Friday, March 25, 2011

Yes, I have cancer. And you thought I was a Scorpio.


So, this guy walks into a doctor's office. "Doc," he says, "I've lost sight in my right eye, and I'm so anemic I look like the Michelin Man in a snowstorm. I've had some kind of test, scan or probe every day for going on three weeks now. I've even discovered that the big difference between a colonoscopy and an upper G.I. is the way the camera tastes. So what's wrong with me?"

The doctor says, "Do you want the good news, or the bad news, first?"

The guy says, "Gimme the bad news first."

The doctor says, "Okay, you've got stomach cancer. The good news is, it's small, isolated, hasn't spread to any other organs or lymph nodes, and we can whack it with chemo before we hack it out, and you can get on with your life. And if you hadn't had the eyesight problem, we probably never would have known until it had really spread."

The guy's face goes as white as a big white thing. He says, "Wow. Uh, wow. Um, I think I'd like a second opinion."

The doctor says, "Okay, you're ugly, too."


Cue the audience for groans and titters of nervous laughter.

Unfortunately, I'm the guy.

Honestly, after the past three weeks, I feel as good as anyone could feel after they've been told they have a live hand grenade inside of them. If left alone in a room for five minutes with nothing but a knitting needle, a bottle of bourbon and a flashlight, I swear I would have gone in after it myself, just to get rid of it.

So the straight story is this. I start chemotherapy a week from Monday, once they determine the toxic chemicals won't make me keel over from a heart attack. I'll be fitted for a stylish and futuristic chemo pump to wear for two months, which will make me a real hit at TSA checkpoints. I'll be on chemo for three weeks, then they will go in and machete out the tumor, followed by another three weeks of more chemo. After which I'll be my old curmudgeonly self again.

Cancer, schmancer. No one is measuring me for a box, and I refuse to let anyone buy a new black suit for me unless I reach my target weight on my own. As Woody Allen said, "I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens." So I'm taking a rain check for at least another 30 years or so, and I'm planning on being the patient from Hell.

All in all, an enforced rest is probably what I've needed for a while, but all things being equal, I'd much prefer getting a tan and sipping umbrella drinks on the French Riviera than getting strapped to a Barcalounger watching the Today Show with an IV stuck in my arm and my beard falling out. But as I recall, there's an old bromide about beggars and choosers.

The pragmatic side of this mess has been that I've had to cancel all speaking events in April. As I reported last week, I am indebted to Brother S. Brent Morris for stepping in for me in Albuquerque, NM next weekend. It's just too early in this process for me to know whether I can participate in the other engagements I have accepted in May or June. The doctors say it all depends on how this progresses, so I promise I will contact those folks privately as soon as I know what my next steps are along this rocky path.

Many, many thanks from both Alice and me for the literally hundreds of messages, emails and phone calls of good wishes, positive vibes, dirty limericks, prayers and offers of assistance. We are both truly appreciative of everyone's concern. More to the point, I am blessed to know so many people from literally all around the world, and I cannot tell you how humbling and strengthening your thoughts and prayers have been. They are much appreciated.

23 comments:

  1. I was about to offer my best wishes, and suddenly I thought "Man, dirty limericks would be way better than a damn Hallmark card." So here's one of my favorites.

    A stranded explorer named Lou
    Wired home for "two punts, one canoe"
    The reply came "OK.
    Two girls on the way
    But what in the hell's a panoe?"

    And west bishes for a reedy specovery.

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  2. Hope all goes well with your treatment and you're back on the road quickly!

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  3. I'm sending healing vibes your way, Brother. Good luck with the treatment. Also, I admire a person who can make bad news into a bad joke.

    Br. Moorberg

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  4. Tom: you're neither a Dummy nor an Idiot but a genius!

    A London newsboy named Grimes
    Was accused of horrible crimes.
    He delivered, he'd boast,
    Two Globes and a Post,
    And on Sunday he'd do it two times.

    Chris: You're in out thoughts and prayers. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

    Brent

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  5. Best wishes from Sparta Masonic Lodge in Sparta, TN. You're in our prayers.

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  6. I'm a cancer survivor as well, Brother. Persevere.

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  7. Good luck with the procedures, and we all plan for a speedy recovery!

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  8. Allow me to second Tom's and Brent's motion with:

    There once was a fellow O'Doole
    Who found a red spot on his tool
    His Doctor a cynic
    said Get out of me clinic,
    And wipe off that lipstick, you fool!

    Call me if you need to sue anyone.

    Halleran

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  9. This one got slipped under the electronic door last night.

    A builder named Hiram Abiff
    Was told by three Fellowcrafts if
    He didn't explain
    His two b...s they would cane,
    And that left him feeling quite stiff.

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  10. Hang in there Bro. Chris. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I look forward to seeing you soon.

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  11. Positive vibrations and prayers being sent your way Brother. Speedy recovery!

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  12. On a slightly topical note...

    A Kentuckian, in love with his horse,
    Found bestiality an irresistible force.
    When asked "D'you care
    if it's stallion or mare?"
    Replied, "A mare - I'm not gay, of course!"

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  13. My best wishes for a quick convalescence and speedy recovery.

    I am going to contribute a clean limerick about geniuses. All the dirty limericks I know are much too dirty for even me to recount.

    Three wonderful people named Stein
    There's Gert, and there's Ep, and there's Ein;
    Gert's poems are punk;
    Ep's statues are junk;
    And nobody understands Ein.

    W.Bro. Chris Hansen

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  14. Here's wishing you a swift and complete recovery. I still plan on giving you and Lady Alice a guided tour when the LDS Indianapolis Temple is completed and holds its public open house in a couple of years. That's plenty of time for you to grow the signature beard back, and refine your post-cancer curmudgeonly-ousity.

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  15. I once read some "clean" limericks. I think I was in grammar school. The problem is that the best limericks aren't just dirty - they're politically incorrect, sexist, and filthy. Since I don't know how far we can push poor Bro. Chris in his weakened state, we'll try to keep a bridle on them.

    There was a young tease from Mount Chesser,
    Who'd smile as the men would assess her.
    Flirtatious was she,
    Inviting them home to tea;
    But allowing not one to undress her.

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  16. Best Wishes & a speedy recovery my Brother. Get yourself together so we can meet in Chicago in August.

    Rick Powell

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  17. Brother Chris:

    I made a prayer to the Deity at High Twelve, on your behalf. I will continue to do so until you are Well. I greatly appreciate the Light you have shed on your website, articles and your books.

    God Bless

    SK Emmett George
    Godfrey No 5
    Member, Phylaxis Society
    MWPHGLIL

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  18. Sorry to hear about your condition Chris. I wish you a speedy recovery as well.

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  19. Chris,

    You don't know me from Adam, and I haven't always agreed with your views on things, in fact, your viewpoints sometimes annoy the H*ll out of me, but you have always made me think and I enjoy your work a lot.

    Keep kicking! I want to be disagreeing with what you write for years to come!

    Eoghan

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  20. Heh. I intend to be an annoyance for years to come. And thanks.

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  21. Chris! All the best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery! Rolf

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  22. Brother Hodapp,

    My best wishes for a speedy recovery and I hold you in my prayers. You have done wonderful things for the fraternity and I know you will continue to do more. The Great Architect of the Universe has many more plans for you.

    Especially considering that I am going to try and enlist your services for a Masonic talk in my year as Worshipful Master, 2013... :)

    Chuck,
    JW, W.K. Bray Lodge #410

    All kidding aside, I work in the medical field and they are tremendous advancements in medicine. You should not have anything to fear.

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