Saturday, August 2, 2014


"If it wasn't for the downside, having cancer would be the best thing and everyone would want it." 
- Gilda Radner


Monday morning I’m supposed to report to Boca Community Hospital and have a port installed. No, not a USB port – although with all the gadgetry inside me I could easily qualify as a largish desktop.

It’s a semi-permanent IV port, so the doctors can pump scary chemicals into my body to hunt down even scarier mutant cells that have been brainwashed by a small group of terrorist cells. The terrorists are promising the mutants immortality and fifty beautiful nuclei if they join the noble mission of spreading cancer throughout their evil human host. Who just happens to be Yours Truly. 

I’m not really evil. Honest. Although I’m probably responsible for sending a forest or two to the pulp mills to supply paper for my books. But that’s the fault of my publishers. I’ve only been following orders.

Anyway, the medicos install the IV port directly into an artery in your chest because the chemicals are so nasty they burn the shit out your veins. With six months of chemotherapy - administered every two weeks over a twenty-two hour period - the doctors would soon run out of places to poison you. And then the terrorist cancer cells would run rampant through your body until… well, let’s not dwell on that too long.

An incredibly interesting aside: I looked up cancer cells and the immortality business is no empty promise. Basically, they really do live forever. Or at least as long as it takes to kill their host and become worm food along with their brother and sister cells.

The culprit responsible for leading my body into battle against itself is Colon Cancer. I had two malignant tumors which the surgeons removed a month or so ago along with two thirds of my colon. The main side effect is unrelenting diarrhea. I’ll spare us both the details of this, Gentle Reader. So it is safe to just read on.

Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the surgery a couple of lymph nodes refused to surrender. The biopsy revealed that one node had reached the second stage of cancer. The other, stage three.

I asked my oncologist what would happen if either of them had graduated to stage four. “Would I then become a lymphomanic?” I wondered. She wisely ignored my question.

To rid me of the two remaining cancerous rebels they doctors will be shooting me up with a variety of exotic poisons that go by such unlovely names as Fluorouracil, Folonic Acid and Oxaliplatin.

I Googled them and I have to say after reading even a partial list of the “adverse effects” it made me wonder if maybe I ought to just throw up my hands and let the terrorists win.

I mean, it starts with hair loss – which is no big deal because I can get a bunch of cool ball caps with pictures of my book covers on them – and continues on to… Well… to avoid typing them all out and thoroughly depressing myself, here’s a plagiarized list that I cut and pasted from Wikipedia:

·         Nausea
·         Vomiting
·         Diarrhoea
·         Mucositis
·         Headache
·         Myelosuppression
·         Alopecia (hair loss)
·         Photosensitivity
·         Hand-foot syndrome
·         Maculopapular eruption
·         Itch
·         Cardiotoxicity
·         Oseophagitis
·         GI ulceration and bleeding
·         Proctitis
·       Nail disorders
·         Vein pigmentation
·         Confusion
·         Cerebellar syndrome
·         Oesophagitis
·         GI ulceration and bleeding
·         Proctitis
·         Nail disorders
·         Vein pigmentation
·         Confusion
·         Cerebellar syndrome
·       Encephalopathy
·         Visual changes
·         Photophobia
There are other longer lists that probably include things like I am destined to run over my neighbor’s cat in the morning, but I think I’ve stolen enough from Wikipedia to give you a general idea.

Oh, wait - there’s also a thing called post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment… Also known as chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction or impairment.

In short: Chemo Brain.

It apparently affects twenty or thirty percent of the patients. I don’t know if I’ll be one of that group, but it is a good cover story for my usual “confused mental state.”

Forget to walk the dog and it poops on the floor?  Assume a woeful, helpless expression, tap your forehead and whine, “I’m sorry, Honey. It’s the chemo brain.”

Also useful for missed deadlines, forgotten birthdays and anniversaries, and maybe even not filing your tax return with the IRS, but I wouldn’t try that unless you have a really, really good tax attorney and a spare ten, twenty grand you can throw him.

The beauty of it is the chemo brain excuse can be used over and over again until the six months of treatment ends. And even then there are chemo brain cases you can cite in your defense that go on for several years after the treatment ends.

So that’s another good thing – besides the cool book cover ball caps, that is.

It also makes for a good title for this blog: NOTES FROM A CHEMO BRAIN.

So wish me luck on Monday when I get my IV port installed.

If I talk real nice to them maybe they’ll even throw in a lube job and rotate my tires.

I’ll try to drop you a few lines on Tuesday in advance of the chemo treatments, which I think will begin on Wednesday.

So stay tuned.




Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide: 

Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
  • "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
  • "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus. 
  • "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke,


THE HATE PARALLAX: What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)


A new novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan

After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm ravaged night.

BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization. 

Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:

U.S. .............................................France
United Kingdom ...........................Spain
Canada ........................................ Italy
Germany ..................................... Japan
Brazil .......................................... India


Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself. 


  1. Allan, you've been one of my favorite authors since forever, so believe me when I tell you that I wish you all the luck in the galaxy!

    I know you can beat these goddamn terrorist cells—Stregg forever!

  2. The port surgery is easy, just a day or so of down time and a week of light duty. I spent the first half of 2014 on FOLFOX for colon cancer. My schedule was 3 days of infusion, then the rest of two weeks to recover. Having the port is awesome, because besides the vein-destruction problem, it means you can be at home during the infusion. I did not-much those three days, but worked full time the rest. The Zofran-Compazine combo did very well for the nausea, though I did eat not much other than toast during infusions and for a couple days afterwards. The most annoying side effect was actually cold sensitivity from the Oxaliplatin: even drinking tap water felt like swallowing shards of broken glass, and ice cream was right out. I even warmed up my yogurt before eating. I did this during the coldest part of the winter, too, and went outside as little as possible. The cold sensitivity faded for me just in time to do it again.

    For me, it was bad but not unbearable, and most of the side effects you listed weren't problems. Everyone responds differently, but I hope your experience is more like mine. Also encouraging: for me the FOLFOX was very effective. I'm now just finishing up 28 doses of radiation, and will be having surgery in late summer.

  3. You've got to get well, Allan, because you promised to write a full-length sequel to your lovely tale, The Blacksmith's Daughter. It's on my audiobook production schedule and your many fans await its release...
    All the very best,
    Rosalind Ashford, Audiobook Narrator