An Essay: Cancer in Bangkok, Cancer in Boston
I have advanced Stage 4 terminal non-operable (so many words) cancer that has metastasized (more words) to my bones. The cancer is prostate cancer (a medical mystery-even more words) and it has spread with tumors now on my clavicles, sternum, ribs, backbone (3 and maybe 4 compression fractures), pelvic bones, and the tops of my femurs. So so many words. Something for the patient and the doctor to talk about but all the patient hears is that he is dying. Don’t even get me started on my catheter: a rubber tube that runs up my penis to my bladder and then down to a urine collection bag strapped to my leg. So what?
So sometimes when I get up in the morning and look at my ‘things to do’ list I suddenly realize I am not going to do anything on the ‘things to do’ list. In fact, I am not going to be able to leave the apartment. I am going to spend the day in my apartment dying of cancer. This happens about once every 20th day. If questioned I would say that the only thing that could overpower my yielding to death is my desire to witness beautiful women.
If in Bangkok, I would plant myself in a folding chair at the foot of the Skytrain Nana Station around 5 p.m. There I could watch young fertile beautiful Thai ladies getting off work and going home. As they descended the stairs and sometimes smiled at me, I could forget the dying and concentrate on living.
And what if I was not in Bangkok, what if I was dying in Pattaya? Simple, I would slowly, with cane and hunchback posture, drag myself down Beach Road to the Royal Garden Plaza Mall. There you can participate in one of the greatest shows on Earth by standing at the foot of the escalator that connects the first floor to the second floor. Women of other worldly aspect are slowly delivered to you as they descend towards you. You smile and wave. Sometimes they smile. You forget your early morning commitment to dying.
But I don’t live in Bangkok, Thailand or in Pattaya, Thailand. I live in Brighton. Brighton as a part of Boston. The Brighton and the Boston that are a part of the U.S.A. It is said that the only city with more schools than Paris is Boston. Actually, Shanghai may now be a part of this school density equation, but I still like the Boston-Paris idea. Anyway, where I live there are a lot of colleges. So, a lot of schools means a lot, a super lot, of college girls. And I live right in the middle of it. I am surrounded by thousands and thousands and thousands of college girls. You would think, or you would be forgiven for thinking, that there was somewhere in the Brighton (Boston) area to drag a folding chair to, or a mall escalator to entertain you. You would be mistaken. There is nowhere in this town to forget that you are dying a lonely, pointless, painful death. The women of this town have nothing to offer. They do not take you out of yourself. They are not attractive.
So, where is the essay? Simple, if you find yourself some day reviewing your ‘things to do’ list and confronting the fact that you are in the wrong country for dying: get yourself to Thailand. Get a folding chair and a map of the Bangkok overhead train system, or get a tourist map of Pattaya. If I see you I will wave my cane. Make Thailand part of your cancer equation. Make moving to the Kingdom part of your ‘things to do’ list.
Nice to hear from you, but very sorry to hear about your health issues. It’s a reminder for all of us that life is short and we really ought to pursue those things that make us happy.
The author can be contacted at : [email protected]