It was on Good Friday in 1992 that I found out my brain tumor was cancerous, so I thought this would be a good scan for today.
Little did I know when I went to the Bruins/Habs game on April 21, 1990 that exactly two years later I would be starting my first round of chemotherapy…
I got a chuckle after reading my “CHIEF COMPLAINT” was being there for chemotherapy. But, I’m pretty sure when I walked in, I said, “Hi, I’m here for my chemotherapy.” I hope I didn’t sound like I was complaining. And FYI, my younger brother has asthma, not my sister (in case you're keeping score at home).
I really wasn’t scared when I started getting treated with the VP-16, carboplatin, and bleomycin. I was glad the doctors knew what I had and was confident the chemo meds were going to work. (By the way, if you look at all three of the medicines I was treated with, you’ll notice that all of them are used to treat testicular cancer. That is because even though I had a brain tumor, it was the same kind of cells as testicular cancer. Proving, without a doubt, that I was a dickhead.)
I stayed in the hospital a few days for that first round of chemo, and it went pretty well. I didn’t feel sick until the last morning I was there, and had enough family, friends, and movies to make me feel as normal as possible. I also had something to look forward to the day I got out.
On April 24, 1992, Skid Row and Pantera had a show at the Worcester Auditorium. Before I was discharged, my oncologist asked me about the show because one of my meds had the possible side effect of hearing loss. She asked me if they were “loud bands” and I just laughed. She told me she didn’t think I should go to the concert, but I assured her I was going no matter what she said. She even suggested I wear ear plugs, and I laughed again. I “promised” her I would leave if my ears started hurting, and I was discharged.
As my mother and I left the hospital and started walking to the car, I felt like I needed to lie down. I fell onto a nearby bench while my mom went to get the car. I remember lying there and seeing all of these doctors and nurses about ten feet away from me all smoking cigarettes. I wanted to yell at them and tell them they looked like idiots. I puked instead, and my mom pulled up with the car. She was wondering why I was laughing, and I told her to look at my semi-digested Fruity Pebbles on the sidewalk. It wouldn’t be the last time I threw up that year.
Even with my sidewalk spewing, I made it home and got ready for the concert. I was pumped. Then when I got to the show, my sister gave me her back stage pass. I got to meet everyone in Skid Row! I was wearing my Motley Crue “Decade of Decadence” t-shirt and when I said hi to Sebastian Bach, he said, “Cool shirt, man!” I had just seen Pantera and Skid Row rock the place, met the band, and the lead singer told me my t-shirt was cool.
Not once did I think about having cancer or the fact that I had just finished my first round of treatment. Cancer made me feel physically really crappy many times. But, it never took away my ability to enjoy my family, friends, music, movies, and sports. Going to see Skid Row and meeting the band that night after my first round of chemo helped set the stage for how I dealt with my cancer. Like heavy metal often preaches about life, I said “F- You!” to my cancer and kept having fun (whenever I wasn’t throwing up, which, I think heavy metal bands do often as well!).
By the way, I just found out this guy has a bootleg of this show and trades for other bootlegs. Maybe he’ll burn me one without a trade.
More on cancer later…