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It's official as of 0730 this morning: Bogie (better known as That… - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
It's official as of 0730 this morning: Bogie (better known as That Damned Farting Coworker) has cancer of the esophagus. The doctors operate on him next Tuesday, and they figure it could go anywhere from four to eight hours in length. Nobody has an idea how long it will take him to recover from the surgery in the hospital or how long he'll be out of the office on disability. Of course, that's not the nastiest part, not by a long shot. The surgery is a painful and involved one: to ensure they're removing every last bit of the cancer they will have taken half his esophagus, and pulled his stomach up, removing about half of that as well, but it actually gets worse.

I dare you to guess what the real killer is, the single most vicious part of this little cosmic dance. Some of you might see this coming, but it certainly blindsided me: Once the operation is complete the doctor is still only giving him five years. Five years. Five years for the man who quit smoking and took up walking during lunch because he wanted to make himself a healthier person. Five years of life even after he's done being subjected to the pain and suffering of having the top half of his gastrointestinal tract removed. It's like some bizzare repeat of my cousin Priscilla's situation, only this time it's just some random cell that started growing out of control that's to blame instead of a doctor's ignorance. Five years. Five years of what? What kind of life is that, knowing that each day is numbered just like it was before... but that each number has suddenly become much, much more valuable because they've been taken from a limited supply to a piddling allocation? Wondering if you'll wake up in the morning, if you'll have any quality of life towards the end?

It's true that we're all dying. Now Bogie is just dying faster than the rest of us.

Five years, even with a successful "treatment."

And yet here I am.

It's hard to make that all fit, it's incredibly difficult to find the equation for it where both sides balance out. Survivor's Guilt is the popular term that shrinks like to sling around in cases like this, and I'm carrying a heavy case of it, especially given my family's medical history. It doesn't make any sense to me, how I went through eight months of treatment and got a clean bill of health. At the end of it I was waiting for some twist just like this, but it never came. It's as if some djinn emerged from a bottle and said "You have passed the trial, you may have your life back -- try to make the most of it." I got my life back after eight months of treatment, one type amongst many available to me... and Bogie is going through to endure the only treatment available for him, and he's still not going to come through the other side.

How in the blue fuck do you fit that into your world?

I cross the ocean for a heart of gold

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Current Mood: confused, sad
Current Music: Neil Young & The Stray Gators -- Harvest -- Words (Between the Lines of Age)

4 thoughts or Leave a thought
linnaeus From: linnaeus Date: February 27th, 2004 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
feren From: feren Date: February 27th, 2004 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
So now we have to hire and train a new UNIX engineer. The chuckles never stop.
ronbar From: ronbar Date: February 28th, 2004 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
What did you have and what was the treatment you chose?

If you're looking for a unix person, I'm looking for a job-- send me a message at ron underscore denton at yahoo dot com if you want my resume. I have a job right now, it just doesn't pay shit for the most inflated real estate market in the country. High unemployment everywhere but here (where it's 3%) combined with every other investment but real estate looking like crap mixed in with low interest rates has priced us out of this market unless we get a condo further from where we currently live (in a condo) or we get a shanty about 90 minutes away and I spend the rest of my life commuting.

Molly and I both like the midwest a lot better than either coast. The people are much less vicious.
From: tetragon Date: February 29th, 2004 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
My grandfather was given 5 years. That was in 1985, and he is still healthy. Admittedly, it was a triple-bypass not cancer, but just a note that when a doctor says "5 years" its at best a guesstimate really.
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