November 19, 2002|


So we got some strange strange results today. Let me preface by saying that I feel absolutely fine, have no symptoms, and have even put on 8 lbs. in the past three weeks. So it came as a tad bit of a suprise when we got the results. The CT Scan came out absolutely clear. Didn’t expect that. The MRI came out absolutely clear. Expected that. But the PET Scan showed a node lighting up in the lower right rib cage. Just one. Not even a big one. Not even brightly. It’s just a blip.

Dr. Perales had no clue what to make of it. The PET Scan is the most sensitive of the scans, but, as he said, it’s too sensitive sometimes. He was puzzled as to what it could be. I have no pain there, it doesn’t show up on the CT Scan or the MRI, what the heck is it?

As my dad says, “Nothing can ever be easy with Art.” 🙂 So, what do I do? Other than getting my quarterly scans a few weeks early (December 27, for those keeping track at home), nothing. Keep on moving onward with my plans. Dr. Perales said to go forward. That’s good.

But frankly it is frustrating. Why? I would like to think that I would be able to fix this. Exercise, eat right, get plenty of sleep, something, anything- I would do it to erase this blip. But there is nothing I can do. Nothing. I must have asked Dr. Perales a half-dozen times what I could do. He replied the same answer everytime: “Nothing.” What will happen will happen I guess.

That’s all I have for now, I’ll keep you posted as I get more information. For now though, it comes down to December 27. Pray for the blip. Pray for the blip.

November 13, 2002

Cheating Death?

‘Oh Art…the funeral was horrible. So many people…all so hurt and wondering why God took Scott (or as his students referred to him, Mr. Scott). You know, older people (adults) can maintain their composure at times like this…at least most can. But seeing those kids…seeing them crying and hurting and asking “Why” was the worst part of it.’

Last week a high school classmate of mine passed away from a heart attack at the age of 25. Scott was a gigantic mound of a man, one of two twins who roamed the offensive line of our football team. Even though I haven’t seen him in more than five years, I can still visualize his giant devious grin that was constantly present on his face as it was yesterday.

From what I understand he was healthy and living a normal life. A few friends e-mailed me about what happened. One e-mail, from my friend Vince (my esteemed editor, whenever I get around to writing my book) particularly hit home, especially given the significance of this week (my 9-month scans). It read:

‘…I did, in fact, go to the funeral. I blew out of work early on Wednesday, leaving around 3 p.m. I had Thursday off for the funeral. When I told my co-workers I had to go back to Youngstown for the funeral for a high school friend, they thought it was my friend who had been fighting cancer for the better part of the past three years (that’s you, dumb***!). I told them that actually, you had a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, and if we all said our prayers and ate our Wheaties, the doctor would tell you that you were in remission…’

At first I just laughed- typical Guerrieri sarcasm. A day later, though, it struck me. This was serious business. Statistically-speaking- that should have been me. I soon realized that I had, in a sense, cheated death. Ashamedly, I haven’t appreciated or savored it. I forgot where I’ve been. It’s my human condition. It’s all of our human condition. We have short memories.

The ‘Why’ Question

It’s all too familiar. I’ve been thinking about it constantly for the past three years and frankly I don’t have an answer for my own situation, let alone anybody else’s. Why do such tragic things happen?

I only know of three sufficient thoughts for such a question. They’re not answers. Honestly, I’m not sure what they are. Regardless, I munch on them frequently.

1. God knows what He’s doing. In the oft told story of Job, when Job asks God the question ‘Why?î how does God respond? He goes off on Job asking him if he understands the workings of God’s physical creation. Job has no clue. Then he gets it. We don’t have the mind of God nor the ability to comprehend God, and therefore we don’t know why. Only He does. We just need to trust in His judgment. Scary, for sure. Reminds me of what CS Lewis wrote in ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobeî allegorically speaking about God.

‘…Said Susan, Is he- quite safe?’… Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver… Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.’

2. There is a question that is answerable. ‘Why?’ is a question of the past. We can’t change the past. We can change the future. Therefore, really, the question should be ‘to what end?’ To what end can I/we/God create good out of such a situation.

3. ‘Jesus wept.’ It’s the shortest verse in the Bible. Perhaps it is one of the most profound. Where is Jesus weeping? It’s at the home of a friend of his who just died. What kind of a god weeps? A weak god? A wimpy god? A god who is helpless to help alleviate human suffering? Contrary. It’s a god who suffers. Suffering is an inevitable part of love. We have one who knows more than we do and yet suffers with us in the moment. What a comfort that can be.


Tuesday is my big day. Unlike at the six-month test, I am not nearly as nervous or concerned. I feel good. Will that be reflected in the tests? We’ll see. Maybe I’ll cheat death once again.

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