Wednesday, March 24, 2004

My mom is taking me on a biking tour this summer. Ladies only, seven days and six nights. I hope by "beginner" they mean "primarily riding in the sag wagon". If I totally crap out and cannot keep up, I plan on playing the cancer card extensively. Why am I sucking wind? Well, did you know Bleomycin, which I had during my CHEMOTHERAPY, can cause lung damage? Maybe I should just get a T-shirt made--"Don't mess with me, I had CANCER". On second thought, I could wear that one anytime. Maybe one that says, "If you think I look bad now, you should have seen me when I had CANCER"

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Here's a bonus for a failing memory. When the weather changes (and we've had nearly two weeks of summertime here in San Francisco) and you go to get out your next season's clothes, all of a sudden you have tons of great things to wear that fit! But why, anyone who peered into the boxes of seasonal clothes would ask, do you have things with the tags still on?

Allow me to digress. I am an obsessive shopper. I will deny being a compulsive shopper, no matter how many pairs of shoes I own. But I am obsessive in that I'll go to the same store repeatedly or to several locations of the same store within a relatively short period of time to make sure I haven't missed anything. And sometimes it works out--I'll find the match to something I got at one store at another. (For example, this summer I'll be sporting a sweater set that I bought the pieces at two different locations.) On the other hand, multiple trips to the same stores allow me to return something after I realize I didn't need it. (And buy more, of course.)

Somehow I make it all better by buying things on sale. Look, honey, I saved us so much money!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Doctor visit today; three month checkup. I am writing this from a computer in the exam room. Seriously! Stanford finally finished the "Advanced Medicine Center" and that's where the new Cancer Center is located. It's a snazzy new facility, done in shades of yellow and brown (looks better than it sounds--more like Pale Straw and Cafe Kahlua, for you color wheel fans). A big improvement over the pink and blue of the old center. Too bad they couldn't afford accurate scales, this one says I've gained weight.

The name cracks me up--as if there's a big call for the "Beginner Medicine Center". And this press release gets me, too.

“This building is dedicated to healing and hope,” says Martha H. Marsh, President and CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics. “It is dedicated to our courageous patients facing cancer. We hope our new Cancer Center will support many new diagnostic and treatment options that will improve the health and quality of life for our patients. We also hope the amenities provided by our generous donors — art, music, gardens, a health library and concierge services — will support the spirits of patients battling cancer and those who care for them.”

It's more of that touchy-feely, where I know I'd like to hear that the center was dedicated to curing cancer--screw making me feel better, cure my goddamned cancer!

Everything looks good, they say, except they don't have all my tests back. But I'm free to go! See you in June!

Sunday, March 14, 2004

This week's Fortune magazine headline is "Why We're Losing The War On Cancer". It was facinating. First, the author is a Hodgkin's survivor, a tidbit of trivia for me! He points out that when he was diagnosed in 1978, there was only a 25% survival (five year survival) rate. Now it's 85%. But the numbers haven't gone up for other cancers, especially those that have metastasized. Those rates are nearly what they were in 1950. All of the advances we've made have been in early detection and in a few cancers (like Hodgkin's) where survival rates have gone up dramatically. But overall, it's not getting all that better.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Just when you think you're out of the woods, they suck you back in. I went to the dentist, and found out I need $1300 worth of dental work, primarily due to lack of spit. Yes, spit.

It's the opposite of the George Carlin joke where he says that saliva can kill you, but only if taken in small doses over a long period of time. Turns out that NOT having saliva is quite hard on your teeth. Now I'd noticed that I had bits of food hanging around in my mouth, but was trying to be scrupulous about rinsing. Now I'm going to be one of those dorks who's brushing their teeth after every meal.

It's just as well, because I go see the oncologist on Monday, and I might as well be reminded now that I'm a cancer patient. Can I say I'm out of treatment, but in recovery, a la AA? There's got to be a better word for it than "survivor". "Victim" is just as bad. I think the problem is that the terms assume you are or you aren't, and for some, you are in between. "In remission" works well, but I'll have to find a noun. Remissor?

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Turns out I have 'radiation' clothes that just make me say, "blech", so I got rid of them. I can remember wearing them during radiation, and I just couldn't bear to put them on again.

We went to a so-called comedy club in the neighborhood Saturday night. The Marsh Theater has a comedy club called the Mock Cafe. It's fairly new, but Robin Williams performed there recently--trying out new material, I believe. (Doesn't that make it sound legitimate?)

Anyway, it was painful. They don't serve alcohol, so we had to load up before we got there and even that wasn't enough. But the guy I thought was funniest was an older guy who got up and talked about his colon, or lack thereof. Black medical humor! I can't remember his jokes, but I can guarantee I was one of the only people really laughing. I mean, I found his few minutes of material HILARIOUS. Kevin wasn't so impressed and I may have embarassed him. First of all, any amateur comedy has the embarassed-laughter factor (once the requisite few seconds of dead silence have passed, but any decent amateur comedy venue has the designated laughers to bridge that chasm), which can cover for a lot, but even so, most were just tittering nervously. The guy said he just wanted to try out this new material, the black medical jokes, and I wanted to tell him to take those back to the hospital and use them! I mean, he was a lot funnier than the next guy, Bob the Cripple. A few cerebral palsy jokes go a long way.

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