Cancer means you have to answer the phone

There's no hiding when the doctors call

Published December 3, 2009 1:03AM (EST)

Dear Reader,

You get cancer, you make changes. I switched to green tea.

I switched to green tea and my elbow stopped hurting. It's like cancer cured my elbow.

I try to be witty and breezy and it falls flat like we are in church. We are in church, in a way. Church of the no-bullshit life-or-death situation.

So I'll say this: My heart goes out to all my fellow patients now, as I can see how this stuff can mess with a person.

We walk around without a care in the world and then all of a sudden we've got appointments. Like all of a sudden you're a receptionist taking calls for the disease. The disease is running things; we're just its minions.

But we are creeping up on it too, creeping up on it with a big hammer and tongs, about to deliver a crushing blow.

The pain in my sacrum is like a dull-witted, half-drunk person knocking me with his backpack while we stand in line for the men's room. It is thick and persistent like a salesman trying to sell me something I never heard of. It is idiotic and unrelenting.

But it is not sharp or tormenting.

People say they are sorry I am sick but I am not sick like with the flu. It is more like being forced to wear a belt that has a lump in it. That is what it is like. It is like a lump pressing against me all the time. It is annoying and one wants to get rid of it but there's no drama. So far there are only appointments -- endless appointments.

I have arranged my life to avoid interruptions. I seclude. I announce I'm going into the box and then I'm gone. But now I have to take calls from doctors' offices. It throws me off. It took me all day to get to this point and now again I'm past deadline.

Plus they switched colorectal surgeons on us. I never met the first colorectal surgeon but I was getting used to her name. Now we have to get used to somebody else we've never met.

No complaints. We'll do this thing. They'll take out the lump and sew me up and I'll do rehab and try to charm the nurses.

Piece of cake.

p.s. Tomorrow I'll try really hard to actually answer a letter. But the calls! The constant phone calls!

We're still selling books out of the house, one at a time as long as they last!

SYA cover

Makes a great gift. Can be personalized for the giftee of your choice. Signed first editions on sale now.

What? You want more advice?

By Cary Tennis

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