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Chances are Thin

On September 1, I weighed 125lbs, 50lbs less than I did on December 10 last, the day of the surgery to remove the tumour from my oesophagus, but only 25lbs away from my target regained weight of 150lbs.

On Sunday last, I weighed 105lbs.
Unbelievably to me, although it happened directly to me, I lost 20lbs in 24 days.
If Stephen King needed to recast a body double for Robert John Burke’s lead role in King’s 1996 horror film Thinner, he’d have needed to look no farther than me.
On August 25, I had a barium swallow, the first of several tests that required fasting from the night before, one of the main reasons for my weight loss. The test didn’t happen until 1.30pm, so I didn’t eat until 2pm and then only half a doubles, partly due to reduced appetite from fasting, but mainly due to the shrinkage of a part of what is left of my gullet to a diameter of six mm, the width of a pinky finger. I could eat, at the time, only as much as could pass through and fill that space.
After that swallow test, which revealed the severe gullet shrinkage, I had at least one other barium swallow, a CT-scan on September 1 (which revealed the return of my cancer) and a series of I think four or five endoscopies, all requiring fasting from the night before.
On September 20, I weighed 111lbs.
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BC’s Best of the Fest

THE BEST thing about being on the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival’s programming committee this year is I’m one of half-a-dozen people who’s seen every film being screened and can recommend the ones worth watching.

The short list of recommendations is, of course: everything – or we wouldn’t have programmed them! And the longer list is even more satisfying.

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​Shane! Come Back, Shane!

WHEN WE were small children, my father’s job took him outside of Trinidad very often. One year, he was at home for only two weekends, those of his annual vacation. Consequently, my mother took us to the movies.

We loved drive-in cinemas. At $2 a carload, neighbourhood children would pile into our big rambling Viscount and we’d be having a ball even before we left our driveway.
My father would never have been in that. He hated leaving home once he got there. If forced into going to the cinema, he embarrassed my mother in box seats at De Luxe with his rasping snores before “Directed by” came up. He hated the drive-in more, probably because he couldn’t fall asleep with the steering wheel jamming his belly.
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​The CT Could B’un Down

MY TREATMENT for the tumour in my gullet, which was diagnosed last September 19, ended on May 3, after four bouts of chemotherapy from last September to November, surgery to remove the tumour on 10 December and four post-surgery chemo blasts starting in March.

A CT-scan in June showed me to be cancer free.
Regrettably, a CT-scan last week did not turn out as well.
The cancer is back.
I was cancer-free for three months; perhaps less.
On the upside of this very downward turn, the cancer is limited to my peritoneum, which I tell everybody is near Fyzabad; it’s south of my navel at any rate.
But it doesn’t matter so much where the cancer is as where it is not.
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​Denis and Denyse

PLAIN TALK is bad manners as every Trini knows so I declare, rudely, but right up front, that the headline above should probably be, “Denis (and a little bit about Denyse).”

This is not to diss the calypso queen who, like the linguist, writer and thinker, Denis Solomon, died this week, only to locate Denis properly in his influence over me. I loved Denyse Plummer’s singing as much as the next culture vulture but Denis Solomon was belligerent – and kind – enough to wag his finger in my face when I needed it most, and there are precious few people in the Limer’s Republic who can and will do you that favour. Repeatedly.

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