Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30, 2010
PART 11: I'm Not An Animal

So, I got a phone call from the office of my neurosurgeon yesterday. It was one of those recorded messages reminding me of the time and date of my next appointment. It also reminded me to bring any x-ray film or MRI's or other reports I might have and "to not rely on my referring physician to do that for me."

I laughed for about five minutes after hearing that. I think I even played the message back a few times. Like I've said, it's those little moments when you can stop and laugh at the situation you are in that make it possible to keep going.

I know the message wasn't talking specifically about Frank. It's a generic message everyone who has an appointment gets. I like to think that its a special message for anyone who was referred by Frank. It's the "Sorry-You-Had-To-Deal-With-That-Putz" message.

There's also a "You have 24 hours to live-sorry we forgot to call you yesterday" message and a "Warning: The urine sample you dropped off was actually apple juice. You may want to check the contents of your fridge" message.

One of my friends suggested I name the piece of candy corn. I'm open to suggestions. I was thinking Lyle or Don. Or maybe Gus. Gus seems like a good name for an as yet unidentified mass on your spine.

There was a guy I used to work for named Jim. He was more a pain in my ass though. There's Rumor, but Bruce and Demi already took that one. Darn! It might have rhymed so well too. Willy might work, but I can't help but thinking that maybe that's a name more suited for a urinary problem. I could name it Les. Les is better. Troy just makes it sound too studly. Bo (as in bo-weevil) is catchy.

Maybe I better consult one of those baby name books. Like I said, I'm open to suggestions.

You see, I figure I'm talking to the damn thing, so I might as well be on first name basis with it. Yes. I am talking to the thing that is growing/or not growing on my spine. A name would be nice. "You ugly little painful mother$%#@^&" is getting kind of old. And besides, if I talk to it on a bus, people tend to stare. Maybe a name would help. I could put my blue tooth in and have little conversations with it and nobody would suspect.

But if I can keep saying things like "I've had just about enough of your shit, you little $%#@-er" I'm going to get punched in the face.

I have an MRI appointment in a few days. At 7:30 A.M. That's 7:30 A.M. in the morning! Holy Crow! That's early! I don't think my brain is going to be awake for an MRI. And what if I fall asleep and have that dream where I'm dancing the cha-cha with Isaac from Love Boat? That's going to be very hard to explain.

After my MRI I have to hang around for an hour or two because my doctor wants to review the results of my MRI as well as the blood work they did last week.


What's that you say? You're not going to make me wait two months? Really? My brain is spinning! And more so than usual.


(Sorry. I'm excited)

But that's what I'm talking about. Do a test-get some answers. None of this waiting eight to ten weeks bullshit. I know my new doctor, the greatest doctor in the world, isn't going to have all the answers for me on Thursday, but he might be able to knock out some of those items from the list of appetizers. Remember: it's about being positive.

He's not going to tell me that he's solved the riddle and that tell me that Randy (just a working title), my piece of candy corn has been 86'd off the menu. He might tell me, though, that the jumbo crab cakes, chicken strips and the fried mozzarella sticks are no longer available.

Did I tell you that my neurosurgeon has arranged for me to see a neurosurgeon at the hospital where he works? Oh yeah. This guys has my back. Or rather, my neck, right around C3 and C4 to be exact. He just said he/they (The Dream Team...his colleagues at MCV) were going to look out for me from this point on and "that there was no need for me to (thoughtful pause-him not me) to have to travel all over the place. It just makes sense to keep you in the same building."

Professional etiquette prevented him from saying anything bad about Frank. But I knew what he meant. I knew why he was biting his tongue. He knows Frank. They've probably met at some neurology seminars. Frank was serving those little eggrolls from behind the buffet line, but they've met.

He didn't come right out and say, "You stay here...with us. There's no reason for you to go back to Captain Malpractice....Dr. Dumbass...uhhhhh... Dr. Dipshit. No. You stay here and live. We'll take care of you. Don't go to The Darkside."

You think I argued with him? As far as I'm concerned some one could duct tape a naked Frank to a rocket and shoot his cold, dispassionate, "we'll-see-you-in-two-months-if-you're-not-dead-yet" ass into the far reaches of space.

Now, a few of you have suggested to me that maybe I am being a little hard on Frank. Let me just say to those of you who think that maybe I've painted the wrong picture of the man. He did, after all, go to medical school and has dedicated his life to working in the medical field. They further suggested that I wasn't there for a beers and a game of Twister.

All good, valid points. And I would have agreed with you...

If the man had shown even the slightest interest in me as a human being...as a person with a serious medical condition that needs immediate attention. If he had ever shaken my hand or looked me in the eyes or seemed as if he was listening, I might be able to offer to him the compassion he seemed unable to give me.

I would have preferred Dr. Zeus from Planet of the Apes. At least then half of my brain would have been cut out and I could live out the rest of my days with half naked cave girls eating fruit and making apes clean up my poop. As long as they didn't use me for me target practice, I could cope.

People should want to trust their doctors. I wouldn't trust Frank with the task of cooking a Hot Pocket in a microwave, because he would probably just throw some salt on it, maybe stuff some percocet into it and then tell me to come back in three months.

I'm in good hands and things are moving forward in a positive manner.

I'm still feeling like I got hit by a truck from my massive migraine on Saturday, but I'm shaking it off the best I can. I don't remember a lot about that day.

Could someone tell me how my underpants got on the roof?

and that's Jody with a "y"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28, 2010
PART 10: The Lost Weekend

"..Imagine someone sliced open your skull, tossed in a few razor blades and shook you around."
Dr. Cawley, as played by Ben Kingsley in Shutter Island

I lost a day yesterday to shear blinding pain. I remember waking up. I remember the bit of a power drill between my eyes and the base of my skull. Slowly drilling. Splintering my skull into fragments.

I remember going into a dark room because light and sound hurt me.
I remember that blinking was painful and I remember getting sick over and over until my stomach ached with emptiness. I remember that nothing worked to take the pain away. On my doctor's scale of pain ("0" being no pain and "10" being extreme pain) I was at 12 yesterday.

I'm too tired to say anything else and my headache is working its way up the scale.

and that's Jody with a "y"

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 24, 2010
PART 9: Love Actually

"I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles And the heavens open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that's where I belong Yet I'm running to her like a river's song
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love"
Crazy Love, Van Morrison

Nobody does it all alone.

There are those of course who thought Oswald did. I don't think Oswald acted alone. He couldn't have. I do think that he was a loner, but I don't think he was alone on November 22.

What's the lesson learned in Dallas? That nobody could undertake something so huge alone?
Sure. That could be a good lesson learned. But there are others.

Like how about the "Remembering-To-Police-All-Tall-Buildings-Along-The-Route-The-President-Will-Be-Traveling" lesson? That's a pretty basic yet important lesson. Right? And then there's grassy knolls. Always check your grassy knolls. Even if the knoll isn't as much grassy as it is mossy or crab-grassy, you should check it out. Another good lesson. And how about the "Let's-Put-A-Bulletproof-Bubble-On-The-President's-Car" lesson? I'm just saying. Hindsight is 20/20. The Pope got one after someone took a shot at him.

So...to recap...we have as some important lessons learned about November 22, 1963. Although time consuming, make sure to explore all floors of all buildings along the President's parade route. Maybe take a peek behind that grove of bushes and tall fence that's right in the line of fire. Bullet proof bubble? (Technically probably not available in 1963 but we had the laser and space travel. Hell! The Jetsons were on television in flying cars with bubble tops...What?! No one made the connection?)

Sorry. Went into Oliver Stone mode there for a sec.
What was I saying? Oh yeah.

Everybody has somebody. Nobody is truly alone. Orville had Wilbur. Wilbur had Charlotte. Bonnie had Clyde. What was Abbott without Costello? Lucy without Ricky? What was George Michael with out Andrew Ridgeley? Hugely more successful that's what! Okay. Poor example.

What was Bert without the companionship of Ernie? (Sorry but I'm still not buying the two single beds in the same bedroom thing) Were they just buddies or were they buddies? It doesn't matter. They had each other and that's what it's all about. Having someone to lean on. Someone to be there for you and, in return, you to be there for them.

I would like to think that nobody goes through anything like I'm going through alone. You have to have a support system. At the very least you have to have a great doctor and his support staff. I'm just beginning to experience that new world.

You also have to have family and friends. My mom calls me every day to ask how I'm feeling and to tell me she loves me. My mom rocks!

Lennon and McCartney said it best. However, if John and Paul had known my friends, the line would have been "I get by with a lot of help from my friends." I have pretty incredible friends, who from Day One have been by my side.

There has been one person, though, who has been here, with me, through every step of this ordeal. One person who has held my hand and kissed my forehead tenderly when I needed it most. And I never had to ask. She just knew. That's what happens when two hearts are connected. That's what happens when you are in love.

And I'm in love. And I am loved.
Let me tell you about my lady.

We met in high school. I was the older man, a Senior, and she was a Junior. It was her first year at Hermitage and my last. Fast forward some twenty odd years later and we have once again starting writing the stories of our lives together.

She has a beautiful smile, this lady of mine. One that can light up a room when she enters. It's not only rooms she brightens though. My heart glows whenever she is around. And she makes me laugh. Not only because she's funny (She does this great talking dog voice that cracks me up every time) but because of the unintentional things she does or says.

She's a crazy chick this lady of mine. "Born-in-Philly-have-you-met-my-family?" crazy. Crazy in a good way not I'm going to have her committed crazy.

I've never seen anyone eat pizza like she does. It's looks like what I imagine it looked like when Michelangelo sculpted or added each careful layer of paint to one of his masterpieces.

The routine is always the same. There is a method to her madness and it is something to behold. First she assembles the ingredients to create the perfect slice of pizza and soon her side of the table looks like so many pieces of a chess game and every move has been strategically planned. Some salt. Then some pepper. Then some red pepper flakes. Then some grated cheese. And then maybe some raw white onion. And if the waiter can snag some from the kitchen, maybe a little extra sauce...pretty please. Pretty soon her slice of pizza is several inches thick, each layer telling the story of her handy work like one of those models of the Earth's crust you would make in the eight grade.

She wears little piggy socks. And I'm not talking about socks that have a little piggy motif. I'm talking about socks with little ears and a little snout where the toes go and little piggy tails on the part over the ankle. And you know what? She looks damn sexy in them too.

Sure. She washes the dishes completely different from me (forks prongs end up in the drainer not prongs end down) and she salts her food before she tastes it, but that's what makes it interesting. She can't help but comment on people's hair when we watch television. It's funny. It doesn't matter that the chick-oh my gosh! that's the girl from that movie we saw a while back-you know the one who looks like-who do I think she looks like honey? (I don't know babe. Who does she look like to you?) it doesn't matter that she just saved all those orphans from the sinking ship...."just LOOK at the shoes she's wearing! Oh my God! And that hair! That's the worst wig I've ever seen...lease pass me the salt my pizza's getting cold."

Nobody's perfect and like Brad Paisely says, "it's the little things."

It's the way she laughs at my jokes even when they're not funny and it's the way she laughs at herself. It's the way she loves her kids even during those times when she wants to kick them in the ass.

It's the way she wins when we play SCRABBLE....graciously with no gloating...with no dances of superiority around the living room...ever...that never happens...ever..... (hurrumph!)

It's the way she jumps in scary movies and then laughs at herself when she realizes that the guy with the knife who's been killing campers can't reach her through the television screen. It's the way she cries at Hallmark commercials and doesn't give me any crap about doing the same. She just wipes my cheek and tells me that she loves me.

I don't know what's going to happen to me. There are a lot of questions right now.
But I do know one thing. No matter what happens...good or bad...I know there will be someone by my side to hold my hand...to rub the small of my back...to tell me it will be alright and to cry for me when I hurt too much to or am just too tired to do it myself...I know my lady will be there to laugh with me and laugh at me...

and I know she will be there to kiss my forehead when she knows I'm in pain...and to tell me that she loves me when words aren't necessary...and sometimes for no reason at all.

as I said...

I am loved....and I am in love

and that's Jody with a "y"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 24, 2010

"Well my soul checked out missing as I sat listening To the hours and minutes tickin' away Yeah just sittin' around waitin' for my life to begin While it was all just slippin' away I'm tired of waitin' for tomorrow to come Or that train to come roarin' 'round the bend I got a new suit of clothes a pretty red rose And a woman I can call my friend." Better Days, Bruce Springsteen

When a guy in a white coat with the first name of "Doctor" tells you that you have a tumor on your spine, the rug you have been standing on gets pulled out from under you...taking with it a good section of tile floor, wood substructure and foundation.

When a guy in a white coat with the first name "Doctor" sits you down and says "Whoa there, Sparky. Let's not put the cart in front of the horse" you feel as if someone has just built a shiny new linoleum floor inside a happy little home on top of the steamer trunk containing the first guy wearing a white coat.

I had my first appointment with a neurosurgeon today. Or, as I like to call him, my new best friend. It went really well and was a completely different experience from my adventures with Frank. It was kind of like getting a haircut from a guy who has been cutting hair for years and is really good at it instead of getting your hair cut by a guy who suffers from wall-eye and is all thumbs-and I mean all thumbs in that he has only a thumb on each one of his hands. The second guy is also a moron. I would have said he had his thumb up his ass, but I was thinking I'd played the thumb card already.

There are still some questions about what is going on with me and this new doctor didn't rule out that the fact that the white spot on my MRI could be a piece of candy corn-and from this point on I am going to call it a piece of candy corn because I just refuse to use the word tumor anymore...at least until someone can tell me 100% that is what it is or is not.

There is a list of what the spot can be. It could be one of 20 things. As I suggested to my team of experts today who were trying to come up with a way to tell me how many possibilities there might be, it's the TGI Fridays appetizer menu. (Actually, it's more like Ruby Tuesday's menu. Fridays has ten items listed. Ruby Tuesday's has 20 appetizers. This information, though, is hard to find in a doctor's exam room)

To illustrate the number of possibilities, my new doctor rolled his little milking stool in front of me and held his hands out in front of him, one on top of the other, about two feet apart and said the list is about this big. Then he added that the piece of candy theory was a little more than half way.

He reassured me though and told me that he and his team were determined to find out what is going on with me. I was kind of hoping for one of those Hallmark movie moments when the music swells and the doctor stands up and looking towards Heaven proclaims, "We will leave no stone over-turned until we find an answer!" That didn't happen. But I got chills.

As far as the whole over-turned rock thing. That's great, Doc, but I've got to warn you. It's a regular Luck's Quarry up there. I admire your passion.

I feel better knowing that the white spot that appeared on two sets of MRI images of my cervical spine area may not be a piece of candy corn. I wish I felt better physically though.

Even as I am typing this, my fingertips are tingly and my forearms are numb. I can only describe that numbness as the flush of sensation that follows the removal of a blood pressure cuff. Except for that it is ever present these days. Which, I have to say, as an artist, scares the shit out of me. I don't feel well. I feel I'm running at about 60% right now.

So where do I go from here?

It's easy. That is to say, I'm going to approach the adventure ahead of me as if it was going to be easy.

I'm going to cut down on my sugar intake (I've already gotten mix reviews for my once famous sweet iced tea and let's just say that the person drinking it made a face like they had found a half of a goldfish in the glass they were drinking out of) and go on a diet. I figure 25 pounds will bring me back to my swim suit model weight. Oh yeah. I was a swim suit model. Stick with me and you will learn a lot of things that will make your blood run cold.

I have some additional medical journeys to go on and my new best friend is going to be right there with me. There is more blood work on order and a whole new set of X-rays and MRI's. I'm okay with that really. I've got four tattoos. Needles don't scare me. Let me qualify that. Needles in my arms or in my calves don't bother me. High on the list for places for my body where I would prefer doctors not to poke with me needles would be either eye, through either ear into my brain and lastly, but dearest to my heart would be my man-plums. I'm pretty sure my eyes are safe. Seems a little barbaric in this day and age that doctors would stick needles into someone eyes for any reason. The same goes with the needle-through-my-ears-into-my-brain scenario.

There would be no reason to put my boys through any procedure involving needles.
Let me say that again. I can say, with utmost confidence, that there is no reason to put a needle anywhere near my jewels. And even if there was, they are going to have to hunt me down and shoot me like a gazelle with a tranquilizer gun first. Just in case there is anyone from my medical team reading this blog, let me say this for the last time: "THERE IS NO REASON TO STICK ME WITH A NEEDLE SOUTH OF MY EQUATOR."

There is a game plan for what comes next. My new best friend, my MNBFFWJSHTBAMD (My New Best Friend Forever Who Just So Happens To Be An MD) wants to eliminate as much as he can from the appetizer menu. I wouldn't belittle his next few moves by saying he's going on a fishing expedition but I would wager a guess that at the very least he's going on-line to look to see where the best fishing spots are.

Some of what Dr. Feelgood thinks the white spot can be is a little scary.
On a positive note, a few of the options are treatable with medication.

In three months, the doctors are going to take a closer look at that annoying white spot. If it's bigger, they are going to have a much better idea of what's going on. Worst case scenario? I do in fact have a piece of candy corn on my spine. Then they will take the appropriate measures.

The alternative? Digging into my spine now and pulling out something for a biopsy. Like the doc said, surgery at this point is risky and dangerous. Especially with not knowing what is going on. The spine is touchy son-of-a-bitch and I think a little caution is merited...and much appreciated.

I'm going to be fine. I will keep telling myself that. Every hour of every of day.
Sometimes the best lessons for life can found in cartoons.

just keep swimmin.' just keep swimmin.'

Other important lessons?

#1. When using the ACME products you've ordered, go over your game plan. Do a dry run if you have to.
#2. Secretly videotape that singing frog because nobody will ever witness his talents if you don't.
#3. Listen very carefully during a "IT'S DUCK SEASON!-IT'S RABBIT SEASON!" debate because at some point the other party is going to switch gears and leave you looking like a twit with the black smoke of a shotgun blast all over your silly face....your nose spinning around your neck is clock-wise circles.

And finally...

The creepy old caretaker who lives in the old, abandoned amusement park? He's the one trying to scare The Widow Weatherby out of her trust fund. Yep! You heard me Sherlock. Ol' Man Jenkins is the one you're looking for and you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble by just driving your van over to his trailer, knocking on the door, and when he opens it....rip off his werewolf mask and say something witty. CSI can do the dirty work.

and that's Jody with a "y"

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 23, 2010
PART 7: Where Are The Keys To My Tractor?

I'm really out of it today. I feel like I'm wading through a world of cotton balls while wearing cement slippers. I'm dizzy. I'm wobbly. This is probably one of those days when I shouldn't operate farm equipment.

I guess the plowing will just have to wait. Sorry Ma.

The pain was horrendous yesterday, and I may have overdone with my medication. On top of the pain at the base of my skull, I have extreme numbness in my forearms and hands. Typing, I must say, is quite an interesting experience. You know that tingly sensation you feel when the doctor taps your knee with that little hammer that looks like a shark's tooth? I feel that tingly little jolt every time I hit a key. It's not necessarily a bad thing...or painful...it's just weird.

I imagine, that like me, most people don't like weird feelings in their body. They want either nice feelings-like tickling or sensuous massage-or bad feelings-and I say bad feelings because with pain you can identify that it's pain. It hurts, therefore you have a pretty good idea what it is and you can more than likely fix it.

Wow. I wish you could feel what I feel as I am typing this blog.
This is so bizarre. It's like each of my fingertips has somehow been connected to the buzzer from the game Operation and with every tap it's as if I'm removing the funny bone...and I'm hitting the sides....


Anyway...as I was saying, there are good feelings which are nice. Then there are bad feelings which aren't nice but at least they tell you that there is a problem.

Then there are weird feelings and you don't know what the Hell to do with them. You just feel off and you can't put your finger on it. I can put my finger on my weird feelings. That's the problem! My fingertips are all tingly and bubbly like the sides of a glass of really cold 7-Up.

I guess it's better than being in pain, but as artist-as a creative person-I don't like feeling like I'm not on my game. My brain is working fine, its just that on the way from my brain to my hands, the little bright, white electric spark stops at a Thanksgiving dinner stand and pigs out at the tryptophan buffet. My creative brain feels sluggish. I'm probably going to read this on a sober day and think to myself "What the Hell were you thinking?'

I had a doctor's appointment today.
An interesting happened as I was waiting for the elevator.
I had gone into Frank's office to request copies of the last MRI had done. As I was waiting for the elevator, a young woman, who I had seen in Frank's office, approached me.
"Do you like him?," she asked.
There was only one person him could be.
"No," I said matter of factly.
She proceeded to tell me her war stories. And even though our elevators dinged several times we compared our horror stories of having been treated by Dr. Mengala.
I couldn't have written her description of him any better. Cold. Not interested in the slightest as to whether or not her medications were working. He didn't seem to care that one of the drugs he had prescribed made her hands swell. Apparently, in the land where he is from, women with big, cartoon clown hands are considered sexy.

Sorry, Pal! This is the United States and we like for our women to be able to dial a rotary phone if needed. The ability for a woman to catch a watermelon in one hand is not one that is admired here.

Yes. It's seems Frank wasn't just rude...or indifferent...or incompetent with me. He's like that with everybody. Can we please look at Frank's chart, and in the "Positive" column, where there are no other marks, can we please check "Consistent" ?

After a short ride down to the first floor, I headed for my truck, hoping to myself, that I would never have to step foot in that building again.

Good-bye, Dr. Burns. Take two of anything that will make you a better doctor and call me when you have some humanity.

I had a doctor's appointment today.
(WHAT? Is there an echo in here?)
It was with my General Practitioner. I'll call him Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob is an okay doctor. If he was on a scale of good/bad doctors and Frank on at ONE and Dr. House was at TEN, then Dr. Bob would be somewhere around 4. Dr.Bob's office on the other hand, would be somewhere in a third world country....on one of those rickety buses....where people are holding make-shift cages to transport their chickens. It is a cramped, suffocating office and every time I leave, I find myself gasping for air. Dr. Bob looks as if he is wearing a toupee. He's not. He just looks like he is.

Dr. Bob had the results of all the blood work he's had done. And he's had a lot done. Then I had to remind him just how much he had drained from my body. I'm sitting on one of those half tables with the butcher block table...what's up with those anyway? All that money doctors make and they can't afford a whole table. Give me a break. Sitting there on my little exam table-mini, dangling my legs like a school girl behind her desk, I actually had to remind him of the tests he had ordered.
Hey. I've got my shit together. Glad one of us did.

Anyway, long story short, he tells me my blood sugar is on, my cholesterol is high, and that I need to lose some weight and watch my sugar intake. Easier said than done, Doc. you're talking to a guy whose father was a baker. Everyone in my family has a sweet tooth! This was a family that had a Carvel Ice Cream cake for Thanksgiving...then had the pumpkin pie for dessert! I teethed on a Baby Ruth Bar. Sugar? Why did it have to be sugar?

Some good news today. I have an appointment at 8:30 A.M. at my neurosurgeons. I don't really know what to expect, but I do know what to pray for. Answers.

and that's Jody with a "y"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 20, 2010
Part 6: To Blog Or Not To Blog

"...But when he’s not being too jokey, Matzer is a perfectly pleasant, readable writer, good with an anecdote. He’s not overly thoughful, but he’s chatty. He’d be a decent blogger."

The above is a quote from Ken Jennings website. (http://www.ken-jennings.com/blog/index.php?s=trebekistan) It is a quote from his lengthy review of my book Millionaire Boy: The Adventures of a Game Show Contestant.

Jennings, in case you were living in a cave in 2oo4, won 74 Jeopardy! games before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance. His total earnings on Jeopardy! are $3,022,700. He's won more money on a game show than anyone else in history. He has also written books and he has own website.

Jennings didn't exactly like my book and that's okay with me. He did however write a pretty long review of it. I'm actually kind of surprised he took the time. It seems to me he could have written just a paragraph that summed up his feelings and moved on with his life.

"I didn't like J.E. Matzer's Millionaire Boy. Matzer seems like a nice guy but he is not a writer. I am. I've written two books. You can buy them here on my website."

It's okay. Really. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm just being my 'too jokey' self. I'd like to think that I'm not one to hold grudges.

Pssst! Hey Ken. Did you get that package I sent you? Was it still ticking?'

Anyway. So. Here I am. Writing a blog. This is a blog I am writing.

Do I expect anyone to read it? No. Not really. And I guess I not that worried about that right now. I'm not sure if I'm writing for anybody else, but then again I did post the address on my FaceBook page, so I don't know. I do know I didn't start this to promote anything.

I'm writing this blog because I want to keep a diary of what is happening to me right now. I want to write about how I am feeling and how I am being treated by the people who should want me to feel better.

If it turns out that I am okay...that the tumor on my spine is just a fatty tumor...or that it is a tumor but it is is benign...than maybe I can read these posts and laugh. If it turns out there is something more serious going on, than there will be some sort of record of my experiences.

I believe that laughter is the best medicine. I won't lie and tell you that's the only medicine I'mm relying on right now, but it is an important one. I have got to keep my sense of humor about this. So much of it is so stupid and outrageous. The only way, I think, to look at it and tell the story of the experience is too poke fun of it.

Look at the doctors I've been dealing with up to this point.
Should I honestly let my disdain for them eat me up like a cancer. Okay. Poor choice of words there. They are buffoons and I'm going to make jokes about them, which actually only requires me to write down things they have said or done. I'm not making any of it.

There are doctors out there like them practicing all sorts of medicine. Guys who barely graduated medical school but graduated. Guys I wouldn't let change a car battery. Guys who would purposely withhold information about there being a tumor on your spine and feeling that it is perfectly okay to wait two months before they see you again...or more importantly, tell you THAT YOU HAVE A TUMOR ON YOUR SPINE!

I have to laugh. Crying is too exhausting and quite frankly, I'm going to need all the energy I can muster if I am going to beat this thing. Whatever it is.

The good news is that I have heard from a neurosurgeon. Well, actually, I have heard from the receptionist who works for a neurosurgeon. They have my medical records and they want to see me as soon as possible. In fact, they are trying to move people around to get me in even sooner.

I'm trying so hard not to read anything into that. I really am.

It's great news! I am besides myself. No. Really. I am. I am sitting right next to myself and I'm noticing several things. One. I've got to get the clippers and trim my ear hair. And second. My sideburns are way of alignment. What the Hell? For as much as I pay for a haircut, you think my sideburns would be trimmed a little better. Maybe I should be behind myself? I've always wondered what I look like from behind.

I'm waiting now...

Just keep swimmin.' Just keep swimmin.'

for the neurologist's office to call and schedule an appointment. And then, I'm assuming, there will be a biopsy. Then surgery, more than likely. Then recovery. Then relief. And then....life.

It's hard to imagine days without pain. I can't remember the last time I didn't feel pain when I moved my head to the left or to the right or up and down or when I didn't move it at all. I can't remember not walking around like Frankenstein, which, when you are as tall as me, it not really a good thing. Every time I go out in public, people seem to group together with torches and pitchforks. Where do they get those anyway? The last time I was in Home Depot I didn't see torches. Is there a guy with a cart out there somewhere?

But I'm putting the cart before the horse.
I need to slow down and a little and keep some perspective.
I haven't even seen the neurosurgeon yet. I don't know what is wrong with me. So. I'm going to stop and take a breath.

I am reminded of a Little Rascal's short from 1934 called Hi Neighbor. It is actually one of my favorites. In it, the 'Gang' builds their own fire engine to compete with the new rich kid-on-the- block's shiny store-bought one. And it is a rickety-rackety thing about 25 feet long made from scrap lumber and whatever else they can find. It is vintage Little Rascals. It is hilarious.

During the climatic race down the longest and steepest hill I've ever seen...(Forget BULLITT. Even Steve McQueen would have said 'no thanks' to this monster)...as Spanky and the Gang are racing down the hill, the back end of the fire engine begins to creep forward, at one point swinging so far out that the vehicle is racing towards the bottom sideways.

Wally, leader of the gang, and the guy who wanted to build the engine in the first place to win back the heart of his true love Jane, sees Stymie, who is sitting in last position at the end of the engine off to his right.

Wally shouts: "Hey Stymie! Where ya' goin'?
Stymie replies "I don't know. But I'm on my way!"

Then the fire engine cuts off to the left and slams through a thick hedge, stripping off all of the boys' clothes and they are left there, in their underwear, shaking their heads in disbelief.

I guess, in a way, that sort of sums up how I feeling.
I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.

And you had better believe that I'm going to keep a serious look out for any hedges!

and that's Jody with a "y"