Wednesday, September 30, 2015

She said she had two pieces of news. One was that yes, I could take a shower. Oh wow. I'd been looking at this brand new gigantic bathroom that featured one of those seated showers and oh I felt so scuzzy. 

News two. I could go home. That day. Wow.

They brought me a stack of towels and that goo shampoo and I had such a great shower. I kept expecting my Mom to come in the room and yell: Stop Using So Much Hot Water! which was something she used to yell at my sister but nope. Nobody bothered me. It was like being at a resort except you couldn't really get the front side of you soaking wet. Too bad. 

P was set to collect me at 2:00. I didn't have my shoes and I didn't have a bra (and I didn't have the will to care that I didn't have a bra) but the shoe thing was a Real Problem. I ordered a bunch of food thinking P could grab a bite and I watched more horrible daytime TV. (Shut up Tyra Banks) It was getting later and no P. I'm eating these quesadillas and my stomach is getting worried. 

I think that's when the fluffy beard doctor came in and took out my hardware. They were like paperclips all in a row. He also did some weird maneuver with this spot that had served as a drain. He put some sort of twirled gauze in that thing. 

It's crawling up on 2:00. No P.  I tell the nurse, hey my ride is running late and she got sorta sniffy like well, we need the room. I overheard her say that to someone outside the room. "She knows we need the room."

I still don't even have shoes on. 

P shows. He's irked by the 'need the room' commentary and in retrospect, hey were were all of our discharge instructions? We had a lady pushing my wheelchair who waited outside on a nice day while Philip ran for the car. He tipped her. Nice gig. 

We decided to stop for an ice cream cone at Dunkin Donuts/31 Flavors and I check my phone and we just missed Marilyn but she catches up and celebrate the day. 

The shoes he brings are my walking Grantley on ice, 400 pound each, Keens. The bra feels weirder. It's been a week. 


You asked me what I'm taking. Tramadol for pain. Ondansetron for anti-regurgatating. Or would that be anti-gurgatating. And giant Ibuprophen which got less popular when the Tramadol train finally showed up. 


The only moment-thus far-when I nearly lost my marbellas was this. There's a woman who has far too many words for a normal person and she lives down the lane and apparently-upon hearing my current tale of woe spewed out something along the lines of-oh MY friend was stage FOUR and she's FINE and ya know, it's the only time I wanted to get a snow shovel and swing it around into the back of her head. 

For me. 

Yeah, knowing the stage and the timing and the chemo prognosis and all that kind of stuff-from an armchair-it frames it more nicely, yes? But the point is-what happens when you're admitted to this club. Like hey, have you ever had to tell your boss you're going in for cancer surgery? Okay what if you have three bosses? 

So maybe when I know more you'll know more but maybe not either. 

Thanks for the entry into your heads. This has been good to force myself to sit up and function. I feel better and thank goodness I also smell better.  Nice. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We. actually. thought.(we really did) the hospital was gonna call and see how I was. We're sorta sub-lawn gnomey in our hospital intelligence. One of my medications was causing me to regurgitate like a 1970's ice machine. The doctor said, stop taking it. We were both like, are you sure? 

It was strange, we thought, we haven't heard from the hospital and then, there was some exit paperwork we thought we read at some point that they were gonna call us and let us know what time we should come on in Monday to see the doctor.

P dug out the papers out yesterday morning and rang them up-the hospital has some pretty intense classical 'please continue to hold' music and Grantley and Philip were dancing around to the music and THAT'S when I got my phone confiscated which is a giant bummer because that woudda be a GREAT picture.


Then sometime tonight I thought um duh I am a cartoonist. 

So. We were supposed to call THEM to make the appointment. 


Few moments later-hey if we can get there in 15 minutes-they can squeeze and at this point I'm face down on the bed, so P rolls outside to organize the automobile situation and I try to find my shoes.  I have not seen them in two weeks. No kidding. This is not a good time to begin the hunt. 

We set off. He is an excellent driver but that did not stop me from pointing out what it would be like if we got in an accident. Go slow go slow go slow. Did I want him to drop me near the door so I could rest on the benches while he parked the car. No no no. Those spots are for people who really need them. I have a silver cane. Dammit. 

I was watching the faces of the people. I think, last time I was there I was one of the faces but this time-I had a little distance. Wow. People carrying such worry in their faces. Or is it pain. Or is it sorrow. And I dunno. I got on the elevator and I did stand-up. 

The lights were dim and I made some severely lameoid clapper comedy.  And the lady in the corner who was steering her mother-she saw where I was going and she chimed in with some foolishness and we smiled. I shuffled over to the registration and more foolishness for that guy. We passed a TV set blasting The View and I said: Shut up Whoopie. For my own amusement. 

We got to see yet another in my blastastic team of doctors and I had to ask some anatomical questions and he turns looking for a legal pad possibly maybe and I say, you don't have puppets?


I don't feel okay yet. I got some bad ass painkillers. Things take time.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

I was taking a nap this afternoon and I woke up with bathroom wall-splashing, intestinal explosions of unpleasantude. 

I think you have to get the hospital gunk out of your body. Sleep it out, shower it off, get rid of it.

P said: oh I bet you're gonna put THAT up on your blog, aren't you? 


I was getting some pre-sliced swiss cheese out of the fridge and a brown dog scored an entire slice when it fell on my foot. At the exact same moment I got a fb text from Linsday that said: Glad you are home! I bet Grantley is happy to see you!


In other news? Today around 4:00? Pants. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Every night-or maybe it's even twice during the night-a little nurse girl would come around. She'd say, Miss Farrell? And I'd say: Oughsiglkimehef? She'd say: It's time for your Hepburn shot. Which arm would you like to get the shot in? And I'd say, hooilsihing. Because A) I was sleeping and B) The answer is neither one. Duh.

But I'm home now and I thought hey, time to check out my Hepburn shot-thinking it was gonna at LEAST resemble some Breakfast at Tiffany's if not some stylish African Queen. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Hospital called and in the One More Thing line of questioning outta me-was-hey is there anything special I need to bring? I have packed-so far-my 'Yay!' sweatshirt, some junk for my lips, Starlight Mints and I won a book store gift certificate from the library so I bought myself a Writers and Poet's magazine and I've been saving it to bring.

Bring nothing, said the Hospital. 

And then I'm remembering this vacation we were going to take when I was little to Kalamazoo, Michigan to see my Aunt Alice and I remember being very worried that Aunt Alice wouldn't know how to make peanut butter on toast The Right Way. 

When the hospital said "We have everything you need"? I felt worried they don't know I might really really need Starlight Mints or something. 

You get these tiny zaps of concern-when you are all the time behaving bravely and strongly. 


Right now I am in the middle of an Italian Ice. Lemon. I'm taking a break from that jug of stuff in the photo. 

Our Quarterback's nurse Kim gave us the insider information that cherry was the preferred flavor and our Osco pharmacist -who is named after Kristy McNichol-said she's heard it tastes better chilled. 

It tastes like kinda salty water that had a cherry lifesaver was dangled in it for a few minutes in 1972. I am halfway through.  Yay me. 


Yesterday, we were walking Grantley and we got jumped by another dog. 

We were heading back home, we turned the corner and Philip saw the dog coming from across the street.  The dog had come off the porch of his fancy-assed home and headed straight for Grantley. You know those scary pictures of the wolf in The Little Red Riding Hood? He looked like that. Mean and hungry and crazy. 

I started hollering like a coocoo bird and the dog went for G Master G. There was a kind of a circular chase and I went down on the grass. Next thing I saw was the dog pinning Grantley on the ground and Philip screaming at the dog and things flying through the air and somehow the dog retreated and the jackass owner who watched it all happen-never made a move to stop it and he never went for a leash. He just stood there. 

And do not get me started on his moron wife. 

Grantley is limping, I have a cut on my finger and Philip lost his voice for a minute or two.

It was a really awful few minutes but as we were limping away kinda like something you'd see exiting the a Civil War battlefield-the three of us-I thought, okay wow. 

While our counterattack was not attractive by any means, I actually pity whatever tries to get in our(collective) way.

The surgery is set for tomorrow (Tuesday) morning early, early, early.  Thanks for your thoughts, prayers(if you're a prayer) and positive mojo. No visitors please, until I can invite you myself. Thank you for everything. And I think I'm okay for starlight mints. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ask me again if I'm going to have to 'wear a bag' or ask me again if 'it's malignant' or ask me again 'if there's going to be a huge scar' and I promise, you'll end up in the bed next to me having my shoe removed from your ass. 

Today is my birthday. 


Friday, September 11, 2015

Exchanging My Religion

Do you ever have it-that sometimes you can't believe people are going along with you-on some crazy scheme or other? Like you're anticipating some sorta gigantic shove back and it just never comes. 

Yesterday, after shaking the gentlest hands I've ever touched, I said, Hey. I wanna go back to Registration. Which was, for the record, two buildings up and I just expected him to be like..can't you just leave it for another day or words to that effect and he just went along. 

No big thang. 

We're starting to know our way-a little bit so we passed Information and went on to Registration and a lovely young woman went back to the Registration Lady and the next thing you know, we're seated again in front of this very nice woman dressed in blue and black and I say, There's two things I'd like to change. 

And she's all smooth and professional and I say, okay first-the marital status. Is there any other choice than the hideous 'Significant Other'? (It's so Jack Tripper, isn't it? Ugh.) And she was so kind to scroll through the options. I had in mind something along the lines of 'partners' or something charming like that. Generally speaking, we've been going with 'Valentines' but I didn't expect that hospital to be quite THAT progressive but uggh, ya know? Significant Other. 

She had Life Partners and I said, yeah. I'd go with that but no. That's reserved for gay people. I mean, can't we just have the same thing as everybody else?

: )

There was the possibility of Civil Union-I was all over that-but that had to be actually paperwork official and it was all very interesting and she said she'd bring it up in the next staff meeting. The lack of choices. 

Fair enough. 

Then we moved on to religion. Since there was no option known as 'All Inclusive', I was pretty much set to go with Unitarian. I went to the Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple once and the minister spoke of Polar Bears and their relationships and I thought, I'm pretty much down with all of that but P-for some CRAZY reason felt like that was the Wrong Choice. 

Like maybe as I approached the pearly gates-there'd be some sort of flannel board quiz I'd have to take and I wouldn't know the exact Unitarian answers and I'd have to go to the end of the line or something really un-polar bear-like. 

I asked her what else she had~description-wise and she said she had 'Other' and I thought, hmmm 'Other'. That kinda works. And she assured me that MANY people selected 'Other' and I was convinced. 

The Registration Lady heaved a sigh of great relief. 

In the past 48 hours, I have written my will, swiffered madly, pre-collected on my free birthday sandwich at Starship, prepared my art for a show I won't be able to attend, made an extra set of keys, laughed so hard at a texting joke I almost choked, instructed P in what to do in the actual event I DO croak which is a kind of a hideous conversation to have when there's any possibility he really needs to pay attention, gone to see a talk called 'Style Over 60' where the speaker held up copies of How Not To Look Fat and How Not To Look Old and she said, the author, unfortunately perished from a battle with breast cancer and for me, I think maybe she might have spent her days writing a book called How Not To Waste Your Precious Time On Stupid Stuff, and F the Spanxs for Other sakes, but maybe, maybe, maybe that's just me.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What must it be like, to have such gigantic bags of gold that you can finance an entire clinic-AND-you have the wherewithal not to go all Trumpy with your name slathered all over the place? (Who IS this person and do they wanna have some lentil soup at the Brazilian restaurant on Oak Park Avenue because it'd be totally on me. I'd be honored.)

I've been driving past the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Palace for a whole buncha years now-never thinking I'd have an appointment there, but in we went this morning. It's a pretty cool looking place inside-except around the edges. Just small things. The bathroom was really unimpressive and just like dings on the edges of cabinets and I don't think Generous Donor would be happy about that. 

Also, once again, I find myself in certain situations where the customer service is so insultingly bad I go into a full body cringe-for the hoops I have to leap through to make a buckand here we are, waiting for two ladies to finish their personal chat.

"All I'm sayin' is: Money. Talks." said the one and I am completely sure she was not referring to somebody's co-pay and they're sorta half turned away from where we're standing behind the service line but umm hello? There's nothing separating us from their conversation except the fact that they're not greeting us and this doesn't have to happen this way. Something like, "Hi. We'll be with you in just a minute. "

It's also made me hugely supportive of money for education. Yeah, I don't have kids and yeah, I'm not really fond of paying taxes but the behavior of some of the support staff on this medical journey(mostly not at Loyola)just makes you shake your head. 

Our guide on today's excursion was-we think-a woman from Poland. Got done with all the blood pressure formalities, and, on her way out she said: You ready forrr doc-tor/Have a very goot day/God bless you. 

All in one breath. Lovely.

Then we had a 26 year old doctor child ask a whole lotta questions-which was fine-it's a teaching hospital-and when he asked me if there was something about sexual function I wanted to ask him, in my head I was like, um no. Is there something YOU wanna ask me? ha ha ha. 


We met the second member of our team. 

There is something about imagery(just like cartooning) where, if it's not looked at, it hasn't completed it's intended cycle. 

Doctors REALLY want to show you the pictures.

I know it's crazy, but I'd be okay if they just told me when to show up. Something like, we're gonna fix you the very best we can/see you on Tuesday. I'd be completely cool with that. 

But no no no. You gotta see slices of your entire universe. In living color-as they used to say on teevee. Two kinda red strangely shaped things and it's like, okay this is YOU looking up from the bottoms of your feet. And I'm like...wait, what? And he's scrolling and you're like...that's my what? And here's me: I'm like: Am I smiling?

There had been an option on the table to do this all tomorrow(Friday)and oh I want to get it started and put it behind me but there are just a few more things I need to do so the official starting date will be Tuesday, September 15th. Won't know the exact time till the day before but I will be expecting your positive vibe then. Oh yes, I will. 

In other news, P has been trying to get me to eat more slowly for + ever so here are the results of our post Loyola Dunkin Donut coffee conference tiniest bite contest-where everyone's a winner. 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I was laughing to myself thinking about my grade school report cards. I'm talking about the really early ones and the teachers would write: Ann is a joy to have in the classroom. 

I think they said that because my Mom was always sending these gigantic bouquets of flowers from our yard to school with us and they wanted to keep those coming but a fast conversation with P reminded me of my extreme fabulocity. I call it: 


(The scene: Bedroom. Pitch black. Middle of the night.) 

A: I'm not getting a wig. I'm wearing a hat.

P: uhhhhwhut?

A: I think wigs are stupid. I'll just get a super cool hat, right?

P completely scrunches his entire face trying to grasp an inkling of what I'm spewing.  

He gets it-all at once-and asks: Did you even ask the doctor about chemo? 

A: no.

I'm getting a hat tho. That is FER SHER. 

P : Deep sigh. 

The End

Two things I learned today: 
Do not start looking up medical stuff on the internet while you're at work.
I am surrounded by magnificent humans.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

MRI with Nora Jones

 I'm wearing my parade dress. It's worked out really well for this testing business because sometimes(not today) they don't make you change into a robe. It's also close to the crack of dawn-which I think is a good(ish) thing because you have to arrive with nothing in your stomach and I didn't get caught behind the prostate and heart MRI people who checked in right behind me. 

Lotsa people heading back to school today and I (whiningly) thought they were moving forward while I felt like I was going backwards but the truth is, I have to remember I'm doing this in order to stick around. 


There's a woman here in Admissions and she's quietly eating her yogurt at her 
desk and I dunno. I just thought it was cool to watch. 

It says: Please tell us if you have a fever and if you have traveled to West Africa (Guinea, Libera, Nigeria, Sierra Leone) in the last three weeks. 

I went to WalMart yesterday. Uh-oh. 

MRI Style Tip. Leave the glitter at home. 

When we got our vaccinations in kindergarten, the nurse said she was putting a bunny tail on the injection site. The MRI dude explained that 'I blew a vein' (or did HE blow it, ya know, cuz I don't have the pointy thing in my hand, right?)on the top bunny tail and when I asked what that was exactly-he looked at me like I was nuttier than a fruitcake but umm I don't speak vein. 

Pretty awfully darned proud of myself that I did so well with this-BECAUSE anxiety can grab me by the ankle on occasion-but I got to pick my own Pandora MRI music. I voted for 'relaxing' and he said, like classical or spa and I said spa, but then I thought whoa whoa whoa-why would I EVER subject myself to that if I was not on the clock so I channeled my friend Mary Kay and came up with Nora Jones which was exactly perfect. 

There was also a commercial for WalMart in between the bwooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwoooop bwooooping. 


Monday, September 7, 2015

P said he was going to draw a happy face on my arm. I got there before he did.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Clearly I still think everyone is reading my mind and knows exactly what I'm talking about.  No?

Ha! Okay. The blog title. Came from the doctor's instructions. I said, okay, what is it that I can be doing right now, to make this more successful and that was his answer and I thought, okay. Done.

The backstory. (And this is before I decided to take photos and I think under the circumstances, you're going to be happy about that.)

I had a colonoscopy. Wow I was pretty scared about that for some reason. My imagination sometimes gets way out in front of me.

If you have to get one-here's the deal. It is ABSOLUTELY nothing. All the gross stuff happens in the privacy of your own bathroom. The hospital part-you're completely drugged up and you feel fine (or at least I did.)

So, I had the colonoscopy and in addition to a polyp which they removed(again. No pain.)they found some questionable stuff. Had it tested. Decided it needed to come out pronto.

(They referred to it as 'a cancer'. And based on my 5 ish years of massage listening to people define themselves by their diagnosis-that's what I'm calling this this too. It's a cancer and it's coming out. Dig it? )

Then I had something called a sigmoidoscopy. When I saw my actual (stunningly attractive) arse projected onto a screen on the wall via a camera that was about to make a journey up my backside, I told 'em I wasn't going to watch and they were cool with that.

On the way calendar-wise, to the scheduled surgical extravaganza, I had one more stop to make and that was the PET Scan and it seems as if there's something additional that has to come out.

That's where this blog starts.

I'm doing this chunk of blog because I need a way to sort it all out and you know I love taking pictures and I thought it'd be the easiest way to keep everyone posted all at the same time.

What you can do for me? Be your happy selves. Really, my cup overfloweth with humans of the highest quality. This means you.

Also PLEASE no horrible stores about your neighbors uncle Fred and PLEASE no sad sympathetic voices around me.

I don't know if this qualifies me as a giant jerkface but I am the strongest person I know.


After the Pet Scan, I got called in for an additional blood draw. Some of these vampires are more talented than others.

I snagged a photo of this trio in the parking lot. This is kind of how it is. Sometimes you're in the support position and sometimes you have to be in the middle.

When I re-met my high school friend Susan in cyber-space, she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. (No. She never did.) and I think for lack of a more appropriate response, I would send her visions of clown cones to try and cheer her up.

After the PET Scan, P didn't want to eat one of the exceedingly attractive cinnamon buns that were for sale on the first floor of the hospital.  Some of these tests require fasting so you come out kinda hungry-ish. But he said we were gonna be stuck eating that stuff long enough so let's get outta here. We went to the Dunkin Donuts on Madison in Forest Park for a bagel and look what was peeking out at me from the cooler.

Hi Susan!

Behold please find this revolving automated floral distribution kinda likea candy machine that we found in the lobby of Loyola. When P saw the one with the teddy bear grasping for dear life on the vase, he said I know which one YOU want and I thought, hmmmno. I don't think I want one of these.

This is really cool.

This is the PET scan machine and above it, in the ceiling they have this-I guess it's a-photo. You do not know how much this cheers me up. It's like, somebody who went before me on this journey made sure I'd have something to look at. So cool.

So you have to get on this kinda sliding thing and you go in the bagel, and then out. And then in again. And out. And then all the way through both bagels.

17 minutes with your arms above your head. She said I could fall asleep if I wanted to.  I don't think I have those skills yet.

This is a huge bummer because I can't get a shot of myself in maybe the saddest recliners known to man, but here I am sitting in the floral one. It was floral or solid green and from floral I could reach the magazine rack and bask in the tropical elegance of glorious palm tree art, in the basement of Loyola.

What's happening here is, the stuff in the bag is intended to push the nuclear stuff onward through my body and I have to sit for an hour. I read a whole Family Circle magazine. Look at some recipes in a cooking collection. Cruise through an old Rolling Stone that has no cover and I tried a Catholic Digest but I couldn't get into it.

While I am in this room, I can hear-what they tell me is-a two week old baby screaming. I think: you go ahead, baby.  Do what you need to do.

I've always been relatively disgusted when people post super gross wound photos(Like look my my son's broken leg!) on social media but this is my glowing arm which makes it okay. Ha!

Here, I just received a dose of some sorta nuclear gunk and what we're hoping is that it does not make me glow.

It feels cool going in and then technician guy explains it's because body temperature is higher than the stuff. He's really nice and more importantly very talented with the needle and on my way out, I see a frying pan in the back and he explains that certain people have to  have their digestive systems checked this same way, so they add the stuff to eggs and they eat them and then get PET scan.

It seems really hard to believe, doesn't it?

This is a waiting room in the lower level of Loyola. You probably don't want to ever find yourself here. (Duh) After I finish the tests here, they send me out a different exit and I can't find P anywhere. I have to find my way back down here and he's here reading a couple of newspapers, seated next to an elderly lady and her even more elderly relative. He turns on the charm and I roll my eyes and these ladies are on the floor laughing.

Eventho I have a new brand of personal impatience, it's the least I can do. Entertaining the troops.

"Would you like to have the chaplain say a prayer with you on the day of surgery?" 
Sure, I say. That'd be great.
"What denomination?" 
Hmmm. I look at P. Christian? 

Later, I think this over and I want to change it to something like Unitarian or something broader and more encompassing because certain Christians make me very nervous sometimes.

Boarding pass.