P was a kid from another neighborhood but who’d we bump into from time to time in sports. THere were a million such kids who were long ago forgotten but P was memorable because he was a plus-sized kid (had metabolic issues) who was a fantastic athlete. He scored every point on his basketball team because of a deadly shot and hit long home runs in little-league baseball. When we were adults we played softball with him; he was still plus-sized and still a great athlete – he was a great infielder and hit long towering home runs once or twice every game. Later, he helped lead another team to a state softball championship… He wasn’t a happy-go-lucky guy, but *was* easy going and pleasant to be around, and I never remember him being angry or frustrated, not once… Just learned he is battling cancer that is likely terminal. Bleh. And double bleh.
Although I haven’t seen it in a year, I’ve watched the movie Biutiful twice – and loved it both times and am considering watching it again, since it is a dark and depressing day and it is almost Halloween and we don’t need ghosts to make life scary since life is plenty scary for many people all on its own… On the surface, it is a deeply depressing movie (Wife M hates it for that reason 🙂 ) about a two-bit criminal father with a conscience who is dying of cancer, and you get the feeling at the end that although he has tried to take care of the people he loves it is not going to turn out well for any of them (foreshadowed by the deportations/deaths of the alien workers he tried to “help” while exploiting at the same time). The story is real, raw, heartfelt and devastating, and I love that the father never stops trying. Like The Road (or Pursuit of Happiness), to me it is really about a father in difficult circumstances who is desperately doing the best he can for his kids. I find that part inspiring. Also, it is a seedy movie, and I love seedy movies – they show me a part of life I will never live (hopefully). And, finally, it makes me feel something. I love movies that make me feel something.
In many ways, the movie is not unlike Breaking Bad. Link: Biutiful
5 years ago this week my pulmonologist referred me to a thoracic surgeon for a lung biopsy after a high resolution ct scan (HRCT) without contrast showed all kinds of “ground glass” speckles in my lungs. The specks were everywhere, and I remember the doctor scrolling up and down through the image and my lungs looking like a starry sky (where the stars were something that shouldn’t be there 🙂 ) and thinking how strange it was to be looking at all those marks and realizing that was my lung.
They got me into the surgeon two days later, and the surgeon (who was awesome) made a few comments that were memorable… One was that the complications risk were generally low but that I had very sick lungs so it was important to be aware there could be complications from the surgery, and the other was when we asked him if he had any educated guesses as to what I had he looked at the scan, shook his head and said “it could be anything.” Five days later I had the surgery, and I still have the scars (they look like Walt’s scars in breaking bad, and I’m always surprised when I catch an image of them in the mirror at how noticable they are). Those were scary times and I was looking at a very real possiblity of having something fatal.
Fast forward five years and I am remarkably — miraculously — healthy. I still have lung disease and I now have autoimmune disease (which appeared later) and I will never be the same, but I am reasonably fit and look very healthy and – most importantly — am alive and not on an oxygen tank (50-50 chance of dying or having a crippling condition, which when its lungs can mean a lifetime of supplemental oxygen). I was looking at the real possibility of lymphoma, untreatable lung disease or lung cancer and it turned out that my disease responded well to treatment (it is not curable, and was possibly treatable, and it turned it did respond to treatment).
In two words, I feel “incredibly lucky.”
Since January, Wife M has not been feeling well. She has been pale, exhausted, had stomach pains and — most especially — had a daily fever between 99.5 and 100.5. The days when she is at 99.5 she just seems more tired than ususal; they days at 100.5 she is a shadow of her self: pale, rosy cheeked and exhausted. She has been going to various doctors for months trying to figure it out, and had to cancel her MCAT exam because she is so exhausted. We’ve been nervous that it could be a slow growing cancer or autoimmune disease (her doctor said fever is a sign of cancer, autoimmune disease, and infectious disease; also, some cancers are difficult to find/diagnose). This week she saw the infectious disease specialist, and she may have came back positive for a parasite that is easily treatable. What a relief that woudl be! It is not every day you say, “Good news, I have a parasite!!”
I love the ESPN documentary of the 1983 NC State National Championship. Inspiring, touching, interesting, funny, and nostalgic all at the same time. I watched it this evening for perhaps the 10th time hoping it would improve my fatigue — it didn’t work, but at least I enjoyed the film 🙂