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​Sick & Tired

MY KNEES are now the biggest part of my legs.

Then my ankles.
I didn’t think it was possible to lose as much weight as this but it’s par for the cancer course. My friend and chemo roommate Dane has lost 127lbs, down from his original majestic 267. Denise Plummer had to have lost as much, proportionate to her frame.
But it’s not the thinness.
The thinness you could live with.
It’s the attendant tiredness.
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​Out of Bond Age

HE CAME to us out of a Bajan canefield, dragging a six-foot long, heavy iron chain attached to a rough rope collar around his neck. It seemed bizarre that, in a place where so many people were kept in chains for so long, someone today should have chosen to put such a big one on such a little dog.

But, having got to know him, I realise now it was necessary: it took heavy weights and hard cobbling to keep such a free spirit down.
His all-white fur was all mud from the fields. He was so thin, his tail looked like a piece of twine. His head, so much bigger than the rest of his body, gave him the overall look of an apostrophe. He was already blind in one eye and, within months of going completely blind, would also go stone deaf. The vet estimated he was 20 years old.
My wife, out for a bike ride, picked him up, freed him from the rope and chain, and rode home with him clutched securely in her forearm, he was that small. I said we could keep him at once: he would die in the night and I would dig a tiny grave in the morning. At least he would have had a good last supper.
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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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