Tales of Pink-Eye and Cancer

My this has been one hell of a week.

It began on Monday where I made an eye appointment because my eyes were red, itching, and would not stop crying. I was certain when I made the appointment with the optometrist that it was probably pink-eye. The doctor however looked at my eyes and deemed it allergies. I was skeptical because I have had allergies my whole life and never had I experienced JUST a reaction in my eyes, but as he was the “professional” I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

The following day, Tuesday, I finally had scheduled a CT scan that I had kept putting off because I had no time to do it. My work schedule has been (and is) hectic, so I never had the time but I figured that since I was so panicked about the blood in my underwear (coming from somewhere it should not ever if you’re a dude) I should make the appointment and follow through.

I went for my exam and during the procedure while they were injecting the dye into my vein it collapsed and instead of coursing through my body, probably, about half of it went into my right bicep. So for a couple days I had a bulging arm, much like popeye. After the procedure I felt silly going because I hadn’t had any further symptoms from the initial shock (aka blood.)

By Wednesday, the “allergies” only got worse and so I made a very quick follow up appointment. While rushing to that I get a call from my doctor. They had gotten back the results of my CT scan and it showed that my spleen and my prostate were enlarged and I was being referred out to a urologist for further examination.

After that lovely phone call, the optometrist (now a plucky, quirky young woman) told me I did in fact have viral pink-eye, the super contagious kind. This was after touching my eye with her bare hands (Smart) and swabbing my eyes with a giant q-tip. The cotton swab must have been just for fun because she did nothing with it and never mentioned it was being sent anywhere for testing. Her answer for my diagnosis was “good luck” and a referral to another optometrist.

Later that same day I got a call from the Comprehensive Blood and CANCER Center. They were following up because I was referred to them by my general practitioner (GP). They needed info to get the ball rolling, one piece of which was my blood work I had done the week prior.

The following day they called again to schedule a consultation for November where I (imagine) will be told I have prostate cancer.

To be fair, I don’t know this to be my prognosis. I am making a giant assumption but all the signs point to that and just like my certainty of having pink-eye I am certain that this is the case.

A few things come to mind, one of which (if there is one) god has a sense of humor. Prostate cancer is slow but trying to cure can result in sexual complications. I won’t die from this cancer, it will just kill any semblance of ever having sex again without the aid of a pump (hard pass).

I found out about a year ago that my uncle had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and instead of doing anything about it he let it sit and it has now spread to his bones. At the time I didn’t understand how one could do that. “It’s such an easy fix.” Sitting in the same position I can see where one would refuse to do anything, as that is the road I will most likely take.

The boyfriend, upon hearing my decision, was quiet. He didn’t really have any response. The husband however was annoyed and told me that my decision was bull shit and I was going to do whatever it took. While I respect his opinion more than likely I won’t be doing anything. What worth do I have if I can’t have sex? I know that’s such a petty thing to think but the psychology behind never having another erection is staggering. I remember a statistic about the army spending thousands on viagra, and I get it. For a very brief time I couldn’t get an erection and maintain it and it is a huge mind fuck for one to endure. (At least it was for me.)

As of right now, this is all just theory. I don’t have solid facts to determine anything or if what I assume to be reality is in fact true. The most comforting thing I do have is that I have two men who have repeatedly told me that they will be there for me and that is what’s getting me through, between my sudden outburst of tears (though those could just be from the pink-eye.)

All of our pictures are the same, just the shades are different.

More than anything I want to write a blog post about race. But I feel as a pampered white boy I could never ever do it justice. It only comes through experience and sharing your own story and, even as an openly gay man, I haven’t experienced discrimination.

One time I had a good friend of mine make an off-hand comment that I had the minority corner down in regards to my column at the college newspaper and it honestly took me by surprise. I never once considered myself a minority or that I was giving anyone any kind of voice, except my own. And while I may be gay, my minority status can be hidden from view. If I code-switch and butch it up (which I do do around straight guys, it’s weird to behold) I can pass as a white male. But what is it like when you can never escape your diversity? Not saying anyone should.

The topic is more prevalent in my mind because this weekend I went and saw “Crazy Rich Asians.” I loved it, so much so I went and bought the book so I could continue with the story, just in case Hollywood deemed the other two novels not “financially worth it” to make. Seeing people of color run a movie made me happy. It made all the rhetoric and racist bullshit that seems so prevalent now, disappear. It painted for me a picture of a world where everyone has a seat at the table. We’re richer because of it. It reminded me of the joy I felt when Obama was still in office and Hamilton was exploding across mainstream culture. I felt hopeful. But, once douche-mcgee came into office and brought out the WORST in people it just seems so abysmal.

At times I get why white people would have voted for Trump. The thing about power is one is always afraid to lose it. They will do whatever it takes to keep it. And I think white people have maintained a majority for far too long. Time is up. And it is that which terrifies them.

People joke or poo-poo white guilt but it is real and they should absolutely feel it. A good majority of white people have been absolute monsters to anyone who didn’t look or sound like them. (I use “white people” as a blanket term about white Christian men/women in the most mundane sense.) So that guilt they feel bubbling inside is their humanity telling them to take a good hard look at yourself and your fellow man. And there are two ways to react and I feel that the road most chosen is to say: there is no such thing as guilt and vehemently deny that because of their race they haven’t been handed anything in life. “My life has been just as hard!” No it hasn’t, Becky. So stop acting like it has.

I think the reason white people are scared of losing the majority is because they fear that they will be treated how they treated others. And they should be.

I fear writing this because of how it will come across. I am no expert, I have no authority. I’m also worried it will actually sound racist when I’m trying to be optimistic and say I want equality at every level. Diving into other cultures is scary and exciting all at once. I think the appropriate word here should be: exhilarating.

The thing that made me the most happy from my little jaunt to the cinema (besides being seated between my handsome husband and my beautiful boyfriend) was the string of trailers prior to the film. Every one of them was starring a person of color. And for very brief moment I was hopeful that all of this bullshit will pass and we will continue to progress as a society together.

A Bookmark of Life and Loss

When I first met the man that I would refer to as my “bear cub” I hated him. I thought he was a narcissistic douche bag that I did not find the least bit funny. He thought he was hilarious. He came into my high school theater class making off-color jokes and being generally obnoxious just as I was getting out of it, and I would not see him again until we participated in a show down in LA called “You Make Me Physically Ill.”

For whatever reason when we reconnected, I fell in love with Jacob in a very non-sexual way. I felt this intense need to protect him and would defend him with my life if it came to that. I jokingly told him that my husband and I were going to adopt him, even though he’s only a couple years younger than me. (We have a habit of taking in strays.) Because I felt like a mama grizzly whenever anything pertained to him I would henceforth refer to him as my “bear cub.”

Yesterday I found out that he took his own life. The moment I got the text my eye caught sight of just his name and I already knew. If there was anyone who would commit suicide it would be Jacob. He dealt with the darkest of demons that I could not fathom what it must have been like to reside in his head. I think that’s why I found this need to protect and care for him. He, in many ways, reminded me of my father.

Now I walk the path every person who has lost someone to suicide travels: I am thinking of how I let him down and how I could have done more to keep this from happening. I feel shame in that I never spoke much with him after he moved to a different state, even though I did think about him often. Most recently he’s been in my thoughts because the upcoming Pokemon game is a remake of yellow and that was his favorite of the games; because you could get all three starters. I meant to reach out but I didn’t. I don’t know what stopped me. And I don’t even know that if I had, if that would have made any kind of difference. The thing about mental illness is that it is unpredictable and the best of intentions can sometimes be fruitless. Yet, we still have to try.

I can’t lend any new perspective or advice to the situation. In the end, it is what it is and nothing can be undone.

I will miss him.

A brief snapshot

Social media is something that simultaneously astounds and appalls me. At times it brings out the lowest common denominator in some, and yet for others it coaxes out a true humanity and the love we all have inside of us.

There is a gentleman I follow on Instagram whom I have never met nor have ever conversed. It has become apparent with his recent posts that he is going through a breakup. At first it was all subtext (a lot of selfies and cheeky butt shots) or the sporadic vague post about “going through stuff.” He finally disclosed his and his husbands break-up in his Instagram story and my heart broke for him. I have watched with interest as this stranger shared his life through photos: spending time with his boyfriend as they travelled the country, to their marriage at the site of a plane crash (no joke), and as they spent time together with their son. I have “hearted” almost every snapshot into his life. And now as he goes onto a new path I eagerly watch hoping and praying for his happiness, all the while never really knowing him.

I have been blessed to have been on the reverse of that, as people who happen to read this little blog or follow me on twitter have asked me how I’m doing. They barely know me, yet something compels them to care and reach out. Their little messages bring a lot of light into my world. And because of their loving curiosity I find myself wanting to share more.

As of late life is good. Wonderful in fact. Things with the husband have greatly improved since our little Palm Springs excursion, during which we laid out all our bull shit on the table for he other to inspect. I will admit, after all the sordid disclosures it took me some time to get through the following mess of emotions, but I have since arrived at a happier place. One in which I don’t ever want to leave. There is power and peace in rigorous honesty. And the communication since has flourished.

Then there is my awesome boyfriend. He is the kindest, most understanding person and I don’t know how I lucked out twice to get such amazing men in my life.

I shared all of this with my therapist during this last Tuesday’s session. She participated in my joy, but like any good counselor she didn’t just accept the good she also asked probing questions. For whatever reason, the one that stuck with me the most was: how do I not compare the two. My immediate response was that I don’t. The two of them are so different that there is no way to hold one up to the other in comparison and to do so would be a disservice to each of them.

After having more time to mull over her inquiry, my answer is still the same but I am more confident in my response. I truly can’t compare them because neither has what the other offers. It is trite to say but they’re like little unique snowflakes. And what I realized is that to break it down into such black and white ideas is not how this works. Polyamory (if that is what this is) is more complex. There are levels and layers to affection, emotions and multiple relationships that can’t be easily described in terms of “oh he’s so much better here.”

I don’t have my fears like I did. The thought that I would somehow be replaced by my husband’s boyfriend have left me. And my fear of us “just fooling ourselves and drawing out the inevitable divorce” has waned. It still lingers at the back of my mind, but it is a faint nagging that I scarcely ponder. Much like the zen attitude of just enjoying the moments with either one, I don’t let these negative thoughts cloud my present.

So, if you’ve wondered or worried over this stranger, as of right now there is no need. But your concerns have touched me more than you’ll know.