Last Cuppa Coffee – Tuesday, April 24, 2012: It only gets better edition…

by on April 24, 2012 · 7 comments

in First Cuppa, Life Events, Media, San Diego

When I started this a few months back, not many people thought I’d pull it off.

“A five day a week column? Aren’t you building unrealistic expectations?” Yet here we are three months later and—with the exception of two sick days—I’ve managed to crank out insights on the world we live in five days a week for however long it’s been.

First Cuppa Coffee always was an experiment. Professionally, ‘Cuppa’ was an exploration into what a ‘three dot’ daily news round up might look like.  Personally, I wanted to overcome my fears about writing under deadline, everyday. Mostly I wanted to stay sane. This was about giving my life a purpose while I sorted out some very heavy duty things.

You see, I’ve been living with a ticking time bomb called cancer. I went through the agonies of chemotherapy (four rounds) and seven weeks of daily radiation therapy. The tumor in my larynx shrank and shrank and shrank until we all thought it had gone away. But then I had to do The Wait…seven weeks of wondering IF.

A PET scan detailed that Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda wasn’t enough. The cancer was coming back. My situation wasn’t life threatening, but it certainly was going to be Life Changing.

This morning I’ll be wheeled into an operating room at UCSD’s Thorton Hospital and Dr. Weisman’s team will proceed to deconstruct my throat over seven hours while they chop out the cancer. The good news is the cancer hasn’t spread. The bad news is that I’m doomed to living without a normal speaking voice. (Actually, my voice quit a couple of weeks ago.)

I am not writing this to make you sad. This is a story of redemption. I’ve got a couple of weeks in the hospital and an uncertain period of bed rest to follow my operation. But, when I’m done with all that, I know how to tap found the writer’s fire inside of me at will. That fire has always been there; I was storming the Bastille, so to speak, forty years ago right here in San Diego. But, y’know, life happens. I had a career. I got to see a lot of this very interesting planet. And I met my wife, which would have never happened if I’d stayed in one place.

My family and friends have been wonderful throughout this whole ordeal; I couldn’t have done this without, in particular, my wife and daughter. Being sick has made me appreciate how precious our relationships have become.

Beyond that, I’m coming out of this with a determination to wield my mighty keyboard against the forces of darkness in this world. So let there be no doubt that I’ll be back. As I’m in the hospital, a long time dream of mine (and others!) is coming to fruition.  The OB Rag is giving birth to the San Diego Free Press, a place on the web where the progressives in all the communities of our fair city can find their voice. I’ll be working on both projects as soon as possible.

My old friend Denny Doyle, back in the days when we were running with the print version of the OB Rag, invited me to speak to students at the OB Free School about the future of journalism.  When we re-connected last year, after decades of pursuing other dreams, he told me that the thing that surprised him the most about the talk that I gave was that I started out by telling the students that newspapers and that kind of journalism were dead.

I’d forgotten the talk. But it sure is nice to know that you were right so long ago that you had time to forget it and still be right.  As I’ve told virtually every writer that’s found a home at the OB Rag over the past three years, those of us that are participating in this grand new experiment in story telling will be the ones asked to sit at the table when the dust settles as journalism re-invents itself. Those that pine for what once was will have no cheese to go with their whine.

So I’ll see you in a few weeks. Will First Cuppa Coffee return? No. It was an experiment. But there may be other columns. We’ll be using the lessons learned in creating Cuppa to add value and impact to projects at both the San Diego Free Press and the O.B. Rag. Until then, have a great spring. May the force be with you.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

butch April 24, 2012 at 8:32 am

Best wishes, Doug.

Let your keyboard be your voice and let it speak louder than you were ever able to before.


Andy Cohen April 24, 2012 at 8:37 am

Hey, Neighbor-

Good luck, my friend! Kick that cancer’s ass and get back to doing what you’ve been doing SOON! Your “voice” is sorely needed around here. And if you need anything…….well, hell, I’m only a block and a half away. But you knew that already.


Anna Daniels April 24, 2012 at 8:49 am

Doug- nothing can diminish your incisive voice. Thank you for the grand experiment of First Cuppa, in which you have served up a strong brew of what we should know with just the right touch of irreverence. Take care, my friend. Here’s to the San Diego Free Press!


judi Curry April 24, 2012 at 8:53 am

Hey Doug. As a cancer survivor myself – 16 years – I admire your tenacity is fighting this insidious disease. It can be beat, even though there are the days that you just want to say f – – – the whole thing. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and if I can be of any help let me know. I look forward to your next article.


Jack April 24, 2012 at 8:59 am

I am sure God looks fondly on us Freaks, Uppity-Women and Policticos…and I am sure (s)he is looking down on you today. You are in my prayers, my friend and my writing inspiration. But answer me this…will you still be able to play the piano?

In Peace, Jack


Nancy April 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm

So sorry to hear this, Doug, and it is sad, and I’m sorry, I’m tearing up.
You’re quite an inspiration with your wonderful writing and doing it under the
health situation you’ve been under, and the wonderful attitude you have as you’re
facing the upcoming surgery.
As others have already said, I know you’ll be back at your computer as soon as you can, and be assured that we’re all with you in your fighting and optimistic spirit.
The very best to you and yours.


JMW April 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

Get back to work, you! If not Cuppa, then something new and equally worthy. Force be with you.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: