Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I am back from my Montana bike ride, and re-entry has been difficult. Oh, it was such a tremendous trip. I want to do it again. In fact, I want to spend the rest of my life doing it. Now I know why people run away to Montana and become lesbians. (Now I've done it--I've just pissed off the entire group I rode with, except my mom.) I always thought that it would be abusive city dudes who would do that to a woman, but no, I want to run away to a place where I only hang out with strong, intelligent women.

I spent an entire week with a great group of women who were all focused on one thing--not humiliating ourselves on our bikes. There wasn't time or energy for anything but the bike. Except for the day we were looking for wildlife in Yellowstone (scanning, round and black and moving). It was an entire week where I focused on what my body could do, not what it looked like. It was so liberating! To put on a bathing suit and (seriously) not care what I looked like. To wear bike shorts and have helmet hair and not give a rats ass.

Oh, there were the downsides. My mom broke her elbow. That was a serious downside, but since we have more balls than brains, she was back on that bike again. In a splint. Seriously. I'll have to get pictures up here, you will not believe what it looked like.

I spent an entire week not making any decisions. Fully-supported means all I had to worry about was getting my butt on the bike and riding. I thought I'd be able to cancer-card myself into catching a few breaks, maybe riding in the sag wagon for a bit, but it didn't turn out that way. Another participant had polio as a child, still wears a brace and uses crutches but SHE CAN RIDE A BIKE. I ended up being the second-youngest there. And I was definitely not the second-best biker--there is no room for the callowness of youth when you've got the determination of old age, let me tell you.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

So the test results are in, and I am a fabulous person who appears to not have cancer anymore. At the risk of copyright infringement, Yahoo!

The reason I say that is because I didn't get to see the doctor--some scheudling snafu and she wasn't there. They asked if I wanted to reschedule, and (Rainman-like) all I would say was that I wanted my test results. After a little consultation behind the scenes, a nurse brought me my test results. Pages of results, with a PET summary of:


and a CT result of:


Sounds good to me! But don't take my word for it, you can read it for yourself, too.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

So I have news, not medical news, but news nonetheless. I am working again. Yes, I have agreed to work, as a contract consultant, for a small company that's placing me back at Schwab. I don't know what posessed me to answer an email from someone I used to work with in Dallas who was asking for software development process consulting in San Francisco, but I did. And the next thing I know, I'm talking to the president of a small company here in the Bay Area and I'm throwing down all the objections that usually get me out of working (no travel! part-time! bad personal hygeine!) to no avail.

During this feeling-around phase, I Googled myself and found the only direct link from me to cancer online was on this blog. So I removed it. And I thought I was in the clear. But the founder of the company asked me if I knew a high-level person at Schwab, and I said yes. Normally, I would have clarified that I know OF him, because this person wouldn't have remembered my name, he's so high-level, but he does remember me because he had cancer too, and we're part of the club. Go Cancer Club! Gotta love it when it works for you.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

For me, best way to avoid panicking about test results is to pretend it isn't happening. So I treat my scans as if they are bizarre spa treatments. They are similar, after all. First, checking in or registering is the same, except the spa receptionists are much better looking. Both do mystery billing, where they must know how yow will pay, but will not tell you how much it costs. (However, you do not tip medical staff.) In both, you wear the clothes they provide. (Unless the techs are willing to deal with the underwire bra issue. Much like current airport security screeners and shoes, you'll need to remove your bra in case it has underwire.) And both are generally unpleasant procedures (except massage, unless you get the deep tissue kind I like) designed to help you later.

That helps, but the only thing that helps with the waiting is to not think about it. Easier said than done.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

On my way into my PET/CT scan, there were signs in the parking lot directing patients. They read "Cancer Center". So much for the "Advanced Medicine Center" name.

Waiting for my turn in the crowded lobby, I noticed a pack of drug reps. Hospitals and doctor offices are crawling with these well-dressed, well-coiffed drug reps, who travel in perfumed packs. They look past you, generally--you're just a consumer, after all. It's a very calculated look, a skill they develop that allows them to ignore the fact that they are surrounded by sick people. But as this pack exited the elevator, I saw one young man who made eye contact with a couple of people. He won't last long.

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