All that you can’t leave behind


It seems every day I run into people at work or just in the community who are generally dissatisfied if not downright belligerent. The holiday season definitely aggravates this. I often wonder what is behind the actions and words I hear from them. Most of the time, it’s because they want something they think they are entitled to (for whatever reason) and are not getting. Other times, I think it’s really something else going on in their lives that is really driving the bad behavior. I read a good blog post by my friend Brad Warner (here) about what he terms “the Iguana effect”. For those of you who don’t want to read his post, basically it boils down to this: when we are provoked by or threatened by someone or something we don’t think we can fight against, we usually lash out at someone or something we think we can (ie. Family, friends, or your friendly neighborhood VA nurse).  I will say that it is particularly unsafe to point this out to your wife when she is mad, unless you like sleeping on the couch.


It is a pretty good explanation, but I think there is a little more to it. We are all generally dissatisfied with something. Our jobs, financial situation, golf game…whatever. We feel the need for better. Satisfaction just isn’t built in to our DNA. Or maybe it’s a cultural thing. We’ve all been told from a very young age not to settle. Some of us just can’t accept that we will always be bad golfers, so we keep grinding away trying to get a better result (if that isn’t the definition of insanity I don’t know what is). And I’m quite sure the messages we get from the media and other people don’t really help. You’ve got an iPhone 4? Well you NEED an iPhone 5S. Your car is a 2006 model? You really should trade that old junker in on a new car. I could go on, but the point is why? Why can’t we ever seem to be satisfied? I have a great life, a great family, a good job, my health, and a nice place to live. That should be enough. And it is for the most part. I mean, I’m generally aggravated at the fact that I can’t hit a 3 foot putt, but in the grand scheme of things, who cares?


Maybe those people I see that are mostly disagreeable have one of those elements out of whack. Maybe a family member is sick, or their job really sucks, or nobody sent them a Christmas card and they are just lashing out like the iguana whose had his tail yanked. Could be they weren’t able to provide their loved ones with the Christmas presents they wanted. Maybe they’re just a jerk. I try to put myself in their shoes and have compassion. Of course that doesn’t always work, or I figure their motives are less than noble and I can be a little harsh in judging them.


Sorry if this comes off too preachy. Not my intent. Just thinking out loud (or in print). I try to remind myself daily how fortunate I truly am (again I refer to the hot wife, just hot in a different sense). Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you are as fortunate in the upcoming year as I have been this past year.




Relapse – and not the record label

Time for an update. It’s been a while.

Starting the end of July, I thought I had a cold. Maybe the flu. Just felt like crap. Figured maybe surfing in the nasty Pacific I had picked up an infection. Lost my appetite. Every once in a while I would gag on something and vomit. Got down to eating very little (like a chicken nugget for the day). Progressively, the vomitting became more frequent and I had persistent nausea. I went back to my onc, repeat CT showed all clear. Prescribed a few different things for nausea, tried this, tried that, no luck. Somewhere along the way I developed a limp. Foot drop to be exact. I had a small peripheral neuropathy on my right foot from the vincristine, but it progressed to my whole foot being numb and loss of function. I wrote it off to a bad back, must have slipped a disc. No biggie right. Well after a month of denial and daily projectile vomitting, my Onc convinced me to go inpatient and figure out what was going on. An MRI revealed 2 spots on my brain stem, 1 on the 3rd ventricle, and a tumor on my spinal cord right in the area to cause the foot drop.

Relapse. The worst word ever right. And not just relapse, but the 1% in a million relapse. It’s not supposed to come back, especially not in the CNS. I have to say I was devastated. The prognosis the first time around was reasonable. This time…not so good. There’s just not enough research or cases to have good numbers. No standard protocol for this. My Onc quickly referred me to UCSD Cancer center to see a specialist in lymphoma. A few days later, I was inpatient, started the new chemo plan, rituxan – Methotrexate – ARA -C. The plan is 3x of RMA ( I go in for round 2 Thursday) then on to a bone marrow transplant. And lots of fingers crossed prayer filled days.

I can’t lie, this time around it has been very difficult to stay positive. This chemo regimen has been brutal. I can’t do much of anything without getting short of breath. Last time I was running 3-5 miles every other day between treatments, now i can barely walk because of my foot problem. The neuropathy in my leg has become very painful (just started gabapentin for that yesterday). My labs have been all over the place. Platelets, potassium, and everything in between. I don’t feel like I’ve recovered from the last round and it’s time for the next one. I’m not looking forward to it.

I guess that’s it. At least up to this point. Certainly there is more than enough fight left to go, but there’s plenty of fight left in me. So I am going at it UFC style. Full bore.

Okay, enough miserableness. The next entry will be a positive one. As always, thank you for reading, and thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate every one.