iF YOU CAN'T LAUGH AT CANCER, WHY HAVE IT?
The C-Note is simply my thoughts, fears, experiences, tips and lots of humor on a very personal level.
In October 2013 I went to a local doctor with some stomach cramps and was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. KABOOM! The cancer bomb was dropped in our lives. Now all cancer, at any stage, is devastating. Being 42 and hearing you have stage IV with tumors on your colon, liver and abdominal wall is pretty surreal (to this day it still seems unreal).
To make matters worse, when I asked what I should do, the internist who diagnosed me actually replied "you should get your affairs in order". After the initial shock wore off, I decided two things. First, I sure as shit wasn't ready to get my affairs in order and second, I was going to find a new doctor.
About a week later I asked my new doctor at Sloan Kettering the same question and got a very different response. "You go to work, enjoy your family and live your life. You should only think about cancer on the days you come here for treatment. Its my job to think about cancer every day". That simple conversation set the tone for how I would approach this disease.
Instead of having the same depressing conversation over and over with friends and family to break the news, I opted to hide behind technology and simply write an email, and Rob's C-Note was born. Although the initial email list was pretty small, it seems like I now add new folks all the time.
I think people enjoy the C-Note because cancer is very much a group disease. Cancer not only impacts you, your family and your friends, but also their friends and even strangers you don't know. Its a very hard topic to discuss, but one where people have a million questions, and a lack of information raises everyone's anxiety level.
I hope you'll find my C-Notes informative, very personal, very real, but also very full of my wise-ass personality . . . because if you can't laugh at cancer, whats the point of having it?
Although I've had over a hundred rounds of treatment (80+ rounds of chemo, 30+ rounds of immunotherepy, some radiation for good measure) and spent more time at Sloan Kettering than most of the staff, lets be clear, I'm not dispensing medical advice. There are tips weaved into my C-Notes, but my 5 years getting an English degree has left me woefully unprepared to discuss the specifics of advanced stage cancer. Every variation of cancer is different and so are treatment responses (see, I even got to flex my Law Minor degree with a disclaimer).
About Me . . .
So now a bit about me (as if you care, but my mom will like this part). I'm 46 years old, work in downtown NYC and live in Larchmont NY. I met my beautiful wife Courtney in New Orleans at the Jazz festival in 1998, and convinced her to finally marry me in 2001. We have 3 fantastic kids, two boys and a girl (Michael 9, Jack 11 and Claire 14). I've worked in media for the last 20 years, continued to work full time throughout treatment and miraculously still enjoy it. I grew up in Jersey City and Lyndhurst NJ, went to Montclair State and lived in NYC until too many kids drove us out to to the burbs in 2007. Life was great and pretty much cruised right along until October 2013 when I went to the doctor with some stomach cramps (ok, now you can loop up to the top of the page).