Author: jonathansterne

  • More Suspended Attention

    Since last fall, I’ve been on an every three months regime of getting scanned. Two have been chest and abdomen, other was just my lungs. They are tracking the speed of spots in my lungs, looking for anything to get bigger. The last scan, done at the end of June, showed my largest lesion at […]

  • Public Speaking 101b

    Okay, so I’ve been going to the speech therapist to see if there’s a way I can get back to giving talks while standing without my head spinning after a few minutes. Last time we worked on breathing, which helps but not enough. Today, I learned that I still use volume for verbal emphasis. Which […]

  • A “Tipping Point” Just Happened Inside My Throat

    Well, that was fun. As predicted in October, the voice lift I had was temporary, and it’s pretty much gone now as far as I can tell. I’ve noticed it in my voice, which has lost strength, low end and is more hoarse (the guy at our local fruiterie asked if I had a cold […]

  • Cancer Crawl, 10 Oct 2011

    And now, another post about cancer! This is one of those “good news/bad news” situations. I confess to some unwarranted cockiness in the cancer department upon returning from California. As Carrie put it, we thought we’d “beaten it” for now. I returned from sabbatical many pounds lighter and a few sizes smaller than I’d left, […]

  • Voice Lift Review: Or, Laryngology Phenomenology (not really, but it rhymes)

    Well, I don’t really recommend the operation for a good time (graphic details below the line for the curious) but it certainly has had an effect on my voice. It sounds different and it’s easier to talk. I would definitely do it again. My friend Derek says that before my voice sounded like my old […]

  • Voice Lift: Why I Shouldn’t Have Been So Critical of All The Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles

    During our six weeks in LA, we saw a LOT of people who had plastic surgery. At least in the wealthier parts of town, it is part of the culture, and one can talk casually of having “work done.” For example, a friend of ours who is 50, newly single, and drop-dead gorgeous was asked […]

  • September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

    More information here and here. It’s good that this is the month to be aware of thyroid cancer because boy, am I sure aware of it. After a year away, in which I could effectively spend most of my time living in denial, I’m back in the medical system with lots of followup appointments and […]

  • Speech Impairment: in the news, in the booth, at some parties, and in situ

    Yesterday’s New York Times had a story on sports figures with temporary vocal cord paralysis–announcers Joe Buck and Dick Vitale, and referee Mike Pereira. The piece more or less exactly describes my own difficulties. Here’s Pereira talking about himself and Buck: “You have to reach more into your diaphragm to get the vocal cords to […]

  • No Brown M&Ms

    I haven’t blogged much about CASBS, which I will do. But part of the deal (for now) is that each fellow delivers a lecture. We meet once a week. Yesterday was my day. I’ve given a few talks this year and each one has been an experiment to see what my voice will handle and […]

  • Embarrassing Man Stuff

    I’ve now been shaving for 10 months, which means I have the skills of a 14-year-old or thereabouts. I’m still learning this whole thing. So I’m at the gym last week and shave after my shower. It was my first shave at the gym. I had my rig all set up, and a minute or […]

  • Left Behind

    After they took out the trache, they left an emergency trache kit in my room. I was happy not to need it, and I wonder if it was even the right size. On the last couple trache-free nights it sat there, ready. I was happy to walk out of the room, the floor (the staff […]

  • Not for the squeamish

    This picture is below the line, since it’s my trache (outside of me). Looking at it now, it’s hard to believe the thing was inside of me. This was the smaller size of the two I’d had in. I could talk, eat and swallow with this one and sort of breathe around it when it […]

  • The Room

  • The view from the lounge

  • Walking up and down the hall

    This was the space I travelled — frequently — at this time last year. Tonight, Carrie and I dine with a friend at Chez Panisse (the cheap part) and tomorrow we fly to Los Angeles for the Experience Music Project Pop Conference at UCLA. I remember that I kept asking the doctors whether I’d be […]

  • The psychedelic floors

    This is the floor of the bathroom in my hospital room. While I was on dilaudid, it sometimes shimmered in interesting ways. One night I stumbled in obscenely thirsty. After several sponges worth of water in my mouth, I discovered it was physically possible to drink and swallow. And the water was cold. I wasn’t […]

  • Put there to relieve the boredom, no doubt

    I was surprised at how little TV I watched while here. It was mostly music for me. And some reading.

  • The Wall

    I stared at that wall for days. Quickly Carrie and my mom got sick of it, so there’s a poster of a sculpture I like at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and a poster for a talk by Cornelius Borck, with whom I was co-teaching a class that term. Judging by the tape marks, we […]

  • Morning

    The sun came blasting at whatever time it chose to rise each morning. But that was fine. Hospital activity was concentrated in the morning. Residents would come by and check on me before their surgery or whatever they did all day. The physical therapist would make me take a walk. I would just be happy […]

  • Dawn

    I spent the better part of the weekend after Feb 12th 2010 unconscious. Valentine’s Day involved me in a recovery room and Carrie showing up in red. (This year it involved special valentine’s tacos with pineapple salsa, but like idiots we figured Whole Foods wouldn’t be crowded and we could just stop by after work). […]

  • I did not experience much of tomorrow last year

    I’m not terribly big on anniversaries, and certainly not unhappy ones ones, but a year ago today I went into surgery and did not find my way back to consciousness again for several days. Looking back at the blog entries (Feb 2010 on the menu to the left if you dare) I’m struck by what […]

  • A little cancer reading for you

    S. Lochlann Jain, “Be Prepared,” in Jonathan Metzl and Anna Kirkland (eds.), Against Health, NYU Press, 2010. See also some of the other offerings on her page.

  • Shhh!

    It turns out that sabbatical is not all that conducive to blogging. I’d left Montreal assuming I’d get so much done with all this time on my hands, and I’d be recounting all sorts of exciting things that have been happening in California, finishing the book in no time flat, undertaking several music projects and […]

  • Medical Progress + More Medicine and Money

    Today was a big medical day. I stayed home from the Center so that Ya-Ya could get his eye pressure checked (glaucoma) and I could talk with a local endocrinologist about my fatigue. We went over my blood results and determined that my TSH could be further suppressed (which means increasing my dose of synthroid) […]

  • Srsly wtf

    It’s a weird stage of life when one hopes for blood tests to return a result indicating that something is wrong. Well, nothing’s wrong. I don’t have any detectable tumor marker — which is awesome. My thyroid hormones are right where they should be, which also should be awesome. Except I don’t feel awesome. And […]

  • Blood!

    It wasn’t my first encounter with the US healthcare system since moving to Canada but it was instructive. It’s time for my various thyroid-related blood tests. I have my orders from my doctor in Montreal. I need to pay out of pocket, at least at first (I can petition Quebec to cover the costs but […]

  • Retroactive Hiatus Declaration

    Oops. It’s been a month. Sorry! I’ll be back. Santa Barbara is beautiful. The Center is beautiful. Tomorrow, we head off to Vancouver where we will stay at the Sylvia and I will talk at the Surrey Art Gallery. I’m sure they’re beautiful. Source: Thyroid Cancer Superbon

  • Life on Sabbatical

    I haven’t said much of substance in this space apart from my SSHRC post, which is a whole other story. So let me set the scene. This is my first sabbatical, and I’m still figuring things out. I had wanted a fairly routinized life, and so far that’s what I’ve gotten. We spend all day […]

  • Good News, Fishing for Bad

    Brazil was amazing, as expected. Rio is a very interesting and intense city, my hosts were wonderful, the experience was totally unforgettable and I hope to go back. My visa is good for 10 years. Yesterday I went to the radiation oncologist for followup. He pronounced me fine and said not to come back; and […]

  • The New Normal, or Is That a Summer Hiatus Coming On?

    For those readers not accustomed to the ways of academic blogs (which is mostly academic only by virtue of its association with its author), there is a tradition called the “summer hiatus.” People spend less time on the internet reading blogs and writers take time away. I tend not to announce such things but since […]

  • Asthma, Text, America

    My medical appointments are slowing down, which is a good thing, but Monday I went in for an asthma test to see if I still had it, or whether the breathing issues were a side effect of the cancer. Turns out it’s a little of both. My test scores without medication were similar, but I […]

  • Free, Again

    A quick update on the cancer front. Yesterday the neck bandage came off. The antimicrobial fabric is indeed a medical miracle and apart from the public spectacle part of it, I would recommend it highly. The open wound area was almost totally gone and the remaining area has responded very well to flamezine. That’s a […]

  • Neck Bandage: Day 2

    Is the magic fabric working? Maybe! In the meantime, I feel like an animal just home from the vet with one of those Elizabethan collars so it can’t lick itself: They’re hilarious on pets, but it turns out I’m not as fond of them on humans. Also, the thing hates the heat. I got this […]

  • Well, crap

    Today was of mild medical interest and greater sociological interest. I visited the respirologist, and neither he nor I are any longer certain whether I actually have asthma, so there’s another round of tests in a couple weeks. It could be a misdiagnosis from when there was a giant dead tumor in my neck last […]

  • 10 days out, the wave breaks

    After a few days of stuff hurting more, the burn on my neck appears to have crested (although there’s a nasty raw part I won’t detail here–suffice it to say that I’ll be stopping by the nurses at radiation oncology tomorrow on my way to the respirologist; also I was motivated to buy some open […]

  • Without a countdown, I lose all sense of time

    Not really, but I think the opiates are staying with me into the daytime, making the whole “get back to work” thing a little tougher and slower than I had imagined. I can confirm that without daily treatments, the radiation’s effects continue to get worse. The burn is really ugly, and swallowing hurts more, not […]

  • There Is No Zero Because Zero is Not Exactly a Number

    and because I have no more cancer treatments to count down. Sure, there’s weeks of recovery and years of follow-up, but the acute phase of treatment is officially over and I am a happy camper. What I am doing to celebrate: 1. Completed and will mail out our application for Canadian citizenship. 2. Long nap. […]

  • 1

    (PS — Earthquake=Preparation for California)

  • 2

    Click this and below. Today’s post is audio. Right click to download. Source: Thyroid Cancer Superbon

  • 2

    Click this and below. Today’s post is audio. Right click to download.

  • 3

    I am now officially at the “I am sick of this shit and ready for it to be done” point. This is the feeling I remember vividly from February: an absolute surplus of will and energy, all driving at getting me out. Of course, my confinement is only temporal now, with a 2.5 hour hole […]

  • 4

    In honor of the World Cup, let us now say that EBR is in “additional time.” Substitutions are being made and players are making that last bit of extra desperate effort. It was supposed to be a six-week affair, but holidays and a broken x-ray have left me with 4 sessions next week, meaning Friday […]

  • 6

    Sorry to remain quiet on this front. Last night was my first use of anything narcotic in the process. Which is pretty good, I think. Codeine cough syrup. It worked for the intended purpose (preventing dry coughing fits as I fell asleep) and I don’t feel too wooly this morning. As to the dreams, the […]

  • 8 / Immigration and Denaturalization

    I had a 7am zapping today because they have an emergency patient. Let’s hope that doesn’t have to happen again. For years, my plan was to apply for citizenship the day I was eligible in fall 2009. Since you can be a dual citizen of the US and Canada, there is no downside, and given […]

  • 9

    Suspicions confirmed. Hormone levels almost right. A few more mgs.

  • 10

    We’re getting close to some milestones: 2/3 of the way through today, and two weeks from tomorrow should be my last day of radiation treatment. Symptom-wise, I remain cautiously optimistic. I can still taste and talk, even if I do evaluate food choices in terms of viscosity. The swallowing pain seems steady and the fatigue […]

  • 11 (On Professional Websites)

    In the comments to #13, Aimee-Marie asked: I was considering putting together a simple website with some of my stuff (vita, pubs, etc) on it, but was given advice that this might lead to my information being “out of my control.” Since you’ve gone the other direction completely, I’m wondering if you had any energy […]

  • 12

    It’s Carrie here, doing a guest entry on the cancer crawl. Today I accompanied Jonathan to radiation, for the first time. Jon’s got a routine down at this point: walk to the Jean Talon metro (getting some exercise in), take metro to Cote-des-Neiges, walk to JGH, enter swank cancer facilities, say hello to everyone he […]

  • 13

    Known when you feel it. That’s radiation fatigue! Drain closed, then open.

  • 14

    Switching to silver. Burn sometimes surprises me; sometimes I forget.

  • 15

    Finally, halfway! And still relatively asymptomatic. The skin on my neck and lower jaw is now pretty sore even with the cream (but less itchy). For now fatigue is steady in that I get bursts of it during the day but it’s not constant. Swallowing has actually improved a little since the 2nd day I […]

  • (Stuck at) 16

    Today’s post was supposed to be titled 15, marking the halfway point through external beam radiation (in terms of treatments, not days). But that’s not what happened. I arrived 2 minutes late to my treatment, worried that I was holding things up. But upon arriving in the green room I found the family that’s always […]

  • 17

    At yesterday’s radiating, one of the technicians asked me about my symptoms with the implication that I am doing unusually well. There are at least a couple that show up by week 4 that I haven’t had, though truth be told with the days off I am slightly behind week 4 (if I was right […]

  • 18

    With any luck, the symptoms I am experiencing will develop and plateau, rather than simply increase on some kind of curve forever. At least, that seems to be how my various medical professionals tell it. From here on out, something new may happen every 3 days or so. Right now, there is some pain with […]

  • 19

    Fluoride gel, not paste. Frustrated with pharmacies. Magic mouthwash? Wait.

  • 21

    Tough crowd today in the green room! No eye contact, no smiles, no nods from the other patients or hangers about. It’s like everyone has cancer and is going through a brutal treatment or something. Or maybe it was the awful Tilly hat I have taken to wearing because it actually provides shade for my […]

  • Symptom Haiku

    Scratching without thought Prince song “Cream” sounds in my head Make the connection

  • More Misbehavior in the Green Room

    Thanks to my friend Derek, I present you with another Onion cancer classic “Man With Friend With Cancer ‘Going Through a Rough Time.’”

  • 22

    Today’s word of the day is “iatrogenesis.” It means medicine-caused illness. I stumbled across it reading a Jody Berland essay on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome this morning. She attributes it to Ivan Illich’s usage in his writings on medicine (for instance, this piece. But I suspect the term has a longer history worth looking up. In […]

  • 23

    I am definitely overthinking things. I had originally said I don’t want to sit in the Green Room, I wanted to sit in the big sunny waiting room. The thing is, then am I somehow ditching the other cancer patients going through EBR? There is a social scene in the waiting area. Of course everyone’s […]

  • 25

    Back in graduate school, one of our cats (Ya-Ya) was acting out and attacking the other cat. Like all cats, he is pretty terrified of the vet. We took him anyway, and they suggested a pet psychologist. (You know where this is headed, right?) So the pet psychologist comes into the vet examination room, and […]

  • 26

    Announcing an exciting new feature of cancer blogging: symptom Haikus! Since at the beginning of EBR I won’t be able to tell whether most symptoms are actual side effects or just things happening in my body, and they come on slowly and cumulatively, the minimalist form of the Haiku seems appropriate. It also gives form […]

  • Cancer Crawl, 12 May 2010

    This went out to my email distribution list last night. Not much of it is new news, except maybe the part at the end where I talk about my feelings, which as usual are somewhat inappropriate to the situation. But hey, they’re mine and I’m keeping them. — Dear Friends Near and Far: Here’s your […]

  • 28

    There are two running counts on our chalkboard at home. The first is a counter of actual days until my term as department chair is up (31 May is the last day of my term). That number is at 19, though the chairing is pretty light in May and I’ve had lots of help from […]

  • Quick Update

    I had the first treatment today. It was uneventful and painless. It took a little longer than 15 minutes since they were getting used to me and adjusting my body on the bed. The mask was nice and tight. I was hoping there would be a laser or light sabre or something spectacular but I […]

  • Well, that’s a relief

    This morning, when I had planned to be writing up the AHCS strategic plan, I got a call from Jewish General asking if I could come in so they could adjust my mask. I was delighted to oblige. It turns out that whatever the mask is made of, you can mold it some by making […]

  • Good News/Good News/Bad News

    Yesterday was a big medical day. Good News 1: First up was an appointment with my endo, who upped my synthroid dose quite significantly–almost doubling it. Let’s hope that handles the hypothyroidism. I expected that. The bigger shock was that he told me my parathyroids were working. My sense was that they were damaged during […]

  • Promotional Photo for Saw XXIV + Holding Pattern

    Neal Thomas graciously offered to photoshop the pictures of the EBR mask onto my faculty photo. The results are impressive, though I am as yet undecided as to whether this should replace my official faculty photo on the McGill site: Is it more lucha libre or horror film? Please don’t answer that. Meanwhile, I appear […]

  • New Thyroid Cancer Canada Website

    Thyroid Cancer Canada just launched their new website: I definitely don’t fit their main demographic but have found them to be an incredibly useful resource throughout my experience. Rita Banach their president, has worked tirelessly to update and modernize their web presence. Thyroid cancer is still underrepresented in the broader cultural discourse around cancer, […]

  • Shaved, Masked

    Okay, first of all I went for it and shaved. It took 45 minutes on Sunday night, probably closer to an hour to get the whole beard off and to actually look clean shaven, no doubt because I used an electric and I don’t know what I’m doing. Yes I cut myself in a few […]

  • The Week of Scans

    Last week I had medical appointments: a CT scan of my chest to follow up on that dot they thought was nothing; an ultrasound of my liver to follow up on that light they thought was nothing; and a prep for my external beam radiation (EBR). The first two were uneventful and I expect no […]

  • Shaving Issues–Suggestions Needed

    More news tomorrow but I am currently pondering shaving off my beard. The thing is, if I go this route, I’ve been instructed to use an electric razor as it’s bad to cut yourself while undergoing EBR. I have been doing an informal survey of men and can’t seem to find any who use electric […]

  • While waiting for EBR. . .work!

    As it did in January, blogging has slowed down as life has sped back up, which all things considered is a good thing. My voice is good enough that I only use the speech amp in large groups and particularly loud settings. I am tired pretty much all the time and get downright, face-on-the-floor exhausted […]

  • Generic Update in Lieu of Something More Clever

    I’m not sure why my big review is taking so long but it is. In the meantime, a more mundane general update. My voice continues to improve. I still don’t have the vocal power I once did and I noted that when visited by a friend who has attended lots of rock concerts that he […]

  • News + Spicy Foods Question

    So, it seems that my voice is improving now by leaps and bounds. I attended seminar yesterday for the first time since the surgery and it was fun. As predicted, I was totally wiped out in the evening but that was hypothyroidism and not anything voice-related. Also, my friend Kembrew McLeod is giving a talk […]

  • The Cost of (Getting Sick Under) Socialized Medicine

    I wanted to start this line of posts with the observation that there is no more nationally-specific experience than getting sick. But that’s not necessarily true. In Canada, provinces manage their own healthcare, and when I show you some pictures of where I stayed, you will understand why Michael Moore picked a nice Ontario clinic […]

  • Healthcare and Taxes

    Despite its obvious shortcomings, I have never questioned that Obama’s healthcare plan is a major step forward for the United States, since it takes a positive step toward moving American healthcare from a privilege to a right. This is exactly why I was horrified to see the new proposal by the Quebec government on provincial […]

  • “The Day”

    Things have been quiet here, so here’s the random blog update. I’m working on a big review of the two speech amplifiers I’ve tried out but that’s gotten a little involved. After the long winter, there is one day every year in Montreal where everyone pours out onto sidewalks, wears too little clothing and sits […]

  • Playing Asteroids with my Neck

    Despite the levity in the title and whatever other cheap laughs I can elicit in the upcoming lines, this is a deadly serious post about making impossible choices. You will recall that my doctors put the choice regarding the second surgery in my hands, which was not a decision I particularly wanted to have to […]

  • Speaker Voice Phenomenology, or “Just Another Asshole with a Bluetooth Headset”

    One of the non-loaner headsets arrived last week. It is shockingly overpriced for what it is, and the amp has the hilarious name “Spokeman” which must be a mistranslation of either “Speakman” (as in “Walkman”) or “Spokesman.” You choose a headset to go with it and as I have a rather large head (hence outside […]

  • Confession

    I posted the following note in our building’s basement garage this afternoon after sweeping up some plaster. Cher Neighbors: You may notice the new hole in the wall. If you happen to walk by our car on the street, you may notice the right side-view mirror hanging off the side of the car. Yes, there […]

  • Hope and Cope Retraction

    My public apologies to Hope & Cope. The intake forms were a little repetitive and I had to write in a few things as thyroid cancer isn’t really a category for them. But that’s as far as my criticism can go. My intake interview was done by a retired teacher named Gwen who volunteers there […]

  • The Loaner

    My recovery this week has descended into the “slow slog” part. The good news is that I’ve avoided (so far) any sign of the crushing depression that’s been promised me (oh, there’s still time) but the bad news is that my voice seems to have gotten a little worse. I was warned that this might […]

  • On Language (Attitude Part 2)

    M sent me this nice New York Times Blog piece. The language critique seems spot on, though I am still waiting for a proper “Politics and the English Language” of cancer. I think the author may also have gone a little too far in the “language can never describe it” direction, since of course language […]

  • What’s that Steven Wright joke about “around the block?”

    First day off the ‘roids. I don’t know if they’re out of my system yet but I successfully took a short nap. Every day’s a new thing, though. This whole discover-my-body-all-over-again thing just keeps morphing. I can’t tell if it’s like some hippie drug experiment or puberty. Or both. Since yesterday afternoon, I’ve been getting […]

  • The Vegetarian Low Iodine Diet and Strategies for Surviving Radioactive Iodine Treatment With The Aid of Consumer Electronics

    I’ve written a bit about our adventures with the low-iodine diet, or as carnivorous Carrie calls it, “worse than vegan.” This post is for search engines and the vegetarian thyroid cancer patients who may use them in anticipation of radioactive iodine treatment, but of course you’re welcome to read on if you don’t fall in […]

  • Cancer Crawl, 13 March

    This is the email I sent out to my distribution list today. Now, for a high-iodine lunch! — Dear Friends and Colleagues, Here’s the latest cancer update. For those of you following the blog ( — I’m on a roll) the RAI news immediately below the headlines is old news. HEADLINES: I was really radioactive, […]

  • Free!

    I’m down to 10 microsieverts per hour so I’m free to go. But no public appearances for 3 days as I can’t be near pregnant women and you never know who’s pregnant. So Carrie’s doing the shopping. Also, I can’t prepare food for you and you can’t snuggle with my neck for 3 days. Also […]

  • So close I can taste it (cliché appropriate)

    If all goes well in about 19 hours I will be walking out of here with a bag full of stuff to hide in our storage locker for 3 weeks while its half-life expires, and a plan to eat a maximum-iodine dinner (oh how I love to transgress). Today was largely uneventful. I received many […]

  • Houston, We Have Liftoff

    I feel like I must be living in the future. First, I am radioactive. I don’t actually glow, but I am in this isolation room and people are afraid of me. Radioactive iodine comes in different forms but I got it in capsule form. Actually, they gave me so much it was divided between two […]

  • Look Who’s Glowing Now

    …and I don’t mean to announce that I’m pregnant. I’ve timed this post to appear at approximately the moment that I receive a rather large dose of radioactive iodine at the Jewish General Hospital. I have hatched a scheme so that I may be able to blog from inside my isolation room, but we will […]

  • Cancer TV Reviews

    My tastes in audiovisual entertainment tend to run toward the escapist in good times, and in tough times even moreso. Luckily, even though we do watch the usual “high middlebrow” TV (HBO shows, Battlestar, Damages, etc) we can’t keep up with all of them, which has left a nice little backlog for my recovery period. […]

  • Losing Myself

    It’s been an up and down couple days. Sleep is erratic–sometimes great, sometimes terrible–which of course leads to erratic feelings of wellness or lack thereof. I also learned that I may have to spend an extra two days in the hospital next week essentially to keep a room for when I really need it starting […]

  • What’s the equivalent of “Stockholm Syndrome” for Hospital Patients?

    Yesterday was one hell of a lesson for me. By the end of my hospital stay, I had an unrealistically positive view of my physical state: I hardly did anything except sleep, sit and stroll up and down the halls (and stairs). Compared to the other patients, I was in great shape, and I needed […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 28th

    Home after 16.5 days in the hospital. Tonight, I sleep without being awakened for scheduled doses of drugs I may or may not need. Tomorrow, I bum around the apartment and cook dinner for Carrie. Anyway, the last “hospital” update unless things suddenly go south, and I really hope they don’t. Here’s the letter I […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 27th

    I’m now getting so close to out that I can taste it. Literally. Today, after a visit from a resident and signing a liability waiver for the hospital, I was let out on a day pass with an 8pm curfew. Of course all I did was go home but the drive through the city was […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 26th

    Today was the big day: around 7:30am the residents (not the band) came by and removed my trache. In its place are some stitches, though they don’t close the hole perfectly. So there is still some healing to be done and i need to be observed for a few nights. But overall it feels great. […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 25th

    After all the talk of corking, there was no cork. I wore tape all day, gradually re-learning to breathe through my nose and mouth without the help of an extra airway (I was allowed to remove the tape if I couldn’t get enough air). As I mentioned last night, the difficulty is not breathing in […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 24th

    This one will be brief as I’m beat. This morning, they tried to “cork” me, which is what it sounds like. You put a “cork” in the trach tube to force beeathing through the nose and mouth only. I had a hard time breathing out–probably because my trach is still pretty big. Later in the […]

  • Cancer Crawl, Feb 23rd

    Today I spoke for the first time since February 12th. Technically that’s not true since in the ICU they got a “1 2 3 4″ out of me on the 15th but I was under heavy sedation. Apart from that, I have been communicating with a pad of paper and with keyboard devices when given […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 22nd

    I just downloaded WordPress for iPhone. They do think of everything, don’t they? For better or worse, I have settled into a routine here. Part of that is coercive– no full blinds and they come and wake you up at all hours, because in hospitals theories of pharmacology trump those of sleep. But I am […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 21st

    Weekends here are pretty quiet, which is actually kind of nice if you’re going to be trapped here. We had a couple visitors and the neighbors complained about the laughing (wasn’t mine–I’m inaudible). The latest news, though still unofficial, is that I will be home, with my neck sewn (back) shut, by a week from […]

  • Cancer Crawl Feb 20th

    Well, it’s more like a slow amble up and down the hallways of the 18th floor of the General, back and forth. At least 4 times a day. Through the miracle of tethering, I have managed to get onto the internet with Carrie’s laptop and type something, and I am probably breaking a rule. Didn’t […]

  • #4: Update on Jonathan

    Jonathan has made great strides in the past two days — needing less and less pain meds, up and walking laps through the hospital hallways, and fully able to bathe himself and dress. He’s no longer on any IVs, and has had his feeding tube removed, which is a relief. Interestingly at Montreal General, you […]

  • #3: Update on Jonathan

    Jon got his own hospital room on Tuesday and is no longer a nomad in Montreal General Hospital. He’s becoming more and more self sufficient, and is going for walks down the hallways of the hospital–not running any races, mind you, but able to ambulate on his own. On Friday his surgeon extraordinaire, Dr. Richard […]

  • Monday Night Update on Jonathan (Update #2)

    Hello friends, family and colleagues: Thanks so much for all of the well wishes you have sent to Jon and I in the past few days. I wanted to write with a brief update to tell you how he’s been doing since his surgery Friday. Jon spent the weekend in the post-op recovery room, because […]

  • Update on Jonathan’s Surgery

    Jonathan got out of surgery this afternoon at 4pm and is now resting in the recovery room at Montreal General Hospital. He’ll be in recovery tonight and will move to the ICU for the weekend. Following Jonathan’s lead, I too will tell you exactly how it is, without overwhelming you with too too much detail. […]

  • Update on Jonathan’s Surgery

    Jonathan got out of surgery this afternoon at 4pm and is now resting in the recovery room at Montreal General Hospital. He’ll be in recovery tonight and will move to the ICU for the weekend. Following Jonathan’s lead, I too will tell you exactly how it is, without overwhelming you with too too much detail. […]

  • Oops

    Well, I’d planned to blog a whole lot more but the last couple weeks have been surprisingly busy, which is good, since it’s not much fun to contemplate the countdown to surgery. More musings, possibly deranged (but don’t get your hopes up), will be forthcoming when I get home from tomorrow’s surgery. Carrie will post […]

  • On Diagnosis (Attitude Part 1)

    I get a lot of questions about my attitude toward having cancer. I don’t actually feel as though I am exercising an act of will, or being stoic, or heroic, or brave or anything else. These are clichés, as well illustrated by the Onion article “Loved Ones Recall Local Man’s Cowardly Battle With Cancer”: “Most […]

  • Cancer Crawl — 25 January

    There’s some bloggable backstory here. For instance, today I saw a videotape of the inside of my throat. My right vocal cord remained paralyzed but the left one moved all the way over to compensate. Also, it turns out that the insides of people’s throats look an awful lot like meat. But here’s the update, […]

  • Latest news

    Part of chronic illness is managing others’ responses to it. In the sense that lots of people want to know what’s happening and I can’t possibly update everyone individually. So I have resorted to mass emails. Here’s tonight’s. ——– Dear Friends and Colleagues Near and Far, I’m writing with another brief cancer update. Today was […]

  • Disability Studies 101: Saturday Night Practicum

    This is a post about some issues I encountered at someone else’s birthday party, which makes it inherently pathetic and self-centered. But then, this is a blog, so I get to be pathetic and self-centered once in awhile, right? I apologize up front. For the record, it was a fun party and any non-fun issues […]

  • On Being “Out”

    We live in a world where people are more private about their ailments than their sex lives (the same has been said about money, but that’s a whole other subject). If I had to guess, such privacy stems from stigma, the desire not to be perceived as weak and the death taboo. No matter the […]

  • Establishing the Facts of the Situation

    Thanks for the good wishes in the last post! Before I get into my crazy man blogosphere rantings (okay, that might be a little bit of an overstatement), I suppose it would be appropriate to establish the facts of the situation. First of all, they call thyroid cancer “the good cancer” because almost nobody dies […]

  • Cancer Blog!

    Once again, I’m back. I have what has turned out to be an unusual case of thyroid cancer and I think I’m going to blog about it. Summer’s hiatus was a plain, vanilla blog hiatus. My disappearance in October was directly tied to the discovery of the illness, the extra “part time job” that ensued […]