Tag Archives: cancer

The Survivor

Elf on Patrol

I am trying to bounce back.  Yesterday I survived the possible end of the world.  No heart attack.  No asteroid hitting the Earth.  But also no writing contest win.  A huge delay in the publication of my novel.  My writing world is in danger of expiring because my life is winding down to its finale, and I’m running out of time.  I can still do it, though.  I have come back from down and out before.

In 1983 I had a mole removed from my face.  It wasn’t a vanity-type thing.  Removing it wasn’t going to cure ugliness or anything.  But it had gotten larger and had a strange color change.  So, my ancient and doddering Czechoslovakian  doctor removed it just to be sure.  As with any such removal, the excised tissue was sent to the lab for analysis.  Malignant melanoma in the very first stages.  At the time, the survival rate for such a cancer in Texas was less than fifty per cent.  But most cases were not discovered so early in the crisis.  I went back in for more surgery.  They ended up cutting a hole through my right cheek and stitching it back together again.  The new tissue underwent very close scrutiny and it was determined that all the dangerous cells had been removed during the very first surgery.  No evidence anywhere of creeping metastasizing cancer death.  It was decided that chemo-therapy would only do harm and would not help anything.  So I got to keep my hair.  It did eventually mean the removal of two more moles and three lumps, but they were all benign.  Cancer was fought off and beaten 33 years ago this month.  I am a cancer survivor.

I often marvel at the fact that I am still alive and still able to write.  I have had innumerable near misses.  Car accidents that didn’t happen by a matter of inches.  The skidding truck on the icy street in Iowa City missed the front tire of my bicycle by about three inches.  Facing down irrationally angry youths with weapons intending to strike out in anger, and somehow having the right words to calm them and prevent the tragedy.  One of them told me it was because he looked me in the eye and saw no fear there that he couldn’t do it, couldn’t strike me down.  By rights, I should be dead.  It is a supreme irony of life that an almost-atheist like me believes in guardian angels.

I don’t know what the ultimate goal is.  I don’t expect to be a wealthy published novelist like Stephen King.  I don’t know if it is even important that I break through the bookstore barriers and get my work on the shelves for a few paltry dollars.  It is really only important that I write.  This blog has become important to me because I have developed a small readership that actually reads and provides feedback.  I do occasionally reach the heart of people I don’t actually even know.  And I have made friends and relatives a little bit misty.  I have written 849 posts, posting every single day of 2015, and every single day of fifteen months in a row.  I have written six complete novels and gotten two actually into print with an ISBN number and everything.  My writing, like me myself, exists, and it will survive.  I am a survivor.


Filed under autobiography, healing, health, humor, novel plans, writing

The Happy Pessimist

“I’d rather be a pessimist because then I can only be pleasantly surprised.”

Benjamin Franklin

289513Truthfully, I have always expected the worst out of life.  That expectation has never let me down.  In fact, it has made me a much happier person.  “How is that possible, you dim-witted dolt?” you ask.  Well, just as Franklin said it.  I am never taken unpleasantly by surprised.  In 1983 when I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, skin cancer, I prepared myself to die at 27.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  I not only survived, but it was completely eradicated by surgery.  No chemo-therapy.  No recurrence.  No more cancer worries (beyond assuming each and every mole I had removed after that point in my life was melanoma revisited).  I can now celebrate 32 years of being cancer free.


Watching politics as a humorous hobby benefits greatly from a pessimistic outlook.  I just assume that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will win the Presidency in 2016, and I am preparing for that dismal dip into depressing gloom.  If Rodeo Clown Bush the Sequel gets elected, or Scott Walker gets the nod, the more likely scenarios, I will be pleasantly relieved and surprised, even though I will still be expecting the ultimate heat-death of the planet to come from those administrations.  If Marco Rubio gets the nod, better still.  He’s kinda young and stupid, but he’s demonstrated that he does care at least a little bit about the common man, and he doesn’t really want us all to die.  He’s even demonstrated the ability to learn from mistakes.  And if a Democrat wins, especially Bernie Sanders, that will be a repeat of the marvelous surprise we all got in 2008 from the election of Professor Obama, man of the people.  I will be preparing for the world to end after this next election, but there is actually a higher percentage chance of survival and limited suffering.  After all, people, even the mega-polluters in China and India. have recognized the need to try to repair the planet.


I was honestly, as a pessimist, expecting to be dead before the new school year started in 2015.  So I was pleasantly surprised to be able to start a new collection of morning-dog-walk sunrise pictures.  I am prepared and at peace with the world because I always expect the worst to be happening.  Looking at everything from the dark side is ironically the way to find the light and hope in the new day dawning directly ahead.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, pessimism