Sweeter words were never spoken. The doctor continues. You have some swelling around your vocal chords but it's better than last time. Are you using a humidifier at night? You're not? Get a humidifier. Keep it on your side of the bed and only turn it on when you're sleeping. Continue eating well. You're gaining weight, now up to 196 pounds. Start getting some exercise and don't smoke. Anything. And, whatever you do, don't get a tattoo. When you've had cancer, it doesn't matter how good you feel or how positive you are. Until you hear the right words from your oncologist, the apprenhension builds. You worry. I don't see anything. I don't feel anything. You're good! Thank you. A tough-ass doctor with a sense of humour. I like her. Don't get a tattoo. The thought has never crossed my mind.
She then told the story of a former patient. Once the cancer was gone, he wanted to celebrate with a tattoo of the symbol for radiation. After all, radiation saved his life. The tattoo artist screwed up and instead gave him the symbol for hazardous waste. Not exactly what he had in mind.
A year ago February 23rd, I had my first of 35 brutal radiation treatments. The next day, was the first installment of one of the most toxic chemotherapy cocktails the lab techs can mix. Three in all. It was the beginning of a four month journey through hell. Today, Valentine's Day 2011, I have regained 14 of the 20+ pounds I lost. My energy and stamina improve by the week and I'm sleeping well. As I write this, I am sipping a scotch in celebration. It's an 18 year Glenmorangie Rare Malt.
I am asked constantly about eating. Let me say this, 14 pounds. Processing food is not the same as it was before the radiation destroyed my thin saliva ducts. But, you work at it. You don't push food away, you keep trying. You learn new ways to process and you learn to enjoy food all over again. There is prescious little I can't eat and nothing from my pre-cancer diet that I won't try.
There is a new normal emerging and there is once again change I wasn't seeking. I must now focus all of my energy on the pursuit of business. I have been associated with my most recent client for the past 18 months. Vista Radio supported me through my cancer journey and God bless them. Over the past six months I have been coaching talent in their various markets, morning shows and news people. For now, the contract will not be renewed as Vista cuts expenses in their battle for reliable revenue. Not only do I thank them for their support, but wish them well.
My career goal has always been to be an active player in the broadcasting industry as I celebrate my 50th year . I have 8 more to go. I am a coach. I help people get better. I build and rebuild product. I am a format mechanic. I am also a winner! What do I do that others don't? First I work on perfecting the stage on which to perform. Then, I get inside the head of the talent. We work on basics, daily disciplines and work ehtic. I build the trust bridge, find the magic and fuel the passion. It's what I love about radio. Passionate people doing extraordinary things brilliantly. I look for new doors to open soon.
Or, maybe I should think about getting that tattoo.