Thursday, July 31, 2003

What do you think? If I got one would it be inaccurate *and* tasteless?
I took Conor to the doctor for his three year checkup, and he's perfectly healthy. I must admit I had the doctor check out a couple of lymph nodes that could be felt on the back of his neck. She allayed my fears without making me feel stupid. (I've since learned that the first full-blown case of Hodgkin's was in a four year old, so I have some time before panicking for real.)

She asked about me, and I'm still fine-tuning my fifteen second summary. I've learned to say, "fine" when anyone asks how I'm feeling now. It is weird that I have no real symptoms (hence the A in the IIAE and 1A diagnoses) and feel fine when I've got cancer--it's the treatment that makes me feel like crap.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Got my new copy of CURE magazine today, and man, it sure makes me feel like I HAVE CANCER! (I think I know how some people feel when receiving their AARP magazines--hey, this isn't mine! I'm not one of them!) The cover article is about a woman who has lung cancer and the headline on the cover is, "Today in the US, 438 people died of lung cancer. Deborah wasn't one of them." When you read the article, (which doesn't blame her for it, despite her 30 years of smoking) it says that after successful chemo her doctor sent her home to "play", which means enjoy yourself because you're probably going to die soon.

Another article discusses chronic lymphocytic leukemia (the most common form of leukemia in adults) which "is not curable but some patients with CLL may live from seven to more than 15 years". Criminy! I'm starting to feel like a dilettante. Reading this is like exposing the ugly underside that I've tried to ignore. Some people aren't just told, "You have cancer", they're told, "You have cancer, and you're going to die". Now I know how David Rakoff felt when he said he had 'cancer light'.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

I got another call from the ex-boss. They *really* want me back. Very, very flattering. As long as I ignore the money-making incentive to get billable hours for this quarter (ending July). And the fact that the client knows me, and in my ex-boss's zeal to get billable hours for the quarter they probably sent some junior hotshot who pissed the client off. But then again, what do I care? I'll take the flattery!

(Note to self--need to return their computer at some point. Or can I pretend chemo brain prevents me from remembering whose it is?)

Sunday, July 13, 2003

While searching for some information in an old email, I ended up trolling through all my posts to Hodgkin's mailing lists. It's interesting--I can chart my progress not only by what's in the posts, but by whether they exist at all.

Here's my post on memory problems:

Rose wrote: Is it just me or has anyone else had memory problems after chemo.
I'm no rocket scientist, but my brain feels like it's frozen.

Georgia wrote: I've had memory problems since my chemo last year. It feels like things float around--I've lost the ability to anchor them properly. And yes, it definitely makes working difficult. Not only do I forget things, but I forget I forgot them. Say someone asks me for X. If I don't write it down IMMEDIATELY, I'll forget and when they remind me, I'll have no recollection of the first exchange, either. It's happened so often I fail to get embarassed anymore.

Rose wrote: Did the doc say anything about this clearing up?

Georgia wrote: No, my doctors haven't given me anything conclusive. I've discovered that there really isn't much data out there on long term side effects like this, and the doctors, while sympathetic, tend to point out that living with them is much better than the alternative.

We really aren't all that far from the time when cancer was a death sentence. Many of us are the first or second generation of long-term survivors, and treatments have changed dramatically so that data from those treated 10 or more years ago isn't applicable to us, and treatments are still evolving so there probably won't be any unless we're studied. This is a field that still can't figure out why we get fatigued during treatment, so I don't hold much hope for them to figure out why I can't remember anything.

Some of my friends feel I'm too cynical, but this is how I deal with the fact that my life will never be the same. Your mileage will definitely vary from mine; just be patient (it can take six months to a year to fully recuperate) and learn to compensate. I find hoping for the best but preparing for the worst works for me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I got a call from work--they want me to come back for a month. Offered me more money and everything. Very flattering! This is, of course, the call I dreamed of when leaving previous jobs. This time I feel like telling them that while the offer is flattering, especially with the promise of more money, I quit. My quitting is complete, it fulfills nearly every definition of the term quit,

1. To depart from; leave: (Yep, been gone mentally for a while.)
2. To leave the company of: (Oh, I'm leaving the company all right.)
3. To give up; relinquish: (Amazingly enough, this is the definition of 'quit a job'.)
4. To abandon or put aside; forsake: (I'm forsaking all other jobs, too.)
5. To cease or discontinue: (Ceasing paid employment, anyway.)
6. Computer Science--To exit an application. (A pun !)
7a. To rid oneself of by paying: (I'm paying, especially for health insurance, but at least it's cash and not a pound of flesh.)
7b. To release from a burden or responsibility. (Amen on the burden part!)
8. To conduct (oneself) in a specified way: (Oh, I'm conducting myself in the quitting way!)

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

The quitting of the job is official. My last day was July 1st, a vacation day. They cut my benefits off immediately; I was hoping that since I made it into July I'd get the month paid for, but no. Kevin's insurance says they'll waive the six-month pre-existing condition clause, but I have very little trust in insurance companies. COBRA, here I come!

We went away for the holiday (had to, actually, since our stairs were being painted and it was hard enough to keep Kevin *and* the cat off of them). Friends offered their mountain retreat and Conor and I went up for he week and Kevin met us for the 4th of July weekend.

Although our holiday was interrupted by work--my ex-work, to be exact. Seems they expected me to do something to commemorate my departure--like return my computer and submit to an exit interview--and they actually had the nerve to call me! Good thing I recognized the number, and sent it straight to voice mail. If they don't track me down next week, I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually.

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