My Noid Humor

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My Noid Humor

It is my belief that humor has gotten me through many challenges in my life and that carcinoid cancer is just the latest of these “challenges”.



I (finally) learned of my diagnosis in a rather odd manner.  My gastroenterologist had ordered a liver biopsy for me and a radiologist was inserting a rather long and large needle into my chest, through my right lung, and into my liver. I was lying on my back in a CT-scanner in a hospital.

I was to remain very still during the procedure. Upon the third insertion of the needle, this radiologist asked me, “Mr. Chinnery, have you had cancer before?”

This was one of the few times in my life that I was left utterly speechless and I’ve had many laughs in subsequent years over “the bedside manner of this very caring physician.”



Post Diagnosis

Shortly after my liver biopsy and “diagnosis”, and while I was still in the recovery room, one of the hospital physicians kept approaching me with “I’ve something important to tell you.” I kept telling him that “I’m going to be ill.” The third time he approached, the timing was just right and I projectile vomited on him. I don’t to this day know where all that “stuff” came from.

I never saw a doctor leave a room so fast and he never did return. So I guess I’ll never know what was so important?



Post Post Diagnosis

Post Post Diagnosis

A few hours after having my first liver biopsy, my youngest daughter came to pick me up and take me home from the hospital. I was instructed to, “Take it real easy for a few days - no lifting, etc.”

I fully intended to heed those instructions; but while driving home my daughter and I were rear-ended by two different trucks at the split of Washington’s capital beltway (Interstate-495) and Interstate-270. I told the members of the rescue squad who came to help that I was to undergo no physical stress for at least two days. We all had a good laugh over that, even though I was in a lot of pain and felt like I had broken my neck for a third time in my life.

My daughter and I spent that night in another hospital strapped to boards.

As I lay strapped to that board, I kept thinking to myself, “Cancer’s not really all that bad is it?”



My Tumors

When I was finally properly diagnosed (see ”My Noid Story”), I almost immediately named my two largest tumors “Carson” and “Leno” - reserving  the name “Letterman” for another possible large growth. By doing this, I was able to personally address my tumors during my treatments. I sometimes addressed them in a friendly manner and, at other times I addressed them with anger, depending upon my personal mood and needs.

When new tumors returned, several years later, I named these new ones “Monica and the Tripps”.



The Noid

Shortly after I was finally and accurately diagnosed with carcinoid cancer and syndrome (in April of 1992), I began referring to it as the “Pizza Cancer”. When people looked puzzled, I reminded them of the little Domino’s Pizza character - “The Noid” -  that used to appear in TV and other advertising. His objective in life was to try to destroy people's pizza. My thought was that this little brat - my noid, not the Dominoes’ Noid - was trying to ruin my life, but that I had no intention of allowing this to happen.




During my early treatments, I lost over half of my body weight - down from 215 pounds, in April of 1992, to as low as 98 pounds by early September of 1992,

But also during these early treatments, I adopted Energizer Holdings, Inc.’s “Energizer Bunny” as my mascot. You remember, “Keeps going and going”?

 Some friends of mine, in my then local general cancer support group (One Day At A Time) later gave me bunny ears. a red wig and a fluffy white tail to wear to group meetings. They also provided me with my own little bunny (see above) to carry around with me. Bunny sometimes sits at my chair and uses my computer systems to correspond with his friends.



Anticipatory Vomiting

Several years into chemotherapy, I had had considerable nausea and vomiting; but a lot of it was controlled by the use of infused Zofran and by my use of meditation. I would meditate before, during and after each chemotherapy session. This one day, though, I meditated as usual; but upon entering the professional building where my infusion was to take place, I projectile vomited across the building lobby and onto the guards desk.

The guard was obviously very disarmed by this procedure and I noticed, soon thereafter, that the guard’s desk had been removed from the lobby.


I suppose because of my experience with vomiting, I was invited to participate on ASCO’s Anti-emetics Professional Panel, which I did. The physicians and other professionals on this committee tolerated me as the “real expert”.




Early in my initial treatment - perhaps after two years of chemotherapy - I developed depression. Now almost any good therapist will tell you that to have cancer is a very good reason to get depressed. You just don’t want to stay that way very long as it can be very destructive.

Anyway, I informed my then wife Betsy (Betsy died of cancer in 1998), from the bed where I stayed one morning, that I was through with the treatments and wasn’t going to do them any more. She said “fine” and left the room for a few minutes.

When Betsy returned to my bedside, she had one of my largest needles and a syringe in her hand and she informed me that she was giving me my shots from now on and that they were going to hurt like hell.

I immediately removed myself from the bed and never pulled that stunt again.




A year or so later, I was working in my back yard and managed to drive a spike through my right hand. Betsy drove me to a hospital emergency room. After the usual wait, I was shown into an examining room where the emergency room physician asked me, “What seems to be the problem?”

Showing the doctor my hand, I proceeded to tell him that I thought my cancer had returned!

I actually had to help the doctor up from the floor he was laughing so hard.



Liar, Liar

One day my oncologist informed me it was time for a digital proctoscopic exam. Where upon I promised him that if anyone was to come into the room during the examination I would not giggle.

Well sure enough, one of the staff nurses entered the examining room, without knocking, during the procedure. Where upon I began to giggle. The nurse exclaimed, “Well excuse me!” and left.

I turned to my doctor and said, “I lied”.

I had to pick this doctor up off the floor too. And I have no idea what he told the nurse later.




About 17 months after my carcinoid diagnosis, my youngest daughter was to be married in a formal church ceremony. Since I don’t own a tuxedo I had to rent one.

The day before the wedding - also the rehearsal day and dinner for the wedding - I came down with a bad case of Shingles. This often occurs with people on chemotherapy and is sometimes very painful. Mine certainly was.

Anyway, at the practice, my daughter and I were uncomfortable for different reasons. So, when it came time for us to enter the church and me to escort her down the aisle, we decided to skip. Everyone, particularly the minister, was very surprised.

And we did not let them know whether or not we would do the same thing at the wedding the next day.




(1) The caricature paintings on this page were done by artist Jay Lincoln. Permission was received from Jay to use these caricatures on this website on December 5, 2003.




This page was last updated June 25 2005

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