This post is not for everyone

About a month or so ago, I was talking to my mom and she told me that one of her friends had read up on my blog and commented on how much she liked my last post. I said thanks, that's nice, but then thinking of what was my most pressing ailment at the time, added "Wait 'til she reads my next one about how my asshole hurts." We laughed. It was funny.

Sometimes you blink and a month has gone and you don't really know where and then you get texts from good friends asking you how you are, you know, since you have not updated your blog in so long. They are texts and calls out of genuine concern, but they do succeed, whether they intend to or not, in guilting me into sitting down and updating the blog. My own guilt is heavy, yes, but theirs apparently does the trick even better.

During the month when I was not updating the blog, I thought about what to write about- what truths have I learned this month that those not in chemotherapy have been unlucky enough to miss out on? What can I share? I'm sure it has been something, but maybe it has yet to solidify as a pithy aphorism or life lesson. Maybe it's nothing. I don't know. But you know what is true today that was true then? My asshole still hurts- much worse than it did when I first made that crack to my mom.

So let this be a warning to anyone who may wish to stop reading now: THIS POST, FROM HERE ON DOWN, WILL MOSTLY BE ABOUT THE STATE OF MY ASSHOLE, AND OTHER PHYSICAL AILMENTS

You have been warned. Turn back now if you want no part of it.

I have tried dozens of times to start writing in a journal. I am no good at it. I am sure I could get better, but I never really know what to say? Do I make it just a play-by-play of my days, or do I talk about how I feel about everything? Do I write it as if one of my grandchildren will someday find it (and be bored enough with their own lack of goings-on to actually read through it), or do I write with the candor of private, ephemeral thoughts? I never know, so my writing always seems stilted and too formal, and I start sentences laboriously, with "Such is the..." and stuff like that.

But there is value to it. It was a either a wise man or my pal Sam Wooden who said something like this to me: We remember our lives in chunks. That is true. I remember that 2008 was a great year. I remember the same about 2006. But do I remember the day-to-day? The shitty days in the great years, or the best days of the forgettable years? Barely. I remember big chunks: the summer of '06, December '04, January '09- but don't press me on details. That's why a journal is a great idea, and that is why it's a bummer that I am a flop at maintaining one.

So my version of a journal is this blog, and a weekly entry; well, I guess that's my version of what would be, in an ideal practice, a daily one. And like I said, it's much better for me to write to someone, or someones, than to myself. But then, if these people exist, what do they want to read? Or what don't they want to read about? I am pretty sure that they don't want to read about my asshole and its current issues. Pretty darn sure.

But don't they want the truth? The real truth, and the down and dirty shit about what's going on? I think they do. No asshole talk, but gimme the truth- which is it?

To this day, I don't think I know what cancer feels like. I might have been a little tired over the past year or so, but I don't have my finger on any kind of acute "cancer" symptoms, other than the night sweats.

Chemotherapy- now that's some shit I do know. How sick and itchy you feel when the poison is going in, the dread you feel the night before and especially when you are trying to get out of bed too early in the morning to go to treatment. The instantaneous and fleeting and gagging taste of heparin in your mouth as they flush out your port.

The first week I learned what it was like have serious havoc played with your GI system- from constipation to stabbing stomach pains. Trying so hard to shit I could have read Gravity's Rainbow during one trip to the bathroom. Luckily, those symptoms have subsided, but one has risen, seemingly out of nowhere, to become King of my physical banes: a torn, bleeding anus.

The worst thing is, I have taken all the precautions prescribed to prevent such a thing: I eat oatmeal and fruit, I drink plenty of fluids, I take Senna-S, I take Miralax. I exercise. I do all the things the pros usually prescribe, assuming that the patient is a dehydrated, sedentary, obese, fruit-averse Krispy Kreme addict. If I was one of those, I might have some reasonable recourse. But I'm not, so I'm like what now?

One funny aside: I was looking online to address this problem, and one relatively reputable medical advice site warned "While it may be tempting to use a mirror or have a friend look..." I admit, I have thought about the mirror thing. But I would definitely- definitely- not classify it as "tempting."

So now I dread taking a shit. It's not that bad really considering it is just once or maybe twice a day, but the actual act is pure torture. At the beginning you trick yourself into thinking that maybe this time won't be so bad, and some aren't as bad as others, but most are excruciating. The best way I can describe it is that it's like you are shitting out something that has one or two sharp, craggy edges. I hope that made you cringe. It's the worst. You're lucky if it is quick. Sometimes the pain persists after you're done, and it's like you are carrying a lava rock in your asshole. I'm telling you, it is not fucking pleasant. And I told you you didn't want to read this.

The point of this is, I am constantly "aware" of my anus right now. It does not always hurt, but I can always feel it, which is not the normal blissful state of things. Really- you don't know how good you've got it when you're walking around, whistling maybe, with anything but your searing asshole on your mind.

That's my main medical gripe right now. After that is the neuropathy, which is numbness/tingling (and I would add /pain) to the extremities- my feet mostly, especially since I have been working on my feet about three nights a week. When the night is over it feels as if my feet have been filled with some super-dense, sensate, electrified goo, with intermittent regular old pain. This feeling makes sleeping tough. Hydrocodone makes it easier, fortunately, but hydrocodone also makes it easy to love hydrocodone, so I have been doing my best to avoid it whenever possible, substituting some remedies that are less "accepted" by the medical and legislative establishments of this state. Unfortunately, hydrododone has the edge re: preserving functionality; some medicines, even in modest, semi-Clintonian doses, reduce my cognitive abilities to the point that I am only to be trusted with the preparation and consumption of raisin bran and watching Girls on HBO GO.

I am happy to report that I am in the middle of a visit from my parents; my mom has been here for a week, and my dad arrived yesterday for a shorter but more meal-intensive visit. We hit Baja Burrito today for lunch, and I am off to meet them at DeSano pizza in a few minutes. My pal Scott Uyeda was here about two weeks ago, and we succeeded in eating out a lot, but failed to consume the six fantastic wines he brought along. Four are in the basement, awaiting his next visit.

I am working more, which is a shot in the arm to my finances, though I already miss the days of being home every night to, well, watch Girls with Caitlyn. And Jeopardy. And cook and read and go to bed early. These have been the bonuses of living the invalid life, and I guess the good news is that I am feeling good enough to go back to work.

The blog will remember the sweaty nights and the pain in the ass and the nausea, and I will leave it there. But there is a real sense, already, that I am going to miss the part of my life that consisted of me being home every night for about 2 1/2 months. The details might fade away, and I hope they do, but that is the chunk I am always going to remember.