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This is a question Awesome Sickies

A colleague has been off work for two weeks now - apparently he's got something they can't diagnose, (although they know for sure it's not Legionnaires, Malaria, BSE or AIDS, he's supposedly in isolation). We are all sure he's merely sitting in the sun waiting for the World Cup to come on the telly.

What have you invented to get off work?

(, Fri 9 Jun 2006, 7:40)
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cancer is the answer.
well, it was/is for me. after being seriously ill only once before in my life (emergency gallbladder removal), i had a few episodes of stomach trouble in the spring and summer of 2004. a slow decline in energy and enthusiasm followed, and i decided to check into things more determinedly. lo and behold, after seeing a couple of specialists, i was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer in october of 2004, just two days before my birthday. a fine present, this, made even better with the discovery that it had been metastising for four or five years and i'd been living with a great clot of glunk in my intestine and colon for quite a while.

i started chemotherapy right away, but the cancer spread into my lungs and here and there elsewhere in my body. three long rounds of chemo later, i've lived longer than my doctors expected (best thing ever to hear on a cancer ward -- "are you still here?"), so hurray for modern medicine. the worst scare came when the cancer manifested in my spinal fluid, as i was told that from there it pops up in the brain and kills you very quickly. thankfully it was a false positive or the chemo treatments caught it in time. fun was also to be had in some of the spinal chemotherapy sessions, in which they inject vile chemicals directly into the spinal column. it's a bit painful at times -- they occasionally have to put restraints on patients when doing this, as when they withdraw bone marrow. i also did that, donating bone marrow for myself in case the cancer spread there, which was/is a possibility. it's a unique feeling to have someone insert a rather large gauge needle into your back and screw bits out of the core of your bones while you can hear this awful scraping sound.

other amusements included a ton of self-injections into my thighs to promote blood cell growth, resulting in more weird pains, and the sickening food trials, because chemotherapy disrupts your taste buds. suddenly foods you love taste like crap, and you begin a relatively bland diet to keep from puking or not to be repulsed. oh, and then there's hair loss -- not so bad from my head, but losing beard and pubes was disconcerting. combined with the weight gain (40 - 60 lbs), i looked like a great miserable baby at times.

my chemotherapy ended in september and i've been clear since then (with a few minor surgeries and derails), so it looks like i'm fine for a while. i'm told it'll come back and kill me, as it did my father, but i've always known that i'll die being gunned down by the vatican police while stabbing the pope through the heart with a sharpened crucifix, so cancer doesn't scare me in the slightest.

i got a paper cut last week too, but that's another story....
(, Tue 13 Jun 2006, 4:58, Reply)

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