A Surfer's Life
It's All Fun And Games 'Til Someone Loses A Nut... Surf Goes On!
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My name is Jason Jones.  I am a surfer, a backyard surfboard shaper... and most recently, a cancer survivor.  And here is my story...  

The Complete Story Coming Soon!  

Chapter One - I Do My Own Stunts

Deconstructing Disaster

 It was a perfect July weekend 2007, full of sun and a nice consistent swell almost uncharacteristic for that time of year.  So there I was, sore from surfing and working out the day prior, but determined to show off for my wife and daughter sitting on the shore.  I pulled into a shoulder high wave, nice and clean, sped down the line adding a few nice turns here and there, and then, the ‘finale’.  The wave set me up for a perfect ‘floater’ with a nice stable re-entry, so I thought.  I hit sort of hard for that particular type of landing, and “pop”, something in the small of my back signaled a mutiny.  I humbly decided to call it a day and make my way in, attempting desperately not to appear injured.  Unfortunately I had left the days of being ‘bullet-proof’ and ‘made of rubber’ long behind me.  Something in the core had been damaged.

I managed to gracefully approach the family, sitting on the blanket where I had left them, joyfully playing in the sand… and blissfully unaware of the events that had just transpired.  And then, as many times before, the words every surfer has uttered, I impatiently asked, “Did you see that last wave?”  I’ve been surfing for decades now, and have yet to have that question answered in the affirmative.  I can only wonder how many incredible surf maneuvers have been executed in vain.

You Have A Twenty Dollar Co-Pay

Like most, I’d rather take a WiffleÒ ball bat to the head then enter the fiery depths of the healthcare system.  After a week of ibuprofen, heating pads, and escalating pain, I had no choice… it was time to find my health insurance card and join the masses in hell. 

I grabbed hold of the Petri dish (a.k.a the door handle) and soberly entered through the doors marked “Urgent Care”.  What a little ‘snot bubble and cough factory’ that was.  After handing over my $20, I was instructed to fill out a phone book sized set of forms, return them when done, and then wait my turn.  Little did I know I’d be doomed to repeat this very thing for many, many months to come.  Sitting in that hard plastic chair, I carefully scanned the room for any ailments that appeared to be higher priority than my own.  The analysis quickly showed I’d be there for a while… time to hunker down.

The EBay Effect

I once tried to purchase an item on eBay and actually won the item in the last few seconds of the auction.  What a rush.  I’ve since come to experience that same type of rush, just as the waiting room door opens and the nurse calls my name.  The brutally painful wait is finally over.  I look around as if I’ve just won an Oscar, and gleefully walk through the door, making sure to make eye contact with the seemingly less fortunate.  I had won after all, if even just for that moment.  My bid for glory in the tumultuous pit of hell had reigned supreme.

Now, which exam room would be mine?  Which freshly prepared piece of butcher paper would I crinkle with my gluteus maximus, now that I had achieved the second stage of the ‘HMO, Urgent Care’ waiting game?  How many miles of that exam table ‘germ gasket’ stuff must they go through in any given day, week, month, etc. anyway?  I’m in the wrong business.  A family fortune could have been made.  It all comes down to choices I suppose, but I digress.

Finally, after another exhaustive wait, the doctor on call enters through my exam room door.  I answer all the standard questions, then the poking and prodding begins.  “Yes, it hurts when you do that!  Perhaps I didn’t explain it clearly when I described ‘searing pain’ upon any movement or contact.  Ahhhh!”

My reward for being such a good patient was a whirlwind round of X-rays, and then a gruesome 50 minute tertiary stage wait.  “Come on exam room door… open, open, open”.  And then at last, a very solemn judge entered my temporary medical chambers.  The verdict was in and was about to be read.

Taking The “C-Word” On The Chin 

Ever take a sucker punch to the chin?  I have.  The worst one came as a teenager while visiting family on Oahu.  There is a quick test to see who’s physically prepared to engage or incite this type of behavior and ultimately win that kind of encounter.  Try and fit your hand in your mouth, if your hand is smaller than your mouth, then keep it shut… attitude in check.  If your hand is significantly larger than your mouth, perhaps consider running it a bit… might be a slight ego boost, but be prepared to take it like a man.  The worst part about a sucker punch is it’s a total surprise.  You have no time to prepare, to brace yourself, or to prepare to fight or retreat.

But there it is… crap, forgot to duck again.  WHAM!  BAM! SOCK! CRASH!  Right on the chin, and a solid one too.  I was totally speechless.  Suddenly filled with horror, shock, pain, and totally alone!  I’m talking the type of loneliness and pain that defies description.  Did my single serving doctor just channel Tyler Durden?  Is this some crazy verbal satire?  What the hell did she just say?  (Eighth rule of Fight Club: If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.)   

What rhymes with CANCER, anybody?  Little help here!?!?  I know she didn’t just say CANCER!  It was something else, something perfectly benign, and my dumbass ears heard it wrong.  Right?  STOP SAYING THAT WORD!  It sounds like you’re saying CANCER!  I’m speechless!  (First rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.  My single serving doctor is not following the rules.)  

No, no, no…that’s not the way it was supposed to go.  The doctor would tell me to take it easy and use heat, cold, or both on my back, while taking ibuprofen to ease the pain.  I’d defiantly abstain from all of it of course.  Eventually the nuisance would overstay its’ welcome and I’d forge ahead, seemingly still ‘quasi-bullet-proof’. 

I’ve never had a glass jaw in my life, and this took me to my knees.  Leveled by a six letter word, the “C-Word”, uttered in only milliseconds.  I can’t get up no matter how hard I try.  What’s happened? 

And there it was… I drew the death card.  Sentenced to late stage metastatic cancer raging throughout my body, carcinoma type unknown.  “But what about the sore back Doc?  Check please!”

A Nightmare Revisited

Just two years prior, my wife and I had the most horrible shock of our lives.  Our beautiful six month old daughter had been diagnosed with an extremely rare form of ovarian cancer during an emergency room visit.  A tandem sucker punch that instantly destroyed our worlds.  I literally died inside. She was taken to emergency surgery and the carcinoma was removed.  Stage 1A, encapsulated, with no signs of metastasis.  That remains one of the most painful journeys of my life.  My beautiful, sweet little girl remains in complete remission and healthy to this day.  Thank God.  I don’t know what I’d do without her. 

I wouldn’t say cancer runs in our family, although we did lose two beloved family members to cancer, My Aunt Mimi (on my father’s side) and My Uncle Paul (her husband).  Breast cancer and pancreatic cancer took them both from us far too soon.

Whatever the case, it was I that drew the death card next.  The bases are loaded and I’m unwittingly up at bat.  This is not a game I am willing to lose.

Previous Darwin Award Attempts

I’m no stranger to punishment.  I never, ever, thought life should be lived in a bubble or as a sheep.  I say grab the bull by the tail, not the horns… hell, the ride is just that much more exciting.

My father would be the one to describe my first attempt at glory as a mere toddler.  Young and brainless, I was swept up in a homegrown sport I’d like to refer to as “Tyke Bike” jumping.  You need a two year old, one tyke bike, a large king sized bed, and a dresser complete with mirror.  Other assorted bedroom furniture optional.  Most of the parents reading this already know where this is headed.  You have to gain enough speed bolting across the bed, ‘Evel Knievel’ style, to make it across the gap to the aforementioned dresser.  Yes, smacking your forehead against the dresser will require an emergency room visit.  Hmmm… who knew?  Now even Darwin might have been proud at the next item up for bid.  Only minutes after returning from the emergency room I had climbed Everest, saddled up, and attempted glory yet again.  Fact: Leather belt-to-ass hurts worse than a banged-up head.  Ah well, “Tyke Bike” jumping is soooo last season anyway.

As a teenager I continued to make various attempt at earning the Darwin Award Trophy.  The most infamous of course, was another sport I invented called “Hood Surfing”.  Come to find out, it wasn’t as glamorous or sexy as I had originally thought.  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! IT WILL KILL YOU FASTER THAN CANCER!  There it is again… STOP SAYING THAT WORD!  Suffice it to say, mounting the hood of car, or more specifically, standing on the hood of a moving car, while exhilarating at first, will in fact, break you into tiny pieces upon re-entry.  Damn, lots of broken bones and bandages, but no elusive trophy.

Darwin Award Honorable Mention

While pole vaulting is an integral part of the Olympic Games, it should never be attempted in a motor vehicle, ever.  I know this, because I’ve tried, and yes, more than once.  Some of you may be starting to detect a pattern here.  The most notorious of attempts involved an out of control driver headed the opposite direction on the freeway.  Unfortunately for me, she was headed in my direction.  I’m sensing another sucker punch here in my near future.  And there it is. 

KABLAM!  Our cars met nose-to-nose at a combined speed well over 140 miles per hour.  Estimates may be as high as 160 miles per hour.  My body and my car were crushed instantly, flipping over the intruder and end-to-end many times.  Then, just to rub a little salt in it, I was ejected from the vehicle onto the highway.  The human body unfortunately lacks break lights, signals, a metal exoskeleton, or any other extraordinary injury or accident avoidance capabilities.  All the luxuries the vehicle I was just in, HAD.  I suppose once spilled, an empty glass left upright, at least has the potential to be filled again.  Yes?  Well I’m a ‘glass can be refilled’ kind of guy.  I would later find out that both the steering wheel and the car’s engine occupied the space formally known as the driver’s seat.  Ah yes, back to a ‘half full’ Status Quo.

In summation, I had numerous life threatening injuries to my head and body.  I was bleeding internally, and my pelvis had been crushed, as the surgeon put it, “like a potato chip”.  My family was told I wouldn’t survive the next eight hours, let alone the next twenty-four hours.  Many surgeons tables, hospital beds, casts, metal rods, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, rehabilitation, etc. (you get the picture), and I’m still here to tell the tale.  A horribly unpleasant journey that in retrospect may have been setting the stage.  A proving ground or initial training so to speak, for what was yet to come.

My Favorite  Color Is Blue

My “turn-ons” include Victoria’s Secret models, perfect surf, and excellent sushi.  My “turn-offs” include angry people, pollution, and dirty politics.  My hobbies include surfing, skydiving, bungee jumping, paragliding, and piloting light aircraft.  What, is this a personal ad?  Nope, just expressing my liberty and desire to live life to the fullest and re-emphasizing my continued desire to live life on the edge doing things I love, things I’ve coined “Risk Management Sports”.  Why is this important and how in the world does this relate to that broken record we keep hearing?  “Cancer.  Cancer.  Cancer…”

Hold on tight I told myself, I’m going to need to leverage every ounce of education, experience, and courage earned from those adrenaline, angst, or terror based experiences.  The term “white-knuckled” can’t even begin to explain the ride I’m about to go on.  GERONIMO!

Coming Soon... A Surfer's Journey Through Life, Surfing, and Survival.  This Story Is Just Beginning.  Stay Tuned...




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