Back in May, I submitted a writeup about my current situation. It was really meant to be a way for me to process a lot of my own feelings about having cancer and the life-changing nature of such a serious thing, which frankly I had not really done up to that point. Hell, I'm not sure if I completely have up to this point. I realized pretty quickly that there was maybe a bit more doom and gloom in there than I had intended...ok, a lot more doom and gloom. I think it would be appropriate for me to balance some of that out.

As I mentioned before, my chemotherapy is proceeding well. If you don't know how PET scans work, good news: neither do I! But in essence, they inject you with a radioactive sugar that is designed to be metabolized by cancerous regions in your body and those regions that have an active cancer process will show up in a different color on the PET scan. Now there are some areas that are going to show up this way regardless of whether or not you have cancer in them: the brain, the kidneys, the bladder. Basically everything else should be non-reactive. My first PET scan was filled with black marks all through my chest and midsection. After three months of chemotherapy, only one small area that was not supposed to be black was; otherwise, my lymph nodes were normal. My oncologist was pleased with the progress but decided that I should finish out the original six-month treatment plan.

Well, that finish is almost upon us. My last chemotherapy session is scheduled for this coming Friday. After that, it's another PET scan and two surgeries. There's a question about radiation therapy but I'm hoping that won't be necessary. Regardless, though, my understanding is that the side effects aren't anywhere nearly as intense as the ones that go along with chemotherapy, so even if I do have to have it, it won't be as bad as what I've previously dealt with.

What else? My hair has stopped falling out and what's regrowing is now a little more normal than what I was getting before. For someone who is irrationally proud of his beard, this is a very good thing. The weird taste thing is still going on but that's to be expected. I really hate it though since there are few things I love more than gorging myself on philly cheesesteak sandwiches and I have a hard time doing that at the moment.

But really the main reason I wanted to write this -- other than to let people know that things seem to be improving -- is that I was overwhelmed by the response I received to the last writeup. I've been using e2 for almost the entirety of my adult life; I was 18 when I first submitted something to this site and I'm 33 now. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Now obviously I have gone through a lot of periods of inactivity, especially when compared to other people with similar tenures on the site (hell, even compared to some people with a fraction of my tenure). The outpouring of concern and love and well-wishing was truly humbling. I felt that people were rallying to me in a way that I've never experienced before. And I wanted to say thank you all for that. It was a positive and uplifting emotional experience in a time when most of my emotional experiences have been neither particularly positive nor uplifting.

I mentioned in the last writeup the financial issues I was having. Well...that's still going on. A couple of people mentioned to me the idea of starting a Gofundme and I don't know if it was pride or me not wanting to impose or what, but I said it would be fine. The truth of the matter is that it's not. I'm honestly at a loss as to how certain things are going to get paid for, specifically the insurance, the rest of my treatment, and of course the basic bills. My wife has a part time job and even though I'm doing better, I'm not in a condition to go back to work yet. My job won't let me come back until my oncologist says I can return to a full, unmodified 40-hour per week schedule, and he's already told me that won't be the case for a while. So I'm in a type of employment limbo for the near future.

We've gotten by primarily through help from some friends and family but I've unfortunately reached a point where I can't really ask for much else from them. And it's not because they're fed up with it -- though God knows they'd be within their rights to be -- but because it's quickly going to start negatively impacting their own well-being and I don't want to do that to them. So today I decided to take the advice that was given to me and I started a GoFundMe for my treatment and expenses for the near future. I don't know who can do what without putting themselves out, but every little bit would help.

I feel pretty bad even asking for this, but I don't know what else to do now. I've sold basically everything I have of any value and even a bunch of stuff that is of little value. Actually, I take that back, I sold a bunch of Transformers figures for like $300 a few months back, which really surprised the hell out of me. So hey, if you want some Transformers, we can talk and do it that way too. If nobody is able to contribute anything, I understand completely, and I won't hold it against the good people here who were so kind to me previously.

It feels awkward ending with a request for money, so I'll reiterate again the gratitude I feel toward everyone here who has kept me in their thoughts since I made that last post on this subject. Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart.

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