This is the only time in my life where losing my hair is normal, gaining weight is a plus, sleeping late is acceptable, living with my parents is a good idea, not having a job is forgivable, and shaving is dangerous and ill-advised.
Every other Monday a nice nurse in a big, blue smock comes and gives me medications that will make me feel worse than I did the previous Monday. I schedule my whole life around this meeting like there is nothing more important than feeling worse.
I no longer need to be educated, or talented, or smart, or good-looking. I show up to my friend’s houses empty-handed and exhausted and they welcome me in. They entertain me and they feed me. We all laugh out loud and have a better time together than we ever did before.
What can I say about cancer? Everything is the opposite of what it should be. They say I’m making a lot of progress.
I’ve run this by a few friends, and they don’t agree, but I’m planning on looking like Vin Diesel when I lose all my hair. I also plan on driving around in sweet cars and using one-liners that scriptwriters will write for me.
Wanted: Scriptwriters. No experience required. Must like Vin Diesel.
My friend Katie is a nursing assistant in a hospital’s radiation department and teaches patients to knit hats for their cold heads. She sent me two of her finest creations. Thanks Katie!
The Lymphoma Information Network has added this site to its list of recommended websites. My thanks to the Network for the compliment, and for all the good information available on their site.
Now that I’m diagnosed, and now that I’ve put on a little weight, some friends are starting to shyly admit that, actually, I wasn’t looking all that good in the past few months. Well, I guess it’s more like “You’re looking much better!” This caught me by surprise the first time few times, as I hadn’t realized I was looking that bad before. But I guess you can see from these pictures that I had started to wither quite a bit. They call cancer a “wasting” disease.
The first picture is a healthy picture from awhile ago; the second, a not-so-healthy shot from June, 2005 – one month prior to diagnosis. I guess I enjoyed being Hollywood skinny, but not weak and pale and tired and cancerous.
Hospital patients evacuated
Officials were trying to evacuate 10,000 people — patients, staff and refugees — out of nine hospitals battling floodwaters or using generators running low on fuel. About 300 people were stranded on the roof of one two-story hospital in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette.
Yet even as they tried to evacuate, many hospitals faced an onslaught of new patients — people with injuries and infections caused by the storm, people plucked from rooftops who are dehydrated, dialysis and cancer patients in need of their regular chemotherapy or radiation treatments…
Source: Associated Press, Link: MSNBC
North Texas ramps up its hurricane relief efforts
…A cancer care center in North Texas, meanwhile, said it is available to assist cancer patients who were displaced by the hurricane.
Carrollton-based Patients’ Comprehensive Cancer Center said it is available to help patients who are currently undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and biological treatments…
Source: Dallas Business Journal
The fall weather makes me think of Barcelona, with the Spanish leaves drying up and falling onto the cafe tables on La Rambla. The leaves don’t change to pretty colors like ours do, but all the haunting architecture in that city makes it the best spot for October walks. The air comes in from the Mediterranean, and it sweeps the leaves across sidewalks, into the stores, and into the churches. Sometimes it feels like it’s always fall in Barcelona.
I wouldn’t mind living a Spanish autumn this year, rather than an autumn filled with chemotherapy. Because you know after this comes Chemo Christmas – and you know what that crummy Chemo Santa Claus always brings good cancer patients – more chemo. I’d rather have coal.
I’ll be going back in tomorrow for another treatment. I expect to be fully wired and entirely disconnected by this time tomorrow – but you never really know what the Chemo Fairy will bring you each time you visit. I’ll admit I’m a little anxious about it. I try to consciously curve this Pavlovian response, but it seems my instincts are not held by reason.
So they’ve given me something called “Ativan.” I had told the nurses that the treatments were starting to make me nauseous, so they arranged the prescription. Although the drug is used to control nausea in chemotherapy patients, it seems to primary be an anti-anxiety drug. As the astute, American philosopher Elbert Hubbard, once said, “The worst thing about medicine is that one kind makes another necessary.”
I might add that a Luftansa flight to Barcelona tomorrow morning would cost $375. That is <1% of what chemo is going to cost tomorrow afternoon.
My friend Chris gave me tickets to the Chicago Jazz Fest (thanks Chris). I felt really well yesterday and I took the train down to the city to check it all out.
It was the first time I’ve felt well enough to go down to the city in a long time. The city seemed so much more alive this time. I seem to have become one of those slow-walking, fresh-air-smelling, happy-to-be-alive optimists since I joined the Cancer Club. I was stoked to be able to walk all the way from Union Station to Grant Park without having to sit and recover every few blocks. It has been so long since I’ve felt this well.
Slide Hampton and his Trombone Choir played at one of the stages while I hossed down the chicken satay I bought with 10 festival tickets (10 festival tickets = $6.36). It was worth 10 festival tickets, but I don’t think it was worth $6.36. It’s a good thing for the vendors that I have the math skills of a 5th grader.
Drummer Matt Wilson played with a piano trio on the main stage, followed by The 911 Mambo Orchestra, which was excellent. The weather was beautiful, and I enjoyed the smell of the water, the view of the giant skyline and all the mambo. (Thanks again Chris.)
And, as if that isn’t enough, my friend Trish is taking me downtown on Monday for a rooftop view of Jimmy Buffet’s concert at Wrigley Field.
My friend Trish took me to the Jimmy Buffett concert today at Wrigley Field (thanks Trish).
They were the best free seats in town. As you can see from the pictures, the stage was specifically facing *away* from our rooftop, so really, instead of watching a Jimmy Buffett concert, we were watching the large group of crazy, drunk, fashion-challenged Parrotheads that had actually paid to see the show. We took our cues from the crowd though, and we yelled when they yelled and we danced when they danced.
Now and then the wind would blow the music towards those of us in the cheap seats, but this did not distract us from the real reason people come to these rooftops. Food. Free food. Brats, burgers, beer and Buffett. All the free food you can eat and all the free sunshine you can take. I didn’t see a thing, but I probably gained another 10 pounds. It was fantastic.