Posted on: Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
Posted in: SoulTrain | 2 comments

I had The Tests of a Lifetime on Monday morning—ones that could determine your future and test your innermost commitment to cancer comedy. Did all those months of medical genius work…or not? They had said results might take a few days; the doctors would tell me all during upcoming appointments.

But instead, the call came early that very afternoon. In fact, I’d barely gotten home and hunkered down to start my stare-down with the clock.

So I was startled when the clinic number flashed on my cell. And yet, they never call with bad news, right? So I answered. And sure enough, it was Nurse Parrot. (I call her this because she delivers her statement, and if you ask a question, she repeats your question, and then repeats her statement and little more. That’s her role, and I’m always delighted to chat with her and challenge the protocol.)

Her line this time was, “Great news! No evidence of disease! Braaaaawk!” By now I should know better than to ask for more detail. Yet in my joy, I blurted something irrelevant, like, “Fantastic! But what’s your take on all this Russia hoo-ha?” And so she repeated, “Russia hoo-ha? Squawk. No evidence of disease! Brkaw-tooky-tooky!” We carried on like this for a few minutes—just so I could hear the news again.

When I hung up, I was alone and had no idea how to react. So I stared at the frozen lake and then did what any self-respecting, rugged survivor would do: I sobbed like a baby. Then I trudged to bed and collapsed in a fetal position under the covers and let physical and emotional exhaustion wash over me like a warm stream.

  • Doctors, doctors, give me the news

Over the next days, I met with 3 doctors and sought the information I had resolutely refused before—even when that had meant covering my ears and screaming like a mad monkey. I’m ready now. And as usual, the answers are complicated. They vary. The biggest bet of the week, naturally, was: What are the odds of a crappy sequel?

The first doctor gave one of those answers that makes you bang your head on the wall. She offered, “Good question. But I don’t have the numbers for your specific case.” Fair enough. Then, “Aw, what the heckers. Let’s just say, oh, hmmm, approximately…” And then she rolled some dice and stated a rather enigmatic range.

Dr. Zen, in the next meeting, uncharacteristically shouted a precise answer before I’d finished my question. I liked that number better. So I’m sticking with that one for now. And begging the Fates that Be to skip any sequels to this wretched movie.

  • Cosmic calm and ill winds

These experts are smart. And their body of research and information are staggering. Intimidating. Yet when you go through stuff like this—and we and our loved ones all will—you become at-one with a cosmic calm that C Club comrades often talk about. A peace that passeth all understanding. You also accept that there are moments, even weeks, when peace passeth like gas and turns into ill wind. Just plug your nose and hope, someday, for a sweet call. I get it, and I got that call.

Still, this news will take some time to set in. I half expect the phone to ring and Nurse Parrot to say, “More news: I was kidding! Kirky want a cracker? Kraaaawwwk!

With this rapturous report now in hand, what about the future? Now there’s a question for ya. Do I plan on decades or hold tight to the lessons of “Live for today?” I honestly don’t know. But I have…time…to figure it all out. Inasmuch as such is possible.

So meantime, I say Let’s Party! like it’s 2017 with whatever tomorrows remain. And may they be ridiculously, indulgently, absurdly, inexplicably, shamelessly, redundantly, and profoundly plentiful and pleasant. Yet may we also embrace the shrewd poetry of Professor Seger, “We’ve got tonight; who needs tomorrow?”

  • One page at a time…

Lest I get too cheeky, I must acknowledge the occasional starkness of this journey, which again hit me in clinics this week and reminded me to internalize the compassion lessons. At some point, I’d closed my eyes to the hairlessness. The emaciation. The wheelchairs. The heads in helmets. The families gathered around hating every minute yet praying for more. But for the grace of God…I could only say to myself, as I had from the start.

Truth is, I still need that grace. I’ve still got healing to do. Some numbers aren’t right yet. And my care crew will be monitoring me like a just-freed felon. I’m not sure I know “normal.” (Does anyone?) And this effing boomerang crud-virus comes and goes like the ice on the lake that thawed, refroze, and is now thawing again.

But as a friend said upon hearing my good news, “DUDE! Shut up! Crud? Schmud!?! You just kicked cancer’s ass!

Well, yes, I did. They did. WE did. (Thank you.)

I have a big, blank page that, every day, I’ll write things on with disappearing ink.

The future. I got this.

Thanks for listening…


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2 Responses to “Conclusion: “NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE””

  1. Rolf Carlsen Says:

    You’ve got a perspective we all need, Kirk. Thanks for sharing it so eloquently. I’ve got a song I want you to hear – sung by the Limestones (before Hannes joined the group). Written by Jason Gray. One of my new favorites….You can play it through Amazon music apparently….but if not – I’ll get you the disk. The lyrics:

    Hold on
    Is this really the life I’m living?
    Cause I don’t feel like I deserve it
    Every day that I wake, every breath that I take you’ve given
    So right here, right now
    While the sun is shining down

    I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
    Love like I’m on borrowed time
    It’s good to be alive, yeah

    Hold on
    If the life that we’ve been given
    Is made beautiful in the living
    And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the giver
    Then right here, right now
    This is the song I’m singing out

    I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
    Love like I’m on borrowed time
    It’s good to be alive.

    I won’t take it for granted
    I won’t waste another second
    All I want is to give you
    A life well lived, to say “thank you”

    I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
    Love like I’m on borrowed time
    It’s good to be, it’s good to be alive

  2. Kirk Horsted Says:

    Thanks, Rolf. Those are the words I feel–and seek to find. I bet Dude can sing, too! Hope to hear that song soon and live like there’s no tomorrow. (Even if I hope there are thousands of tomorrows!) *kh

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