Well folks, here’s the deal with my throat. The mass shown in the CAT scan is a stage 4 tumor on the base of my tongue. Surgery would mean removing the tongue and probably vocal cords. No one wants that, so it’s radiation and chemotherapy for me.
First they’ll do a tracheostomy—making a hole in my throat and inserting a breathing tube—so I won’t suffocate when the tumor swells from radiation treatment. That’ll be done in Tucson. It means a week in the hospital, part of it so they can train me on using and maintaining the trach tube.
A van in the boonies is a bad place to deal with cancer treatment. Even though a patch of land with a partially built house is slightly better, Lou’s place is inconvenient to medical care. So during the six weeks of daily radiation and chemo, I’ll be staying in Los Angeles with my former wife who is still my dear friend. She has cared for cancer patients before; first her mother and then her father. Also, if I need to feel like crap, I’d rather feel like crap somewhere with beaches.
So… my glorious nomadic life is on hold. It might even be over. I’ve said many times I don’t want to live in a building ever again, but, you know, it doesn’t always work out that way.
I’ve also said that if I was ever faced with something like cancer and the inability to live the way I wanted I would just go out in the desert and shoot myself. But the survival instinct insists I don’t do that. I argued with it and we came to an agreement that I would do the therapy and see how it goes, then reassess the situation later.
I’m lucky. I have supportive friends and family. I have Medicare. And I’ve had at least seven years as a free man wandering the country, experiencing amazing and beautiful places. If I had contracted cancer while still stuck in my old life, a cog in the system, I would be angry and resentful and I’d feel like my life was a waste. But I don’t. I’m at peace with life. I’m contented. If this new adventure turns for the worst (and it eventually does for all of us) so be it.
If you have a bucket list, if you've been wanting to change your life, do it. No one assessing their life wishes they had spent more time in a rut.