Ignorance and lupus: a rant

I had the misfortune of meeting a very ignorant and self-righteous lady in the parking lot of a grocery store a few days ago. Luckily for me she had the name of a small business on her car, so I’m writing this blog entry and then I’ll be posting it on her business’s Facebook page. The reach of social media :)

It took around 3 weeks for me to receive a parking permit that allows me to park in handicapped parking spots if I need to do so. In the 2 weeks that I’ve had the permit, I think I’ve only used it 3 times, however. When there are other spots for me to park in, I use them. When I feel good on a particular day and I can walk extra distances without hurting my joints, I don’t park in these spots. I have had times when I’ve needed the spot but there hasn’t been one available, so I know what it’s like to have one taken unnecessarily. I don’t abuse the fact that I have a permit, and I hope others do the same.

After an appointment with my rheumatologist, I decided to go to Whole Foods on my way home. Walking a lot inflames my joints, something I have been instructed to avoid doing. The parking lot was very full, so I took the opportunity to use my parking permit which my doctor obviously decided I need. It was either that or walk probably 100 meters, something I didn’t want to do considering I’d already had to do a fair amount of walking that day.

Cue the ignorant lady that I am writing this blog entry for. Her car was parked right beside mine and as she was getting into it she said to me, “Next time leave that spot for someone that needs it.”


That instantly set me off. I asked her if she was serious and if she could see everything that was going on in my body. I can’t believe she actually had the nerve to literally harass me in the parking lot for something I had every right to be doing.

She said to me, “You look perfectly healthy.” I told her to Google lupus and arthritis. She told me that she knows someone that has lupus and knows all about it. This is complete bullshit because she clearly knows nothing about it. People with lupus usually look perfectly fine but they are still in terrible pain. People with lupus need to avoid aggravating their joints so that they don’t make things worse for themselves. If she actually knew someone with lupus, she would know these things. So yeah, I still recommend that she Googles it so that she can spare the next person she wants to spout her prejudiced nonsense to.

She said that she knows of people that borrow people’s cars so that they can use the parking permit. Even if people do things like this, it doesn’t give her the right to harass people in parking lots. Not to mention that harassing people in parking lots does nothing to solve this problem. Does she actually think that telling someone not to do it is going to prevent them from doing it? People that do selfish things like that aren’t going to care what she thinks. So it accomplishes nothing when she speaks to someone abusing it, and it annoys someone when she speaks to someone legit. Good plan, lady. Well played.

After being berated for a couple minutes, she said another ridiculous thing to me: “I said that to protect people like you.” Another bullshit statement that she said to make herself to feel better for opening her ignorant mouth. I’ve already said why it does nothing to help people like me. Not to mention there are better ways to go about improving the enforcement of parking permits than harassing sick people.

Having run a business myself in the past, I am not foolish enough to write the name of this lady’s business for the public to read since I know that no publicity is bad publicity. I will say, however, that I am shocked she can be in business in the first place given her obvious lack of people skills. And also her inability to apologize. “I’m sorry to hear you have lupus” is not an apology.

To the lady for whom this entry was written for: Your self-righteousness is incredibly insufferable. Don’t be so prejudiced. Don’t be so quick to judge people by their appearances. Both your business and personal life would probably improve if you took this advice. The lives of everyone around you would improve, too.

If you are so concerned with taking up spots that are close to the entrance of a store because other people need them, perhaps you could do us all a service and park farther away next time. You seemed to walk perfectly fine. And given the nature of your business, you are probably in fine shape. But I am sure you will not do this since you are a likely a giant hypocrite. Oh I’m sorry, did I just assume something about you? I’m certainly more on the mark than you were in the parking lot that day, that much I know.

life before the hospital: diagnosing my insanity

A lot of people have asked me about my experiences leading up to my diagnosis of lupus and whether I was in a lot of pain, how I ended up in the hospital, etc. I definitely would like to blog about this for a number of reasons.

One reason is that it’s nice to be able to direct people somewhere if they want details on my situation. Another is that I want to be able to remember how things were to help me put things into perspective in the future. It’s only been a bit over a month since I was discharged from the hospital, and already I’ve started to forget what happened and what I experienced. It’s time to write it all down so that I can go back to it if I need to.

The biggest reason I want to blog about my experiences is to possibly help other people with autoimmune diseases in the future. When I thought I might have cancer last year, it helped me a lot to read forums and I also read a couple blogs written by people going through similar situations. Sometimes it helps to know that you aren’t the only one these things are happening to, so maybe one day I can do the same for someone.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that my health has been a mystery this past year. I was told there was a high chance I had lymphoma by an ENT specialist, and I also was tested for almost every infectious disease you can think of. I’ve gotten so many chest x-rays that I don’t even know how many I’ve had already. I’ve obviously gotten even more blood tests than that.

I was finally told that I should see a rheumatologist by my infectious disease specialist back in October. The wait time for this doctor was 6-8 months, so I just shrugged it off and didn’t think much of it. My GP told me that since I had no symptoms of anything, it was probably going to end up nothing and we were going to forget about it soon.

Symptoms finally starting showing in November. I developed bad joint pain in a number of areas, mostly my feet, wrists, fingers, and elbows. Some mornings I hurt so much that I couldn’t put my clothes on without help. I had to change the soap pump in my washroom to a bar of soap because it hurt too much to press the pump down.

The arthritis started at a terrible time for me because not only did I catch a cold, I had a plane ticket to visit the States for Thanksgiving. Before I left the country, I called my doctors office to see if I could see the rheumatologist sooner. They told me that since my condition worsened, I could probably get bumped up. I couldn’t see the doctor before my trip, though, so I went to out of town, sick and sore.

I’ll cut to the chase and just say it was the worst trip ever. I spent literally every day in bed and got increasingly more sick as the days went on. I really didn’t want to pay to see a doctor while out of town, so I stayed in bed and took medication, trying to keep my fever down. This was, in hindsight, incredibly stupid. I wish I could take this back and seen a doctor.

I finally went home, although I’m not sure how, given the state I was in. My mom picked me up to take me to the doctor the day after I got home and I collapsed in the doctors office. I drifed in an out of consciousness while he decided I had pneumonia and prescribed me antibiotics. My mom wouldn’t let me go home and I slept on couch cushions on the floor of her house and ate soup for days.

After almost a week of antibiotics, I was doing much better. My husband was still in the States but was coming home in a couple days, so I decided to go home. I didn’t have much of an appetite and I was extremely exhausted every day, but I didn’t have a fever anymore. I spent a lot of time resting but I was otherwise relatively fine.

I was finally able to see my doctor about my joint pain, which hadn’t bothered me much while I was out of town but came back with a vengeance in December. He said that he was going to try to get an earlier appointment for me but that it was probably going to be a wait still. He said I would have to live with my pain until the appointment but that I could take medication to try to lower the inflammation. I hate drugs but the pain was pretty bad, so I took a prescription for Celebrex.

A few days later my doctor called me with results of a blood test. He said I was anemic and also that I had a rheumatologist appointment in a month. I told him that I was doing okay on the Celebrex but that I felt really bad at night because I felt like the drug was wearing off. He told me to take it twice a day.

Later that night I was showering and noticed some strange spots on my leg. It looked like a rash. I had JUST seen my doctor that day and it was two days before Christmas, so I decided to ignore it for the time. I felt sick still, but I assumed I was just recovering from pneumonia still.

Christmas came and went with me staying home on my couch eating fruit and chocolate. In the days after Christmas, I got significantly worse. I felt feverish and sick and not myself. I stayed in bed all day in terrible pain, unable to get relief from anything. It hurt to move, it hurt to be in one spot, it just hurt period. I counted down the hours until I could take another Celebrex and only ate because Celebrex requires that you take it with food. I cried about how much pain I was in. I complained and whined when I had to eat or drink because I didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to lie down, but I could almost never sleep.

I wanted more drugs. It’s amazing how pain will turn you from someone that refuses to take any drugs for anything to someone that begs for them. I frequently said that I wish I could be knocked out. A couple times I thought to myself that I would be okay with dying so that I didn’t have to feel the pain anymore. I didn’t want to die, but it honestly didn’t seem like the worst thing at the time.

My husband finally put me in a car and tried to find a doctor for me. Problem was that it was just after Christmas and all the clinics were either at capacity or just closed. The other obvious option was the emergency room at the hospital, which was bound to have waits that were hours long. He took me to my mom. I almost certainly should have gone to the hospital, but instead I went to a TCM (a doctor specializing in traditional Chinese medicine).

I got some herbal medication and my mom told my husband to leave me with her again. I tried to cooperate and do what she told me, but it was really hard. I wasn’t myself at all. The first dose of the herbal medication seemed to make me feel a bit better the next day, but I couldn’t keep the second dose down.

FINALLY the Monday after Christmas, December 30th, came and I could see my doctor. He said I had scarlet fever and prescribed me more antibiotics. He told me to supplement my Celebrex with acetominophen to keep my fever down. Drugs, drugs, drugs.

I went back home with my husband a couple days later and continued taking the antibiotics. They didn’t seem to be helping much, though, so I went back to the doctor after 4 days to make sure that I was okay. He checked me over and said that I was on the right path. He told me to keep taking the drugs and that I’d soon be fine.

Or not.

That night I became unresponsive. I wouldn’t eat or drink or even answer questions properly. My husband told me that when he asked me something, I would stare at him blankly and then stare off into space. He brought me food and I didn’t eat it. I just wanted to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and listen to Matt Good (whose songs are ruined for me forever, by the way, because I now associate him with being sick). Thinking that my electrolytes needed to be increased, my husband made me drink some Pedialyte and then sent me to my bed (we were sleeping in separate rooms because I was so disturbing to sleep with).

Sometime in the middle of the night I had one of the most scary experiences of my life. I got up to use the washroom but I couldn’t figure out how to get out of my room. It was pitch black and while I could get to the door, I could not find the door knob no matter what I did. Knees on the floor, I started frantically pawing around the door, desperately trying to figure out how to get out. I started screaming and crying for help and wanted to get out so badly, but I couldn’t. I’m not sure how long I was trapped for.

I don’t know how, but I finally got out. I stumbled into the hallway, turned the light on, and collapsed on the floor outside the washroom. I don’t know how long I was there before my husband came out to use the washroom and found me.

Next thing I remember is being back in a bed and hearing him call 911. A bunch of people came and asked me questions and talked to each other about carrying me out of there. I remember them asking my husband if I could please have a pair of pants. I don’t know how I got carried outside, I guess it was in a stretcher. I remember being stabbed with an IV in the ambulance. It was cold during the ride.

I was kept in some waiting area in the hospital for a long time. My husband, who came to the hospital with me, eventually left early in the morning and my mom appeared. I got some x-rays, blood tests, and other tests that I can’t remember. I was moved a couple times before they figured out I would be there for a while, and I ended up in the short-term stay wing of the hospital.

That’s as much as I remember about the days before I ended up in the hospital. While my week in the hospital is something I never want to re-live again, I DO want to remember it, so I’ll be writing about that in the future too.

There’s not much else I want to write about in this particular blog entry. While typing all of this and remembering it again, it seems incredibly surreal. I was so out of my mind at the time, it feels like it was a different person.

I also find it interesting that what I call one of the worst experiences of my life was really all in my head. When I was “trapped” in my room, there was obviously a door knob the entire time. Why couldn’t I find it? I don’t understand it at all.

It was the start of a lot of things that happened in my head. While I was unwell and my inflammation was high, all sorts of things happened to my thoughts in the days I was in the hospital and the days that followed. Having had no experience with either mental illness or brain disease, it was all new to me and truthfully very scary.

More next time.

If you have tilt problems, consider getting lupus :)

I think lupus might have killed tilt.

I just played a reg for an hour and ran about as bad as I’ve ever run. All sorts of shenanigans happened, like losing 3 hands in 3 hands, losing with 2nd nut flush to a boat, blah blah who cares. Finished with positive EV, though, and didn’t tilt at all. Actually kinda had fun, it’s been a while since I got to play a reg for longer than one game.

I also noticed less tilt when I was playing Magic (the Gathering, yes I know, huge nerd. It’s awesome btw) when I wasn’t feeling well enough to play poker but wanted to play a game. Magic has a lot of variance and when I was playing after I got diagnosed, I found that running bad didn’t really bother me anymore.

Obviously I need more sample and maybe this is just a novelty, but that would be so sweet if it were actually the case. I’m pretty sure I might get rich 😉

Scared of being poked ;)

I currently get weekly blood tests so that my doctors can keep track of what’s happening to me. I went to get one today and the lady that did it didn’t do a very good job. First of all, it hurt (which it shouldn’t when done properly) and second of all, I had to put my own bandage on because she abandoned me and I was sick of sitting there.

I’ve gotten dozens of blood tests since this lupus stuff started, and I’m definitely going to get dozens more in the future. I really wish that people were trained to give them better. When I was at the hospital, I had one girl have to poke me multiple times because she couldn’t get the vein properly. That was after she failed to wipe me with an alcohol pad because she just forgot to.

I hate needles and have obviously had to learn to deal with them. I got a lumbar puncture in the hospital because they wanted to rule meningitis out. I can’t begin to tell you how scary that was for someone afraid of needles.

I got a lot of blood tests done in a short time when I was in the hospital at the start of the month. My electrolytes were insanely low so they were checking those every 3 hours. Then they were also running plenty of tests to try to figure out what was wrong with me.

Since I was getting blood work done every 3 hours, I obviously didn’t have time to heal in between needles. The people doing the tests (can someone tell me what they’re called? They’re not nurses, are they?) started looking at my right arm and going, “Wow, you must be so sore!”

To make matters worse, I had an IV in my left arm that was a huge problem. It was sore in the first place (ever since the guy in the ambulance stuck it in me), and then one of the porters pushing me in a stretcher across the hospital for one of my tests accidentally tripped over it and almost ripped it out. Then one of the technicians injected something into me for an MRI and it hurt like a bitch, and everything hurt a lot after that. I had to get an antibiotic via IV and I was in pain the entire time it went through me, so I had to change the IV to my right arm. The arm with all the blood test pokes. Sigh!

IV wounds in both arms meant hand blood tests after that. Let’s just say I highly recommend you never get a hand blood test. Do. Not. Like. Apparently I have good veins though! At least I didn’t have to get foot blood tests or anything exotic like that. And now I almost enjoy blood tests in my arm after knowing what blood tests in the hand feel like.

Okay no more needle talk. My medication seems to be going okay so far. The dose of one of them increased again this week, so I’ve been treading cautiously as said in my previous entry. I’ve had some digestive problems since starting it, so my stomach hurts a lot of the time. But it hasn’t been unbearable and it doesn’t prevent me from doing anything, so I am fine with it as long as my doctors are. And if I can handle oral medication, I don’t have to inject myself with medication! Bad for my liver, good for my sanity.

I got to play some poker last week and it seemed to go fine. I didn’t get to play any regs, presumably because I played too late. If I keep feeling okay, my next session will be soon and I will play during better hours because I need to play some regs.

Poker isn’t just about making money for me right now. If it were, I’d be playing lower stakes and just playing fish because there’s still money to be made there. Poker is about proving that I can function normally and still maintain my skill as a player. I’ve never been about mass multi-tabling and grinding dollars like a zombie.

1 in 1000

It’s been 3 months. That’s a record since starting this blog. A lot has happened. My life has changed a lot.

I was diagnosed with lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) to be exact. Lupus is an incurable autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own body’s cells.

Although you are more likely to get lupus if you are a woman, no one knows how you get it and it’s a 1 in 1000 chance you’re unlucky enough to have it. So I got binked on by life?

I’ll be on drugs the rest of my life and my life span will be reduced a bit, especially if the drugs destroy my liver or give me cancer. The drugs will allow me to live a somewhat normal life, though. Lupus elevates the inflammation in my body which results in a lot of horrible symptoms, but the drugs bring the inflammation down and remove the symptoms or make them possible to deal with.

Lupus affects everyone differently. My particular lupus attacks my joints, bone marrow, and brain. Because it affects my brain, obviously a major organ, I have to take a lot of drugs to ensure the inflammation doesn’t give me brain damage.

I got really unlucky that my disease affects my brain. The “lucky” ones just deal with joint pain and skin rashes, but I get hallucinations and I hear things. If you thought I was a crazy woman before, now at least it’s confirmed! I became even more crazy :)

To deal with my crazy thoughts and the voices in my head, my doctors put me on prednisone, which is a corticosteroid. If you have no experience with it, the best way I can describe it is that it is both the best and worst drug in the world. It fixes everything, but at the cost of an insane number of side effects. It ruins some people’s lives because their body gets reliant on it and they just wither away from debilitating side effects after a number of years.

I don’t want to be on prednisone because of all the problems it causes, but it’s either that or hallucinations and really messed up thoughts. I can’t begin to describe how it feels to lose control of your thoughts, it’s really the scariest thing in the world. I was on a dose of prednisone that was too low when I first got released from the hospital (which I suppose I can blog about another time), and the thoughts I sometimes had at night got pretty ridiculous. I’ve since increased my dose and thankfully eliminated these, but they were really terrible and scary.

Right now I’m in the process with working with my rheumatologist to figure out the drugs I can take to replace prednisone. It’s a slow process that unfortunately takes months. In the meantime I get to have lots of blood tests and see lots of specialists.

On a daily basis, lupus makes me very tired and sore. I feel really bad in the mornings until I take my medication, and I get tired very easily. The most frustrating thing is that I am forced to take it easy, even when I don’t want to. I like to leave the house, exercise, get things done, and make money (playing poker of course). Now I have to choose to do one of those things per day and then spend the rest of the day being useless in front of the TV or a book. My joints hurt so I can’t do a lot of physical activity.

If I’m going to look on the bright side, it doesn’t appear I got any brain damage from inflammation and it doesn’t look like I should now that I’m controlling it with drugs. Once I’ve let the drugs kick in after waking up in the morning, I can think as well as I’ve ever been able to think, which is great news. This means I will be able to play poker.

The number of hours I can play remains to be seen, but the fact that I think well is basically the best news I could have hoped for. I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to think well enough and it was GG poker. Other than being more tired than I used to be (a lot more tired), I don’t feel I’ve lost anything when it comes to that.

I haven’t played any poker since last November, when I went out of town and then got very sick (with the help of lupus). I’m in the process of increasing the doses for my medication the next two weeks, so I’m taking things cautiously. I intend on playing some HU games this week, though, and seeing how it goes. I plan to play mostly regs, so they should probably be licking their chops since I’m almost certainly going to be rusty 😉

I have no fears when it comes to blogging about my disease and letting people know my physical and mental problems. I can’t think of a way for anyone to take advantage of this information. I will never play poker when I feel less than 100%. And if I play and think that my skill level has decreased and I just can’t win at the games I’m playing anymore, I will drop down in stakes or quit poker.

I have a lot more to say on this matter but my hands hurt (thanks lupus!) and this is very long. If you have an autoimmune disease or have experience with lupus, I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or write me an email: courtneygeepoker @ gmail.com (delete the spaces).

slow going

I finally strung two days of poker together! I played 8 hours between yesterday and today. Not exactly impressive numbers but it’s really good considering I’ve played less than 30 hours all month.

I didn’t feel like playing at all today but some reg that I had to put on auto-sit was in the lobbies, and it motivated me to click some buttons. That’s kinda nice that a reg war would cause me to play poker when I might otherwise not have done so.

I’ve mostly played regs this month. There are so many regs in the games lately that it’s sooo slow going if I don’t play regs. A lot of players add lower stakes instead but for the most part I prefer playing regs instead. It’s more variance, but I enjoy the competition and it gets me thinking in ways playing just fish wouldn’t.

trying to get back

Long time no write. I need to stop writing that, although the only way to do it is to start posting again. And to start posting again, I need to start playing again.

I played a few hours over this past weekend because I needed to clear my WCOOP bonus on PokerStars before it expired. I was worried that I’d need to put in a bunch of hours to do it because action has been bad due to the number of regs, but luckily for me I got to rematch a couple regs at $200s and it was cleared in no time.

I played four straight hours on Sunday and was really happy with how it went. I ran really badly for most of the session, getting my face coolered off for like 100 games, but I felt really good the entire time. I didn’t tilt and I didn’t feel frustrated. I don’t know why I was in such a good place that particular day, but if I can keep controlling myself like that, poker is going to be awesome.

I felt very tired after both my sessions this past weekend, partly because I had no breaks and was playing regs, and partly because I’m out of practice. I have a busy week, but I’m looking forward to playing again and will try to squeeze in some hours.

I’m back! I hope?

a post about life and cancer

Once again, long time no write. I’ve been quite distracted and, as a consequence, have played poker a grand total of 10 hours this month so far. August has been extremely illuminating when it comes to other parts of my life, however.

Back in June, I wrote that I hadn’t been feeling well and that my doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. The main problems were that I was always abnormally tired during the day and I had multiple swollen lymph nodes in my neck that wouldn’t go away. I got a blood test that gave no indication of any deficiency, and I didn’t have mono. I did, however, have elevated inflammation, so I got a chest X-ray and then got sent to a throat specialist.

My family doctor had told me that the worst case scenario would be that the specialist would want a lymph node biopsy. When I went to my appointment at the start of the month, I was slightly surprised when the so-called “worst case scenario” came to light. The specialist said that I was required to get a biopsy to check for lymphoma, a blood cancer.

I didn’t want a biopsy at all, especially when the doctor told me that there was a 3% chance that my shoulder would be rendered useless due to nerve injury. He tried to tell me that refusing a biopsy because of the chance of losing my shoulder was akin to refusing to fly because of the chance of a crash landing. But as far as I know, a plane doesn’t crash 3% of the time. And as a poker player, I see 2% on a very regular basis. So unsurprisingly, I still didn’t want to get my neck sliced open.

When I voiced my concerns, however, the specialist told me that I absolutely had to get the biopsy done. “I think there is a very high chance that you have lymphoma,” he said.

I didn’t really realize that there was a real problem up until that point. Apparently things get serious when someone tells you that they think you have a life threatening disease.

I remember being a little bit stunned as I walked out of the doctor’s office with my sheet of paper telling me where to go for my surgery the week after. I was with a friend and I said to him, “That isn’t what I wanted to hear.”

I was calm as we left the building but when I got to the parking lot, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. My friend hugged me and told me that I probably shouldn’t play much poker while dealing with this problem. Knowing my personality, he also told me that I shouldn’t do much Google research because I was bound to scare myself.

Of course I did not take this advice. I think I immediately went to my car and Googled “lymphoma” and clicked on the Wikipedia page. I scrolled down to “prognosis” and found that the best 5-year relative survival rate was 80%. I felt disappointed by this and tried not to think about all the 80/20s I had lost in my poker career. I then closed the website before I could look too closely at the other survival percentages.

You would think that as someone addicted to Google, I would not have been so surprised to hear that I probably had lymphoma. Websites make it quite clear that one of the causes of perpetually swollen lymph nodes is cancer. But I never even considered it a possibility. I had the attitude that cancer was something that happened to other people but not to me. I was only 27 years old and I looked after myself. Cancer had seemed impossible.

The week that preceded my biopsy was not fun. Even though it was a minor surgery, I was extremely scared of getting cut open and I was also paranoid about losing my shoulder. I alternated between trying not to think about it and imagining how it would feel.

I also alternated between being positive about cancer and being distressed about it. Some days I made several jokes about cancer, including moving away from the microwave because I didn’t want to get more of it and repeatedly screaming, “It’s not a tumor” in a (very bad) Arnold Schwarzenegger accent. Other days I was just withdrawn and moody, wishing I could get the biopsy over with and just wanting to know whether I had it or not.

Surprisingly, something that helped me cope with the possibility of lymphoma was the following forum: www.cancerforums.net. This forum is pretty awesome. People go to it for support when they have cancer and can talk to people that understand them because they’ve been through it themselves.

I never posted in the forum, but I read dozens of threads. I read posts by people that thought they had lymphoma but their biopsies came back negative. I read posts by people that had biopsies come back positive. I read about false negatives, treatments, and people’s experiences. It was impossible to erase the fear I felt, but it made it easier to deal with when I learned more about the disease and what people go through to beat it. Someone suggested that I avoid learning about it, but I don’t think that was the way to go. For me, knowledge was power.

The biopsy went smoothly. My surgeon did as much as could to keep me distracted and comfortable, which I was grateful for. Even though the surgery itself lasted only 30 minutes, it felt like much longer. Since the lymph node was right by my ear, I could hear everything, and it’s unsurprisingly not fun to hear parts of yourself getting snipped off. I also had to receive multiple freezing needles, probably 5 or 6 of them, because I kept feeling pain when he cut me. Altogether, it’s not an experience I want to repeat in the future.

I was scheduled to meet with my surgeon a week later. Like the week that preceded my surgery, it went very slowly and it was very unpleasant. I didn’t play any poker and I spent most of my days reading cancer forums and thinking about what I would do if I were diagnosed with lymphoma. It was impossible to think about anything else and I didn’t sleep much.

The follow up with my surgeon lasted about two minutes. He came into the room, said he had good news for me, and took my stitches out. He said that the pathology report said no cancer and that he had no idea what was wrong with me. He referred me to an infectious disease specialist and then kicked me out of his office because he was so far behind with waiting times.



The downside is that I still don’t know why my lymph nodes are swollen and that I still have to see tons of doctors and get further tests done. The glorious upside is that I don’t have cancer. There’s still a bunch of horrible things that I could have, but ruling out lymphoma is pretty awesome.

All the online fish that have wished cancer upon me and my family will be very disappointed, but I am quite happy at the moment. This entire scenario has changed my outlook on life a lot. I was reminded about what’s important in life and what isn’t. I learned what my priorities are, and I learned to put things into perspective. I also learned that there are a lot of people that care about me, and I’m eternally grateful for this.

In between doctors and tests for various diseases, I’m back to thinking about poker again. I’ve been sleeping much better and getting the itch to play, which is very encouraging. Even though I haven’t been at the tables much this month, I’ve been reviewing and staying on top of my game, so it shouldn’t take long to get back into it.

I said that this month has taught me to put things into perspective, and I’m hoping that this extends to poker as well. Losing to bad beats and getting unlucky versus regs doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things. Thinking about stuff like that compared to the rest of life is actually laughable. I’m going to do my best to remember this while playing and it should greatly help my mental game.

long time no write

I went away for the week of Canada Day to visit friends. It was relaxing and I had a great time, and it was a nice break from life at home.

I considered going to WSOP to play the Main Event, but I felt like the $10k buy-in would serve me better in my bankroll for HU SnGs at this point in time. I could have sold some action, but I make more money staying at home to play online in that case. Hopefully I’m there next year!

I also went to the PokerStars VIP party in Vancouver. I was pleasantly surprised by how fun it was. I’ll be posting a short trip report on PokerListings soon in case you missed it and want to see what it was like.

I haven’t played much poker since coming back from my short vacation yet this month. The hours I have played have mostly been late afternoon and evening, which have been a lot slower than usual. I imagine the summer months have something to do with it.

I’m doing what I can to enable myself to play longer days. I have to start earlier than I’ve been starting to get quality hours in. My biggest problem is always getting going in the morning; usually when I start playing, I am happy to keep playing. So ensuring that I have food to eat first thing in the morning and other such things will help get me going faster. That’s the plan at least.

reg battles

I’m having a good week. I’m sleeping a lot later than I should be every day, but I physically feel much better than I did last week or the week before.

Obviously this has helped me get back on track with poker. I’m having a bit of a battle with a $200 reg on PokerStars. I originally started sitting him after we simultaneously sat a lobby one day and I saw that he has some pretty big leaks.

He obliged me and rematched me when I sat him. He then got pissy in chat when I quit my session for the night because he said I was hit and running. I told him not to worry, that I would be happy to play him again in the future.

We played again a few days later and he told me I’m “sat for life” for all my hit and runs. For what it’s worth, I’m up several thousand versus him, so obviously when I quit I’m going to up more often than I’m down. This simple logic isn’t easy for him to understand, though, so apparently I’m sat for life :)

The point of this story is to explain the background for this thread:

2p2 HU4rollz

Since I posted this thread, he hasn’t said a word in chat. He has continued to sit me, though. In fact, now he sit/declines me in an effort to ensure I don’t get fish. What he doesn’t understand is that I WANT to play him.

I feel like I’ve gotten much better at poker this past week thanks, in part, to these games. It’s been a great exercise in adjusting to a “competent” opponent. I’m running very good against him, but I am happy with how I’m playing and my EV ROI is high.

I haven’t played as many hours as I would have liked so far this week, but there’s still a couple more days to go. Hopefully I can get my sleeping back on track and rack up a bunch more hours before the week is over.

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