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The Year of Living with Cancer

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
Posted 6/12/12

Removing the Asterisk
The cancer is worse than originally believed
Posted 6/26/12

Discomfort Food
My unhealthy relationship with food and how it caused cancer
Posted 7/1/12

Photographic Evidence: Before 5
Proof that until I was 5 I was blonde, blue eyed, and thin
Posted 7/2/12

Photographic Evidence: Post 5
Proof that after I was 5 things went downhill
Posted 7/3/12

Ties that Binder
All about the organizational binder I have created and why spreadsheets give me comfort
Posted 7/5/12

Beauty School Dropout
I finally meet with the surgeon
Posted 7/9/12

Annoying Thing About Cancer #37
Posted 7/10/12

Annoying Thing About Cancer #24
Hold music
Posted 7/11/12

My Food Bucket List
All the stuff I want to eat before I can’t eat them anymore
Posted 7/12/12

All the World’s a Stage
About the different types and stages of esophageal cancer
Posted 7/13/12

It’s All Making Sense Now
I meet with the oncologist and realize that I’m being prepared for bad news
Posted 7/13/12

The Last Steak
Me and a bunch of friends go out for what may be my last steak ever
Posted 7/15/12

Taking Me Down off the Ledge
I talk to my gastroenterologist and he makes me feel a little better
Posted 7/15/12

Ambivalent Indecision
Why I hate not having a plan
Posted 7/17/12

PETting Zoo
My PET scan is scheduled
Posted 7/18/12

Things That Go Bump in the Night
An infection and a “shadow” on an x-ray scare the crap out of me
Posted 7/20/12

‘Cuz You Got To Have Friends
A friend sends me a care package
Posted 7/21/12

Annoying Things About Cancer #16
Waiting rooms
Posted 7/22/12

We Now Interrupt This Program
The night before my PET scan I need a distraction
Posted 7/23/12

Radioactive Donuts
I get my PET scan
Posted 7/24/12

Asterisk II: Revenge of the Asterisk
The results of my PET scan come with another asterisk
Posted 7/25/12

Vertical Expression of a Horizontal Desire
I geek out after seeing Twitch and Alex dance
Posted 7/29/12

Tugging on Superman’s Cape
I meet with the cardiothoracic surgeon
Posted 7/31/12

Figures of Echoes
Conversations with dead people
Posted 8/1/12

August 17th: On This Day in History
My surgery is scheduled
Posted 8/2/12

Cancer Porn
In which I spend too much time on the Internet
Posted 8/5/12

Those Who Are Tardy Do Not Get Fruit Cup
Things I do at 4am when I can’t sleep
Posted 8/7/12

A Serious Error in Judgment
I learn the gory details… warning: not for the squeamish
Posted 8/7/12

Cancer Bingo
I get my first second opinion and meet a robot
Posted 8/9/12

Say Anything
Reactions to cancer may vary
Posted 8/12/12

Fight or Flight
How I’m dealing with cancer
Posted 8/13/12

I get my second second opinion
Posted 8/13/12

A Picture is Worth…
My last GOOD meal
Posted 8/14/12

About My Upcoming Spa Day
Bowel prep, surgery, and visiting me in the hospital
Posted 8/15/12

21 Words
Some thoughts on my so-called life (not the TV show, but a little of that too)
Posted 8/16/12

Update on Rick’s Magical Surgical Tour
A guest author provides an update after my surgery
Posted 8/17/12

Missive from the ICU Bed
My first post-surgery quote
Posted 8/18/12

Oh the life of a Burbank Borg
Complications ensue after the surgery
Posted 8/20/12

Less Hardware, More Lucidity
I make it out of the ICU
Posted 8/23/12

I’m Still Standing, Ow, Ow, Ow
My first post after the surgery
Posted 8/26/12

Lucky Charms
I recount what I remember of the day of the surgery
Posted 8/29/12

I am home, finally, and I recount the complications that nearly killed me
Posted 8/31/12

Hey, Where Did That Giant Cheeseburger Come From?
What I remember from the hospital (hint: not much)
Posted 9/3/12

What I Want vs. What I Get
The recovery is going very slowly
Posted 9/7/12

Cornering Ability
I get the tube taken out and finally see an improvement
Posted 9/18/12

Act 2
Yeah, it’s back
Posted 2/27/13

Random Thoughts
Stupid stuff a cancer diagnosis makes you think about
Posted 2/28/13

The Last Place I’ll Ever Live
Why I need to clean my apartment more often.
Posted 3/2/13

Once More With Feeling
Another day, another cancer surgery.
Posted 3/6/13

Frequent Hospital Flyer Miles
I wind up with a longer than expected hospital stay but maybe not cancer
Posted 3/8/13

Home Sweet
Putting the hospital in the rear view
Posted 3/10/13

Violet Newstead, Please Hold
Do I have cancer or not?  Well…
Posted 3/13/13

Hopelessly Devoted
I find the word of the day in an unexpected place.
Posted 3/14/13

I’m not making it, I’m drinking it.
Posted 3/28/13

King of Pain
I’ve got a song stuck in my head.
Posted 4/16/13

The Million Dollar Man
I keep waiting for cancer to make me a better person.
Posted 4/26/13

The Countdown
Why I’m traveling to another state for a sandwich.
Posted 5/15/13

Would You Look at the Time!
The make or break tests have been scheduled.
Posted 6/3/13

A Year in the Life
I get some much needed good news.
Posted 6/10/13

In which I can finally say I am cancer free.
Posted 7/24/13

The day I got my scars.
Posted 8/17/13