Didn’t See That Coming

Pointless ImageI started this blog way back in 2008 for three reasons. First, as a promotional tool for my “diet” book. Second, as a public outlet for my writing. Third, as a way for rich people to find me and send me large bags of money on a regular basis.

At the very beginning of this year I decided to put the blog on indefinite hold. As I stepped back and looked at the big picture, I realized I’d probably said everything I was ever going to say on the topic of dieting. It’s a sad day when you first think about putting a long-time blog on hold. It’s a sadder day when you actually do it. Saddest still is when you realize only about eight people even noticed.

No, I take that back. Saddest is when you realize that in all those years not a single person ever sent you a large bag of money.

Back to Back to the Fridge

So what brings me back now? Well, to put it succinctly: new material. Except this time it isn’t about dieting. No, this return to the blog has been spurred by something I didn’t see coming at all.

It began innocently enough. In about the second week of January, I first noticed this sensation in my chest, like maybe I was about to get a cold or something. But no cold ever materialized and nothing ever came of it beyond an occasional cough. I continued to work at least twelve hours a day, eat like crap, and never exercised. What could possibly go wrong?

Um, I Don’t Feel Well

By the start of March, though, the cough had become very real. I was also outwardly beginning to look ill as evidenced by the sharp increase in the number of daily utterances of “you look like crap” at work.

Headaches were soon added to the mix and I decided to visit the doctor. Daily fevers (typically between 102 and 103) then began and I decided to visit the doctor again. Days passed without improvement and I decided to visit the doctor a third time. This time they looked at my blood and, by golly, they found some abnormalities.

So it was off to the ER the very next morning (April 3, 2012). I arrived at ten o’clock, had a CT scan of my abdomen, and by seven that evening found myself in the hospital bed I’d spend the next ten days in. After a couple biopsies and other tests, it was determined I had some sort of cancer called “Bob Hoskins Linoleum.”

Did I Miss the Signs?

I wonder how many people in my situation look back at the symptoms and think, “Man, I really should have seen the signs! How could I have overlooked this for so long?” But the thing is, at least for me, it never would have crossed my mind that what I thought was just a bad cough was actually cancer. There were no obvious signs:

We Need to Fix This Guy

The hospital stay is mostly a blur. I had visitors which I don’t even remember. I had things that never actually happened that I do remember, thanks to regular deposits of hydromorphone into my IV tube.

As expected, word got out on Facebook of my condition, along with a now-infamous photo posted by my wife (apparently with my narcotics-induced consent). Though today I wish it had never been seen by the masses, I’ll provide a preview here anyway for the curious:

I’m holding popsicles, in case you’re wondering.

You know, now that I think about it, I believe this photo alone might have caused more concern among friends and family than anything else (“putting a face on it” so to speak). Here’s an actual, unretouched photo of friends and family reacting to my condition:

For the record, the answer to that (I’ve since learned) is: yes, I was.

So Now What?

So far, I’ve bounced back very well. I’m doing things today I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing even just one week ago: actually checking email, going out to a movie, baking and decorating six-tier wedding cakes, and so on.

But I also know I’ve only just begun. I’ve had only one of what will ultimately be six to eight chemotherapy treatments. The only reason I feel good right now is because they’ve been able to restore essential functionality to my system (not to mention it’s now been two weeks since chemo, so most of those side effects have passed and are only waiting to return next week).

So I have no idea what I’m in for. But I’ll definitely do my best to continue posting here regularly for anyone interested in my progress, my writing, or even my mailing address. I am, after all, still expecting those bags of money to come rolling in any day now.

62 Responses to “Didn’t See That Coming”

Helen said
April 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Cancer sucks.

I’m rooting for you Charlie although I am sad this is what it took to bring you Back to the Fridge.

(P.S. Please do fix Biz’ blog comments when you have time.)

Kristen said
April 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I was SO excited to see you pop up on my google reader, but I’m so sorry that this is why. You don’t know me or anything, but I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time, and I will be rooting for you. You’ll beat that linoleum! I hope you’ll keep us posted, but completely understand that you’re going through a lot right now.

Also, I can’t believe that you managed to turn this news into yet another entertaining blog post. Initially, I came for the weight loss stories, but I stayed for the consistently high quality writing. =)

Biz said
April 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

OMG, I laughed out loud at the Bob Hoskins Linoleum diagnosis!

Hang in there Charlie! I have your mailing address already, but it won’t be bags of money, just cookies! 😀

JohnGL said
April 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I thought it was Johns Hopkins Nymphomania…my mistake.

Your sense of humor is, quite simply, joy personified. I don’t know how you do it, but I’ll continue to expect benefiting by it for many decades to come.

To your ongoing good health good and kind Sir!

Moe said
April 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

If it makes you feel any better, I hadn’t seen the picture or heard about this until JGL linked your post. (Thanks JGL.) My immediate reaction is: “WHAT THE HOLY SHIT BALLS?!” My non-immediate reaction is about the same. Will be keeping up via the blog. Hope you start feeling better Charlie.

[Marissa – ex L2, ex NC, henceforth signed as Moe.]

Mark G said
April 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I don’t think I know of another soul that breaks the news to me about a tough situation and makes me smile in the end.

I’m glad to know you’re back to some normal routines and ready to tackle the Linoleum. You and the family are in our thoughts prayers.

Melodee said
April 26, 2012 at 12:36 am

Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry to hear about that . . . and I did miss your blog but sorry your “new material” had to be what it is! Take care!

Sandie said
April 26, 2012 at 2:35 am

I noticed, and I was sad that you left, but I read via email so I rarely comment.

Cancer sucks. It sneaks up on us when we’re not looking. Good luck with the treatment.

“Bob Hoskins Linoleum.”… only you!, lol.

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said
April 26, 2012 at 5:55 am

Dude, linoleum sucks! No doubt about it. Pisces would have been so much better of a deal. McDonalds is way better than cancer. Well, actually McDonalds probably causes cancer…

Hope you post more, I’ve been following your story over on Biz’s blog and am glad you are posting here!

Where do I send that big bag of money??

Deb said
April 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

Aw crap, Charlie. Linoleum? No way, man. Fingers crossed you can avoid that secondary complication – waxy yellow build-up.

Good to have the blog back, bad to hear what it took to get you online again. I don’t have money bags to share, large OR small, but I’m pretty sure I can afford to give you all the pennies I find in parking lots from here on out. You just say the word. We are all in your corner, man (and yeah – better get a bigger corner ’cause this one is getting crowded).

    K Flint said
    April 27, 2012 at 7:00 am

    @Deb – He’s already had that yellow waxy build-up! That first treatment seems to have stripped away the wax – thank goodness! Yellow is NOT one of Charlie’s colors!!

angie said
April 26, 2012 at 7:20 am

Long-time lurker, first-time commenter. I effing hate linoleum. I don’t care whose linoleum it is or how nice they try to make it look, it just sucks ass. I say we rip out Bob Hoskins’s linoleum and put down some nice ceramic tile or hardwood instead.

Go get ’em, Charlie! I have no bags of money to send, but I can offer a bag of dog hair. Or cat hair, if that’s your preference. Oh wait – DRYER LINT! Think of the crafts you could make. Send me your address and you can have all the dryer lint I can make, plus any I find on the street. Yeah!

Charlie said
April 26, 2012 at 7:59 am

@Helen: I’m afraid until WordPress decides to no longer require login for wp/gravatar-registered email addresses, there’s nothing we can do. I just switched to commenting with a completely different email address.

@Kristen: re: “I can’t believe you managed to turn this into another entertaining blog post”, I have two comments on that. First, I don’t know how to do it any other way. Second, it makes me happy that my approach is nonetheless appreciated and/or enjoyed. Thanks!

@Debbi: One way or another, I’ll post more!

@angie: I bet I could make a sweet pillow out of that.

Charlie said
April 26, 2012 at 8:15 am

@Everybody: I know that individuals react differently when they first hear news like this about someone they know (be it personally or virtually). It’s common to feel uncomfortable or fumble with variations on “I don’t know what to say.” Although I have no hard data to back up this hypothesis, my gut tells me this is probably the most common reaction.

The next most common reaction seems to be, “If there’s anything I can do, don’t hesitate to ask.” And that’s the one I’d like to address now because there actually is something you can do. Leave a comment!

Eleven of you have so far, and I want to just say I appreciate every single one. I’m a writer at heart and writers want to be read. The comment is the tool that lets me know that’s actually happening. The web has given writers and readers an unprecedented opportunity for immediate feedback and interaction.

Not to sound needy, but as I go through the ups and downs of this next phase of my life here (and attempt to chronicle it as entertainingly as possible) just leave a few words as you stop by. We can chat right here in this space and just pretend everything’s as normal as can be.


    Beth Elliott said
    May 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Hey Charlie, that picture Marc posted of us in our 80’s shorts was what led me to seeing your blog. Now that I’ve found it I’ll definitely be following. I enjoy your writing and I’ll be thinking of you as you share this journey.

      Charlie said
      May 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Yeah, that pic caused a bit of a stir. 🙂

        JohnGL said
        May 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        Well, I certainly never knew you had such attractive knees.

    Tony Lockyer said
    September 22, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Bob Hoskins Linoleum!? No Way. He’s far too wealthy to have linoleum and much more likely to have highly polished oak flooring or even ceramic tiles.

    On the other hand, you are in our prayers and thoughts and we all hope you have a speedy recovery.

    Pip pip


Stephanie (a.k.a Suzanne) said
April 26, 2012 at 8:20 am


You did it again! You got me laughing when I should have been crying… but you know me both will produce tears.

You’ll keep fighting… and finding humor in it somehow… because that’s just the way you are.

We’ll keep chatting online about life, family, and mostly food….

I’ll keep typing to you with my typo’s and you’ll keep catching all of them, pointing them out to me and we’ll both be laughing!

Good to see you online again!

Julie said
April 26, 2012 at 9:14 am

Oh Charlie, I am so glad that you are feeling better. I know that it’s a long road to healthy (my father-in-law has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but has been in remission for many years now) but you know how to take care of yourself and with your family behind you all will be great. One day at a time my friend.
Blessing to you and yours. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

sue (merriwether) murphy said
April 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

Dear Charlie,

It shouldn’t have taken this blog post for me to send you a message…but life is weird that way! You are an amazing individual and I am proud to claim you as my cousin…been a while between visits, huh? Your blog is amazing and now I have quite alot of reading to do…who knew?

Lucky for you, you have an amazing wife, sisters and a mom who will definitely keep you going, pick you up when you need it and kick your ass when you need that too.

Keeping you in my prayers, following the blog, cheering you onward on this journey & reconnecting…

Caryl said
April 26, 2012 at 9:45 am

Mark G. and Sue Murphy stole my words, Charlie! Wish I could find my funny bone to respond in a way that would make you chuckle, but you know me and that I somehow missed cashing in on that gene. Know that I’ll check in regularly…as I always have.

God bless you and yours,

Amber said
April 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Since you didn’t take my advice about the pretend puking in the trash so you could go home….maybe this time you’ll benefit from what I have to say?

Saw this on the internet, and immediately thought you could benefit from it! http://essaytyper.com/ Since you’re a writer and all. =P

I kid. I kid. Nevertheless, I thought it was funny — the site — not myself.

Also! Great post! Had me chuckling.

MikeZ said
April 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Hang in there Charlie! Never forget you’ve got friends up in Seattle rooting for you!

Brian Hinson said
April 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Just wanted to say I am here C. Love to hear from you when you can. Did you get the picture?

Pam Zwemer said
April 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Hey Charlie – Well I didn’t get the writing genes either – I got the let’s do math prblems for fun genes and that doesn’t make for a very good blog! Been thinking of you constantly since I got your news … all cancers are different of course but if you have any questions or just want to chat let me know. Know that we love you and your family and are sending you good healing vibes. …Cousin Pam

Charlie said
April 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

@Stephanie/Suzanne: re: “I’ll keep typing to you with my typo’s”, that should just be “typos.”

@Julie: I’m definitely signing up for your father-in-law’s plan.

@Caryl: got your card yesterday. Thanks!

@Amber: is it a sign of how bad off I was that I don’t remember the fake-puking advice? (And glad the post had you chuckling.)

@MikeZ: Seattle was the first thing that popped into my head today when I headed out to the doctor’s office, got hit by the heat and thought, “Whelp, spring’s over.”

@Brian: Got the pic (loved it) and the video too (though I haven’t watched it yet. I’m a bit TV’d out now!) I’ll talk to you soon.

To Be 20 Again « My Bizzy Kitchen said
April 27, 2012 at 6:35 am

[…] Check out my brother Charlie’s Blog post – he’s started writing again!  You can keep up with him and how his cancer treatment is going at his blog, Back to the Fridge.  I love you Charlie! […]

Michelle said
April 27, 2012 at 7:16 am

Charlie –

Laughter is good medicine for the patient and the reader!!

Keep it up and you wipe the linoleum clean!!

    Michelle said
    April 27, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Typo – you will not you!!

Renee@Mykitchenadventures said
April 27, 2012 at 7:18 am

One of Biz’s follower here and I’m rooting for you Charlie! This post made me laugh out loud…alone…here in my kitchen…lol

Shelley B said
April 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

I’m on the cancer sucks bandwagon – sorry you are having to deal with this, Charlie. And I’ve missed your blog posts, but would have gladly kept missing them for you to not have to come and write about THIS. That said, you’re still one funny mofo who manages to keep things in perspective!

Reneé said
April 27, 2012 at 8:50 am


Gosh, this sucks. Good thing you posted on FB or I would have missed this news.. Someone is slacking off on his job of keeping me informed on this important shit. You gotta be careful or he might stick your name on the board…
I hope the chemo woes go by as quickly as they can and give you results that have you feeling better.

Suzie said
April 27, 2012 at 9:05 am

Hi Charlie, a friend of Biz’s here. I adore your sense of humor. Not the way you want to come back to blogging but, you’re back and that’s what counts. I hope you’ll kick linoleum’s butt! 😉

Leeland Heins said
April 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

Damnit Charlie, now I guess I’m going to have to do the LiveStrong 1/2 Marathon again next year. I’d really hoped to not have to have another person to do it for. But at least I am confident that you are going to be on the SURVIVOR list.

Eric said
April 27, 2012 at 11:35 am


To one of my oldest and dearest friends…I’ve known you effectively half my life…I’d like to make sure we get the 2nd half in before we dine in hell (wait…thats the 300…) how about toast in heaven!! (or in my case maybe Purgatory)…:)

At any rate, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and I do want to do what i can to help (be that lint, cat hair, dog hair, or any other kind of hair i can help you find).

If you need a smile, just think back to that night we flew the simulator on my Vax Workstation and I all but wet myself from laughing so hard. You can’t buy entertainment like that anymore.

Be well my friend, drink thristy.


Holly Hills said
April 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hello From Florida! So sorry to hear about the situation you find yourself in — but am very optimistic about the outcome. I am glad you are facing it with humor…and am glad I am a Capricorn –xoxo

Cousin Holly / Guy / Walker / Sofia

Ann Leland said
April 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I loved your blog and your linoleum comment was in true Charlie fashion. You are the most talented musician, math wiz, genius star gazer, and quick witted person I know. My sophomore and junior year at the Kappa Sig house with you were my best summers of my life. Reading your blog I could hear you talking and it makes me laugh and cry at the same time because I miss you and all the fun we had. I’ll be praying for you and thinking of you and when the chemo gets you down, think of our time together and laugh. I love you Charlie Bug.

Dinner at Christina's said
April 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm

You never fail to crack me up. I don’t think there are many people out there who could write a “cancer diagnosis” post that makes people sit there and laugh out loud- but you pull it off nicely!
Great job kicking ass through round 1 of chemo- keep knocking ’em down! 🙂
(PS- not sure if you’re a fan of Michael C. Hall [actor from Dexter and Six Feet Under] but he had Bob’s Linoleum a few years ago and is doing better than ever now!)

kathy said
April 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

You are so awesome Charlie. I know you will be completely well soon. You are missed and I’m sending you a big hug!

Lynn (Tingle) DeLean Weber said
April 28, 2012 at 4:49 am

A hello to you, Charlie, from St. Louis! Just read your blog for the first time and realize now what I’ve been missing. First off, prayers of many are surrounding you all the time. Secondly, I too, (admitted with utter sadness), know I don’t have the ‘funny’ gene to the extent that you do. I’m just one of your many crazy cousins (which, by the way, brings up a question that keeps me awake at night: what are we to each other…cousins once removed? second cousins whose parents used to party together? It makes my brain hurt just thinking about how our children are related). Well, anyway, I’m glad we’re all related (and don’t even think of denying any of us – it would take one tweet to have us all flashmob you in Texas). Sending love (and hopefully a smile) to you!

p.s. St. Louis trivia fact: Our fair city boasts of having one half of the McDonald’s infamous arch (only ours is silver). Has anyone seen the other half somewhere?

Vicki H said
April 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Well, now the cat’s out of the bag! Your mom told Susanna Wesley about your blog. You know what that means? That means ALL of Susannah Wesley is reading your blog and sending powerful prayers for you and your family. It also means more blog readers … which conceivably increases the chances for that bag of money you’ve been anticipating.

Cindy B said
April 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm

OK, Charlie, I just have to ask – why on earth are you decorating six-tiered wedding cakes? PS -if you think your hospital picture is unflattering, you should see one I have from one of the canoe camping trips that will beat it.

Kimber64 said
April 30, 2012 at 10:58 am

Charlie –

Love your postive outlook and creative take on your linoleum (I am actually a wood floor girl myself). My brother-in-law also has linoleum, he is doing well, it’s a journey of highs and lows. Please know everyone reading is strapped in and ready for your journey. Safety in numbers, just like your mom always said. Cheers to a sunny day!

Charlie said
April 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm

@Eric: it was that ultralight that did it, wasn’t it? That was indeed a fun evening. Primitive-looking flight simulators, pizza, if I recall correctly, and a “When are you coming home?!” phone call hours later.

@Holly: Hello back atcha from Texas, and good to hear from you. Yeah, you lucked out on the Capricorn thing.

@Ann: One event I remember that still makes me laugh happened while grocery shopping. You kept slowing us down looking for coupons for every item you put in the cart. At one point you were having trouble finding one and I said, “What was it for, twenty-five cents off? Here, I’ll give you a quarter and we can move on to the next aisle.” Oh well, at least I thought it was funny. 🙂

@Lynn: I think they should build the other half of that arch right next to the first half:

@Vicki & Cindy: Thanks for stopping by. (And I think I know which picture you’re talking about, C.)

Anna said
May 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Wowzer! 41 comments! I’m sure people didnt comment much before cos they thought they would outwit you!!


Ok, I’m lying, probably the opposite.

And I can’t believe its 2008!! Jeez! I’m sure I’ve been following you that long, and I bought your book………that long ago………THAT long! And I’m still fat too………hehe!

artsvdo said
May 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Hi Charlie. I bought your book in 2005, I think, about 3 months before I decided to move to Apple. Go figure. It was a great investment at the time, though.
I wish you all the best and to many many more years of posting, uh, you know, stuff…

Brian said
May 3, 2012 at 1:27 am

Take comfort, Charlie. Everyone told me I looked like hell when I was diagnosed with cancer and that was in 1995! Now, I still look like hell but that’s just because I have become ancient, having survived four different potentially fatal diseases. Having now reached my 80s, I guess I can call myself a survivor, just as you will be after your 8th session to beat that linoleum. That will be called “Getting Results with…” Hey! that may make a title for your next book!

I enjoyed working with you on “G R W MSP8” (Guess that may not mean much to many commenters here, nor will your infamous MUG, now 14 years young) but that is how you became a cyberfriend.

Whatever! I wish you all the best from sunny Cyprus (actually, it’s bucketing canines and felines, as I write) and I know your inimitable humour will help you through this bad moment laying your linoleum.

Charlie said
May 3, 2012 at 6:40 am

Thanks Brian and artsydo, for stopping by and for the encouraging words.

On the rare chance any regulars here are curious, MUG is the MediaStudio Pro Users Group, an email-based community for (what was once) Ulead’s flagship video editing package. I created the group back in 1996 and it’s still going.

The book Brian mentioned is this one.

You can also see sample videos of mine here or here. Just click the thumbnails.

Ron Hagley said
May 3, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi Charlie,

I’m just a mugger who has had much pleasure from the group you have moderated for so long. Did not know you had been ill but wish you a speedy and complete recovery. Keep smiling.

Kelvin Smibert said
May 4, 2012 at 7:22 am

Nearly 10 years since an 80 YO took up with MSP6. With difficulty. And Son said “Gee Dad ! Dont you know ANYTHING about about computers” and he pointed me towards MUG-SW, behind which lurked an ominous figure called Charlie.
So lurk on Charlie. Well done.

Percy said
May 4, 2012 at 11:39 am

Pretty funny blog. Stay strong. Speedy recovery.

CV Doherty said
May 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm


Stay strong and get well soon. We all enjoy your Facebook posts very much. It was only in catching up today that I realized your illness. My apologies. The Dohertys will put you in our prayers and be more diligent in checking your (and all our friends’) posts.

God Bless,


Bob Cannon said
May 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Luv ur blog Charlie
Praying for u everyday

Charlie said
May 8, 2012 at 9:33 am

@my additional MUG visitors: thanks for stopping by. I know I’m barely more than a lurker there now (now that my video editing career has been reduced to about nothing). But it’s still good to see the list/group still going after sixteen years. Hard to believe it’s been that long.

@CV: Thanks for the note. Don’t worry about being out of the loop. There’s seven billion people out there to keep up on.

@Bob: Glad you like the blog. If you’re bored, there’s four years of posts out there to catch up on.

Amy said
May 15, 2012 at 10:25 am


You are lying. I know you are. This is a sick attempt at crying for attention. I’ve had it with you. Just stop it!

Now, go have some Spaghettios and stop this whining right now!

P.S. Dave Brubeck says, “You’re goooood….”

Why does my car smell like roasted peppers? « My Bizzy Kitchen said
June 12, 2012 at 7:26 am

[…] I thought of what my husband had to go through during his cancer surgery and recovery, and what my brother is going through now with his Bob Hoskins Linoleum, and suddenly spilt soup wasn’t a big […]

Family! « My Bizzy Kitchen said
July 16, 2012 at 7:28 am

[…] a little nervous about seeing my brother because it’s the first time that I’ve seen him since his cancer diagnosis.  While I had seen some pictures of him on facebook, I wasn’t really sure what to […]

Brian said
September 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

Hi, again, Charlie

4½ months since I last wrote here and I’m glad to see your spirits are high, an essential part of beating the big C.

Today, it really IS sunny here with 32°C max. Guess this must be about the 120th day without significant rain: and the place looks it, more like the Sahara than Europe.

Thursday, I’ll be going for a new biopsy as my C is showing some new nasty signs, but it may just be old age upsetting the system. I’m not worried as I know I have 20 years left. A gypsy fortune teller said that I’ll die at 100, shot by a jealous husband.

Anyway, Charlie, keep the Hills alive with the sound of music

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