3 May 1967 – 5 August 2017
I don’t exactly remember how Howard and I first crossed paths, but it must’ve been through our respective blogs. I do know however, that we only met in person a few years ago when Ben and I lived in Denver. Howard was a member of Monkey’s Uncle, a small local improv comedy troupe, and seeing their live shows was always a joy.
We’ve known of Howard’s illness for quite some time, but being a cancer survivor myself, I’ve been in denial, hoping against all odds that he’d pull through it as I did. Howard, however, had a different type than I did and had no such illusions. This past January he posted the following on his blog:
I’m going to be uncomfortably honest and real right now. So much so that I’m not posting this to social media and you may just want to click somewhere else (SQUIRREL!) on the internet. I was not looking forward to 2017. As much as aspects of 2016 were horrible, the new year brought with it a hard, stern look at my mortality. Or in summary:
There’s a chance I won’t make it through 2017.
No, I’m not suicidal. Please do NOT worry about that. I will keep fighting.
I’ll let you catch your breath now.
As you may or may not know, I’ve been fighting Stage IV melanoma since the beginning of 2015. After two surgeries and four chemotherapies, I’m running out of options. All that’s left is trials (if I can get into them due to being HIV+) and a treatment so intense I’ll be in ICU for a minimum of 5 days. The trials are a shot in the dark. The treatment works for only 10% of patients. The good news with the treatment is, if it does work, I’ll be in complete remission.
The problem is those are pretty much the only options left and I’ve been told seven months is my worst-case scenario. Since I’ve not received any treatment for 8 weeks that seems the clock is technically down to five months.
Add to that the pity party of what I’m pretty convinced is me being out of “love” luck, too. Man, what does it take to convince a guy to just cuddle on the couch and watch a movie? I could get laid 10x easier.
I may be down when you see me and these are the reasons why. It’s hard especially since I tend to gravitate towards being jovial, happy, and optimistic. I don’t necessarily want to leave because there are still so many beautiful and wonderful things out there, but I also have to be honest with myself.
We all gotta go.
And now you have gone, my friend. You will be missed. I shall miss your wit, your smile, your exuberant sense of humor and your thirst for life. And I will never forget that sweet, unsolicited, off-the-wall comment you made one time after I’d posted a photo of myself from the mid 80s: “I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d make out with you.”