Cancerned? You Should Be. :-) ;-) X-(

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Artwork from the book - Cancerned? You Should Be. :-) ;-) X-( by Steven Max Stern - Ourboox.com

Cancerned? You Should Be. :-) ;-) X-(

by Steven Max Stern








Copyright © 2017

!!!THIS BOOK IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS.  IF YOU ARE READING THIS NOW, YOU WILL NEED TO COME BACK AND RE-READ IT AGAIN LATER – HOPE YOU WILL ANYWAY – it’s meant to be a little pocket reference guide!!!

 

Don’t forget to SCROLL down on some pages to see more (or swipe right on a smart phone, but not recommended, best on desktop/laptop/tablet).

1

Dedicated to my wife and two daughters who help me to rediscover myself each and every day.

Equally to my mom and dad, brothers, and many other family members, some who have become my closest friends, and both old and new friends who have become my dearest family.

You have taught me what it means to live and to love.  I hope I have given you even but a smidgen in return.

Thank you.

the original

-sms-

2
Artwork from the book - Cancerned? You Should Be. :-) ;-) X-( by Steven Max Stern - Ourboox.com

table of contents

dir /w

 

Preface

 

II 

Auto

 

III

a ClearYourHead(Mental)

b Endeavors

c HomoSapiens

 

IV 

a ClearYourHead(Physical)

b Particles

c Aliens

 

V

a ClearYourHead(Nutritional)

b H2O

c LittlePills

 

VI

a ClearYourHead(Spiritual)

b Marijuana – a “Dummies” guide

c Connections

 

VII

a MeSteven

b MyDana

c MyKidz

 

VIII

a SlowlySlowly

b Scars

c TheRide

 

IX

TrainToLalaLand

 

X

Epilogue

 

XI

Video – Presentation at Shenkar School of Engineering

 

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Artwork from the book - Cancerned? You Should Be. :-) ;-) X-( by Steven Max Stern - Ourboox.com

I

Preface

Shit happens and then it happens to you, sometimes in harsh ways – it’s statistical (or as I like to say, statesticle).  So what if you’re told you have cancer or any other assorted nasty colorful surprise waiting for you around the corner.

 

What can be done, can be undone, or you die trying.  I believe this.  Never-mind what ‘they’ tell you.  If I paid attention to ‘they’, I wouldn’t be here writing this now or doing some of the things I do.

 

We’re human, our days are highly limited, with extreme challenges – both external and internal.  It is certainly not easy; life is full of mysteries, adventure and tough moments which lead most of us to ask who, what, where, when, why, and how???

 

Often without any answers along with a blinding silence.

 

My senior year Social Studies teacher in high school impressed me with the idea that the quest for these answers is what makes us human.  I have added to this, that hopefully we learn how to approach it with grace, style, and I believe, a healthy sense of humor and certainly, some dignity.

 

So this is a way for me to tell some of my story along with tidbits of things I think from what I’ve learned (or not) which I’d like to share.  Hopefully along the way, it provides some inspiration for the human race, we can always use more.  In the end, this is our story.

 

Hambagashli

-sms-

6
Artwork from the book - Cancerned? You Should Be. :-) ;-) X-( by Steven Max Stern - Ourboox.com

II

Auto

10 What do you mean “cancerned”?  You made a spelling mistake.  Actually, I didn’t.  It is highly intentional and the basis for this pamphlet, or as some might say in the future, past or present, loose ramblings of a slightly not well individual.

 

15 [Disclaimer – I have a stage 4 cancer all over my body discovered on Nov 27, 2014: In my lungs, plural cavities, bones, adrenal glands, lymph system, eyes, brain and other areas I don’t even understand.  I can only describe how I feel to write this, right now – to read it as I write it and to realize, I am here with you, time really is infinite – it must be what surreal means.

Please excuse me a moment, something inside me and on the other side of the multiverse, infinity away, shatters every time I think about or see what I just wrote a few seconds ago above.  It is forever freshly shocking.

. .. … …. ….. …… ……. ….…. …..…. …….… . .. …

I’m back.  So we can move on.

I’d like to believe this qualifies me as slightly not well.  Thank you – the management].

 

20 And for this you will forgive me as there is a strong chance something I write-say will insult you or piss you off or just gross you out along the way.  It is not intentional.  It is just how I say things and what happens when you call a duck a duck when some would like to call it a cat or not call it at all, right or wrong.  I’m on that side 50% of the time like the rest of me, er, us.  On the brighter side of this, I promise to entertain you and make you think, laugh, cry and feel an unfathomable amount of hope for yourselves as individuals and for us, hopefully, the human race.

 

22 And for you also who I have transgressed against in this lifetime or have hurt, insulted, pissed off or grossed out apart from this writing, while I have tried my best and hardest in this mutual quest to be a human being; I am sorry.  Please forgive me.  No matter what I say, I have learned to and do forgive all ya’ll too.

 

25 I have been told I can be descriptive with words.  I never thought of myself as having some type of talent in this area, but I’ll take my friends words for it.  Once, in New Orleans, a few of them were driving around in a big and bouncy jeep, enjoying the day when they passed by a house whose door seemed to leave a lasting impression on them.  It was the color, for which they just couldn’t come up with the appropriate Crayola indexing label.  They knew, I could.  When they got home, they excitedly began telling me about the door.  After a few minutes of discussion, getting the impression from their many descriptions, such as, like a mustard, but not Dijon or French’s more subtle, creamy…  Ok!  I have it I think: “Nipple-Custard Yellow?”  Silence.  Applause!  It was unanimous.

 

30 Yes, I am cancerned for us all.  I write this book as a survival guide for you who do not have cancer yet (for you have no idea that you will) and for those of us who unfortunately do have cancer (or any other debilitating and deadly illness, and I DON’T mean being a human) and for those caught in the middle dealing with it.  You think I’m kidding, I’m not.  I’ve never been more serious.

 

40 The cancer is both inside and outside of us, and I’m not so sure we’re winning the war, let alone some battles.  Check the evidence, now check it again.  Of course, this survival guide is useless if we blow ourselves up or get hit by an asteroid or sum such causing total devastation – which would be fun to watch for some of us! just saying – and certainly is possible.

 

50 It IS selfish, granted, that I would want everyone to come with me, rather than wait for you to catch up.  But please, take your time, I have kids also and want them to grow up and have their own families too and so on.  That is all this is about anyway, continuing our DNA before we indubitably annihilate ourselves, which I believe we’ve already done, maybe more than once.  I will be waiting, I am patient and I have found time.  I am here.  I will be here again.

 

60 Why am I cancerned? Because I’m sad to say, as humans we have lost our fxxxing minds and total control of any decency that intelligent life forms should have or want to be part of.  I suppose that this is why the smart aliens stay away or others come around once in a while to gently prod us along like the farm animals we ourselves breed and gently prod along.

 

70 A self-actualized intelligent alien life observing us from afar MUST be torn in their decision of whether to allow us to continue figuring out how to get out of our solar system (we’re not there yet folks, we’ve got a long way to go) or to destroy us immediately out of compassion to save us the trouble, and more importantly, to preserve the sanctity of the universe.  They still have time and it seems the judgement isn’t in yet.  Our planet is still here.  But I have no doubt, we will be judged.  To sit back and cockily think that there couldn’t possibly be something out there much more highly evolved than we are, that developed in some other galaxy that is billions of years older than ours, is preposterous.

 

80 Yes, this is a blatant chastisement of me and you and all of us.  Look at our behavior this last year alone all over this planet!  Never mind the past several 1000 years.  No one is an exception (As a side note and to be fair, OFF the planet and OUT of our atmosphere, we were AMAZING!) We have done everything in our power to completely screw up good chances of a long term future on this planet.  And guess what?  Unlike the Martians, we have nowhere to jump to, yet.  I’m tracking you Elon Musk, hurry up please!  I’ll bet and double down that it probably wasn’t a natural disaster that caused some of us lucky ones (well, our ancestors) to flee, and just in time.  And now, after doing the same thing here, we are trying to get back there!  Madness!  Time, time, time.  If only we all had more of it.

 

90 Let me provide an overly simplified example of our ongoing shitty behavior.  We as humans have perfected production (and firstly destruction, a topic deserving a chapter in and of itself).  We can produce anything pretty much, in mass quantities, cheaply.  We have perfected ripping out pieces of our planet to indulge ourselves with every form of consumer spoiling our brains can come up with.  So much so, as a social collective, we became a gluttonous being who has over-produced everything, except peace and coexistence.  The most disgusting part of it, that we have purposefully also perfected and engineered under-distribution.

 

100 This is how we have starving homeless people lying on streets in cities and towns worldwide, while right next door, in a restaurant, a home or outside the shipping terminal, oranges, foods, products and resources rot and/or get thrown away.  After 1000s of years, we still treat each other like animals – actually there are animals that are treated much more humanely than humans.  And that’s just the start of it.  You know this list goes on and on.  99.99% of us are guilty (unborn babies are an exception (and maybe until the age of ‘terrible twos’ I’ll let it slide) and in my opinion not deserving judgement, although others would disagree and claim we are tainted even before our birth).  That’s a topic for a whole series of books that I’m not even going to touch.

 

110 Pretty much between after we discovered fire and then discovered ourselves in selfies is where it all started to fall apart.  That’s my guess.  You know people have killed themselves taking selfies right?  Yet we have so much potential, we have proven this over and over.  We have the potential of enlightenment <<insert primal grunt>>.

 

120 So yes, an indictment of the human race.  We have done better.  Striving to do better and exploring both inside and out is what I believe makes us human and defines us, otherwise we should have just stayed in the cave.  I am a Gemini, so while I say one thing I can also believe another.  It is also a celebration of humanity because as I will say over and over, we have achieved many beautiful things and we have accomplished so much together in such a short period of time.

 

122 I guess it also depends on who is doing the measuring.  If it was the universe, it would laugh in our faces, a mosquito would definitely agree.  I am a human, I think, so I believe it’s a fair assessment plus or minus some acceptable standard deviation.  Got to give ourselves some slack, after all, we are only human.

 

130 Ying and Yang, Good and Bad, Up and Down.  But remember time is not our friend.  Time does not care about us or anything in its jurisdiction.  All it cares about is that the past has been, the present is here and the future is yet to be – which also means the future has been, the present is here and the past will be.

 

140 It passes no judgement and doesn’t even know we’re here and for sure, goes both ways.  For all we know, it runs backwards, forwards and in every direction all at the same, haha, time.  We are not even a blip on its radar if it even has one.  It is and has only ever been, in and slipping thru our hands and fingers.

 

150 I really hope we all start trying to do a better job, soon.  It is not too late, you are not too old, yellow, black, white, green, pink, left, right, up or down, and we are all cancerned.  We are all in this together whether we like it or not.  I suggest we start behaving like it.  It IS in our hands.  We can start, right,

 

now.

Ctrl+Alt+Del

8

9

IIIa

ClearYourHead(Mental)

Repeat after me,

 

            Z Y X W V U .. .. ..  what, er, why are you stopping?

 

What are we doing?  We’re learning to clear our heads.  We’re learning to ‘stimulate our brain cells’!  Yes, I know, but this is MY way, at least one of them that is more unique.  Just wanted to share it.  Well, you know the alphabet right?  Do you know it backwards?  You should!  How else do you think you will tolerate someone shoving a 17cm needle thru your side, between the ribs and thru the muscle into the plural cavity to start the draining?  And not just one side, both sides, but has to be the next day, can’t do both on the same day.  Too risky.  I mean yes, there is a small injection just moments before in same said place, “just a little pin prick”, which does ease the initial shock. 

 

So take the pillow, hug it and sit on the edge of the bed, yes, just like that, don’t move and breathe calmly.  Sit still, because if you move, or cough, we will remove the needle as fast as possible so as not to pop the lung itself, which would be BAD, the emergency room is waiting for us just in case, but keep in mind they are typically backed up.  Raise your hand if you want or need us to take out the needle and of course, we’ll have to go back in after to finish the job.  This happens sometimes as they just need a bigger and longer needle to reach a bit further, deeper.  The doctor sheepishly smiles when it does and says, ‘sorry, this one is going to hurt a lottle-bit more’.  I notice during prep when the plastic needle marking on the edge is pink, not the ‘usual’ blue, and yes, that’s a bigger and thicker needle just sitting on the side staring at you in the face.  So you know what you’re going to get upfront.  No pressure.

 

And then there’s the waiting; before, to see the Doctor in order to be admitted to the day unit and to get the forms for the X-ray and Ultra Sound where they mark the spot.  The during, where usually it takes a couple of hours until you come back to the unit to wait for the Doctor and Nurse (the Doctor doesn’t do this alone) to begin.  Be a patient patient!  They are understaffed, overworked and too underpaid for this shit. 

 

My infinite respects to every care giver who chooses to provide comfort, support and compassion for us, the cancerned, during our deepest and darkest moments.  Thank you.  Without knowing it, and if you do, certainly without being told often enough, you make this journey a bit less harrowing. 

 

One final point as I’m thinking about it now.  It is utter but organized chaos in a hospital setting.  Everyone is waiting and the pressure builds.  Like all over, but especially here, people do get explosive, both sides and the intensity can be unsettling.  Sometimes you go in for a simple series of checks, but it can take 8 hours, with a half hour in a car, taxi or bus on both ends.  In all of this however, the chaos and hectic bureaucratic holdups, I must say, I have never been left hanging. 

 

Yes, it can take a long time, even days.  In fact, many times, as I am there a lot, I notice that just when you start to feel some despair and panic and things begin crumbling around us, there are those guardian angels who simply appear or suddenly become friendly faces over time and guide us through and make things happen a bit faster and really try help ease our pains.  So, Guardian Angels do exist, they are in all sorts of shapes and forms, and, I believe, spend much of their time helping us and our families who are slogging along in a daze, in hospitals all over the world.  Not just there, but noticeably so, they too, are very busy.

 

Think about it, even your closest most loved one is not allowed to be with you at some point during these and other activities: MRIs, CTs, Brain Radiations, Plural Extractions, Surgeries, Biopsies and more.  We come in alone and we leave alone, hopefully someone nice is there to be with us on both sides, a type of friendly.  What we do in between makes all the difference.  I’m more convinced of it than ever.

 

It only takes like 15 to 20 minutes and is a pretty common and ‘routine’ procedure.  I typically fill about 1 to 1.5 Liters worth of clear plastic coconuts.  That’s about 4 of them.  I lost the pictures I think when I reset one of my phones or I’d show you.  That’s 1 to 1.5 Kilograms of liquid.  Sometimes it’s red, that’s really bad.  Sometimes it’s light green, like a mint tea, which is really weird and confusing.  Could be leftovers of a side effect, or perhaps after a flu or pneumonia which I tend to get often enough.  However, there are little malignant cells floating around in it, we’ve checked, so yeah.

 

In fact, like all hospital experiences, you always check and you are always in the twilight zone, things seem a bit odd.  Like the liquid pixie doctor who appears out of nowhere.  The second or fifth time I had a draining, I don’t exactly remember, at some point I was staring at the green bottles.  There was a knock on the door and I looked up to see a happy bubbly high spirited doctor smiling at me with twinkling eyes.  She was also staring at the same green bottles across from me.

 

You understand, one person’s garbage is another person’s gold, right?  So yes, of course I signed the permission forms to allow them to take those coveted bottles of toxic goo for their students to research and play with.  I’d imagine it has a high street value somewhere.  Anyway, the point is, she was thrilled and disappeared as quickly as she appeared with those shining bottles in her hands and those beaming eyes.  You can’t forget such passion, dedication, juxtaposition and yes, a high level of compassion for me in the process, another friendly, there are many.  The students are happy and someone is benefiting from this.  Good things from dark places.

I lose the exact amount of weight instantly in kilos, I’ve checked.  Then you wait an hour, go for another post procedure X-ray, go back to the Doctor, wait, as you’re not the only one, review the fun times, get your release letter and go home.  You’ll be back tomorrow morning to start again.  The after; hopefully 5 hours later you are home.  In rough times you have this done every week, maybe more than once, until they can control it, if they can and if you’re lucky.  I mean no, it doesn’t hurt, well not in that ‘hurt’ kind of way.

 

You have to clear your head.  Trust me, this works, in any situation.  You have to keep your cool, keep your mind focused and your body regulated.  I have found this method the most effective after trying several, and for the record, going into shock and/or passing out does not count, does not impress anyone and is NOT appreciated by the medical staff, but, it is ALWAYS forgiven.  This is a team effort and you need to do your job as best and as long as you can while they do theirs.

 

So, take a deep breath and start to do this.  It becomes easier and easier and starts to open pathways in your head.  This WILL help you in everyday life and in those extreme situations which are just around the corner waiting for you.  It is also broken up into 3 independent yet integrated and easy to use stages that can be practiced ANYWHERE, ANYTIME.

 

Stage 1 (Linear)

Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A     again.

Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A     again.  (Yes, I feel like a swim coach!)

Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A     again.

ZY XW VU TS RQ PO NM LK JI HG FE DC BA     again.  (Yes, almost like a song, in fact, the…)

ZY XW VU TS RQ PO NM LK JI HG FE DC BA     again.  (…first time we learned the alphabet…)

ZYX WVU TSR QPO NML KJI HGF EDC BA     again.  (…it was…)

ZYX WVU TSR QPO NML KJI HGF EDC BA     again.

ZYXW VUTS RQPO NMLK JIHG FEDC BA    again.  (…it still is…)

ZYXW VUTS RQPO NMLK JIHG FEDC BA    again.

ZYXWV UTSRQ PONML KJIHG FEDCB A     again.

ZYXWV UTSRQ PONML KJIHG FEDCB A     again.  (You start to feel the rhythm)

 

I think you’re getting it!  Keep going until you have it memorized and can chant it as you fall asleep.  And note, anything you do backwards, you do forwards.  So yes, I just doubled the work load!

 

zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbazyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbazyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcba

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbazyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbazyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcba

 

NOW that you got this down you are ready for the real work to begin.  You cannot say it out loud but you can THINK it, yes, at the SAME time.  It does get easier, quickly.  It is infinite.  It WILL clear your head.

 

Stage 2 (Non Linear)

ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

ZYXW VUTS RQPO NMLK JIHG FEDC BA

ABCD EFGH IJKL MNOP QRST UVWX YZ

ZYX WVU TSR QPO NML KJI HGF EDC BA

ABC DEF GHI JKL MNO PQR STU VWX YZ

ZY XW VU TS RQ PO NM LK JI HG FE DC BA

AB CD EF GH IJ KL MN OP QR ST UV WX YZ

Our minds have incredible potential.  Use it or lose it.  We’re going to lose it anyway so we’re told.  Maybe we don’t if we work it out enough.  Some of us walking around have already lost it for sure!

 

Stage 3 (Spiraling Circular Reference)

I’m not sure, didn’t get here.  I’m still a bit stuck on ONML or LMNO being the center of the universe (or maybe just NM and MN, certainly somewhere between the two, I’m working on the thesis).  If YOU do, let me know telepathically and we’ll update the title as required.  Maybe at this point we can teleport or influence our cells to wipe out unwanted illness in ourselves or someone else and don’t really care what we call it.  For sure, at this point, we won’t ever purposefully hurt each other again.  I believe.  I’m working on it.  Time.

 

As a final note, I have also done this as an early stage 1 player in both Greek and Hebrew.  Any alphabet is valid!!!  However, a hard reboot in our machine language is the most preferable and recommended.

 

10

IIIb

Endeavors

I have done many things throughout my life so far and keep finding more to do.  I have been a paperboy, lifeguard, waiter, busboy, cook, cleaner, department store sales person, student, travelling fraternity representative, CPA, auditor, psychology research assistant, software developer, tester and full cycle implementation and operations support staff, sales, marketing for multiple types of systems (financial, telecommunications and trading), student again, independent consultant, entrepreneur, husband, father, parent, friend and the list goes on and on.  Much of it, if I stop to think about it, more or less to make a living or provide support for one.  They have all been often difficult and challenging but highly rewarding.  Same goes for you I’m sure.  But it is something we do and try do well.

 

A meaning and purpose that I hope helps pay the bills.  However, we don’t always get paid to do some of these things and do them anyway.

 

What do you do for a living?  Where do you do it?  Are you in an office building with a room and desk, cubicle, open space, café?  When you’re not there, do you have another space at home where you can do it or is set up in a way that allows you that privacy with your things to be creative or do your work?  Your stuff in the places where you want them, easily accessible in your mad filing way which no one else touches or messes with and everything is ‘just so’.  Perfect.  I think we are lucky if we do. 

 

I think as an advancing race, one of the things which goes along with the territory, in being creative or doing our jobs (for the most part) or pursuing our hobbies or taking care of the never ending business of running the house, is having a personalized, comfortable and functional space of our own with a desk.  It would be nice if everyone could have one.  Maybe this is just me.

 

Sometimes I’ve seen art tables and painting utensils or pottery pieces and coloring pencils or guitars and amps or pinball machines or a TV and computer with big fancy screens.  A filing system or all of them together; whatever it takes to fluff up your feathers.  An office.  A meditation station.  Man cave.  Call it what you want.  I think it’s necessary to focus and get things done properly.  Either way, it’s your place, where you do your thing with passion and privacy and hopefully make some money!

 

Got to make a living.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.  So, what is it you do?  Do you want to keep doing it?  Things change over time, so do our offices.  Nothing is static really for us, so I hope you start doing more of what it is you love to do and maybe start to generate some income along the way. 

 

My brother Michael, before he passed away too early from my point of view, asked me a question.  It’s an amazing question I think we should all consider and revisit a bit more from time to time to time…

 

“If you had millions of dollars, what would you do?”

 

We started talking about all sorts of dreams I have and things I’d consider and want to pursue.

 

“So why aren’t you doing any, one, of them anyway if they make you happy, even as a hobby at first.  Maybe the money will come from it too, but at least you are doing it now.  You cannot count on tomorrow.”

 

He was very wise.  I miss being able to talk with him face to face or drive wildly thru the foothills of Bellaire in the growling Audie A8, forgetting our worries and our problems of the moments, wind blowing in our faces.

 

Soon enough, you may find, you are making just the right amount to do it full time, as it’s always a transition out of something into something else.  Or perhaps, finally you don’t need to scrape around to keep your right nostril out of the water, as most of us do.  Perhaps this is what you were lucky enough to discover early on as a passion, but have just been slogging thru it day by day so far anyway where a little twist can’t hurt.

 

So, make a plan for whatever it is you want to achieve, we all need one, so we can divert from it as we always do, into the next version of that plan.  I just hope you have a really cool space, desk and comfortable chair while you are banging away like the rest of us along with the rhythms of the universe.

 

Either way, some shoe company I seem to remember once said it simplest and best.

 

Well?

11

IIIc

HomoSapiens

Per Wikipedia, “Homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man”) is the binomial nomenclature (also known as the scientific name) for the only extant human species. Homo is the human genus, which also includes Neanderthals and many other extinct species of hominid; H. sapiens is the only surviving species of the genus Homo. Modern humans are the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, which differentiates them from what has been argued to be their direct ancestor, Homo sapiens idaltu. The ingenuity and adaptability of Homo sapiens has led to its becoming the most influential species on Earth; it is currently deemed of least concern on the Red List of endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[1]”

 

Homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man”) – This is highly questionable and very subjective having been defined by a homo sapiens.  You can smell the irony.  I also find, women tend to be wiser.

 

“H. sapiens is the only surviving species of the genus” – Like THAT is a surprise.  Guess their minds, being smaller, collapsed quicker.  Look at how we act and watch us not survive too.

 

I really laugh when I read the last part, how we are the least concern on the Red List!  Really?  I propose that we are the first and biggest threat to ourselves and everything around us and are actually the most highly endangered species, also the most violent and destructive, in the known universe, until proven otherwise.  I think an update is in order, WE should be FIRST on this list!  Considering how complex we are, I’d also propose that in a universal manner, other simpler species are way more likely to exist and will continue to exist elsewhere before we even come along.  I believe ‘we’ have, and choose to stay the fxxx away from ourselves for very good reason. 

 

I’d think on a universal level, we are the little cousin Freddy that no one wants to play with because he’s always drooling on himself, picking his nose and fondling his poop – and then touches our things when no one is looking.

 

We are a beautifully complex organism.  In fact, I believe humans can be fully enlightened, amazingly altruistic and fantastically magical.  Unfortunately not as much as not.  Although, as a side note, I must say, as complex machines, our bodies have mastered turning liquids into solids and solids into liquids in so many wonderful ways!

 

When I was younger, we were told, somewhat jokingly, that if we masturbate too much, we will go blind.  I can attest to the fact that there is about a 43 year lag to this urban legend and indeed it is true, it’s just a gradual process.  Yes, I am actually going blind.  Tumors in your eyes and brain do this, it is NOT from jerking off and NOT from lack of trying!

 

Today, however, I am more convinced and alarmed that this isn’t something to worry about, as it is now NOT jokingly true, that if we stare at screens too much, not only will we go blind, but we will lose our intelligence, wisdom and humanity.  Take a look around, you’ll find you’re probably one of the few people doing it and not staring at your screen with some half idiotic open mouthed grin gently rubbing it with your finger in some magical dance, or, seemingly talking to yourself.  ‘Ancient’ civilizations as we smarmily like to refer to them were eons ahead of us in some ways. 

 

We have regressed, regardless of all our ‘advances’.  We have forgotten how to interact as human meat puppets, and this I believe is ruining us in the way we behave towards each other and is turning us into a less desirable version.  Seriously, just take a look around and open your eyes.  Some will call it advancement of our species and we will adapt and adjust – yes, Singularity, to me it is a beautiful concept which frightens the hell out of most people.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  It doesn’t matter.  I personally don’t think we’re going to survive getting there.  I don’t think we ever have.  And if we did, we’re not hanging out with the dilapidated version, so we wouldn’t know.  Or maybe we did and are and that’s who’s running the show while the rest support them?  Who is who?  Scary shit!

 

It seems to me, this transitionary period is a bit too bumpy and drawn out for a species that more and more prefers to refresh their screen profile 30 times a minute to see how many likes they have on their 407th posted picture for the day, at noon, no?  Real patience for each other, none.  The machines are ­­getting smarter, and we’re doing a fine job of dumbing ourselves down.  Maybe that’s what we need for the fusion so it’s less painful to recall what we are actually giving up. 

 

Maybe the machines are becoming more humane, while we lose our humanity.  Ying and Yang.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.  It has approached the threshold where if someone could make clones, they’d have sex with variations and iterations of themselves in some selfie orgy type of thing.  Oh, how we love ourselves and VR will bring it and then we’ll broadcast it. 

 

I’ll bring the popcorn, you bring the drinks?  Just no grapefruit juice.  For some reason all the medicines (including statin drugs) have a special section on the warning label dedicated to avoiding this evil fruit and its juice at all costs.  I haven’t had a grapefruit in over 2 years and I just miss them.  Maybe it earned this special status from the Garden of Eden?  That’s it!  It’s the fxxxing forbidden fruit!

 

It is time to be humble, to be human and to stop being so narcissistic, cocky, snide and short with each other, and to start figuring out a way to put the pieces back together before it is too late.  I think I have a good first step at least.  For just 5 minutes, put down or turn off your screen, go outside and open your eyes.  Maybe you’ll see your neighbor and say hello instead of just liking the 104th picture this week of their dog licking its nuts, you may even get to pet the dog if it will let you.  Do this once a day, at least to start.  No, you do not need to tweet, insta, secret, whippet, slippit, flippit or slam it down.  Just leave it as is and go outside while we still have one. 

 

That’s a whole lot of collectively conscious minutes together as a race, probably more than we’ve had daily for a good several decades at least, maybe even several 1000 years.  I think it can do us some good.  It is ok to spend time in the natural world too, it misses us.  Let’s reintroduce some balance to our lives.

 

We are humpty dumpty and we have fallen off the fxxxing wall.  Will someone please help pick up the pieces and put our poor sorry asses back together again?  And yes, thank you, I would like some weed to help ease the pain, there is a lot of it.

 

 

12

13

IVa

ClearYourHead(Physical)

It becomes easy to take for granted our ability to just move around, and simply.  Most of us are unencumbered at this point by some hidden some such which can make it not possible.  I’m not talking about that time when you lie in bed in a daze and hear the birds chirping outside the window, only to then drift off back to sleep, the day is done. 

 

When this happens, when you are deeply and utterly cancerned, you’re in deep trouble – but it isn’t the current topic. 

 

I’m talking about when we get up every morning and are supposed to remember how lucky we are.  We opened our eyes!  How wuz Ur exits?  No matter what the day is going to bring, I have found that we require exercise of some kind, at some point, to assist with clearing our heads (and our systems) and preparing ourselves for the daily nonsense.  Not once a week, not three times a week, almost every day, we need to move it around.  The best, for me, is in the morning after we get up.  But it doesn’t matter when.  It matter that it’s done.  Whatever it is, just something. 

 

I found that the easier and simpler it is, the more I’m likely to do it repeatedly.  Doesn’t mean I don’t want to go swimming daily (I have), or go for a bike ride (I have, and I shouldn’t anymore, along with driving, I’m a hazard to your health, remember I’m partially blind – but I DO have a legal and valid driver’s license), or do anything else out there.  However, with all this said:

 

Nowadays, one of the easiest and most fulfilling ways is by putting on some walking shoes and going outside for a stroll about.  I like to see who are the people in my neighborhood.  Don’t you?  Many of them have unknowingly become some of my biggest support network that keeps me going.  I live in a building of only family, 7 apartments, it’s one of those smaller buildings in the area that hasn’t been ripped down yet and been redone.  It has been in my wife’s family since the early 1930s.  We see them a lot during the day, in and out, all running about doing their things, as they see us.  Probably a bit more than you see your neighbors.  Here, there is tremendous love amidst the haste, we are growing up together.  I hope you are too.

 

During the sirens, when we are at war, we also see some of them at odd times, as we now have a small bomb shelter in our apartment.  You have to according to the law when you renovate.  So even then, in times of crisis, we are bonded more and more.

 

On my walk, I visit with the local business operators and other assorted riffraff, just like me: the new kiosk across the street, salesperson at the gas station, dude who sits in little booth near embassy home (I don’t talk with him, but I’m sure he sees me walk by every day and if I needed help, I’m sure he would help me), hairdressers, Moroccan restaurant, electronic/phone shop (around here, they sprout like mushrooms), music shop!, wine store… you get the idea.

 

In the rain, in the shine, in the spring, summer, fall and in the winter.  For up to an hour if possible.  Most times of the day, best when it’s sunny in the winter, warms your chilled bones, and best when it’s not sunny in the summer, prevents you from melting.  I believe it’s a core human thing.  I believe it goes deep down into our souls, maybe even is part of it, along with melting marshmallows on a stick at a campfire on a midsummers eve, hearing the crickets, while singing mindless songs.

 

If you look at our planet from outside, you’ll see lots of blue.  That’s rare, very rare and highly desirable for a carbon based species like ourselves.  Nothing else like it for 100s of millions of light years, we’re told and if there was, we can’t get there.  The other amazing thing is that there is just the right amount of radiation hitting this little perfectly spinning and floating molten cored nugget, allowing us, humans, to live on it comfortably without too much trouble.  Oh, we could freeze to death or die of thirst in multiple places all over the planet, but we hopefully have learned to avoid those places and/or come prepared.

 

The only real trouble is the grief we create for ourselves, Mother Nature’s activities do not count.  I’m sure she is just as bogged down with paperwork, need for approvals, tests, forms, faxes, taxes, emails, medical documentation, insurance requests, disputes, family holidays and resolving of domestic issues to take care of.  This is a full time job!!!  I don’t even think she knows we’re here.  Too much to do, too little time to do it.

 

Oxygen is good for us………

 

 

 

So if we can just take that hour, or even half hour, see I saved you some time already and you were about to complain!  Put on some comfortable shoes, leave the phone on vibrate (for emergencies, or maybe listen to your favorite music only, limited talking) and go out for a walk.  This is ‘you’ time.  Unless you have someone with you in which case that’s totally groovy and fun.  So ‘you’ time squared.  Good stuff.  Just slow down and wait up! 

 

Yes, I know you walk for work to the bus, thru the airport, down the street, around the city, thru the valley both ways and in the snow.  Doesn’t count.  Sorry.  It has to be a calculated and motivated conscious decision that you are going to get your exercise in and clear you head!

 

Similar to waking up one morning after a good sleep and having that answer to a problem that was eluding us before going to bed, it provides us with a similar mechanism to reset our minds and think freely and creatively.  Works for me.  Maybe it can for you too.

 

Whatever it is, seek and do.

14

IVb

Particles

No matter how extreme something is, there has to be a way to find the humor in it.  If not, I will try find it.  I think it is the only way to deal, to put into perspective, the absurdity that we face each and every day, individually, together, between, amongst and with each other.  We are so connected and have not consciously realized it yet as a race.  I think when we do, things will change very quickly.

 

Our molecular structure is intertwined.  You don’t think someone doesn’t leave their cells behind on or near you when they come over to visit?  Or the poo and filth from the streets on your floors from their shoes?  On the couch, in the air, all over.  You do too.  Pieces of your skin, hair, oils, nails, saliva, nasal juice, belly button lint, toe cheese, lice (those are the bigger things we can see, imagine).  Just ask any biologist or person who goes into details of molecular science.  So there’s us floating around intermingling with everyone else’s ‘us’ and everything else’s pieces and particles on our planet in our universe, breathing it in and out, each other.

 

In fact, we ourselves are made up of lots of space between our cells, so much so, that actually for me it is surprising that we are as concrete as we are.  Maybe we’re not as much as we think we are.  Things still slip thru, on, off, in-between, into and out of us.  All forms of things, including energies, and yes, my eyesnot.

 

Comedy, humor, the ability to laugh at ourselves is one of the key ways I have learned to deal with my illness.  How is it possible to find the humor in sick and twisted things, like disease, famine or fires, especially those we have done to each other, like rape, murder or slavery?  It isn’t so easy.  It’s easier to start with things a little closer to home.  Things that we can more or less relate to in some way shape or form which bonds us as the humans we are.  From there, we can tackle the bigger issues.

 

When you are treating cancer, there are times you feel like vomiting.  Let’s admit it, even without cancer, there are times ALL of us want to vomit and do!  Like champions!  Nausea sucks, having that knot in your stomach sucks.  Even from drinking too much or from eating the wrong foods a few hours ago.  When that feeling comes on.  It is awful.  The worst part of it is that you aren’t always actually able to vomit.  You just feel like you do and you just wish you actually could, while your saliva flows and drools.  It would maybe maybe maybe make you feel just a little better if you could just, vomit.

 

Every one of us has probably used a toilet, are lucky enough to own one or a few more in their houses and take for granted how amazing this little device is.  How personal and useful it becomes.  How it is a little place of solitude where we can pretty much be left alone, in peace, to do our thing, whatever it may be.  Some homes are big and have many toilets.  Some homes are small and only have one or two.  I live in a smaller home with the one, then the two once we expanded our apartment.

 

Compared with others on this planet, I have been very fortunate and lucky and spoiled in many respects when it comes to the basic things we as humans require.

 

Per Wikipedia, “A traditional list of immediate “basic needs” is food (including water), shelter and clothing.[3] Many modern lists emphasize the minimum level of consumption of ‘basic needs’ of not just food, water, clothing and shelter, but also sanitation, education, and healthcare. Different agencies use different lists.”

 

In my busy small house with two active teenagers and wife, my toilet is the main toilet in the entry area.  Near the living room and dining room, it tends to get the most use.  Visitors, friends, family, students, plumbers, electricians, you name it, they’ve been here and taken a dump or a piss in my toilet.  I’ve counted on one day, 5 pisses and 2 shits of which none of them were mine or that of my wife or 2 children.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mind.  I and many others have done it in your house too.  That’s what they’re there for.  I keep it very clean.  It’s just one of those things you think about when you get cranky, irritable and grumpy and don’t feel so well consistently and you just want some privacy.  So I see the humor in things and try move along, put them in perspective and maybe make some changes to make things a little better along the way.

 

A body function is something we can all relate to and can make funny.  The need to get sick or use the toilet, one way or the other!  We’ve all been there more than once pretty much by the time you can read these words.  There are times during treatments when I have vomited predictably after taking pills, eating, doing nothing, moving a little, both morning and evening.  Sometimes it’s just almost dry heaving but the attempt is still to be admired!  Most of us vomit in the exact same way.  I’ve done a small statistical sample and it seems, that apart from those times we’re actually trying to GET to the toilet to vomit but don’t quite make it, most of us prefer to shut the door, assume the traditional position, on our hands and knees, hold onto the sides of the toilet and point our mouth towards that white bowl.

 

I’d consider studying molecular biology, or astral physics if someone asked me today what I’d want to study in school.  I’m not sure I’d actually make it through the courses, but they seem interesting enough.  It’s not on the list of things I “don’t” want to do, so it’s maybe worth trying.   I mean, that’s at least how I look at things and have advised my daughters and friends to make choices and decisions when they just don’t have all the information.  We never will.  We are always making decisions based on as much information as we have at that time, which isn’t much and will always be incomplete for the most part.  Not a perfect art or science. 

 

However, I found an easier approach.  I choose to filter out the things I’d rather NOT do instead of the things I’m not sure I want to do.  It’s ok to change one’s mind too.  We do develop different tastes and preferences as we grow older, get wiser and our bodies change.  I never thought I’d see a day when my daughter squeezed lemon onto her Pad Thai, but it happened!  Either way, it’s definitely much easier for me to define what I DON’T want to do.  It’s the best advice I can give anyone who is looking at what they want to do for a living, their career or next step.  If you don’t want to do it, DON’T.  Otherwise, maybe you want to look into it a bit more until you get to that conclusion.  If you do, drop it, if not, keep going.  The next thing you’ll know is someone is asking you, “so, how did you become a xxxxx, what made you decide to do this?”

 

My answer is, “it isn’t something on my list of things NOT to do, things I don’t want to do, so I looked into it deeper and further to see if I like it, never stopped, and here I am.”

 

It’s 4 in the morning.  Something isn’t sitting right in my stomach and I feel that need.  I’m sweaty, achy and it’s just not ending.  Did I eat earlier?  Maybe it’s the pills, or side effects from the anti-biotics.  I never know.  Just got over the pneumonia, again, so perhaps it’s residual.  Do I need to drain my lung again?  Doesn’t matter really, just feel icky.  I stumble my way to the bathroom trying to keep the saliva in my mouth as I get closer in anticipation.  I assume the position and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And wait.

 

And then it dawned on me how everyone is so close, can help and how much I actually and truly appreciate them!  I remember and think about all that shit and piss in my toilet where my face is right now.  Today, yesterday, last week and year(s).  That feces and urine, that ickity slimy muck, right there, under my nose, particles in my face and merging with me.  Take a DEEP breath, another one and another one.  Give it some good thinking too.  Picture it.

 

I vomit like a king. 

 

Our minds and imaging is very powerful.  That’s why athletes, doctors, musicians, anyone in any profession, always walks thru stuff in their mind, the next steps they’re doing.  It’s a rehearsal, it counts and it is powerful.

 

So if you find yourself trying to get sick and vomit and your toilet isn’t doing the trick, by all means, laugh a little and then feel free to think about me and use mine.  Everyone else does!

 

15

IVc

Aliens

We are all citizens of this planet, and when we start venturing off en mass, citizens of a solar system, galaxy, universe, you get it!  We are actually the Aliens.  Are you proud of what we represent and have accomplished?  Sometimes, some things?  Me too.  Other times, other things, not so much.

 

As Aliens we are immigrants.  I personally am the quintessential immigrant.  We ALL are or were or will be, over and over and over.  It’s one of those types of cycles. 

 

I was born in South Africa, moved to Israel, moved to America (Wisconsin, New York, Louisiana, Kansas, Virginia, Indiana) and am back in Israel again.  I have never settled!  I am not a settler.  I am a citizen of this planet and am learning to behave like it.  I have certainly failed along the way, but I acknowledge this and actively work to make improvements in my behavior EVERY DAY I am lucky enough to open my eyes.

 

I come from a line of immigrants forced to flee from one country to another because of prejudice, hatred, and intolerance and mainly, fear (and sometimes jealousy) of the outsider who is different and easy to blame for our problems.  See, they look different, sound different, eat different, talk different, piss different and even wipe different!  Maybe we shouldn’t trust them and maybe we should.  Let’s see how they behave.  Not all immigrants flee, well not quickly.  Some choose to leave for something better at a slower pace as they have the time to do so, but they are still immigrants.

 

Every wave of immigration (or individual migrants) everywhere on this planet has faced the same challenge and judgement.  Ever been the new kid in a new school?  Same in the end.  What do you really think is going to happen when we meet another intelligent life form out there?  You think they’re just going to give us a big hug and say, come on in you over 7 billion of you!  And if they wanted to immigrate to our planet?  How do you think we’d react?  What type of laws would we enact?  Who gets to decide?  How orderly and advanced as a race do you think we need to be in order to handle this situation? 

 

Do you think we are there yet?  Of course we aren’t!  We can’t even answer those questions now, and certainly don’t have a structure to support it even if we could.  Don’t we want to be that advanced?  It requires much more compassion and humanity than we have generated to date.

 

Let me say this very clearly.  WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS.  You can continue to fool yourself as long as you like if you believe otherwise.  Our DNA is not native to this marble we sit on today.  It comes from out there.  We came from out there.  We are made up of the same star dust from everywhere in our multiverse, out there.  We have all immigrated.  You just don’t remember.  Your DNA does.

 

When I was in first grade, I was jumped and beaten up by a fifth grader.  The funny thing is that both he and I were pretty much part of the few minority families in the whole town!  I, being Jewish, he, a Native American Indian.  Go look them up and see where they came from and how they ended up after a few immigrants started popping over to the North American continent.  For that matter, also go really look at how the Jews have been treated throughout history, quintessential immigrants and 2nd class citizens most of the time.  Don’t believe the hype.

 

My father once told me something that I will never forget (he’s actually told me more than one something on more than one occasion which I will never forget, wise man, thanks dad).  When he was younger and traveling the world he came to America, in 1957.  He watched the Little Rock 9, in Arkansas, with the National Guard called in.  When he was in the UK, in 1958, in Notting Hill, he watched the boiling point and people rioting and beating each other.  In 1960, upon returning to South Africa, yet again, in Sharpville, he watched, this time, police shooting and killing black people. 

 

Guess what?  He told me that he came to the conclusion that the people of the world are racist.  And for the record, it has nothing to do with police, who I happen to have a high respect for overall.  Policing is necessary.  It has to do with humans and how we behave towards each other.  All over the planet, TODAY, not just black and white, within and between all ‘races’, every country, every culture, everywhere, someone is getting treated like shit, maybe getting a good solid beating and often something much worse.  They probably didn’t really do anything to deserve it.  Just trying to survive or were just there and in the way.  I will also propose that SOME of them did, or those doing it to them, actually deserve it. 

 

Yes, we are that bad, and not just racist, reverse racist, inverse racist, perverse racist, prejudiced, sexist, intolerant, impatient, self-righteous, greedy and downright mean.  Funny how one race can be this way with itself so consistently?  Is that really our best quality and trait?  We are all part of the same race, yet we are all part of the most highly racist race.

 

For the excitement, if I could, I would emigrate off of this planet given the opportunity.  If I didn’t have cancer and was 25 years younger, I’d have applied to be tested and would hope to be accepted.  I envy you who will have that opportunity, but not the hardships you will face.  Of course it will be hard out there, it’s OUT THERE and look at what we’ve done down HERE with all the amazing resources at our fingertips that we DO have.  No, you’re going to face your own brutal shit.  Although I have my own, don’t worry.

 

When you immigrate and/or emigrate (look them up then you’ll know), I believe, you are supposed bring the choice tidbits that are good for all, that are to be celebrated, enjoyed and shared.  Depending on where you came from and why, there are some things that are supposed to be left behind.  Seriously, not every aspect of you and your way is good.  Neither is mine.  But we are about agile development no?  Continual improvement and betterment as new information becomes available, processed and understood in a timely manner.

 

No one wants to import a failed culture or system or people or race or Alien for that matter who wants to implement same failed policies shortly upon arrival.  It is a natural process to vet those who are new and wanting to join the club.  Letting everyone have equal access to the club without beating them to death is what all the hullaballoo is about and makes all the difference between an advanced civilized culture and a pack of vulgar beasts.  I venture we are somewhere in the middle.

 

When I was a child we were taught to look things up for ourselves also.  We were encouraged to use things like Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Libraries that had lots of research manuals and specific journals, an endless source of information and to look at several sources.  It’s not really different in some ways.  Today it’s on the internet.  Today we use google or sumfing like it.  The speed of delivery incomparable and amount of bits and bytes we can tolerate at any given moment huge (and at the same time, I’ve noticed, much less).  From my point of view, they are all potentially and equally just as inaccurate depending what you are reading, seeing or listening to.

 

We are humans, so we have learned to check for ourselves too.  Poke it a few times, with different types of sticks.  Taste it maybe.  Hit it with our hammers.  Take it apart.  Find out what it is that makes it tick.  How else have we come so far in so many areas?  From this we have learned what we should continue to use and what we should discard, maybe someone or something else wants to pick it up and use it.  But I prefer try put things back as I found them too, as best I can.  Sometimes to clean it a little, especially if I borrowed it from a friend.  Maybe put some gas in and fill it up.

 

My friends, WE are the aliens.  We’ve heard it before and we’ll hear it again, and perhaps this is where it came from, as we brought it with us, something good, some sound advice:

 

We should learn to treat each other as we like to be treated.

 

16

17

Va

ClearYourHead(Nutritional)

What’s that you’re eating?  Is it tasty?  I’m just asking because cancerned people have developed a slightly different approach to nutrition.  Maybe technique is a better term.  We like things that stay in our stomach, get absorbed and give us some nutritional value AND we really hope it tastes good.  It’s kind of a personal quest that I’ve developed.  Don’t need much, just want to know.  Don’t care what it is, within reason, so stop it and put that snarky thought back in your pocket for later.

 

There are many many many many many many diets out there and new ones every moment.  Everyone thinks theirs is the best.  It may very well be – for that person alone.  I am not taking anything away from nutritionists and dieticians, on the contrary, they have uncovered some very useful information which should and can easily be applied to our eating habits and lifestyles and they deserve kudos for being part of that group trying to help humanity along. 

 

However, I know that each one of us is unique, maybe even just down to one molecule away, but unique nonetheless (have you been cloning yourself?).  Which for me means, a diet is only as good as the positive support that it provides the system it serves with the energy it needs to survive.  You have to find out what works for you, and it is constantly changing.  That would make sense, we are constantly changing too, hopefully for the better.

 

So yes, everyone’s diet is the best (after we learn how to make it so), from which you should pick and choose what YOU think is best for you.  You go by feeling.  Our bodies are very good at letting us know, sometimes you just have to listen carefully and learn to do so more and more.  Our need for quiet is highly underrated and completely disrespected, especially today.  Look at how much noise filters into our ‘personal space’ each moment, much of it emanating from our or someone else’s little device at a blaring volume.  Mandatory use of headphones is one thing that should be legislated.

 

Whether you prefer a ketogenic approach, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, carb heavy, carb light, no carb, no sugar, lots of sugar, big portion, little portion, 5meal-a-dayer, interval faster, fasting intervals or interviewing fasters, as long as you feel good, sleep well, can take a great shit at least once a day, piss heartily (but not in your sleep and not on someone unless they ask (which is nobody’s business anyway)), and get out of bed every time you wake up, you are doing something right and I urge you to keep at it!

 

So this is why I asked, what’s that you’re eating?  Is it tasty?  I know taste is relative and subjective, but I genuinely want to know, maybe I want some too!  Even if you don’t think it’s tasty!  What is it?  I’ll figure out if it’s good for me very quickly.  I just want to know if it tastes good, now.  I’m not greedy and I never take too much (anymore).  Just have that primal guttural instinct to put it in my mouth and see if I will spit it out or chew and swallow it and maybe go kill or pick another one!  Yummy!

 

You have to understand this point of view taken from someone that has experienced uncontrollable nausea and vomiting while shitting everything from nothing to anything they put in their mouth, including air and water.  Not just for a couple of hours, no.  [And please note, the EXACT OPPOSITE exists where it just won’t come out so easily, and YES, it sux, however, I’m not going to write about it.].  For multiple days, into weeks and months while still requiring one to take their medicines, pills and other assorted regime of treatments for balance and counter-balance. 

 

Wondering if this downward spiral can be stopped let alone reversed.  Trying to be as gracious as we can with some semblance of self-dignity, while seeing our bodies fade away, rapidly change and sensing our souls starting to slip out the window – watching our loved ones looking on with anguish and fear.

 

I have gained a new respect for pregnant women and anyone who experiences ‘morning sickness’.  I actually have come to understand what this is and why we crave multiple foods while not touching any of them once actually acquired (rather, painstakingly delivered to us, often thru horrible weather conditions at odd times of the day and night by our loved ones). 

 

Morning sickness is not in the morning only.  It is 24/7.  It is a thin layer of nausea infused biological cellophane that magically appears and tightly wraps itself around your stomach.  It then spirals outward from your core to the far distances of your finger tips and toes encompassing your entire being.  That’s just the start.  Shakes, cold sweats, once the toxins start to release, our minds and bodies start to behave in different ways.  Needless to say, we become socially intolerant, hyper sensitive to noise, touch and anything that is not in absolute conformity with anything we want this moment!

 

I’ll let you in on another little secret, it was misspelled.  The correct spelling is ‘Mourning Sickness’.  It directly and more appropriately captures the sentiment of the situation and properly reflects its intended meaning.  “I am mourning because of this evil sickness that has engulfed my soul”.    

 

Mustard with Potato Chips, Ice cream with Cheese Wiz, Chocolate covered Ants and other bugs, Oranges with Pickle juice, Strawberry Milk and Spaghetti, Chicken fingers dipped in maple syrup, a Cheese burger with condensed milk, peas mixed with raw Egg and some bread and Worcestershire sauce, Spam, a regular Latte with 10 sugars and 3 sweet and lows, a Latte with no milk, a Latte with soy milk, a double floppy poopy poppy lard glazed donut with candy corns.

 

Bring it now, bring it fast and give me a … hold on … BbrrRaAaaCcCcKKkkKkKkKK! … Big spoon.  You have got to feed your body, no matter what.  There are times, too many, where nothing is tasty, nothing, yet we slog our way thru that dry cracker or white rice because we need energy and this is where we have to start.  You always benefit when you start at the beginning again.  Pretty much every day.

 

I used to hate myself for not eating a ‘healthy diet’.  I take a lot of shit from people for eating something I know is going to perhaps ‘not be good for me’ or, for something I’m not eating that I ‘should be’.  Whatever it is, I choose it to be tasty and hope it will sit inside me peacefully, process purposefully and come out properly.  That is all that matters because if what you eat allows this, I propose you are eating a ‘healthy diet’ and your body is very happy.

 

On this topic I leave you with a final note, this advice handed down to me, the first day of my diagnosis, from one of the wiser Doctors I have had the privilege to patient for:

 

Whatever diet you choose,

 

“Eat tasty food”.

 

I have not strayed, Doc, thank you.  I only added,

 

“Seek it out as well”.  It adds to the passion of life and its flavors.

 

18

Vb

H2O

 

 

19

Vc

LittlePills

 

 

20

21

VIa

ClearYourHead(Spiritual)

Another one of those strange departments in the hospital is where they do oncological radiation treatments.  I use the term strange fairly loosely because as I’ve mentioned, I believe the hospital is the twilight zone, or one of them, like a free trade zone in China.  A full on business and community going about their activities, in some transitionary neutral zone, as the planet hurtles through the galaxy. 

 

The one I go to too much of the time is a mini city, as each department is huge, many buildings, doctors, nurses, cleaners, food staff, health professionals of all kinds, research facilities, there are residents from all over the world and their apartments, swimming pool, a mall, mini shopping center, hotel, many parking lots, gas station, restaurants, etc…  We get to go in for free without paying because I have a card, permit, paperwork and tags for me and on my car that say I’m 100% disabled… … … … 

 

Membership has its privileges, aren’t’ I lucky!?  Well, I’ve been told I am, and so I am.  As a business they’ll take that into account and charge my entry fee to some ‘disability allowance account’ instead of ‘revenue’.  It is a business after all.  Thankfully this one, the one I go to, seems to be well run.  I appreciate it.

 

Last summer my right eye stopped working.  Cancer and Tumors do this too.  So off I went to fix this, or at least prevent it from getting worse, along with the three on the left side of my head.  Welcome to radiation.  They give you a nice, well fit, white Friday the 13th hockey mask for the Gamma Knife sessions.  In my case, 8, days.  You start taking steroids before during and after for many months.  Depending I guess, I took up to 8mg a day for several months.  It’s to prevent edemas from getting too big and help them try shrink.  I read somewhere that a week with 2mg is considered abusive.  Hmmm. 

 

So with blips and bleeps and blops, there are many of them, we completed 8 sessions.  Each about 40 minutes, once you get through the waiting of course.  Each session is, conservatively, about 4 or 5 mins of direct radiation ON during the positionings.  Your head is strapped in and you MUST NOT MOVE.  Right, that’s like 32 to 45 minutes of direct Gamma radiation on my brain.

 

I had a business.  Actually, I’ve had several, but the one I’m thinking of is my studio.  I love music!  Well, we’ll discuss that, but, I always have, I hope to always will.  I had this crazy idea that the music industry was backwards, musicians and fans weren’t connected well enough, especially given new emerging technologies at the time.  That musicians, instead of a traditional recording studio, really just need a great place to hang out with friends, to jam, record and easily distribute their product, energy, story, music AND video AND texting with fans AND such, at a reasonable cost, giving them total ownership of the entire cycle and copy write.  I still believe it’s the case, but is not the main point.

 

The point is that I had a passion for music my entire life and did the crazy thing of going off to open my own startup in a startup nation.  Problem is that this startup isn’t traditional.  A rehearsal and recording studio / teaching facility that integrated DJing methodologies and technologies into the process, with a large stage room for a small audience, wired for a full orchestra with video cameras (and soon the coming smart phone app revolution), experimenting with live music over the internet before it was happening, designed for the next generation of musicians and consumers.  Maybe should have focused on the online streaming thing eh?

 

Nope, no one really looks at ‘brick and mortar’ startups until they are well off the ground.  It is the case today too for most, need to have that product already out in the market with a few real clients before you’re going to raise that $3M 1st round.  Pre-seed, well, maybe if you have something already out there as proof of concept generating some revenue.  Then you can have up to $1M and we’ll take like 20-30%, thanks.  Not always the case, but check it.

 

Didn’t work.  I think if I had a ‘do-over’, now, I could make it work fantastically.  But that’s going to be, or probably already is, in another parallel universe for another Steven.  Where he didn’t lose focus for various reasons: his mother didn’t have cancer and die when the studio opened; where he understood local business culture sooner; where his former private consulting business wasn’t suddenly audited for no real reason but as part of a bigger blanket audit going on; where his brother wasn’t diagnosed with cancer; where he and his partner hit it right the first time, despite whatever problems they did face making that 1 in 100 workout; where he didn’t spiral into an uncontrollable depression.  Shit happens.

 

Another time, another place, maybe even right now.  The list goes on.  But it was not meant to be, not here.  Not this time.  Not for ‘me’.  I’m over it now.  Then, it pretty much destroyed me and took a long time to get past it.  To this day the residual afterglow exists, I just ignore it.  I laugh at myself for it and AT it now.

 

The good news is that I have picked up my guitar and bass again after too many years.  Having put down my musical instruments for those years is probably one of the biggest regrets, rather, crimes, but that is all in the past and I will not have regrets.  Life is too short.

 

I am foolish enough to have gone and tried out for a TV reality show (the adventure was enough in itself) and am rediscovering my passion for music, singing and songwriting with plans to record some of the songs I’ve written in the past.  Who knows, maybe there will be a surprise right around the corner.  Each day is a gift, even if the time during the day is limited, to try get out and do the things you love to do.

 

Writing.  Somehow, I discovered that people like the way I express myself when I write and that I’m a good writer.  I choke on that.  That’s amazing!  I would have never thunked that.  I’ve said it so many times to so many people when we’ve discussed this, “None of my English teachers would agree, ever.”  They all pretty much said I sucked at it.  Middle school, high school, college (as an English minor).  I secretly thought I was ok and never listened to them anyway.  I mean, I’ve since been a technical writer and marketing collateral commander, pumping out 300+page user guides for major systems etc.  I guess I learned how to get it write (right).  So here we are, starting a writing ‘career’ too.  Or at least getting it out there.  Doing it.

 

The concept of Entrepreneurship isn’t to be taken lightly.  99% fail.  That’s encouraging.  Also keep in mind that after 10 years of operations, 96% no longer exist.  Wow, let me have some of that!  So off I went and raised some money from friends and family.  Put in some of mine and together with a partner built out the most incredible rehearsal recording studio (for that budget at the time) that every musician who entered said, “this place is the shiznit”.  Too bad I couldn’t get the business model down right in time before I ran out of funds, started losing my mind, falling into a massive depression and realizing the sanest thing to do is pull the plug.

 

The hardest decision a CEO or any Leader, Head of whatever or person in charge can ever make, is to know when it is time to let the dream go and stop.  It is counter intuitive to everything entrepreneurial, but it is an essential key quality of every entrepreneur and I believe, takes the most courage.  Given the statistics, there is a slim chance you will get out of life without having to face this decision in some way shape or form in your professional or personal endeavors.  And, chances are, as you are human, you’re going to require medical attention along the way too.

 

I’ve always wondered, does anyone take into account or pay attention to the Hospital Index?  You know, looking at who provides services from bottom to top and top to bottom in the top 1-10 health care facilities in your country (if lucky to even have one or that many).  Here it’s a nice mix of Arabs (Muslim and Christian), Jews, Baha’i, Whites, Blacks, Filipinos, Moroccans, Yemenites, Russians, South Americans, Ethiopians, Europeans, South Westerners, North Easterners, West Southerners, East Northerners, French and Sudanese among others… it goes on.  I think my point is starting to come through.  THAT is what we call a true melting pot, no matter what anyone else says.

 

Every one of them has an equal opportunity to stick a needle in me too.  I am convinced that they are all looking out for me and my well being.  I can’t imagine anywhere else on this planet that so many diverse people with so many different backgrounds are working together and putting aside all their differences to put needles in me!  It is magical.

 

So are dreams and yet, they can crash and burn and mine was no different.  To lose passion and a core fundamental part of one’s soul is catastrophic on our minds and bodies.  Music.  From early childhood I have composed and written song after song.  Most of them are long gone, but the sentiment was that it was musical.  A true part of my being.  When the studio crashed, so did this part of me.  I had tied it closely to my dream and when the dream crumbled a part of my soul went with it.

 

So what do you do when you are anxious with everything; wanting to sleep all the time; taking medications which are messing up your head while you test them out; your blood is boiling; hoping that each day passes quickly; trying to keep up with the kids and being present; knowing that you are somehow messing things up ? ! &*$#![@!}

 

You get by with a little help from your friends.

 

You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going, every moment, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every, um, century.  It doesn’t last very long now does it?  So you keep going.  You keep dreaming.  You keep trying.  “Do not go gentle into that good night”!  Like the Black Knight from Monty Python!

 

Look forward.  Move forward.  Glance backward from time to time.  Then you find yourself again.  I found a good job.  Turned out to be good and then bad, but these things happen.  Cycles.  It was a good stepping stone and I have learned to thank it and them for what it did provide, not what it didn’t.  Soon after I found another, fairly quickly as the energies were back.  A great job, a great place with good people who care.  Nothing is perfect but I was very happy.  My swimming pool was upstairs, I was walking distance from my house.  I felt like I had been given another chance.  I took it slowly.  Step by step.  I am human, hear me roar.

 

So while we’re on it, I’m not done with you Mr. Studio, you never give up on a good idea, if it is a good idea.  Just because I lost the battle doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on the war.  As I said, I’m a human.  I’m told it’s still a good idea.  I dream about it often enough and that’s also enough.  So if you’re reading this, have the money to invest, see the dream and want to pursue it, feel free to get in touch.  I have the right team in mind always and probably would be great at making it happen this time around.  For sure, setting the proper catalyst that grows.  Anyway, just a thought.  Let’s talk, that in and of itself can be fun!

 

If we’re lucky enough to identify that something or somethings that fill us with energy and goodness we hold on and we embrace them.  Even if just to think about them.  It gives me happy energy. 

 

Find something and sink your teeth into it, it is good for your soul.  It is required for your spirit.

 

So I was very happy and things were going ok.  In October, 2014, we went to Berlin for a conference.  An amazing city, with a very complex history.  We had a great time and a decent show.

 

Upon my return, shit started to happen, again.

 

Pick myself up, dust myself off.  Hear me roar.

 

22

VIb

Marijuana – a “Dummies” guide

So what is all the fuss about?  Never mind, it has become more and more medically acceptable and certainly socially as well.  Probably about time.  It’s a plant and the most over controlled one at that.  Let me explain it briefly in a language that everyone can understand.  It is both a medicine and a recreational drug and doesn’t come with a useful warning label, like all other drugs, yet.

 

Weed, grass, doobies, reefer, maryjane, krypto, buds, whatever you call it… here’s the breakdown.

 

You have white wine, champagne, red wine, whiskies, gins, vodkas, etc… right?  Bear with me a minute…  Right?

 

They all have alcohol and all have slightly different effects and affects with our bodies if you paid attention (assuming you have had a drink or 20).  But they all give you a buzz with a little bit, drunk if you have a few or so and sick if you have too much or mix the wrong thems and thoses.

 

Weed, as I like to call it (it’s shortest) instead of alcohol, has THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which gives you a “high”, a buzz.  It’s concentrated in the plant flowers, the buds.  It gets released when you heat up the dry buds with fire in a pipe, bong or joint, or using a vaporizer (kind of a mini oven that bakes out the oils into vapor which you inhale), or using extracted oils or other assorted products. 

 

People experience one of two kinds of highs and/or a mix thereof: the more mental/cerebral and the more physical.  Furthermore, some types are more towards ‘energizing’/bouncing off the walls/chatterbox and others more towards ‘couch lock’/’dude you’re stooooned’/I can’t move.  Both usually have a component called, FEED ME!  Very good for sick people who have no appetite and don’t want to eat.  Nowadays most plants are bred in a spectrum for all of this – you can learn much more here and there (www.leafly.com) and everywhere.

 

So weed, like red or white wine etc. breaks down like this.  You have Sativa and you have Indica (yes, Ruderalis but skip it). 

 

Sativa, like champagne’s and white wines, typically is more bubbly and happy go lucky.  It looks wispier and usually smells more piney and foresty.  Indica, tends to be heavier, like a red wine or whiskey or hard alcohol, tighter and more pungent, like a skunk.  And then there are blends which can be all sorts including citrusy etc. by varying the Flavonoids, Terpenes and Terpenoids, like wines and alcohols, each unique with differing subtleties and groupies of followers with their own opinions.  Like my grandfather said, everyone is entitled to his opinion.  He was a whiskey drinker.  However, they all get you drunk and high.

 

It is medical and it helps with many things, among them, pain relief, anxiety, depression, upset stomach, loss of appetite, dizziness, nausea, Glaucoma, Cancer, PTSD, Crohn’s, the list is getting bigger.  This is THC.  And in cannabis there isn’t just one chemical compound they are looking at, there are several.  Today, they have focused also on CBD which does similar magical things.

 

Like THC, CBD (Cannabidiol) is also a chemical that is medical and has similar properties as THC and is in the flowers too.  It also works and integrates with THC, but the point is, CBD alone DOESN’T GET YOU HIGH.  This is what they use for epileptic kids or for people who don’t enjoy the high, or to cut the high (which CBD does).  There is also CBN, CBG and many other chemicals they are only learning about now and starting to examine and isolate to treat sleep disorders, depression, etc… 

 

Today’s weeds, unlike what was around in the 1960s through the last decades, are stronger.  They used to be like 1 or 3 to 8% THC.  Today you have varieties up to 30%+ THC.  You also have CBD mixes from less than 1% to up to 20% or as just CBD only (lots about it in the news as it is used to treat and/or cure seizers).  There is more than just the flowers.  The extracts: hashes, waxes, shatters etc all boast 40%+ THCs and there are special oil extracts which can get up to 70-80% THC and CBD (used as alternative off the grid treatments).  But you don’t need that much to get an effect.  There is even a trend to ‘micro-dose’.

 

 Whatever floats your boat!  Sometimes, it’s just nice to use it to relax on a sunny day, with a coffee and a good book, guitar or just with nothing.  It has a spiritual quality too and has been used by humans for this and as medicine for 1000s of years.

 

I grab a little of this, a little of that, a pinch of hiz and a pinch of herz and put it in a coffee grinder.  I mix it all up, it’s never too strong and mixing it doesn’t get you sick.  But that’s me.  I’m not the only one either!  A few seconds later I am ready.

 

It, like the pills, is a tool in the basket and helps in many ways.  I just encourage someone not to poo-poo it as it can really help you or the one you love, who is suffering and highly cancerned.  It is not for everyone, but for most, can help get you thru some rough times.  You don’t have to smoke it.  As I mentioned, today there are other ways; extracts, oils, edibles, vaporizers, topical creams, waxes, shatters, dabs, and the list goes on.  Each is a bit different so you have to learn what you like and don’t like, just like everything else, and remember, some of them don’t get you high.

 

One last series of pointers. 

 

When you eat it, start at dosages (piece of chocolate, piece of brownie, gummy bear) of like 5-10 micrograms (if you don’t know, then ASK!) and wait an hour or two before eating any more.  Some things process faster, like gummy bears vs cookies (like meat for some and milk for others, yeah you’ve smelled it when it happens), but just wait.  Can never emphasize it enough, KNOW YOUR DOSAGE.  Just like, know your limits with how many drinks you drink, how quickly and how often.

 

Same for when you smoke it or vape it.  Start with a little bit, a hit or two… meaning, a small puff or two.  You are not Godzilla and you don’t need to impress anyone by doing a 10gram dab.  It doesn’t need to burn your throat and you don’t need to hold it in, it is absorbed pretty instantly.  Then wait a few minutes and see if you want more.  You’ll know when you feel it.  Usually you start laughing like an idiot if it’s your first time or two.

 

Note, Bong hits are like a Ferrari in the red zone.  Joints are like a Porche in the yellow zone.  Vaporizers are like a 380ZX in the green.  They all work and they all help and they’re all cool.  Like everything else, you’ve got to find what works for you.

 

By the way, you can’t overdose, so if you freak out, which rarely happens but can, just go to your room and lie down.  Drink some water or orange juice or put a black pepper pill under your tongue.  Call a friend or put on some light music and ride out the storm, it is not long and you might find you’re no longer in the storm and actually starting to enjoy yourself and feel a bit groovy.

 

Just don’t drag yourself off to an emergency room, it’s not necessary.  Unless foolishly you drank a lot with it your first few times (you can drink with it, just ease into it after you’ve tried without a few times.  That’s just advanced partying and not part of this guide, maybe a future one).  Unlike alcohol, it is HIGHLY unlikely you will ever die from too much weed, ever.  Yes, panic attack and anxiety but you will just fall asleep and wake up later.  Sometimes you wake up much later!  Yes, there are groups of people, like everything else, who are ‘allergic’ to it, in other words, it doesn’t go well with their bodies, minds or souls.  If you discover this, then don’t use it.  Just like you wouldn’t eat peanuts if you had an allergy.  But you CAN be around people who do use it, unlike the peanut thing.

 

You may die from doing stupid things under the influence, but isn’t that the case for everything, even when we’re sober and walk out the door?  Remember, it is a drug, but it is NOT crack, despite what they tell you and there is no ‘permanent-high’, no matter how much we have wished for it!

 

There you have it.  As usual, I’m sure I’ve missed something but I don’t think you really need to know much more to understand what it’s about and certainly if you plan to try it – these are simply things I wish people told me. 

 

So I’m telling.

 

23

VIc

Connections

I always wondered what are all these extra keys and signs for on the keyboard itself, what is their purpose and function?  What are they trying to tell us?  I’m sure there is something behind each one, I’ll look it up one day.  Oh of course, some I know from using the language, others I don’t think anyone really every told me directly.  They’ve been there forever, since my earliest childhood, on the typewriters and original computer keyboards; probably before.  They look awkwardly foreign to me yet familiar.  Either way, they are all beautiful and serve in some way by connecting things for us or to us or with us and in us.  They speak a language of their own and assist us with ours, every moment, every day.  I think of them as letters too.  So whatever language you speak, you can now add, um… 32 new letters…

 

{}   }{   []   ][   ()   )(   /   /    ><   <>   |   ~   `   :   ;   ‘   “   –   _   +   =   *   &   ^   %   $   #   @   !   ,   .   ?

 

Count again, I used the first 5 twice in both directions.  Sweet right?  They also start looking a bit, oooOOOeeeEEEoooo, alien.  Some languages flip them for some reason too and use them at the beginning and the end, for extra emphasis.  I like that.

 

So English speakers know 26 letters plus 32 = 58 letters that we can use!  Never mind numbers, I’m NOT getting into it here or now, it is infinite.

 

What about other languages?  32 plus?  I went to look it up and stumbled upon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_writing_systems

 

Oh my!  I don’t know about how many letters in each language, but I see we’ve been trying to tell each other things for a long time in many many ways, much of it lost and forgotten.  I wonder what that could be that was lost?  Anyway, the point is, (I never did go back to see how many letters there are in different languages, but it is pretty interesting anyway and varied I’m sure, I know a few),

 

connections.  Powerful.  It is what we have between phases, people, places and things.

 

Not just with language, but even more powerfully, with people.  Many of them from work, from groups we belong to, organizations we volunteer at, walking down the street, randomly in malls, and yes, the ones we love, in our homes, and even far away from us, our closest families.

 

I think, despite everything, my family, is your standard, 21st century, comically dysfunctional (my wife doesn’t like this word, so perhaps, absurd) group of misfits just trying to get by.  With lots of emotion, drama, music and laughter, we manage to sail the seas of life together, keeping our boat afloat, the roof intact over our head, food on the table and in the refrigerator and plenty of water bottles (preferably reusable kinds) to clean and fill.

 

We try take care of each other as best we can and that is, I think, about all one can expect.  With love in our hearts.

 

It reminds me so much of something I just can’t help but think about.  That oneness.  It keeps bringing me back to the most fun holidays and activity we as humans have created in all our varied cultures, same idea, call it what you want.  Dressing up in ‘costumes’ on Halloween, Mardi Gras, Theme Parties, the Circus, The Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall, Purim…!  All over the world, some celebration, throughout our history.  It’s such an amazing thing, in offices, cafes, hospitals, airports, you’ve seen it! 

 

People dress up and project, I think, their alter egos.  I prefer it to the traditional costumes we’ve come up with in modern times like suits and ties, business casual, jeans and t-shirt, black tie, standard uniforms (which are necessary, I know).  At least, an attempt to spice them up a bit as if embracing the festivities goes a long way.  A nose, rabbit ears, blinky lighty wear around the necky something.  And, I’ve noticed, with costumes, everyone is a bit happier.

 

I understand cosplay.  Why not dress up all the time?  How fun that could be.  To wear our costumes on the outside more of the times than we do.  To bear our souls a bit more with each other.  Open ourselves up more.  It’s not such a stretch.  It’s certainly an easier ‘ice breaker’.  Just something I think about often enough.  Especially when it is the holidays and I see so much happiness.

 

I have two costumes that I like to wear, one of which I stopped wearing, for now.  A simple big black full body, from head to ankle, one piece outfit of the Grim Reaper, with a hood.  Face painted white, a little blood maybe and black lips and a sickle cane that has a sword inside.  Black Boots.  Black side pouch that wasn’t easily visible.  Black gloves.  I scared the living shit out of too many people.  Given my situation, my friends quietly suggested, perhaps outfit number two was more appropriate.

 

Outfit number two is my Mardi Gras clown outfit that I wore on a float for the truck parade the day after Fat Tuesday in 2008.  It’s a HUGE party.  It was an amazing event.  I kept the outfit.  Purple satin pants and jacket, bowtie and cummerbund undershirt to match.  A jester three color red blue and yellow floppy hat (that was my improvisation of extra awesome).  3 Sets of specific colorful and excellent Mardi Gras beads.  Same Black Boots.  Different small bag that blends in.  White gloves.  Doesn’t scare the living shit out of people.  Embraces my personality and the festivities.  I am the jester.

 

So we are all connected.  We are all connections.  We are all part of a comically dysfunctional absurd group of misfits just trying to get by on our little planet

 

together.

 

 

24

25

VIIa

MeSteven

I was born in 1969 on June 16th in Johannesburg, South Africa, the youngest of four boys; ‘the Stern Gang’ as some family members called us.  Raymond, Bryan, Michael and me, Steven.  I am proud to say we ate a lot and caused a general ruckus.  We were typically very good to each other and have remained so throughout our lives with much love between us and our respective families.

 

A couple of years later, in 1972, the family packed up and moved to Israel.  In preschool, I met my future wife and soulmate, Dana.

 

From Israel, my family moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the winter of 1975 – “Stranger in a strange land”.  My first real snow.  I attended Elementary School and the very beginning of Middle School.

 

We moved during the first few months of 6th grade in 1981 to Great Neck, New York.  I lived on Long Island until graduating from high school and setting off for college.

 

In the fall of 1987, I went to SUNY Albany for my undergraduate degree, for 4 years.  I went to work as a national representative for my college fraternity for the next two years, visiting Universities all over North America.

 

Subsequent to this, I decided to do my MBA at Tulane in 1993 dragging Dana to America soon after.  We were married in city court, New Orleans in 1995.

 

Our first daughter, Mika, was born in 1999.  Our second, Zoe in 2001 after a recent move to Reston, Virginia.  We lived in Kansas City a few years after and then moved back to Reston during those 5 years leading up to our 2006 move to Israel.

 

Yes, I often feel like an atom, happily bouncing its way around the universe.

 

 

26

VIIb

My Dana

From the movie, A Beautiful Mind.

 

“Nash:  What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you.

 

[looking at and speaking to Alicia]

 

Nash: You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons. Thank you.”

 

 

Born in Uganda in 1970, she is the youngest of three children, having an older brother and sister. 

 

At the time, Idi Amin had many Israeli engineers assisting with his infrastructural development of Uganda, among them my father in law, a civil engineer.  As I understand, somewhere around 1972 after coming back from a visit to Libya, a few weeks later, Mr. Amin ‘decided’ to kick them all out in a 72 hour frenzied rampage – every Israeli (and Indian) working there left for home.

 

Apparently my mother in law had watched Idi on TV upon his return and noticed obvious change in his comments and attitude.  She decided it was time to buy plane tickets and did – if you listen carefully, you can sense when you’re not welcome anymore.  A couple weeks before the 72 hour declaration they were back home safely.

 

It’s about the same time that my family arrived from South Africa.

 

She and I met in nursery school in 1973.  That’s over 40 years ago.  Our families have known each other even earlier back in South Africa as my mom and her aunt (who lives downstairs today) grew up together there and were childhood friends.

 

Small world.  That’s another 40+ year history on top of everything.

 

Time is truly relative.  Things are connected.

 

She is my oldest friend.  She tolerates me (more often than not).  She is my rock.  She is my partner.  She is the one who I argue with the most.  She is the one with whom I settle most arguments.  Together we communicate, and learn over and over and over.  She is the mother of myKidz.  She is the one who drives me crazy.  She is the one who calms me down.  She is the one I love most, and in the end, she is myDana, my friend.  (She also kicks my ass in all card and board games, always).

 

As I told her many years ago, “nothing in the world compares with sweet pea”.  I believe she is a beautiful and remarkable person with an intense desire to do good things and a passion for life which keeps her moving, dancing.  She is also, an amazing speech therapist and English teacher.  Always has been.

 

Picture the silhouette of two kids, watching the sunset, holding hands and standing overlooking a beach from a grassy hilltop on a warm summer afternoon.

 

That’s us.  I appreciate her.  I believe she appreciates me.  I’m super lucky.

 

“…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…”

27

VIIc

MyKidz

In every iteration of life, I believe, we need to find a happiness with what we’re given.  I know, idealistic, but it’s a good target.  In this one, I am lucky to be the father and parent of two wonderful and sweet daughters – Mika and Zoe.

 

This is no easy task I must admit, but something from which I have grown and believe I do well enough.  I hope they will agree, perhaps in time. Rest assured they know I love them to the moon, back and beyond, infinitely.

 

I have two daughters and no sons.  I was a brother of 4, there is a difference in my comprehension level and learning curve in dealing with this, them.  As one of my friends once put it so eloquently, “I have a son, I only have to worry about one penis. You, you have a daughter, you need to worry about ALL of them.”  The only appropriate response to this is, “Yes, butwhat if your son is gay?”

 

It really doesn’t matter to me, I want my kids to be who they are, loved, comfortable with themselves, happy and hopefully pushy enough not to let schmucks in our, or any other race, walk all over them.

 

I am blessed with them, privileged to be their father and proud of who they are and what they’re going to become! I have had the chance to live, to give life, love and comfort (or any combination of them) to another person multiple times.  I know that what we get back is exponential.  I thank them for letting me be their Dida.

 

Ok kids, let’s talk about “Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll”!

 

Every parent owes it to his or her child(ren) to have this ongoing, all inclusive, about life discussion(s) starting from their birth.  Now I’m not suggesting that one needs to dive right into all the details and advanced topics, of which there are MANY.  But as a matter of survival in this universe, we owe it to our children to provide them with all the tools available in order to make it through each day – a bit more gracefully while making it to the next one.

 

This communication is critical, fun and something I wouldn’t want to miss out on with my children, ever.  It builds trust, love and has made all the difference while they have been growing up and exploring this universe; a never-ending quest we all take until that day.

 

Rule #1 – Pay attention to the world around you, you’ll live longer.

 

Yes, universes and galaxies do collide, and when this happens you don’t want to be anywhere near them for many light years.  All bets are off for a few dozens of million years after, at least for us humans.  And in our day to day lives, it is no different, as awful, destructive and violent things go on all around us – each and every moment.  This is balanced with magical and beautiful things too, of course.

 

As humans we are always attempting to do the improbable, to me, nothing is impossible.  But, in the infinite wisdom and humor of our universe, things usually turn out as unplanned.  You’d better learn to improvise, quickly.

 

So as we go about our business, it’s highly important to be aware of our surroundings, at all times.  We never know what unexpected nugget of randomness is coming our way, of which some of them we can dodge upfront if we’re attentive enough.

 

Rule #2 – Red light stop, Green light go, and if it’s Yellow, you go real slow(ly).

 

A pretty intuitive song I once sang with my girls.  They can sing it for us one day if we ask nicely.  Always remember to bring food, always.

 

Rule #3 …

 

 

28

29

VIIIa

SlowlySlowly

 

30

VIIIb

Scars

 

31

VIIIc

TheRide

Lying in the inpatient ward while waiting for them to take me for an X-ray after my lung draining, I came to the conclusion that life can suck. Got some great things going on too! Right now, it sucks. I fell asleep at like 8 in the evening waiting for them to take me for the post procedure X-ray checky thing. Dinner had come, been eaten and was sitting there inside me. The check was supposed to be at 5pm but things were backed up, like my colon, so I had to wait. That’s what patients do much of the time. My roommate finally turned off his music and fell asleep which allowed me to finally fall asleep after a long day.

 

I prefer darkness and quiet when I go to bed instead of a television or tablet that is on all the time.  I’m not saying don’t use them, just turn it off when you want to fall asleep.  This is after maybe reading a book, or checking something on the internet using a tablet or my phone (which isn’t often and highly discouraged – I noticed it fxxxs up your eyes, I see these things, I have tumors remember, I get pretty amazing afterglows, flashes, outlines and insight into what’s going on).

 

But I just need that quiet and lack of things flashing in my eyelids while I’m trying to doze off into lala land.  When I get into bed, for me, that’s the time.  I don’t read or anything, I lie back and want to go to sleep, or I’d be up out of bed doing that thing.  Other’s want or need the noise, distraction, entertainment or whatever it is that somehow helps them fall asleep.  I don’t know if they’re actually getting to lala land.  I wonder?  Anyway, I usually get up and go turn off whatever it is that has been left on and/or good earplugs and a mask can help, which I hate using but, it’s easier that way for me.  Less resistance.

 

In a ward, much goes on.  Many people coming in and out with all their family and friends visiting, cancerned, running around trying to make sure everything is moving for-ward, not back-ward, up-ward or down-ward and certainly on-ward.  And so it goes, that when you check in, you may be the first or second, sometimes the third in the room and you have no idea what you’re going to get.  In all fairness, those already checked in don’t either as you walk in the door.  It could be their cousin Freddy.  You are now forced to cohabitate with someone, and their families, whom you don’t know, on a level you really don’t desire in a space probably much more constrained than what you come from, if you are lucky.

 

Sometimes they’re there for hours and sometimes for days.  So are you, so you don’t really ever know.  They may be sicker, less sick, but in this ward, Oncology, everyone has cancer of one kind or another.  So you get what you get and try not to get too upset.  I have found that almost everyone is as gentle as they can be given the circumstances and usually pulls together, like some little team.  Even in rougher cultures.  The hospital is a melting pot and microcosm of the extreme and I believe, at least one junction in our universe, which breaks down almost every racist barrier ever invented.  It forces us to continue to learn to work together, despite the challenges and difficulties and personal discomforts.  We can only try.  Yes, we all explode once in a while, but hopefully those same people are there to help then too.  Most of the time, I find they definitely try to.

 

The nurse gently wakes me at around 1.30am.  stiven… stiven… Stiven… slicha’she hearti otcha, aval…

 

Oh, sorry.  steven… steven… Steven… sorry that I’m waking you, but they’re here to take you for your X-ray.  I realized slowly where I was and that my feet were hanging off the end of the bed, it’s always too short as I’m pretty tall, and my sox were missing.  Where is my floppy hat?  I said, “Ok, let me just get my things together and find my shoes, sox, hat and bag.”  She was very nice and helped me find things quickly.

 

Just outside the room was another bed for me to lie down in with a chair like pushy thingy behind it with someone standing next to it.  In my hospital, these helpers wear a blue vest over their shirt or whatever.  This marks their purpose and function here.  Not at home, not outside these walls, but here, helping me, providing himself some meaning and some income.  I instantly felt like he was my friend.  So into the bed I got, with my things.

 

My bag.  My backpack.  It is precious to me.  When I don’t take it everywhere I go, I ALWAYS regret it.  People try convince me I don’t need it.  But they’re wrong.  I will not leave it behind anymore, unless being dragged while kicking and scratching.  I am also very particular about my backpack(s).  Yes, I have a few, each serving a slightly different purpose.  The size, look, the feel, good zippers, useful zippers, the compartments, cushioning, the straps, does it have outside pockets for my water bottle, etc. etc.  I’ll explain briefly why it is so important for me, especially now, as always.  You see, my backpack has all the things I think I’ve learned that I need at any given moment to try take care of myself when shit happens.  It’s about the best any of us can do.  Everyone who has ever been with me has benefited from my backpack.  Seems to me, shit is always happening.

 

I was told you all probably wouldn’t be interested to know what I carry around.  I disagree and I think you might, so I’m going to tell you anyway.  The contents also change over time, as my needs change too.  Like I used to carry glowy lightsticks and pieces of rope for my kids, nieces and nephews to play with when we went on trips together.  Along with my knife, for me.  I taught my kids how to whittle a stick and make a memory piece, arrow, whatever, nicely carved, removing the bark.  You don’t take the piece you want from the tree.  Not in this case.  If it was a fruit, that’s different.  The tree leaves plenty of nice sticks and wooden things lying around for us, well dried, sometimes not but like a diamond in the rough, ready to be worked into something beautiful, magical and pretty much very long lasting.  Go walk around and pick and choose a few.

 

Here is mainly what rotates thru my backpack and is usually in there at any given moment (my immediate family knows and doesn’t even need to ask when they are looking for something useful that they need, they know it’s in there):

 

My bottle of water, a few granola bars or some type of healthy-ish snack, keys, wallet, laptop, charger (in its own ziplock), phone, charger (in its own ziplock), toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, sunhat, nice pen#1, tiny flashlight, small writing notebook, some loose change (usually the equivalent of like 10$), a nice guitar pick, an eye mask from an airplane trip, earplugs#1, glasses case with whatever glasses I’m not wearing or using inside, headphones, lipbalm#1 for my lips – easy to get to, improvised vomit bag, eyeglass repair kit, small towel, extra underwear, sox and t-shirt, floppy hat, light gloves, light scarf, light jacket shelly thingy that is rainy proof, light hooded sweatshirt, small umbrella, weed kit (business class bag from airplane containing: handheld vaporizer, usb charger, qtips for cleaning, small antibiotics container from when I was in San Diego had pneumonia and watched my mom die – with ground mix ready to use, rolling paper, lighter, small container with half used CBD only joint, extra container for unused joint I may roll), health kit (another business class bag containing: arnica cream, calendula cream, 3 regular band aids, small hand sanitizer, small pack flushable baby wipes, small pack of tissues, white light facemask that you see people wearing in the streets in some cities around the world, 2 types of inhalants for breathing, my pill kit (3 advils, 1 probiotic, 1 antibiotic (for my jaw), 8 morning and night dosage cancer pills (for now), antianxiety pill, sleeping pill), lipbalm#2, earplugs#2, breath mints, nice pen#2, ziplock with some gauze pads, like ~ band aids, 5 rubber bands and a bottle of iodine) and all the papers I require for whatever I’m doing that day or so (CT, MRI, EYE Ultrasound, files for the Dr I’m meeting, tax work, medical weed license for pickup (yay!), paperwork for insurance, accountants, bills to pay…).

 

I think that’s about it, probably missing something like usual, but pretty comprehensive!  Yep, I’m meticulous about it, you’ve got to give me that.  So I grab my backpack and head over to the bed for a ride with my friendly.  He smiles and after helping me get into the bed, settled and comfortable, goes to the back and starts to drive me out of the Oncology department.  We leave the hallway where my room is and head towards the main elevator.

 

He doesn’t say much to me but is chatting once in a while with I guess other drivers or helpers or friendlies to make sure things are moving along or just with his buddies to see what’s going on.   As we leave and head into the main hallway, I hear the whirring of the pushy thingy and the bed wheels.  At this time of the night, everything is very quiet.  I can’t tell if the lights are dimmed or just as bright as usual, but they’re on, seems like no one is home.  It’s very odd.  I think this is where twilight zones meet, not just one.  I feel the wind in my face as we fly down the corridor, passing the imaging department.  Hey! I do my CTs and brain scans there!  We continue down and turn past where my brain doctor sits, and there’s the cafeteria that sells those raw juices, I kind of like them, a good fruit juice once in a while.  My eye doctors are down that other hallway but we are now going thru a little back area I assume is only known by these helpers.  Suddenly we come out and around the corner there are people and lights and action.

 

We’ve arrived at the Emergency ward.  When the hospital’s day time operations are closed, when it’s the weekend, when it’s the holiday, when it’s pretty much the end of the world, the Emergency ward continues doing everything, including my X-ray.  So my friend pulls up near the right desk and parks.  Points at me, the bed, his chair and himself and walks off.  I get it.  When I’m done, he will be back for me.

 

As I approach the desk, there is some guy walking by in handcuffs, laughing, with a few police escorting him, who are laughing too.  They all smile at me and continue along their way.  I wish I had the chance to just ask them what that story was all about.  I will never know, but you can imagine that I’ve let my mind walk in a few directions with that one since then.  But they were laughing.  That is what has stuck in my mind ever since.  Police and ‘thieves’, laughing, together and going about their business, in harmony.

 

Sadly, people even steal in hospitals from the sick and the staff.  Well, I suppose if there are people who will swindle the elderly, retired or really, anyone for that matter, out of their fortunes, savings, lifelines, souls and spirits, then I guess you can expect that some people will take advantage of those stuck inside a hospital.  Patients are told to be aware of their things.  We all should, it’s a risk we take with the job and begin human.  It’s a risk we take nowadays when we leave our homes and sometimes, even when we’re in them.

 

The X-ray being over, I go to the appropriate spot, get in the bed and somehow my friendly is there smiling and away we go.  Passing the people, heading thru a ‘wormhole’ as I call shortcuts sometimes and back into the main corridors, flying thru the empty hallways leading to various places, observing the relaxing lights and feeling the cool wind blowing in my face.  I’m wondering where I’m going, because it seems like I’m caught between places, where time is almost rarely just lingering, leading to or through a station of some sort?  We are going back to Oncology, right?

 

It reminded me of something that I just couldn’t remember but has been on the tip of my tongue since I was a child.  Since I lost that raw innocence, of which we all need to get a little bit back.  Then it dawned on me, it was like my bed when I went to sleep at night.

 

 

32

33

IX

TrainToLalaLand

We don’t really know where the next station leads to, do we?  No one has the magical board that is definitive with all the answers.  If they do, I don’t think they’re really sharing all the information.  Maybe we don’t want to know, maybe we don’t need to know and maybe there is no way to know.

 

When I was a child, I remember now;

 

Every night, when I went to bed and fell asleep, my bed would take off.  It was like Aladdin’s carpet or maybe Peter Pan or a bit of this and a bit of that?  But this is before I even knew about that stuff.  Something.  It was real.  I swear it.  Off I’d go with my bedmates (assorted kids things and nick knack’s) on to explore wild places and to have fun new adventures.  If I read a story that day, I’m pretty sure I was visiting some of the places at night or at some point.  There’s a huge backlog!

 

So many people, so many places, so many thoughts, so many religions, so many colors, flavors and varieties.  That is what makes us US, the human race. 

 

Maybe, all of these ‘differences’ which we seem to notice so greatly, are just all pieces of a bigger puzzle which we don’t see, but they fit.  Isn’t that what faith is supposed to be all about?  Can’t we have faith in ourselves and put our heads together to figure this out?  Make it even better?  One by one, person to person, house to house, neighborhood by neighborhood, city to city, county to county, state by state, region by region, country by country, planet by planet between races and intelligent life forms and creatures.  I think we ARE smart enough and ARE open enough to do it.  I know we just haven’t really tried as hard as we can.  It’s obvious or we’d be there.  Well, it’s just one of my little wishes at least.

 

So here I am, wind blowing in my hair with that same childhood nervous excitement (which never really went away), wondering if the next stop is back to that familiar place or somewhere else that I wanted to go to or to where I’ve never been before.  It doesn’t really matter I guess.  I’ve come to that conclusion.  Always working on my next thing and other things to fix and make right.  My friendly is with me, the ride is pleasant and I have my backpack.  I’m ready for that next adventure.  Things are good!  I hope they are with you too.

 

Once upon a time, in a land, far, far away…

 

END

//homosapiens  REBOOTMASTER  1,reboot,MSGCLASS=1

 

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35

X

Epilogue

Death, a difficult topic for sure, but I guess it’s something we all eventually think about.  Every human civilization has pondered this and come up with a diverse and fascinating myriad of possibilities and permutations on the subject.  Interestingly, people have asked me what I think happens when we die, certainly more since before my little problem.

 

That’s one of the deepest questions I believe driving humanity apart along with, who are we really?  I really really don’t know, and believe me, I’ve given it some hard thought.

 

I don’t know if anyone really knows.  Many people say they know, and think they know, but always seems to me that hardcore evidence is lacking, and we fall back on what we’ve grown to believe, or would like to believe, with a lot of faith.

 

I’d like to believe one idea (there are many I have as you probably figured out by now) that comes to my mind:

 

We are all part of a huge infinite canvas and painting we can call the universe; perhaps with multiple embedded and phased twists and turns which we can’t see and wouldn’t even guess exist.  In this way we are all connected, every one of us, even those we don’t know, or like, more than we can even imagine, particles thinly spread, intertwined and mixed together.

 

And this is so, everywhere, especially at the outer edges of infinity where matter and antimatter collide with tremendous forces that we can’t begin to comprehend, destroying things that exist and ushering in creation.

 

Yet it is subtle in our minds, on the tips of our tongues, this faint recollection, forgotten almost as quickly as it appears, that we are all part of something bigger.

 

We all know we’re going to die.  We don’t typically know from what, and even more so, when.

 

Until proven otherwise, I believe Death comes after everyone, equally.  Doesn’t care about statistics or your age, your race, your financial status, mental stability, physical condition, location, connections, car, shoe brand.  I am not unique, we have all seen and experienced some variation of this in our lives (or will).

 

Sadly, as I mentioned, two of my brothers and my mother passed away at earlier points in our lives.  My brother Michael at 36, my Mom, Maureen, at 71 and my brother Bryan at 50.  A weird heart thing, cancer thing and another cancer thing.

 

Whatever the case may be, for me it is simple: It is always too soon when you lose those you love and care about or those who have in some way entered our hearts and caressed our souls – the reason doesn’t really matter, albeit some being more tragic than others.

 

It is painful, it is sad, it hurts and it doesn’t seem right along with so many emotions and feelings all jumbled so that it often makes no sense.  Yet their presence and passing is to be celebrated, mourned and in that, remembered.  We all know this and have felt it (or will).

 

So what happens?

 

I believe we might just continue to spread back to where we came from, into this beautiful complex and insanely incomprehensible ever growing canvas, particles, remaining as connected as we have always been to this universe and to each other – with our loved ones and friends, as they are with us.

 

Yet it is subtle in our minds, on the tips of our tongues, this faint recollection, forgotten almost as quickly as it appears, that we are all eternally a part of something bigger.

 

We are still together.

 

Infinite and Eternal Love.

 

-sms-

36

XI

Video Presentation at Shenkar School of Engineering

37

38
Artwork from the book - Cancerned? You Should Be. :-) ;-) X-( by Steven Max Stern - Ourboox.com

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