The Serum of Life

Today I filled a syringe with cranberry juice and hid it under my pillow.  Whenever a nurse entered my room I would sneak it out, flash it wild-eyed to them and claim it was my “Serum of Life”.  Their faces would go taunt, then crash down in laughter, giggling in Tagalog, spitting out the english words “love potion” or “cranberry juice”.  I think they think the chemo has finally reached my brain, but they all tell me I look like some Fillipino movie star from the Far East who’s name I can’t pronounce.

My moods swing like a rusty gate in a hurricane.  I forced my mother and girlfriend (who I call my two Angels) to dance to Sam Cooke while I lipsynched the words, if they didn’t get the dance steps right or goofed off I would plead and scream to start the song over.  This went on for quite some time.  Sometimes I cry for no reason and other times my brow creases in anger and I’m not quite sure why.  Hormones they tell me, whatever the hell that means…(my girlfriend tells me I’ve been PMS’ing for weeks now).

I’ll keep with tradition in ending with a movie quote/scene, but not one that I said…

My mother and I are in Dr. Cai’s office at the City of Hope Hospital (where I’ll do my transplant) when he goes over the rigors of a bone marrow transplant (I will be doing stem cells from the blood).  The Doctor went on to list the things in broken English/Japanese that could present mortality.  The chemo could kill me, I could have a reaction to the radiation, two weeks without an immune system could lead to severe infection and possible death, and a little number called “graft/host” disease could knock me flat…none of these things I’d have any control over.  I then went on pestering him about my chances for a cure with the transplant…he made a phone call and dug out some unfavorable statistics as I put my head in my hands.  He tried to cheer me up as my mother and I left his office.  As we walked out the door I was in tears, going on about my low odds for a cure to my mother…she was crying too now, but summoned strength from somewhere and winked at me through her sheet of tears, whispering, “Hell the fall will kill ya”.  Still weeping I smiled and hugged her…we stayed like that for a long time laughing and crying.


17 responses to “The Serum of Life

  1. Hi handsome-
    I too believe you look like some Filippino Actor! Boy, am I glad I didn’t have to dance to Sam Cooke, I prefer Disco.
    This disease is awful-and it is awful you have this disease. It is a Dr’s duty to tell a patient all the awfulness that could happen-but you are no different than the patients who have conquered this disease. It is one day at a time. You are strong.
    Auntie loves your writing, your perception allows us to connect with you through these miles. I’m getting hooked on you. But you already know I love you.
    Give kisses to your two angels and try disco tonight.
    Hugs and Kisses to you
    Auntie Joyce

  2. “rules…in a knife fight?”

    Jon, kick cancer right in the nuts!

    I love you,

  3. Jon,

    I agree with Auntie Joyce. Your writing is so clear and descriptive…I feel like I’m there with you. I hope you are keeping everything…it’ll make a hell of a story!!
    Liken yourself to “G-GI Joe” in Tyler’s sandbox.
    Remember all the perils you put those guys through! Set this stage, too.

  4. Jon,
    First, I love your writing. Sara’s been bragging about it for years and now I’m glad I get a chance to experience it myself. 🙂
    Second, my coworker’s brother underwent a bone marrow transplant on 1/20/07. Yes, the first few weeks/months were tough, but he’s doing fantastic now and in 8wks he gets to go back to work, hang out w/ his family, be with his friends.
    Yes, the oncologists probably have to present worst case scenarios to the patients, however, they’re just numbers! It doesn’t mean you will be part of that. Are you and mom still reading, “It’s not about the bike”? Lance Armstrong had something ridiculous, like a 3% chance of survival. The man should have died but guess what…..He’s kicked ass for the last 12years–something French cyclists are not too happy about.
    This whole journey is scary and w/ cancer you have very little control over your body. So take control over the things you can….read great books, write your blogs, dance like no one’s watching, laugh until it hurts, tell your family how much you love them.
    You know you have an army standing behind you. And you will be a statistic, except you will be on the other side saying, “HA! I made it!! and so can the next person!” I much prefer those odds, don’t you?
    Love, Nicole 🙂

  5. Something random and stupid to cheer you up

  6. Rock on JOHN WAYNE

  7. hi jonathan,

    just a note to tell you i love you and am thinking about you. your latest entry was incredibly powerful. i hope you feel all of us pulling for you and sending all our love.


  8. Jonathan,
    Your writing makes me laugh and cry at the same time. You are on an emotional roller coaster right now but I know you are going to come back to us all very soon- strong, healthy and with hair! People recover from bone marrow treatments every day and you are going to join the survivors too. We all know how special you are and we love you so very much. Love, Auntie Debbie Keep dancing!

  9. Hey Jon, it’s been a while but I wanted to say we’re all behind you back east, and know you’ll get through these tough times while still making us laugh. Keep fighting hard, and I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers until you’re back home and healthy, real soon!


  10. Marilyn Fratturelli

    Hi Jonathan,
    Don’t pay any attention to the lousy statistics. Our family went through something similar where we were told the odds were slim to none for recovery. They were dead wrong. The odds mean crap. The doctors just give statistics from their past knowledge. They don’t know how else to cope with a patient. Your doctor is doing the same thing.
    You are going to get through this difficult journey, and you will have such wisdom for all of us in future years. You will talk to us about love, family, friendship, determination, and the power of positive thought and visualization. You will tell us about the hard fought battle and how you won it. Hmmm, it sounds like this might have the makings of an award-winning book.
    Continue being positive!!!!

  11. Hey, we’ve been rocking LA for quite some time now, Cancer don’t beat tinseltown, baby!

    Jon, You have the strength that you need. I have the faith, and my prayers and love are with you.

    Love your co-patriot,


  12. Good Morning Jon,
    It must have been incredible difficult to hear those statistics, but they have no meaning for you.There are plenty of people that have beat the odds. So lock that information away in a small room and throw away the key. I already know that you live each day with anger and frustration sometimes, but also with much joy, laughter,and love.

    Thanks for doing what you do best-writing and sharing this journey. Know that the circle around you continues to enlarge with angels.

    The next Goss Thanksgiving I think we’ll have to have a dance -off rather than karaoke. What do you think?

  13. Famous Bald Men:
    Yul Brynner
    Billy Corgan
    Bruce Willis
    Ron Coleman ( Mr. Olympia-2000)
    Winston Churchill
    William Shakespeare
    Montel Williams
    Jonathan Goss ( cancer survivor)
    I loved the pictures! You look great! I am sending you a big hug and lots of love.

  14. Hi Jonathan,

    I have been keeping up on your progress through my brother Patrick. I know that he cares so much about you and I remember how much of a friend you have been to him. I am keeping you in my prayers everyday. keep on fighting, kiddo.

    Teresa (Kelly) Farley

  15. Hey Jon,Im still wearing my Cancer medal around my neck,Tommorrow is the big game here. Not shure who’s favored to win, but the Mayor, bet Lisa (mayor of Fitchburg) if he won, she would help him roast chestnuts in front of city hall on friday for our Xmas stroll. If he loses he is giving her a ride in a plane over Fitchburg. good luck Uncle Gregg

  16. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I thought of you yesterday as I made my butternut squash. I know it is a favorite of yours and next year we will all be together at your house eating, drinking, singing, and dancing. Jason’s new song is called “There’s a Light Up Ahead” and I think it was written for you. Don’t give up! Love, Auntie Debbie

  17. Hey Jonathan,

    Just so you know the entire St Leo school community prayed for you BY NAME today. Nothing better than 300 beautiful cherubs sending their prayers your way.

    By the way, You are quite handsome without any hair…don’t forget all the men in my family are follically challenged and they are extremely handsome too… it.

    We all send you our love.

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