In June of 2012 I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. That kicked off more than a year of drama that involved four surgeries, three endoscopies, three PET scans, 17 days in the hospital (6 of which were in the ICU), ten different doctors, around three dozen separate doctor’s office visits, countless blood draws and other diagnostic tests, roughly $2 million in medical bills, and innumerable dealings with the insurance company to make sure that I only had to pay a relatively small portion of that amount. To help keep myself sane and so that I wouldn’t have to tell the same story over and over and over every time someone asked me “how are you?” with a sympathetic head tilt, I wrote about it. Here’s how it happened…
It Should Be in the Employee Manual
The day I found out I had esophageal cancer
Removing the Asterisk
The cancer is worse than originally believed
My unhealthy relationship with food and how it caused cancer
Photographic Evidence: Before 5
Proof that until I was 5 I was blonde, blue eyed, and thin
Photographic Evidence: Post 5
Proof that after I was 5 things went downhill
Ties that Binder
All about the organizational binder I have created and why spreadsheets give me comfort
Beauty School Dropout
I finally meet with the surgeon
Annoying Thing About Cancer #37
Annoying Thing About Cancer #24
My Food Bucket List
All the stuff I want to eat before I can’t eat them anymore
All the World’s a Stage
About the different types and stages of esophageal cancer
It’s All Making Sense Now
I meet with the oncologist and realize that I’m being prepared for bad news
The Last Steak
Me and a bunch of friends go out for what may be my last steak ever
Taking Me Down off the Ledge
I talk to my gastroenterologist and he makes me feel a little better
Why I hate not having a plan
My PET scan is scheduled
Things That Go Bump in the Night
An infection and a “shadow” on an x-ray scare the crap out of me
‘Cuz You Got To Have Friends
A friend sends me a care package
Annoying Things About Cancer #16
We Now Interrupt This Program
The night before my PET scan I need a distraction
I get my PET scan
Asterisk II: Revenge of the Asterisk
The results of my PET scan come with another asterisk
Vertical Expression of a Horizontal Desire
I geek out after seeing Twitch and Alex dance
Tugging on Superman’s Cape
I meet with the cardiothoracic surgeon
Figures of Echoes
Conversations with dead people
August 17th: On This Day in History
My surgery is scheduled
In which I spend too much time on the Internet
Those Who Are Tardy Do Not Get Fruit Cup
Things I do at 4am when I can’t sleep
A Serious Error in Judgment
I learn the gory details… warning: not for the squeamish
I get my first second opinion and meet a robot
Reactions to cancer may vary
Fight or Flight
How I’m dealing with cancer
I get my second second opinion
A Picture is Worth…
My last GOOD meal
About My Upcoming Spa Day
Bowel prep, surgery, and visiting me in the hospital
Some thoughts on my so-called life (not the TV show, but a little of that too)
Update on Rick’s Magical Surgical Tour
A guest author provides an update after my surgery
Missive from the ICU Bed
My first post-surgery quote
Oh the life of a Burbank Borg
Complications ensue after the surgery
Less Hardware, More Lucidity
I make it out of the ICU
I’m Still Standing, Ow, Ow, Ow
My first post after the surgery
I recount what I remember of the day of the surgery
I am home, finally, and I recount the complications that nearly killed me
Hey, Where Did That Giant Cheeseburger Come From?
What I remember from the hospital (hint: not much)
What I Want vs. What I Get
The recovery is going very slowly
I get the tube taken out and finally see an improvement
Yeah, it’s back
Stupid stuff a cancer diagnosis makes you think about
The Last Place I’ll Ever Live
Why I need to clean my apartment more often.
Once More With Feeling
Another day, another cancer surgery.
Frequent Hospital Flyer Miles
I wind up with a longer than expected hospital stay but maybe not cancer
Putting the hospital in the rear view
Violet Newstead, Please Hold
Do I have cancer or not? Well…
I find the word of the day in an unexpected place.
I’m not making it, I’m drinking it.
King of Pain
I’ve got a song stuck in my head.
The Million Dollar Man
I keep waiting for cancer to make me a better person.
Why I’m traveling to another state for a sandwich.
Would You Look at the Time!
The make or break tests have been scheduled.
A Year in the Life
I get some much needed good news.
In which I can finally say I am cancer free.
The day I got my scars.