The Rise And Fall Of Michael Louis Calvillo

Yes, Loyal Reader, I am being dramatic. The title of this post says it all. I don’t know what’s eating me, but I’m in a rare mood. Everything is all good. I’ve actually figured out the meaning of life (which is simple: to be in love), but still, I’m frustrated.

I hate talking about personal stuff on a blog or my Facebook, but I’m working hard at this 365 day personal goal and I suppose I can’t type that many diary entries without getting too close. Still, I don’t have enough faith in this public forum to go on about certain things that are off limits for humility’s sake (anything deeper than movies, books, music, writing, nice and safe sentiments, will be kept private and sure between me and my wife and my family). Still, if it’s all the same to you, I feel like venting…


(I almost trust you. Almost)

…about chemotherapy!


(Yikes! That’s one acerbic cartoon!)

Again, I don’t like to get too intimate, but, well, I have cancer. I’ve talked about it super briefly in the past, but I’ve never really broken it down. I’ve done it plenty of times in real conversation. Friends and family and sometimes even strangers have asked questions about the disease and I’ve talked myself blue about fusing bones, and aching muscles, and the multitude of suckiness that goes along with the whole process. I’m not shy or withdrawn about it. Writing about it seems kind of weird though. It makes it more permanent and somehow more real than it is when we yell or mumble or whisper about it.

So then, a quick health lesson. Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer that has done wonders for mortality rates. But, it’s a freaking bear on the system. I’m lucky because I’m 37 and young and strong as steel. Anyway, cancer demon cells feast on healthy cells and destroy tissue and muscles and even bone. Chemo is basically poison that’s pumped into the body to kill cancerous cells. It works, killing the cells, and keeping progression at bay. If it works really well, it’ll wipe out the cancer and bring about remission. The thing is, in addition to destroying the malignant cells, it bombards the body with a slew of negative side effects.


(Microbiology looks a lot like outer space)

Sometimes everything tingles, sometimes everything hurts, sometimes I get so tired I can’t hold my head up, sometimes I stay in bed until three or four in the afternoon (when not working). The actual procedure, plugging an IV into a port (that was installed surgically – it looks funky and weird beneath my skin) as if I were a character in a David Cronenberg film, lasts about six hours. The nurses tranfuse the chemo in three separate cycles. At the end of the day they plug a little box into my port. It continues pumping the chemo for the next two days then I go back to the hospital and they unhook the pump.

After chemo, my wife bravely injects me with a drug called Neupogen by stabbing the backs of my arms with a pre-loaded syringe. Cringe. Worse, the drug really squeezes the hurt out of my muscles and bones. I feel sore kind of like the way I’d feel after spending a full day at the beach boogie boarding in rough waters. It’s no fun. I usually have to endure five to seven days of shots depending on what the doctor orders.


(No matter how many times they stick me, I’ll never get used to needles.)

A week and half later, I have to get blood work done to make sure I am good for more chemo. If all is well, I go through the process over again. If my platelets are low, I get another week off then I go back and try again.

So that’s that, Loyal Reader. I hope you found my break down somewhat enlightening. Share the info with someone who doesn’t know what chemotherapy is all about.

I feel better. Less…anxious. I’d like to think I’m Superman strong, but there are times when I feel about two feet tall (no offense little people). Then, there are times when I feel like the hardest mofo on the planet. I guess I’m balanced. This writing thing helps keep the scales from tipping.

Maybe something a little more cheery tomorrow?

Good night and good luck.

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15 Responses to “The Rise And Fall Of Michael Louis Calvillo”

  1. Maybe it’s because what we do is write, but sometimes writing it out is incredibly therapeutic. I’ve had things that I wrote out, and afterwards felt as if I’d spent the day punching holes in a wall (the the good sort of way, like I’d gotten that venom out of me).

    Keep fighting, superman.

  2. […] ago, horror author Michael Louis Calvillo was diagnosed with cancer. He’s currently in the fight for his life and undergoing chemotherapy.Of course we all know medical bills aren’t cheap. If there was ever a time a writer could use […]

  3. Stay strong, man. I’ve had a couple of family members go through this, it definitely sucks. Luckily you’ve got a lot of support. Keep writing, enjoying the blog.

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