Slight Slump but We're Almost There

So here's today's white cell counts...no where near the high of two treatments ago (which was the first time after getting the Neulasta shot) but close enough to the cut off to let me pass.

My neutrophils were also no where near the last count of 6040 (coming in this time at 2410), but still plenty good to get treatment.

I can't say I'm terribly surprised by the dip as I have been feeling a touch under the weather these last few days...ah, babies are such germ magnets.

Now for the downer news--I just shot an email to my surgeon and he said that he usually likes to do reversals 6-8 weeks from the end of chemo.

This? Is not good. I'd pretty much planned my whole fall around the fact that my goal post (a woman who is several months ahead of me in treatment for the same exact malady) had her take down three weeks after she finished chemo. At least I'm pretty sure that was her timetable. I'll have to touch base with her to make sure. Because I'll be DANGED if I'm going to let Oscar foul up my social life any more than he already has.

ETA: To leave this post on an up note, the good news is that I'll get to have my port taken out some time after my final surgery, which is great as I'd heard of some people keeping theirs in for years and years and I'd really like to be able to hold Violet on my lap without constantly worrying about her elbowing me or thwacking her head against the port.

On Giving a Shit

I bought this card (picture on the front, words on the inside) years and YEARS ago in Seattle. I had to have it because (1) I thought the girl kinda looked like me as a kid and (b) cuss words in a kid's context = instant hilarity. And poop! What's not to love?

The thing of it is, I've never much had the occasion to send it to anyone. I mean, doesn't the act of sending a greeting card to someone show that you do, indeed, give a semblance of a shit?

Somehow, I've managed to not only hold on to this card but keep in it relatively good condition after the multitudes of moves Jody and I have done over the years, so a few weeks ago I dug it out and it is now sitting on my dresser.

The little girl on the potty (yay potty!) makes me smile, and not just because of the scatological sentiment that's within.

What You Don't Want to Hear on the Way to Chemo

Today's poetry selection from the Writer's Almanac (NPR): Eating Together. The line that turned on the faucet:

She eats
as though starving—chicken, dolmata,
the buttery flakes of filo—
and what's killing her
eats, too.

Hey cancer--GO AWAY!!!


Holy Crap, It's a New Poll!

For reals this time!

Nearly two months after deciding that the Tuesday following my chemo infusion should be called "Shit Tuesday" (big ups to all of you Zork geeks that picked "Gruesday"), I'vew finally come up with something to poll about.

Taking a lead from Bride-to-Be Miss A., the question of the week for all of you is this: when choosing something to read, are you a fiction or non-fiction kinda person? And this is a year-round question, not specific to summer beach reads (which I would wager lean towards the fluffier fiction side of the spectrum).

Another One for the "Fucking Shit" File

Fortunately, I was distracted by all things ND and beer (and wrangling a wee one amid all the chaos) this past weekend as I missed the news that Randy Pausch, of Last Lecture fame--passed away this weekend.

It's incredible that he was able to live nearly two years beyond his initial diagnosis.

It still sucks unbelievably that cancer continues to rip lives to shreds.

This kind of story would have barely registered with me a year ago. Now it's everywhere.


Sorry for the picture cop-out WRT RBF...not a whole lot to report other than babies are cute, beer is wonderful, and I have the bestest friends EVAR .

We were lame and bailed on Sunday brunch, but as those of you who have traveled with kids know, keeping a munchkin on a schedule is near impossible and meltdowns are best avoided by throwing the kid in the car seat and hitting the road.

I think the other reason for my lack of chatter these past few days is that I am dreading chemo for the first time. I mean sure, I wasn't ever psyched for it or anything, but the last cycle was so rough, and I know that it's only going to get worse.

In other news, Violet got seriously sick last night without making a peep, so rather than go to the farmer's market and story time at the library (our usual Wednesday routine), this morning was spent changing sheets, spot cleaning the crib bumper, and bathing the wee one since her hair positively reeked of vom. Ick.


Good Times


Supporter Shoutouts

Some thanks for the last few weeks, in reverse order of receipt, go out to the following:

  • A. for her generous selection of reading material. I am definitely overdue for reading something unrelated to you-know-what.
  • Ms. & Mr. LeFrei for the great bath toys they sent for the Little Miss' b-day. I love a windup bath toy and those squirting animals sure can shoot far!
  • And last--but decidedly not least--J9 for her mind-bogglingly delicious gift of crab cakes. They make every other crab cake you've consumed in your life look like a compressed ball of cheapo breadcrumbs and newspaper. Jody has said that they might be in his Top 5 Best Eats Ever and I am inclined to agree.
Thank you all for your continued generosity and thoughtfulness, everyone! You guys are the bestest.

In other news, the Sugarmouth family is skipping town this weekend to attend Regional Beerfest, an annual beer-centric gathering among my friends from ND.

So for those of you interested in pilfering our meager belongings, remember that our address is 123 Fake St., Anytown, USA. The key is under the mat.


An Open Letter to Tim McGraw


It will come as no surprise to anyone that's spent more than five minutes with me in real life (5% country mouse, 95% city mouse), that I am not a big fan of country music. Or rather, the syrupy crap that passes for country music these days (Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline are the shit).

Still, there's a big difference between "not being a fan" and wanting to put my fist through a stereo speaker.

I was getting an adjustment at the chiropractor when your song, "Live Like You Were Dying" came over the radio when I became instantly agitated.

Because I would wager that when people get diagnosed with something, they they formulate a treatment plan with their new team of doctors immediately start following said plan rather than drop their whole life to go sweetmercifulcrapping skydiving or mothereffing BULLRIDING.

It seems to me that until you actually get diagnosed with a potentially lethal disease yourself, people have a tendency to romanticize these sorts of things. "If I get diagnosed with cancer, I'm gonna see the pyramids of Egypt, write that novel, go bungee jumping."

Getting cancer doesn't suddenly relieve you of your responsibilities, open up your calendar, and drop a briefcase stuffed with money and plane tickets in your lap. Quite the opposite, in fact. And I'm sorry, as I've said before, it's a sad state of affairs if it takes something like cancer to get your priorities straight (family is more important than work, etc).

So Tim, pardon my lack of gentility (I am a Yankee, afterall), but stick to singing about subjects about which you actually know something and STFU about the other stuff.

Hoping you never have to "live like you were dyin',"


A Gentle [Green] Reminder

Wanna reduce your dependence on foreign oil (and get our troops the fudge out of the Middle East)? Stop using plastic bags.

The only New Years resolution I've made in the last several years (since it was both a realistic one and one I would want to stick to) was this year's resolution to "hold the plastic" by primarily reusing sturdy paper bags with handles and using the occasional cloth (or polyester) bag.

I made it a *lot* easier to remember to use reusables by keeping a box of the paper bags in the trunk of my car.

It's the little things that can really add up to a big difference.

I promise not to turn this into My Crunchy-Granola Pulpit, but it's sooooooooooo nice to have this extended chemo vay-cay and not be all-cancer all-the-time.

[Via The Brother]



Those flights for our East Coast trip this fall that I dutifully booked two months ago? Yeah, the airline is no longer flying back east. So our flights are canceled. And now I have to book new ones. For about $100 additional. Per ticket.

And I can never spell canceled correctly on the first try.



That Family Guy/Rectal Cancer Clip

Oh yeah, and a friend of mine recently mentioned that, in order to increase my blog's standing in Google searches for rectal cancer, I should be mentioning rectal cancer more frequently.

And since part of the reason I'm keeping this blog is to be a reference for other people recently diagnosed with rectal cancer, I'm going to go ahead and say the following:

Rectal cancer, rectal cancer, rectal cancer.

So we got that covered.


An Open Letter to My Daughter

My Dearest Violet,

Happy birthday, sweet pea! We had a wonderful day with you today--swinging on the swings at the playground, opening your prezzies from the grands, eating a cupcake for lunch (and getting it errrrvry where), and holding court in your pool in the front yard as the neighbors came by to wish you well.

At the risk of sounding treacly--or worse, like the first to ever push a person out of their body--you are pretty much the most delightful, engaging, and enchanting person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Some days have their challenges and the past year hasn't been much of a picnic, but we're off to a great start and I'm so grateful that you've completed our family.

I love you munchkin. Thank you for being our darling girl.

An Open Letter to My Daughter

My Dearest Violet,

Happy birthday, sweet pea! We had a wonderful day with you today--swinging on the swings at the playground, opening your prezzies from the grands, eating a cupcake for lunch (and getting it errrrvry where), and holding court in your pool in the front yard as the neighbors came by to wish you well.

At the risk of sounding treacly--or worse, like the first to ever push a person out of their body--you are pretty much the most delightful, engaging, and enchanting person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Not every day is a picnic, but


Dept. of the Interior Report

Just got back from the ob/gyn to have a little something checked out. Turned out to be nothing, but the following was uttered by the doc:

Is there any chance you could be ovulating?

Obama doesn't have a monopoly on hope.

What I'm Watching Now

Whedon is my copilot.

ETA: NPR love!


An Open Letter to the Other brigita on YouTube

Your screen name is not brigita.

Please stop requesting that your YouTube password be emailed to you, because it's being emailed to me. brigita. I got there first. Deal.

See ya never,
[I'm] brigita [and you're not.]


New Poll!

Ok, so I lied. I haven't been able to come up with anything compelling lately, poll-wise, so let me throw it out to you guys:

What should be the topic of the next poll?

Rectal CA Q&A: Part III

It's been a while since I did one of these so here goes...

Kris asked:

How do you react to cancer patients portrayed in the movies and on TV? Was your annoyance at the Real World just because it's, you know, a shitty stupid reality show, or do cancer storylines in other places hit home for you now too? Have you had an experience like Ebert, where the events of the past year have changed the way you viewed something from before?
The short answer to this question is HELL YEAH. You know how when you'd go through major boy drama back in the day and it seemed like every song on the radio was about your situation? Yeah, it's kinda like that. But cancer.

It seems like you just aren't aware of certain things until you're exposed to them on a personal level. For instance, I never noticed pregnant women until I got pregnant myself (and, you know, now with the uncertainty of my lady parts). And I certainly didn't pay much attention to cancer subplots of TV shows, famous people dying, etc.

The most bizarre moment I've had thus far was while watching an episode of Family Guy (Peter's Daughter) of all things. I can't seem to find the clip online, but the transcript goes something like this (from wikiquote.org):
Tom Tucker: Good evening. I'm Tom Tucker with a channel 5 news special report.
Diane Simmons: And I'm Dianne Simmons. A flash flood warning is in effect as rain continues to pound Rhode Island.
Tom Tucker: Let's go to Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa who's [singing in a Japanese-music-type manner] gonna-tell-us-all-about-the-rain.
Tricia Takanawa: Tom, residents all over Quahog have been affected by the heavy rains. Although some are doing their best to ride it out. For example, I'm standing here with 'rides a ten speed everywhere' guy. Sir, why are you riding your ten speed in the rain?
Rides A Ten Speed Everywhere Guy: I don't mind, a little drizzle never hurt anybody. I like riding the ten speed because it's fun, it gives me energy, and it's a great way to stay in shape.
Tricia Takanawa: What do you do for a living?
Rides A Ten Speed Everywhere Guy: I work at accounts receivable at Quahog Insurance, it's not too demanding, the pay is good and it's a great way to stay in shape.
Tricia Takanawa: Well we should wrap this up, you're getting wet.
Rides A Ten Speed Everywhere Guy: Well I'm living life before the cancer I have kills me so I don't mind the rain. The water feels good on my skin, it's cool, refreshing and it's a great way to stay in shape.
Tricia Takanawa: What kind of cancer?
Rides A Ten Speed Everywhere Guy: It's rectal cancer, it's slowly eating away at my lower insides. It's a quick process, both painful and untreatable and it's a great way to stay in shape.
Yeah. Jody and I did the world's biggest doubletake, looked at each other, and were all "Did they just say what I think they said?" It was pretty shocking, but at the same time I don't remember feeling anything other than blank (for lack of a better term).

We've subsequently watched this episode (and scene) a couple of times and it alternately mildly amuses me and makes me mad (um, NOT UNTREATABLE!)...I get the fact that ass cancer is hi-larious, but it's not like it doesn't affect people...just not people that watch Family Guy?

Another example of this cancer filter is what just happened with Tony Snow. Thankfully, I didn't hear about it until after our Saturday houseguests had come and gone...I know Jody had heard of it earlier in the day and was trying to protect me from the news for as long as he could.

It's crazy--He was basically a mouthpiece for the worst administration this country has ever seen and here I was, sobbing uncontrollably from the shock of his passing. I still kinda feel like I've been punched in the chest every time I catch a news story about him.

So yeah, to say that cancer colors your world is an understatement. And I'm really hoping that as time passes, those hues become increasingly dull and unremarkable.


I Feel Godawful

Not much from me today.

ETA: Better! Fuck off, chemo!

...except I guess I still need ya, so don't go far...


Busted Chemo Pack, Part Deux

Not only did my chemo pack mysteriously shut itself off, but I discovered yesterday morning that it had been leaking as well (!!!), meaning I've been spreading potentially toxic chemo dust all over the greater Madison area, not to mention my car, house, etc. MotherFUCK.

Fortunately the chemo company was able to get me a new rig a few hours after my initial call, so I was finally able to take the pack off at 9:45 this morning, a good 21h later than I was supposed to (with all the other issues).

Either way you slice it, the pack is off and I only have two more treatments to go. Sigh.



Pardon My French, But...

...fuck me running.

While out yard saling in the pouring down rain (yes, I am a "I brake for yard sales" suburban mom cliché), I heard my pump beep once. I looked down and saw some lights blinking and so I scrolled through all the screens and it appeared as though the pump had been stopped at some point...

WTF? This is the first I'm hearing about it?

So, after wrangling the wee one into bed and all my purchases into the house, I finally sat down to calculate just how far behind I am...

Fucking far. Because of this mysterious mishap, instead of taking my pack off tomorrow at 1p, I'll be deaccessing bright and early at 5:30a on Sunday.

This means that I've lost 14.5h, and considering I noticed around 9a, that means that I somehow hit the off button--which is nigh impossible, since you have to hit a series of buttons for that to happen--around 6:30p last night.

Yeaaaaaah, now I know why I was feeling so good this morning. Dammit dammit dammit.


Chemo Side Effects Check List

  • Cold sensitivity? Check.
  • Heartburn? Check.
  • Eyeballs hurting when I cry? Check.

Dear Yahoo Searcher,

Yes, you can push mow after having an ileostomy.

Just don't tell my husband.

The $4K Shot That's Worth Every Penny*

Check out my totally rockin' bone marrow! My white cells are better than they've ever been and my neutrophil count? Up to 6040 from an all time and all-too-recent low of 940! That Neulasta really does its job!

So, that's the good news...the bad news is that the pharmacy is totally backed up, meaning I'm going to wind up spending the better part of the day either waiting for or receiving chemo...here's to hoping Cleo's bladder holds out!

*Fortunately, someone else is paying for it.

An Open Letter to the Person Within Earshot

Dear fellow cancer sickie (or possibly care giver),

Sorry, but I don't care what how much you've been irradiated, what surgery you've had, or how much chemo you're scheduled for, it is never--NEVAR--appropriate to clip your nails in public. I'm not a squeamish person by nature, but that sound makes my skin want to crawl right off.

Gross + rude = grude,



Weekend Recap

Things I learned this weekend:

  • Backroad Brewery makes a damn fine IPA!
  • Check the parade program before ducking into the ladies' room, lest you totally miss the Parade Grand Marshall and your chance to chant "ROO-dee! ROO-dee!" at him.
  • If you have to muck about with the garbage disposal, always use your non-dominant hand (fortunately, this was not a lesson learned by experience).
  • The two-lane drive-thru of the LP Micky D's is a parking lot around 8am.
  • Violet loves her some time in the pool.
  • "Glory, Glory, Hallejulia" is a perfectly acceptable song to play over a grocery PA in some parts of the country. Unfortunately, it makes me break out into imaginary hives.
  • Apparently, everyone except us is playing cornhole.
  • Even I can become the bumbling drive-thru idiot when confronted with a completely unfamiliar menu (read: maybe a pescatarian isn't the best person to place a large order @ KFC).
  • New favorite phrase: "douchey wife."
Things I was reminded of this weekend:
  • There are parts of the country where people are not afraid to wear their religio-political views on their sleeve.
  • Smoking indoors = STINKY.
  • Flag cakes will never go out of style.
  • How fun, hilarious, and awesome my family is.



Feeling better, slowly getting all of my shit in one sock for tomorrow's trip, and thinking that we can't get those new gutters & guards installed soon enough (read: crazy thunderstorms rolling through)...at least now I'm off the hook for watering the tomato plants before we leave!


Notes of Note:

  • I had my first Neulasta shot yesterday in order to boost my white cells to avoid any future denial of chemo treatments (although I'm really wanting to postpone #7 on account of beerfest...is that so wrong?). The street value of these shots is $4K, so I'm hoping that my onc was right in saying it would be covered by insurance.
  • Violet was a big hit in the chemo waiting room. :)
  • In less adorable news, my success streak with Oscar ended last night. As these things go, it wasn't all that bad, but I definitely don't have the confidence I did before WRT to Oscar's integrity. Little fucker.
Oh, and I got a new phone:

Further Proof That I am a Twelve-Year-Old Boy Trapped in a None-of-Your-Business' Body

...really hoping this isn't another case of the best stuff is in the trailer...

Supporter Shoutouts

This week's (and it's only Tuesday!) thanks goes out to the following:

  • Tricia & psorr for sending several pounds of incredibly delicious salmon straight from the source (ie PacNW). The first night was prepared according to directions (seasoned with the included kosher salt and black pepper and a pat of butter); last night we went with a lemon-butter-caper sauce. Fa-BOO!
  • The second thanks is to my girls in The Bend that sent an inflatable canopied pool for the Little Miss, a milkshake machine (!!!), as well as certificates good for 6 pints of ice cream and a weekend at the family condo at a swanky golf resort. Totally schweet.
Thanks so much you guys! I can't tell you how much it means to be thought of. :)