A few words on my personal situation. I’ve got good news and not-so-good news.
Yesterday was “Doug Porter Day” in San Diego according to a proclamation from the County Board of Supervisors. I was recognized for my many years of journalism and activism.
It was surreal to be in the Board’s space. Between cancer and covid, I don’t get out a lot these days and being around a lot of people makes me anxious. None-the-less, it felt good to be appreciated, and to be able to at least wave at old friends and acquaintances.
The anxiety of being at a public event caused my post surgical pain level to shoot up to eight on a scale of ten. So be it. At age 71 my years of beauty contests are behind me. I did the best I could.
What was really disappointing were the maskholes seated behind me who couldn’t be bothered to shut up with their bitter (and loud) commentary during the convocation by my old friend Rabbi Laurie Coskey, the Pledge of Allegiance via video from an elementary school class, and my award presentation.
Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer read a few words on my behalf, words that seemed especially relevant given the childish behavior of a few in the audience:
- The greatness of our democracy lies in its aspirational qualities and recognition that progress comes from people banding together for the greater good.
- All over this country elected officials are facing credible threats to their lives, based on a wrong-headed notion of ME and my privilege over WE the people. Rhetoric like that used in this space in recent weeks inspires those threats. These are the actions of people who know they cannot win elections on the merits of their arguments.
- I cannot sit silent while those whose definition of freedom endangers others. I will not abide the threat of mob violence to our institutions, whether it’s physical or psychological. I will always recognize the need for moving forward, not backward.
- I lost my voice to cancer more than a decade ago, yet my advocacy for justice, for opportunity, and for freedom has only grown louder with each passing year.
- Thank you to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for recognizing my efforts.
It really does feel good when somebody says thank you.
I’m headed into the hospital for yet another “procedure” today. How intensive it will be will depend on what they see. I should be back in the saddle tomorrow…
UPDATE: The procedure was apparently successful. It feels so good to be without the pain. I’m headed for a nap.
Last December I was operated on to remove cancer from my throat. They say they got it all, though I had to undergo two radiation sessions daily five days a week for a month (Just in case.)
What I’ve had problems with has been the reconstructive surgery done following the cancer surgery. I’ve had four operations and two ‘procedures’ since they got the cancer.
During the last operation the surgeons inserted a roughly six inch long stent into my esophagus, hoping to prevent damage to stitches from saliva, which turns out to be dangerous when it comes to healing. They say if it goes near the carotid artery it’s curtains for the patient.
Who knew spit could be so powerful?
In any case, this stent –which was supposed to cause minor discomfort– has led to a couple of weeks of serious pain. It comes and goes, but mostly it comes. It’s the kind of pain that makes you useless and stupid.
My throat (where the stent ends) is on fire, and waves of hurt shoot out to my ears and upper body. Over the decade of various treatments since my cancer was diagnosed, this is by far the most pain I’ve felt.
I’ve complained, but all the brouhaha over painkillers apparently makes doctors reluctant to write prescriptions. So it’s been alternating doses of Tylenol and Motrin.
(I really hate how oxycontin makes me feel, and I don’t think it’s very effective in actually stopping pain. It is effective in making you not complain so much.)
I’m told the stent comes out today. Then they’ll stick a scope down there to see how things look.
Success will mean I’m on a path to end being fed through a tube. It’s anybody’s guess whether I’ll be eligible for another implant that allows me to speak somewhere down the road.
At this point I just want the pain to go away.
Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35-year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He’s won numerous awards for his columns from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.