The Chemo Chronicles: An Interview With Stuey

A recent post talked about Stuey’s little stint in the hospital and of course we made some fun. One of the reasons we did that is that right now a positive attitude is of the utmost importance, and laughter is truly the best medicine.

What we didn’t talk about is why Stuart’s lung collapsed, which was the result of a lung biopsy. After a bout with testicular cancer at the end of last year and into the New Year, the cancer resurfaced on his lung.

The good news is that it’s the same type of cancer with a very high cure rate.  The bad news is that Stuart began his chemotherapy on September 26 and will be going through it for a total of 9 weeks.

If you know Stuart, he is a laugh-riot. He loves to smile, joke, and it encompasses his personality as much as anything. I haven’t known him for too long, but I’m betting it’s his sense of humor that’s gotten him through a lot. It will also get him through this.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I like to laugh and make people laugh, even regarding as serious subject matter as this. So keep in mind that what you’re about to read is not only intended to update Stuart’s loved ones on his progress, but a therapeutic exercise to help Stuart through this difficult time. (That means don’t get offended or try to beat me up. I know karate. Well, I’ve seen it done and am reasonably sure I can do it. Let that be a warning.)

I caught up with him at the park office:

Mayo: Wow, Stuey. You had eight feet of hair the last time I saw you. Now you look like Bruce Willis. I hate to admit it, but I’m a little turned on right now.

Stuey: Look Mayo, you’re the one coming down here in your bathrobe with your Dog Star* and all your accoutrements for “showering” and looking all…ahem…look, let’s just stay on opposite sides of the service counter here, eh?  Just not my bag, nor yours, NTTAWWT**.

Mayo: Agreed. So what happened to your hair?

Stuey: Buzzed it. Actually, I didn’t do it, several friends had a hand in it. Lucy cut the pony tail, and the remainder of the carnage is well-documented on the park’s Facebook page and October newsletter. It was a magical night of shearing and sharing. I hated to see it go, but at least now I will be spared waking up one morning to find it detached and curled up on my pillow like some hideous mystery road kill that people take pictures of and claim it’s a chupacabra. Plus, the pony tail is destined to become part of a high-quality wig for someone else who’s maybe having chemo and can’t rock the Bruce Willis like I can. And actually wants a grey wig. Hey Mayo, if you post this and then someone Googles “Bruce Willis chupacabra” will they find The Dip Skinny?

Mayo: That’s an excellent question and I think I can actually make that happen. I’ll add it into the keywords and see what happens. The key is in working it into conversation fluidly, like so:

So, I went to the store Bruce Willis Chupacabra and lettuce was on sale.

See how I worked that in like it’s supposed to be there? Now we just wait and watch the searches roll in. Personally, I’d like to see Bruce Willis fight a chupacabra, but I know I’m not alone in that boat.

Stuey: Certainly not. We must find a way to make it happen. <Speaks into digital recorder> Note to self: Call Demi on her cell.

Mayo: Tell her I said she looks fantastic and Ashton is too young for her, then tell her… just tell her I’m thinking about her and to call me.

I just want to say I think it’s awesome that you donated your hair to Locks of Love rather than letting it become some kind of deceased animal in your bed.

Stuey: I’ve had quite enough dead animals in my bed for this year, thank you very much.

Mayo: Maybe you should sign up for Locks of Love and you can get your own hair back styled, like maybe something in a Pippy Longstocking or Bob Marley. Or blue, because blue is nice. But I think what everyone wants to know is, three weeks into your treatment, how are you doing? Can we get you anything? You can ask for anything you want and we’re obligated to get it for you.

Stuey: Well I can always use a near-mint Spiderman #121, but don’t go to any trouble. How am I doing? At the tail end of Cycle 1, I guess I can’t complain. The chemo-brain is the worst part.

Mayo: Who couldn’t use a near mint Spiderman #121? Santa gets tired of hearing that one, I bet. Chemo brain?

Stuey: Yeah. As you know, my brain normally makes even the fastest super-computers seem sick by comparison. I’m looking at you, Cray Titan <squinty bad-ass Clint Eastwood stare.> But since my girls started pumping me full of toxins, I’m having trouble multi-tasking and staying focused. And my mind to make word things is not too also. With liberty and justice for all.

Mayo: May the force be with you. I know about that focus thing. Like, just the other day I was… man I’d love a doughnut right now. Did you say “my girls”?

Stuey: Ooh, sorry. That was freakin’ rude. You’ll edit that out, right?

Mayo Pie: Of course. I’m a professional.

Stuey: I meant, with all respect of course,   Nurse Kim and Nurse Minty and Nurse Nichole and Nurse Tiwanda. They’re mad about me.

Mayo Pie: I’m sorry, I thought you said Minty. Once I get hungry, I really can’t think of anything else.

Stuey: Yeah Minty, like Certs with retsin. <Blows hot stream of noxious chemical breath across the counter.>

Mayo: She sounds delicious.

Stuey: She’s a real live sweet-heart. I guess her parents liked the way she smelled as a baby or something. Maybe she’ll let me smell  her hair and I can form my own opinion. Kim has a quick mind for come-backs. She’s almost as big a smart-ass as I am. My kinda gal. Nichole has a spirit that would be right at home at the Dip, I bet. It’s a work in progress kind of project. Tiwanda handles files and phones and smirks a lot when “The Doctors” is on the patients’ TV and they’re talking about…breathing and stuff. All the nurses are sweet and professional. And hot. Did I mention hot?

Mayo: You didn’t mention that part and I insist on driving you to your next treatment. It’s what a friend does. Seriously, it’s no trouble at all. Minty…

Stuey: Actually Gina is handling the driver gig with expert motoring abilities. The girl’s got skills. Plus she helps me keep the nurses entertained. Annoyed, entertained. Whatever.

Mayo: Gina kicks ass. She also probably has better music and doesn’t make you sit in the backseat and rub her shoulders while you drive. I see they installed a port in your chest for injecting your treatments. It reminds me of The Matrix. Some think I watch too many movies, but I think I watch just the right amount. Can you put food in there or is it just for the medicine? I would put chocolate milk in it.

Stuey: I always wanted to be a cyborg, and now I can check that little item off the ol’ bucket list. Resistance is futile! Ha ha ha! The port saves me from getting an IV stuck in my arm every time. The best part is it’s just one small step away from killer robot, which I know is a dream of yours, Mayo. Chocolate milk? I dunno. I already asked how I should go about injecting vodka into it, but nobody was willing to instruct me. Clearly none of them have the heart of a teacher. I bet Nurse Martin in the Halls of Collapsed Lungs would show me.

Mayo: I wonder if you could hook it up to a beer bong? Huh. Well, it’s week 3 and you’re not glowing. I also noticed you don’t have any superpowers like when Spiderman was bitten by that radioactive spider. When do you think you’ll be able to climb walls? I think week 5 is a reasonable timetable. I mean, from what I’ve read in comic… medical reference guides.

Stuey: I always wanted to be Spiderman. Except he gets hurt a lot and I have a low tolerance for pain and evil super-villains.

Mayo: I am so that way about evil super-villains. But the ladies love Spidey and he loves them back, am I right? (Fist Bump)

Stuey: (Flawless Fist Bump Connection) He does have excellent tastes in women. So I turned to Nurse Kim for answers on this one. I asked her what super-powers I could expect from these treatments and without missing a beat she said, “Well, in your line of work, you don’t need X-ray vision.” Clearly a non-answer, but I might have to marry that girl. Get the husband out of the way somehow. You’ve got connections, right Mayo?

Mayo: Nurse Kim sounds awesome! And I do know some powerful people. Well, I know you. Do you count as a connection? I think if we work together we can make this thing happen. Maybe we can convince Nurse Kim’s husband to referee the fight between Bruce and El Chupacabra. The last place I would want to be is in between those two. He’ll never make it out alive.

I must say that I’m very impressed with how well you’re doing and you look great for someone who is radioactive. Your positive attitude and toughness are an inspiration to anyone going through… anything, really. You’re kicking ass and taking names, is what I’m saying. What’s your secret to maintaining a positive attitude?

Stuey: Drugs. Insane quantities of controlled substances. Of course I’m teasing <huge theatrical sideways wink.> No, seriously, (seriously, Mom, stop looking at me in my mind like that) there is no secret. What’s the alternative to having a positive attitude anyway? Being pissed off and depressed all the time, ignoring all the silver linings, and doing handfuls of pills every day? OK, maybe that last part ain’t so bad, but see what I mean? Silver linings. You tell me the glass is half empty and I say “Yeah, but it’s half empty of Crown Royal dude. Here’s to new friends.” <clink.>  And for the record I’m not radioactive, no radiation therapy now or later, just chemo, don’t want to confuse folks here. Well, no more than we already have anyway.

Mayo: Drugs. I knew it. I love those things. I mean, the legal ones, of course. The illegal ones are just wrong I’m told. It is possible that the silver linings you’re seeing are just a hallucination. If you want, I can try some and I’ll let you know if I see any. We can make an evening out of it.

Stuey: Silver linings are everywhere if you tune in to them. With the loss of my pony tail, shower time has been cut by 80%, leaving more time for sleep, for working on my secret plans for world domination, or for construction of my awesome Spider-Lair. I haven’t had to shave in a week, leaving more time yada yada. I’ve lost 12 pounds off the ol’ Buddha belly so far, in spite of the awesome fact that my incredible neighbors keep bringing me tons of incredible food. See? They’re just everywhere. Make sure you write that down as t-h-e-y-apostrophe-r-e. Just a little pet peeve of mine. You’ve never dorked it up before though, Mayo.

Mayo: I get it wrong all of the time. In fact, I had to go back and read to see if I did it, but got bored and just assumed I did. I’ve never been much of a reader.

Stuey: Nope. I would have told you if I caught you in a dork-up.

Mayo: That’s great about the weight loss and you can see the pounds are melting away. In fact, I’d say you look like a lean, mean sex machine.

Stuey: I’m well on my way to lean and mean, now give me a doughnut. Sex machine, huh? That reminds me, I’m pretty sure Nurse Nichole has been slipping a little something extra into my etopocide for her own amusement. <Leans in conspiratorially, stage whispers.> Starts with a V, ends with a “gra,” and it’s the reason I don’t wear jeans to the infusion room anymore, if you catch my drift. Muy incómodo. I guess that’s not exactly a silver lining, and I don’t know why I bring it up except that boners are intrinsically hilarious.

Mayo: Boners are hilarious! Just the word is hilarious. Watch this: Intrinsically Boner. I could say it for days and probably will. The nurses sound great and it appears you are in very good hands.

Stuey: Let me say it again. These nurses are professionals and it shows. And they seem to really like what they do. And I love to make them laugh. Giggle. Walk away quickly. Whatever. Mayo I have to get back to work, and you got a shower to take, but this has been fun once again. You’ve got to let me do this again soon. Unless you get too much hate mail about it. In the meantime, keep up the great work on the blog and keep the marketing wheels turning.

Mayo: This was definitely a lot of fun and we can do it whenever you like. I love fun things so much that I try to do them constantly. Thanks for the kind words and you keep doing exactly what you’re doing. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we’re proud of you, you are in our thoughts and prayers and we all can’t wait until you can shoot webs from your wrists and are swinging around the park. When that happens, can I have your golf cart? Stuey? Hello?

*Dogstar is both the name of Keanu Reeves’ band and the nickname of my beard. Click here for more information, though I don’t know you why you’d want to.

**Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That

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13 responses to “The Chemo Chronicles: An Interview With Stuey

  1. Another HIGHLY ENTERTAINING post…I really get excited when I see a “Dip Skinny” in my email box…because I KNOW it’s gonna be a good read…and I have NEVER been disappointed. This post was more literary GENIUS!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

  2. Sending good thoughts and prayers to your friend Stuey. He should get at least 5% better after laughing at each post, so by my calculations you need to post…I don’t know, more. I’m not good at math.

    • Math does suck and we’ll try to keep him from doing any. You rock. (btw, everyone, this is one of the people I drunk happy bithday’d on FB)

  3. Wow! You captured it word for word. But I never did get that doughnut.

  4. It seems that Mayo is talking about food alot.. Like Saturday night.. I will get both of you some doughnuts (since I am not gonna sit in the back seat and rub your shoulders while you are driving mayo..) Great interview and the nurses are awesome and sometimes don’t know if Stuey is kidding or not. That is really funny. I am sure they will miss him in the infusion room when he has completed his cycles as it will be dull again.

    • I’m sure they’ll miss him, too, and if there were some kind of award for most upbeat person getting chemo, he would own it.

      • Mayo, I do hope things work out well for Stuey. It is with friends like you that people with bad experiences can deal with adversities much easier. My wife and I visited Serendipity the middle of last August for 3 days. Everyone was friendly and we (me more-so) were comfortable there (My wife was the one who did remove her towel a few times…lol!) Unfortunately, Paul and Stuey were the only names we remember well in that short period and we hope to revisit and change that in the future.

  5. Claudia Forrest

    Hey, Stuey is beginning to talk like me………chemo brain, lung cancer, handful of pills, port, losing weight, etc., etc. Bet we could have a humdinger of a conversation these days. LOL! Hey Stuey, remember Anny? She’s the one who gave me my buzz cut when I had cancer the first time. We should have invited her up for yours. I think she’s single these days.

    • Way to get my attention, C! Of course I remember the Red-Headed Step Child. Always look forward to her visits. Wonder how she can style my bald head? Maybe I should get a bunch of colored Sharpies or something. (Tell Anny I said Hi and to come see us)

  6. Claudia Forrest

    Will do Stuey!

  7. Pingback: By My Friend Stuey | The Dip Skinny

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