Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Things I Did Not Know-Number 234975


 When you mention you've just had surgery to the person about to touch up your roots(and you should), they tell you there are two kinds of medications that don't mix well with hair color.  Heart stuff and thyroid. 

P: Whoa that's really dark. You like that? (He had sisters. He knows to tred lightly upon the hair color topic.) 

Ehhh. I say. It takes a few days to for it to calm down. It always does. 

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I was around someone who had terrible-terrible cancer(as opposed to just regular terrible cancer or just plain old cancer or the kind I've had and that's called: Walking Up the Hill Cancer*.) and she had her toes painted brown and I remember thinking, Wow. Chemicals-right on her toes. 

I remembered this again as I was driving home with my chemicalized hair. 

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I ordered this book. It's the one they use for cooking lessons at Wellness House. I'll let you know. 

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I thought this was a very cool article

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*There's a tiny bump of a hill in front of the Cancer Center and I have insisted that we "climb" this hill (please note the giant quotation marks)every time we have to go there. 

'The grass likes it.' I say. 

'We're doing it' I say,'for the people who are unable to climb.'

Last time we went, it was not me leading the way up the little bump of a hill. 

Imagine. Someone listening to me. Always a happy surprise. 




Friday, May 27, 2016

Today was a big, frightening appointment with the hematologist. What we did well, was run very close to being late so there wasn't much in the way of sitting around the Cancer Center* crossing and uncrossing your legs. I think what I was pre-anticipating the arrival of a bone marrow test. Would it be a fair thing to say I don't want one of those? 

I exhibited some misbehavior with the injections. Not terrible terrible but I crapped out of a few of them-because look, they hurt and today-by the look I got from our doctor, that won't be happening again any time soon. 

Our doctor-and I say-our doctor because I am not in this alone altho I had to seriously put my foot down about the comedy because I didn't want to miss any content-even in the name of good yu-mah(Hello New Jersey)is amazingly intelligent. You know she has to slow way down in order for us to keep up-especially the vocabulary. You know there's a muscle on the back of your calves. Soleus. And I still have to call it Filet of Soleus(it's sort of shaped like a fish)to keep that word in my head. 

Here's one of her words: polycythemia. Or how about 'hematopoietic'. What is that shaped like? 

I can't say that I know exactly where everything is with me at currently. There's a few more appointments on the horizon. I got a couple of things I have to read. More thoughts to think. Stuff like that. 

I did see someone I actually know in the Cancer Center* today. I knew her from the gym at Loyola. Pretty well, actually. And our conversation was part of a mad dash to find which section I was supposed to be in and I said, hey! Are you just passing through or are you a patient?...and oh her face was so sad and yeah breast cancer for her and she said," We're not bad people. We just got bad cards."

It was at this point where I wished I had shown a propensity for balloon sculpture because I promise you, I would have hand twisted her a thousand poodles just to make her better. 

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I wasn't clear about the Lemonheads. Duh=me. I'm not on Lemonhead therapy currently. Lotsa things taste weird to me lately but it's not from chemo. 

Don't tell my friend but I did stop in and see Sylvia at Ferrara Pan. I'm always happy when she says, I haven't seen you in awhile because that indicates good behavior on my end, right? 

There was this dude. CLEARLY a regular and he was watching me pick out what I wanted which were the extremely cheerful little boxes, right? And he said something about my Lemonhead habit and I was all like, ACTUALLY these happen to be very tasty for chemo patients. heh. Shut him down, didn't I?

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I want them to stop calling it a Cancer Center. It's not very proactive, is it? I hate having appointments in that building. I would like if if was called The Cancer Busting Center or...The Cancer Warrior Center or The Juniper Berry Center or something like that. If anyone has a good idea-I would be overjoyed to submit it. 

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More to say, more to think about, but tomorrow I am back to work. They're gonna let us make a summer reading program necklace. Wow, huh? 

 yay me. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I am fortunata to have a cancer friend because I need to be talking to cancer people right at this moment-not that there's anything wrong with regular people-wait. There isn't anything wrong with regular people, is there? 

Right. 


I throw cancer concepts at her(in ancient times-these would have taken the form of newspaper clippings or handcrafted Hallmarks or something). But Lemonheads are good for chemo patients. P actually made that discovery at one of those information table ridden events he likes to go to where he collects 3000 more pens bringing the total up to 325430864565426. Immerman's Angels was there and they've teamed up with Ferrara Pan and it's actually on the box. 



Ferrara Pan is about 7 minutes from my house. 

Groovatroid. 

But I can text my cancer friend the phrase "the money thing" and she knows exactly what I'm talking about. I was at a condo board meeting last night where it looked like brand new $5000 windows were a done deal, and ya know, so what if this is my second trip down cancer surgery lane. It was yet another Smug Fest where people said things like, "Well, I KNEW we were going to have to replace the windows so I've been saving up for them." like I've been down at the dock throwing dice. 

For f!@# sake. 

This has been an Extra Stupid Week because I thought I felt better than I did. I mean like, on the outside I felt like a regular person or at least a person who had two pills and a shot in the belly before 8:30 am. So, I'd be out doodling around with Grantley and come back and take a nap. A Three Hour Nap. Does it take this long to get that hospital stuff outta your system or am I a slacker? This worries me. 

Another stupidly stupidly random thing. One of my favorite favorites posted about her son having one whole lotta nosebleeds and she took him to the doctor and eureka/voila he's repaired. 

My nose bled for years-so much so-that I thought red pillows were normal and what's missing from that picture is a trip to the doctor. Except for physicals, we didn't go. 

There was some story about the doctor putting a piece of burnt cork up your nose but that's as far as my nostril care went. We weren't Christian Scientists. We just didn't go. 

That is some crazy amount of nonsense, isn't it? 

And so, when I had to go to the DMV on Melrose Park to get a new license sticker and the guy said I had to replace the plates and the best place to do that was Lombard. It completely rolled off me.


And today when I gathered my Dad and drove from OP to Lombard and we noticed the parking lot was a bit quiet, I walked up to the door and saw this:



I just did not take it in. 


There was one day this week, I was on top of my mattress and for some reason~I remembered my first actual grown-up New York City job. We worked for the Equitable Life Assurance Society(me and Eleanor-she got me in) at 195 Broadway and our boss was Italian and one of our co-workers was related to John Gotti. This is when I lived in Ozone Park-home of the Bergan Hunt and Fish Club/John Gotti/The A Train. 

I think it's fair to say that generally we had a blast-yeah yeah we got our work done but we had(so much) fun. But anyway, I'm laying/lying/laying/lying(pick one) on my bed and I remember what Kathy(Gotti's cousin)used to call our boss. 

She used to say, "Whatsamatta? Ya fat f!@#."

Can you imagine calling your boss something like that today? I dunno, it just hit me and I was laughing so hard that I had to hold my herniated fascia down because my innards were flinging forward like a fast pitch softball. 

There was something else that got me going. All by myself heaving laffing. 



It's medicinal. 


My cancer pal got her hair shaved off today and I-as I always do-seem to post The Most Inappropriate Video on her FB page. Everyone else was praying for her and posting pictures of pink hearts and I posted something about how certain men like to dress like puppy dogs for sexual gratification. What. You didn't see that? Come on people. 

I knew this was gonna be an upsetting day for her-but what I wanted to send her was something along the lines of...what if all this s!@# turns out-like that small minority of men who have prostate cancer surgery and walk away with increased performance-like what if all this allows you to skip away from all of this even better/faster/stronger?  


Possibly maybe? 



Monday, May 23, 2016


We did the only thing you can possibly do a week after having your neck successfully sliced open, we got the hell out of town. 

I dunno, ya know? A visit to the Cancer Center* is like a combination of all the fantasy principals offices you've ever been threatened with- and if you thought that was frightening. This is for all the marbles-even IF they didn't make you wait in the waiting room at all and even IF they whisk you into the exact same room you were in last time you had to visit the cancer wizard and even IF it's the very nice timid resident who takes off your decorative-yet functional-steri-strip configuration and it doesn't even hurt at all. 

Everything was absolutely cool. The nodes were behaving. The incision looked good. There's all kinds of new instructions-like mandatory sunscreen unless you want a brown worm crossing your neck for all of eternity and Vitamin E oil massage to the area to promote healing and general happiness and a daily pill that needs an hour of uninterrupted alone time in your stomach and a new member of the still burgeoning Team ARF in the form of an endocrinologist and no heavy lifting for two weeks.

We ran.

I wanted to re-see the town that Grant Wood painted. 

**


Well, we couldn't find that spot again, but I DID get to stand in the exact same light where he had his easel in his home and studio which absolutely knocked my socks off. POW. 

And I heard some cool stories-I mean Really Cool Stories about funny things he did and how he got bumped out of teaching at University of Iowa by a big jerk and I got to see his solution to his mother wanting a bathtub and he wanting a shower and if you are similarly enamored by this work, you should probably try and get there yourself. Socks optional. 

This week, I have to make some appointments and I'm hoping to build up my strength. I noticed I was kinda dragging more than I'd like-so it's a bit of falling back and regrouping and foolishness. Lots more foolishness.  



The next visit to the hematologist is on Friday.  I'm going to be compartmentalizing that whole thing which means not thinking about it at all. Coping skill. : )

*You should have seen the gigantic cancer center we saw in Iowa. Yipes. This worries me. 

**True confessions. The panoramic picture is not Iowa but this one is:



You're welcome. 
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Here's what it feels like: a big plastic fork stuck to your neck with some really heavy duct tape. So, sometimes it hurts just a little bit-like when you turn your neck and other times it's just a thing. 

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A stunning floral arrangement delivered in 
a recycled container from P and G. 

For some reason, I thought I'd be having a buncha fun(no really, I did.) this week, but I guess that was before I had my imaginary plastic fork installed. 

On the good side, I am taking more turns walking Grantley. I have a short route where we will least likely encounter anything or anybody-altho the likelihood of discarded chicken bones is extremely high.  

And on the good side of that, she's at the point of her life where she'd rather stand still and sniff things(not just things-every thing) than go tearing across Oak Park(which I used to have to do when she was purely a ball of energy). So, with the exception of the dog that now resides on our second floor who body slams that units front door every time we pass, the weather is cool and everything is verdant and the sun is shining and the birds are nuts. 




Nice.

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Yesterday was errands and you're like, wow fascinating! But ha HA! I can't drive yet so it was a team sport. We went to the bank, got to the teller and she said, excuse me. Did you have thyroid surgery? Because she noticed my decorative steri-strip neck fringe and we did a Sisters of the Missing Thyroid fist bump across the counter(for me-I thought we might set off some kind of alarm or something-reaching over the counter) and we traded stories. 

She said she can't yell anymore. (Ehhh yelling is overrated unless there's a semi about to run over your toe, no?) And we were talking about how common this surgery seems to be and why why whyyyyyy.  

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Operation Purple Lipstick

The choice was Walgreens or Ulta. I thought yay Walgreens because I'm not quite up for the judgmental liquid-linered eyes of Ulta employees. So there we were, looking through all the lipstickage and we found a tube of purple but weren't sure if it was lipstick or something else. 

P said, I'm gonna go over there and ask.

Next thing I hear is Girl #2 saying: YOU have got to be the BEST MAN ON THE PLANET. 


Not because he balances our intake of vegetables with the appropriate fruit, but because he fears no Walgreens clerk. 

And girl one says something like, the only time they have purple lipstick is around Halloween. Like we're supposed to be swayed by her lofty Walgreens beauty aisle opinion. 

Uh-huh. 

Off we go to Ulta. I ask for purple, she shows me 4 choices. Done. 



I don't know if it's purple enough. Work in progress. 



Monday, May 16, 2016

Covering Up

Somewhere I read-this woman who had her thyroid out. A thyroidectomy-if you will and you don't have to-and when her friend asked how they could help, she told them she wanted chocolate and scarves. Ya know like, scarves to cover the scar. 

What I know about wounds is that they really like air. They don't like sun necessarily but they don't want to be covered up. I don't know where this falls on the odd scale, but when I came out of my anesthesia stupor, I looked at my scar and to me-it looked exactly like a purple smile. Which has a cool factor of 5003, in my opinion.

And then there's the $3000 cover-up.  Where you can get your online profile surgically altered because gawd fahbid anyone know that you've been visited by the cancer fairies, right? So dumb, so dumb, so dumb. 

Not doing that either. 

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The Saturday after my Thursday surgery, we were signed up for a program at Wellness House. It was a sort of a Nutrition Fair. We thought we could just cruise the tent and go, but they had these break-out sessions available-which was LVVL because it was cold and crazy windy in that tent. 

Our first session was about growing your own herbs. To be completely honest, I was mostly making sure I could sit through it-as opposed to taking fabulous notes but I did learn that most garden hoses have lead in them. 

WHAT?!?!? 

We left that session with these circles of seeds. A parsley, a basil and an arugula and instructions about how to plant them. 



I skipped the next session because my doctors orders are to take it easy and I wasn't exactly sure where my edges were(strength-wise)so I sat on a little bench on the hallway while P took then knife skills class. He said it was great. 

Our third one-we went in different directions. I went to the Prevent Reoccurrence and P went to the cooking demo. Mine was lead by someone from Cancer Centers of America-is that what it's called? They're so weirdly commercial, no? Mine was all-diet and exercise and making small changes and...no big ah-has there and P got to watch somebody make a very complicated salad. 

The tent was a great experiment for me in saying no. All these vendors trying to get you to taste what they're selling. Like Juice Plus-no I don't want to eat 27 green vegetables in a capsule, no thank you. So that was really good. No no no plus no. 

(Also-I know this is conspiracy theory-esque, but one of the freebies at this fair were bottled water from Dasani-which is owned by Pepsi and ALWAYS tastes really weird to me. Ya don't think drinking out of plastic bottles isn't gonna have some effect on your mystery chemical intake?)

Sunday, we swung out to see my Dad and he donated some "These. he said, Are Free." clay pots for the great seed sewing of 2016. Then we hit K-Mart for some topsoil. It was not recommended to use Miracle Grow because those chemicals may not be our friend.



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I (don't) feel bad about my neck/Purple Lipstick

There was that book, right? (I prefer this book-especially Rule Number 1. ) Last night, I picked up some propaganda from Cancer Centers and there was an article that suggested that problems of the thyroid be watched as opposed to removing the thing because the taking of the Synthroid or Synthrex or whatever it's called, may be too difficult. 

I dunno. I'm feeling pretty fantastico compared to how I thought I'd be feeling. I'm not allowed to drive, not supposed to purposely stretch my neck and I have to go back to get these steri strips taken off eventually and there are mounds of paperwork that have to be shuffled-does that count as heavy lifting? (Signs point to yes.) 

We stopped yesterday to get Grantley some food and the young woman who waited on us had purple lipstick and now I want some too. 

Purple lipstick is a sign of life.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Do you remember this story

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-black-women-kicked-off-napa-wine-train-20150824-htmlstory.html

Where the group of women were kicked off a wine train for laughing too loudly? Well. I think this same group of women were across the hall in the Pre-Op room at Loyola yesterday morning. 

It is always a strange thing to me-like the person on the massage table thinks their massage is going too fast, and the one actually doing the massage is familiar with Every Sweep of Every Second on the clock and you're both in the same room thinking opposite thoughts. Perception/reality. 

So, here's me Thursday morning: We had to get up at 6:00. Nothing by mouth and all I wanted was maybe a piece of gum or something. But I knew, if I did, I'd be screwing the entire procedure up but I have to say, nerves~wise, I was having a really hard time. I think it has to do with muscle memory. My body was not down with another surgery. Yo. 

Thing two-we were led to the Pre-Op room at around 8:00 AM,  but the party didn't start until way after 10:00. P read his stack of newspapers and ate two yogurts. I tried to keep my emotional shit-if you will-together. 

Thing three-It's official. I'm a hard stick. So, I knew there was going to be pain ahead. The first nurse couldn't start the line because the vein blew, so we all decided it'd be best to have the anesthesia person try to get it in.

And the group in the room across from us. Oh they were having such a good time laughing and laughing and I wanted to throw a shoe at them-if I had a shoe, because at this point I was wearing those trendy yellow non-skid hospital socks. 



I tried and tried to find the positive in that situation. Like, they were giving me a giant distraction, weren't they? They were entertaining their Mom or whoever she was. But there's me-flat out on the hospital bed listening to this women's family tear her up because she not only got her nails done with some sort of metal decorations that had to come off, she had also paid for some of those ever-so-natural eyelashes and the nurse made her take those off too. And her kids were all like, Your doctor must be good-looking for you to get all dolled up today. Woo hoo hoo more howling. 

The mystery patient? She was in for gastric bypass. She DID chew gum before she got to the hospital. And...the strangest thing I heard was that she was allergic to chocolate so she'd take Benedryl before she ate some. Does that sound like a good candidate for bypass? Good thing I'm not in charge. 

Right?

It went on forever. Long enough for me to have to get myself unplugged from the machinery a couple of times to go to the bathroom down the hall and finally they rolled her and her family away. Tanks Be To Jezuz. 



The doc popped in. The one question I had was: can we get going already? He gave me a strange look like, don't you understand you're in the number 2 slot? So for that two hours, I should have carried a book or some tranquilizer guns  or something. Really, I wished for some sort of very strong vodka cocktail. That would have been nice. 

A woman named Ann was the nurse anesthetist. No e. She said I had bad veins and I was like, they seem to have worked so far keeping me alive, but thanks. She got a line in with a tiny needle and I think that's so they could start sending some soap suds to my anxiety-ridden brain and that it would be replaced with a bigger needle once I was knocked out. (And it was. On my wrist. And it hurt like a MF'er.) When she got the tiny needle in, she petted my head(now in a stunning silver elastic plastic hat suitable for contacting other planets) like you would do to a dog. I said, are you petting me? Oh she's Italian, she said-they like to touch people.  And right after that is when I fell asleep. 

Plink. 

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I woke up in the middle of a brawl. Apparently, they were trying to get me to take my hands away from my eyes or something and I guess I gave them some sort of struggle. Later, the resident who was my opponent explained that sometimes people have this reaction coming out of anesthesia. Huh. I always seemed so nice. 

heh heh heh.

Next, I got a hand-delivered post-it note. One nurse said 'Love note' and handed it to the next nurse who said 'Love note' and then handed it to me. It was from P. We had had this discussion in the PreOp room-that he didn't have to hang around because I knew I was in good hands and unfortunately, I'm starting to understand how hospitals work. Kinda. He had tons of things to do. And so the note confirmed it. He stayed long enough to chat with the doctor and then he went on his way. 

I had some really nice nurses-I think maybe 4 of them all together. I was in this section just for thyroid patients. There were 5. I'm starting to think this whole thyroid thing is environmental, right? But I was feeling sick. In fact, the nurse told me of the 5 thyroid people-I was the only one having trouble. Because, of course, I'm as delicate as a flower. : )

They put me in my room where I'd be spending the night. It had a teevee. Lotsa pillows cuz they didn't want you to be laying out flat. And I just kept feeling like I was going to heave. 

I sat on the bed with my head held up by my hands that were resting on the tray table thing and the most amazing thing happened. My nurse, Andrew said that some sort of surgeon was going to check in, and that he looked very young but that he was excellent. (Andrew also showed my how to have an ice pack at the back of my neck to deal with the nausea. Nice.)

This guy entered. I was like: HEYYYYYYYY! How are you? It was this doctor who spent a whole lotta time with me in the middle of the night during the September surgery. Ya know, these people work so hard helping ya and when you escape the hospital-you never see them again. So that was pretty miraculous. 

AND he got me some anti-nausea medicine AND called to see how I was doing. Impressive, no? 

At exactly 8:55 PM, I started feeling like a person again with much personal rejoicing and quiet jubilation. And they got me an after hours sandwich box. I had ordered a cheese omelet and mashed potatoes for dinner but they were sorta not very good(the spuds tasted like spaghetti and meatballs), so my fleet of nurses got me a nice box that had a wheat bread, turkey sandwich, some Lorna Doones, A yogurt and a bottle of water. 



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Next time: Covering up. 
















Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's set for tomorrow (Thursday) at 10:15-ish. 

I said to Marilyn, "It's gonna be fun." She looked at me like she forgot that I'm that little teeny bit left of center and said, "It's not going to be fun." About 2 seconds later, she corrected herself. "If anyone could have fun, it's you two."

Uh-huh.

What does it cost to stay on the Lido deck? 

I worked my ass off on purpose yesterday. I wanted to be extra tired. On my way home from work, I was thinking about those people who have dogs who are about to be put down and they make videos about all the cool things they do with the dog on it's last day. 

I started thinking. Hmmm, what would my thyroid like to do on it's last day of work. I started by eating a bag of Skittles while driving through the entire West Side with the windows rolled down(okay not all the windows)and cranking these tunes

Nice.

We had a BIG SALAD for dinner last night. Because of all of these intestinal challenges*-so to speak, we've been riding the salad train almost every night. Avocado, a teeny bit of crumbled blue cheese, green olives and some ranch. Deeeeeelicious as my Mother would say. (She also said Deeeeeepression, but that's a story for another day.) 

Also my fantabulous cocktail. Frozen raspberries, sparkling water, a splash of Mixed Fruit flavored Italian Soda and ice. (Miralax* optional).

Worked at the library this morning-had some fun. After, I went upstairs because the third floor of the library is like my church. (Don't get too excited. I have a lot of churches that aren't churches.) Early this morning, P said, "You better get some books." because he knows me now and so I did. 

I've been touching my neck more than usual and at one point I was like hey Philip, kiss my neck. (I think the giving and receiving of these daily injections kind of encourage you to be more...what's the word...amorous? Woo.) Anyway, he did and I 'bout lost my mind laughing and then coughing and then we had to stop. 

I also told him that in case of my demise, I want him to get married(or whatever)again but not to _______ and not to _______. Because your thyroid gets to say jerky shit on it's last few days. 

I had a spectacular lunch. Excellent bread-open faced-one half seafood salad, the other half some eye round with pickles, salt and pepper and the finest potato chips known to man. 

On my way back into condoland, I ran into a woman who-I swear-pickle juice runs through her veins. She is the definition of acerbic. It was like the 2 seconds I let my guard down. I guess she exists to make everyone else look spectacular and she does a fine job of that. I'm sorry I exposed my thyroid to her on it's very last day. 

No hard feelings. 

No food after midnight, no water five hours before. Thanks for everything. See ya on the other side. 



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Are you ever astounded by your own schtoopidity? I have to shower with some magical 5-dollar-a-little-bottle, watery, sort-of soapy stuff for 5 days before surgery day, right? That seems manageable, no? I have a fancy college degree. Somewhere around here. 

Only on this very day-also known as Day Three-did I realize I didn't HAVE to start at my hair, get it in my right eye and work my way down. I'm not sure how I avoided getting it in my mouth from having it hang open when I realized where I was going wrong. 

Oy. 

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The Shots. 

The shots are going way better. Only twice so far, have we all been locking the front door going out in the morning when one of us realizes we forgot. And then you gotta run right back in and get it done super fast. High drama eliminator. 

That is not to say, that when it rolls around to 8:25 PM just when the world is winding down and getting toasty and there is no chance of anything being dappled by the sun, and P says, You ready for your shot? that I am leaping with joy and anticipation. Uh-uh. But he's getting really, really good at giving them and I just read in a book* that lightly pinching the area helps a lot. I also find making the cringe face beforehand is very beneficial. 

(Speaking of my face, two people have come up to me and told me my face looks a lot better. #ummmthanksIguess.) 

Our neighbor, who has developed some expertise in this getting shots arena also suggested not rubbing the area after the shot has gone in-to eliminate a big purple spot on your belly which has been replaced by saying: Oww Owww s!@# and then all returns to being swell with the universe, generally speaking. 

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The Book*


Finally, finally, finally a book I can recommend. Planet Cancer. Gawd fahbid you evah need a book like this but if you do, this is the best one so far. 

The yu-mah is a little iffy and it's geared toward people who are under 40 but I like how people shared their stuff and I liked that they showed people who-shall we say-finished their journeys-too fast. All part of the game. Duh.

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The Employee Assistance Program Call

I was going to add a photo of the xerox that we've all become familiar with-it's usually in your new job welcome folder, right?  But I just read the fine print where it says if I share the access code-it'd put the companies contract in jeopardy. Ho-no. That's not gonna come from me. 

Use your imagination, won't you? It's grey. It's got a little flag thing on the upper right. You remember. 


What I can say is this: This is a call I did not want to make. Along the lines of, the first step is admitting you have a problem? One of my first bosses taught us: don't shit where you eat. He also walked with two metal canes and he could never catch us misbehaving because the canes clinked when we walked and he was slow so that game us plenty of time to stop goofing around. 

Mostly. 

You get connected to a cheerful sounding person("experienced master's-degreed clinicians")who is there to help. They can hook you up with a mental health professional, a financial counselor, they have care resources, legal resources and what they do is called "facilitate the referral". 

Everything sounded kinda lovely and nice except-it's all very, very short term and I feel like, if I need a mental health professional? I'm gonna need more than three visits, right? And then we'd have to break up and start over and truthfully my head is doing relatively well-in my opinion. It's my checkbook balance that needs therapy. So, I bounced my sorry ass back to my insurance company and went digging for an actual social worker. I saw her Monday. 

My favorite nugget from the visit-we were talking about blaming yourself for getting cancer at all-and she said, what she learned from her experience working in a cancer clinic-was-it was the people who did everything right-life~wise but got diagnosed with cancer anyway-who were the most furious and inconsolable. 


So, don't forget to misbehave. Ready? Go. 






Friday, May 6, 2016

Preparing for Surgery. 

I came home after the morning gig and I took a nap on my brand new 'Salute to Prince' sheets. I'm not done thinking about Prince(are you?) and purple is a nice color to sleep on. Instead of another droopy dog bed, I got Grantley a children's  sleeping bag with blue mooses on it so the bedroom is prepared. 

An hour or so later, I wake up to hear squeals and a ball bouncing. Yup, I think, so now I'm awake and who-pray tell- are these children? This building where I live is not a real kid-friendly building or would it be more descriptive to say we never get Trick or Treaters. 

So. 

I gather my trusty k-9 and we go downstairs and I stand in the gangway until I get the attention of the teacher of this brand-new-ish Montessori after-school school that lives on our corner. Or that is trying to live on our corner. She's got three students. 

I did the, hey do you have a minute? routine but I think the most hilarious thing was the back of my hair was willy-nilly because I just woke up. I thought it added to the coo-coo bird appearance I hoped to convey. 

Do you know I've never done that before? Actually confronting a neighbor kind of person face-to-face? It is so not my style. Welllll she didn't intend to bother anyone and I questioned the wisdom of using our buildings mutual gangway as a playground(it's all cement and sharp corners and bedroom windows and one of them is mine) and she wanted to know when it was that I'd prefer it to be quiet and I felt like saying something like: hmm how about FOREVER but I said I really couldn't put a time on it but that'd I'd need it to be especially quiet next week. Sil vous plait. 

I get braver and braver by the minute, no?
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So the hematologist call. It is supremely difficult to understand my doctor-not because she's anything another other than incredibly well spoken and patient and everything, but the things she talks about-I don't know what they are. It'd be like somebody calling you up to say you have Sdpieurt' Pierj'peqer Otkfhg'oierutv syndrome. 

You're like, wait, what? I just got new gym shoes.

These were the old ones. I really liked them a lot. 


So the word was: Myeloproliferative.  And what she said was, go ahead with the thyroid surgery, we'll talk about this on the 27th/Something we have to watch. And I said, I think you and I are going to be spending some time together, huh. And she said, that's okay with me, how about you? And I said, sure. 

And after I did a bit of googling, what I found was  this: http://www.cancer.gov/images/cdr/live/CDR554337.jpg and I thought Holy Mutha of Jayzuz, they're giving me SERIOUS drugs if that's gonna happen and I felt a teeny wave of incredible overwhelm-atude come over me and that's when I dialed up the Employee Assistance Program. 
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(To be continued)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It was too quiet, right? 

That's what I thought too. 

I found a book I was fully prepared to make fun of. "Help Me Live. 20 Things People with Cancer Want You To Know. When I start a book and there's a description using the word 'dappled'-as in this sentence "As I move through the dappled teal-and-purple-carpeted hallway..." book-wise I'm pretty much done. I know, it's sort of a cranky criticism but there are so many books to read, right? Oh God. Speaking of my lively literary criticism, I got this stupid book because one Saturday I HAD to have a book, you know how that is, right? So, one of my favorite favorites-she asked me how it was? And I said, it was too sharp. Like on my incision. The edge of the book. Oww. She's like....umm I've never heard that as a description of a book. 

I really haven't laughed that hard in a long time. L.V.V.L. 

I got to this bit(kinda late in the game too, right? Page 116?) 


So yeah, that felt like a relatively intelligent statement, no? And to be fair, I haven't gotten much in the way of any wacky-it's your own fault you shouldn't have worn an underwire bra-sort of nonsense advice but the cancer I had-well, I think it's not conducive to cocktail party banter sort of a thing or my people are really smart. That's probably it. Yay me. 

I got two calls this morning while I was at Job 2. One was regarding a prescription-which is making me think it may be getting close to the time where I need to change pharmacies. And call 2 was from the doctor. (Which one-you ask? I know. There's been a lot, huh.) The hematologist. 

Whenever there's a test and it's followed up by a call from the doctor, you can believe it is-all of a sudden-Very Serious Business. 

Serious enough, that after I hang up, I ring up my Dad to laugh and make jokes. It IS slightly hilarious, me telling my Dad about all my doctor junk because he counters with HIS doctor junk-along the lines of, oh yeah? You think that's bad? What about this? Like two old ladies feeding birds on a park bench. 

So all this other stuff that's happened since the plain old colon surgery decided to add itself up into something entirely different. For me? I thought this blog would be half done by now, right? 

The good news is that it-whichever type it is(and I'm not even defining it because I'm not 100% clear on it yet)-hasn't manifested itself yet-that's how on top of things my Loyola docs have been so far. The other good news is that next weeks surgery will go on as scheduled. I don't know if I can live through another person saying: If you're gonna get a can-suh, this is the one to get. 

The only severely bad thing happening right at this moment is: I realized that because I am-for sure-gonna continue to get these blood thinner injections-my sledding hill inner tubing career might be over. 

Fooey. 


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Next episode: Dialing The Employee Assistance Program. 
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