Getting Ready to Positively Radiate

Posted on: Monday, November 7th, 2016
Posted in: SoulTrain | 17 comments

That’s me—fearless if not spineless—as I prepped for my final Spinal Tap + chemo. No encores, please!

That’s me—fearless, not spineless—as I prepped for my final Spinal Tap + chemo. No encores, please!

The C (Cancer? Comedy? Crap-ola?) campaign continues, much like this endless election, with ongoing opportunities for developing new, whimsical material. My newest collaborators? The radiation team. They’re a scream! Actually, they’re pretty straight-faced and –laced. But a guy might prefer such demeanor from folks who will repeatedly be beaming x-rays into one’s inner self.

There IS more positive news. I’ve had a “good response” to the treatments—and thus have graduated from the Chemo Course (insert whooo-ie! here) and entered the radiation phase. FBOW, no cake, no plaques, and no “Pomp and Circumstance” were involved. I was alone, in fact, when the scan-read call came from Nurse Rush, who happily exuded more mirth than usual. So absent any champoo to pop or someone to hug, I allowed myself to break character for a rare emo-breakdown and then danced to a little Ella with my warmest and fuzziest robe.

  • A certain *, a visible “aura”

Med pros choose words carefully. The scan suggests it’s all gone. But there is still a * onboard, as there often seems to be when taking the C Train. This * could be a little lymphoma, although my favorite word I’ve heard is “aura.” It’s no biggie, as the next 2 options that should fix it are either 3 more chemo courses (Urp). Or to zap that * back to the Stone Age with radiation (Ugh). Everyone advises the latter. So let’s burn, baby, burn.

  • Baseball: Better (and bigger) than golf

I’ve now viewed all images—the befores and afters. I had mis-underestimated the tumor; it was NOT, as I originally estimated, a golf ball. It was a baseball, really, which is terrific, as that’s my favorite sport. That’s simplistic, though, as the mass really more resembled a smashed puffer-fish. Or maybe a contortionist octopus. But it has swum away, leaving only a little *aura* in its wake.

  • Facing radiation head-on

Some had whispered that my zap-fest might be only 2-3 weeks. But my new care coach, Dr. Ray, insists on extra innings, and she now calls the game. So we’ll go for 4 weeks. First, though, I get a week off for my evermore miraculous (and did I mention gorgeous?) body to recover. They can’t fool me: It’s actually so I can put summer away and kayak in this God-sent November heat wave—at least in between appointments to work out fresh laugh lines with my electrifying new team.

We’re already warming up. But…Warning: The first sessions with a new crew tend to be laden with dreary data. They must rattle off all risks, cautions, and possible outcomes—rather like those Big-Pharma ads on TV. Only worse.

The conversation didn’t go exactly like this, of course. But please embrace with me the rigorous and strenuous process of crafting new comedy while digesting distressing but requisite fuss. One occasional strategy was to fool ‘em with irrelevant, curve-ball questions…

  • My first tete-a-tete with Dr. Ray and the Rayettes

ME: Nice to see you, Dr. Ray!

DR. RAY: I’m sure it is. Especially since this radiation could destroy your vision. Better see me while you can.

ME: Okay, Jose! By the way, did you check out that Vanity Fair interview with Adele? Girlfriend has total stage fright and depression too. Hey, I’ll take her job!

DR. RAY: Hold off on that, since we have to make sure the radiation doesn’t damage your vocal cords.

ME: Right. Cuz I’ll also be needing them to cheer the Vikings on to the Super Bowl. Offensive coach Norv Turner’s retiring sure made me raise my eyebrows!

DR. RAY: Better hurry. The treatment may delete one eyebrow, an eyelash, and some other hair.

ME: Too late! The chemo already beat you to that punchline! Or should I say hairline!?!

DR. RAY: And you should know that some patients suffer brain damage.

ME: Not a problem. Got plenty of brain to go around.

DR. RAY: It’s the frontal lobes—the part of your brain that deals with emotion, judgment, and personality. You may experience memory loss.

ME: Finally! The perfect excuse. For everything!

DR. RAY: You’ll likely encounter sore throat, dry mouth, and red and itchy eyes.

ME. The standard morning vital signs, you mean.

DR. RAY: Some tear glands may fail.

ME: Excellent. I’m tired of tears.

DR. Ray: Be prepared for headaches, irritated sinuses, hot flashes, and fatigue.

ME: I call it Tuesday!

DR. RAY: You’ll be at high risk for cataracts—and soon.

ME: Don’t it make your blue eyes bluer?

DR. RAY: And of course, radiation is actually x-rays, which have been proven to cause cancer.

ME: Why the hell not? Doesn’t everything cause cancer—including the things that cure it?

DR. RAY: If you experience an erection that lasts more than 4 hours, call your doctor.

ME: I will, thanks, though that may not be my first call. Hey, how come those boner-pill ads always feature bodybuilder dudes with hot, frisky babes? What is wrong with these people?

DR. RAY: Get back to me on that. Good-bye, Kirk.

As Lyle Lovett says, “Life is so uncertain.” So Dr. Ray and I will gather often and continue to cover all the bases and hazards that we Boys of Summer sometimes face. I’ll be taking the field 5 times a week—and hoping for a home-run, while brushing off the risks of the game.

I bid adieu to Dr. Ray, signed a pile of forms about the aforementioned, and fondled a model of the mask they’ll use for screwing my head to the bench. I’ve heard from others that you sometimes smell (and taste) your head frying. I don’t believe it, but then again, I doubted the Cubs would ever win the World Series.

An asterisk to exterminate? X-ray visions? Offal jokes? Bad baseball metaphors?

Yep. I got this.

And my helmet is on.

Thanks for listening…


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17 Responses to “Getting Ready to Positively Radiate”

  1. Joan and Jay Says:

    1. What does Kyia say about you having a home run with Dr Ray?
    2. No hair is totally working for you.
    3. You match the zapper machine behind you.
    4. I’m sorry that you’re going through this.
    5. Cue the clowns.

  2. Kirk Horsted Says:

    5. Don’t bother, they’re here.
    4. Thanks. It’s nobody’s fault.
    3. Even if the pillows and blankets are a mess!
    2. Cool! I’d be happy to end up that way…in 30 years!
    1. Nothing.

    About those clowns…

  3. Grambo Longdays Says:

    You are so much braver than I ever was. You remain my hero as well as favorite TV personality. Blast through that crap; frizz awaits, but only on this side of the pearly gates.

  4. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Right on. Grambo. Many long days ahead to film (maybe in France?) and flick the frizz. Don’t care where; let’s make it happen. Mean it! *kh

  5. Julie Keim Says:

    Kirk-You are such an amazing inspiration! We commend you on your humor and attitude. ~ Take Care, The McPherson’s

  6. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Thanks and WELL HI to all McPhersons. Please keep reading and commending! *kh

  7. Charles Says:

    As long as your there, I’ll be here. Literally and figuratively. Love you.

  8. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Thanks, Bro. Let’s toast PBR, hit golf balls, or just sit and scream at the Hawkeyes one day soon…

  9. Miranda Says:

    Brilliant copy as usual! But this does sound so terrible and scary! One good thing is that it’s very quick and it doesn’t hurt and all the side effects are possibilities you might not get anything so I’m praying for that for you. stay brave and show us how a real great guy goes through this. Many hugs and prayers, miranda

  10. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Thanks, Miranda. Your words sing with wisdom and hope, as usual! I will enjoy that “quickness” and push those effects to the side. Hugs & prayers back your way…*kh

  11. Jackie Reesman Harrell Says:

    Kirk – you are inspiring, brave, courageous… I could go on but for now I wish you all the best.

  12. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Well hello, Jackie! And thanks so much. Go on…go on…maybe after the next post! Hope all is well in your world…

  13. David Kacmarynski Says:

    GREAT news Kirk!!!
    ill be ready for more kayak strolls…

  14. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Thanks, Kaz. The paddles are hot & the air remains warm…

  15. Bob Cole Says:

    Read this aloud to Laurie as we drove down I-5 towards Portlandia today.
    Had a lot of great laughs–if anyone deserves to beat the C, it’s you.
    Cheers for the inspiration and humor.

  16. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Reading aloud with great laughs? Both sound good right about now–as does Portlandia. Thanks for reading and your good wishes! *kh

  17. kim weber Says:

    hi kirk! as a fellow survivor of the ‘mask’ i congratulate you on your attitude . i needed drugs ,fan ,oxygen AND good musicfor the daily 30 min that i was in the cage. got 35 rads done!!now in remission. i was claustro but now i am better. one year out and wishing you healing peace and HOPE. my pastor survived a huge brain tumor and is now good! stay strong ,kim weber – am wanting to escape now NO?!! africa Philippines ??

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