“Dream Faith”: The False Christianity That Feeds Our Society’s Sickness

There should be substantial irony in my posting on Christmas Eve an essay lamenting organized Christianity’s abandonment of its solemn duties.  I didn’t plan to have the day and the theme run head-on into each other.  In fact, I wasn’t fully aware that Christmas week was approaching when, in closing my last post, I wrote of…

a theme which deeply preoccupies me, and to which I would like to return soon: the betrayal of organized Christianity.  Our betrayal by organized Christianity.  “Humanitarian grounds”… : how many of us have heard from pulpits that Christ compels us to relinquish our earthly boundaries and welcome every wanderer to our hearth?  “Brotherly love”: how many have heard that Christ preached a religion of peace and would deplore the presence of self-defensive weapons on our person or in our home?  “Love-affirming, life-affirming”: how often have churches responded to a dictatorial command that they shut down while COVID rages with the meek acquiescence of, “Oh, yes!  Whatever we can do to save lives!”  Some phrase worthy of gracing a marquee in Podunk Baptist’s weekly message is wrapped around stupidly ineffectual, morally tainted, and physically destructive behavior… and we’re sent home with our painless lobotomy to marvel and drool at the collapse around us.

Why not just leave the subject alone for another week?  People don’t read blogs over “the holidays”, anyway; and I, like most of you, have family gathered around the hearth today in an abundance that rarely occurs any longer.  Just let it ride for now: laugh, hug, sing, eat… can’t we do that just for a bit, when it’s almost never done throughout the rest of our sad year?

And yet… well, here’s why I see no irony in the timing of my protest against the Church: because the celebration of Christmas should be about the birth of Christ, of all implied therein—and warm embrace of family during a wintry gathering of the clan is really not anywhere among those implications.  On the contrary, the Festival of the Sun’s Return after the Winter Solstice is a major celebration on the pagan calendar (so major that Christian missionaries decided to adopt it as Christ’s birthday, too, rather than try to explain to their crude proselytes that the earth’s rhythms are not the highest expression of God’s will).  It seems to me, rather, that the irony lies in our trying, year after year after year, to pretend that all is not lost in formal Western Christendom if only we can continue to bring Aunt Gussie to the table annually, to get Liam and Caroline out of their rooms and off their iPhones while presents are unwrapped, and to record (on the latest device) Laurie’s fitting a sweater on her dazed grandmother for a posterity that couldn’t care less.  We’ll trudge through such personal rituals once more, because we desperately need them.  We’ve never needed them more.  But in revisiting them, we are very mistaken to suppose that we remain, after all—after still another year of giving vital ground—Christians at heart.  We remain humans… but not every human is a Christian.  That’s the irony: the dwindling evidence of our humanity impresses us more and more as incontrovertible evidence of our faith.  It’s not, you know.  It’s just not.

I invite you to join me in a simple exercise.  Think of any ridiculously naïve hope or “vision”—one so absurd that a child who should cling to it beyond fourth or fifth grade might be thought a little behind the developmental curve.  Let’s try, “I want peace everywhere, and forever.  No more wars!  We have to stop fighting.”  Now look for some resonance of this childish platitude in the contemporary Christian church.  Not very hard to find an echo, is it?  “Christ enjoined us to live in peace.  If we are the people of faith we claim to be, then we should not be deterred in seeking that peace by taking apparent existential risks.”  Do we need to secure the power grid?  Why, no!  Why should we assume that other societies in the world want to harm us?  Do we need to update our pitifully decrepit nuclear arsenal?  Heavens, no!  Let it rust away!  The only reason other nations build such Doomsday weapons is because they see us doing so.  It’s time to lead the way, to offer a Christian example.

And so the day comes when we have a choice between having all our children injected with computer chips to serve some secular overlord day and night or, in the event of non-cooperation, being annihilated.  Yes, all of us owe God a death, sooner or later.  But the “visionary” Christian leaves innumerable masses of innocents with no alternative to denying their spiritual identity other than Auschwitz.  Is that really how faith works?

When our southern border was being inundated by unvetted immigrants (as it will soon be in exponentially greater volume), the “good Christian” raised the cry in public opinion polls closely followed by political hacks, “The children come first.  These are children in need.  Christ said, ‘Suffer the little ones to come unto me.’  We dare not turn these children away.”  No… so a child-abuse trap was created, stupidly connived at by the “good Christian”, wherein criminal thugs bought or stole youngsters from their parents, tutored them to say Este hombre es mi papacita, sí, often shuttled them back across the border to run the same scam again, and along the way beat or raped them to secure abject obedience.  And this humanitarian nightmare, as I say, was aided and abetted by good little suburban Christians who gave themselves a big virtue-hug at night before dozing off to sweet dreams.

Again, no awareness of the depth of human depravity: not much awareness, indeed, that depravity is embedded in the nature of the human animal.  The concept of original sin was warped to cover all the curmudgeons and sourpusses who resisted the “vision”, who declined to take the “leap of faith”.  It was never allowed to cast a shadow over the creatures of envy and lust at society’s fringe who had always waylaid utopian visions before.

Speaking of implanted computer chips… a friend sent me a link about a month ago to a video that spliced together a series of candid utterances, made by “visionaries” as recognizable as Bill Gates, in favor of extracting and inserting information directly into the world’s human masses.  An attractive young woman struck me, especially, with her fervent insistence that “we need to take this step if we are to create the world we want.”  I wouldn’t necessarily suspect any of these people of being Christian.  The shame of it all is that I wouldn’t necessarily suppose that a mainstream Christian today would roar in protest.  He should observe that such as we are do not create worlds—that the job has already been filled, and that our puny efforts to encroach upon it must always send infinite ripples of greed, arrogance, lust for power, and all the rest through the evolutionary brew.  Instead, I can well imagine our casual Christian appropriating the language of “a better tomorrow” the way the early missionaries appropriated the Return of the Sun for Christ’s birthday.  “Hey, that’s my gig—a better tomorrow!  Yeah, we can do that!  Eradicate poverty, extend health care to everyone, see that no child is left behind… we can all get to a better place if we suppress our egotism and serve Christ.”

And on and on.  May I assume that this very brief characterization (which, alas, is no caricature) has brought two points to the surface?  One is that late Western Christianity endorses a categorical suspicion, if not rejection, of limits.  Our faith (sayeth the New Age preacher) exhorts us to admit no traditional restriction to the possibilities.  If we only dream bravely enough, we can create the world of our dreams—a perfect world, without war or poverty or disease; for this is what Christ called us to do.  Halleluiah, halleluiah!

The second point is that no effort is invested among such “faithful” in pondering the failures generated by “dream faith”.  A particular peace hasn’t lasted because elements among us have too little faith; perfect health hasn’t been restored because elements among us have refused to join in an unprecedented initiative (e.g., universal masking, vaccinating, and locking down).  The dream is always insulated from scrutiny.  Why, Christ walked on water!  Do you suppose He could have done that if the least thought about sinking had entered His mind?

The seamless fusion of “dream faith” with the secular-progressive political mentality should be evident to anyone with ears to hear.  Is it any wonder that the formal, organized Christian church has reliably worked against the Christian worldview over the past four or five decades (with accelerating commitment)?  “Social justice” is what matters, not the struggle of each human individual to hear God’s call through the cacophony of unfair circumstances around him.  “Love” is what matters in marriage, not the acceptance of several strictures (duty to children, abstinence from other partners, embrace of self-sacrifice, etc.) which severely reduce our future options in our fourscore years on earth.

Every inspiration of “dream faith” is open-ended, and hence impossible to restrain from collateral damage or assess for deficient responsibility.  The “believer” is caught in an orgy of star-gazing that spins him into delirium but advances him toward his higher identity not a single step.  True faith, by accepting that Creation has thrown up barriers here, here, and here, humbles us as we conform our progress to those barriers and impresses us, ultimately, with the immutable truth that the destination for all our inklings of perfection must be a world beyond this one.  He of “dream faith” will not accept—on principle—that perfection cannot reign here and now.  He of true faith accepts daily shortcoming and imperfection as the inevitable cost of not yet having arrived in heaven.

Yes, our social regeneration would profit immensely from organized institutions of faith.  The latter may even be necessary to accomplish the former.  Right now, however, our religious institutions reflect an unbounded faith only in the decadent world for which they were organized.  As the old Italian saying goes, we won’t find figs growing on a thistle bush.

Our Failed State’s Babushka Doll: What’s Waiting Deep Inside Will Not Look Like the Surface

Bill Wilson of the “Washington Exposé” podcast has very aptly hit upon the phrase “sock puppet” to refer to the unelected, fraudulently and criminally imposed chief executive scheduled to assume our nation’s reins of power in January.  I can’t do better than to latch onto the phrase myself.  Now, exactly which fist is working Sock Puppet’s toothless jaws is a matter for conjecture.  Xi Jinping’s fingers may actually be crackling in a vice-grip with Klaus Schwab’s, a duel for control of the universe transpiring with immobile intensity inside that bald, otherwise empty skull.  Brigadier General Dieter Farwick, a frequent contributor to Peter Helmes’ German site Conservo.Wordpress.com, offers the wrestling match as a ground of hope.  Will the twenty-first century’s Genghis Khan of nationalist Han imperialism subdue the planet… or will the banking/financier community do so whose “woke Green” ideology is just as straight a road to totalitarian dictatorship?  It could be that these two unsteady, temporary allies in the war against individualism and personal choice will eventually annihilate one another in their bid to design the perfect cosmos from God’s empty (as they suppose) throne.  Big fish have died in the maw of other big fish before.  I’m reminded of an aerial shot showing a python’s decayed carcass in the Florida Everglades, a gator’s half-swallowed corpse projecting from its throat.

Speaking of reptiles, the fundraising scavengers (the same ones trying to milk every last penny from the Georgia run-off, a crucial plebiscite which Georgia’s solid Republican state government has declined to make more secure than the general election) keep trying to terrify us about the Sock Puppet’s doing this and that by decree.  Upon taking office on January 20, he will issue executive orders confiscating your savings, turning your real estate into public property, taxing your burial plot, and forcing you to wear a mask in the casket.  Better contribute now, while a slight hope remains!  Well, let’s slow down.  I’m not going to counter the “panic donation” technique by soothing that the Constitution doesn’t allow the Sock Puppet or any other chief exec to rule by decree.  We no longer have a Constitution.  It isn’t rule of law which will restrain the Puppet from doing anything he pleases.  What law?  John Roberts will rubber-stamp Fist Brain’s bathroom tissue upon request… and the ever-fraternal Kavanaugh and Soccer Mom Barrett (that most recent signal Republican “victory”) will work to “preserve the center”, which is what the Constitution really intended for us to do, if it intended anything.  Right?  Hold the center.  Kiss the King’s ring, ye rustics, kneel before our robes, and play nice.  If Joe the Puppet claims all of your investment portfolio, we of the High Court will see that he gets only half.  This year.  Fair’s fair, as the Constitution says somewhere.

So… yes, maybe you should be alarmed that Sock Puppet is coming for your guns.  Yet you know that a hefty donation to Locked-and-Loaded Nation, LLC, is just going to empty your bank account a little faster while doing nothing to secure your right of self-defense.  Game, set, and match, then?  End of the line reached on the road to serfdom?  It seems not.  Information is hard to come by on Google and similar One World Order propaganda clearinghouses… but I’ve heard that as many as two thirds of American counties have already declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.  What this means in practical terms is that the Sock Puppet regime will have to carpet-bomb Joplin and Gadsden and Las Cruces, which could prove very expensive… or else take out ringleaders one by one with drones—even more expensive.  Local cops just won’t do the job.  They’ll arrest a teenager for walking the dog without wearing a mask, because mainstream America still hasn’t decided whether or not this represents life lived by the best science… but they won’t go door to door trick-or-treating for firearm surrenders.  At certain points, all tyrants stumble into the zone where their people prove ungovernable.

I should have thought that mask-insanity would have reached that point months ago.  I’m wholly nonplussed, frankly, that so many ordinary Americans would collaborate in handing over so many basic rights on such a flimsy pretext.  The right to assemble: gone.  The right to express dissent in a public forum: vaporized.  The right to step outside of one’s residence and stroll down the block: now a criminal offense in places.  The right simply to show one’s face and breathe God’s good air: no more guaranteed than a child’s right to sing.  And the authority of the new gospel?  That masks avert evil: not that they block virions of 50-100 nanometers (they don’t), nor that they seal the face hermetically (not even close), nor that they promote general health (on the contrary, they collect bacteria and degrade the body’s oxygen supply), nor that they simply work in case after case (in case after case, states and nations with the most severe mask mandates subsequently have the highest CV-19 infection rates).  No, the mask’s great virtue is… is that it signifies submission to coercion.  If we can all be thus easily and thoroughly dominated by a stricture so nonsensical, then what will defeat us?  Like a vast shoal of fish, we move as one body.  Together we prevail.  When the order comes—whatever that order may be—we obey instantly and uniformly.  One might say that because of the mask’s patent stupidity, we show ourselves ready to perform “the necessary” without costly delay or subversive skepticism.

If such “virtue” repels you as an American, then you must join me in pondering how our fellow citizens could so eagerly have embraced an existence so servile and, indeed, insectified.  The Sock Puppet hasn’t been coy about his intent to extend an oppressive mask mandate from coast to coast.  Might it happen that his decree will have—quite contrary to its expectation—the “cold slap” effect that we’ve been awaiting?  Perhaps our neighbors will resistantly announce, “No, I think I’ll risk death for the sake of a good conversation,” once they are commanded one and all to stick their faces in a bag.  Sometimes a slave doesn’t mind being a slave until the master orders him to stand on his head and bray like a jackass.

Now, breakdown of such a sort as I’ve so far imagined is township by township and county by county.  Ordinary people look at each other in Wal-Mart’s aisle and decide, “No… not doing it.”  I suspect that these micro-rebellions will erupt by the dozen; and one or two, on the basis of nothing that you or I can predict, will catch fire and sweep across state lines.  Entire blocks of states may solidify into right-to-carry strongholds or right-to-breathe strongholds.  Then we’ll see what comes next.

Yet I do not suspect secession, in any formal sense, to come next.  What currency will we use in Kansas if Missouri must have a different currency?  Will there be border stations cutting through the center of Kansas City to ensure that entering or exiting motorists are suitably armed or disarmed or masked or unmasked?  As a cancer patient, I’d hate to have to clear complex bureaucratic legal hurdles in order to get the help I need next month in Denver.  I love my adoptive state of Georgia (except for its tendency to produce mercenary turncoat sellout Republicans in high volume)… yet the hard fact is that a caveman’s trepanning would put to shame the cancer treatment available here.  We don’t really want a complete divorce—or maybe we want it at a visceral level, but we won’t get it, practically speaking.

How far, then, is fragmentation likely to proceed?  Texas may be a major test-case.  Tens of thousands of invaders are already poised to sweep across her southern border as soon as the Sock Puppet waves the green flag.  Small communities will be inundated in traffic, petty crime, and budget-shattering expenses like public schooling and street maintenance.  Metropolitan areas will become magnets for criminal operations involving drugs, prostitution, and—guess what?—distribution of illegal firearms.  From Del Rio to Dalhart, from Uvalde to Longview, the state will be one insolvent, unhealthy, chaotic hellhole.

Naturally, Texans will insist upon securing their border when faced with a permanent, burdensome overlay of unstable refugeeism (such as we see in parts of Eastern Europe).  Yet they will be told to keep their hands off border security—that this is clearly a constitutional function of the federal government.  (Scraps of the Constitution are always deployed as a wrecking ball when our ruling thugs need a little help breaking into the bank vault.)  By way of analogy, picture yourself being ordered by the commander of a shiny red fire engine to stop spraying your burning house with a garden hose—that the flames are his job now.  So you ask him why, then, he’s just standing and watching the conflagration.  He tells you to stop meddling.  Not many of us would passively surrender to “authority” of this nature.  I suspect that Texans will not stand idly by as the Sock Puppet proceeds with the utter dismantling of their livelihood and communities.

But what, then, will happen?  I guarantee you that Texas citizens will volunteer by the thousand to assist border agents.  They already have.  But what will happen to alien trespassers once rounded up?  What will happen when “vigilantes” return fire on a cartel Humvee that seeks to break their line?  Will legal citizens be arrested?  By whom… by our Gestapo, the newly remodeled FBI?  Will state law enforcement remain neutral as this goes on?  Or might Texas actually cut a deal of some sort with Mexico to control the situation—a deal that leaves the former United States out of the equation, exchanging perks strictly between Texan and Mexican interests?  Will we see the beginning of individual states negotiating with foreign powers as independent parties?

Might Georgia and Florida, by the same token, strike some bargain with Israel when Sock Puppet’s regime attempts to settle masses of Ethiopians in its quiet communities?  Amarillo, Texas, is one example I’ve personally seen of such deliberately, imperiously disruptive resettlement on “humanitarian” grounds; I know similar acts of politically vindictive colonization have been carried out in the Atlanta area.  When the Sock Puppet fumes, “Yes, you will!” can we respond, “No, we won’t!” if tanks turned against us under the US insignia run up against Israeli anti-tank guns?  Or against Russian “advisers” equipped with system-scrambling sonar technology?

I’m not going to revisit the topic I probed in the “My Friend Vlad” posts.  I only mean to emphasize that the strands of social and political unraveling will take us to some places that few of us have ever imagined.  We should try to prepare ourselves.  The more obscurely embedded forms of this babushka doll will not necessarily look like the first one or two to be cracked open.

And forgive me for closing with a desultory comment—but it’s a theme which deeply preoccupies me, and to which I would like to return soon: the betrayal of organized Christianity.  Our betrayal by organized Christianity.  “Humanitarian grounds”, I wrote just above: how many of us have heard from pulpits that Christ compels us to relinquish our earthly boundaries and welcome every wanderer to our hearth?  “Brotherly love”: how many have heard that Christ preached a religion of peace and would deplore the presence of self-defensive weapons on our person or in our home?  “Love-affirming, life-affirming”: how often have churches responded to a dictatorial command that they shut down while COVID rages with the meek acquiescence of, “Oh, yes!  Whatever we can do to save lives!”  Some phrase worthy of gracing a marquee in Podunk Baptist’s weekly message is wrapped around stupidly ineffectual, morally tainted, and physically destructive behavior… and we’re sent home with our painless lobotomy to marvel and drool at the collapse around us.

As we attempt to firm up our battle line against the Sock Puppet’s assault on individualism and personal freedom, our “Christian heritage” (whatever that means these days) is not likely to serve as spiritual, or even cultural, glue.  It would be best that the sincere Christian consider the organized Christian church as a tool of the enemy—as cultural and intellectual solvent; for, sadly, so it is in too many cases.  Above all else, we need to start calling factual boundary lines exactly where the light of plain day shows them to be.  Your side, my side: I can bestow some of my stuff upon you if I choose, but you have no right to take it.  Fair vote, foul vote: I signed and dated mine as directed by law, but you show up with a bundle of half-dones—so yours don’t count.  Mortality, eternity: it’s too bad that you may possible catch an infection from me that could terminate your life—but such are the terms of our common existence, and you have no right to demand that I cease exhaling.

Right now, American religious orthodoxy is little more than a contemptible device for scuffing up the distinction between our individual destiny in God’s service and the collectivist advancement of a secular hive.  It is an empty sock into which we are to thrust our moral intelligence and within which we are to suffocate our spiritual inspiration.  A bony fist working behind the scenes will feed words through our mouths: we are simply to wear the sock.

I Live in a Lab

It’s hard to write when you’re wondering why your body is breaking down and to what extent it intends to break down further.  My blood work reads like a horror story in places, most of it spelling out a resurgence of cancer.  (The official term is “regression”; but the cancer, if returning, is actually progressing.  Doesn’t it say a lot about us that our veneration of the word “progress” will not allow it to be used of any unpleasant event, even when it’s the obvious logical choice?)  Yet this is not entirely true: what my tests show, rather, is that I have an abundance of cellular particles floating around loosely, abnormally, in my blood, and that proteins are not being integrated effectively in the restoration of strained muscle cells.

At least… well, that’s interpretation competing with the “resurgent cancer” hypothesis.  I seems to me to account for more of the alarming values on the blood tests, and it also has a likely culprit within easy reach: the testosterone-suppressor Firmagon, which I have been taking in excessive doses (50 percent excessive) for half a year due to a clerical error.  Testosterone is needed for cell repair and is also an anti-inflammatory—but it feeds prostate cancer, as well, and hence is regularly targeted in prostate patients by drugs like Firmagon and Lupron.  As a result, unrepaired muscle tissue, overdosed with this poison, could well be expected to spill its disiecta membra into the blood system while also giving the patient chronic, anguishing pain (far worse, believe me, than, anything I encountered with cancer during our first tussle back in May).  An elevated Prostate-Specific Antigen test number (PSA) might well follow: the PSA’s mechanism apparently reads inflamed tissue indiscriminately as cancer cells on the move.  But my “regressing” cancer (please God that it indeed be regressing!) isn’t striking me along bones as it did earlier.  It manifests precisely as muscle pain—all over the place, dependent upon what I’ve been doing lately.  A long walk yesterday?  Pain in the glutes.  More stair-climbing than usual?  Pain in the calves and knees.  And a torn triceps I incurred in making a baseball video has constantly nagged me for three months now.  Clever son of a bitch, that cancer: it finds your most vulnerable muscle tissue and sets it on fire!

Or… well, it really doesn’t, you know.  In my personal experience, cancer doesn’t work that way at all.  Even when it was raging through me like a forest fire in late May (thanks to the American medical establishment’s refusal to diagnose and treat it: more important concerns like COVID had preoccupied it), I could always take a two-mile walk or do a medium-level workout without great discomfort.  I wasn’t paralyzed with pain.  No, I contend that Firmagon has done this to me.  My PSA had flatlined throughout the months of late summer and early fall: then, just before Thanksgiving, it surged to 42, and lately has almost doubled up on that plateau.  Yet there’s no specific generator to account for such an explosive resurgence.  I’ve been taking all my supplements; my vegan diet is exemplary; I keep very regular hours and nap during the day if my night’s sleep goes poorly; I religiously adhere to the regimen of therapies (hyperthermic pads and lamps both targeted and full-body, ultrasound cleansing of the prostate area—the prostate itself having been almost fully removed, by the way—and even hours of experimental Rife technology five days a week).  There’s simply no “driver” for a riproaring comeback of the disease in my case.

What there is, instead, is a steady build-up of Firmagon in my system for months.  I don’t know what the critical mass would be to trigger muscular meltdown: that is, I don’t know how much Firmagon you have to overdose on for how long before your muscles go to pieces.  By listening to my body, though, I’m utterly convinced that escape velocity for massive malfunction was reached some time shortly before Thanksgiving.  My body, after all, is a lab wherein I live every minute of my days.  I get to observe constantly running experiments there which men in white coats may never hear about.  Some of them don’t want to hear: they have their test numbers, their “objective evidence”.  This is the feigned wisdom of a pompous fool, however.  Numbers require interpretation.  If Smith’s manager refuses to start him in a World Series game that Jones is pitching, the decision may or may not be justified by Smith’s never having landed a hit against Jones.  Perhaps the sample size is small.  Perhaps Smith hit the ball hard most of the time but was unlucky.  Perhaps he had only faced Jones before in Jones’s home park, where the hitting background is poor.  Perhaps, through trial and error, he has completely overhauled his approach to Jones.

The further possibility exists, I acknowledge, that if Firmagon overdose stresses the system as much as I’m conjecturing, cancer cells may opportunistically profit from the chaos and proliferate while the body’s immune reaction remains focused on ailing muscle.  That just might be the driver for a genuinely resurgent cancer.  I’ve been poking about this morning into the subject of cachexia: the degeneration of skeletal muscle implicated in as many as a third of all cancer deaths, it seems.  One government site observes with a relevance to my case that’s pretty alarming, “Researchers still need to dig deeper into how cachexia develops in patients with cancer… and how its course is influenced by everything from nutrition and physical activity to disease-specific factors, such as reduced testosterone levels caused by cancer therapy or opioids to treat pain” (my italics).  That sentence froze me in my tracks.  Yet the onset of my muscle pains has been so precipitous, and my previous health was so unusual in a man of my age, that I’ll cling to the optimistic view of my still having time to flush Firmagon from my system and right the ship.  As I write these words, I’m engaged in a day-long fast with heavy water-drinking.  We’ll see.  At some point, you know, optimism is the only card one has left to play.

My present doctor has heard out my theories and very helpfully offered to keep me closely monitored for further verification, all the while encouraging me, as well, to lay the ground for some aggressive kind of cancer-fighting strategy.  I would return to the Immunity Therapy Center in a heartbeat if I could afford another long stay in Tijuana.  Even though entrusting me with booster shots of dangerously excessive potency was the gaffe of a low-level ITC employee, it’s the sort of thing that could happen anywhere.  (And believe me, it does.)  In the meantime, I’m working in my little lab and watching.  I need the honest truth, not a narrative that eases my mind; but I also need a sensible truth, not a line of crunched numbers that permits an arrogant “expert” to play God with my life.

I have this to say in closing: are you comfortable surrendering your life and lives of your children to guys in white coats who’ve never met you—who stick you in masks, confine you to four walls, declare public spaces off limits to you, and soon may decree regally that you be forced to accept an inoculation—all because… well, because they’ve actually never met you?  Because their Olympian vision isn’t obscured by farmhouses and shop fronts?  Because they have numbers at their fingertips, and you have only experiences?  Are you among their vast throng of idolaters?  I suppose I was, too, in the early days of my cancer… and then, after they had very nearly killed me with their indifference—their exclusive attention to the “big picture”—I learned the importance of working away in my lab. 

Death and I Get Re-Acquainted

At this very instant, as I peck out my initial words one-handed (because I have a Vitamin C IV dripping into the other arm), I await my doctor’s appearance to discuss some “concerns” about my latest blood work.  It’s never an easy wait for a patient who has had cancer.  Every time more blood is drawn, a clock starts ticking.  A couple of weeks for results, more or less: that’s what you expect in the US.  (At Dr. Carlos Bautista’s Immunity Therapy Center in Tijuana, I never waited more than 48 hours.)  So how will it go this round?  Will you roll another seven… or has Destiny decided to send you Snake Eyes?  Will the hammer click harmlessly on an empty chamber again… or has your spin of the pistol’s cylinder found the bullet today?

Meanwhile, Burl Ives is crooning, “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” somewhere down the hall.  And out in the parking lot, sitting alone in a cold car, my wife awaits the return of her awaiting husband, the quiet caboose in a train of tension and misery.

Can you understand why it pisses me off so much that my fellow citizens readily surrendered our republic and our personal freedom over their fear of a damn flu virus?  They’re so very afraid that they might die—that if they were among the millions to be infected, they might also fall among the .3 percent of the known infected to perish.  (About 40 percent of the infected never know bout it, since they have no symptoms.)  Meanwhile, as these panic-moths hurl themselves into the flame to escape a disease indetectible almost half the time, I play Russian Roulette every few weeks with a blood test.  They can’t crawl out from under their beds in their terror of a bad cold, but every day of my life is lived in the shadow of a tombstone.

One thing I know to be amiss with my blood (though I dare not take anything for granted: must keep myself prepared for the worst) is the effects of overdosing on Firmagon for six months.  Almost unique among the drugs I was administered in Mexico to be accepted by mainstream American medicine, Firmagon dries up testosterone—and testosterone is the favorite food of prostate cancer.  This is, indeed, a major ground of optimism about the “mystery concern”: I’ve been shooting myself so full of the drug that cancer would have to overhaul its menu to make a comeback.  Interesting, isn’t it, that ITC so grudgingly supplied me with additional boxes of the stuff while, as it appears, having reached some international compromise to permit the shipping of substances disliked by the FDA.  Could it be that American distributors want exclusive dibs on Firmagon—that the FDA is far less alarmed at the prospect of a witch’s brew entering my system than it is at that of US doctors and drug companies not carving maximal profits out of big-ticket items?

All I can say is, Firmagon is one hell of a torment even to some who consume it in recommended doses.  Chills, dizziness, soreness at the site of injection, joint and muscle pain… I came to know all of these thanks to overdosing; and the last, it occurs to me, is probably routine in anyone who leads an active life.  You need testosterone to stimulate muscle repair and recovery after a vigorous workout.  I wrote of this weeks ago.  I’ve been aware for some time that I couldn’t tax my body as I used to on a regime of hormone-suppressants and plant-based proteins.  I learned my lesson as a result of a couple of hard take-downs and their aftermath.  As I would try to ease my incidental tears and pulls back into shape using a tried-and-true pattern of stretching and “nudge” exercises (the kind that refuse to let the sore spot flee all pain and go slack), I would find myself merely re-aggravating old problems—maybe making them worse.  I couldn’t demand anything of my muscles at all, it seemed.

It’s not like the last six months have given American constitutionalists no other cause for distress… but I began to grow downright depressed.  Finally, last week, as I prepared my monthly Firmagon injection, a chain of thoughts began to close its links which was to pull down my vast wall of error.  I was dissolving the powder in distilled water from the ampule.  (I won’t give you a step-by-step account: every Firmagon kit has over half a dozen components, and the procedure for using each in proper position and sequence is tortuous.)  I knew that the box containing two kits was marked dosis inicial, and I knew that each hypodermic of the two contributed 120 milligrams to the 240 total.  (A single shot of that magnitude in one spot would make the first-time user’s tummy swell up like a watermelon.)  I knew that each booster, of which this was my fifth, should be 80 mg.  Therefore… therefore, I would need to squeeze out approximately 33 percent of my preparation before injecting the remnant.  I say “approximately” because the ampule had no calibration.  The only way that I could reduce 120 mg. of Firmagon to 80 mg. was to “eyeball” it.

This I did, though deliberately underestimating the ejectum.  (The stuff is expensive!)  For some reason, I still needed a few more mental links to close.  I think it literally occurred to me between sleeping spurts that night (the muscle pain doesn’t allow steady sleep) that I’d never squeezed out any “extra” from the previous shots.  Not only that… but the first supposed booster, administered on my last day at ITC by a couple of novice nurses—it was a Saturday, and the duty roster was pretty thin—didn’t feature any expulsion of excess in its preparation, either.  None.  I would have noticed, for I knew I’d have to imitate the procedure.  Every booster of Firmagon I’d ever received was a 50-percent overdose, except the one I’d just completed.  That one was probably just a 10-percent overdose.

….

The doctor came, and we had our talk.  He’s a sweet guy.  I haven’t seen that degree of caring among very many Americans in this profession.

My PSA is up from nearly dead zero three months ago to 42.  A huge leap over an incredibly short period.  We’ll retest it next week, we’ll schedule a bone scan, we’ll plan for contingencies… maybe I’ll go back to Tijuana.  I would, in a flash.  I’d stay there, if I could.

So… Death and I are chained at the ankle once again.  We always were, of course… but now I get to see his leer whenever I take a careless peek.  Everyone is saying, “Oh, this is just a setback!  We’ll figure it out!  Everything will be fine!”  Actually, I—the lowly patient—am the only one who seems to have a coherent theory of events.  Firmagon caused my muscles to bleed without mending; inflammation (as an independent professional confirmed for me just now) can severely elevate PSA scores; thus my tests are going to show high numbers as long as the poison in my system continues to keep my triceps and gluts and thighs from sealing up.

And, just to add a personal speculation… why wouldn’t genuine cancer cells rally and multiply when the body is over-strained in the simple matter of repairing leg muscles after a walk?

Firmagon was the most “American” of my treatments, and I never really liked its m.o.  Annihilate your adversary by annihilating one of your own battalions… how very like the American medical establishment!  I guess this present challenge, as my son calls it, is an opportunity to form a better battle plan.  Everything seemed day-to-day before.  Now we can go long-range.

All the same, the ultimate in long-range thinking is recognition that one’s body cannot function beyond a certain point.  It’s understanding that life in this world doesn’t have a ticket for infinite trips up and down the track. My own destination cannot be so very far up the line.

As my wife drove me home through the maze of backroads where the GPS led us, I studied the mowed green farm lawns, the fields now stripped of their cotton, the horses blanketed for one of our first sub-freezing days… and the small new subdivisions of young professionals fleeing Atlanta taxes, above-ground swimming pools for toddlers dryly weathering the winter, Christmas lights making candy-canes of columns here and there, mansards and bay windows and railed porches or broad decks proposing scenes for private domestic celebrations….  It was beautiful.  It was all beautiful, including the “bourgeois domesticity” (words inevitably sneered by the mortal enemies of families).

And yet, if I was supposed to mourn silently, “Please, God!  I’m not ready to leave all this!  Please let me live a while longer!”… well, I thought no such thing.  I thought of my own special places where I was a child, and how much more beautiful they were to me than these, and how I could walk right into them and see all my lost people, never to be parted from them again, on the day when I broke through the barrier.  I’ll stay for now, all right… or I’ll try.  I’ll tolerate Death’s cold breath down my neck as I gaze at the sun’s afternoon scythe harvesting a tawny field.  But when I finally pass through, the chain that bonds my clammy companion to me will break forever, and he will be left behind.

I began writing this page last Tuesday.  On the calendar day when I post these words, December 4, I have reached my sixty-eight birthday.  Will I see another?  If I do, it is well… and if I don’t, that is well, also.  I don’t like to mar my plateau of peace by adding that the cowardly traitors sure to make this world so much more challenging for my son will be a pleasure to leave behind, but… well, so it is.  I tell you, I pity grown human beings who so fear my dark, mute companion that they will sell their souls for a pair of blinders.