To me, music is life even in the face of death.
It was three years ago this week that I went into the hospital for my first week of continuous, 24-hours-a-day chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the throat.
Two weeks earlier I had been diagnosed with it and told I had less than two months to live.
The same week I went into the hospital Childish Gambino released “This Is America,” a revolutionary song and video blasting American violence and racial division.
As I recovered, the song’s spirit cling to me. In fact, several songs buoyed me during that darkest of times. They comforted me and inspired me during those long, lonely chemo nights.
Here are some others:
“Long And Happy Life” by Delta Rae
“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
“In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes
“Delicate” by Taylor Swift
“Christopher” by Nakhane
“Just Like Heaven” by Nakhane
“Us” by James Bay
I can’t hear any of these songs without remembering the feeling of tubes in my chest, the hushed sounds of the sick in the hospital halls, the blinking lights of machinery designed to keep me alive … and awake.
But most of all these songs remind me of the profound feeling of coming back to glorious life that summer of 2018, resurrected into a new form more powerful and determined than the chrysalis of my former self.
These songs were the soundtrack of my rebirth. They will always hold a place very dear to me.
Two years ago today I found out I had throat cancer and I had two months to live. I share the voice recording I made for Baby Boy that day, and the lessons the experience taught me in this supplemental episode of the podcast.
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There’s history of prostate cancer in my family but I’m a total fag who believes fags shouldn’t cum like real men i also was told by my doctor that regular ejaculations may help reduce the risk so I’m kind of torn between my beliefs and medical advice. What do you think I should do? Is there like a way to cum regular while still respecting my beliefs?
You can induce ejaculations through anal/prostate manipulation.
Earlier tonight you answered a fag brother about his Alpha’s mothers passing. Today was my sister’s, only family member left, last round of chemotherapy for breast cancer. While I should be elated in truth I am far from it. I am proud of her fight and determination, but we had five of these “last round days” with our mom before she lost her fight. These are the hardest days for us, when we are reminded that nothing is eternal. Thank you for your words, service is your path to our healing.
Thank you, Sir. I am sorry to hear about the losses cancer has caused in your family! It can start to feel inevitable after so much struggle.
But as a cancer survivor myself, I must continue to look forward with a positive attitude and hope for the future. And so must you, Sir! While there is life, there is hope!
How do I tell master I have cancer? I was diagnosed last may and ive told no one not even my master of 6 years i know it will devastate him he cares so much about me i don’t want to trouble him especially with his shaky marriage but i always vowed to not keep secrets from him. Seeing that you survived cancer and know so much about this what in your learned opinion would be a good way to break the news to him? Multiple thanks.
I’m so sorry that this has happened to you my brother!
When I was diagnosed, I told nobody except my mother until after I disappeared into my first week of treatment in the hospital (which began about 1.5 weeks after diagnosis). I felt so incredible coming out of that first week of chemotherapy that I couldn’t hardly keep my mouth shut about my cancer. But I’m very extroverted by nature, and I’m not shy at all.
I understand your trepidation regarding telling your Master, but you MUST tell him. You’ve served this amazing married Alpha for six years, and he cares deeply for you. This is extremely rare. He deserves the truth.
If you really want to make the news breaking smoother, approach him humbly and ask him if you could discuss something with him. Then tell him about it. Be honest and upfront.
I’m sure he will want to help you. Give him the chance to support his faithful servant!
Many atheists start to be more open to the idea of some kind of faith as they get older and approach death. It is astounding to me that you went through cancer without even giving religion a second thought. I wish I was like you. The concept of organized religion makes me sick but I find myself envious of religious people sometimes. It comforts them. They have something to lean on when times are rough. Us, the tortured kind, have so little comforts. Be well.
I guess I tend to look at it this way: a fake hope isn’t hope. Lies are not comforting.
I never feared death for my own sake. I just couldn’t leave Baby Boy alone in this world. I wept only because of that possibility.
How do I snap out of being depressed all the fucking time? You went through adversity, how did you keep you spirits up during that period of great distress?
I’ve emerged from other traumatic situations (like my rape) with a strength I didn’t know I had, but life-threatening cancer was by far my biggest challenge.
One of my gifts as a person is an incessant, blistering sarcasm and a real sense of play. Even when I was dying in the hospital, I was pretending to be dead in my bed or pretending to fall down (which drove my nurses insane). Every time something would go wrong, I would say “Damned cancer!” Whenever someone would ask me to do something, I would say, “But I have cancer…” I did all of this so much that it continues to be a running joke with all of my friends to this day. “Yeah, we know – you had cancer, and you almost died,” they say dismissively. Nobody gives a fuck! LOL
The other thing that helped me in the case of cancer was my Baby Boy. So many late-night conversations together filled with laughter and tears (he was on the other side of the planet, so it was day there when it was night here). After getting through the initial fear of dying and leaving him alone, I was resolved to stay alive to be with him. And so far, that dream remains firmly in view.
I think I’m really buoyed by a lack of a “poor me” perspective. I don’t feel sorry for myself. This world is overstuffed with situations so completely tragic and far outweigh any problem I might have. I just try to make the best of the circumstances I have in front of me, and improve what I can.
I don’t know if the answers you want or need can be found in my answer, but I think those are the keys for me.
Did you tell family members about your cancer diagnosis?
HAHAHAHA Of course I told my family! I don’t know what your family situation is like, but I’m fairly close to everyone in my family except for my father.
And I’m going to state this publicly right here – my father (and his behavior) was actually the worst thing about having cancer. He was worse than the tumors themselves! My one consolation is that I survived it and now get a chance to eventually watch them lower his dead body into the ground and cover it with dirt.
I’m glad ur okay fag stay strong for ur baby boy! He needs you now and always!!
Thank you, Sir! I need him just as much as he needs me!
Did your atheism shake when you thought you were gonna die?
Not even a little bit. Honestly, I felt completely comfortable and in-tune with the Universe during the entire ordeal (and beyond).
Aren’t you a little young to get lymphoma? Anyways I’m real happy the cancer’s gone. You’re a real hero fighting this battle! Love really does save lives!
Cancer doesn’t have an age limit.
I appreciate your well wishes. Thank you!
So in late April of 2018 I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the throat. I was given two months to live.
Let’s back up, and I’ll tell it right.
I spent the spring and summer of 2017 in a desperate race against time to rescue my Baby Boy from certain death in Syria. The sleepless nights, the tears, the endless hours searching online for answers, the whispered prayers to the universe and each other … it was more terrifying and pressurized than anything I’d ever experienced in my life.
And of course, that part of our journey culminated in my Baby Boy landing safely in Malaysia at the end of August of that year. It was a major triumph at the time. Excitedly, I made arrangements to fly out to Malaysia at the end of October so that I could finally meet my Baby Boy in person for the very first time.
As I was packing for the longest, most important flight of my life, my throat began to hurt. I’m prone to strep throat, and I feared that I might be coming down with it again. But there was NOTHING that would ever stop me from getting on that plane, so I just kept gargling salt water and taking aspirin (you know, guy remedies).
So I flew out to Malaysia and met my Boy. I won’t go into great detail about our incredible week there together. I felt sick the entire time, and my Boy was so kind, tending to me and taking care of me. He knew I wasn’t feeling right, even though I was trying my best to hide it. I was really riding on the joy and laughter we shared together during that all-too-brief visit.
Once I returned home I made an appointment to see a doctor about getting an antibiotic for my probable strep infection. The doctor did a strep test – negative – and told me to just wait it out. And, of course, it got worse. So I went to a different doctor – negative – and was denied antibiotics for a second time. The pain increased. I went to a third doctor – negative – but this time I begged her to give me a round of antibiotics just to rule out an infection. She relented and wrote a prescription. No luck. The pain worsened.
By Christmas of 2017, it was clear that something wasn’t right. It was seriously hard to swallow food, and even drinking a beer became a chore. I kept thinking that it would pass, but the pain was clearly getting worse by the day. I was barely able to eat by this point.
So in January of 2018 I went to a Med-Stop clinic just to see if I could get yet another opinion and possibly some pain medication. The doctor there examined my throat very carefully, and I’ll never forget the look on her face when she emerged from my mouth. It turned out that she noticed part of the cancer in the sinuses at the back of my throat. She whispered, “I think you need to see a specialist right away.”
I was instantly paralyzed with fear. All of my life I lived as a hypochondriac, chronically in fear of getting cancer. Was it now coming true?
So I made an appointment to see an ENT at Barnes-Jewish hospital in St. Louis, Missouri that I knew from years earlier. By the time they could see me, I wasn’t really eating at all. I was using over-the-counter throat-numbing spray just to drink water. I was down to 130 pounds.
I went to my appointment. When they asked me why I was there, I croaked, “I need you to put a scope down my throat because something is wrong.” So they did exactly that, and then they found the cancer hidden near my vocal cords.
I returned a few days later for the diagnosis. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although scared, I instantly steeled myself for battle. Frankly, it was a relief just to have a definitive answer.
“You’re going into chemotherapy in a week and a half,” said my brilliant doctor. “You’ll be in the hospital for five days and receive continuous chemotherapy during your stay.”
I balked. I had read so much over the years about the dangers of chemotherapy that I couldn’t imagine taking it. I told the doctor about my objections.
“You have two choices,” he replied flatly, “you can take the chemotherapy, or you can get your affairs in order because you have two months to live.”
I chose chemotherapy.
That night I wept with soul-shaking agony. It wasn’t about dying. I was just so afraid I was going to die and leave my Baby Boy alone in this world. I couldn’t leave him, not after he took my hand and he trusted me to help him out of his personal hell. I was his entire world, his life preserver in the stormy, uncertain waters of his current situation. I just couldn’t leave him now.
So I spent the entire summer of 2018 in a cycle of one week of chemotherapy followed by two weeks off.
It turned out that I was born to take chemotherapy. Almost instantly – within two hours of the start of my first 24 hour bag of chemo – the pain subsided and I could eat again. By the end of that first week-long hospital stay, I had so much energy that I didn’t sleep for three days. My hair fell out the following weekend, and I discovered that I look pretty good bald (I’ve always had very thick hair, so I didn’t know what my head would look like). Two treatment weeks later I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes, which honestly bothered me more than the loss of the hair on my head.
My doctor kept increasing my dose by 20% with each treatment week, but it only made me STRONGER (at one point I made a joke that he should just give me Round-Up, which he didn’t find funny). Honestly, I haven’t ever felt as good in my life as I did when I was taking that chemotherapy.
My nights alone in my penthouse suite at the top of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish were filled with long, encouraging conversations with my Baby Boy. We cried together and laughed together. I’m sure somewhere in his mind he felt afraid that he might lose me, but he never showed that to me. He was full of hope and strength and optimism. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.
After the third treatment week, a PET scan showed the cancer was essentially gone. For whatever reason, I was going to be one of the survivors! I dutifully finished all six treatment weeks, received a clean bill of health, and rang that bell like many lucky survivors before me.
I didn’t tell any of you about my struggles because I was carrying such a tremendous burden (between my cancer fight, my financial situation, work, and my ongoing attempts to help my Boy) that I just couldn’t cram anything else into my brain. Really, answering your questions during that period was a form of relaxation for me during those long days tethered to my chemo robot.
I’m really telling you this story now because I am doing some personal accounting. My Boy is now finally delivered to a safe country where he can begin a fresh, new life. I have sold my house (a 12-year source of frustration) and moved into a stress-free condominium. Next up will be the finishing up of certain personal projects, and potentially building a new, location-independent business so that I can lose my awful job … and maybe start a new life in a new country.
I’m now running into The Aftermath. I was supposed to be dead, but I’m alive instead. I don’t intend to waste this second chance at life. I approach the opportunity wiser, inspired, and grateful.
I love you all. Thank you.