Friday, March 16, 2012

Mumps? Seriously? Shouldn't I be exempt from that type of stuff after cancer?

First my doctor thought I had pneumonia. Just recently, she figured I had the mumps.
I had cancer. Shouldn't I be exempt from certain things now? Shouldn't I get a little, lamented card that allows me to bypass random stuff?
It's goofy.
No matter.
Sorry I haven't written in awhile. I have been doing well, working 40 hours a week, getting into a good fitness routine (the UBC thing didn't work out...a gym two blocks away from home is a better fit) and even throwing a little bit with my good friend Carla McAloney as we prep for the upcoming Headliner slopitch season. Scott Rintoul, our centre fielder, and Bif Naked, our catcher/infielder/outfielder/trash talker, would be so proud. (SHAMELESS NAME DROP TIMES TWO.)
Then my jaw swelled up two Wednesdays ago. Puffed up huge. Couldn't see my left ear looking at me straight on. Good thing my modelling career is long over.
I have to admit I was more than a little freaked, considering that we were told at the time of the Solitary Plasmacytoma diagnosis in my T-2 vertebrae in October, 2010, that there was anywhere between a 30 per cent and 70 per cent chance of recurrence. Stuff starts swelling up, cancer seems like a plausible answer.
We checked with the dentist first, though, hoping it was a tooth. It wasn't. He sent us directly to Richmond Emergency, which, of course, sent me into freaking out overdrive. Poor Carol-Ann. I wonder if she hasn't gone looking for the receipt on our marriage certification, hoping for a return policy.
At the hospital, a cheery fourth-year med student handled us at first, and then came back with a doctor.
They were wearing face shields and masks.
Good news? This doesn't present like cancer. Bad news? We think it presents like the mumps.
I'm over 40. The mumps? What next? Will my voice change again? (I'd like something with a Southern Drawl if someone somewhere is taking orders.)
Long story short (I know...too late), the mumps tests came back negative and our rock star GP, Dr. Jennifer Rogerson, reckons that I had some sort of virus acting some sort of gland. (Once she said, too, that it didn't present like cancer I stopped paying complete attention. Carol-Ann is on it. It's all good.)
The worst part, it's laid me up for the last 10 days or so. Back when she thought I might have had pneumonia (I didn't, by the way), I was still able to get my rehab work done. I was working out regularly. This thing has kicked my butt for about 10 days. I wasn't able to get my stories for the Province (shameless plug for my employer) completed, but little else. I'm just finally starting to feel like myself again. I got my first workout in over this stretch, albeit a lazy one at the pool, this morning.
Dr. Rogerson says that my immune system is only slightly compromised because of the radiation treatment and all the garbage they dumped into me during the eight back surgeries, but I really felt like I used to brush this stuff off before.
We'll see.
To quote my good friend Bif Naked (SHAMELESS NAME DROP PART DEUX), it's "always interesting."

BTW Here's my little speech from Interesting Vancouver.


  1. Murphy - of Murphy's Law - has definitely overstayed his welcome at your house. Time to kick him out!

    Olio By Marilyn

  2. While something like the Mumps ain't good to tussle with on a good day, you're probably one of the few out there that would see the positive in re-enacting the movie "Outbreak" with the masks & shields as a good thing.

    Glad to hear that it wasn't anything too serious & hoping you're back to ball playing shape in no time flat. The Headliners need you! When Dixon is looking to drag me out to fill in, you now there's trouble... ;)

  3. Steve E,

    Good work, buddy! I'm glad to read another blog entry (at last). I think it's fitting you got back to the blog on the same weekend the Terry Fox Ravens won another basketball title. I got a giant hit of nostalgia reading about the Fox win. You taught me a boatload back during the early days of Fox floor success. That was fun stuff, especially because we were in safe territory, nowhere near the life challenges of today. Gaining perspective can be painful. However, you've always been great at bringing dignity to tough stories. Early in 2012, my family learned my niece was diagnosed with cancer. She's had a successful surgery, and she's had a very encouraging post-op pathology report. She, too, turned to blogging as a way to express what she is going through. In battling your illnesses, I've now learned many things from both of you. And I'm the older one, for crying out loud. Oh, well. Keep up the great attitude and effort. My best to you and Carol-Ann...


  4. Steve, thanks for sharing your story. I admire your courage and resilience. It's a true inspiration to others, including myself, who suffer from a chronic disease. I wish you and your family all the best in your continuing recovery.

    (I don't know if you remember me. I job-shadowed you for a day in 2002. You were covering a swimming competition at UBC and then you invited me to a softball game at Nat Bailey Stadium. Thank you for a memorable day. You inspired me to continue writing when I got to university).

  5. Hi Steve
    I linked to your blog through the story about the Canucks today. Your blog touched me and moved me. So honest and real about everything. I think it's a gift to others to speak so openly about what scares you and the process you're going through.
    You are brave and your words and deeds are generous and I am betting on you to get through this.