ianunderhill vs. cancer (RIP Nick)

Well, I want to go for a ride right now. The reality of the situation is that I've got a nine inch incision down the center of my abdomen which is stapled closed and is very slowly healing, two quiet but sensitive drain holes on either side of that covered by gauze and tape, and a very weak, often exhausted 145 lb body that just isn't going to cut it anytime soon. My big goal right now is to get some more walking in around the neighborhood so I can start regaining a little bit of independent mobility, as well as trying to gain a little weight back so chemo doesn't skeletonize the bejesus out of me.

As soon as I can get back on the bike without killing myself in the process, I promise I will let you know. Honest.

So that benefit show/party I mentioned? Yeah, it's happening:

http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/Sal...

That's Sunday, October 28 at The Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL.

Live music is by Todd Hembrook and The Hemispheres, a local band specializing in that classic soul/R&B and Mowtown sound.

There's a $10 basic ticket and a $20 VIP ticket. The latter gets you in at 6pm for an open hosted beer bar provided courtesy of Goose Island and New Belgium Brewing. Door is otherwise at 7:30pm.

There's a huge raffle going on, ticket collections done from 7-8pm, with drawings made 8-830pm. Bikes, tons of bike stuff (helmets, jerseys, lights, etc.), some high-end liquor, and more. I'll post a list of all the donors and most of the prizes as soon as my friends organizing this whole affair get it to me.

If you can make this event, if you can drag your friends out for this event...I'd be thrilled. It's both a benefit to help me in my fight against cancer, but it's also my birthday (i'll be turning 31). The proceeds are going to be a big help, but I think it's also going to be a really fun evening. I'd love to see the handful of you I've already met, and I'd enjoy meeting those of you that I haven't yet met. A lot of my friends from over the years will be there, and I'm guessing quite a cross-section of folks I know through the bike shop as well, and they're all friendly, cool people. I think we're in for a good time, and it's all happening early enough where your Monday doesn't have to get off to a rough start.

As I said, more details on the prizes as they become available. If you're in the area and can make it, I hope to see you there.

I'm just about to go to sleep. Today's official announcement of the benefit has triggered a new round of support becoming apparent to me. Some of it has come through the response to the event's Facebook page. Some of it has been through further donations to the ChipIn campaign from both long-forgotten acquaintances and compassionate people I don't even know. I'm feeling good about all this, as though the world has my back for what lies ahead. But it's also strange to me. I don't mean that as a complaint or in any ungrateful sense. It's just that it's hard to think proportionately about the support, as I never envisioned so much of it. I'm of so little significance in the wide world that it almost isn't fair. If I weren't in the position of needing all the help I could get, I don't know that I could accept it. I'm also left to wonder where the hell all these good people are coming from. Mind you, I mean that in mostly a positive sense.

I'm going to be talking to my doctors over the phone tomorrow, both to update them as to my status (particularly as the leaking drain holes have not leaked for days) as well as arrange my first follow-up since discharge, and hopefully get a better idea about what the chemo schedule's going to look like. I'm anticipating getting more matter-of-fact with my updates soon, so those of you tired of all the "things are circumstantially awesome!" business will finally get that long-deserved change of pace.

I'm also going to start moving my walks around the apartment outdoors. I'm somewhat concerned about climbing back up the stairs to my second floor apartment, but I figure if I pace myself extremely carefully for the first few days, I should manage just fine. As with training for bicycling in years past, being aware of my limitations and taking care not to over-exert myself will be key. I just need to keep in mind that walking isn't as simple as it once was and that I'm coming back from greatly diminished physical resources.

Thanks again for the space to get it all out, everyone. Let me know if it gets old or bothersome.

Another double post. Again from the iPad on our wifi. I'll be fiddling with our repeater's position tomorrow after my walk.

Sounds like it's gonna be fun, Ian. Wish I could be there.

ianunderhill wrote:

Another double post. Again from the iPad on our wifi. I'll be fiddling with our repeater's position tomorrow after my walk.

Why? Seems like it's working.

Going to be a rockin' party! I would go if I could.

I don't mean that as a complaint or in any ungrateful sense. It's just that it's hard to think proportionately about the support, as I never envisioned so much of it. I'm of so little significance in the wide world that it almost isn't fair. If I weren't in the position of needing all the help I could get, I don't know that I could accept it. I'm also left to wonder where the hell all these good people are coming from. Mind you, I mean that in mostly a positive sense.

There are people who care about you, and this is a way they can show it. Sure, there are lots of problems in the world that need to be taken care of, but there are few problems that can so soundly resonate as problems that impact people we know. And let's face it, just about everyone can unite behind the "F*ck Cancer" banner.

Appreciate it for what it is. There probably won't be another time in your life when so many people will extend a hand to you like this. At least, hopefully not... Usually it doesn't happen unless you need it, and... Yeah.

ianunderhill wrote:

Thanks again for the space to get it all out, everyone. Let me know if it gets old or bothersome.

If it helps just remember that no one HAS to read your thread, we all choose to. I certainly had my share of similar thoughts and feelings at times during my own thread but with some assurance I taught myself to accept that anyone who gets tired of it can simply stop clicking on it.
Remember too that this place isn't just a gaming forum, it's a very special community that has each other's backs through thick and thin and as part of that we've got your back.

WipEout wrote:

I still haven't cleaned or ridden mine since our Two Brothers ride, so if you're looking for something to do....

JK-- glad you're doing so much better! Let me know when you do want to go for a ride.

Yeah, I've ridden mine, but not cleaned and I noticed that a nice squeek that developed during that ride hasn't gone away yet...

Just back from my first follow-up appointment since my discharge nine days ago. The doctors confirmed what I'd already inferred from how I'm feeling and how my body seems to be working - I'm healing up really fast. They also took the staples out of my incision, which means there's a trail of scabby material on/around the incision that I'm going to be sure not to pick at.

My favorite part, though, would have to be that I took CTA down and back, and that means that I wound up walking about a total of a mile today. I'm pretty tired after all that, and I was definitely going slowly, but it didn't feel like I was killing myself in the process. It'll be a couple days before I get anywhere near walking that much in the space of a few hours, but the fact is I'm getting my strength back. I really couldn't ask for more! I'm hoping this stays on track and I can start working again in a couple weeks.

Congratulations!

Woo!

Ianunderhill: 1
Cancer: F*cked

Grats man! I'm glad to hear that you are rebounding so fast. Here's to cancer being f*cked!

Well, keep in mind that what we're talking about is recovery from the surgery. I still have to get started on chemo and see how much a difference that makes. As I've said before, I'm hoping that my speedy recovery from the hemicolectomy indicates that my body will be similarly strong and snappy when I go through the chemo, but there's really no way to know until they're actually pumping me full of chemicals. And really, the big thing there isn't ultimately about how sick those chemicals do or don't make me, but what sort of job they do in the way of killing off the cancer that's still in me.

That said, thanks for all the encouragement, everybody.

Ian: Kicking
Cancer: Ass

groan wrote:

Ian: Big Dog
Cancer: Fire Hydrant

FTFY

ianunderhill wrote:

That said, thanks for all the encouragement, everybody. :D

Ian is so awesome. He's being generous to the cancer by giving it the easy way out. If it had to fight Ian, it would get destroyed!

This is Ian:

Good job, Ian. You rock.

Not only do I apparently kick ass, not only do my friends organizing that benefit event for me kick ass, but they're pulling out all the stops to make the benefit kick ass, too. Here's a rundown of some of the raffle/auction prize packages that have been put together so far. There's more in the works, so stay tuned. But locals, also note that the current plan is to let the people buying raffle tickets allocate tickets towards different packages - that way, people who don't like beer don't get the beer package, people who don't want bike stuff don't get the bike packages, and so on.

Again, more to come, but check these out, and if you or people you know are in the area, you/they should strongly consider coming out for this thing on 10/28. I think it's going to be one hell of a fun evening.

BEER LOVER'S PACKAGE
2 Bomber Bottles from Goose Island
2 Bomber Bottles from Lagunitas
Set of 6 Edelweiss glasses
2 Tickets to Beer Hoptacular
and more.

WINE LOVER'S PACKAGE
6 Bottles of wine with wine box

STOCK YOUR BAR PACKAGE
1 Bottle of Bacardi Oakheart
1 Bottle of Bacardi Wolf Berry
1 Bottle of Bacardi Original Rum
1 Bottle of Pinnacle Vodka
1 Bottle of Pinnacle Gin

METAL DATE NIGHT PACKAGE
4 tickets to Lamb of God @ Congress Theatre
Gift certificate to Dante's Pizzeria
2 Bomber Bottles of 3 Floyds

DATE NIGHT PACKAGE #1
2 tickets to Alabama Shakes @ Riviera Theatre (sold out)
Gift certificate to Grange Hall Burger Bar

DATE NIGHT PACKAGE #2
2 tickets to Of Monsters and Men @ Riviera Theatre (sold out)
Gift certificate to de cero taqueria

DATE NIGHT PACKAGE #3
2 tickets to FUN. @ Riviera Theatre (sold out)
Gift certificate to Club Lucky

DATE NIGHT PACKAGE #4
2 tickets to Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ Riviera Theatre
Gift certificate to Club Lucky

BIKE SAFETY PACKAGE (HIS)
1 Giro Bicycle Helmet
2 sets of bike lights
Free bike tune-up at Element Multisport

BIKE SAFETY PACKAGE (HERS)
1 Giro Bicycle Helmet
2 sets of bike lights
Free bike tune-up at Element Multisport

The Big Stuff...

AFICIONADO PACKAGE
1 Bottle of Grand Marnier Cuvee du Centenaire 100 year
1 Bottle of Laphroaig 10 year old Islay Single Malt Whisky
4 Cigars from Up Down Tobacco

GOOSE ISLAND PACKAGE
312 Urban Wheat Ale (Trek Earl) bike
and more.

So happy to hear that you're making good progress ian. Cheers to you sir!

I have a feeling you're going to do very well off of that auction.

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. My buddy who's the lead organizer was telling me that both my boss (with whom he had a phone meeting last night) and the booking guy at the venue have been seriously wowed by the quality of the prize packages on offer. I'm thrilled at how good they are too, both because of the prospective return (yay being able to pay for stuff in the face of cancer!) and, almost more importantly, how awesome things are going to be for the winners. I'm really hell-bent on people remembering this whole thing not just as the night they helped out a man in need, but also as a great time.

Me, I'm already pretty blown away by how much work my friends have put into this. Particularly the lead guy, who's been calling in years of return favors from his stint in the promotions/event marketing racket and sinking time into making this all happen while acting like it's no big deal. It's gratifying as hell and really eats away at those moments where I find myself thinking I'm just some schlubb with a disease - instead, I feel like I have people on my side who really want me to come out on top of this. It's simultaneously very humbling but very empowering.

ianunderhill wrote:

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. My buddy who's the lead organizer was telling me that both my boss (with whom he had a phone meeting last night) and the booking guy at the venue have been seriously wowed by the quality of the prize packages on offer. I'm thrilled at how good they are too, both because of the prospective return (yay being able to pay for stuff in the face of cancer!) and, almost more importantly, how awesome things are going to be for the winners. I'm really hell-bent on people remembering this whole thing not just as the night they helped out a man in need, but also as a great time.

Me, I'm already pretty blown away by how much work my friends have put into this. Particularly the lead guy, who's been calling in years of return favors from his stint in the promotions/event marketing racket and sinking time into making this all happen while acting like it's no big deal. It's gratifying as hell and really eats away at those moments where I find myself thinking I'm just some schlubb with a disease - instead, I feel like I have people on my side who really want me to come out on top of this. It's simultaneously very humbling but very empowering.

That sounds like one HELL of a party, I really wish I could be there! I'll keep on cheering from on the GWJ sidelines, though, while you trample all over cancer and kick its ass (and I really believe that you will).

We're definitely all on your side and cheering for you. Also, I really admire how positive you're being. I'm sure you have less than super sunshiny moments, but I really admire your strength and determination with all this.

Just remember, what's coming could be hard. Absorb this, store it up, build up your reserves. Be ready in your mind.

If it were me, I'd be face into Marcus Aurelius right about now. I think Stoicism has lessons for these events in life.

If it were Marcus Aurelius, he should be reading the musings of Ian!

Mimble wrote:

We're definitely all on your side and cheering for you. Also, I really admire how positive you're being. I'm sure you have less than super sunshiny moments, but I really admire your strength and determination with all this. :D

Thanks, Mimble, and everyone else as well. Speaking of those rougher instances, I had a really bad moment this morning...part of it was due to having not slept well last night, and then having missed an early-morning alarm to take some of my medication. The doctors took one of the painkillers out of the equation after my appointment the other day, and so now the timing on the remaining medications is a lot more important. Missing one dose means enduring pain I haven't felt since right after surgery. As I was lying there waiting for the late dosage to take effect and take away the pain, my anxiety came on strong, and I had my worst moment since those forty odd minutes of sheer terror at the time I first learned I had cancer.

Thing was, this wasn't just fear of something new and daunting, but a strong sense of resignation. "Here you are, miserable, and we're only at the beginning. We haven't started chemo yet, and it feels like this. This isn't worth it. You're going to hate so many moments. So many people around you are going to try to prop you up and pull you through this. And it isn't worth what you'll feel, it isn't worth what they'll have to endure, between their sadness and your lack of strength. None of that will be worth it and you don't even know that you'll live." I howled and sobbed for a good hour before the medication finally took effect enough to satiate my physical pain and I fell asleep in exhaustion.

So yes. I'm not always strong. The moments where I'm not have been few and far between. I'm hoping they remain that way, as living is much easier when you feel like the hurdles are just inconvenient circumstance, rather than insurmountable obstacles. Hopefully I don't miss any other alarms in the near future. Either way, I'm glad I have so many people in so many places on my side, and I hope I don't lose sight of that.

ianunderhill wrote:

Either way, I'm glad I have so many people in so many places on my side, and I hope I don't lose sight of that.

Here for you, pal.

ianunderhill wrote:

Either way, I'm glad I have so many people in so many places on my side, and I hope I don't lose sight of that.

Here for you, pal.