Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When Are You Going to Die?

First, let me say that I am drugged so the quality of this writing will be abysmal. Second, let me say that I am drugged so....wait....duuuuude....I am so stoned....what is that alarm? (true story, an alarm went off right there lol).

I write this because it is really very taxing to give the same answers over and over to concerned individuals. I love you guys but talking bout this stuff is getting old. I know they care, but one can only speak of their own mortality so many times before depression, or desperation, kicks in.

Here are the real questions everyone wants to ask:
Are you dying?
Do you know when?
Did they get it all?
What is the treatment plan?
Are the effects of the treatment worth the extra time?

Only, they won't come right out and ask you if you are dying. Instead, they try to rephrase which only makes things WORSE! lol I mean, think about it; how many times would you want to answer those questions even from the most well intentioned?

The answer, in my case, to the big question is: maybe, but not tomorrow. This thing may get me, but I get to fight it first. We think. Hopefully. Cancer is a tricky beast. I now know that there is no cure and that remission is a good thing. I also know that whatever time I have will be broken up into segments of testing. Take a test, wait for results, treat what's new (if anything), live until the next test. That won't be me, though. I will take the tests and do whatever is needed, but I am not going to get hung up waiting for results instead of living.

The fact is that they do not know if they got it all. The scans are clean so far but there is a good chance that cells are floating about because the spine is a super-highway for malignancy. The blessing is that it COULD have been worse and this was the best news I could get at this point when reality is factored in.

There will not be any treatment for another three weeks or so because the wound from the surgery needs to heal first. When treatment is available, I will take the most aggressive route possible.

As for the spine surgery itself, I am doing great. The artificial vertebra is doing its' job. The screws are holding. The spinal cord is suffering no more damage than it already did. The pain is less than before the surgery. I am looking at a long recovery and will never be 100% again, but I have a real shot of living a decent life with little need for walkers.

Right now, my walking is close to that of an enthusiastic twelve month old with flapping feet constantly teetering on the edge of disaster. I have quite a bit of numbness and loss of motor control, BUT I have control of all of the important things AND total sensation where it is needed.

I told you there were blessing in all of this.

The pathology report will be in this week. Let us hope that it does not invalidate these best guesses from the current experts working on my case.

I wish I could throw in some humor here...and I could because I thought about it and have a couple knee slappers...but I have been admonished that my humor could be disrespectful to others going through something similar. I have even been told that joking about my situation may upset people that know me. Okay, fair enough. Just understand that I won't be able to hold my tongue forever.

I would be REMISS beyond forgiveness if I did not acknowledge the caregivers who have treated me thus far. I will write more about this later but some of the highlights (names changed):

Family Doc and Team: Kept thinking of worst case scenarios...and one came true. If they had blown me off, I would be paralyzed at best (I think).
Dr. Oh: You scared me to death, but your decision to admit me right then saved my legs. Maybe more. You were the first to give me some hope that I could be treated. I knew you were bluffing and only using the most strict definition of “treatable”, but I needed your reassurance.
The ER Doc at FMH: You made the call for the chopper. Who knows what would have happened in the ambulance during rush hour traffic.
Chopper People: Thanks for the view. Thanks for explaining everything in detail. You guys were too cool.
Dr. S: Like I told your kids, you are a hero. Your call to do the procedure before I lost any more feeling or motor control was the right one. Thank you for coming in at 3AM and for your gifted hands. You are the one who has given me the most hope just by being realistic and truthful. All the feeling I have left is due to you. It ain't bragging if you can back it up.
Dr. S's Staff: You guys are the bomb. I will see you at 5:30AM...again.
Dexter and Company at the NCCU: Thank you for understanding and sharing my goofy sense of humor in those dark hours. Thank you for understanding that when I say “loveable serial killer,” I mean it in the best possible way.
The Staff in the “Normal” Rooms: Thank you for putting up with all of my questions. And for understanding more than my charts. And for catering to my clean freak-ee-ness. And preserving what dignity I had left. I have no idea how you people do what you do.

If I have time, and I mean that in the most basic way these days, I am going to write a book about my experience with cancer but the focus is going to be on the professionals, and the miracles, I encountered along the way. As anyone could tell from that truncated list above, my case could have gone south with one unfortunate decision or with one person doing less than their level best. Something tells me that I am supposed to be paralyzed right now, yet here I sit typing this while making small circles in the air with my toes. Someday soon, I will feel every inch of those toes again, thanks to those around me.

I know I owe a bunch of phone calls and I will make them. Thank you all for caring! I am humbled yet again. Just please understand that it takes a lot out of me to talk about this stuff with each individual so I hope this article helps disseminate the information.

If you have a few seconds, send thoughts and prayers to Mrs. Splitter. No matter what lies she tries to tell me, I can tell that she is exhausted. Worry and sleep do not mix. She is also taking care of 100% of the house, keeping up with her job, and fixing herself up each time before she shows up in my doorway. She is amazing but even the most amazing among us have limitations.

Her lot in life is about to get even harder because I found out that the plan is to release me tomorrow. Everyone agrees it is the right move and this is greatly encouraging to me because seeing the outside of a hospital is one of my short term goals. I have help to call upon, but you all know who will get the burden. Please, send prayers to Mrs. Splitter.

More later maybe after the move. This is not going to become a cancer blog but reality is what it is and it is going to come up now and again.

I HAVE written a bit today and yesterday. It helps. I feel the time crunch in a very real way now so...it's coming and thanks for your patience.



  1. Good to hear things are going well and you have great sensation and blah.....

    I think you should have done two versions of this post - One with the humor and one without.
    Much like you, I have a hard time biting my tongue even in the most dire and trying of times. Unlike you I don't have the self control to actually take the high route and whatnot.

    Either way, Looking forward to future positive news about this whole situation and finally meeting you and kicking your old man walker out from under you and cracking jokes the whole time - Then having a Yuengling :)

  2. Thanks Grrouch and everyone who posted before! I thought about two versions but my wife and others close to me might read this and get upset by my callousness.

    This is all I am saying, Serge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh8mNjeuyV4

    Too soon?



  3. I knew that you weren't posting regularly, but I had no idea this was why! I'm sending my love to you & Mrs. Splitter. Tell her--if she doesn't already realize it--that humor is sometimes the ONLY possible way to cope with life!!

  4. Splitter,

    As a cancer survivor, I know that it's beatable with prayer and patience. Sometimes it's a long road back, so enjoy the scenery along the way.

    My ernest prayers for you and Ms. Splitter.

    1. And maybe also a little bit of science? I don't know.

      Splitter, my man, I had no fucking idea that this was going on in your life. I have been wondering for a good while why you stopped showing up regularly at the World's Greatest Forum(TM); I sent you an email a good while back but didn't get a reply so I was thinking you were bored and had moved on or maybe someone had offended you enough to stay away (could have been me for all I know). And maybe you DID get bored or whatever, but I am still shocked to find out - and probably very late too - about this :/

      Splitter, I wish you all the best and hopefully you have some great doctors to take care of you and of course I hope they will be able to get you out of this shit relatively unscathed. If there's anything I can do for you if even to exchange words you know where to find me.

      ~ Slynt

  5. I think humor is a great way to work through things, and it is just part of who you are. I understand the other side, but laughter has gotten me through some tough times (like when my dad was in the hospital dying).

    I am so thankful for the positives that you have already experienced, and I know there will be many more.

    We are praying very hard for both of you!


  6. Looks like a real bitch, hope you get well Splitter. Can't have you dying before Gurm, that would be totally unfair. My thoughts are out to you and that violent Notre Dame supporter of yours, I won't root so hard against them this week.

    1. The only bitch here is you; you can keep your hopes to yourself because this guy's dead. He did die before GRRM and the irony in that is delicious. I guess Martin wrote more books in his series that this dipshit did in his.

  7. Splitter Hon, I have two pairs of boxing gloves. I can send you one pair and feel free to punch that cancer sucker hard and heavy--no one will feel sorry for it. Make sure you K.O. it for yourself and for others out there in the same situation.
    Lots of love and smiles for your lovely Mrs. Splitter. And for you, my friend all the best wishes and go. get. them. Tiger!

  8. Sending all my prayers to you and Mrs. Splitter!

  9. Screw em! You can have a sense of humor! It's better than feeling sorry for yourself.
    Some of my family members have fought the most awful forms of cancer and survived.
    I won over cervical cancer.
    You CAN beat this and YOU WILL!

  10. Splitter - you rock

    Mrs. Splitter - you rock (maybe even more......??!!)

    Splitter, your gratitude and strength flow from your words.

    I know you are going to hate me saying this, but, your words are inspiring.

    Write your book. Use humour. Go for it. It is YOU!


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  17. I usually only stalk ex-girlfriends on the internet and I find this horseshit -- Chinese spambots mucking up Splitter's blog. Shameful. Might as well take this opportunity to say that I miss your generosity and patience in the little community you helped build. I'd hate to see my man-crush go unrequited, so get back in the swing as soon as you are able. Or before. The gun-control debates are deadly-dull without you.

    Thoughts and prayers, buddy.

    Ben (Atreyu)

    1. Keep your thoughts and prayers because the guy's dead.

    2. Is this the dead guy that used to give good hand jobs in prison?

  18. Chris,

    I just learned today that you died on June 15, 2013. If you were right and I am wrong you can read this even now, so I will leave some words for you.

    I'm sad to see you go. I was thinking of our Blades of Steel time all those years ago. I was thinking of our tennis matches when we were in high school. I was thinking of frisbee golf on a hot summer day; of R.M.'s character having to carry yours during a D&D session when we were teens; of so much time together, so many, many laughs shared. Will anyone ever again sit through History of the World and quote every line along with me as the movie plays?

    I have taken some time since learning of your death to find out more about you after we parted ways @2008. You've grown so much. I wish I was a part of it but I wasn't. I loved learning about your Splitter work and I know it was dream fulfillment for you.

    I think of your call from Texas years ago at a low point in your life just so I could make you laugh and I feel sad I didn't get that call again before you died. I understand why. You have so many loved ones around now.

    Regrettably, we didn't part so well. I'm sorry things went the way they did but I didn't know how else to solve the situation I was in. I don't think this would make any sense or even a difference to you but you weren't the problem.

    Very personally (yes, on the internet!) I want to tell you I remember a conversation we had on my deck. You expressed a secret, dark desire. I have mixed feelings about your wish being granted and wonder if, in the end, you had wished differently or whether you held your ground. In my mind you stood fast.

    I am better for having grown up with you, Chris.


    1. Is this the same Chris Gibson that graduated from Frederick High School?

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  20. I am pretty sure this guy learned the answer to his question quite awhile ago. He's dead.

    1. I don't know who you are Sinclair, but you are a very hateful,nasty individual who obviously didn't know my husband, Chris Gibson, very well. How dare you say those things about him, even if it was three years ago. My husband was a wonderful man and as you can see from the other posts, you are the only one who had hate for him. Remember, Karma is a bitch and if it hasn't gotten you yet, it will.

  21. I went looking for the third book in the series and I find that Splitter has passed away. I'm very sorry to hear about it. Thank you, sir for the enjoyment your books bran.

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  24. It wasn't often that we ran into each other online but we had fun when we did. I miss you, Splitter.

  25. Thanks Grouch and everyone who posted before! I thought about two versions but my wife and others close to me might read this and get upset by my callousness.

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  28. Here it is 2022 and I still can't believe that you are gone my friend, I know the very end was rough, but it was a comfort getting to talk to you even though I never got to say goodbye. Your wife was amazing then and now for keeping your words alive through your blog.
    If she reads this:" I hope that you are doing well. Chris loved you so much and always told us how amazing you were. Thank you for being there for him always and in the end."
    See you in the ever after, Chris, and tell Frank hi.