Monday, May 29, 2006

Now on Lifetime, "Tears in the Shower"

If my story was a Lifetime movie- and by all accounts, it has just what a good Sunday afternoon, Thursday at 3am, cable movie should be- there would be a pivotal scene that played out in my bathroom the other night. Tori Spelling would play me... or maybe the chick who played Andy on Dawson's Creek. Anyway, Tori would be chubby and bald (and perhaps her movie-lumpectomy would have fixed the unfortunate boob job she got in real life). She would be nauseas and grumpy and tired of laying in bed for two days. Tired of feeling like shit. Tired of feeling sore. Tired of trying to be productive and work, or pack or whatever and tired of having to stop after 5 minutes. She would be taking a shower trying to feel better. Finally, Tori would just sit down in the shower, too tired to stand. She would cry. No, she would sob. Not really sure why, so I guess I couldn't give Tori her motivation. Needless to say, she would cry for a good 10 minutes. Although ten minutes is a little much for TV- even on Lifetime, so they'd had to cut to a commercial to help you with your outbreak of genital herpes.

Back to Tori- She would be crying wondering what happened to her. Finally her Lifetime movie husband would come to her aid. As Tori's hubby sits and rubs her back, not sure what to say, Tori's voice would be heard, wondering what happened to the person this wonderful man married. The woman who wasn't scared, who wasn't bald and chubby, the woman who didn't cry in the shower. What happened to the woman who grabbed life by the balls? Why did that woman no longer have the energy to even take a shower?

The scene would be very poignant. Women like me would cry.

Needless to say, the past few days have been a little rough. I have spent about 2 and a half days unable to really get out of bed. Our A/C is turned down to 65 and still Alan put a fan on my bedside table. I've tried to pack (I'm moving in a week, remember?) and I've tried to work. Can't do either. This is the most I've been up and going since Thursday. I'm also now on some wonderful narcotic. The bone pain is terrible. Although for some reason, french fries are the only things I can taste.

Back to the shower scene. Being as it's my life, of course, the scene would end with my golden retriever, Kylie. The same one who cried and jumped to be with me the day I sobbed in my parent's laundry room when I found out I had cancer. Kylie heard me crying and wanted to help me so badly, she tried to climb in the tub with me. See, it can't be all bad. I stopped crying just long enough to laugh.

To the Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

I had my last chemo at Northwestern Thursday. It was also the last of the A/C chemo. Not sure what the hell I'm talking about? There's a chemo crash course somewhere in the past entries. Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited about the last A/C. The third cycle was a little rough and I've heard the Taxol (my next type) is easier. I like easier.

Anyway, I step out of the elevator at the 21st floor at Northwestern for what will be the last time in a while. I was a little bummed about that. I've gotten used to it up there. I know the nurses, the staff... It feels a little like my cancer home. I chat with my friendly medical queens who schedule things for me, have a hard candy...It's like Cheers where everyone knows my name.

They had a surprise for me this time... yeah, you guessed it. The penthouse, baby! Getting the penthouse is actually a fluke- the nurses rotate the rooms, etc. etc. I was escorted to the penthouse and was like, "Shit! It's about time." Another nurse then proceeded to fuck with me and come in to tell me that they had to move me. No way, I said. She laughed. Ha ha! Guess you gotta get your cheap thrills where you can. I settled in to my bed, threw my hat on the counter, checked my email and checked out the view. I wanted to take full advantage of what a million dollar view looks like. Checked out the sailboats in the lake, watched the Ferris wheel spin at Navy Pier, saw all the new construction along the lakefront. No wonder my bills are so high!

Funny thing is... the chemo isn't any better in the penthouse. Same old shit. Better view.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Puke and Rally

When you don't see posts regularly on this thing, it is for one of two reasons:
a. I feel too shitty to be witty. (Wow- was that good or what?)
b. I am in Hotlanta, covered in paint.

The last week has seen both of these. We drove down last Thursday. I worked, Alan painted. Alan is very good at all things home related. I think I'll keep him.

It's funny. Every chemo cycle it takes another day longer to get back to normal. So I guess it's not funny ha-ha, more like funny that sucks. My first cycle I was good to go by about Tuesday the next week. The second one was Wednesday. In fact, we drove down to close on the house the week after chemo and I was good to go.

Not so this last week. I was still feeling crappy a week after. We drove down, again on a Thursday. Alan drove and I tried to get comfortable in the passenger side. Sometimes this was harder than others. For example, Harry, our Newfoundland, likes to rest his head (it's very heavy, you see) on the headrest above me and pant. His hot, stinky dog breath feels very weird on my bald head. I tried to sleep past the 400 foot cross and the signs that said, "Hell is real". I love the South. No such luck. At one point, I felt like I might die. It came over me like a wave. I guess that's why they call it waves of nausea, huh? I thought I might pass out. I was hyperventilating. I was whiter than my usual pasty shade. We stopped so I could die for a moment. No help. We soldiered on. Alan asked what he could do. I told him get me there ASAP. He drove while I cried. I felt so shitty. Only during cancer have I felt so bad physically that I cry. Usually it's just over Dawson's Creek. Or the 90210 where Dylan's brand new wife (the one with all the hair) gets shot. He cries in her wedding dress. I cry. I digress...

Anyway, we stop at a McDonalds to allow our doggies a little pee time and I proceed to puke all over their bushes. And all over my $2.99 Old Navy Flip Flops. Felt a little like high school. Funny thing, though- I felt so much better. Really- should have shoved my finger down my throat 2 hours ago. I felt so good I had some food.

Puke and Rally, baby.

So, I have officially been sick. Today I have my final chemo of this type- the dreaded A/C. Can't wait to see what this cycle brings.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Seriously- my shoes weigh 27 pounds, I promise!

That is what I told my oncology nurse at my last appointment. See, I was on the scale- that heartless bitch wrapped in metal- and I was seeing numbers I had never seen before. The nurse laughed- real easy for her, she didn't pop the button on a pair of pants that week. She reminded me that breast cancer patients gain up to 15 pounds on average in chemo. Thanks again. I'm right on schedule to gain about 30.

I was never a super skinny chick. I used to have some rock hard muscles...Okay, that was when I was like 19, but can't we all live the dream? Since coming back to land (ie. McDonalds, constant snacks in the fridge, living with a boy) I have struggled with my weight in a way I never though I would. I never used to worry about it. My college roommates used to bitch that I could toss back a double cheeseburger (and about 15 kahlua and creams) and not bat an eye.

Alas, those days are gone. I was in pretty decent shape when I got married. Then of course, I let myself go :) Actually, I blame working at a car dealership with a bunch of smelly boys 12 hours a day. There was always bad food to order. I buy, you fly- and I flew baby!

Right around the time I first went to the doctor, I was getting a bit upset at myself for being the fattest I had ever been (don't worry, I have since shown myself that this is not the case). I proceeded to get my ass in gear and lost like 10 pounds. I was very pleased with myself. I was having healthy relationships with broccoli and asparagus. (before you make any comments about what those veggies do to your body, don't bother, my husband's made them already)

Then I found out I had cancer. Diet over. Stress eating? Check. Not enough energy to cook well? Check. Maria wants McNuggets? Check and check. I gained all the weight back. Then I harvested my eggs and became a human hen house. I thought the worst has passed. Oh, no, Karma Kitty says. I would like you to be bigger. On chemo, the only thing that seems to make my stomach feel okay is to fill it with things. It could also be the steroids or the fact my hormones are all sorts of fucked up. If I was blue I'd be like that chick on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Someone pop me, please.

I sort of wish I had been one of those people who actually LOST weight because they had cancer. I imagine myself in heroine chic, meth induced, nicole ritchie sunglasses with my bald head. Not so, I'm afraid. I have kissed my chin goodbye again.

While I greet this unfortunate set of circumstances with jokes and black humor, I have to admit, seriously for a second, that this is the worst thing to me about having cancer. At least right now. The hair- fuck it, it'll grow back. And yes, I will lose the weight- I hope. But I'll have to work at it. And dammit, I sort of believe I shouldn't have to work at it. Haven't I worked enough? Until then, I look at closet where none of my clothes fit- not even my fat jeans. I see my squishy profile in the mirror and it's a reminder f how shitty this is. I remember how hot I once was- not cuz I was skinny, but just because I was hot. I was a force to be reckoned with. I walked in a room and people noticed- although perhaps it was more for my loud mouth and fabulous stories. Now all I feel like people notice is the chubby chick who has cancer. No amount of Burberry hats will cover that up. I feel a bit like I've lost my mojo. Like it's somewhere in there, but my ass is so big you can't see it.

And at the risk of sounding bitchy- it's easy for everyone to say, "don't worry about it. You'll be fine. Just focus on getting well." yada yada. Easy for you to say. You don't have ten pairs of size 6 shorts taunting you as you're about to move to HOTlanta.

Wow. Shitty post, huh? Maybe Dairy Queen will make it better.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Look Mom, I'm famous!

Top 10 Sources for Breast-Cancer

So if you read the comments to my blog (yeah, I know, you've got things to do- "Lost" is on tonight.) you'll see I got one from this website, naming my blog as one of the Top Ten Sources on breast cancer. There's a link to other blogs, etc., etc. and I am on it. What does one have to do to be a part of this illustrious list, you ask? Not a damn clue. Apparently, I am "touching and informative."

The website is pretty cool- tons of different subjects, lots of opinions and information. There are some other breast cancer blogs that are pretty great. (Not as great as mine, of course, but hell, we all have crosses to bear.)

So thank you, Top Ten Sources. It's cool to be recognized. It's cool that what I'm doing here is helpful to others. It's cool that anyone is reading it at all.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Busy busy...

okay, so it's been almost 2 weeks since I've written here. What have I been doing, you ask? Well, you know, same old same old.

-Closed on a house.
-Drove to Georgia and back
-Painted rooms in said house
-Spent $500 on hoses (really, fucking hoses?)
-Retail therapy (sheets for new bed, fat girl shorts, yoga pants with elastic waists, walking shoes)
-Went to Newfiepalooza (100 large black dogs in one place. super fun)
-Went out to dinner a half dozen times and ate myself silly
-Got my newfoundland certified to be a therapy dog
-Did a dog show and interviewed for local TV (not a lot happens out here in the stix)
-showed my bald head to a few people

I think that's it really. Oh yeah, and I had my 3rd chemo. So far, this one has been much better than the last. Then again, I've decided to suck it up and take a lot more drugs. Probably why you haven't seen me- I've been doped up.

All in all, I've been too busy to worry about this cancer thing. It's been great. Except for the fat girl shorts. That blows.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hair on my keyboard

As I was finishing my recent script this evening, I noticed- not for the first time this week either- that little shaved hairs were literally falling out of my head onto my keyboard. Seriously, like manna from heaven. Only my skull is definitely not the promised land. Now, I can only begin to describe to you how distracting this is. It goes something like this.

(Act One, Scene Three. Yada yada soap opera place. Some characters. Open on one character, blasey blasey skip.)
Character #1- I love you.
Character #2- I love you. It doesn't matter that you faked your death/stole my baby/raped my sister. Our love is for-

WAIT. IS THAT HAIR ON MY HANDS? Huh? Hair on my keyboard. (dusting off hair) Wow- that really sucks. Shit, how much hair am I losing anyway? (tugging at tiny little hairs on head. Getting a few in between fingers) Wow- my real hair really isn't blonde, is it? Hmm... (Getting up to look at head in mirror) My God, seriously. Mystic tan on that pasty skull. My tummy feels funny. Maybe I should get a snack. (Looking in fridge) Hmmm... starches. Must eat starches. Dammit, all I see are apples. Man, my head itches. (Rubbing head) Huh- I must have some crazy mole right in the middle of the back of my head. Feels funny. (Sitting back down at computer. Blowing off random hairs) Seriously, okay- where was I? Oh yeah,

Our love will last forever. Until the trial when you're sentenced to death.

That's pretty much been the last couple of days. Hard to concentrate when the sky is raining hair on your keyboard.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sporty Spice is in the toilet...

Okay, so I was all ready to write some cute entry full of witty repartee about my last chemo treatment. It would be filled of tales of how cute I looked in my light blue Burberry baseball hat with my cutie petutie Sketchers that kind of look like bowling shoes. I would tell tales of how the nurses told me I was adorbs. I looked like Sporty Spice goes to chemo. I would laugh as I recalled how Jeffrey (Aforementioned wonderful medical queen) came up to me and asked how the poison was going. I laughed and said fine. We sucked on hard candies. I would recount how my trip to chemo #2 was relatively uneventful and not so bad. I would talk of I am starting to get to know everyone. How Floor 21 of Northwestern feels a little bit more like same old same old. I would giggle as Jeffrey apologized for still not getting me the penthouse. He bitched to Lamar (another wonderful queen) about how we would be canceling our reservation if our needs weren't met. Tee hee hee. Cancer's so fun. No worries.

The problem with this plan is it's wrong. Chemo isn't fun. I can act like it's fine all I want, but it's just not the case. The first couple of days were fine- I felt a little yucky, I took my drugs, the steroids made me pack like 30 boxes for our move. Then the neulasta (the white blood count booster) hit. I felt like I'd been beat up with numerous aluminum baseball bats. It was hard to get out of bed. It has been near impossible to focus on anything, much less work. My stomach was all fucked up. The only thing that made it feel better was to eat. But that didn't make it feel better at the same time. It's Tuesday night and I'm just starting to feel better.

I'm almost totally bald. And dammit, my dog just ate my Birkenstock right when I shaved my head. How can I complete my lesbian chic look now? The night I shaved my head, my hair started to come out by the handful. Now I understand why they said to shave it first. My head is very pasty. I look sick. I look like I've got cancer. I get funny looks when I walk my dogs with just my hat on. These 10 minute walks make me winded. There are whispers in the apartment complex I live in. I get the sad eyes all the time now. Hard to hide it.

So I'm sorry if you didn't get the funny chemo stories. Really, that day, it wasn't so bad. Guess I'm just not really in the mood now.

(DISCLAIMER: Upon rereading this entry, I realize I sound very pathetic and unwell. In reality, I am feeling better and I will be fine. Besides, Pizza Hut just got here. Can't be all bad.)