Green is the New Pink

It’s been a while, so let’s sneak a peak at the C.Rushing Big C Countdown Clock. Wow, look at time fly. (Of course, the clock doesn’t really mean anything and is for entertainment purposes only)

This week is brief, owing to an eventful weekend. D and I ended up playing man defense this weekend. She took the oldest to Huntsville for his soccer tourney and I stayed with the youngest here in Chattanooga for his tourney. The CFC U11 boys won ther tournament in Alabama, while the youngun's team didn’t fare quite as well. Both of them scored numerous times, and (consequently?) they both had a good time. The CFC boys (whom I already loved immeasurably) are after my heart again. The have adopted a tradition of wearing green socks for their championship Sunday games in my honor. (Green is to gall bladder cancer as pink is to breast cancer). That’s a super special gesture and it means a great deal to me. (Plus, they look great).
I'm flattered and humbled that the boys
are wearing green in my honor.
After his morning game (in which he scored a hat trick), I got to introduce the youngest to that most wonderful of traditions- a fall Saturday afternoon centered on an Alabama football game. We had a marvelously lazy day of grazing, lounging, and football channel surfing. Alabama defeated A&M handily, and we were treated to a number of upsets and fantastic finishes across the football world. The long day culminated in us falling asleep and drooling on one another to backdrop of the LSU/Florida game. Of course, we missed Mom and brother, but I have to say we had a pretty damned good day.

Next up for the Tide, of course, is Tennessee. This one has me worried- but it always does. One could easily argue that UT should be undefeated at this point. Those three losses a) are against two solid teams, and b) each came after the Vols seemed to be in control of the game. The Florida loss was one of the worst beats I’ve seen (but not as bad as the Michigan debacle). Naturally, they got an extra week off to rest and prepare for us while this will be our eighth straight game (including three road games against ranked opponents- two in the top ten). I’m gutted that my crew and I won’t be making our annual trip. God-willing, we’ll do it next year.

That’s all I’ve got. Have a great week, know that I love ya'll (even you orange). Roll Tide.

No theme for this week’s music, just random tunes. This was big during grad school. While we're in the genre, this is a classic. Speaking of classics, this is my favorite Beatles song.


Yes, That's My Fanny Pack

After my brush with death in Houston (apparently, sepsis ain’t no joke), here I am back in God’s own Chattanooga. Life is good.

The Rushing Cup.

The highlight of last week was, of course, the inaugural Rushing Cup. I am part of a group of about forty guys that play golf together every Wednesday evening. At the end of the year we pick teams and play a day-long, Ryder Cup style tournament. After my diagnosis, the guys decided to name the event in my honor (despite the fact that I’m not dead yet). The craziness in Houston put my participation in jeopardy, but in the end I made it. Playing twenty-seven holes took a lot out of me, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I played even worse than I normally do, but I’m afraid that was the only possibility. In the end, the White team nipped my Crimson team 16 ½ to 14 ½ to win the cup. It’s hard to describe the feeling of presenting a trophy named after you to the winner when you lost. It’s also tough to describe how special the day was and how much it meant to me. I love those boys each and every one.

Just for fun we teed off under a full Double rainbow.

The freshest foursome fivesome on the course:
Sparky, Bike Lane Bailey, TPalm, Easy E &
yours truly. (Thanks for the pic Spark!)

Yes, that was a wicked long putt.
And yes, I missed horribly.
I love these boys.

I’m in the process of getting back into the swing of life. My big problem is fatigue. To this point I have been attributing the weariness to fact that I left thirty-plus pounds in Texas. This morning, however, my oncologist reminded me that recovery from sepsis, my radiation treatment, some of my medicines, and the cancer itself all contribute to fatigue. That isn’t any real help, other than mentally- the extra excuses make me feel somewhat less of a wuss. Fortunately, once in a sedentary position I can do a decent job of focusing on work, and I’ve been back in that saddle for a while.

The news of the day is chemo. The last time I had chemo, I handled it like a champ. A combination of being in good health and some luck in how my body processed the chemicals made for a relatively trouble-free experience. This time ‘round, I’m not at my best and the chemicals are more formidable- we’ll see how it goes down. The most novel aspect of this treatment, however, is how it’s administered. After a two-hour infusion at the clinic, the remainder of the medicine is administered via a pump over the course of two days. I have to carry the pump around in a fanny pack. A fanny pack. While my initial reaction was to recoil in horror, I have decided to embrace the pack. I am not hiding it under a jacket or shirt, but will be sporting it proudly, front and center, like a German tourist. So, if you happen see my new fashion accessory, that’s what’s up.

I offer my sincerest apologies, for forgetting to share the soundtrack to my life. In Houston, there is no music (at least I didn’t listen to any). When we landed and got in the car last week, I cranked the stereo out of habit and the first bars were a revelation of what I missing for four weeks. During the two hour drive home, music (plus the joy of being home) made me tear up a few times. I must remember to keep the music playing.

After that little note, it’s a shame that I don’t have better songs for the week, but this what has been in heavy rotation. I’ve never appreciated R.E.M. as much as I should, but this song came on at a loud volume and sounded really good. I was going to save this one for when my death appears imminent, but it’s been on Sirius a lot this week and I can’t get it out of my head. I can’t let another week pass without a Noel Gallagher tune.


The Closest I Will Get to Political

In my previous blog on urban design I managed to avoid political waters for the most part. This is primarily due to the fact that I am moderate and a centrist and it turns my stomach to listen to folks on the fringes hurl insults at one another. As such I can’t maintain an interest in politics, my mind moves on to other things. That said, the topic of today’s blog is about as political as they come these days. Today, I humbly ask that you lower your political guard for a few moments and consider what I have to say a real-world example of something that has been abstracted and politicized.

Just so you know, I tend to lean right on political issues, but as I mentioned, I am a centrist and favor cooperation and collaboration over taking it to the mat to win every issue. As recently as nine months ago I was in total opposition to Obamacare.  As a self-employed, small business owner the idea that my monthly rates were going to jump to pay for a bloated government program made me cranky. Because of the particulars of my situation I was grandfathered for a year before I had to convert to an ACA policy. During that grandfather period I was diagnosed with cancer.

Had the ACA not been in place by the time I was diagnosed, the Rushing family would have been financially ruined. The key was the pre-existing condition provision. If I went to the market as a self-employed, sole-proprietor with stage four cancer, no insurance company would have taken me. We certainly would not have been able to afford to pay for cancer care without insurance. Please note that this is not due to failure to plan on our part. We have followed the savings playbook to the letter- we have our 6-month buffer, religiously contribute to our retirement accounts, and have 529’s set up for the boys. Despite that diligent work, the monumental cost of this cancer care will far eclipse to few farthings we’ve worked hard to save. Through its pre-existing conditions provision, the ACA has mitigated an unimaginable stress, and preserved a brighter future for the Rushings.

I hate to be "the drain on the system" that gets more out of the system than he pays in. But I can assure you that I didn't plan on getting cancer at age 42, and we can't trace a poor life decision that led to the cancer. I simply drew a short straw.

Part of the promise of the ACA is preventing illness from having catastrophic financial effects on people. I firmly believe in this premise, and have been a beneficiary of it. I hope as we move into election season that when we take our positions on this issue people realize that portions of the ACA make sense for everyone.

So that’s off my chest, I really felt like I needed to say something. (Now don’t go using this an excuse to flood my Facebook with political stuff- there’s enough of that out there already. And I say that with love in my heart :) Until next time, Roll Tide ya'll!


On a Brighter Note

It has come to my attention that my post from earlier this week was sad and depressing. Lest we head into the weekend on a down note, let me fill you in on where we stand (which isn’t really all that bad).

The Bad:
-I’m still in Houston. I think we have a plan for how to escape, but that hinges on a couple of procedures and consultations. Fingers crossed.
-I look rough. Spending a couple of weeks in a hospital bed on a liquid diet will do things to your body. Significant weight loss is one of those things. I’m now running about 20% below my fighting weight. Consequently, I look like a cancer patient. I hope to fill out a bit by the time I get home, but if I’m still a bit gaunt when you see me, don’t be alarmed. 

The Ugly:
-Next up, more chemo. A silver bullet of side-effect-free immunotherapy that cures everything would have been nice, but t'was not my fate. We're back to old school chemo. The silver lining is that it's looking like chemo can be administered in Chattanooga. 

The Good:
-I’m not dead yet. We’re all headed that way, and no one knows the future, but it does not appear that I’m in immediate danger (Facebookers, I’m looking at you :)
-It appears that the remainder of my treatment will be handled in Chattanooga. No more scheduled trips to Houston.
-I just made it through 10 days of radiation, none the worse for wear.

Of course, as we have seen over the past few months all of these are subject to change at a moment's notice. This is a pretty good picture of where we stand today. Have a great weekend and I’ll check in soon.