All posts by Zack

I spend a bit of my time advocating for cannabis as well as the protection and safety of dogs. I’m a writer working on a sci-fi series as well as a fantasy set. I play guitar and piano, I’m working on writing songs for my first album. I’m getting a degree in public relations with a strong focus on writing.

How to Raise a Young Cancer Warrior

How to Raise a Young Cancer Warrior
By
Zackery Hurtz

When dealing with children with cancer the goal is usually to mask and hide the big scary facts. Most of these masked facts aren’t things adults know how to handle so they keep them from their children but this is the wrong choice. Please tell your children what’s going on with their own lives, minds and bodies during the battle with cancer.
I grew up with cancer and brain tumors and my dad and grandparents included me in almost all medical appointments and surgical consultations. This helped make what I was going through more logical and I knew why I had my head ripped apart and skillfully put back together. These appointments and meetings with doctors gave me a voice to ask questions and a lot of times I was asking questions my family couldn’t think of or didn’t want to ask.
At age six I was diagnosed with a brain tumor after already dealing with cancer at age two. My family was growing use to this sort of life in some ways and even I was forced to adapt to this hospital life style. You might think telling a young child that they’re going through something most adults can’t handle is brutal or that they’re going to drop out of school for a little while is dream crushing. the truth is that if you build a relationship with your child on falsehoods when the time comes you’ll have done more long term damage to the kids spirit.
As a family you’re all going through this together facing the unknown and facing the possibility of death. If you build a false foundation you start increasing the stress of the adults which trickles down to the dude or dudette fighting for their lives and this puts unneeded stress on their minds and bodies. open your minds and arms as a family and take the walk together down the road and in the end you’ll have a strong supportive network to fight the good fight. Allow the child to take part in his or her diagnosis and keep in mind that over sheltering can damage the immune system on a mental and physical level.
I do not hold my Dad and Grandparents responsible for my forced growth from child to adult at age six, the only thing to blame for this is cancer, tumors and any other life threatening disease. You aren’t protecting your children by lying to them or faking hope until it becomes real, instead you’re causing long term psychological damage and as I said before pushing a wedge between yourselves during an already stressful time. Surround yourselves with good memories, positive and uplifting books, movies and music. I’m not saying go crank up religious music but you should enjoy music together and allow songs to become anchors for the good times. Every time you hear that song you’ll flash back to the time spent together as a family.
When you as a kid know something isn’t right with your body it casts big shadows over everything you do. Why am I in school learning about something that won’t save my life, why can’t I be home playing with my dog and visiting with my family and what’s the point of doing chemo if I’m only getting sicker? the distraction method parents use to take away the sting of the needle doesn’t work in real life, you always know that you’re sick which means you can’t go outside and play or you can’t go swimming and hang with friends.
I loved watching stand up comics when I was feeling down or uncomfortable inside my own skin. About ten minutes into the show I’d be feeling better and laughing by fifteen minutes. Its the small things in life that make you smile, puppy breath, reading a great science fiction novel, reading Lord of the Rings, creating gifts to give to your friends and playing an instrument. My Dad asked me if I wanted to learn to play an instrument when I was fighting the brain tumor in 1996 and I said yeah that sounds fun. So I chose the piano because I’d heard it was one of the harder instruments to learn and I figured if I could learn to play the piano I could play everything else no problem. that logic actually worked later on in life and I picked up guitar and bass in my early twenties.
Channeling feelings of anger, confusion, frustration and fear into creative outlets really helped me work through the problems I was facing. I learned how to make bracelets, necklaces and I started telling myself stories in the theater of my mind. this is where I realized I wanted to be a writer and tell stories from different angles. I had access to lego’s and would bust out some interesting models that would impress quite a few people. I had access to different magnetic toys and building sets and that took up a good chunk of my time in the hospitals while I was being filled with life saving poison.
To the people who created Lego’s, Knex, Magnetics and Erector Sets I owe you a huge Thank You and my Dad would agree. I spent day after day building space ships, buildings, vehicles and whatever else could be spit out of my creative mind. toys like these keep the fingers moving and the brain building vital connections which help keep some of the downsides to chemo under control.
I’m going to wrap this up but I will write more on being a child diagnosed with cancer and brain tumors in up coming articles and videos. If you have questions please feel free to contact me via social media or E-mail.

The Adventures Of Dau Part One

The warm spring wind whistled through the hollow reeds growing along the river while the sun turned the bathing pools into comfortable places to relax. Most of the town was playing in the pools and river enjoying the refreshing water as it flowed through our small community tucked away deep in the forest. Young children skipped stones as far as they could across the fairly wide river while the older kids sat upriver casting lines in hopes of catching the biggest fish and contributing to tonight’s mid spring feast. Elder lils sat in groups carving away at various bits of wood while others prepared roots and other plants for the feast lending a hand to the cooks.
I struck out away from the clearing where we built the towns center and our homes which spread out into the encircling trees that provided protection against major storms and big animals. When you’re only three to four feet tall you can often be some big cats dinner without warning and all lils are taught from a very young age to keep both eyes on their surroundings. Luckily for me I had been taught by Qua the towns best tracker and hunter who saw my skills with a bow and sling and took me on as an apprentice. She was called away by a friend of hers, she was now traveling across the realm and left me in her position.
The forest sung to me as I quietly stepped along the trail made by what appeared to be the paw prints of a long ear and bits of fur twisted up in a thicket confirmed the tracks. Soon enough I spotted the creature nibbling away at a thick cluster of mushrooms near a bush of sweet suckle. I stealthily pulled my sling from my belt and loaded a stone in its pouch. I held the sling in my left hand and drew back the pouch attached to two cords made from an elastic silk. I let go of the pouch and the stone buzzed through the air staying on target even as the wind tried to blow it off course. A loud thwack let me know the stone struck the long ears in the back of the head and I watched as the animal jerked several times before lying still. I quickly approached the dead animal and picked it up by its ears with a swift and firm motion of my flint knife I slit the long ears throat to insure it was truly dead. As I worked I sung a song of thankfulness to the animals spirit I made quick work of field dressing the corpse and preparing it for my backpack.
Over the next hour or so I killed two more long ears causing my pack to become heavier but I still needed to locate some herbs and spices for my mom who was making her famous meat pies for the feast. Several of the items needed were silver gilded mushrooms which grew in cool dark places and I knew of a cave that would be a perfect spot. My path wandered in and out of the warm beams of sunlight throwing shifting shadows turning the trees into animated figures, it wasn’t hard to imagine the trees as lords and ladies watching over the forest sending out their bird messengers to do their bidding.
The entrance to the cave slowly came into view as I approached a tall hill rising up from the forest floor covered in small shrub bushes and several cherry trees covered in ripe fruit. Carefully I examined the area looking for prints belonging to the big cats and other big predators that might call a cave home. the entrance looked safe and clear of any signs of dangerous hunters but still I kept my bow in hand with arrows ready to fire. With a muttered word my vision changed to dark sight giving me the ability to walk through the dark as if it was daylight.
the stone walls were roughly carved by small rivulets of water winding their way down to the damp floor where moss and fungi flourished. Along the steep walls small ledges and alcoves held roosting wide wing bats and beneath them on piles of bat guano grew silver gilded mushrooms some as big as both of my hands together. The ceiling was arched with fang like crystal formations refracting what little light entered the area giving the cave the feeling of a vault of treasure read about in old adventurers tales.
Moving into the main cavern I pulled a padded mesh bag from my pack and carefully started tucking cap after cap away into the medium sized bag. Mom would need a lot of these caps which was fine with me because the cave had a bunch of them and several other types of caps that could fetch a good deal at market. Once the bag was full I tied it to the outside of my pack and began to fill a smaller bag with a rare mushroom that was used by healers and poison brewers alike. the cap was small in size with a boxy shaped top with stripes of black and gold running down the stem and it gave off a rotting smell but I kept collecting. Tadris was a hard one to find and now that I knew the cave produced a good amount I’d return to collect more as needed. As I worked the bats remained calm and only one or two woke up to watch me forage about the cave I wasn’t worried about them but I made sure to leave enough caps for them to enjoy.
The back of the cave held a small pool with a thick bed of glow moss growing right up to the water’s edge. We often used the glow moss in lanterns built to keep the moss alive. I carefully cut two hand sized patches from the carpet and placed them in my canteen where the moss would be safe until it could be transplanted into several lanterns. The moss reproduced rapidly if it was given enough food and moisture which the lanterns offered. the moss was rare and most lil communities would trade fragments to add to their tanks which strengthened the next generation of growth.
A feeling in my stomach told me it was time to turn back, mom calls them gut intuitions and you should always listen to them. I gave the bats a friendly wave as I crawled out of a narrow tunnel exiting the cave on the top of the hill. I paused for a moment before I struck out towards home. My eyes swept the ground and trees searching for anything we could use for the town. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me but as I stood still and focused I could see a slight hazy outline far off in the northwest. I needed to get a better look at what this might be so I scouted around for a low branch to use as a stepping stone.
the branches surrounded me as I adjusted my climbing rope attaching another anchor which magically secured itself to the tree causing no harm. In fact the anchor wrapped an energy band around the whole trunk instead of focusing all the pressure on a smaller area. Got to love tinkerers they make some really neat gear. I swung up onto another huge branch which I could stand on with room to spare and pulled my pack up after me on a separate safety rope. the skies were more visible but I still needed to go higher.
in no time I was way up in the branches climbing like a tree cat moving with a rhythmic pattern. Birds took flight as I approached their nests leaving behind eggs. I stopped and changed my direction so I wouldn’t go near the nests, I didn’t want to make them leave forever and abandoned the eggs. The thick needles of the branches poked and prodded leaving behind small welts stinging with sap but I couldn’t stop I had to see if this was smoke. If a fire was sweeping through the forest we’d need to prepare the clearing and strengthen our wards.
During times of disaster animals would often come to the clearing because they knew it was safe and we set out wards spreading the safe zone so that even more animals could be protected. It was important to keep the forests animals alive so we can survive from cycle to cycle.
I finally reached the crown of the tree and let out a cheer of amazement, no matter how many times I saw it always hit me hard. the forest was vast and spread out all around me like a giant rolling green, brown, tan and even blue carpet of color. Birds flitted about while others perched on branches protecting their homes and younglings. Insects buzzed around landing on flowers and leaves alike, way up here big spikey shelled fruit grew everywhere and I took an KRa from a nearby branch and took a bite. the sweet juice from the KRa dripped down my chin as I gazed out into the skies confirming indeed that it was smoke dancing on the wind to the northwest.
My descent down the tree was much quicker than my climb and I left my anchors in place for future scouts who would use this tree to see the smoke for themselves and they would watch it all day and all night raising the alarm if the time came. I set off at a decent jog but with short legs long sprints just weren’t my thing. I dodged between trees and ducked under bushes and brambles making my path shorter but still it took longer than I liked before the clearing came into sight.
My mom’s house smelled of warm cooking things as I entered and gave out a cry of greeting. My mother entered from the kitchen and gave me a bright smile.
“Back are ya so soon?”
“Yes mom, my trip went fine, I’m fine thanks for asking.” I gave her a bear hug, “I brought back enough silver gilds for you to store away for summer. We have trouble brewing though, I spotted smoke to the northwest and it’s moving fast.”
She looked sad, “The wolf riders are up in that region I wonder if they can stop the flames? I can’t think of all them acres turned to ash and soot. May the Great Mother bring down a rain storm to drowned the flames.”
“Go through my pack and everything is there that you requested I found some stuff for market and even located some glow moss. My canteen holds two patches of the stuff and one of them stays with us and the other can go to market or if the farmers want to trade for it. I must go tell the council about the fire and ask the warders to start making the protection zones.
I stopped by my house and set about storing the items from todays forage before they had a chance to go bad. It only took a few moments and I was back outside moving across the clearing searching for the council members.
I located four of the seven members sitting on a meditation bridge built across the river quietly talking amongst themselves. they all looked up at my approaching shadow and Helia stood up to greet me.
“Hello tracker Dau what’s wrong, you look worried.”
I shook my head and glanced down at the glimmering river, “There is a fire raging to the northwest and it’s moving very chaotically. The smoke is thick and very dark in color which tells me a lot of hard wood is burning. The wolf riders territory is a blaze and it could easily sweep through here if the winds shift and within hours we could have a fire storm encircling us.”
Councilman ted let out a groan, “i’ll get the wards in shape and have runners set the protection zones for the animals. I’ll see if we can get energy donations to power the wards.”
“I’ll be heading out to track the fire and sending back word using scribers. It’ll take me a day or so to reach the riders territory and if I do I’m sending wounded this way so my mother can heal them.”
“Of course as always community helps community you might also tell them if needed we can help them rebuild. Our mills can produce timber which we can float upriver.” Councilwomen Madi pulled a pipe from her lips, “I’ll get crews working on marking the trails but I’d suggest having any wounded coming down by river.”
“We’ll gather the full council and make more preparations, before you leave please come visit us.” Hilia patted me on the shoulder, “We’ll write up some papers for you and give you a signet so you can show you have our authority. I’m assuming you’ll be going by foot or would you like to use a hound?”
“I’ll be on foot, the hound would only slow me down and be at risk if the fire should suddenly shift. I would like to request to take several water runes from the stores for my protection and in case I need to save someone else.”
“No problem, tell the storekeep where you’re going. She’ll provide you with several protective runes and wards.”
Thank you I’ll be back in a while after I put together a pack and set some affairs in order.”
they all nodded and waved as I walked off the bridge and headed towards my house.
My home was crafted from milled wood and placed up into the branches of several trees and a couple of sellers were dug to hold and chill meat. The house was where I butchered and cured meat brought in from my hunts. A drying hut cure pelts which would be turned into clothes and other gear for the town. A lot of the meat I brought in was sold and traded at Qua’s butchery where she kept the town well stocked on meat. Qua was my hunting and tracking teacher and she was good at what she did.
I walked through my house with an empty trail pack in hand as I gathered together the gear I’d need to stay ahead of this fire. Once I collected it all I laid it out on my dining table and began folding, rolling, wrapping, water proofing, checking and double checking my inventory. I had my cookout kit, healers bag and rolled all together into one bundle my blankets, hammock and rain cover which secured nicely to the top of my pack. I changed into my trackers clothes which broke my form up and blended in with the greens and browns of the forest.
I entered my bedroom and slid open a concealed panel revealing a deep alcove where I stored my weapons and other dangerous gear that wouldn’t be good if children stumbled across them. I pulled out my folded bow and tucked it into its case and slung it over my shoulder.
Once I packed everything needed from my personal stores I went to the towns trade and supplies to meet with Vay the inventory master. The storehouse always had a large amount of interesting and amazing items brought together from all over the realm via trade convoys, roavers and couriers. The building was tall with three levels and another four levels burrowed down beneath the roots of a giant wand wood tree.
“Hello Dau, what can I help you with?”
“I’m heading out to track a large fire to the northwest and I’m here to get a few protective runes and wards.”
“Sure thing, I have some good stuff that’ll help you out. Water runes that will surround you with a wall of water or you can use another rune to throw a wave in front of or behind you. I have fire shielding wards and air filters. I’ll make sure you have a nice supply of gear. Come back in about an arc or so and it’ll be ready.”
I gave her a wave and strolled out heading towards my mom’s earthen home. The clearing was a bit busier now as warders moved from location to location refreshing the wards and taking energy donations from adults. Younger children were put to work racing around filling buckets and barrels with water from the river and placing them near houses and community buildings. the older kids were given scythes and put to work clearing brush and all grasses making fire breaks. Ditches were swiftly being dug as earthers walked in straight lines using their powers to lift and remove the dirt. Two of the earthers were working on a system to flood the ditches allowing the flowing water from the river. We’d harness the currents to push water through the series of ditches and back out into the river downstream creating onsite water sources all around the community. This would make a stronger last stand and water would be closer at hand instead of running back and forth to the river. We could have more hands throwing instead of long supply chains. The water flowing through the ditches would also act as a way to move flaming debris or ash and hot embers away from fuel sources.
my mom’s house was created from earthen walls with lush plants and flowers growing from within the walls themselves creating really cool and intricate designs. Herbs grew along the windows also growing from out of the walls giving the house an array of warm and bright colors along the windows and doorways. The roof was a living tree with its roots supporting the roof and burrowing down into the walls and growing deeper into the ground building a vast support structure making the home and itself sturdier. The trees branches were already extending out over the roof and providing protection from the bright sun beams and hard rains.
A garden covered most of moms piece of land blending natural and imported plants together to create a living supply of components needed by healers. She would spend hours tending to her plants touching each one giving it a little boost of her own power which would cause it to grow stronger and healthier producing incredible tinctures and poultices. Taking a moment I paused in the garden and carefully gathered a pouch full of fresh Tukka which could be used to sooth and help heal burns, I’d no doubt need the powerful plant while out on my scouting adventure. I continued up to the back door and slipped my boots off and stepped inside.
“Hey Mom, you around?”
“Upstairs Dau!”
I followed her voice through the house until I reached a spiral staircase leading up to moms living area where she spent her personal time when she wasn’t working. The downstairs was built so she could distill and create her tinctures. In emergencies she could treat someone in house but the community built a house of healing which was large enough to hold half the town if there was ever a need. It was usually full of children during winter fighting off bone deep coughs and wet lungs.
Mom was standing in front of a window watching the work going on down in the clearing as she finished packing a small bag with healing salves and tinctures. She was dressed in her working outside clothes which were already covered in small spots of dirt and green stains from the Molyl leaves. Her favorite hound was curled up beside her snoozing away the day until he could enjoy the children’s giving nature during the big feast. As I approached the window he blinked up at me and gave a small yawn.
“Life never gets any easier does it old man.”
Mom laughed as she saw who I was talking too. the hound which we just called old man tilted his head for a moment and went back to sleep.
“You’d think he was up all night tracking down pesky tree cats.” mom tapped Old Man on the nose and grinned, “He’s a good pup.”
“I have two more stops to make and then I’m off to go track this fire. I have two scribers on me one for the council house and one for you. I left your scriber downstairs on the mantle, I’ll check in at least once a day. I’ve got plenty of basic food supplies and will gather anything else on the trail and I have a water purification crystal in my canteens.”
“I saw you picking some Tukka and made up this bag for you. Inside is enough medicine to treat slight to severe burns, materials to stitch up wounds and several small crystals containing the touch of the great mother for life or death situations. You’ll also find supplies for poultices and salves.
the council gathered to discuss what needed to be done, I gave my consent and left so you and I could talk before you left. I want you to be careful out there and don’t take any unneeded risks especially when it comes to raging fires.”
I gave mom a hug and sighed, “I know you worry about me and I am a bit scared about heading up into the wolf rider territory. I haven’t spent much time up there and with the fire moving so chaotically I will need to make sure I’m not trapped. I asked Vae for some water runes and she offered air filters as well.”
Old Man lifted his head and let out two quick barks and pointed his nose towards the front door which was his usual signal for someone approaching. Mom let out a small chuckle and gestured for me to look outside.
A tall man the size of a small bear strolled up moms front walkway wearing hunters garb and carrying a backpack slung across his shoulders. His upright ears gave him away as a houndsman along with his muzzle like jaw and nose. Timius was a bit of a mystery for most of the people but mom and I consider him our closest friend. He didn’t say much but after he saved a young girl from a tree cat attack Timius was the clearing hero.
“Looks like I have a partner for this adventure.”
“I suspect he wants to get a closer look at the fire as well.”
“Well lets go say hello and see if he has any suggestions.”
I led the way downstairs and crossed over to the front door and swung it wide as Timius walked up the steps onto the doorstone. He placed his pack next to the door and gave us a nod of the head.
“Hello Timius, are you going with Dau?”
“Yes, I asked the council to make sure I wasn’t needed here and they thought it would be a good idea for me to tag along.”
“I’m glad you’re joining me on this one, it will be good to have an extra set of eyes especially with big game feeling anxious with the fire ripping apart their homes.”
Timius could change into about five different forms of dogs and would often give the children rides and wrestle with them tiring them out before bedtime. He also spent time teaching the normal dogs to be good guardians of the little ones. His past was unknown to us for the most part but he never did anything to cause alarm or show signs of uncontrollable anger. He bought a plot of land and had an earthen home built which he uses to store his tools and only stays there when he’s not roaming around the forest in dog form. He works alongside me and Qua in the butchery.
One of the things Timius brought with him was the skill of making really good jerky and smoked cheeses, Qua invited him to sell it in her shop. in no time everyone was purchasing or trading goods for well-seasoned jerky and they’d pair it with smoked fish from Qua’s smoke house in their pack rations.
“I’ve been up in the area you’re heading to and can show you several shortcuts.” Timius adjusted his coat causing it to clink and jingle, “the riders aren’t always the friendliest bunch of people.”
“I hope this fire isn’t taking apart their homes and if need be I have authority to offer help to rebuild.”
Mom nodded, “The council should have the orders ready to go by now. You two might want to head out before it gets too dark. I asked the cooks to prepare a meal for both of you so you won’t miss out on the feast.”
“You knew I was going with Dau?”
“I had a suspicion.”
“She has the gift of sight that comes into play randomly but when it does it’s useful.” I smiled, “She always knew when I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to.”
I gave mom a quick hug and handed her a small bulb I found during my earlier scouting.
“I picked this up for you, I know you’re running low on Molla.”
“Thanks son, you two be safe and stay in touch!”
Mom gave Timius a small bag of medicines and a quick hug as well. He returned the hug and tucked the bag away in a side pocket of his pack. He stepped outside giving mom and I a chance to speak in private.
“Dau, I want you to write to me before the council. The council is working together at the moment but three of us aren’t happy with Helia’s ideas on protecting our range and it might cause a problem. If the riders aren’t going to be nice we need to know it before we start treating any wounded, back through the records it’s been said that riders will capture territory for their own.”
“You think the fire might give them the motivation to take our clearing?”
She sighed before looking me straight in the eyes, “Riders that have visited in the past were abrasive and rude, they thought we would let them take from us without a fair trade. Several of us had to convince them that stealing from us wasn’t going to happen without bloodshed.”
“I’ll have my bow, two slings and my Earther abilities. if need be I can insulate myself in a coat of mud.”
“you better go, the council will need to tend to the feast.”
She wrapped me in a hug and ruffled my hair, “Keep swift feet under you and keep Timius with you.”
“I’ll see you when I return!”
I moved out the door and quickly made my way towards the clearing which was still bustling with activity as preparations were still underway. Long thick tables were being carried into place and barrels of ale and fermented fruit juice known as sweet juice were being tapped as water mages surrounded them in ice. Dogs kept watch over the children as messengers road in and out of the clearing on their own hounds.
We trained the massive lil hounds as mounts much like humans ride horses and they offered us the ability to run long distances. I would of taken one towards the fire but I didn’t want to have the responsibility of keeping the hound safe as well.
I stepped inside the trade and supply where Vae was sorting through a crate of apples freshly picked from the western orchards. She glanced over at me and pointed towards a wax paper wrapped packet sitting on the sales counter.
“I gave you ten air filters, five single use wave runes, five water shields and five summon rain runes. is there anything else you need?”
“No thank you that’s plenty enough.”
“the council would like to see you before you leave.”
“They’re my next stop.”
She chucked an apple at me with an underhanded toss and went back to sorting through the crate. I caught the apple left handed and tucked both the packet of runes and the apple into my inner coat pocket. the door swung shut behind me as I stpped out into the evening air.
Most of the council was gathered outside the community hall seated around a round gaming table. The table had a variety of shapes marked out in different colored borders, game pieces could only move at certain times to certain colored sections. the council members were playing a pretty good sized game moving two or three pieces at a time. Even as I approached they kept playing with rolls of di and spins of metal wheels marked with colors.
Hilia gave me a wave and gestured for me to take a seat, “Hello Tracker Dau, why don’t you sit down and watch me take my fellow friends bets.”
She flipped two pieces across the board causing them to land perfectly on the chosen squares that would give her a strong position for the next few moves. Ted was up next and he had a strong offensive force but a weak defensive foundation but no one was able to get close to his home base without being removed from the board.
“I’m getting ready to head out with Timius my hope is that we can make good time through the night. Vae was kind enough to give me enough runes to be a big help and I’m in good shape and can use my abilities to stay energized for the next few days.”
Hilia handed over a medallion on a leather thong, “We the council grant you the authority on behalf of the community. You may offer any wounded or homeless lils affected by the fire sanctuary. You should know though that we have concerns about the wolf riders and their attitudes towards outsiders. the ones you send to us should be given a code word so we know they’re truly sent by you.”
“That’s a good plan, the word is bear hound.”
“Alright that is a good code phrase and we’ll make sure we don’t get tricked and ambushed. Go with our blessings and may the forest watch over you and Timius.”
They all stood up and patted me on the right shoulder and tapped me on the forehead before resuming their seats. I grinned at all of them and saluted with a traditional signal of the tracker.
I walked away from the table and into the outer edge of the clearing where the trees created thick pockets of shadows and the sense of growing trees, plants and animals. As the noise of the community melded away into the background bird calls echoed around me as they alerted every one of my arrival in their domain. Fresh droppings told me a long ears was somewhere tucked away in a burrow no doubt watching me as I passed through. A sharp scent caught my attention as I passed a thicket covering up the recent kill of a tree cat which meant they were too close to the clearing for our comfort.
I pulled out my scriber and wrote a quick message to mom informing her of the kill on the western edge of the clearing. hounds would be ran through the area to chase the cats out and away from the clearing. the forest grew darker as the thick branches grew in together over head creating a vast canopy providing the perfect hunting grounds for the big cats. Casually I pulled my bow from its case and slipped the spider silk string into place with one hand and smiled as I spread the limbs into place tightening the string. A final twist and the bow locked into place turning into a part of my body as I drew and arrow and set it to the string. Everything worked perfectly with the string pulling back smoothly and the bow staying in one piece.
The trail head leading to the northwest was marked by a patch of sunlight which fell through a good sized jagged hole burned through the canopy by a bolt of lightning. Timius wasn’t anywhere to be seen but that gave me time to pull out my stone pipe and have a quick smoke of kemir root until he arrived.

Episode Two, A Deeper Look Into a Blinded Cancer Survivors Life

I talk about my early childhood surrounded by cancer, removal of my eyes and the long term issues this caused. I go deeper into my reasons for the use of medical cannabis and psilocybin and the benefits they provide on a daily basis.
Thank you for checking out this pod cast, please help others with kindness. Going through cancer isn’t easy and the smallest acts of kindness can really make a huge difference.

Episode One, An introduction to Cancer and Cannabis from a Blinded survivor

I sit down with a bowl of Dutch Treat which is a strain of cannabis in hand and discussed what it was like fighting cancer at a young age and growing up with no sight. I was diagnosed with cancer of the eyes at a month old and became blind by age two. The main topics of this podcast focus on cancer, the long term affects of radiation, the right to use cannabis as medicine and working with advocacy to achieve a goal.
I also address the use of psilocybin aka magic mushrooms to treat depression and pain management. Psilocybin helps you feel comfortable inside your own skin when you’re body is undergoing crazy surgeries and chemical attacks from chemo.
I’d really appreciate it if you’d all subscribe so I can make a custom URL for my channels, thank you so much!
***Please stop creating mega weapons and heal the sick first. Show us that we as a nation can stop death in its tracks. We American citizens die by the thousands so a group of enemy combatants can die in more creative and faster ways.***
You can find me at the following sites…
Zack Hurtz.com
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I discuss my childhood dealing with cancer, tumors and chronic pain

I recorded this to give people a glimpse into the life of a cancer survivor who’s also blind as a result. Please feel free to subscribe and help me reach a goal of a hundred.

Cure for the munchies (Stoners Milkshake)

I don’t hide the fact I use medical cannabis to treat chronic pain and it is also a well known fact that cannabis causes tokers to chow down on some good munch food. One of my favorite quick foods for this is a milkshake full of texture, crunch, sugar and peanut butter!

    Things you’ll need.

  • Favorite flavor of ice cream. (Court or gallon)
  • Peanut butter (creamy)
  • milk (2 cups)
  • honey
  • Cap’n Crunch Cereal
  • Oreos (3 or 4 for each shake)
  • coco powder
  • chocolate chips

    Lets Blend It Up

      In a blender mix the following items to be blended together.

    1. Pour one cup of milk into the blender.
    2. Add ice cream until the blender is filled halfway with the sugary goodness.
    3. Add one t-spoon of coco powder. If you’re a fan of coco feel free to use this as a suggestive guideline.
    4. Pour in honey until you feel like its enough. I usually put in about four table spoons worth of organic honey.
    5. Add four to six table spoons of peanut butter. If you decided to use crunchy peanut butter be careful of the amount of peanut chunks on each spoon full.
    6. Close the blender and blend the ice cream and other ingredients together for ten seconds.
    7. Add in the chocolate chips, I usually throw in about two handfuls. For extra flavor I also use a variety of chips including vanilla, Carmel and yogurt which can be fun to experiment with.
    8. Next go in the Oreos, as you add each cookie crunch the cookies up to assist with the blending process.
    9. Now add in two or three handfuls of Cap’n Crunch cereal.
    10. If you have any sort of cannabis infused oil or butter you can add it in at this moment. Follow dosing instructions on the oil or butters packaging. If it doesn’t have any use small amounts and if it’s not enough you can always add more next time. Please make sure children aren’t able to get their hands on any of this treat.
    11. Blend all of this together until it becomes a smooth creamy milkshake.
    12. Add milk as needed if the shake is staying a thicker consistency.
    13. Pour into a frosted glass and enjoy.

Check out this weird audio signal!

This audio signal is a very interesting recording. Take a listen and feel free to comment.
Some things to listen for!

  • Notice as the sound ends it seems to taper out as if multiple signals are merging and filtering into one.
  • You can hear some acoustical shifts from signal segment to signal segment.
  • It as if the signals are bouncing back and forth and being changed ever so slightly by the next sender or transmitter.

Daily Annoyances as a sight disabled person.

1. “Why didn’t you bring your caretaker with you today?” The idea that all blind people need caretakers is insulting and degrading, yes we might need assistance doing certain tasks but we can handle most day to day activities. I am able to dress myself, cook, clean, walk the dog, shower, browse the internet, play instruments and have sex. just because your business isn’t ADA accessible doesn’t mean I should have a caretaker who acts as my maid. the suggestion I need a caregiver is like saying I’m unable to complete basic tasks or have a high intelligence.
2. “thank you for choosing MC’UnAccessible, What can I get you guys? What would your friend like to eat? The kids meal menu is on the second page.” When going out to eat in public I’d appreciate it if servers didn’t take my order through my friends. Also referring to me as “He” is despicable and makes me feel even more of an outsider who shouldn’t ever show my face in public because I’m a disgrace to society. I’m an adult and I eat adult food, it is not okay to suggest the kids menu. I do not know why blindness is often associated with mental retardation or why people need to yell at us as if we’re deaf.
Once I ordered a steak with shrimp pasta and crab legs and a coke and rum. The server lost her mind and refused to take my order because she was afraid I’d choke on the steak and crab legs, when I asked to have a rare steak she felt that I didn’t know what rare meant and that I’d not eat a bloody steak. The coke and rum became a problem because blind people shouldn’t drink because we don’t know what we’re putting into our bodies and how we could be taken advantage of.
So in the future please remember You should just ask me what I’d like to slobber all over and make a big mess with!
3. It is almost never rad to walk up to me and grab my arm and start pulling me in the direction you think I should go, my secret awesome blindy GPS is usually fairly accurate, we’re like homing pigeons after all. The only time it’s okay to grab my arm is if I’m about to walk into a dangerous situation like stepping out in front of an electric car or as I call them the blind persons assassin. I’d also appreciate it if you could help guide me around mailboxes, damnable tricky inanimate objects.
4. Changing your vocabulary to be sensitive to my blindness. IE… “Hey did you se-listen to that new episode of Family Guy?” This isn’t being sensitive as much as being super annoying and lame.
There is this cool feature called Audio Description that will narrate the visual aspects that’s going on during the show. the government made it so that any major broadcasting channel has to have most of their shows describe and Netflix has outdone all of them by far. Netflix has over 60 different shows and series that contain audio description and this list is constantly changing and expanding.
5. “Hey Zack, is Ray Charles your role model?” No, not all blind people see famous blind people as role models or super awesome people. In fact growing up I hated ray, Stevie and Helen Keller they set the bar too high for a blind child to be compared against While I respect what historical blind people have done I have better people to model my life on and really rather be my own person than copy and mimic others.
6. “It’s so nice you’re helping this disabled person, you’re such a good soul.” the people that hangout with me do so because we’re friends or family, they’re not my care takers or nor are they being forced to be around me. thank you for insulting my personality and showing me how you feel about people with disabilities. I know because we’re blind you feel that no one would dare be friends with us, we could bring shame down on their houses.
7. I am not a trophy for you to earn brownie points to look good to your friends and society. Quite often a few of my “friends” would tell their friends about me and make it seem like they were my caregivers. they’d make it seem as if they did everything for me and turned me into a big burden to gain sympathy points and be seen as a good person in the eyes of their friends. I removed those people from my life and will continue to do so if it continues with other people.
The biowomb use to do this to seem like a good parent within her church group. I often heard her telling her friends how hard it was to take care of a disabled child and how the lord blessed her with a life bettering miracle. what’s funny about this is she walked away from me when I was a baby and came back when I was 10 or 11. I’d go visit her one weekend every month or so and I guess during those two days it was hard taking care of me. the biowomb barely cooked dinner and would spend hours cleaning the church, talking to her friends on the computer, doing homework for college and working on her crafts.
I am a person who has feelings, thoughts and ambitions and if you only see me as a way to advance yourself off of my disability you’re a scumbag.
8. “Guess who?” Approaching me in public and asking me to guess who you are in front of a bunch of people is not cool. If I’m wrong this makes me look stupid and puts me on the spot causing peer pressure and needless stress. It’s no different than someone in a mask jumping out of the shadows and asking you to guess who they are.
9. “Is your girlfriend blind as well?” First of all the fact that you think sighted people wouldn’t date a blind person is scary. Second no rule or predetermined set of ideas says blind people must only date blind people. I have only been with two sight impaired partners and the other women were sighted and as far as I know they didn’t have a problem with me being blind.
10. “Where’s your dog?” Not every blind person deserves or needs a guide dog, they take a lot of responsibility and a conditioned schedule that keeps the dogs training fresh. Guide dogs are amazing but there is a time and a place that is good to get one and at my current spot in life I decided that a dog isn’t a good match right now. My living location is constantly changing and I’m going to be super busy with college and my medical condition is never reliable. I would love a guide dog eventually but I’m responsible enough to know that it isn’t a good idea for now.
11. “You can understand what your computer is saying? It sounds like some alien chatter.” If you mock my screen reader you’re an asshole. I do not find it witty or amusing when you make dumb noises or speak gibberish attempting to be funny. If I didn’t understand it why would I have it setup the way I do? I don’t make fun of the fonts and colors you use on your tablets and phones or the brightness levels you need to use. I don’t mock your abilities to read, I don’t mock the speed at which you read because its rude. It doesn’t bother me if people ask smart questions about the voice and screen reader to learn about it but I will not talk to you if you just want to be a jerk about it. I already have to isolate myself or where headphones while using my phone or laptop, this creates more feelings of being an outcast and builds a gap between me and everyone else. I can’t just stare at my phone and use it with the sound off like a sighted person can.
If given a chance I’d love a faster, quieter and more universal way of interacting with technology but for now I’m stuck listening to a robot that allows me to read faster than most of you can comprehend. I can read and understand with 98% accuracy a hundred chapter book in less than four hours. That’s about 770 words a minute which is about 3 pages.
12. “This is my blind friend Zack.” Why is it always that I’m introduced as a blind person? Out of all the interesting and crazy facts about me you choose the blind factor and that’s just off-putting to me as your friend. In high school and now college my peers refer to me as that blind guy, this blind guy has a name and really prefers you use it.
I don’t walk around introducing my friends as “Hey this is my fat friend.” or “Yo, Jake come meet my friend with the missing leg!”
If the blindness factor needs to be addressed you should probably let the blind person bring it up or make a casual opening remark about it. In some situations it does come up right away usually when someone goes in for a handshake and I am not aware they’re standing there with a hand held out and a look of confusion on their faces. You can then quietly say hey he can’t see but don’t make a big deal out of this and for the love of social etiquette do not shout my disability across a room.
A girl waved to me once and looked upset that I didn’t return the wave so a classmate yells across the crowded room, “He’s blind, give him a break!”

Warning! Beware of Tech Support Scammers!

Computers, tablets and phones make our lives easier that is until something goes wrong and then you’re in trouble. However sometimes nothing goes wrong and yet you’ll still get a call from someone claiming to be Microsoft stating that they’ve received an error code from your device. These people are tech support scammers and they will say and do anything to get your credit card, bank account and online payment information before providing “support” if they actually do anything.
So, you get a call from (Chris) and he says your desktop is sending them an error code telling them you have been infected with a virus. They’ll do several things to “diagnose” the “problem” but in reality they’re setting you up to take the bait. They’ll ask to connect to your computer using a RAT or remote access tool which gives them full control of the computer. This allows them to open files, see your pictures, browse your online accounts, open already logged in accounts and they can download software and install it from six thousand miles away while sitting in a small cubical in a giant call center.
Once connected via the RAT the “technician” will run some scans to find viruses but what they’re really doing is running a fake scan with information they’ve already prewritten and if you aren’t good with technology it looks real. They’ll usually tell you the price for fixing the “issue” which is a onetime fee of $100 or something. They then will offer a multiyear plan for 24 7 tech support through their company which claims to be a Microsoft partner. Keep in mind they still haven’t fixed your computer or found any real viruses or signs of hackers but want you to pay up front with a credit card. They’ll keep pushing the support plan ranging from $199.00 for one year to $499.00 for a three year plan.
Here’s the catch, once you give them your payment details they’ll charge whatever they want and you can’t stop them. So not only are you paying for a nonexistent problem but you’re also paying more than what you agreed too and the card can be charged over and over. They will stay connected to the computer after taking the payment and act like they’re fixing the “problem” but chances are they’re locking you out of your own system. They’ll lock up your data and charge you a fee to get the password to the data and if you refuse to pay you now have a big paper weight sitting on your desk.
What can you do about these scammers and can you get your money back? You can report scammers to several organizations who will work on shutting down scammers legally, the FBI has raided several American companies and has worked with India to target call centers working out of India. Scammer.info is a website set up by a You Tube user called LewisSTech and his friends. The site has a list of known scammers and also allows users to submit new reports on possible scammer numbers and websites.
Getting your money back is a long process and is unlikely unless legal action is taken through your bank. Please be careful out on the internet and watch out for tech support scammers. Also make sure to use internet explorer as it’s the best browser ever! (lolz)