I was originally going to call today’s post “Cut it Out!,” a title with dual meanings.
The first meaning refers to my patience level with this whole cancer bullshit (which has mostly involved talking about it endlessly) and my desire to just get on with the part where they cut it the fuck out of me.
The second refers to the part where doctors keep trying to scare the shit out of me and how I wish they would just cut it the fuck out.
Oh by the way, there is profanity in today’s post. Sorry. There are certain situations that call for profanity and this is one.
Anyway, back to the update and first things first: more talking, this time with the cardiothoracic surgeon.
For those who are new to the Rick Has Cancer saga, or for those who have been playing along but just haven’t been paying attention (and really, who could blame you?), the surgery that I’m going to have requires not one but TWO surgeons. The first, Dr. Frenchy, will be going in laparoscopically and disconnecting my stomach from my esophagus. The second, a cardiothoracic surgeon, will cut out the offending bits and reconnect everything via a big-ass incision just below the rib cage.
Cardio-guy’s waiting room was microscopic but nice, with shiny new wood floors, fresh paint, and lots of “Best,” “Most,” “Favorite” type plaques on the walls. It was comforting, although I couldn’t help but feel as though it was sort of like the physical manifestation of Yelp. I kept looking for star ratings and reviews by people who obviously have way too much time on their hands as evidenced by their six paragraph opinions of a Quiznos in Woodland Hills.
Speaking of Yelp, if you haven’t seen this, you need to:
Sorry – I’m easily distracted today… back to the update…
Henceforth we will be referring to cardio-guy surgeon as Dr. James Earl Jones, not because he looks anything like him but because if CNN needs a new person to do the “This is CNN” voiceovers, they need look no further than my cardiothoracic surgeon. He has a rumbling, basso profundo voice that rattled the Yelp plaques on his walls.
Dr. James Earl Jones is a really nice guy, especially for a surgeon (who, as a breed are not usually the most cuddly of people) and he seemed rather bemused by me. I was doing my best to be entertaining and ingratiating but that often comes across as desperate and irritating so one never knows how it’s going to turn out. My only problem with him was that once again I was faced with a doctor who was trying to scare the shit out of me.
First, he explained the surgery in clinical yet lurid detail, which I will spare you. Let’s just say that it’s even more disturbing to hear it spoken than it is to simply read about it. “You’re going to cut how big of a hole?”
Then he repeated some of the same caveats that I heard from Dr. Frenchy and Dr. Wile E Coyote Super Genius, which included how they don’t often finish many of these surgeries because they get in there and see that the cancer is worse than they thought it would be and how 1 in 10 people don’t survive the surgery because of a complication and that there is a whole long list of complications (before, during, and after) and how the “cure” rate is 30-80% and on and on and on.
“Cut it the fuck out,” I thought as I pulled out the PET scan to show him, no, no, no, there will be none of that because the PET scan didn’t find any cancer anywhere else.
“That’s good,” he rumbled, “But it isn’t foolproof.”
I remembered how the PET scan could be thrown off by the consumption of a baked potato or a particularly engrossing round of Angry Birds and I could almost hear my anxiety level going back up again. But I tried to remain nonchalant.
“Well,” I replied, “I’m just going to operate under the assumption that this is Stage 1B and that you’re going to cut it (the fuck) out of me and that will be the end of it until someone tells me otherwise, okay?”
He smiled his bemused smile and nodded.
Yeah, there are a lot of monsters lurking under this particular bed still and unfortunately monsters rarely respond to a request to “cut it out!”
So why did I call this post “Tugging on Superman’s Cape” instead of “Cut It Out!”? Well, because when I got home there was a guy in a superhero costume (tights, mask, cape) and a guy in a wheelchair standing (and sitting respectively) in my parking space in my building’s garage. The guy in the superhero costume was drinking a Big Gulp. They stared at me. I stared back. I put my window down and the guy in the superhero costume asked if they were in my way. I said yes. They moved. I parked and got out of my SUV. The guy in the superhero outfit asked me what kind of mileage I got on my SUV. I told him. I walked away.
I was going to ask but I felt as though whatever the real explanation was behind a guy in a superhero costume drinking a Big Gulp and a guy in a wheelchair just sort of hanging out in my parking space would’ve been MUCH less interesting than the things I could come up with on my own.
On the next episode of “I’ll Eat to That,” Rick attempts to not be consumed by anxiety while the two surgeons go through the process of getting approval from the insurance company to perform the incredibly scary surgery and then try to coordinate their schedules. So still no date yet, but it will take a couple of weeks to get it all sorted out most likely so we are probably looking at the week of the 13th at the earliest, maybe not until the week of the 20th.
Or we can just keep watching actors read Yelp reviews: