H. Alan Scott (@HAlanScott) has cancer and can’t stop thinking about it. It’s like cancer is a house guest that won’t get the hint to leave. Enter Cancer (@wonderfulbryan). “Cancer House Guest” is a short written by and starring H. Alan Scott and Bryan Wilson, directed by Ned Ehrbar (@nedrick). Follow Scott’s #Chemocation on Twitter.
I just wanted to reach for the sandwich I got before I boarded my United Airlines flight. I reached, but the sandwich wouldn’t budge. I’m keeping a close eye on the coffee sitting on my tray. It’s in my grip, I pulled harder, knocking the coffee and spilling it on my lap.
Normally this would be an annoying accident. Right now, in this moment in my life, this “accident” makes me panic, I start to shake, feel embarrassed, a single tear may or may not have surfaced. Why such a response? Because ever since finding out the course of chemotherapy that’s required to cure my cancer, everything from a spilled cup of coffee to a lackluster Wi-Fi signal ignites an emotional breakdown.
My course of chemotherapy is called BEP (bleomycin, etopside, platinum). I will have at least two cycles, with the possibility of more. Side effects include…
- Hair loss
- Neuropathy (a tingly feeling in my fingers and toes)
- A constant ringing in my ear
- Chronic fatigue
- Pulmonary toxicity
- Loss of white blood cell and their creation, resulting in a suppressed immune system
- Weight loss
- Great material for a memoir
Sitting in the Beverly Hills office of my Oncologist, I’m surrounded by middle-aged women with pulled faces and very expensive wigs. I’m easily 30 years younger then anybody in the room. On their cell phones, they talk as if they aren’t being pumped full of poison. Yelling at their husbands, bitching about their ungrateful kid, for a moment I’m convinced I’m sitting in the middle of a “Real Housewives of Chemotherapy” taping.
My doctor tells me the bad news. Well, he did it when he wasn’t name-dropping celebrities he’s treated and comedians he likes, waiting for my professional opinion of them. “Richard Pryor? Carlin? Adam Carrola?” I tried to list two iconic Oncologists and a shitty one to match the three comedians he just referenced, but my mind drew a blank.
After getting my prescription for medical marijuana (thank you California), three Filipino nurses entered. Their statements, for they never gave me a chance to respond and make it a conversation, went like this….
Filipino Nurse 1, “You have such nice veins! Doesn’t he have nice veins? You like your veins?”
Filipino Nurse 2, “Very nice veins. You work out. You’re strong!”
Filipino Nurse 3, “Very strong. Beautiful hair. I wish I had your hair. So thick! So much hair!”
Filipino Nurse 2, “Amazing hair. Amazing veins. You’re going to be great at this!”
Filipino Nurse 3, “Just great!”
Filipino Nurse 1, “Beautiful veins.”
I didn’t know getting cancer entered me into a competition to be “great” at.
I sat there, half pissed at their praise of hair that I shortly won’t have and half exhausted from being poked for the 100th time to draw even more blood.
Then it was over. They all left. That’s it? A douche but well regarded Beverly Hills doctor tells you bad news (but of which will potentially save your life), while name dropping and introducing a chorus of Filipino nurses to admire your hair and veins? Is this really how it’s supposed to be? Just go about my life as if it’s totally normal for the next month until my chemo starts?
It’s not normal. I don’t feel normal. I’m scared, but not worried. I know this is for the best, but I don’t want to do it. It never will feel normal. I don’t want it to ever feel normal. I want it to be over.
So I spilled some coffee. I wrapped my black jacket around my waist to conceal the stain. That’s normal! Or at least that’s the only kind of normal that I can deal with right now. Eventually I won’t be able to wrap a black jacket around it and move on. It, what’s about to happen to me, will just be real.
Til then, let’s be clear on one thing, I do have great hair.
“So I knew this kid in high school who got cancer. He died within the year. He was so great!”
“My Uncle had prostate cancer. He died.”
“Did you know that an estimated 360 people will die from testicular cancer in 2012?”
These are all statements I’ve heard from people since I’ve slowly began to return to normal life. I’ve always found getting the worst possible news from the people that I love most so much more reassuring that affirmations of love and support.
It’s amazing how certain words have totally different meaning now. Like “Death” of course, but also “Cancer,” “Patient,” “Tumor,” and the phrase “Hang in there!” I’m a fairly rational and levelheaded guy, but hearing “Hang in there!” ignites a defensive reaction that even I’m surprised by. It goes something like, “Oh, funny guy making a slight reference to my one testicle! Reeeeaaaaallllll FUNNY!”
Cancer is an uncomfortable topic for anyone, probably more uncomfortable for people that don’t have it. When you’re diagnosed, you’re thrust into a community you never chose to be apart of, but are nonetheless always going to be apart of. Reading countless survivor stories is nice, but they do nothing for me! In fact they just set up expectations that cannot be met. My cancer is nothing like your cancer, or worse, why am I so upset by my little testicular cancer when you’re dealing with ______(Insert More Serious Cancer Here_______?
My cancer was caught early, but I still need to go through chemotherapy. Nothing says “sick” like losing all your hair! I used to see people with no hair on the subway, and I’d feel sorry for them. Now I know different. They are people dealing with something they have no control over. Their bodies, like mine, are trying to kill them, and the only control they have is the decisions they make and their attitudes. I choose to be smart and happy.
I don’t know how I’m going to handle chemo. I’m prepared to feel very sick, and to be in a lot of discomfort. But I’m also prepared to know that I’m doing everything I can to kill this cancer inside me.
And please, avoid using the “D” word or feeling sorry for me. That being said, if looking at my bald head inspires you to….
- Buy me lunch
- Have sex with me
- Give me rides
- Offer an all expense paid trip to a country of my choosing
…. well, then maybe we can talk about a subtle form of pity.
With the state of my sex life being as it is, I just assumed the pain in my groin was a manifestation of my unappreciated libido. It was a numb pain, as longing for love can be, but as time went on it became more intense. Then I couldn’t get out of bed. Time to call the doctor (and not Dr. Drew).
After ruling out a pulled groin or hernia, my well equipped (and gay) doctor assumed it must be an STD, even as I explained that my sex life is almost as active as Lindsay Lohan’s career. Convinced otherwise, he treated me for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, and took a blood/urine test. As I waited for the results (a staggering 5 days), I assumed I likely contracted the HIV virus in a way never before known, the news of which would rocket through the medical community and thus make me a celebrity in a way I never wanted. A day later I learned I didn’t have HIV. Scratch that off the paranoia list.
I waited; creating a very short list of everybody I had intimate moments with in the past year or so. The list became a doodle like entry from a United Nations Ambassador:
- Mexican guy
- Todd (black guy)
- Berlin guy
- Australian Asian
- Japanese guy Greg?
- Random NY white guy thrown in for good measure
Of course, it could also be testicular cancer. Cancer. That word is just so heavy. It’s like “buttermilk.” It sounds yummy, but after eating it you just feel bloated and ashamed.
Naturally I thought about how I would handle a diagnosis of testicular cancer. I couldn’t use it as a part of my comedy, Tig Notaro beat me to that. Let’s be real, in an arm wrestling match between testicular cancer and breast cancer, the latter will always win (congrats Tig!).
So this was a concern, but not a big concern, as I was pretty sure that based on my general state of good health, high activity level, and no family history of it, testicular cancer wasn’t a likely outcome. Right?
Gay doctor, “So you tested negative for all STD’s and HIV, and you’re in good shape and general health, but the HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) hormone was found in your bloodstream, which is commonly found in pregnant women, but when found in non-pregnant individuals it is in indicator of cancerous cells that lead to the formation of tumors.” “Okay, but have we 100 percent ruled out that I’m not pregnant?”
After a very long day of listening to Adele in various medical offices, it turns out that these little tranny cancer cells in my body that were just waiting for the opportunity to transition into tumors were successful. I don’t care what anybody says, “Testicular Cancer” is a horrible name for a tranny.
I rationally understand that testicular cancer is the new black, everyone is getting it and it’s so posh to have your testicles removed. And there’s a near 100 percent survival rate for men (if found early). But even with all that information, that word, “Cancer” will be a marker for me for a moment in my life, a moment I never expected. I’ll become that “Hot Gay Mormon Cancer Survivor” comic. If Tig becomes a Mormon, I’m going to sue her for defamation of character.
Come this Friday, I’ll be lighter in the junk department (not like I had that much there to lose in the first place). My doctor is amazing (as Mom says, “Always trust a Jewish doctor!”). Nevertheless, I am nervous. I am scared. However, I’m still holding out for the possibility that I might just be pregnant.
Basically, touch your balls and if something feels funny, go to the doctor! More info here.
Ever been on a great date? What’s that like?
H. Alan Scott (Huffington Post, Celebrity Twitter Directory, Time Out “Joke of the Week, Oprah said his name), brings you a webisode about a gay man searching for a traditional romance in a world filled with assholes. (Ed note: No, really, literal photos of assholes, on the phone. On MY phone.)
Ever been on a great date? What’s that like?
H. Alan Scott (Huffington Post, Celebrity Twitter Directory, Time Out’s “Joke of the Week,” SRSLY LOL, and Oprah said his name), brings you a webisode about a gay man searching for a traditional romance in a world filled with assholes. (Ed note: No, really, literal photos of assholes, on the phone. On MY phone.)
Jay-Z came out in support of gay marriage only because Beyonce kept nudging him to the left, to the left…
This will be the best part of your day. Trust. Me. @MittRomney #BuzzFeed
A tribute to mom fashion.
So much the best.
Bryan Wilson and I iF*ck!
Getting my body beach ready for my upcoming vacation ain’t easy, but it’s moderately funny.
I went to see Raging Bull last night. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was a documentary about the McCain campaign.
I should have learned my lesson from before. I was so thrilled to see a truthful, accurate documentary made about George W. Bush, but thoroughly disappointed when Dumb & Dumber turned out to be a silly Jim Carrey movie.
An 82 year old Kentucky man traded prescription drugs for sex. If he has good insurance, he essentially got laid for a couple of bucks. This man is a genius!
Think about how many lucky senior citizens could take advantage of this with a universal health care plan? Yet another reason to vote for Obama y’all!
On this season of VH1′s “The Surreal Life,” the losing candidates of the Republican and Democratic primary elections for the Presidency. Below, a teaser…
Sarah Palin: Welcome candidates. As the former Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party, it is within my juristiction as a Maverick (wink) to welcome you to your new home for the next few weeks.
Mike Gravel: You’re not Alaska, I’m Alaska!
Bill Richardson: Are there any Durrito’s?
Hillary Clinton: I can speak from experience, you must watch your diet, remember what happened to Bill, um, Bill.
Fred Thomspon: I was asked to play Bill in a TV Movie. For weeks I ate BBQ ribs and enduced a heart attack. I’m a method actor.
Rudy Giuliani: I just like wearing dresses.
Ron Paul: You’re all going to hell!
Dennis Kucinich: There is no hell. And I hope this house is vegan friendly.
John Edwards: Just no cameras in the bathroom, please, I’ve had too much trouble with people poking fun at my grooming habits.
Chris Dodd: I don’t know why I’m here. I only ran to get on TV.
Hillary Clinton: You don’t know why you’re here?!? I almost had it!
Mike Huckabee: Can we pray?
Sarah Palin: I can tell you all are going to get along just swell.
I’m performing tonight at a Hostel. Let’s hope they aren’t hostel. :-) Sorry, I just had to say it.
Seriously though, I’m concerned that most of the audience will be foreign. I’m not sure that many foreigners have an understanding of what it’s like to be gay and Mormon. The joke isn’t funny if you have to explain it, you know?
Perhaps I could just trash President Bush and denounce my American citizenship, they love that shit.
A change is coming to America next Tuesday y’all. It’s going to be huge!
The new season of “The Amazing Race” premieres on CBS. I love this show. I’ve read that this season is going to be especially good. Check it out.
Something else is going on as well? You’re suppose to vote I think, but I could have swore that “American Idol” was on hiatus. Vote for what?