GangsterLog 01.02.2013 – Years ago, her shapes began to get smaller, softer and more bendy. It didn’t spook me, but it did get harder to know her from a distance at the park. I got used to it though. She was now the slow-moving, hunched-over, puffy jacket with the round fuzzy top.
She started sitting on the hardwood floor more often, and along every wall or open corner of the apartment. I much prefer the couch, but always joined her anyway.
It reminded me of when I was younger, when she would get down on the floor and pull my front legs towards her, pressing my belly to the cold floor and following up with a tiny nibble of soft snack. She stopped doing that though, years ago. Stopped liking that game, or maybe just couldn’t get any more miniature morsels? Not sure. I guess I shouldn’t make hasty assumptions. I tend to do that.
Most often, we would curl up on the shaggy rug in the bathroom. Just the two of us, cozied up in her long fleece robe. She would wake up here and there, choking and making throaty sounds. Things were stuck inside her that she was constantly trying to get out. It helped her to rub my barrel chest and hum.
I always knew something was going to change in her, but I didn’t want the image of the clairvoyant mutt to put pressure on my existence. And to be honest, I was quite enjoying my endless puppyhood. But almost overnight, I grew up.
This thing that changes her shapes also slows her down and makes her forget what she likes to do. I take her out for walks. When it rains, we play the same tired games with soft toys in the apartment, but I make a dramatic point to flinch with astonishment at every squeak-squeak and fake toss. She needs that reassurance and she needs me to keep her on track.
I can’t divide my attention. I have reverse A.D.D. I do one thing and I stay focused on it. When it’s time to walk or eat, we stick to it.
But despite only focusing on whatever we’re getting into at that moment, I can feel that we’re different together now, because of this thing that changed her years ago.
Not better or worse. Just different.
(Photo cred Jami Fukui)
Hyped and humbled about publishing my first sole-authored article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. I am immensely grateful to my mentors and colleagues for their feedback and encouragement that made this contribution possible. I hope that my scholarship will one day improve the life of a young person facing the devastation of a cancer diagnosis. Definitely worth surviving cancer twice to do.
Click HERE to read the full article.
Cheung, C.K. (2018). “Young cancer patients as future leaders in the global knowledge economy.” Cancer Therapy and Oncology International Journal. 10(4). https://doi.org/10.19080/CTOIJ.2018.10.555795
To all cancer patients who wish to simply be seen, without judgment of whether they are glass half-full or half-empty people. Flashback from my last trip to Tahoe, before lung damage from radiation set in and has since kept me from adventures at altitude.
Big thanks to Aileen & Jimmy Chu for making that final trip happen.
Honored and humbled to contribute both my embodied research and personal experiences with cancer technologies in this CNN story by Susan Scutti. Congrats to Teen Cancer America on their 2017 Global AYA Cancer Congress success. I’m looking forward to 2018, when our global squad will meet in Sydney, Australia, to keep working on better outcomes for adolescent and young adult cancer patients.
On June 16, 2017, Malcolm dog and I walked in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs graduation ceremony at Royce Hall. I finished my PhD in Social Welfare! My dissertation was entitled, Occupied with Cancer: Trajectories of Employment/Education and Psychological Distress among Socioculturally Diverse Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients.
When I began doctoral studies at UCLA, I did not think that I would finish. My last cancer prognosis gave me an 80% chance of 2-3 years before the lymphoma would return. It wasn’t a secret. All my people back in the SF Bay Area knew. But when I relocated to Los Angeles, I kept this prognosis from my colleagues until more recently. They didn’t need to know. Back then, I was content with the idea that being a doctoral student would be my final gig. So, lucky me. Even though the most important degree in my professional career will forever be my humbling GED, living long enough and healthy enough to earn a PhD is pretty dope too.
I got so many mahalos and so much aloha for my impressive squad of mentors, friends, relatives, and clinicians (y’all know who you are). Cos let’s be honest, there’ve been folks who tried to get in my way across these years. But my good people have been such an important part of supporting me through the vicissitudes of life before, during, and after cancer hit 2x. I could not have done this without their love, compassion, big laughs, practical help, and tolerance.
I can not tell you how happy I am right now. It would be ridiculous to try.