By Chiggers Stokes
Special to The Forks Forum
My dear readers, how few you may be: Please gather around me. In launching the column “Seeing Through” my intention was to share with this community a sense of my world view. Call it legacy. Cancer was flashing through my lymph system like scotch broom on a fresh road cut. I actually went into the Forks Forum and made the pitch to our open minded editor — that people might care about my world view because I was dying.
Whether it is on TV, or in court or, hopefully here in the pages of our town newspaper, when one encounters a dying declaration, it commands attention. My perspective on the matter is that pretty much everything that comes out of a dying person that isn’t gibberish or agonal flatulence, falls under the hat of wisdom. This I explained to the editor of the Forks Forum as 2015 drew to a close. I walked out of the office that day, a doomed man, but with a bounce in my step. I had sold the story!
But, a year later, I am unable to keep the deal.
In that year, I have tried everything placed in my path to try to turn cancer around. A partial list would exhaust my word limit for this column. But, my prognosis began to turn as indicated by my PSA numbers, presumably the effect of hormone therapy. Things were looking promising, but the real news, cancer-wise, would come from a contrast MRI and bone scan. My sister is my best friend and executor of my medical directives. We planned a road trip that came back here so we could hike to Strawberry Point … and then on to my medical appointment in Seattle.
In childhood, my sister was my blood enemy. I was scrawny and underachieving and she was athletic and A-academic. She had three and a half years on me and used that age and size advantage to dispense some mighty chig-whuppings. It’s true! She would give me black eyes and swollen lips and I would tell my classmates I fell down. I’m sure my dear sister remembers things differently. But one thing we remember in stereo is the night after she came home from being an exchange student.
I was 13 and had grown a foot since she last had her clutches on me. A fight ensued about who owned the cat after a year’s absence. I pitched my sis out a one story window. She held tight on my hair and I sailed out the window after her and dove head first into her solar plexus. The air went out of her like slamming a whoopee cushion with a sledge hammer. For a head-first landing, I had fared well, but I was still a little woozy from having my spine stretched by a near hanging, followed by deceleration compression as I used my sister’s diaphragm for an air bag. When she could breath, we both remember, she started to laugh. And the laughter crossed the bridge from enemy to friendship.
I needed my sister beside me to hear whatever this medical news was to be. And the news was: They can’t see cancer in me.
For a while I am not smelling the breath of the grim reaper. I am grateful for the expert, compassionate and thorough care I have received at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Perhaps I am more grateful to my friends and family who have demonstrated such positive intention that the that their love and caring would find home in halting this march to the grave. I want to point out that Terry Hielman of Clallam Bay laid hands on me with conviction that he was healing cancer. Likewise, I need to acknowledge Forks born and raised, Ryan (the Wizard), for his Radionics and other ultra-alternative medicine.
I want to publicly thank myself, for giving it my best shot – for my private exorcism to cast out the demons of anger and blame.
I need to acknowledge to the editor of the Forks Forum that these words are no dying declaration. And I’m not dying to tell you: My wisdom is just that of another guy’s.
But I have learned that it is more rewarding to love than to hate. I have learned that your worst enemy can one day be your best friend. And I have more days to learn more lessons … which I hope to share with you in a column on world view.
So, thank you for gathering close, but you can stand easy. We have time.