What Does Cancer Do To Your Life…

I have been struck by lightning more than once and if I were a better story teller I’d start with one of three songs…maybe.

Maybe being the operative word because I might pick from a bunch of others.

Except I can’t tell you I would choose anyone of those over any other or that I wouldn’t take an entirely different tack than what you see in those.

That is what happens when you are walking across an ice floe where you are not certain of your footing on the big or the small pieces.

Add the contradiction of my nature to charge ahead and adjust on the fly with the more cautious side that holds back.

Cuz the root of the issue is tied into knowing for damn certain that my gut is spot on and knowing that there is a mine field ahead and I haven’t a clue where the mines lay.

What Does Cancer Do To Your Life…

The docs told us a series of similar but slightly different tales about my dad’s diagnosis. I listened carefully and did my best to ask smart questions but wondered if my overall ignorance prevented me from asking the right question.

It reminded me of staring a chalkboard filled with equations knowing that I hadn’t studied enough to know what I was looking at cold but that I was smart enough to figure it out.

Except the consequences of not knowing and just winging it here are more severe.

I can’t rely upon being a super spy who always finds a way.

I want to listen to M and say I understand doing battle in the shadows and quote poetry that inspires because it is applicable and sound.

If I can’t rely upon my wits and educated guess to help dad get the best treatment I can do other things to help him.

I can remind him that at a hair short of 75 he may not be the same physical presence he once was but that doesn’t remove that hardass, refuse to yield mentality.

Once More Into The Breach

The docs, friends and family tell me chemo can and probably will do a bunch of things.

If it works it will stop the cancer from spreading and growing. Hell, it might even cause a tumor to shrink.

It will also do things to dad’s immune system and make him a little woolly headed at time.

“Josh, you know the cancer might not be the thing that kills him. There are other things that can happen.”

“I am grateful for that happy note. Are we talking about falling down the stairs, getting hit by a bus or taking a foul ball to the head at a Dodger game.”

My attitude doesn’t generate as big a smile as one might hope, hell it doesn’t manufacture any sort of smile.

If this were a movie about relationships she would tell me that I just talked myself out of makeup sex and I would say good,  “I refuse to have it with you.”

Or something like that, hard to say how it would go because I don’t know what I am going to say until I say it or do I.

Some people disagree with that and claim I always know and that I am a troll. I would say master baiter but some of you have filthy minds and would blame me.

You might be the same people who think it is ok for the president to talk about people with sleepy eyes and shit hole countries but refuse to give a comic the same license for lunacy.


Dad takes my hand and pulls himself up to a standing position.

“Dad, if you want me to carry you to the car I can do it.”

A few months earlier that would have earned a hard look and maybe a cheap shot. Let’s not forget the words, no let’s not forget the words that would accompany it.

When he lets me get away with it I know he really is tired. I understand but was hoping to get some fire from him.

Still the strength in his arms makes me feel a little bit better. Cancer may be waging a war but he hasn’t given in yet.

Later on I listen to his breathing while I drive and think how familiar the sound of his sleeping is.

It reminds me of conversations with my kids.

Sometimes they claim to have caught me sleeping on the couch or a chair.

“I am not sleeping.”

“Dad! You are snoring. The whole world can hear you!”

“I was faking it.”

“No way, we know what you sound like.”

They are right, they do just as I know exactly what my dad sounds like when he sleeps.

One Million Words

If the story from well above this paragraph was to be told it might also include this song as the narrator described how the typewriter was used for a one million word love story.

“Our heroes began as pen pals who didn’t exchange pictures until they had written 250,000 words about who they were, what they thought and what they hoped their lives would become.

Little did they know they would fall more in love than they had ever thought possible, especially when they had no idea what the other looked like.”

It would go on and paint a many layered painting that would provide depth and understanding while setting the stage for significant challenges because nothing that comes easy is valued.

Or something like that.

Maybe the story would include a series of covers of the same songs because it might provide a way to advance the story while the music conveyed different emotions.

Could be fun to go through the music and try to figure out what songs would be appropriate and it could be crazy making.


The telephone rings and I don’t need Caller ID to know who is on the other side.

I take a deep breath, close my eyes and say hello.

I make a few promises and listen to some others and talk about hard decisions and focus upon what has to be done.

Doesn’t matter what we do the hourglass never stops running and it wouldn’t matter if there was no cancer.

It would still run.

More time has passed and now I wonder if maybe one or both of these should be included too.

I  don’t know when the gun went off for this part of the race but I know the runners are ahead of me and I am driven to try to catch them.

Might not matter if I catch them but it matters that I try.

That is what cancer does.

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