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Tag: Cancer

Donald Trump is Cancer

Today, I had a brief moment of insight and recognized what I am—and have been—feeling about Donald Trump becoming the President; this whole process has felt a lot like watching a loved one die of a terminal disease. In fact, as I think about it more, the metaphor and emotional arc I’ve experienced extend to pretty much the entire campaign process, so let’s go through the whole thing together.

Donald Trump’s rise through the ranks of the already-toxic GOP was difficult for me to watch and impossible for me to stay level headed about. All the warning signs were there: the lies, the hate, the malice. Trump has been cartoon evil the entire time, a smirking villain in a group of otherwise unremarkable Republican contenders dominated by Tea Party whackos and members of the old guard who just couldn’t compete for the attention of America’s bible-thumping red state voters. He climbed through the ranks on the backs of more qualified men, and then stole their thunder with wild boasting and impossible promises. Never ready to openly embrace the darkest aspects of the American electorate, but also never willing to publicly separate himself from them, Trump didn’t go away like any sane person wanted him to, but grew in influence and became more serious. So serious that the soreness and aches could no longer be ignored, and suddenly there was blood in the urine which definitely required a trip the doctor.

While you hoped for a mundane response from the doctor, a bruised kidney or maybe dehydration or stress or some other manageable thing, the news was more dire than you would have ever feared. The doctor had ruled out all other possibilities and Donald Trump became the Republican presidential nominee. The bad news pulled people together to fight the spread of disease, but people couldn’t decide how it should be treated, so they bickered and argued and some people decided that abstaining from treatment was the right choice. And the good doctors all tried their hardest to fight the spread of the Trump cancer, but spread and grow it did.

We all struggled and we were angry. Trump was wildly unqualified for the job the Republicans put him up for. He was a vile, reprehensible man in both his public and private lives and this was the person the GOP thought should run the country? It seemed so insane to everyone. How could this happen? Why us? This couldn’t possibly be real, could it? But it was real. Incredibly real. Yet, we were assured that he wasn’t going to win, that it was almost a certainty that we would beat this monster and we would continue on with the grand American experiment the way we had for the previous eight imperfect but incredible years under the stewardship of Obama. Everything was going to be fine! People would never actually vote for that monster. Why would anyone want cancer to spread?

Suddenly, there was an unexpected turn for the worst, and Trump won the Presidency with 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. It was a devastating blow. Spirits were crushed. The future felt dark. For me, Trump winning was that moment you watched your loved one being admitted to the hospital with very little possibility of leaving. Sure, you hoped that something would turn around, that he would have been impeached or that this business with Putin would have had some effect. You read and you researched, and some information elicited hope and some inspired dread. Yet, you couldn’t turn yourself away from the reading, from the discussions, from trying to figure out how to fix the problem. Surely there must be some solution. You racked your brain and you were filled with anxiety and sleep eluded you. And when everything was boiling inside you, you screamed into the void and you pled with the heavens. But deep, deep in your heart, you knew that this was always a one-way trip. Your loved one will not see the outside of a hospital again and Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.

On January 20th, 2017, you watched the light in your loved one’s eyes fade and Trump was sworn in to the highest office in the land.

And it was sad, but, in a lot of ways, it was also a huge relief.

The death of someone you love is an unparalleled loss, but watching them suffer and erode is much worse. Terminal disease robs people of the people they are, and by the time they actually pass, you feel like you can finally stop holding your breath. You can finally stop worrying. You can let go. That person is gone and absolutely nothing will change that. No more unknowns, no more worrying. Now, you mourn, you celebrate, and you rebuild your new, different life.

That feeling of relief is what I recognized in myself today and it took me a moment to understand where I’d felt it before. But when I figured it out, the last year was suddenly thrown into stark clarity. Of course! these feelings are like when my little brother was sick and died, but on a more abstract, macro scale. With Nicky’s dying, it was pointed and sharp and very personal. With Trump’s presidency, it is broad and formless and everywhere, but the feelings—the loss, the anger, the anxiety, the fear—are exactly the same. And now that the wondering is over, I feel prepared to get on with it. And that doesn’t mean giving up. It means that my energy can be focused free of crippling anxiety. Trump is death and he has arrived, so we no longer have to worry about dying.

I suspect that a lot of Americans are feeling the same way this weekend. The Women’s Marches across the country and the world are sure indicators. Sarah is down in DC today for the march on the capital. I am proud of her for that. Lots of women I know are also in DC for the march, or in various cities for local marches. I am proud of all of them, too. I am proud of every American woman, man, and child who is out across the country raising their voice to help us all rebuild after our devastating loss. This is a positive first step and a strong statement that the desire for progress is real. The message is love and equality and acceptance. The message is hope. The next four years are going to be rocky, unsure, complicated. Now it is time to rebuild our new, different life as Americans to battle the poisons spilling from the Trump regime.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of my brother Nick.

I would write something, but I think my sister Elizabeth has already done such a lovely job that I will instead share what she wrote here with you.

I don’t have the right words I need for this so I will borrow some.

“I wish you could have been there for the sun and the rain and the long, hard hills, for the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road, for the people laughing and crying and remembering at the end. But, mainly, I wish you could have been there.” – Brian Andreas, Wish List.

Nick, time has betrayed me. Ten years have gone by in a moment and I’m left wondering how I got here.

The first time you were diagnosed, the news came through my mother and father while I sat with all of my siblings in my sister’s room. I was in first grade. A few days earlier, Joe had been sitting on you and punching your back while watching TV. You peed blood. Mom told us that it was because you ate too many red vines and I believed it. For the next week, I cried every time I had to use the bathroom because I was afraid. The truth was that Joe had aggravated a tumor the size of a football in your torso. They gave you a 40% chance of living 6 months and recommended hospice but you decided to fight. Soon your head was bald and we made sure to replace your lost hair with dozens of temporary tattoos. This was against the rules at our Catholic school but they made an exception, letting you be the only kid in third grade who could show off his Beavis & Butthead tattoos. One surgery and several rounds of aggressive chemo later, you were down a kidney but you were given more time.

The second time you were diagnosed, the news came through a phone call before basketball practice. I was a sophomore in high school. For the past few weeks, you’d been having back pain and didn’t know what was causing it. Your hair had been in and out recently as a result of alopecia areata. Though it’s benign, the combination of that with the unexplained pain had us all worried about what was going on below the surface. The truth was that there was a tumor the size of a grapefruit where your kidney had been. They gave you a good prognosis and removed the slow growing tumor a few days later. Soon you were having morning radiation and consistently treating your friends to weekday breakfast because and you knew you could get them an excused tardy. One surgery and several rounds of radiation later, you were given more time.

The third time you were diagnosed, I was in the room with you. I was a junior in high school. For the past few weeks, your back pain had come back and we were all nervous. We were told that we could get test results faster if we went to the ER so we spent a day in the waiting room and were told that the tests suggested that it wasn’t cancer but they would do a full scan to be sure. The truth was that they were wrong. The cancer had changed; it came back aggressive and unrelenting. Dr. Dahl wept as he gave you the news for the third time. I wept in the doctor’s office, and in the car, and when I told my sister what had happened, and every morning when I woke up and, for a moment, forgot what he’d said. A few days later, you and I were alone in your room and you apologized to me for having to have hear the truth of your illness. You were sorry that you didn’t have a chance to sugar coat it, to deliver it more softly, to find a way to make the tumors in your lungs, your hips, and your sinus seem smaller. You were the one who was sick and you were already looking out for the people around you, demonstrating a type of strength that it took me years to fully understand. I told you that I was grateful to have been in the room and that I didn’t want to hide from this. You got ready for your third fight and gave it your all for 9 months. A few surgeries and countless rounds of chemo and radiation later, you weren’t given more time.

The day you died, I was standing at the foot of your hospital bed. I was a junior in high school. For the past few weeks, you’d been getting more sick and we were all broken. You’d had a surgery that didn’t go as planned and we knew we were down to a matter of weeks, if not days. It was a time of learning to put your comfort before our own deep desire to have you with us. We told you we loved you, we told you it was ok for you to go, and we waited. At 10:32am on 6.26.2005, you were gone and we experienced our first day in an incomplete world.

That’s where we’ve been ever since: living in a world where every day feels incomplete. And now it’s been 10 years and I wonder where the time has gone.

So today I can only say thank you and promise that I will keep missing you in every day to come and I will keep trying to make you proud. Nick, thank you for simply being my brother. The boy who told me he could read my palm to see my future house and then spit in my hand to show me where the pool would be. I cried and you told me you’d do it for real this time and then you spit in my hand again. Later, when we grew up and things got hard, thank you for teaching just how deep and complex strength can be. Thank you for teaching me that sometimes the odds are just numbers and that you can always try. Thank you for teaching me how to have a sense of humor even when it all seems pointless. Thank you for everything.

I miss you, brother. I love you.



Help my friend battle cancer.

Help my friend!

My lovely friend Jonathan Waiter, talented photographer and all-around super sweet dude (and surprisingly intense Starcraft player), has recently been diagnosed with late stage lymphoma. If that means nothing to you, let me put it into layman’s terms: he’s got some seriously bad cancer that has spread throughout his torso, to his liver and his heart. Bad bad bad news. Like so many other Americans, Jonathan lacks health insurance and chemotherapy and the surrounding costs are a severe burden.

Before going on, let me quote the description our friend Teresa wrote.

For anyone who may not have heard the full story, or if you are new to the story a​l​t​o​g​e​t​h​e​r​.​.​. Jonathan was diagnosed just recently with Lymphoma. The stage is currently unclear, though it is clear that it is Stage 3 or 4.

The discovery was made following several bouts of losing c​o​n​s​c​i​o​u​s​n​e​s​s​. During one such occasion, he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Tests finally concluded that Jonathan was facing a cancer diagnosis. Early imaging showed tumors in the chest cavity, lungs, and surrounding major arteries.

After navigating the public hospital system with no insurance, and a Medicaid application pending, Jonathan went on through additional testing to find that the cancer had also spread to his kidneys, liver and pancreas.

Medical bills are piling up at a truly heart breaking rate. These costs are mostly supposed to be covered retro​-​actively by Medicaid, although, as if more bad news could be suffered, the Medicaid application was denied.

Friends are reviewing the information, and will be going through the motions to appeal the decision by way of a hearing. This could be a fight, but the hope is that it was due to a simple application error.

Jonathan’s case has been escalated to emergency status in the public hospital system. He and some nearby friends are also looking into the possibility of transferring into a more reputable hospital once the Medicaid issue is sorted.

As you can imagine, the phone calls, emails, and messages are pouring in. Well wishers, friends, and family are u​n​d​e​r​s​t​a​n​d​a​b​l​y eager to be updated and to hear Jonathan’s voice on the other end of the phone… however, his energy is very low and he is experiencing a great amount of pain and discomfort most of the time, especially following chemo treatments.

The purpose of this site is to receive regular updates on his mental, physical and emotional state.

A small network of friends will be operating this site. I’m sure it will be a rotating cast depending on who has the latest information and/or closest proximity.

If he is not able to return your calls and messages, please stop by this site, where we will do our best to keep everyone informed of all the newest d​e​v​e​l​o​p​m​e​n​t​s​. I can tell you that Jonathan sincerely appreciates every person in his life, and cares very much for all of the concern that everyone is already showing, and the help that everyone is offering.

There are apparently several fund raising efforts in the works. That is GREAT news. In addition to the donation capabilities of this site, we will try to keep you updated on links to all other efforts to make sure Jonathan receives all the support possible.

Being self employed comes with many advantages and d​i​s​a​d​v​a​n​t​a​g​e​s​.​.​. as Jonathan is currently e​x​p​e​r​i​e​n​c​i​n​g​. There is, of course, freedom to work the way you want and to live the truly rewarding life of a professional artist, but the down sides are inevitable. Limited access to health coverage, no disability insurance, no paid sick time, and the anxiety of uncertainty in the middle of an unforeseen health crisis.

During this long ordeal, Jonathan needs to be able to cover his day to day expenses. By this, I do not mean medical expenses. I mean the basic necessities of life. We can help to make this happen, and I am asking you to do just that.

Your support means the world to Jonathan and to everyone who loves him and wants to see him through to ultimate success. If you know him, you at least have a special place in your heart for him, if you don’t outright love and adore him.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for stopping by. More updates to come, on a regular basis. –Teresa

Serious business here. I don’t ask my readers for a lot here on The Black Laser and I make no money on this site. But this is important to me and it would be great if you could help Jonathan out with anything you can manage. It doesn’t need to be a lot (though that would be rad), but do try and help. Spread the word. You’re all awesome.


Donate here: GoFundMe: Jonathan Waiter

And while you’re at it, check out Jonathan’s photography.

Jonathan (NSFW-skinny girl tits)
Porcelain Insect (NSFW-skinny girl tits)