Dropout status hopefully just a rut in the road


A funny thing happened on the way to being published last week in the

Daily Pilot ... my weekly column, which usually appears on Sunday's,

wasn't there.

There's a reason. I didn't do one.

And, as you may notice in the future, I'm afraid there'll be more


It's not the only thing I've missed in recent weeks.

I missed the Battle of the Bay. I missed Estancia's victory over

Costa Mesa in Golden West League football.

I missed a Hall of Fame dinner at Long Beach State where one of

Estancia High's all-time quarterbacks, Jeff Graham, was honored.

I missed USC's annual pregame luncheon in Los Angeles after

accepting an invitation from Trojans' superhero Craig Fertig.

I missed USC's 41-10 victory over Notre Dame, although I certainly

viewed it by way of television, as well as Saturday's game in the

Rose Bowl with UCLA.

I've missed every minute of the Sailors' drive for the Sea View

League football championship and ensuing successes in the CIF


I even missed the funeral of everyone's best friend at the Daily

Pilot, an unforgettable human being named Bob Barker.

About the only thing I have done was watch Concord de la Salle's

football lose to Bellevue High of Washington in a spectacular display

of the prep game in Seattle in very early September.

It was upon my return from Seattle that I finally followed my

doctor's orders and went through with a procedure called a


Earlier the results of one of those "blood tests" these doctors

are always demanding showed a deficiency in iron, suggesting "anemia"

and that was the trigger for the colonoscopy, a rather ghastly deal

that sometime in the appropriate future, I'd like to address any and

all, especially 50-and-overs, with some very clear-cut information.

The procedure didn't last long.

"Colon cancer" was the immediate conclusion, and a CT scan the

same day verified it. One day later my surgeon said it appeared to be

on a "Level 3" plateau on a scale of 1-4.

The plan was to cut out nine inches of colon in a few days, but I

was in dire straights the next night, went to Hoag Hospital's

emergency room the next morning and on Sept. 20, the night before

Newport Harbor's thriller over Corona del Mar at the Battle of the

Bay, they operated.

Successfully, I might find room to brag of my nine-day stay at

Hoag with titanium clips now keeping me together, but cancer in two

lymph nodes and some more trying to "eat through a wall of

something," meant chemotherapy treatment for some six months or so.

So, after about three or four weeks, maybe more, I went to the

chemo doctor and he had me have a "port-a-cath" inserted into my

chest, so that each time I show up for chemotherapy, all the nurse

has to do is "plug me in" with a needle and an IV puts this stuff

into me over a course of about three hours. It's a pretty painless


The port-a-cath is a little brushed chrome-like box about 1 1/2

inches square and about three-quarters of an inch deep. It has a

little hose which goes to the main vein near the heart and there is a

button, much like a door bell button, which they insert the needle,

all very painless.

The treatments are simple, reactions quite another story. After

two mild experiences the first two weeks, the third week's reaction

was like running into Newport Harbor High's Trevor Theriot in a

head-on collision.

Stories of "battling cancer" are a little askew. It's not like

putting on the gloves and duking it out. Rather, you're simply the

punching bag and the question is whether the stitches will hold.

A five-day stay at Hoag this past week is a result of dehydration

and now it appears my sessions will last into the summer.

The real problem as this stuff "kills" the cancer, the side

effects amount to pretty much a constant battle with diarrhea and the

lack of appetite and energy. Loss of hair is another item, but as you

know, there's not much for the taking.

At any rate, that's why I've become a dropout. Hopefully, I'll be

back in the race in good time.

I still have a couple of yarns about two of Newport Harbor High's

great football teams, but the timing is not right. And, from time to

time, things hopefully fall into one's lap. So keep in touch if you

know of something good.

* ROGER CARLSON is the former sports editor for the Daily Pilot.

He can be reached by e-mail at rogeranddorothea@msn.com.

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