Monday, July 4, 2016


   I look into the steely eyes of the Oncologist as he is saying, " Usually the cancer follows down the nerve. So we are going to have to run the radiation down along the nerve. It will go deeper than normal. Which means that you will probably have burning and blistering in your throat as well as losing about 2 1/2 inches of hair around your ear, including your beard that may not grow back. You may get your salivary gland back on your right side after 4 or 5 months."

   I look closely at the Doctor and smile. Trying not to laugh as I am reminded of a co worker of mine from Albany New York when I was growing up. I sold gas at a gas station that was full service. My co worker was Bob Hornsby a crusty old middle aged man. His favorite saying was. "Ya Cock- Knocker Ya!" I want to say to the Doctor, "Ya Cock Knocker Ya!" It's funny what runs through your mind at very crucial times of your life. I was a goofy sheltered 16 year old when I met Bob Hornsby and was pumping gas when it was 33.9 cents a gallon. Women wore mini skirts and Bob taught me all about beaver shots when you were cleaning car windows and that some women knew exactly what was going on and liked it.

   I walk through the vault door of the radiation and lay down on the cold steel table covered with a blanket. I lay my head into the cradle while they snap the molded mask over my face and snap it in place, securing my head to the table so I can't move. They tape the bolis to the right side of my head. The table slides into place under the multi heads of the radiation machine. There is a green centering light that crosses the mask to give them true center. The table stops and the green light outlines my entire face like a computer image and disappears from the reflection of the main head. The machine clicks and whirs and all the attendants leave the room and close the vault door. The machine goes silent. They say you can't feel the radiation but every time the radiation starts I have a tingling sensation just below my right ear. I begin my mantra to pass the time. "Om Mani Padmi Hum. Om Mani Padmi Hum."

   "Wumpf, Wumpf, Wumpf," the sound of the rotors of the flight to life echo from the roof of St. Mary's Trauma Center. It is across the street of St. Mary's Pavillon where I get my treatment. It's strange because I instantly recognize the sound of the Flight to Life from my Ski Bumming days. I always watched the birds take off from the top of Snowbird Ski Area in Little Cottonwood Canyon of Utah. I knew that seriously injured skiers where transported to critical care hospitals in Salt Lake City. I never thought about the birds delivering the injured skiers to the hospitals. Maybe it was because I never ever thought about my mortality. We literally skied places where if you missed a turn you would fall and die. We never let that into our minds. No time for the fear!

   I have fear these day's. Will I be O.K. ? Will I be cured? Will this reoccur? "Om Mani Padmi Hum!" I bring my mind back to center as the table shakes and I know the session has ended. The attendants appear as the heads spin and whir above me and I am let out of my medical bondage.
I will return tomorrow as today marks half completion. Just as I know I will complete my writing projects, each and every one and find joy and satisfaction in the challenge,

   I head home to my loving family who welcomes me with open arms and love and it does not escape me that I am the luckiest man in America!

   Today's Songs