It Has Been Awhile

Indeed it has.

Really, the best time to make a post announcing that I was still alive would have been Sunday. See, I don’t talk it a lot here–though it’s in the About Emptyeye section–but five years ago Sunday I was officially diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. In English, “A large cancerous mass in my chest was pushing on my lungs and heart, causing me dry-coughing fits and making my heart look huge on scans”. Yeah. I’m better now, obviously, but at the time I was probably a lot closer to dying than anyone told me. Without getting too gruesomely into the details, there were certain procedures performed and tubes inserted that, I found out later, are generally not inserted into people unless it’s absolutely necessary. That, plus the “We need to start chemotherapy on you…immediately.” (Which weren’t the exact words–again, leaving out details–but that was the gist of it), should have been a clue that things weren’t good for me.

Suffice to say that it wasn’t a particularly good time. While I think I can officially call myself a “cancer survivor” now–woo hoo for that–I do periodically think about it. More accurately, I sometimes wonder why I survived. On a physically level, I understand why–I was in my early 20s, and reasonably physically fit–but on an emotional level, I’m not sure I necessarily “deserved” to. Contrary to the image of the strong, upbeat, determined cancer patient, there were times when I was going through treatment and wanted it to just end, because I felt at the time that being dead would be better than going to the hospital for a week at a time and either sleeping of vomitting through most of that week.

It should also be noted that surviving one form of cancer does not magically make me an expert on giving pep talks to patients of every type of cancer under the sun. I can and do try when people ask me to do this, mind you, but one of the things that flat out pissed me off about going through chemotherapy was people telling me “I can imagine how you feel”, or even more annoyingly, “If I could take your place, I would.” To the first, quite simply, no you can’t imagine it, because it sucks. Conversely, I can’t imagine exactly how it feels for anyone else to go through it, despite what some people may think. For the second…well, I’ve told other people that I really hope my feeling on this change when and if I have kids. But currently, if I knew someone who was going through the treatment regimen that I had, and I could take their place to make them better…to be totally honest? I don’t think I would, at least presently. Because I went through it once already, and I know first hand how much it sucks. If it makes me a terrible person, and I can’t help but think it does, then so be it–but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go through that again.

But onto happier news.

Development on my game is coming along, although I’m pretty sure I’m stomping all over best programming practices in the process. Nonetheless, I have a working movement system (Complete with tiny automap), and the start of a working battle system. Essentially, I actually have something that can conceivably be called a (Short, not yet particularly fun) game, in that you can talk to a king and he’ll say “Go kill the huge slime” and you can do that and go back to the king and he’ll say “Hey good job!” The next step is to get a working shop system up and going, and then I’ll have most of the components in place. Then it’s just a matter of expanding it. The game is going to be called Hysterium, and I’m determined to complete it, given the sheer number of projects I’ve started and abandoned over the years.

Also, I’m about a week away from Connecticon, where I have a title to defend. Unless something really wacky happens between now and then, the basic plan for this year is for myself and last year’s other Best Instrument winners to essentially form a “supergroup” this time out. Of course, it’s not strictly about score, but the rules for this year mean I should actually do better than last year, given that A. I now have a year a familiarity with exactly what the Rock Band engine wants in terms of vocals, plus B. I’ve been working on actually “performing” some of these songs in my spare time (Which, in a party environment, is preferable anyway, even if you’re not being strictly judged on it).

And that’s that.


1 ping

    • James on July 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Good post…

    Thinking back on your treatment period, when I first heard the news from my Mom, she was pretty upfront about it all — get home ASAP — and a day later, I was on a plane for Connecticut. Scary time all around, no one moreso than for you.

    I think it’s important that you DO give yoruself credit for not only the physical but the mental side of the fight. I think what was hard was we COULDN’T understand how you felt and it was tough to only get small flashes of the “old Marc” in between the treatments. For most of us, we assume death is still a vague, far-off notion that is not to be pondered for dozens of years. Yet, to confront it at such a young age– and emerge from it all — is amazing.

    It’s a fight you didn’t want of course, but you stood up and did what needed to be done. And we’re all grateful you did.

    • emptyeye on July 30, 2009 at 7:50 am

    In hindsight, I think I was about the only one who didn’t realize how serious it was for awhile, and even after the fact. It was only after the fact when someone pointed it out to me that I comprehended the whole thing. Who knows how I would’ve felt had I known the gravity of the situation at the time.

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