Pray For The Day – Return Of The Beast

An underrated tune by the rapper Ja Rule,
Had hits in the day though he was a damn fool,

Looking back on the day that I finally bit the bullet,
Symptoms returned so I finally said ‘fuck it’,
What follows is the beginning of the war,
No turning back, Soldier, the battle is on. 


May & June 2018

Soaring high in the sky, I was Superman with his cape on,
The baddest dude from the planet of Krypton,
‘Twas mid-Autumn and I was still savoring the victory,
Over my own body, plus the stress and anxiety,
But what goes up must come down, the cliché rang true,
Stared me in the face and cackled, ‘it’ll happen to you!’
Suddenly I was Icarus, I’d flown too close to the sun,
Those wax wings melted, here comes the fatal plunge.


Life returned to normal rather quickly after we returned home to Australia from up north. I resumed my duties at the International Wing Chun Academy, where I both trained and instructed, and I also started applying for work again (I’m a contractor so work is kinda up and down for me). I also caught up with friends and family and one Saturday shortly after our return my father and I helped my sister assemble a cabinet for her apartment, which was frustrating and quite awkward at times but we got the job done. We definitely had moments that were worthy of a sitcom.
Heck, I even set myself a new fitness goal for the next few months. I had watched that film Black Panther on the cruise ship during the Alaska leg of the trip and upon seeing the character Erik Killmonger (portrayed brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan) on screen I set myself a personal challenge to try and attain his physique. Given that I am genetically inclined to be on the lean and thin side it was probably a fool’s errand but hey, a man can try, right? Time to pump some serious iron and eat like a horse!

You could say that life was pretty good. But that being said, while I had put the health scare from the previous month behind me I still checked every time I ‘went’ to make sure that things back there were still normal. Everything was hunky-dory for a while but one day in late May, I was in for a big shock.




I couldn’t believe my damn eyes. There were bloody streaks in my stools again! I guess those two weeks of zero symptoms during the trip was only a temporary reprieve, it was too good to be true.

Maybe I shouldn’t have returned home.

I then began to wonder if my diet contributed to these symptoms. I thought about the foods that had I consumed during the trip and decided that maybe there were things I was eating and drinking back home that were negatively affecting my body.
Dairy? Reduced.
Water straight from the tap? Reduced.
Any form of junk food? Gone.
Yet the bloody stools continued. On-and-off initially but then gradually became a regular occurrence before intensifying quicker than I could believe and also brought new symptoms with it. In addition to the blood I noticed that I was beginning to lose weight even though I was pumping that iron hard trying to get Erik Killmonger’s build. I also found myself having to go to the toilet more times than usual on some days, at one point I went more than five times in one day. It’s as though I had pissed off whatever disease was within and after a few weeks of devising a new game plan it had returned to take its revenge on me, talk about vindictive!

However, an incident that occurred a few days after the symptoms became aggressive finally convinced me to see a doctor after weeks of ducking and dodging. I won’t go into too much detail about it, it’s both disgusting and embarrassing, but all you need to know is that something happened following a workout one morning and quickly became more frequent.

That’s it, can’t run and hide no more.

And so one morning during early June I got dressed and, rebelling against my brain’s orders to turn back and go home, trekked off to the nearest medical center.


I went to a medical center that was walking distance from my home, registered at the front desk and then sat down on one of the chairs in the waiting room, surrounded by other would-be patients. It was a long time since I’ve had to do this so I was feeling rather nervous. I looked around at the people around me, most of them looked rather healthy but I guess everyone has a secret battle that no one knows about.
I didn’t have to wait too long. After about ten minutes one of the doctors summoned me into his office. His space didn’t look too welcoming, it was small and rather cramped, had no windows and the air was quite stuffy. The walls were also a dull cream-color, his desk was piled high with paperwork and stationery and of course, he had the obligatory health and anatomy charts, medical paraphernalia and a model of the human body sitting on his table next to the pile of paperwork.
I felt as though I had walked into a mad scientist’s lair and that this dude was going to conduct some weird experiments on me. As for the doctor himself, he was a rather short, middle-aged Asian man with glasses and a head full of dark hair with grey streaks. He spoke in a quiet and relaxed tone, almost a whisper, that matched his unflappable demeanor.

I took a seat next to his desk and he asked me what my problems were. I reluctantly opened up to him about the shame and horror of shitting out blood almost every day, how the symptoms vanished during my trip only to suddenly return with a vengeance a few weeks later. It was the first time I had opened up to anyone about this and I’ll admit that I felt some relief but also a hint of embarrassment at the nature of my symptoms though I’m sure he’d heard of similar cases throughout his career.
Having heard my little story, the doctor immediately gave me a referral to book a colonoscopy. He gave me the details of a gastroenterologist in Blacktown who can look inside my bowels to determine what was wrong with me. I immediately became sus.

That’s it? Straight to a colonoscopy? No other health tests? Man, fuck that!

Nevertheless, I thanked him before leaving.


Confessing to the doctor was hard but the toughest part was yet to come – I had to tell my parents. I’m the type to normally keep personal stuff like this to myself but trying to hide records of doctor visits and, eventually, surgical procedures was going to be impossible.
They had to know.
The rest of the day was mostly spent trying to rehearse exactly how I would break the news to them. I also remember that afternoon I watched an old episode of Law & Order SVU on DVD. It was the season finale of the show’s seventeenth season, where the character of Sargent Mike Dodds is shot while trying to break up a domestic dispute and eventually dies of his injuries in hospital with his father, Chief William Dodds, by his side. This is going to sound over dramatic but man, the image of Chief Dodds weeping uncontrollably when his son is pronounced dead, and then the following scene of Mike’s funeral, somehow gave me all the motivation I needed to confess. I hate to sound drastic but since there was still no official diagnosis I did think that it could have been something as minor as hemorrhoids to something as severe as cancer.

What if this shit is cancer and I end up biting the dust?

I’d be lying if I said that the thought never crossed my mind, drastic as it may seem.  My parents having to put me in the dirt over this was not part of my life plan and it certainly wasn’t part of theirs. I sat on the living room sofa for most of the afternoon, waiting for their arrival, getting myself ready for showtime.


I set the moment of truth for after dinner that night. Conversations like these would kill the vibe, not to mention appetites, during a family meal. Consequently, I ended up taking my time in eating my food and when the moment of truth arrived the nerves attacked me hard. I had to force myself to carry out the plan.

Speak up, Boy! Here’s your shot!

And so while my father quickly ducked into the bathroom I approached my mother in the kitchen as she was washing dishes and cleared my throat.

‘Mom……I have to tell you something.’

‘What’s up?’ her tone was relaxed and casual. That took some of the edge off.

‘I…..uh……went to the doctor today.’

She stopped washing once those words escaped my throat and looked straight at me. Oooohhh boy, here we go.


‘You see……something’s been going on with me for a while now….’

And from there I proceeded to spill my guts out to her about my symptoms, before the trip and after the trip. I also made sure to disclose that these symptoms vanished during the trip.

I looked her in the eyes the whole time, reading her facial expressions as I spoke. They were a mix of concern, terror and perhaps some disbelief over the fact that I kept them a secret for so long and honestly, I was half-expecting her to go off the rails. But thankfully she remained calm and didn’t lose it – or perhaps was so overcome with what I had just revealed that she forgot to get emotional.
Dad emerged from the bathroom during the middle of my confession. He immediately sensed the tension in the air.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
I repeated to him exactly what I told Mom and soon he was wearing the same shocked and bewildered look on his face.

Having finally spilled the beans to a healthcare professional and to my parents I finally felt as though I could breathe again. My mother spoke up after a few seconds’ silence and noted that it was rather suspicious that the doctor I’d visited immediately ordered a colonoscopy without further testing and so she suggested that I get a second opinion from her doctor, something that my father agreed with. Well, the idea of having to undergo a colonoscopy made my skin crawl so you better believe that I took her advice. Anything to delay having to book that shit!


I went to sleep easily that night. I had finally unloaded the heavy burden that I had carried with me for the better part of the year and had also taken the first step towards eradicating this thing once and for all. Call it the first big step towards victory.
But it was far from over. My parents warned me that I could be facing a potential battle on my hands and that I shouldn’t become complacent but I already knew that. This fucking thing nearly pushed me into complete insanity so I was well aware of how serious it was. But for now, it felt good to finally get that shit off my chest and breathe again. I drifted off to sleep relieved yet still hoping and praying that it wouldn’t be anything too severe and/or life-threatening.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my thing. No one else needed to know about this outside of the people I confessed to, at least for now. It would be our horrible little secret.

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