Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Monique came to visit--she was in wine country on business and spent an extra night on San Francisco to see us. (On the day she arrived, they had tasted 27 wines before lunch. Some business, right?) I got another chance to take my boots out! As I was taking her to the airport we were talking about kids, and she asked if I'd be content just having Conor. I said I'd be happy just being alive. She was a little surprised, I think. I've done a good job staying in denial, but that's not working so well anymore.

There's a new ad campaign by a local hospital where they feature patients years after procedures. I look at these pictures and wonder how many are like me, wandering around with diminished expectations. Instead of financial security, I'm just hoping to be alive. Healthy? I don't think the kind you take it for granted is an option anymore, but yeah, that's something I'd like. I don't want to seem terribly negative, but with all this my general long-term plans have changed somewhat. Let's put it this way--when you don't think about dying, you seem to have a lot more options. I had a friend who's dad had a serious heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery. Afterward, he was just pissed at all the changes he had to make. Now there's a man who doesn't think he's going to die. Me, well I know I am, but I'm just hoping it'll be forty or fifty years down the road.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The question, 'How are you?' has a totally different connotation when dealing with folks who are determining when you have to go back to work. Everyone wants to know--my employer, the disability agency, the insurance company, etc. I need to get a 'release to go back to work' from my doctor, and it has the date I'm fit to resume my duties. When you ask for such a letter, the first thing they ask you is when you want to go back to work, and never isn't an option. Oh, well. So we settled on a date, May 15. Here's hoping I still don't need daily naps then.

I took Conor to Oakland zoo with some friends. Kevin & I had taken him before and we were trying to figure out when. I remembered that I had long (for me) hair and Conor was walking, so that really narrows it down! My hair is back to being my typical hair--what's still here anyway. At least it fell out in back, where I can't see it. I really should do a topknot one day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Last weekend was my Make-a-Wish (apologies to the real foundation) weekend. I called the girls a few weeks ago and said, hey, I'm playing the cancer card--we're going to my sister-in-law's beach house (again with the cancer card) outside Portland. Everyone but one made it, and we had a great time. We had a great time (as evidenced by our lighthouse memorabilia) and were even recognized on Saturday as the women buying beer at the grocery store when we hit town Friday.

We went bar hopping Saturday night, which in that rural coastal area means finding one open. At one a young guy told us he had a brain tumor. Two, to be precise, and one had been removed. He offered to let us feel the scar. Our reaction was not what he expected, I'm sure. It gave me the giggles, and I wasn't the only one. It was rather surreal, an fancy word for we'd been drinking and little did he know this was the wrong crowd for that gambit and we found that highly amusing. I refrained from comparing medical notes with him and we all refrained from asking any further questions primarily because no one could think of the word 'inoperable' at that point in the evening. He changed tactics later and said his girlfriend had just left him because he wasn't "keeping it real." That one didn't work, either. We left before he could invoke Plan C.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Well, I'm almost done (one treatment left) and life is good. It was much better last week, though. The next-to-last week of treatment is the best. You're nearly done, got the rhythm down, but still have some medical contact left. And you have cancer, but that's okay because you're in treatment. After you're done, well, you're done with treatment and whether you look at it as your glass being half-empty or half-full, you're just waiting to see if it comes back. Again. It's what you do with the waiting that counts.

The last doctor visit was chock-full of long-term problems, ranging from the scary (aaaaah!) to the not-so-scary (oh, really?). It made wonder if we'd been told of these at the beginning, but we probably were and I didn't hear them. No doctor visits, blood work, or anything the last week--you're just done.

Monday, April 07, 2003

I hit the wall this week. I have been so tired, I swear I don't have two white or red blood cells to rub together. I had all sorts of plans for my last week of treatment, and they didn't involve napping two or three times a day. Oh, well.

The stomach, like most reasonable organs, isn't too pleased to be radiated. And that's what's been getting hit this last cycle. I wasn't sure if the nausea was mental, because no one wants to mention it because then you'll think about it and no one knows what causes nausea but thinking about it certainly ranks up there. The first week of this cycle I seriously thought I was going to throw up, and wouldn't that be ironic--I didn't all through chemo--but it went away and I've been doing fine.

Friday, April 04, 2003

I found the most pair of boots--deep red, all leather, to the knee (don't fear--with SF summers, I can wear them while looking smugly at tourists and the bridge&tunnel crowd freezing their strappy sandals off). But why am I writing about shoes? It's the latest topic of conversation with my tech's--two are shoe-a-holics, according to them. She says that shoes are the only thing they notice on patients, but that's not true--another one has asked a couple of times where I get my underwear. Anyway, I actually wore my new boots in to show them. I felt very conspicious walking down the hall in my fancy boots, especially since they have a 4 inch heel and I never wear heels anymore and I just knew I was going to fall down. But they looked great with my hospital gown.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

I saw the doctor yesterday, and he was going through my chart and stated that I've lost 9 pounds since the start of treatment. Yahoo! I said, and he laughed and commented that it wasn't something they usually encouraged. Au contraire, I told him, if I can't do it with diet and exercise, then it'll have to be disease.

And I ran into my resident on the way out, and he was fresh off the plane from his vacation, all giddy and in street clothes--no white coat. He was eager to chat about his vacation, and we talked briefly and then I made a reference to his M*A*S*H outift (olive pants and Hawiian style shirt) and he gave me a blank look. God, he's probably too young to remember M*A*S*H. Even in reruns.

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