologist feels like the deepest and most meaningful haiku I’ve ever read. It’s like (robotically straight) music to my ears. The dude has some ultra conservative doctoring chops which is just how I like him. All Business, All The Time.

At the scan

I mean if I was an oncologist, I’d probably write that email a little differently- 

“Dude! PET scan was all good, no signs of any gnarly shit we weren’t expecting, so you’re cleared for radiation. I’m way stoked for you! Now go kick the rest of that cancer’s arse! Good luck with the radiation, I’ll see you in 3 mos. for your checkup. BOOM!”

Though I suppose it would be refreshing to have a doctor that communicates like a stoned teenager, it could unsettle more patients than not. Good thing I’m not an oncologist. 

Regardless of the delivery, we are some very happy Huttsezes to get this news, lemme tell ya.

No going back to chemo.

No more chemo induced nausea and vomiting that never ends.

Vomit Man was a downer, yo.

No more Steroid Man and his ragey antics. Not gonna miss that guy.

"Grrraaarrrrgggghhh!"

No more veins that fecking hurt from the infusions.

No more olfactory senses of a frigging bloodhound/ pregnant woman. Praise Jebus.

No more having half a beard and a weird scraggly semi head of hair. Gnarl.

Best of all? No more fear of the unknown, no more fear that the chemo wasn’t working.

Because it did and I’m halfway through this battle. I can head in to radiation knowing that I’ve won the first big fight, and I’m proud of the strength I found when I was down for the count and being battered by nausea and vomiting. I’m thankful that my family has made it this far, intact and strong instead of rattled and punchy. Cancer doesn’t just try and kill people, it also pushes families to breaking points and requires a lot of love and patience to negotiate successfully.

Speaking of love, patience, strength, vomiting, family, and thankfulness, I’d like to take a brief moment to talk about my kids. Gosh, I love them so much.

When I’m not cooing about them or basking in the loving glow that they bring to my world, I’m often found in states of vexation and ire that should leave me more concerned about a stroke than cancer. They can be such spectacular douchenozzling arseholes at times that I wonder how I haven’t yet sold them to science. They currently have me perusing the “Wanted for Science” section on Craigslist.

The Öberstürmfürher Bällërina (my adorable daughter) is either the sweetest ever child EVER, or a ball buster of epic proportions that swings a big, studded mallet the size of Mjolnir. The Goddess of Thunder has symbolically been bludgeoning my smalls since the day she was born, and has been back at it lately- she’s always been this way. I’m hoping that as she grows and matures past the mercurial age of six, there will be moments when she sees that choosing the path of least resistance will keep her privileges intact. Both of us can’t wait until she’s old enough to get a phone- her because she wants one and me because I can use it to bend her to my will/get her to be nice. No easy task, let me tell you.

Have you heard this quote about strong women?

 

“Here’s to strong women.

May we know them.

May we be them.

May we raise them.”

 

A powerful quote, I’m sure you’d agree as I do. However, I’d like to add a line or two at the end if I may.

 

“Here’s to strong women.

May we know them.

May we be them.

May we raise them.

May we thank their withered and exhausted fathers, the poor bastards.

May we wonder how they didn’t sell her to science, FFS.”

Normally, the kids don’t grind me down too terribly, and I can handle The Öberstürmfürher Bällërina and her sack stomping shenanigans- she’s six, I should be able to surf that shit. Lately however, her 17 year old brother has thrown his hat into the ring with levels of shithousery heretofore unseen.

The artist formerly known as Bilbo Douchebaggins has regained the form of three or so years ago when he turned being a douche into an art form, when surliness was his mentor and sarcasm his best friend. Well, he’s found new heights and swiftly scaled them. How did this lovely teenager re-douche? That’s a good question. 

Recipe For A Re-Douching


6’3” of unfiltered teenager

1 cup becoming a senior in high school

2 cups varsity American Football

1 cup possibly making defensive captain

1/2 cup American Football locker room antics (preferably teabagging but you can substitute Icy Hot ointment on the jockstrap)

3 cups condensed self entitlement

10 fucking cups of know it all

1/4 teaspoon actual knowledge

0 cups listening to dad

 

Make a roux with the unfiltered teenager, self entitlement, and know it all. Wave the empty cup of not listening to dad futilely over the top of the pot.

Stir in 1 cup of becoming a senior followed by 2 cups of varsity American Football and 1 cup of possibly making defensive captain. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low forever. Add the half cup of locker room antics, and cook for ten minutes. Garnish with the 1/4 teaspoon of actual knowledge taking care to spread the minuscule amount around as evenly as possible. This will be hard. Serves two parental units. Ad infinitum.

 

Now, you may be thinking, “C’mon Huttsez, lighten up on the kid. He’s been through more than most people his age and now he’s dealing with you having cancer! Don’t be such a dick!”. I hear ya.

But he can see me beating this shit, he knows that I can do it. I’ve been strong so that he hasn’t had to carry too much.

No, his re-douching is just a part of growing up. He’s exercising confidence and becoming a man. He’s just doing what I did, and countless other kids have done when they start to reach adulthood- shaking off the remaining shackles of childhood so he can learn to fly on his own. I just wish he didn’t have to be such a cockbag about it (he came up with that little gem).

Huh. You know what? I feel better getting that out. It led me to that last paragraph and reminded me that I was him not so long ago. It’s funny how writing things down can help get you to a place you needed to be. Sweet. I am thankful.

So it’s radiation next, folks. I’m getting my warrior on for the second half and I think I’m gonna need it. 

My favorite chemo nurse said to me on my last visit-

“Radiation next, right?”

“Yeah. They said 15-20 treatments.”

He did a face cringe. “Well, the first week you’ll feel pretty good, like no big deal you know? But after that can get... a little rough. Give us a call if you need anything, ok?”

Gulp. “Ok.”

I’m not gonna list the side effects. As I’ve said before, it takes a special kind of idiot to tempt fate like that. So don’t google “testicular lymphedema images”.

 

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading see you soon.

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

huttsez.com

 

gofundme link. Thank you. More than you know.

Tuesday
Jul122016

What I've Learned From Chemo So Far 7/12/16

I had my final chemo infusion last week, and had yet another different scenario of side effects. Dudes...

I was looking over the information they gave me back at the chemotherapy class, checking my notes and shit and comparing what they prepped me for in terms of possible side effects with what I actually experienced. Verdict? HAHAHAHAHA! They should have just given me the middle finger, shrugged their shoulders and said “Mr. Huttsez, we have no fucking clue because every patient is different. Good luck, LOL!” In fact, I would have really appreciated that kind of honesty. It would have helped me manage my expectations a hell of a lot better.

To be fair, they hinted at the “we have no idea” approach but fell short and pushed “fatigue” as the most common side effect of chemotherapy. I guess I don’t really blame them though- if they DID say “We have no clue”, a lot of patients would probably freak out, I get it. But don’t blow smoke up my arse, you know?

Here’s what the head bollocks infusion nurse said in the class- “If I were to ask all the patients I’ve had over the years what the main side effect of their chemotherapy was, the answer would OVERWHELMINGLY be fatigue.” She then proceeded to play down nausea and vomiting, “It’s not the bad old chemo that it used to be, we’ve come a long way. It’s no longer the norm, and we work very hard to avoid it. Fatigue will most likely be what you experience.”

Again- HAHAHAHAHA. I dream of lovely, gentle fatigue in all it’s “taking a nap” glory! Guess what? I’ve had no fatigue. In fact, I’ve more often been jacked and tweeking on the 10 bajillion mgs. of steroids they’ve given me. Fatigue?! Last time I checked, meth doesn’t make you sleepy. Guess what else? I’ve vomited more in the last 50 days than in my teens and twenties combined. That’s a lot of Boone’s Farm and Jaegermeister hangovers, people.

Three chemo infusions, three different reactions, same drugs each time.

First time- vomit all night on the day of infusion.

Second time- no vomiting, nausea for 5 days. Please note that I just wrote “no vomiting”.

Third time- felt fine that night and the next day. I FELT FINE! They had me in two days after the infusion for iv fluids and more anti-nausea meds because my oncologist didn’t like the five days of nausea from the second infusion. That night? Pukey good times. The next three days? Vomiting hijinks and gnarley nausea. Dafuq?!

I wrote to my oncologist, asking him about why I reacted differently each time, he answered “It’s a chemo effect.” Translation? Shoulder shrug with an “I don’t know why, lol!” 

You know, it’s probably not fair to rag on them so hard, they’re trying. Cancer’s no joke, I’ll cut them some slack. Whudahyahgonnado?

Well, let’s do-

 

WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM CHEMO SO FAR

 

There is no common side effect, and there is no predicting what each individual may experience. Every single cancer patient will react differently to their chemotherapy. In the chemo book I got at the class they talked about constipation and diarrhea being possible problems. Nice and vague and open- just how I like it. I didn’t get the diarrhea because the anti nausea meds they fecking blasted in to me bunged me up tighter than a Scotsman’s wallet. Anti nausea meds may cause constipation, they said. Drink plenty of fluids, they said. It feels like I’ve been visited at night by Evil Pharmaceutical Company Elves that have been packing concrete up my arse at an alarming rate. Like those fucking Stone Trolls out of ‘Frozen’ rolling around my bedroom with big tamping sticks for properly ramming that cement up my nipsy. Believe me, I’d really like to “Let It Go”. Sorry (cringe).

The steroids are no joke. Big doses with big effects. I get pretty jacked up by the end of the 5 day course, and it’s never easy for... any of us here at Casa Huttsez. The steroids are a big factor for us. In fact, I think I’m in the middle of a bloggers “Roid Rage” right now. Sorry if I’m a little agro- I’d much rather be chill. I’ve been working on breathing and getting stoned to ease the rage. All Hail Mighty Cannabis, the one substance through this process that I trust to actually help me. I haven’t told you guys to go fuck yourselves, have I? Just gotta check ‘cause, you know, “Roids”.

Steroid Man's face is actually that red.

Hair loss is a bit random. I haven’t gone the full-on-cancer-chrome-dome-no-eyebrows-alopecia yet, and I may not. I’ve got a dodgy sort of patchy looking thing going on, like a stubbly old half plucked chicken. Head and beard. It seems that a lot of the gray stayed on my beard and the darker hairs fell out more often than not. And the hair on my head has come back a bit patchy. I’m like the human equivalent of the worst factory farmed, steroid steeped chicken that you’d buy at ‘Smart N Final’ clearance warehouse, a chicken version of naked, old, shriveled and bald Arnold Schwarzenegger. I could still lose all my hair, we’ll see, but it just goes to show that side effects will vary from person to person. There is no way to tell what’s gonna happen...

"Cock-a-doodle-do!"

I have developed the olfactory senses OF A FUCKING BLOODHOUND! Every little whiff, good or bad, has been delivered like a hammer blow to my nostrils and when you’re feeling nauseous to start with, those smells will send you right up to the edge, if not straight over it into Vomitville. I’ve heard that people compare it to pregnant women’s morning sickness, and the resultant sensitivity to smells. Now that I can smell the litter box from my neighbor’s house INSIDE MY BRAIN, empathy with my pregnant sisters is at an all time high.

Every good moment is a joy. Every good day is a triumph. Look, I’ve had some utterly shit days so far, but I’ve had way more good than bad. There’s no need for me to be a  miserable old bugger about this- Mrs. Huttsez and the kids need (deserve) more from me. That’s how I keep my focus as strong as I can, because it’s hard. I have doubts and fears. I’ve yelled at the walls when the nausea was... testing my patience? Yeah, ok. The not so good bits make the good bits really, really good. That’s how it works. All this positive, cuddly shit brings me to the last- and most important- thing I’ve learned.

There are times through this process that my body will give in to the marauding bezerkers of The Clan RCHOP. Chemo is just too gnarly to get out unscathed and going into my treatment I never thought it’d be easy. Lo and behold, I’ve had different reactions from each individual infusion without rhyme or reason- my body gave in to the chemo. Ok fine, have the body. It’s only temporary, I’ll get it back thankyouverymuch. What the chemo can’t effect is my spirit. It can’t stop me from being a father and husband, or from saying “I’ll feel better tomorrow.” to Mrs. H. I’ve learned that breathing, visualization, walking, stretching, smiling all help me get through the bullshit, horrible parts and it works. The most important thing is to stay positive. If you think I’m being all corny well... fuck you, you rusty cockslice motherfucker! Oh shit, sorry! “Roids” (G-shrug).

I’m incredibly grateful for all the side effects that I have NOT experienced so far in my treatment. I will not name them, for to tempt fate is a fool’s game.

You know, that’s the bullet points and shit, there’s plenty more that I have learned through this process, but nobody likes a ranty, roid raging old guy and if you’ve gotten this far then you’ve already had to wade through some fury. I think you’ve done really well and thanks for putting up with me.

I have an image of my inner self battling the steroids for control of my mind like the scene in Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ where the guys get in the sexy knife fight while Eddie Van Halen shreds his solo and I win control over the steroid and we dance together with Michael. See? Creative and positive visualization. Boom. 

That’s it for now.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

 

Huttsez

‘...the unread voice of a generation.”

huttsez.com

 

gofundme link. Thank you to all who have helped, I am humbled.

Friday
Jun242016

Huttsez's Guide To Cancer Commiseration 6/24/16

I’ve had some people reach out to me and ask- “What should I say to my friend that just got diagnosed with cancer? I don’t want to say the wrong thing.” and “My coworker is going in for chemotherapy, what can I say or do to help? Is there anything I shouldn’t say?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I only had three people write to me. I’m not trying to be some cancer advice Ann Landers spreading my sage counsel across the interwebs, and I’m not exactly being flooded with correspondence- I mean you know, three. I’m just a cannabis medicated cancer patient with a laptop, a part time blog, and a lot of time on my hands. And they asked, which got me thinking about writing this entry.

The final factor that kicked me out of ‘thinking’ and into ‘writing’ happened yesterday. I was on the phone with a friend and he was telling me that his business partner’s dad had recently been diagnosed with a hardcore late stage cancer. 

“So, I told my buddy to let me know if there was anything I could do to help, and he goes ‘What are you gonna do? It’s cancer.’ I felt like shit you know?” I could tell that my mate was genuinely bummed about his friend’s dad, and that he’d somehow said the wrong thing. 

“Look, man, your friend is just hurting right now, give him some time. That being said, maybe you could offer to help him with errands and chores, stuff he won’t have time to keep up on ‘cause he’ll be helping his dad through some heavy treatment. It’s a great way to help. Picking up groceries, shit like that. It’s been super helpful for me when friends have helped this way.” 

I was bummed for my friend, ya know? He felt genuinely bad about “saying the wrong thing” and he sincerely meant his offer of help. Hell, he had called me to see if I wanted some FREE cannabis hard candies to help with my treatment! He’s a helping kind of guy. And I don’t think he said anything wrong, he just didn’t say anything right (at least from his friend’s perspective). Instead of saying ‘let me know if there’s anything I can do’, my friend could have been more specific, by offering up more detailed help.

So, what do you and don’t you say about everyone’s favorite uncomfortable topic? Let’s throw some shit at the wall and see what sticks, shall we?

 

Huttsez’s GuideTo Cancer Commiseration

or

How To Avoid Coming Across Like A Dick When Your Mate Gets Cancer

 

 

Don'ts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t tell a cancer story where the person fucking dies. 

Yes, this is actually a thing. Goes something like this-

“Yeah, my aunt had lymphoma. The chemo was really brutal and she lost like 30 pounds, and dropped below a hundred. She fought hard for two years but passed away because the fight was too much for her. Fuck cancer, man! I totally miss her all the time.”

And then your friend who has the cancer ends up having to either (A) console you- which is odd- or (B) tell you to shut the fuck up already- which would suck. Usually the choice would be to console you, thus completely missing the whole point of helping. Doh. 

Don’t bombard your friend or loved one with miracle cures.

“Hey! Have you checked this out yet?! This stuff looks legit.”

www.nocancermushoom.com (don't click on this, I made it up!)

Your sick friend then clicks on some website selling a crazy expensive Japanese mushroom, that when brewed under exacting conditions and administered in lunar patterns has cured cancer. Your friend then wonders if you actually checked it out, or if you just read the title and copied the link.

 

“Have you seen this guy’s video?!”

www.twoweeknocancer.com (yeah this one's made up, too)

And it’s a link to a two hour youtube seminar that claims it’ll cure your cancer in two weeks, ffs! Listen very closely now, ok? Unless you’ve watched the whole fecking thing, had and then cured your own cancer in two weeks, don’t send that link. No one with a life threatening disease wants to be taunted with the dream of good health in some wonderfully impossible short time.

 

“Dude, you’re all over the turmeric, right?”

If your friend is drinking the chemo juice, like myself, they’ve been told to stop all supplements during treatment. But, yeah dude, I had been all over the turmeric. And I still got cancer. See where I’m going with this?

Look, having cancer is pretty stressful and offering a lot of information about chemo-complimentary-alternative-treatment might make your friend or loved one feel more stress. Maybe they’d feel that with so many alternative treatments,  chemo was the wrong choice, ya know? Hey, here’s a good idea! You could buy them a massage! That would rock your friend’s world, girl. Awww yeah. (hint hint) ;)

Don’t post bald, sick cancer pictures. That’s up to the person with cancer.

You visit your friend who’s going through cancer treatment and take some pictures together which you post online. She’s lost her hair and eyebrows and isn’t looking her pre-cancer best. She knows it, you know it, everyone knows it. The comments, however, don’t know it-

“Looking good! Thinking of you!”

“Beautiful!”

“Gorgeous”

“Stay strong, Pretty Lady!”

Of course the comments are going to say that, especially as the alternatives are not so great-

“Wow! You look like shit bald!”

“You used to be so hot, sorry about the cancer, lol!”

“Yikes.”

“Well, at least you can’t look much worse!”

“I’d love to say you look great, but you don’t. Hope you look better soon!”

“Whoa. Hey, have you got any extra pills?”

You get the picture. Don’t post sick photos. Cool?

Don’t constantly tag your friend on every cancer article or video you come across.

“Watch this computer simulation of a cancer cell DESTROYING a healthy cell!”

“Chemotherapy- You’re Doing It ALL WRONG!”

“Stop The Chemo, It’s Giving You MORE CANCER!”

“BREAKTHROUGH CANCER TREATMENT! New treatment can CURE YOUR CANCER!” 

Sigh.

Let me just show you what it’s like in the brain of someone with cancer. And by ’someone’ I mean ‘me’.

Cancer, cancer, cancer, please don’t vomit, cancer, cancer, cancer, weed, cancer, cancer, cancer, food, cancer, cancer, sex, cancer, cancer, please don’t vomit, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer, weed, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer. Cancer, cancer. Sex, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer, weed, cancer. Cancer. Sex. Cancer. Please don’t vomit. Cancer, cancer, cancer.

Tag them on a kitten video instead. 

Don’t suggest joining cancer support groups, unless you’ve had cancer and been to one yourself.

We will seek out what help we need, when and how we need it.

Depending on the seriousness of your friend or loved one’s cancer, maybe avoid sending them funeral invitations, yeah?

No comment.

If you travel to see a friend or loved one who is sick, make sure you have your own accommodation, transportation, and child care.

Be there to support, don’t be a burden. Sadly this has to be said. Get your own rental car, cook meals, don’t be a dick. Help.

Ok, so now we can move on to the do’s.

 

 

 

Do's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think that the most important thing to remember is BE SPECIFIC with your offers of help. Don’t be all open ended like my friend when he said (and meant!) “Let me know if there’s anything I can do help.” Get specific on their cancer-having arses. Here ya go-

Do offer to bring precooked meals.

This is a huge one. Cooking is a big daily task, and nutrition is a crucial element in health, so put some grub on the table. Set up a food train of people who can bring tasty, healthy meals. Check and see if there are any dietary restrictions. My family signed up for a free program that delivers pre-cooked meals for four days of the week, and it’s a massive help. All that time spent on cooking and clean up can now be spent resting and relaxing with the fam. Result! 

Do offer to run errands.

Groceries, post office, dry cleaning, whatever. It’s the mundane, everyday stuff that gets pushed aside because there’s not enough time. You can really help. Maybe shoot  your friend or their spouse a text-

“Hey, I’m out and about running errands. Need anything from the grocery store? Pharmacy? Wanna hang out a bit?”

Boom! Help given successfully. 

Do offer to help with child care.

Take their children to do something fun, ya know? It’s good for the kids to get a break from ‘sick world’ (which is stressful for them), and the adults can relax a bit too. Keeping my kids as happy as I can is a major motivator for me as I go through this shit. You can totally help in this area.

Do offer to help with chores.

If you show up at your friend’s house to clean their toilet, you will have a friend for life. If you have some handyman skills, all the better. If you don’t have time to physically clean or fix stuff, then send them a cleaning service as an alternative. And don’t just do it once either, keep helping throughout your friend’s whole treatment. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate help with cleaning. It’s huge. 

Do help financially.

You know what sucks? Not being able to properly support your family. Yeah, there’s a little disability coming in, but that’s never enough. If you want to help in a significant way, do some fundraising for you friend. Set up and manage a gofundme or some shit. This one is also huge. 

Here’s a little perspective- I haven’t worked full time since the end of March, so it’s financially tight. It’s a very emasculating feeling to go being from the provider to being a financial burden. Truth.

The help we have received through online donations has brought tears to my eyes multiple times. I will be forever indebted to the kind folks who have helped me and my family with their donations. Thank you.

Do hang out.

That’s the shit right there, yo. Friendship, love, togetherness. Boom. Go hang out with your friend. It’s often the best medicine there is.

And there you have it- Huttsez’s Guide To Cancer Commiseration.

In a nutshell, offer specific help and follow through. Cancer patients love to hear kind words, but it’s the kind deeds that separate the wheat from the chaff. Don’t tell stories where people die of cancer, just don’t. Be kind, and help your friend laugh.

By the way, here’s something you can say that’s bulletproof-

“I’m really sorry this is happening to you, it sucks. Sign me up for toilet cleaning while you’re doing your treatment, I’ll start next week. You can let me know then what else you’re gonna need. Oh, and I’ll bring some cake. And weed.”

Friend.

For.

Life. 

 

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading. See you soon.

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

huttsez.com

 

gofundme link. Help if you can, thanks!