Chet The Scribe

My name is Chet Meeks. I am a 32 year old sociologist. I started this blog so that I can write about the things that interest me. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

April 26, 2008

It has been 106 days – both a flash and an eternity – since Chet died and his family and friends began to come to grips with our deeply personal responses to losing him. Chet’s birthday, April 26, lends itself as a moment for us to remember him on the first of his birthdays without him with us. This space is provided for sharing some of the things we have been thinking and feeling at the many times Chet has come to mind for each of us over the past 106 days. Please feel free to add your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chet Meeks Memorial Fund

A memorial fund has been established at the University of Wyoming in honor of Chet's life and dedication to academia. This is a project that gave Chet renewed vigor in his last few weeks and we had hoped to get it ready before he left us. He asked that the fund be used for summer research funding for graduate students in sociology. Unfortunately, Chet never got to see the scholarship in place. But he knew we would finish the job – and we are more determined than ever to make the Chet Meeks Memorial Fund a substantial legacy in his honor.

If you would like to contribute to the Fund, please contact Brett Walter at

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chet Meeks (April 26, 1973 - January 11, 2008)

A Celebration of the Life of Chet Meeks was held January 19 at the First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta. A celebration also was held at Northern Illinois University on January 25. These celebrations brought together many of Chet's family, friends and colleagues to remember Chet and to tell our stories of having shared in his remarkable, loving and accomplished life.

On August 9, 2008, a service will be held in Rawlins, Wyoming. Ace, Heidi, Asa and Andrea heartily welcome you to be with them as they mark Chet's passing at Lake Marie. Further information will be posted as the event gets closer. Ace & Heidi would like for those planning to come to Wyoming to let them know ASAP and they will try to reserve a block of motel rooms at a discounted rate. Their email address and phone number for anyone who might like to reach them: and 307-324-3935.

As noted in Andy's post below, documents, pictures, links and other information about Chet are posted and available for download at Andy's Web site.

Please remember to financially support the Chet Meeks Memorial Fund, an important long-range initiative of Chet's legacy! Please see information above.

As Chet's family and friends continue to mourn our loss and remember his life, "Chet the Scribe" will continue as a place for remembrances, stories and condolences.

We love and miss Chet always.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Update and Instructions

Hello Everyone,

It has been a very long time since I've written on this blog. As most of you know, my condition has gotten progressively worse over the last 1-2 months. The "chemo light" version of therapy that I went on after Houston did not work and the cancer progressed. I developed a condition known as ascites. When tumors grow and build their own blood vessels, etc., they do so in a way that produces a lot of excessive waste fluid that pools in the abdominal region and peritoneum. Within a matter of weeks my stomach/abdomen grew to a grotesque size, even as I continued losing weight (which I continue to lose, despite a fairly healthy appetite and diet).

I switched to oxaliplatin and avastin, a more aggressive treatment, hoping it would get rid of the new cancer progression and ascites. It did not. While the ascites did not seem to worsen, the most recent CT Scan showed a marked narrowing of my vena cava, a major artery (blood vessel? I have no idea) that carries blood, etc. from the lower extremities to the heart. My vena cava is about 1/4 the size that it should be. This explains the edema that I began developing in my feet about a month ago, adding yet another grotesque feature to my increasingly disfigured, foreign body.

Several weeks ago, I had an accident because of the edema in my feet and legs. I had purchased some groceries and things around town, and by the time I got back to the apartment building, there was a downpour of rain in Atlanta (this was before Sonny's Sunday prayer for rain on the capitol lawn, so not divine intervention, unfortunately). I parked near the front door and did my routine -- the one where you make sure each thing you need to depart the car with is looped around at least one limb, then you count to three, then you open the door, then you count to three again, and jump out trying to frantically make your way from car to building without getting completely soaked (always a foolish endeavor anyway). All of this, of course, involves running, which I've always been able to do. Well, when your feet weight about 1/4 pound more than what you're used to because of the build up of waste fluid in them that your body no longer processes and expels, running becomes a little trickier. Bags in hand, I ran toward my apartment building, reflexively locking my car as I did. Only, as I bounded up the first step, I did not quite lift my right foot far enough to make it.

We've all fallen and had accidents. I've had many that turned out far worse than this one. But there was a qualitative difference in this tumble. There was something about the way my body reacted to the mis-step, or the way it didn't, or couldn't, react, that was very different, and very troubling. None of the usual reflexes we have developed for falling down worked. I didn't brace myself properly. I didn't fall the right way. I didn't protect my head (not injured, thankfully). Nothing really worked. On top of this was the fact that the newly acquired weight around my mid-section, coupled with the overall loss of weight around the rest of my body (20-25 lbs since May, or about 15%) left me with a more-than-compromised sense of balance, and an equally lame ability to react to said compromised sense -- etc., etc., etc., you get the picture. I fell, and I fell hard, leaving my hand, elbow, and knee badly cut and bleeding, and a wound somewhere else too -- on my ego, my heart, soul, call it whatever you like it......I think at the moment of that fall, I started into the downward spiral of this disease. It was symbolic and real: a real loss of bodily function and control, and a symbolic gesture toward what has happened, and toward what is to come.

Sure enough, life has gotten much harder since "the fall." I have been a lot more tired. I had another CT Scan after showing the doctor my new edema, which confirmed that the oxaliplatin and avastin combo were also not really working, at least not to the doctor's satisfaction. The next mix in the grab bag of poisons would be irinotecan and erbitux. Irinotecan, you may remember, was the drug I was put on here in Atlanta after re-diagnosis last year. Erbitux is a monoclonal anti-body that targets EGFR+ cancer cells like mine and kills them (supposedly). The problem with erbitux is that it tends to kill a lot of people, since it's made of 30% mouse protein that causes lethal allergic reactions in a lot of people who infuse it (when the FDA first learned of this, they cancelled a bunch of clinical trials for the drug, causing a fall in Imclone stock....which Martha got a heads up about, sold her portion, and yadda yadda yadda).

Apparently erbitux also causes catatonic forms of depression and immobility, because that's what I suffered from while on my first treatment of it. I had it last Thursday and, to be quite honest, feel lucky to be alive as I sit here writing this to all of you right now. If I had had the energy, I would have grabbed a something with not much give and garroted myself. I'm not being funny -- in the least.

On the upside, my nurse mentioned to me that I might get an indication that erbitux is working on the ascites and edema (and the tumors, presumably), because I'd have to urinate a lot. And I can confirm that this does indeed seem to be the case with me and erbitux, because I woke up at 8am soaked in my own urine.

One has to wonder what sort of meaning there can be left in a life when waking up in one's own piss is "the upside."

Well, I know this is all very uncomfortable to read. And the real purpose of this blog is to apologize for not keeping people updated. I know that, especially during the last month, many of you have waited patiently for me to return phone calls and emails, which I have ignored or forgotten. The truth is that getting through a day for me now requires a lot more work and energy than it used to. The truth is also that I'm becoming much more selfish with my time and, as someone who never liked talking on the phone in the first place, tend to avoid my Verizon albatross as much as possible. Same for email.

The problem is this: most of you ask the same questions; you have the same concerns. But there comes a point at which, after explaining for the fifth time in a day what drugs one is now taking, how those drugs work, what the doctor thinks about x, y, z, or the new wart I've developed (there are no warts, really), or any of other minutia of my disease and treatment, one wants to literally pull one's hair out. The blog was an easy way to remedy this situation at first, but after a while, everyone wants their own personal blog, from me, on the phone. It's exhausting, and I can't take it anymore. I love all of you with all of my heart, and there is nothing in my life that I am more thankful for than all of your support, warmth, care, and love over the last two years and this nightmare that my life has turned into. But I cannot continue to be the link between everyone's worries and concerns about my disease, and the disease itself.

So I'm putting Wendy in charge. Her phone # is: 404-210-4980 and she can be reached between 11am and 5pm. She'll return voice mails and will know everything there is to know about my condition. She can even report whether or not I've urinated on myself that day.

And it goes without saying that I want you all to continue to call me. I love hearing each of your voices, and I feel like the luckiest person on earth to have all of you in my life. The only thing I ask is that you NOT ask me any details about my doctor's visits, the specificities of treatments, drugs, side effects (again, the minutia of my disease and treatments), etc. I cannot talk about cancer anymore. All of that stuff should be directed at Wendy. And if you call me and don't hear back from me within a few days, Wendy can easily update you on what's going on with me.

I'm really sorry for the bitchy tone of this post.....I wish there were some way I could show each of you how much I care for and love you.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Cancer Update

Hello everyone. I'm sorry I haven't written on here for a while, but I was kind of sick of blogging after Houston and wanted to give it a rest for a time.

As many of you know, I haven't been feeling very well lately. I have lost some weight, and my stomach has become very bloated. Humiliating as it is to say, I look like one of those old men with little, tiny pencil legs and a great big stomach. Not attractive. In addition to the bad body-aesthetics, I have had a tremendous amount of abdominal cramping and pain that has been really awful, followed usually by vomiting. All of this has weakened my appetite, which has compounded the weight loss problem. Most days I eat things like soup or just soup broth, although Sidney Walter sent me some chocolates recently that I can't seem to resist.

Well, Monday I had a CT Scan. It was time for one and they wanted to do it in order to try to figure out what the cramps and bloating were all about. The scan shows that the cancer has not really "grown" but that it is definitely active, producing a lot of fluid in my abdomen (hence the bloating), and "thickening" my small and large intestines (hence the cramping, vomiting, and weight loss).

So, yesterday, after meeting with my onco, I went directly back on Oxalaplatin. Many of you will remember that this was the first chemo drug I was on. The doctor believes that my cancer has become "resistant" to 5-FU (also Xeloda), which requires that I step up to something stronger and a bit more aggressive.

So I feel fine today. Yesterday was exhausting but today feels great. I had a decent breakfast and even feel a little hungry as I write this. Many of you will want to know what you can do. Well, just visualize me with a smaller stomach and a bigger butt. :-)

Love, Chet

Friday, September 14, 2007

General Claims Innocence on Rape Charge

After selling a two-ton bag of feces to Congress this week, General David Petraeus will return to the catastrophe we've created in Iraq, but not before stopping off to defend himself against rape charges in St. George, Utah.

Petraeus, a Mormon polygamist leader, is charged with coercing a 14 year old girl into marrying her 19-year old cousin. Court documents and the girl's testimony claim that Petraeus coerced the girl by convincing her that, if she did not marry her cousin and consummate the marriage sexually, she would not attain spiritual afterlife in the celestial kingdom -- where good Mormons go and become Gods!! Polygamists believe that men have a god given right to marry as many wives as they can, including their sisters, cousins, and grandmothers. They have litters of children with these wives, and pay to feed them with welfare checks that come from your tax dollars, so that they can claim enough souls to create their own worlds once they become deities in the afterlife. I know: cuckoo.

Polygamists are also very adept at lying before Congress, and selling as shineola the shitty ideas of village idiots from Texas. Just remember that when a polygamist says the word "progress" to you, he really means "cataclysm." And when he tells you that as the Iraqis begin to take care of their own security, we will leave, he really means that we have every intention of colonizing them for the next 200 years, until their oil supply runs out.

Oh, wait a minute! That's Warren Jeffs..............sorry, General.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

No Jail for the Libbster