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Neil Crone’s Journal
Neil Crone is an actor and writer and a national spokesperson for the CCAC. A Second City veteran improvisor, host and stand up comic, Neil also loves to write poems and stories for "big and little kids".
Neil has written a journal of his experience with colorectal cancer.
Rectum? Darn Near Killed ’em
I’m still here. Sorry for the delay since my last communication but I’ve just not been up to it. I think (he said cautiously) that I have finally turned a corner on this thing. It was touch and go there for a while though, believe me. Another few days of radiation and chemo and I would’ve talked. I would’ve sung my head off, told those bastards everything they wanted to know. Studio locations, actors who were still in the closet, even Colin Mochrie’s home phone number. I was that close to cracking.
Radiation ended just over a week ago and I got the PICC line out of my arm a few days later. Suzanne and I were pulling our hair out as we waited forever at the hospital to get rid of the chemo pump. We couldn’t get the damned thing out of there fast enough, but we had to wait hours it seemed. You’d think that after six weeks another couple of hours wouldn’t be a big deal. But I could taste freedom and I desperately wanted it. The truly stupid thing was that at the last moment my oncologist suggested that I leave the PICC line in. She said it would make my future chemo injections much easier. Easier for who? Let’s just do the math on that one for a moment. I can either wear the PICC for what would amount to another three months (no showers, no swimming, no sleeveless gowns) or endure the momentary pain of four more short injections in the hand? Hmmm. That’s a toughie. I felt like telling her ’You wear one of these pricks for close to five months and you tell me what you’d rather do’. I wanted it out and I wanted it out now. I just wanted to feel a little human again. To walk around and not see the eyes of everyone I meet dart to the hideous tube sticking out of my arm. To not have a constant reminder that I am not well. Anyway, it came out. And I couldn’t be happier.
So I’m at the family cottage for the next little while. My parents bless them, have made the place available to Suz and the boys and I for as long as we need it. I’m no where near ’normal’ yet, my life is still on a tether with one end tied to a toilet seat, and I’m still pretty much on a diet of ’Cream of Wheat’ and Wonderbread with a Yogurt chaser, but each day I think I am a little better. Fewer cramps and more energy. I actually went snorkeling with my sons the other day. That rocked. Although I’ve got so little body fat left (there’s still a small deposit between my ears apparently) that I get really cold very quickly.
Can’t tell you how hard that last five weeks was. I don’t think I was mentally prepared for it. Frankly I don’t know how you could be. It’s different for everybody I guess. Each nightly drive down to Sunnybrook was, quite literally, a ’crapshoot’. We were never sure if my hair-trigger colon wanted to play games or not. If we had a six pm departure time, I generally had to eat dinner around 4 to give me a couple of hours ’flow through’ time. We also stowed a 4-quart Tupperware container in the backseat, for, well, containing stuff. Amazingly, I was only caught short once, making a mad dash into the woods just west of Leaskdale. On the upside, Suzanne is now able to safely operate a vehicle in excess of 150 kph. By the way, why is it that when you really have to crap you inevitably get stuck behind a pair of seniors out poking around for a fresh berry stand?
Anyway, if anybody out there was frightened or caused any undue stress by a yellow VW Bug illegally streaking past them on a double line with oodles of oncoming traffic, we apologize.
Suzanne continues to be Wonder Woman. Keeping the house and the kids together and still looking after a pathetic husband who is at his worst, a whining 44 year old in diapers who won’t eat his vegetables. She has so far administered almost sixty injections, most of which hurt her a lot more than they hurt me. Thankfully she always kisses the boo-boo. Most doctors won’t do that.
So, here we are. I have four weeks off before my second last round of chemo begins. They said that it would more than likely be a couple of weeks off before the side effects really abated and it looks (and feels) like we’re on that schedule. I’m really hoping that by the end of this month sabbatical I’ll be eating fruit and veggies again...and maybe even a hamburger or two...I can dream can’t I?
The last two chemo treatments will be like the first ones I received; a visit each day to the hospital for a week where I sit in a chair and get an injection of goodies. I know what to expect from these ones now. Not fun, but not the marathon of the five week trots. I can handle a little nausea and the odd mouth sore. It’s really not much different from Gonnorhea. And who hasn’t been there?
If all goes to schedule we’ll be wrapped up by just after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, as always, thank you all from the bottom of my colon for your support and email ’check ins’. I’ve been in a weird position over the last couple of months. Desperately lonely at times but usually too tired or too embarrassed to entertain company. Many nights, nights when I could not sleep and was tired of the idiocy of late night television, and haunted by being the only one awake in a sleeping household, I would turn on the computer and read and re-read your letters. (By the way, is there anything worse than a sleeping household when you are the only one up, alone with your discomfort?)
Anyway, the lifeline was always there and I was always very grateful to grab hold. Thanks heaps everyone, you’re lifesavers, every one of you.
Hopefully the next letter will be faster in coming and will hold much nicer news. Until then, much love to you all. I think of you often.
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