What's the What

So, the latest and greatest from Sugarmouth Inc. is that I will be getting my port out on Thursday. Since I will be legally worthless for the majority of that day (sedation = have to have a ride home and all that), Miss Vi will be in drop in daycare all day.

I'm hoping to be able to go dress and shoe shopping at some point before having to pick her up. Two birds and all that.

Other things are afoot but will only be announced when they're all ready.

I know, the excitement must be positively killing you. </snark>


Prayer Detour

Hey everyone--For those of you who comprise the God Squad branch of my support network, I respectfully ask that you add my good friend, CK, to your prayer list as she was in a very bad car accident over the weekend.

She is in incredible shape considering the severity of the accident (fortunately no one else was involved) and has a good prognosis, but some damage of uncertain permanence was done and she does have a good piece of recovery ahead of her.

Love you, girl!!!


I'm Pooped.

Mom left yesterday.

I'm now starting to fully grasp just how much she did for me/us.

Holy crap I'm exhausted.

In other news, a day where both ND and Navy win is a good day. :)


Where the Hell Have I Been, Indeed?

Notes of note:

  • I finally got that cut and color I've been desperate for. While I love the color, I don't totally love the cut (it's short and bordering on Mom hair) but I recognize that there wasn't a whole lot my beloved stylist could do: it had to come off.
  • Jody and I watched Persepolis last night (ie the one night during the week that there isn't any football on). It was beautiful and affecting and best of all--didn't make me cry despite it being about a girl growing up in (and out of) Iran after the 1979 revolution.
  • On the flat screen in the waiting room of my hospital's surgery clinic, they were playing this awesome video of puppies playing. I think the DMV should take a page from that puppy playbook.
PS: My post-op checkup went swell and my poops are grand, thanksforasking.


How Do I Love Thee [Target]...

...let me count the ways. Today's highlights include:

Things you need to work on:
  • Stocking simple toy balls for young kids that aren't branded to death.
  • Keeping your cheapo pacifiers on the shelves.


Supporter Shoutouts

This weeks thanks goes out to...

  • Nurse-turned-real estate guru and bestest HS GF evs JOG for her ginormous delish delivery of kettle corn! While my surgeon has put the kabosh on all things seedy and nutty, Jody and Mom have enjoyed every salty sweet bite!
  • New parents that are soon to be relocating back east Angie & John P. for their care package from Really Good Cookies. No false advertising there!
  • And last but not least, Trager (and her mens, 1F and Connor) for their basket of yummy bath and body goodness. Great timing--I've got 10 months of hot baths to catch up on!
And a thanks as always to all of you who continue to send notes, whether via paper, email, or blog comments. I know I'm risking sounding like a broken record when I say this, but I cannot thank you all enough for sticking with me through every test, treatment, procedure, and surgery.

Despite all of our medical and technological know how, fighting cancer is more like brutal, slogging trench warfare than a clean surgical strike (pun intended). Words cannot express how much I appreciate, value, and rely on all of your support. Without you guys propping me up, I would have fallen down a long ways back.

New Research on Novel Screening Techniques

Latest CRC headline: Colon X-ray seen as effective at spotting cancer.

While I'm 98% sure that this is the same type of study that I had foolishly volunteered for, I don't know if my results were grouped in with the general data.

So, apparently the upside of the CTVP is that it's cheaper (costing hundreds rather than thousands of dollars), faster, easier (no conscious sedation necessary), and 90% accurate as compared to the traditional colonoscopy.

The downside is that it has a higher incidence of false positives, you still have to do the gruesome bowel prep, and--worst of all--the CTVP is "not as good at colonoscopy at detecting flat growths on the colon wall that are more likely to be cancerous than the more familiar knobby polyps."

All that said, it sounds like we might as well stick with the colonoscopy, just so long as you've got insurance. And I really think that insurance companies and the medical profession in general should look at shifting their screening paradigm, providing coverage for screenings as early as 40 without a family history (at any age with one).

And that whole "the worst thing about a colonoscopy is the prep" adage? Is true in any case where the doc and nurse don't pull you into a private room once you come out of sedation. And don't we want to head that conversation off at the pass as much as possible?


It's Surprisingly Less Embarassing Than I Would Have Thought

Side note: A hardware store isn't the worst place in the world to have this happen...

Colon Alert Level: Guarded

After yesterday's couch-a-thon, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better, definitely due in part to the schmancy mac 'n cheese Mom made for us.

LORDY, what we would do without my mom, I haven't the slightest.

It's so frustrating being both sick and tied to the house, and this is only compounded by the fact that it's (1) GORGeous out and (b) prime yard sailing time (ie Thursday & Friday--less competition).

The good news is that we have plans to strike out and try to get some new "window treatments" (read: drapes) for the front room since the ones we have now, while functional, have pull cords which have been off their tracks since about a week after we installed them.

*Then*, the big plans of the day (and possibly weekend) are to go out to dinner with our friends down the street. Gotta capitalize on the in-house sitter while we can!


Am I Still on Chemo or Something?

4:00am--Started the nth round of the 2008 Squirts Relay. Ran laps to the bathroom and back for about three hours.
7:30am--Took a quick hair-rectifying shower and a sitz bath.
7:47am--Experienced reverse peristalsis for the second time since surgery. Went right to sleep.
12:15pm--Woke up feeling better but still fairly crappy. The hair rectifying shower did more harm than good.

Now: Doing better, but not great. Nothing's serious, but I'm starting to feel like more of a worthless, pointless lump than usual.

I want to start feeling better.


My New Calling

I have a vision of myself as an angel of mercy to those unfortunate souls that should have to follow in my footsteps, passing out rolls of super-plush, mutiply, cottony-thick toilet paper to the patients on the GI surgical floor...

Seriously, that econorific Scott nonsense makes a post-takedown backside scream bloody murder.


Supporter Shoutouts, the Belated but You All Know My Excuse Edition

The latest round of shoutouts go out to...

  • Jen Doc (who recently had a baby--congrats, woman!) for sending a great care package featuring, among other things, a DVD of the series Spaced, which I have not seen but have heard great things.
  • Miss Erin (who has moved back to the States after a long stint in the not-so-fabulous part of Italy--congrats, woman!) for sending a totally cute stretchy bracelet with itty bitty pictures of saints decoupaged onto the wooden beads. Catholic kitsch that could just pack a healing punch!
  • ck1, aka Christy K, for putting together a package complete with comfy woolen socks (I guess fall really is here, huh?), yummy chocolate, and a smattering of indulgent bits from Kiehl's. Funny side note--my skin had never been better when I was on chemo. Now that I'm done with treatment, I'm all bumps and scales, so this will really come in handy!
  • Karen B., for her package of shower bubbly goodness and a t-shirt that reads "I > U." Because isn't it better to be honest than modest?
And last but decidedly not least, all of you--my dear, devoted readers--for all the concerned, caring, and encouraging comments you've left over the last week (and then some). It's no secret that I am a comments/attention whore and appreciate you all indulging my weakness in that regard.

I really do appreciate all of you regulars, whether you've known me since Freshman O or only recently met me through this blog, and encourage all of you lurkers to leave a comment every once in a while!


The Trick is to Keep Breathing

I am still awake (but barely), up late keeping a vigil over my totally uncertain, unpredictable, undependable guts. There's no sense in going to sleep if I'm going to be rudely yanked out of it by The Call.

So, I stay up and watch decent TV for the first time in nearly a week and catch the last half of Run Lola Run.

I watch the following scene and am completely overwhelmed with emotion...

...because it dawns on me that that is how I have felt since my diagnosis. I have put all of my chips on my doctors and treatment plan and then proceeded to SCREAM for a solid 10 months straight.

That look on her face at the end? That is what I am feeling now. Relief. But instead of cashing out my chips to save my semi-criminal boyfriend from a bunch of murderous thugs, I have to try to reboot my life and keep the topic of cancer crammed to the dusty corners of my brain.

...Until it's time for the next test or scan or scope, that is, and when I get enough negative results--which are a good thing, I always have to remind myself of that--under my belt, that ever-present, constantly hammering thought might actually retreat on its own, fade, and disappear.

This is where I trade denial for hope, and a punishing routine for an utterly, deliciously mundane one. This is where I play pretend at a normal life until it goes back to being one.


I'm Going Home!!!

...just as soon as the docs get the discharge paperwork together and I get off the toilet.



Post-Op Porn

I am reading the hospital room service menu with lust in my heart.

Turned the Corner?

So, I've had multiple movements today, and the last couple came with sound effects, so I think I am officially over the hump. Cream of Wheat, here I come!

Gas Crisis

No "wind" means no food, no going home.

Groundhog Day is getting pretty damn old.


My To Do List:


Lady Ziplock No Longer!

Can't write much as I'm hopped up on pain meds--which seem to be working everywhere but my incision site--but wanted to let you all know that Oscar scrammed on schedule and I'm doing pretty aok.

Thanks so much for all of your emails and good vibes...keep sending those mendy (and gassy--I can't eat until I toot) thoughts my way!


Currently: Trying Not to Pass Out From Hunger

Oh. Mah. GAH I am so hungry. And tired. And totally psyched.

I still have to pack and not eat and shower with the ol' Hibiclens (tonight and at the crack of ass tomorrow) and get to bed by a decent hour, but I'm so looking forward to hitting another marker along this long, long cancer marathon.

This will in all likelihood be my last post before surgery, so wish me well, keep sending those good vibes, and if anyone knows how to teleport an In 'N Out (or NYC pizza joint) to Madison, would you be so kind as to get on that. I'm gonna have some eating to do.

Love you all.

ETA: Mom wil be posting updates at my Care Page until I get back on my blog feet.

And Now a Quick Break for Some Non-Cancer Business

  • Blogger has rolled out its Follower gadget, which basically gives you more transparency as to who's reading your blog. That said, click on the "Follow This Blog" link in the side bar if you want to be an official follower!
  • Speaking of, my one and only follower thusfar--HH--has launched a new blog: Suddenly Southern? Woo Hoo!
  • Finally, I have done a quick color flip to signify the fact that my CT scan came back clear.
Brighter days ahead.

Currently: Killing Time

I've got about an hour or so before my post-op work-up and meeting with my surgeon, so let me get you up to speed:

I just got out of my second procedure in the radiology department, going for a barium enema this time. It's pretty much as horrible as it sounds, but was made all the worse by the doctor running the show, continually barking orders at me with regards to my getting into different positions so as to best visualize my sleepy guts.

Hey guy, if you're going to get all drill sergeant on me while I have a tube up my ass, the least you can do is address me by name. Oh, and lightly touching me on the arm on your way out the door doesn't make up for your being a dick.

Upshot of that procedure: my new "architecture" is leak-free. Well, that's a relief.

Before that fun, I met with chemo doc and his right hand man. They had all KINDS of good news for me. For reals!

First of all, my CT scan was CLEAR. I guess there was some stuff that showed up, but they're chalking it up to post-operative changes and after effects from my radiation treatments. I didn't ask and he didn't say so I don't have the offical decree, but I think this makes me CANCER FREE. FUCK YES.


Just kidding--I would be forced to smack myself in the head if I were to do that.

Not only did they hand down that great news but my blood counts are good enough to go forward with tomorrow's surgery! Which is apparently at 7:30a! Which means I have to get there at 5:30a! Which kinda sucks but whatever--let's do this thing!

Currently: Oncology Waiting Room

The scan seemed to go fine (but oy how I hate how the IV contrast makes you feel all warm and oogy in your chest and pants)--we should be getting the results from my onc here shortly--and I just got back from labs, where the tech was training someone to deaccess a port (um, I didn't get any real training to do it--why can't you guys figure it out, too?) and she was all "I'll count to three and you take a deep breath" and then immediately pulled the needle out.

I had the shocked/perplexed look on my face, and it took me a sec to realize what had happened, and even though it didn't hurt all that much or anything, I was still all "But you didn't count to three!"

Bitch barely blinked much less apologized, so now I have one more reason to be happy that I won't be coming back here any time soon.

In other news, I'm effing hungry. DAMMIT.

Currently: CT Lounge

I'm just getting started on my long, long day of medical appointments. Right now, I'm sitting in front of two huge cups of CT contrast (one less than the last time), actively avoiding making eye contact with the person sitting across from me (who reeks of cigarette smoke, natch).

It's kinda like the awkwardness of being trapped next to a Chatty Cathy (or Charlie) on a long flight, except in this case you know exactly what the topic of conversation will be.

Next: Blood draws in the onc lab and a meeting with my chemo team.


An Open Letter to My Email Provider

Dear Gmail,

Stop being broken.


ETA: Fixed. No idea what was wrong, but whatevar.


The Beginning of the End

Today was a very important milestone in my relationship with Oscar: it was the last time I'll ever have to look him in his ugly, pink, swollen face.

I think if my relationship with Oscar was going to be more long term (as in, permanent), I could have made my peace with him. I'm just so glad I (in all likelihood) didn't have to.

So the rest of the week looks something like this:

  • Tuesday: First day of co-op day care with Miss V (Grandma will be taking her after this week).
  • Wednesday: Farmer's market, baby story time at the library (see above), Mom arrives this evening.
  • Thursday: Commence clear liquid diet; hit my six appointment wickets at the hospital.
  • Friday: All the king's horses and all the king's men will put my Humpty Dumpty guts together again.
  • Saturday: Cheer on The Irish from my hospital bed (or even better, some lounge to which I managed to walk without pain or issue).
  • Sunday and beyond: ???
In other aches and pains news, I'm still dealing with some nasty peripheral neuropathy in my feet, the upshot of which is that they've got that pins 'n needles feeling, coupled with mild burning, that gets worse and worse throughout the day (somehow reaching its apex when I'm trying to sleep, oh joy).

You know when this condition is a real drawback? When you're trying to check out at the grocery with the baby in tow and one of the coupons you have manages to shut down the register's operating system. TWICE.

Fortunately one of the items in my cart was a six-pack of beer, so I was able to medicate. ;)