Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada - CCAC

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Neil Crone’s Journal

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.

The Real Story

Well, I’m back. After a week and a half of not being able to work a computer mouse without breaking into a sweat or passing out from exhaustion, I’m finally able to sit at the keyboard and get back in touch with my friends.

Let’s see, where to begin? It’s all been such fun. Chemo is everything they say it is and less. Were it not for the nurses constantly coming onto me I’m not sure I’d like to go back. Suzanne has been very good about their sexual advances though and bravely turns a blind eye. She is only thinking of my health. What a trooper.

For those of you who have not been through or known someone going through Cancer treatment it may be mildly beneficial for me to give you the Coles notes version. Everyone is different of course, but in my case it is sort of like having a mild flu all the time. You just feel really ’off’. For most of the past week and a half I have been very tired all of the time and mildly nauseous. My mouth sometimes inexplicably tasting like I’ve brushed my teeth with Brasso. I’m lucky though. I’ve not actually been sick to my stomach. It’s really more like if you had to watch continuous episodes of ’Who’s the Boss’ or ’Full House’. That kind of nausea.

A very weird side effect, that we had read about but not anticipated, was how nasty the sun will be to me. In a mere five minutes, I got badly burned just standing outside the car park by the hospital waiting for Suz to bring the car around.

Consequently I bought a couple of big floppy brimmed hats. I now look like Truman Capote on Steroids as I walk around in my long cotton sleeves, hat and sunglasses.

I’ve had to contend with a few blisters on my lips (again another expected side effect of the chemo) but it really hasn’t been too bad. I’ve heard horror stories from other people whose mouths were covered in them. But they were probably bad people who had it coming to them anyway.

There has been one other unlooked for side effect, which has been a little shocking. I’m just going to have to learn to live with enormous genitals I guess. Who knew?

Suz and I continue to read and educate ourselves about this business. Our attitudes toward it all have changed, matured if you will. We’ve gone from being sad and frightened to a much more businesslike approach. We have a job to do and the job will take about 5 to 6 months. Then we will be done. It will be difficult at times. At times uncomfortable, but there is a limit to it. I look forward to my son’s 13th birthday at the end of September. Then this will all be a memory.

I miss a lot of you. Some of you I don’t, but you know who you are. I miss being more human and not ’looking’ sick. I’m at the point where I rip off bandages and cotton swabs covering up my needle holes simply because I think they make me look and therefore, feel, sick. I want to wrestle with my children again, and I think I will soon. Today, as you can tell perhaps by my long-windedness at the keyboard, is a turning point. I feel better. More like me.

I am not working, acting that is. I don’t know that I will be able to this summer. The three weeks of recovery time in between treatments, doesn’t give you much space to book and do a gig. And in a month or so I’m looking at 5 solid weeks of continuous chemo and radiation everyday. I don’t think I’ll have much strength or time then to do anything more than glow in the dark. I’m writing though. Thank God for writing. I’m hoping to start my second book this summer. That is a goal to focus on.

But I am planning on coming back. Back to work, back to Toronto, back to my wonderfully creative, wonderfully funny actor friends, back to my hockey buddies, back to my neighbors and family, back to my life. Things have just been postponed for a while.

In the meantime I am taking all of this as a gift. If that sounds funny, let me explain. Imagine if you woke up one day and were suddenly vividly and deliriously aware of how much love there was surrounding you at every turn of your life? Imagine being able to fall in love all over again and in a much stronger way with your spouse and to love and cherish your children and friends as you never before thought possible? And all you had to do was go through a few months of discomfort? That’s kind of where I’m at...and I’m realizing it’s not really a bad place to be. Just a different place.

I want to thank you all for helping me get to that place. Your kindness and support and love have been the signposts directing me along the way.

I still have my days, of course, and Suzie will be the first to tell you this, where I think I’ve been dealt a shitty hand and I’m in a pissy, petulant mood, but I’m getting better at dealing with those. Meditation is a wonderful thing.

In the interim, thanks once more dear friends and family for everything. I love you all tremendously. Take good care and eat your f______ broccoli.

Your dear friend,


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