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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.
When you’re sliding into home and you’re pants are full of foam....diarrhea, diarrhea!
Dear Friends: Hello again. Criminy, I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last wrote to everyone. Time flies when you’re killing off malignant cells. I’m sorry about not keeping up. Don’t know where the time has gone. God knows I haven’t really been busy or anything. I’m into the first week-off of a three-week hiatus from chemo. I must say that last week’s round in the chair actually seemed so much better than what I had been going through. Everything is relative I suppose. I even drove myself to my treatments this time around. Suz would’ve come, in fact, I think it was driving her nuts that she couldn’t be there with me, but both boys had come down with something during that first week of school and she needed to be here with them. My appointments were at the ungodly hour of 7:15 in the morning every day too. Which meant getting up at 5:30. The nice thing about that though was that there was never any line-up at the salad bar at that time of the day. Nothing worse than trying to elbow some bald, eighty-year old woman away from the cole slaw when you’re not feeling great. "Yeah, I know you got cancer sweetheart...we all do! Now back in line sugar!"
Anyway, driving myself actually seemed to help a bit. Focusing on driving made it much easier not to focus on throwing up. A good trade off. I ended up having a pretty uneventful week. Only really felt awful when I was actually getting the injections. And that, more than anything, is still a mental thing. It’s frightening how strong that negative association is, even sitting here writing about it makes my gorge rise. If you want to know what I’m talking about try thinking about the Mike Bullard show for a few minutes. See what I mean?
This week I feel pretty well. And a large part of that is that I can finally see light at the end of this damn tunnel. I have one more week of chemo (and it’s only a four day week courtesy of Thanksgiving Monday...bless you Pilgrims) and hopefully it will be the last one in my lifetime. I’m feeling kind of like a kid when he’s only got that last piece of broccoli on his plate and he knows if he can just choke that sucker down then there’s big wedge of apple pie waiting with his name on it? I’m still struggling with fatigue and a few mouth sores. And of course I’ve dealt with it for so long that it just feels normal to have diarrhea most of the time. (If I go to the john less than six times a day I feel constipated.) But all of that is much easier to deal with just knowing that it will soon be over and the real healing can begin. My friend Ray emailed me the other day (Ray is my hero who has been through all of this and worse) and he mentioned in his letter what a strange thing it is to be in recovery for so long that you begin to forget what ’good health’ actually feels like. It’s true. I’ve lost touch with that feeling of waking up and feeling whole. Mostly I just wake up because of my hole. But it’s coming back slowly.
My morning walk continues to be the highlight of my day. Ianto (dog with issues) and I head out just after we get the boys off to school, around 8:30 and we’re usually gone for a little over a half an hour. I could walk through the country for hours if I had the strength. I can’t tell you what peace those early morning hours bring. I’m actually starting to freak a little about going back to ’normal life’. In a way I’ve been badly spoiled these last six months. I’ve driven into Toronto a couple of times to record some overdue voice stuff and each time the drive nearly killed me. When you’ve suddenly had the extended warranty on your life removed, four precious hours of it lost to gridlock each day seems unforgivable. I may have to rethink this commuting thing.
I don’t miss the ’biz’ at all really. And frankly that’s come as a bit of surprise to me. I miss the people, my friends and their wonderful senses of humor, I miss kibbutzing at auditions, but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to get back to spending 14 hour days in a 4 X 8 cubicle waiting to play "Cop #4", or sitting in a casting office with fifty other people, waiting to see which of us can say "Honey, my shirt smells great!" the best. Call me kooky, but at some point that lost it’s gloss. I guess this thing has affected me in more ways than I had thought. Friends who have gone through it told me it would. I just thought, at the time, that they were a bunch of cancer survivor liars I guess.
But I am happy folks. The things that are the purest and the truest and the strongest have not changed one iota for me during all of this. I still have the best partner in the world in the ’unsinkable Suzanne’, my children are godsends every day and my family and friends never cease to amaze me with their love and support. I have a lot of ’giving back’ to do. A job, unlike ’Cop #4", I greatly look forward too.
Loads of love to you all. I hope this finds each and every one of you glowing with health and happiness.
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