Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Man Up! Cleveland Scene Article

The article in the Cleveland Scene has been published. It went up this morning online and paper copies wtill be available Cleveland-wide tonight.

Check it out!!!

(And never mind the pictures of my blubber!!!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sneaky Video...

... of Mark Nolan.

Posted in deference to the longstanding internet meme... "PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!"

More Developments of an Odd Nature

So I ran the Susan G. Komen race last weekend. I also spoke to Mark Nolan for about ten minutes,but the nature of the race prevented me from being interviewed on TV -- much to mine and Michelle's disappointment, I did get some surreptitious video of Mark as I talked to him, so that was cool.

The Race for the Cure was a cool event with tons of cool schwag. And it was neat being there... although I was the only guy I saw with a survivor shirt. Believe me, I looked for others. There was a small ceremony for the men of breast cancer (for survivors and male family members of survivors) but there was little mention made of male breast cancer.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with this disease, I read that there were incidences of men being treated poorly by some women because this is "their disease". I didn't believe it myself; but I think I did experience it some this last weekend.

In fact, as I was at about mile 2 and a 1/2, I had some women yell at me from the side of the road, "You're wearing the wrong shirt! You're not a survivor!" I was half out of breath, but yelled back that I was. She said something else snarky, but I had already run past her and couldn't hear her over my own labored breathing. I also got quite a few mean looks when some women saw my survivor shirt.

Michelle gets really angry when she hears about this, or watches anything on breast cancer. She thinks it's almost criminally wrong that breast cancer is positioned solely as a woman's disease. She watched the Channel 3 broadcast and grew even angrier because it was about the bravery of women, and about women that had been lost, and how women needed help. It drives her out of her mind that people don't mention the male part of the equation.

I don't mind so much, but I'm starting to come around to her way of thinking.

So I ran the race in about 37 minutes. I've had better 5K times, but I did have cancer 4 months ago, so I'm going to cut myself some slack. I was actually running just under a ten minute mile in fact. My best friend and brother from another mother,Richie, went with me and encouraged me throughout the race. I'll be eternally grateful to him for being such a great friend and staying by my side - which he did throughout the race. He didn't need to do that... the dude runs traitholons... but he did.

That's what makes him such a great friend.

So I was at a sub-10 minute mile race (in the ball park of a 9 and a half minute pace) when we ran down East 9th and out and around the Cleveland Browns stadium. And then we began the arduous, punishing, long run up West 3rd. I lost quite a bit of time there and never made it up.

But I'm glad I did it and will probably do it again next year.

Next on the list is a 10K sometime in the next few months. Wish me luck.

Another interesting development's occurred in my quesst to spread the word about male breast cancer.

I actually sold an article I wrote about my experience to the Cleveland Scene. Dor those not local, The Cleveland Scene is a weekly free newspaper available throughout Cleveland. It is an eclectic mix of news, art, political commentary, and tons of S&M ads in the back. It is actually a well-respected periodical because it doesn't feel the need to impress sponsors and advertisers like the more mainstream local newspapers do. Because of that, it has some great reporting and even better commentary on life in Cleveland.

In fact, on of its main staff writers is a Erin O'Brien... who can be found over in my blogroll to the right. Show Erin some love and visit her blog because she's an incredible writer.

Anyway, I received a call from the editor of The Scene this week and he's excited to publish my piece. Very cool... but there is a more disconcerting aspect to what he told me. You see, I have a Scene photographer coming over to the house tonight to take some pictures of my scars. That's right... the editor wants pictures of me and my scars.

What's freaking me out is that both he and the photographer used the word 'cover' when talking to me. That sound you just heard was me groaning audibly.

There's something disturbing about the thought of my scarred chest and flabby torso spread out on the cover of a periodical that is available in every bar, coffee house, and book store in the Cleveland Metropolitan area. Not to mention that The Scene actually has newspaper boxes on just about every corner where you can find a Cleveland Plain Dealer box as well.

Yeah! for selling my article.... and boo! for pictures of my ponderous gut and paunch.

I just need to keep telling myself that this is all for a good cause and it's to spread the word about male breast cancer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some interesting developments...

I've sort of reached that point where there's not much happening with me or my condition.

I have an appointment with a physical therapist next week to discuss working out again. I've been running quite a bit, but I really really need to start lifting again. It's the only way I can really drop weight. And for the record, before this whole ordeal started, I was in the 265 pound range. Now I'm down around 235-240 (it depends on what time of day I weigh myself, whether it's before or after a workout, or even if I've taken a crap that day.) The running helped me a ton, but I need to start lifting again.

In terms of the physical therapist, I'm just following Dr. Persons request that I take it easy going back. I set a goal of September before I started lifting for the simple fact that I wanted give myself time to heal. I stuck with it, but I'm really itching to build some upper body strength. I notice that I still have the occasional twinge of pain when I push too hard (like when I reach overhead to get something out of the rafters in the garage, or when I pull on the cord to the mower or leaf blower). Plus - and this is purely done in terms of vanity - I am moob-free now and I love how my shirts fit in my chest. Now, if I could just lose my gut and build up my pecs, I might actually look good...

Physically, I'm doing better. I've resigned myself to the fact that I have a numb spot underneath my right arm, as well as the areas over both of my mastectomy scars. My surgeon always said that this was a possibility and it looks like I did get some minor nerve damage when they chopped me all up.

Another interesting development occurs this weekend. It's the weekend of the Susan G. Komen 5k downtown. Channel 3 News is the sponsor for the race and, for two weeks, they've been running breast cancer survivor stories. Michelle, who watches Channel 3 exclusively, has been busting my balls to contact them and tell my story. So, this week I sent an email to Monica Robins, the Channel 3 Senior Health Correspondent. She's a really nice woman and she's asked me to, while I'm down at the race, stop and find Kim Wheeler and Mark Nolan - two of the Channel 3 anchors - for an interview. They're actually looking for male breast cancer survivors to do some side stories on.

So, sometime during the nine o'clock hour, there should be an interview with Doctor Zombie on Channel 3. I'll also bring my Flip camera and try to grab footage in case my piece doesn't air, just to prove that I was there.

And how silly is this? My biggest issue all week is whether or not I should shave my head again. At the prompting of Michelle, I've started to let my hair grow out again and I'm finding it's really gray and really thin. It's been like 6 years since I started shaving it and since it was last grown out, so obvious the indignities of aging have caught up with my poor hairline (curse you, genetics!). That's right, my widow's peak has reached Count Chocula proportions. So I've put a poll out on Facebook and have been asking everybody I know whether or not I should keep my gray, brushy fuzz. Unfortunately, the responses I've received have been pretty much split down the middle - so I'm going to have to make the call myself. I'll ask Michelle what she thinks and probably decide tonight whether or not I'll shave it.

Although, my buddy Dave had a great suggestion. He said I should shave everything and not just my head... for aerodynamics. Somehow I don't think that shaving myself as bald as a baby panda will help my aerodynamics, especially considering my not insubstantial spare tire... but it's a worthwhile thought. Of course, he also said I should have grown my goatee out to Anton Levay/Ming the Merciless proportions. Now that's something I could get behind, if not for my stupid security job and their stupid no-facial-hair-unless-it's-a-stupid-70's-porn-star-cop-mustache rules.

Fucking security job...

Tomorrow, by the way, should prove to be absolutely insane. You'd think that, after getting sick, I'd slow down and try to take things easy. You'd think so, but you'd be completely wrong. I have to work at Progressive until 6 tonight, go home and get 2or 3 hours of sleep, go into the hospital at 10 to work an 8 hour shift, get off at 6am, run home, change, scarf down some carbs and fruit, and get downtown for the race and interviews. Apparently, any hopes of getting a good 5k time are shot because Channel 3 wants me to interview with Kim Wheeler at the one mile mark in front of the Channel 3 studios and then again with Mark Nolan at the finish line. After the race - I'm running home to get an hour or two of sleep before going BACK downtown to go to Progressive night at Progressive Field at 7pm. Since I'm going with my family, there will be beer involved and I should be a true zombie by the time the Indians game is over.

Nothing like burning the candle at both ends, huh?

Wish me luck and hope that, after beating cancer, I don't somehow have a major coronary trying to run 5K on concrete tomorrow. That's karma baby... and that's just how this cruel universe works...