Monday, December 14, 2009

Head games

I'm getting the feeling that cancer has gotten into the cockpit of my brain and is messing with my control panel —spinning dials, flipping levers and punching buttons, just to create mischief.

A few friends mentioned recently that my left eye is blinking at a different rate than my right eye. Well, while replacing the bandages on my chin Monday morning, I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror and realized that the left eye does not blink at all.

In fact, unless I shut my left eyelid with my fingers —you know, the way priests and doctors do in the movies when they realize that someone is dead— I can't close my left eye at all. This is really creepy, gang. No wonder I have trouble sleeping.

And it explains another weird symptom I've noticed over the past few weeks: every so often, my left eye has been tearing up. I figured I was just becoming a big crybaby but now I'm thinking that cancer is just playing with the knobs in my brain that control my left eye.

It's not only my eye that is acting up: I'm also essentially deaf in the left ear now. That side of my face has been growing gradually numb, and now it has knocked out half of my hearing ability.

Yet another symptom is probably not cancer's doing but a side effect of the Erbitux treatment that I began three weeks ago. At nighttime, my facial skin gets slightly greasy, and I feel slight bumps along the sides of my nose. This must be the onset of the rash that Dr. B2 told me that I can expect as a result of my new treatment.

All of these things have been happening at a brisk pace, which makes me dread what new surprises may be lurking around the corner.

Christmas is in about 10 days, and family members from three states will be coming to Los Angeles to celebrate. I've got just one item on my list for Santa Claus: Don't let cancer get in the way of me having a good time with my family on Christmas.

It's a lot to ask, but not too much to hope for.


  1. Keep your chin up, Paul. You have been a strong and positive person since I met you in Miss Timrot's Critical Thinking Class. And you have always had a stronger core than your cheerful smile projected. I have been reading your blog and Mr. Keortge would be proud of your writing style and punctuation. Have a wonderful holiday with your family. I know it will be filled with love and joy that you and your family will treasure.
    From one of your friends from Park View, Diane Denson

  2. Nothing is going to get in the way of all of us having a good time for Christmas. It is times like this where the family needs to be together. I am glad that Dad is coming and Steve will be driving up from San Diego. My list for Santa is also very short ... and that is for you to beat this thing and ride in the AIDS/Life Cycle ride in the future.

    Love you

    Mike (the brother)

    See you in 10 days.

  3. Dearest Paul,

    Been reading your blog with a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach. You are a lot stronger than you think. Hang in there, mate.

    Have a merry christmas no matter what! I can see that you have a lot of support from friends and family. Really glad for that.


  4. Hi" Gus",
    Will not be much longer and we will be able to spend the Holidays together with other Family Members. You can bet that nothing will get in the way of enjoying ourselves and having a great Holiday. With all you have been through favorable things are about to turn around for you
    You have demonstrated more courage and strength than anyone that I have known.
    Love You,


  5. Our Santa wish list is the same as yours,and we will have a great time together. Rudolph's nose blinks, so your left eye can do what ever it wants. Love you, Aunt Mary Anne

  6. Sooo ... if your left eye stays open and your right one closes, how will I know if you are sleeping or just "winking" at someone!

    Love ya

    Mike (the brother)

  7. Hoping you get through the holidays well.