I was diagnosed with cancer on March 17.
“They said there was one spot on my liver when I first got the ultrasound. But when the MRI came through, which was two months later, I had 30 spots. My next appointment with the cancer doctors will be soon. They are going to tell me how to go about it, and it’s probably going to be chemotherapy. They are not going to cut me open. I won’t let them. I have accepted the fact that if there’s death involved, so be it. I have been on the planet 54 years in September. But I don’t think it’s that bad right? One of the doctors said they don’t think that I am going to die because of it. But they said don’t put all your chips in one corner either, because you never know. So, I am hoping and I am praying.”
“The palliative care doctor and his team have been great to me.”
“I feel like I am in the right spot. He gets things done so quickly. He gets me the appointments, and sees me every Wednesday. Fixing and patching up what’s going wrong. He’s very good. He gives you information and stuff. I have never had a doctor like that. And you know what? I want to keep him as a doctor through this whole episode. He really cares for his patients.”
I would say I have had about 10 years of homelessness in my life.
“I’ve rented a few rooms and I managed. But things have happened, like someone set my room on fire, and stole cartons of cigarettes from me. That night there were no other rooms, so I ended up on the street. And other times I just gave up. Alcohol was my primary drug of choice. And then eventually I said, ‘Screw this. This is enough.’ So, on October 29th 2014 I went into an alcohol rehabilitation centre.”
“This homeless shelter has been great. I mean, to be honest, a lot of people complain about this place. But, the treatment has been good, the food is good.”
People complain, but if you don’t like it, there’s the door…
“Me? I am a go getter. I hang around Yorkville.”
“I’ve got friends in Yorkville. I go to the Yorkville library. I walk there – 35 minutes. I try to keep busy because I don’t want to stiffen up and be a gargoyle. I read at the library. I’ve got my own phone right here. And I’ve got friends that I meet up with. I go to Tim Horton’s with Bill, my AA sponsor. I keep tight with him because… next month is going to be a year since I stopped drinking.”
“Given your struggles with alcoholism, do you have reflections on what’s worked and what hasn’t worked?”
“I found out that I should help myself. Because nobody else will. If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anybody. You have to run it, you have to want it, you have to need it. I waited four months to get into the alcohol rehabilitation program. I was there showing them all, showing them all that I needed it. And it all worked out well.”
“I am not just sitting here. I have jobs as well.”
“I use a temporary agency. I go for four to eight hours a day. The dispatcher, she knows me the best. She looks at me and she says, ‘Okay, you’re going to have to do the hard work today, you look healthy.’ Or she says, ‘light duty.’ I have been to the Rogers Centre about 200 times. The last time was about three weeks ago. We clean up all the garbage, sweep it up, put it in bags. It’s not heavy, but after four hours I am exhausted.”