Monday, December 30, 2002

I have someone else's hair. There is no other way to explain my varied and mostly unsuccessful attempts to style my new hair. I've had short hair before, so it isn't that. It's definitely curlier--I thought that was just a myth. Some days it lays somewhat flat, others it sticks up. And it's not growing all that fast (as my hairdresser can attest to), either, so I'm going to have to learn to deal with it. It just may be apathy--I barely started using a brush again, let alone a hair dryer.

I dreamed that I had cancer again, that three tumors showed up on a scan. I also dreamed that I had a baby (delivered it myself!), and then dreamed that Kevin and I, well, that's something I won't go into. So why am I fixated on the cancer dream?

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

I watched the movie Wit this evening. I watched it furtively, switching to Dr. Phil when Kevin came downstairs. I tried to figure out why I was hiding it from him, and I think it's because I didn't want him watching me watch it. But that's awfully self-centered, because he's an integral part of this whole thing, too. Granted, the victim always has the starring role, but he's the (best) supporting actor in our drama. It's a good movie, even if the subject matter is a little too close to home. (Emma Thompson plays an ovarian cancer patient who dies; the movie takes place in a hosptial during her treatments and subsequent death.)

Why is it that everyone in the movies has to die if they get cancer? To paraphrase Chekov, if someone has cancer in the first act, they'd better be dead by the third. Am I missing some key cancer statistics here? Granted, they're confusing. For example, one statistic says that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, and one of every four deaths is attributed to cancer. Reading between the lines, I assume that means that the first leading cause of death accounts for another of those four and all the others combined make up the other two.

Since 1990, 16 million new cancer cases have been diagnosed (more than 1.2 million in 2002 alone).
An estimated 555,500 people will die from cancer in 2002.
Approximately 8.9 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive in 1997.
The five year survival rate for all cancers combined is 62%.

Oh, what am I running the numbers for. This is Hollywood.

Movies like that would be more interesting if they live. If only Hollywood could have denied themselves the easy tear-jerking endings--yeah, right. I remember a movie with William Hurt as an arrogant doctor who got cancer and then became a better person for living through being on the other side of the stethescope. (Elizabeth Perkins had a supporting role as another cancer patient and she, of course, died.) But why not give Emma Thompson a non-interesting kind of cancer and let her live? Then she'd live through what most survivors go through--the lingering side effects, the effort to find the normal to return to, the struggle with the new hair. And don't make her a better person--let's see her struggle with her previous image as a hardass, etc.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Kevin and I were interviewed for a story regarding couples dealing with a serious illness. It was finally was published in today's (Wednesday, December 4, 2002) edition of the Chicago Tribune. You can find it online by going to: under the headline: "Health crisis can heal or hurt a couple". But it's only available for a week. Perhaps I'll flout copyright law and make it available here, too.

We went to Connecticut to visit Kevin's family for Thanksgiving, and I took the opportunity to visit my Nana's grave. My dad swears that she's the reason I made it through this, and whether it attributable to genetics or spirits, he's right. On my first visit to the Stanford oncology clinic I got an angel token, and I brought it with me and left it on my Nana's grave. I took her good friend, Alice, with me and she and I and Conor went out for pizza afterwards in her honor.

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