What’s it like being told you’ve got a 50-50 chance of survival? Is that an arbitrary number they pick that people can relate to. Heads you die, tails you live. Waddya think? Shall we start some chemo?! I’d like to take my case to Vegas, let some real odds makers create the spread. For sake of choice vernacular this particular handicapper grew up on a beach in California: “So, dude, you look healthy, your skin tone is good. You stay very active, sounds like you tear up the singletrack! Low stress living, healthy spiritual practice, you don’t drink or imbibe in other destructive behavior (sounds boring). Positive outlook on life, healthy sex drive (yeah, tiger!), laughter in your life, good friends. Plus, you’ve been around the block a few times. Dude, yer rockin’ it! Odds are good, let me punch in a few more numbers... Wait, wait, what’s this about your health history? I totally overlooked it because of you bodacious-ness. Give me some details.”
“Well, bro, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age two which led to an entire colectomy at age 14. (“Whao, a what?”) I had my entire large intestine removed, and at the same time they removed my spleen, which was enlarged and filtering red blood cells at a mad rate, because of Congenital Spherocytosis. Kinda an afterthought really. (“Knarly, bro!”) All was good til I was 22 and had J-pouch surgery to “improve” my lifestyle. That led to four and a half years of chronic infection, miserable symptoms, and living off of some hard-core antibiotics. Had that shit removed in a complicated surgery that left me with nerve damage, a year-long recovery, and it totally ruined my last semester of college. (“¿Por qué?”) Well, I was headed to Costa Rica to student teach outdoor education, learn Spanish, swing with the monkeys, and catch some prime surf. But, that’s really more a story of heartbreak. Let me finish your survey cuz I’m dying to know my odds and I’ve got $20 burning a hole in my pocket…
“So, at that point I had started developing a history of bowel obstructions that would sometimes land me in the E.R. Let me tell you, puking up your own bile is something it’s hard to acquire a taste for. (“Dude! T.M.I.”) Sorry, getting caught up in memories. Anyway, in ’05 I had a doozie that landed me in the hospital for a major surgery. Post-op, my digestive system went on strike, apparently not happy with contract terms, I lost 35 pounds and pulled off my best Skeletor impersonation ever. At some point during those four weeks they removed my Gall Bladder for some good measure, I think they got tired of scratching their heads. Anyhoo, I remember staring off at those September skies wishing the clouds would drop low enough to carry me away. They didn’t and I eventually crawled out in time for my 30th birthday with the determination to make my 30’s the best decade of life. At least until I reached 40. So, I rocked it. Even with a new diagnosis of Chron’s disease (Ulcerative Colitis’ bigger meaner brother) in 2010 I was feeling on my game, so I just continued to improve my diet and be healthy. Until now, shit’s just blown up in 2012. I thought I might start getting tuned in to some intergalactic communications with Zeta Reticuli, but this? This Chron’s flare-up and Leukemia bullshit are a real buzzkill.”
“No doubt bro, that story is totally gnar gnar. Man, you put Doug Flutie to shame! But, I hate to say it, it took you two entire paragraphs of cliff notes to spout out what you got going against you in this latest epic, I mean it’s epic, dude. I had given you a 13-point spread before, but this could totally put you in underdog status. Without that spleen your liver’s gotta do all the dirtywork through the chemo. That poor dude’s likely been working overtime for years. That chemo shit also tears up your gastro track and yours has already been beat like a rented mule. Not to mention the whole auto-immune complications and the drug therapies for Chron’s, they just don’t mix. Shit! My odds-making automator is starting to smoke! Ahhhh damn, it’s fried, I don’t know what to tell you man. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, how about 50-50? (“ARGGGH!”) Wait, wait, I’ve got a good feeling about you though. I see you channeling Big Papi of the 2004 ACLS. It’s game four, you’re facing elimination. Let that lead off homer in the 12th inning spark something special. The odds are just numbers anyway…”
Yes, the odds are just numbers anyway. We humans certainly like numbers and how they give our minds some sense of security in the definitive. If even Vegas can’t dole out better odds than 50-50, I’m putting my shiny silver coin away. Or better yet, I’m going to toss it in a fountain surrounded by playful children. I’d rather invest in divinity that “difinity”.
 If you have no idea what this is referencing click here! Read under “Number 2”.
 If you went to every link in this blog click here and read the red print! The only thing worse would be waking at 4 in the morning to write a ridiculous blog with lots of ridiculous links. The sun is coming up now, I’m going back to bed!