As I move through the blogosphere that inhabits my own mind, I have decided to take a little time and write a few disclaimers about my next few blogs. I am currently writing a blog about my place of employment, which creates lot of potential pitfalls and probably is not a really smart thing to do. But in the meantime, here are a few disclaimers about not only the next couple of blogs, but about Fishrocks, the blog, in general.
As a person who gets his drugs delivered in a bio-hazard bag, I know a thing or two about disclaimers. My drug Xtandi comes with it’s own booklet of possible side effects and disclaimers. Last month I was talking to the pharmacist about some of the side effects, and she told me not to drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit because it could render the drug ineffective. Good to know! I must have missed that one in my booklet.
The cover of my Xtandi booklet. There are two shiny happy people fishing with a yellow lab. In case you can’t see it, the fish they are catching says Fight Back Against Advanced Prostate Cancer. That is a fishing trip I really want to go on!
A quick side note. I think it is funny to put my drugs near my son Travis’s stuff just to get a reaction. Especially his toothbrush. “Would you please keep your radioactive shit away from my toothbrush!” Cracks me up.
A side note to the side note. I should really leave Travis alone because he reads my blogs and gives me feedback on whether or not the blog has my “voice”. He read Flowers for Lupron and really liked it. I immediately got excited and exclaimed,” If you like that one, you should read The One Poop Rule! That one isn’t very cancery either!” Yep, in my excitement of Travis liking my blog, I turned cancer into an adjective.
Anyway, back to disclaimers. The drug disclaimers that are out there are pretty fascinating. My two favorites are “possible anal seepage” or “sudden death.”Seriously, if you hear the term “possible anal seepage” as a potential side effect of something that you put in your body, wouldn’t that make you say,”You know what? I don’t think the heartbreak of psoriasis is that bad. I can live with this.” This subject is pretty disgusting. Let’s move on.
“Possible sudden death” sounds like the ending of a very close football game, or the worst drug side effect ever. But what makes it even worse is at the end of the reading of all these possible side effects the announcer intones”If you experience any of these side effects, please consult your physician.” Really? After sudden death? Well, doc, you got your work cut out for you on that one. The drug was doing a really good job of keeping his cholesterol down, right up to the point where he suddenly and inexplicably, died.
The disclaimers, or the explanations that I’m talking about have more to do with this blog, how it started, and what I plan to do with it. I also will try to describe and explain what the next couple of blogs will be, and what they will not be. I realize I’m in the middle of a 4 blog series, but I feel some things need to be explained.
First of all, when I started this thing, I just really meant it as a way for me to blow of a little steam dealing with the wonderful continuing saga that is my cancer treatments. I put it on Facebook thinking that maybe a few friends and family would read it, and that they would kind of get an idea what I was going through. The original name was going to be something like “A year with cancer” or “My Cancer Journey” or something like that. And then I heard my boss at work referred to as “Fishrocks” by my co-worker Mike, and I thought, wow, that’s a great name for my blog! That’s all it took to go down this smart ass path that I am trying to travel at least twice a week. I still deal mostly with cancer and the effects it has on my life in this blog, but I try to look at the whole thing from my own slightly bent perspective. And the blog has kind of taken off.
Over the last month, I’ve posted 17 blogs. I have almost 1700 views, in 14 different countries around the globe. Obviously the most is here in the good ol’ US of A, but the United Kingdom is in second place. And there are a few obscure countries on the list. What up UAE??? This was totally unexpected and tremendously humbling. I think it is great that people are reading it, and I will try to keep writing as honestly as I can. My friend Steve has said of my blog,”Man, you really put it all out there.” I guess I do. I think that’s why some people read it.
Another thing I really wanted to stress in my blogs is not just the effects the disease and the treatments have on me, but also how it has effected what I do and the people I come in contact with. My job has been effected by it, in both good ways and bad. I used to be a zone leader, which is kind of like a being a foreman of about 10 people. In my next blog, I will talk about how I used to lead people before and after my diagnosis. I have changed a lot. That change has happened in personal relationships too. I will continue to write about this. It might get a little uncomfortable at times. Sometimes honesty is uncomfortable.
I’m also writing this blog so you muggles without cancer can hopefully understand what survivors go through. I recently had a conversation with my good friend Dr. Jon, who was the doctor that diagnosed me with prostate cancer. We discussed the fact that as a doctor, his main concern is getting his patient better, to get his patient’s numbers where they should be. I told him that I hope my blog will tell a bigger story, that it is more than just the numbers, that living well is more important than just living.
A quick word about numbers. The Patriots just won the Super Bowl 34-28 over the Falcons. If you just looked at the numbers and didn’t see the game, you would probably assume that yes, indeed, the Patriots won, and the game was relatively close. Anyone who watched that game can tell you the final score hardly says anything about how the game was actually played. It doesn’t convey how the Falcons got off to a big lead, and how in the fourth quarter the Patriots came back with a combination of amazing plays of both skill and luck. And how they won in overtime. It was incredibly compelling game. But you can’t tell that by just looking at the final score. My hope is people will read my blog and understand that there is a difference between just reading the numbers and seeing a living, breathing human being. My ultimate hope is people will read this and be helped by my experiences.
And finally, the last reason I am writing this blog is to give my friends and family a record of me, the person I am and the person I am becoming. I have said this before, but my cancer is trying to kill me. When my treatment zigs, my cancer zags. Eventually this will all come to an end with my demise. I’m not trying to be dramatic here, but I don’t see myself becoming a very old man. That’s just the reality of this thing. I hope someday to have grandchildren, but if I don’t get a chance to meet them or they are too young to remember me, Jeff and Travis can give this blog to their children and say,”Here, meet your Grandpa.” And my grandkids will say,”So that’s why you act like you do! This explains a lot!” Sorry, boys.
I am also writing this for the most important person in my life, the love of my life, my wife Holly. For years she has bugged me to start writing and that I had something to say about a bunch of different subjects. She might be regretting this now, because the beast is out of the cage. My hope is if I can keep writing, I will someday have enough for a book. And maybe that book will make life a little easier for her after I’m gone. Maybe it’ll make enough money to finally remodel the kitchen. Imagine that? An oven that actually works!
I love you, babe. Thanks for continuing to put up with me.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
And for the rest of you, thanks for reading.