Category Archives: Annoying Things About Cancer

TYOLD Day 71: False Alarm?

My Differently for today was going to get an ultrasound to try to find the rogue spots that showed up on my PET scan a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve had an ultrasound before but only an internal one done with the endoscopies (tubes and cameras and stuff down my throat) that I have to get regularly because of the cancer hooha.  This was the first traditional one I’ve had done with the goop and the wand and the random images that look like nothing to me but apparently mean something to the technician doing the procedure.

As she pointed out a spot on the screen I wanted to say “It’s a boy!” but I wasn’t sure she’d think it was funny.

Anyway, the radiologist found what she believed was one of the lymph nodes that the scan picked up and she agreed that it looked a little angry but not angry enough to worry about right now.  Neither the radiologist or the technician could find the second “tiny” spot at all, but agreed that it was in a difficult spot (under the collar bone) to see with the ultrasound.  She thought that getting a biopsy of the one they did see wasn’t exactly required but also not completely unnecessary either – basically she’s going to do her report and let Dr. Wile E. Coyote decide, and he’ll most likely say wait.

So while not exactly the “all clear” that I was hoping for (hence the question mark in the title of this post), it’s as close as I can get right now and I’ll take it.


TYOLD Day 69: Haven’t I Been Here Before?

I didn’t do anything actually different today I just did different versions of things that I feel like I’ve done a billion times already.  I went back to the Roy & Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center but I went to the third floor for the first time.  I sat in yet another waiting room – kinda bland – and filled out more forms.  Have I mentioned how much I hate all of the paperwork associated with cancer?  The good news is that now I’m smart enough to have all of the stuff I need for these kind of forms stored in a file on my phone – my medicine list, emergency contact information, family medical history back to the time my great, great, great, great, great grandfather came over from Bavaria.  I’m making that last one up but not by much.

The old man sitting behind me in the waiting room kept farting.  That was different.  I moved.

And most importantly was the different opinion that Dr. Wile E. Coyote had than what the other oncologist had.

Just in case you are coming to the party late, I had my regular check-ups a few weeks ago with a new oncologist, there were some irregularities in the tests so I did more, they found a spot under my armpit, and the new oncologist wants to wait because it’s too small to do anything about right now.  I ran into my former oncologist in a bathroom at Caesars Palace at 1 in the morning and that’s who I saw today for a second opinion.  Yeah, my life is that weird.


He is “worried.”  But also not totally worried.  Unlike the new oncologist, Dr. Kangaroo, who called me and said “this is what it is and don’t worry about it and I’ll see you in 3 months,” Dr. Wile E. Coyote showed me the test results, went over it line by line, explained what everything meant and also what it didn’t mean, and then actually examined me.

The short version is that there are actually two spots – one is a 1.1 cm “cyst lymph node” that has grown in size since the last scan (up from .7 cm) and is showing “hypermetabolic activity at a maximum SUV of 6.0.”  In layman’s terms, hypermetabolic means the lymph node is angry about something and SUV (Standardized Uptake Value) is how angry.  Anything above 2 is concerning.  There’s a second, even smaller lymph node that is also angry, but only a little bit with an SUV of 2.1.   Both are deep in my left arm pit.

These are the words you don’t want to see on your PET scan results: “suspicious for metastases.”

Okay, so that’s why Dr. Wile E. Coyote is worried.  But here’s why he’s also not worried: he is fairly dumbfounded that the other doctor said to go ahead and have the PET scan despite the fact that I had shingles when I got it.  Dr. Kangaroo said that wouldn’t matter while Dr. Wile E. Coyote said it could totally matter and could explain the results, especially since I had the shingles on the left side of my body and these lymph nodes are in the left arm pit.

He also explained that esophageal cancer rarely spreads to the lymph nodes in the arm pit without getting into the lymph nodes between the esophagus and the armpit first.  That’s both good and bad news, because if it is more than just anger at the shingles, it is probably something other than metastasized esophageal cancer – it could be some entirely other kind of cancer.  That would be different!

But he is still worried enough to want to do something about it so here’s what’s happening next: I am going to go get an ultrasound and they will try to find the lymph nodes that way and see if they are still angry now that the shingles have subsided.  From here it becomes one of those yes/no decision trees.

Question #1: Do the lymph nodes show up on the ultrasound?

a) If no, then it was most likely the shingles and I go back to my regular 4 month check up cycle.

b) If yes, then go on to question #2.

Question #2: Can a biopsy be taken of the lymph nodes?

a) If no, then I wait a couple of months and see if they grow and then do the biopsy.

b) If yes, they will take the biopsy right there – a needle in my armpit.  Fun!  Then go on to question #3.

Question #3: Is the biopsy malignant?

a) If no, then I wait a couple of months and do it again because there is a chance with something this small that they might not be able to get a good sample.

b) If yes, well then it’s a whole different kettle of particularly stinky fish.  They will type the cancer to see what it is and then decide on a course of action from there. Surgery most likely and chemo possibly.

But that’s a long ways between here and there and I’m fully expecting that at least one of the answers above will be a “no” and I won’t have to deal with it.  Fingers crossed.

They are working on getting the ultrasound approved by the insurance and scheduled so that probably won’t happen until next week.  An ultrasound of my armpit and a needle biopsy – that’ll be different too!  Wow I’m stacking up Differentlies all over the place, aren’t I?  Not exactly the kind I was hoping for but…



TYOLD Day 57: When the Universe Speaks, Do You Listen?

In order to fully grasp what I am choosing to believe is the “enormity” of what happened to me tonight, I have to take you back a bit in the cancer saga and repeat myself a bit.  It’ll be worth it, I promise.

When I got cancer, naturally I got an oncologist.  I was referred to him by my gastroenterologist and didn’t really do a lot of doctor shopping after I met him.  He was a nice guy, seemed knowledgeable, had good credentials, and a name that made him sound like a cartoon character. So I, naturally, nicknamed him Dr. Wile E. Coyote.

About a month ago, when it was time to get my quarterly follow up tests, I reached out to Dr. Wile E. Coyote’s office and they didn’t respond.  Numerous attempts yielded no results and eventually I found out that he had left the practice and relocated to Pasadena.

I am incredibly lazy and didn’t feel like schlepping my ass all the way out to Pasadena so instead I decided to go to a different doctor in the same practice in Burbank, near where I live.  Also a nice guy – I named him Dr. Kangaroo, because he kind of reminds me of the TV Captain of the same name.

Anyway, we did the tests and got back some “indeterminate,” so off I went to do the big test – the PET scan, which involves getting radioactive and lying in a tube for a long time.

As I wrote yesterday, the PET scan showed a spot – a tiny one in my armpit – that has grown since my last scan a few months ago, which is not good news.   The problem, according to Dr. Kangaroo, is that the thing is so small that it is too early to do anything about right now.  He says they wouldn’t be able to get a good biopsy sample and that surgery to just remove would be overkill.  So he wants to wait 8-10 weeks and run everything again and see where we are at.

I’m not wild about this plan.  I’m not good with waiting and besides, it seems like I have dodged this particular bullet one too many times and delaying this seems like begging for someone to shoot me.

I hadn’t really decided, but I was considered reaching out to Dr. Wile E. Coyote to see what he had to say about things.  I was going to think about it while I was in Vegas, which is where I am writing this from right now.

So today I go about my crazy Vegas stuff – great dinner at a Chinese place at the Hard Rock; a fun show at The Stratosphere; then off to the most bizarre, and yet kind of fun, nightclub I’ve ever been to, which was a the MGM Grand.  Although I was having a good time and could’ve stayed longer, I suddenly decided it was time to go and I headed back to my hotel, Caesars Palace.

I got here about 1am, valet parked the car, came inside, and immediately veered off in search of the nearest bathroom.

I do what is needed and I’m washing my hands and a man walks into the bathroom and I catch a glimpse of him in the mirror and he looks familiar.  So I look again, trying not to, you know “look” because it’s a men’s room and that’s just a little weird, but I look anyway and I bet you see the punchline coming already….

It’s Dr. Wile E. Coyote.

We are both stunned to see each other at 1am in a bathroom in Caesars Palace and we go outside into the casino and talk.  He tells me that he’s here in Vegas for a conference and then goes on to apologize profusely for the disappearing act, explains what happened (it’s a long story but involves business stuff), tells me that he isn’t in Pasadena but in the same building only on a different floor, and then asks how I am.

So I tell him.

He gave me his new office number and his personal cell phone and is demanding that I come in to see him next week.  He isn’t saying that he will recommend something different than what Dr. Kangaroo recommended, but he is concerned enough about it that he wants to go over the PET scan himself.

I walked away from this so completely gobsmacked that I was nearly in tears.  I can’t begin to explain to you how many different things could have made that random, chance meeting in a bathroom in Vegas at one in the morning not happen – I mean the odds are astronomical.

But this is Vegas, I guess – the land of long shots – and I can’t help but feel that I may have just hit a jackpot.


TYOLD Day 56: Sideshow

I wrote a TV pilot – I’ve actually written many, most of which have sat in the proverbial drawer and nothing has ever become of them – but this particular one was for a show called “The Life.” It’s a family drama about a woman’s journey with breast cancer inspired, a little bit, by my friend Mary’s experience. By that I don’t mean it was specifically about what happened to Mary but more that it was about the spirit and some of the lessons I learned during that – lessons that were reinforced when I got cancer later.

A big one is that life goes on. It doesn’t stop just because you get cancer. No matter how much I would have liked the world to change from orbiting around the sun to orbiting around me-me-me, the regular happenings of life – big, small, mundane, exciting, sad, happy, tragic, and otherwise – just keep on happening.

The other big lesson was that cancer doesn’t just happen to the person who has it, it happens to all the people around that person.

That’s what inspired the show: the idea that a person gets cancer but it isn’t the end of life or the beginning of a new life, it’s just “life.”

The pilot is called “Sideshow” and for the bulk of the episode you are immersed in the life of Jamie Harrington, a woman in her late thirties with a sweet but needy husband, two demanding kids, a pain-in-the-ass job, an ogre of a boss, a recently divorced mother, a screwed up brother, and a best friend in crisis. At the very beginning of the episode she mentions that she has to go in for a physical but then her brother’s relationship with a friend of hers implodes; her boss threatens to fire her unless she fixes a problem at work; she has to buy a birthday present for her difficult mom; her friend’s business and marriage are in jeopardy; her husband gets in a car accident; she backs her car into a pole; and on and on and on her life goes.

Then in the final scene she goes in for the physical and the doctor finds a lump in her breast. She delivers this monologue:

I remember when I was about eight, Dad took me to this carnival down at the fairground. One of those traveling things with rides that probably aren’t safe and animals that look like they are about ready to drop. I didn’t really want to go because they kind of scared me. The rides. It wasn’t about being scared to ride them it was more about… just the way these sort of big things loomed and hulked out over the fairground. Shaped like a giant octopus and a pirate ship. So I didn’t want to go but Dad insisted. “We’re going to have a fun family outing whether you like it or not!”(laughs)
So we get there and all the other kids were running from ride to ride and I wanted nothing to do with any of it until I saw the sideshows. This long row of bizarre attractions like the bearded lady and the three headed goat or whatever.
I was wearing a blue dress. It’s weird what you remember.
Anyway, I was there for hours. And I totally forgot about all the big scary rides because I spent the entire time just fascinated with the sideshows.
I was too distracted by the sideshow to pay attention to the big scary stuff behind me.

My point is – and I swear I have one – that last week was one of sideshows for me. Shingles and way too much pain and too many painkillers and planning a trip to Vegas and trying to keep up with work and writing my Vegas site and writing a novel and binge watching House of Cards and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and on and on and on that I kind of forgot about the PET scan I had to examine the “indeterminate” results from the previous tests.

I got the results this morning.  There’s a spot in my left arm pit. It has grown since the last scan, but is still very, very small – only 11 millimeters. It is likely nothing serious and even if it is something serious it may very well have nothing to do with the last round of cancer. The problem is that according to my oncologist Dr. Kangaroo, it is too small to do anything about right now. They would not be able to get an effective sample to do a biopsy and if they just went in to cut it out there’s a chance they could miss it all together. You might remember that a year ago a similar thing happened with a single, very small spot and there was a very expensive, very painful surgery that couldn’t find the actual spot (or may have gotten unknowningly). The bottom line is that there’s just not enough information to figure out what is going on other than “something is going on.”

So Dr. Kangaroo is recommending waiting and repeating everything in about 8-10 weeks to see where we are at. If it has grown more, then we can do a biopsy and/or just go cut the little fucker out. If it hasn’t, then it is just a benign nothing and I can move on.

I’m not terribly happy with this strategy. Those who know me well know that patience is not exactly a strong suit and I have done entirely too much “waiting” with this crap over the last couple of years. It’s a wee bit stressful, which may be why crap happens like getting shingles. I may go schlep out to Pasadena to see Dr. Wile E. Coyote, my former oncologist, and see what he has to say about it.

But in the meantime I’m going to Vegas tomorrow through Monday so I will be doing a lot of Differentlies but postings on here may not be as daily.

After all, Vegas is the ultimate sideshow.

BTW, in case you’re interested and/or are a TV network executive and want to read The Life, here are the first three episodes:

The Life Episode 101: Sideshow:  life_101

The Life Episode 102: Waterfall life_102

The Life Episode 103: Crack in the Pavement life_103


TYOLD Day 43: It’s Always Something

NOTE: this is a long, rambling post that winds up being a little sad.  You have been warned.

A lot of disparate things happened today that qualify for the Differently pile but they all seemed to be connected, in ways big and small, to cancer.  I wish the theme for the day had been unicorns riding rainbows through a field of sunflowers, but alas.

I started my day with a new oncologist.  My former – the guy I called Dr. Wile E. Coyote on my Year of Living with Cancer blog because his actual name sounded like a cartoon character – left the practice he had been with and moved to Pasadena and I’m just too lazy to schlep that far.  So instead I transferred to a different doctor in the same group and today was my first meeting with him.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote was great, but his office staff was always a bit frantic; like they had too much to do and were freaked out about it.  The new doc’s support staff was obviously busy but were friendly and joking around with me and the other patients, giving people high-fives and hugs.  It was a nice change of pace.

As was the fact that I got there at 10:15 for a 10:30 appointment and barely had a chance to sit down in the waiting room when they took me to an exam room, did the weight/blood pressure/temperature stuff, and had me ready for when the new doctor walked in at 10:30 on the nose.  I’m not naive enough to believe that will ever happen again but it has never happened EVER before at any doctor’s office so I’m impressed already.

I’m going to call the new guy Dr. Kangaroo, because he reminded me a bit of the Captain of the same name only without the mustache or the bowl haircut.  It’s weird where my mind goes but I have learned to accept it and move on and I think you should also.

Anyway, I really liked this guy – he had read my chart, asked all the right questions, wanted to know my opinion on things, was concerned about both my physical and mental well-being, and just generally seemed like a nice man.  I’m a fan.

I wasn’t a huge fan of what he said, which involved the word “indeterminate.”  When you’re having a check-in with your oncologist, or any doctor really, what you want is “everything is fine, grand, great, and rosy and it was practically a waste of everyone’s time that you even had to come here today.  Your unicorn is parked out front.”  Instead what I got was “indeterminate.”

Every four months I have to get check-ups to make sure that nothing has gone awry with the whole “remission” thing.  I get a variety of tests including some blood work, x-rays, and a few others.  This time some of the results came back as “indeterminate,” which is to say that there is nothing specifically wrong but it also isn’t fine, grand, great, and rosy – or at least they are unable to definitely say so.  In other words, no unicorns for me, yet.

This most likely means nothing.  Dr. Kangaroo and I both firmly believe that it’s a blip but we have to make sure so I have to go in for some more tests including a PET scan.  That’s the one where I have to get radioactive and lay in a tube for a really long time.  This is all being done out of an overabundance of caution and I’m sure it’ll all be fine so nothing to worry about.  I don’t have a date for the test yet but it will probably be late next week or early the following, right before I go to Vegas to watch The Academy Awards with a bunch of friends.

The weirdness of all this is that it was exactly one year ago that I had another set of tests that came back indeterminate and then had to go get a PET scan right before I went to Vegas to watch The Academy Awards with a bunch of friends. That PET scan didn’t turn out well, so while I’m certain that it’s all fine this time, to say I’m not just a little spooked would be a lie.

Anyway, as I left the doctor’s office I went to stand in line to pay for parking and there was an older woman in front of me.  I don’t know that she had cancer – there are lots of doctor’s offices in the complex that is served by this garage – but since the Roy and Patricia Disney Cancer Center (where my oncologist is located) is there, I figured it was at least possible.  I needed something to make myself feel better after “indeterminate” and so I said, “Excuse me, Ma’am?  This is Random Acts of Kindness Week so I’d like to pay for your parking.”

She looked at me, stunned, and said, “Really?  You have no idea!  I left my purse at home and was standing here not knowing if I was going to have enough change to pay for parking.”  Turns out, she only had about $3 and the charge was $5.  Weird how the world works, huh?

The woman, the person working the register, and the guy behind me who heard the whole thing were all kind of gobsmacked by this random act and it made me realize that we just don’t expect kindness in our lives.  We usually expect everything to be a hassle and for people to be dicks and often it is and they are, but sometimes kindness exists even if we have to make it so ourselves.  I have to say that afterward I felt better and there was no “indeterminate” about it.

The last bit of cancer-related Differently I partook in was going to The Falcon Theater in Burbank (for the first time) with my friend Maureen to see “Bunny, Bunny,” a play by Alan Zweibel about his friendship with Gilda Radner.

I have a deep connection with Gilda that is related to my friend Mary In fact, in a way, Gilda is the reason that Mary and I met.

I was working in the mail room of a big talent agency in 1989 and I had a bunch of things on the wall above my desk including a copy of a “Bloom County” cartoon.  It was this:


Mary, who was working upstairs at the same talent agency, loved Bloom County and Gilda Radner.  She saw it over my desk one day when she swung through the mail room and she stopped to talk to me about it.

Flash forward about 20 years.  I was getting ready to move and was cleaning out the clutter I had accumulated since I had lived in that particular apartment (about 14 years) and stumbled upon the cartoon strip – THE cartoon strip.  The one I had hanging over my desk.  I put it in a frame and gave it to Mary.  She told me that it was the best gift anyone had ever given her and she liked to carry it around with her, holding it tightly.

Flash forward another few months.  It was about two in the morning and her husband Steve took a break while I sat with her, quietly at first.  It had been hours since she was responsive in any meaningful way, although occasionally she would seem to respond to direct questions by trying to move her body or with noises as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t.  Whether this is true or not – whether she really was cognizant of her surroundings – is probably up for debate and yet not worth debating.

Although others were talking to her, I really hadn’t been all that much.  For some reason just being in the room… being with her was enough.  And on top of that I really couldn’t think of anything all that interesting to say.

But this time I managed to find my voice.

“This sucks,” I said as I sat next to her bed.  “I mean really sucks.  But you know it’s okay, right?  It’s okay that you go.  I mean it’s not okay.  It’s about as far from okay as you can get, but it’s okay.  And I’m going to be okay, too.  I know you were worried that I wouldn’t be, but I will be.  Okay might look different than it does now, but I’ll be okay.  I’m saying okay a lot, aren’t I?  I promise if I ever write this as a movie script or a book I’ll make this much more intelligent.”

I was quiet for a moment.  So was she.

“I’ll be okay,” I said.  “But I wanted to ask you… Can I have the ‘Bloom County’ cartoon strip back?”

She hadn’t moved or done anything in the entire time I was in there but as soon as I asked that question, she made a noise, like a low moan, and struggled a bit.

“Afterwards!” I said quickly.  “After you’re gone.  Not now!”

She calmed down.  Like I said, debatable.  But not worth debating.

She passed away later that morning – February 16, 2010.

“Bunny, Bunny” is not a great play.  It’s disjointed and a bit frenetic at times and the actors are good but not fantastic.  Having said that, the second act, as Gilda is diagnosed with cancer, has some really lovely moments in it including what I think is the best line of the play, almost at the end: “She’s been dead for years, but I’m still not ready for her to die.”

It’ll be four years this Sunday since Mary died.  I’m still not ready.  That, my friends, will never be Different.

Annoying Thing About Cancer #16

Waiting rooms.

When you have cancer you have to go see a lot of doctors and get a lot of tests and inevitably, at whatever office or lab or hospital you are visiting, you will be forced to sit in a waiting room.  And sit.  And sit.  And sit some more.

I’ve only been dealing with this whole cancer hooha for about a month now and I can already count nearly a dozen different waiting rooms:

  1. General practice doctor, who just moved into a new office in Burbank.  Nice enough room but really uncomfortable chairs.
  2. Specialist in Glendale.  One big open area for a bunch of different doctor’s offices.  Bad fake plants that brush against the back of your head and magazines that talk a lot about the Olymics… in Beijing.
  3. Gasto-Guy in Burbank.  Very small room with only a couple of chairs and so sometimes there aren’t enough places for everyone to sit.
  4. Outpatient testing facility in Burbank.  All the chairs have plastic on them and the TV plays way too loud.  Oh and this is the place I waited for 30 minutes before they told me they were too backed up and couldn’t run my tests.
  5. Admitting waiting room at St. Joseph’s in Burbank.  Lots of chairs but they all face each other in sort of a circle so inevitably you are sitting there looking at some other sick person and wondering, as they most likely are, which one of you is sicker.  Go at the right time and there will be a piano player in the nearby lobby playing easy listening tunes.  They apparently think this classes up the joint.  I think it makes it feel like a hotel lounge near the airport in Topeka.
  6. Surgical waiting room at St. Joseph’s. This is a big open room where you wait after you have been admitted.  It is adjacent to the elevators and another major hallway so there’s lot of traffic and little chance to try to find your Zen place before you go off to have done whatever it is you’re about to have done.
  7. Alameda Surgery Center in Burbank.  Another very small room with not enough chairs.
  8. Pre-operative testing waiting room, St. Joseph’s.  This is where they stick you when you are waiting to get stuck… by needles, to have your blood drawn.  The room at one point must have been an x-ray room of some type because there is one of those little closet with a window type things in the corner where the technicians can step into during the tests.  It now has a couple of mismatched chairs, a battered coffee table, a sad looking plant, and a couple of pictures of Jesus.  I think it’s supposed to be comforting but I just sat there feeling guilty for reasons I was unable to identify.
  9. EKG waiting room at St. Joseph’s.  This is where you wait before you have your EKG or EEG or any of those types of tests that involve electrodes being put on various parts of your body.  It’s a fishbowl with windows on 2 sides looking out to busy hallways.  Not at all uncomfortable to sit there (insert sarcasm here).
  10. Dr. Frenchy’s waiting room.  There are actually multiple waiting rooms here and they were all completely full when I visited – not a chair in sight.  The rooms themselves are done with very cold, white, grey, and black furnishings and lots of frosted glass.  On one wall there is a long triptych style painting that is all black – three black panels – in front of which sits a chrome and glass sidetable and a stainless steel vase.  I wanted to bleed on something just to give the room some color.
  11. Dr. Wile E Coyote, Super Genius’s waiting room.  This is in the same building as Dr. Frenchy’s but it’s warmer and actually has windows and a fish tank.  I like the former but the latter kind of creeps me out.  I felt them judging me just like the pictures of Jesus.

So what would I want in a waiting room?  Comfortable chairs, number one.  They don’t need to be barcaloungers (although that would be nice), but comfortable padding on both the seat and the arms and, most importantly, enough spacing between them so that you don’t feel like you are right on top of the person next to you.  Light is important and I know that windows aren’t always an option architecturally but at least go for something other than harsh fluorescents.  Nobody looks good in fluorescent lighting.  Plants are fine but make them real and keep them healthy.  Artwork – keep it simple yet colorful and evocative.  If it were up to me I’d go for photography  – cityscapes and landscapes – identifiable landmarks that will make the people in the room think, “I need to get better so I can go there.”  A TV is fine, but please do not have it tuned to the news or those stupid health network things.  Reruns of the Golden Girls and Designing Women – that’s TV comfort food.  And forget the silly magazines unless you are committed to keeping them current.  Last, but not least, a solid, public WiFi signal.  The bulk of people in waiting rooms want to look at their phone or tablet while they are waiting, so let them!

Annoying Thing About Cancer #24

The hold music.  When one has cancer one needs to schedule a lot of things – doctor’s appointments, mainly, but also tests, procedures, referral recommendations… the list goes on and on.  And since one must call to schedule most of these things, one is often placed on hold.  As a general rule, so far, the hold music sucks.  I have heard Musak versions of Phil Collins’ “One More Night,” “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters, and “Send in the Clowns.”  You’d think a Musak version of the latter would be redundant, but apparently not.

Annoying Thing About Cancer #37

Paperwork.  There is a lot of paperwork associated with cancer.  I’m seeing a lot of new doctors and every one of them has about 6 pages worth of forms to fill out that cover everything from my height and weight to my family’s medical history back to the time we came to America.  Then there are the medical leave forms for work; the disability forms for insurance; the temporary disabled parking permit applications… I only wish it was improving my penmanship.