I'm pooped. I've got a horrible taste in my mouth.
And I still have Shit Tuesday to look forward to.
Great news--My white cells have rebounded enough to get back on the needle! They're still a hair low (as you can see below) but more importantly my neutrophil count bounced back from 940 to 2740 (normal range is 1700-7500/uL).
In other news, RD (which stands for Rude Dietitian) just popped in and started poking through my charts, etc. without properly introducing herself prior to entry again, so I answered all of her questions monosyllabically just to get her the hell out of here.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 10:03 AM
Here's a wonderfully off-topic post from my gifted, talented, and utterly delightful cousin, KK:
Hey all![Un]Fortunately, the closest thing I have to a mix tape from an ex is a compilation of Legion of Doom songs made for me by The Capozzola for One, who is not an ex of any sort, despite all manner of collegiate [yet Catholic, mind you] debauchery to the contrary.
As some of you know, I am co-producing Cassette From My Ex, a new storytelling project from FOUND Magazine's Jason Bitner, one that taps into those long but hopefully not lost mixed tapes and what they meant to you. We're currently accepting submissions.
It's simple: you send us a cassette tape from your ex with your personal story behind the songs, either as a whole or note by note. We digitize it and post it on web site (then safely return your analog treasure). This project blends stories from know and unknown storytellers, and gets more interesting with each contribution. Check out the mixed tape memories from The Magnetic Fields' Claudia Gonson.
If you've got a mix ripe for a reprise in a crafty storytelling world, contact me.
Even if you don't have anything to submit, have a listen to a side of a mixtape during your morning at work. These mp3's are free! Please forward to your friends.
Hope all of you are well.
Viva la mix tape!
Here are a few fun write ups on Cassette From My Ex from the last week:
Your Ex’s Mix, Exposed: At Cassette From My Ex, music fansshare stories about the most embarrassing, aesthetically questionableand awkwardly romantic mixtapes they’ve gotten from former boyfriendsand girlfriends. (Our favorite: the girl who dedicated a mix to herboyfriend’s lost toenail). Scanned images of the handwritten sleevesand streaming audio from the tapes only add to the cringe factor.
Writers and other creative types share mixtapes from past relationships. Each entry has a story about the tape and the ex, as well as streaming audio of the tape.
Wow, what a great idea for a site! Cassette From My Ex - People share mix tapes made for them by former lovers. I have tons of old mix tapes, mostly from friends and some just made for myself from the radio. What a great resource to tap.
Something about a formal/SYR and me and HH and somebody's tights/panty hose (ugh! perish the thought!) at Headquarters...?
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 9:32 AM
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! You introduce a "character" on The Real World (Hollywood) and kill him off from CANCER in the SAME FUCKING EPISODE?!
One minute he's all "Yeah, I had this volleyball-sized tumor excised from my chest" but he's up and around and functioning and seemingly fine and the next minute his assistant is calling one of the "seven strangers, living
in a house on a Hollywood lot" saying "Yeah, I don't know if you knew that Brandon had The Cancer, but he's all dead and stuff."
So, fuck you, MTV, and the broke-ass, pole-dancing, syphilitic, coke-addicted horse you rode in on,
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 10:48 PM
...about the cancer slayer that went to see an acupuncturist to mediate her symptoms/side effects who was oddly much more interested in talking about her earlier pregnancy, labor & delivery than her current "situation" and after hearing about the slayer's birthing choices and experience, went on to tell said slayer about his home birth experience where the baby was breech and for whatever reason there was no midwife in the picture and he tried to deliver the baby himself and IT DIED?!
I forgot to tell you about that? Yeeeeeeeeeah...I was all "Sorry about your dead baby, guy, can we get back to the topic of MY CANCER?" Needleless* to say, I haven't been back.
*Couldn't resist the terrible pun.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 8:04 PM
This week's thanks goes to:
- Our neighbor, Elizabeth, who contributed a sweet little cupcake pin to the collection for my chemo pack
- Dear D, who sent a generous GC to Whole Foods
- and JB, who crushed my dream of there ever being a Jamba drive thru in town.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 2:39 PM
Actor Sean Astin to be La Porte Jaycees Grand Parade Marshal! (scroll down)
It will take everything in my power to not scream "ROO-dee! ROO-dee!" at him.
Oh, who am I kidding? Might as well get Violet used to her mother being embarrassing early.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 8:29 AM
I just got denied from getting chemo due to wickedly low white blood cell counts (1.9K/uL for all you MDs in the hizzy). Bitchcakes!
Here's a peek at how I've been trending:
Yes, I know I'm a geek.
While this pushes everything back a week (I'll have to adjust my SCRAM, Oscar! counter), the good news is that I get to feel as good as I do now for another seven days and we won't have to get all finagle-y with my treatments to work around the fourth of July (The Maple City has the longest continuing 4th of July parade tradition in the state of Indiana).
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 11:10 AM
Dear [insert name of local gutter cover co. here] lady,
Yes, for the third time--despite my worthless uterus and slightly suspect vagina--I am indeed capable of making home improvement decisions related to our household.
My husband even lets me hold his wallet from time to time! What freedom!
PS: We have the right to vote now, you know. Might want to look into that.
See you next Thursday,
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 10:18 AM
In other news, I have put back on about five pounds!
What's my undieting secret, you ask? Spicy Thai chips, frozen custard (cold sensitivity permitting), and the occasional post-dinner bowl of cereal, not to mention cheese/mayo/full-fat coffee drinks. Super healthy, I know.
I feel a lot better and the ever-loving husband says I look better. And he doesn't pay compliments lightly, so I know it's the truth, which makes me feel even better in turn. Yay!
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 9:53 AM
So, after some heavy spotting last week, my onc suggested I see my OB/GYN for a check-up.
Today, I called in to get my lab results...
Good news: The endometrium biopsy was negative for anything bad.
Bad news: My FSH levels were elevated (30.8, normal is 3-20, levels above 10-12 indicate ovarian failure), meaning I'm officially perimenopausal, meaning I'll be permanently retiring my babymaker.
I've had 6+ months to get used to the idea that I was done bearing children, but I really hadn't given much thought to the whole menopause potential part of the cancer treatment equation, so I'm taking this news as best I can, which is to say not all that well. It feels like there is someone standing on my chest.
To add insult to injury, there are ants in my baking cupboard.
Addendum: I may be reacting too hastily as I will want to get retested at 3 and possibly 6 months post chemo, so nothing is written in stone as yet, but better to be prepared for bad news and be surprised with good news, right?
And in other news, I totally nuked the ants. Nothing toxic, just brute force and some vinegar.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 1:32 PM
First off, a totally belated SO to roomiefriend Hiphop, who sent me the biggest box (we're talking pounds and POUNDS) of delicious California produce--plums, apricots, and nectarines--shipped directly from the tree from whence it was picked.
I am terribly sorry I didn't give your blognowledgment sooner--I am just the worst. Gah.
Next, a big thanks to my sister, Meg, who bought me a pair of butt pads. Joke, and yet no joke--I didn't have any cushion to spare back there and now it's like sitting on a couple of rocks when I sit on a firm surface. I will totally have to remember these when I attend future events that require sitting on bleachers.
And finally, not so much an SO as a "woo hoo!"--I found out today that I won a Strollaway! Schweet!
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 2:36 PM
While I've been a dedicated pescatarian for nearly nine years now, I've decided that if I ever have the opportunity to eat an amphibian or reptile that I've never had before, I'm going to try it.
Which is why, last night, I tried frog legs for the first time. And yes, they do taste like chicken. Scrawny, bony, chicken. And I kept on eating 'em, even after Jody dropped a Kermit reference.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 8:36 PM
(WARNING: Long, snarky, satirical, and only occasionally serious post lies ahead. No offense is intended to anyone, living or not, that has ever had or known anyone who has had cancer. But then, if you've been reading this blog for more than five minutes, you already know that.)
So You Want to be a Cancer Patient? A little advice before you get started:
- BE YOUNG: The younger you are, the more types of treatments you’ll have available to you and the better you’ll be able to
- (But Not Too Young:) Children going through cancer treatment only throws fuel on the There Is No God fire, and that makes certain people all kinds of uncomfortable.
- BE MARRIED: Who wants to go through this alone? Specifically, be married to…
- Someone who either already does all the house chores/maintenance, is open to instruction/criticism re: above, or is willing/able to pay to have these duties outsourced.
- Has fantastic health insurance that offers 100%, hassle-free coverage of cancer treatments. This is an order so you can be…
- Unemployed, able to quit your job, or flex your hours. Being a cancer patient can be super time-consuming.
- In the same town as a major cancer center. Gas prices these days…
- Also, within an hour or so’s drive of your large, generous family that has tons of free time to help you out, either because they are independently wealthy and/or retired (preferably both).
- Lung cancer? Be a smoker.
- Cervical cancer? Be a woman of ill-repute.
- Skin cancer? Be tan in the dead of winter.
- Oral cancer? Be a retired pro baseball player.
- Prostate cancer? Be old.
- Early stage cancer. Those late stage ones can be real tricky.
- Cancer not of the pelvic cavity. Or abdomen. Or chest. Really, the whole trunk is out. And the head. Skin cancer can be pretty bad, too. So really, I recommend any of the following:
- Pinkie toenail cancer
- Non-follicular leg hair cancer
- Wisdom teeth sarcoma
- Non-metastatic appendix carcinoma
Still think cancer sounds like a good idea? Might wanna go ahead and get that brain checked...
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 2:08 PM
Back to your questions!
what has been toughest for you - the physical toll or the emotional toll of this experience? and can you even separate them?It's pretty tough to separate the two, but I think the hardest thing for me is the mental component: grappling with the discovery that my body had gone and had a mutiny without my being the slightest bit aware of it, gearing up and buckling down for the long haul of my multiple phases of treatment, weathering the unpredictable ebb and flow of being in contact with people (alternately not wanting to communicate and jonesing for the next card or package), not to mention the mundane minutiae of daily life, parenting, and the care and feeding of my marriage.
Which isn't to say that the physical and emotional have been a picnic, its just that there's usually some kind of remedy at hand for them, whether it's a pill, call to a doc, check-up, or alternately a call home to mom or a good cry.
The mental piece is what's left behind when Jody has left for work, when Violet's down for her nap, and I'm left with the horrible and horrifying thoughts that go ricocheting around my head. But usually I can drown that out with another load of laundry or trip to the store. I have no time for that kind of thinking.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 10:28 AM
Ok, now I have to post all my other favorite The Office (BBC) clips...
Tim & Keith
Tim & Gareth
(couldn't track down my other favorite Tim & Gareth clip featuring a tiger & a biro.)
AND, The end of the Christmas Special. DO NOT WATCH unless you've already seen the whole thing. BEST!
Links purposely left vague so as not to spoil the funny bits.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 8:22 PM
I guess it's a good thing there isn't a Krispy Kreme within fifty miles....
I guess. :(
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 12:07 PM
I have no idea what's going on with the top part of the blog (although it only seems to be a problem in Firefox, not IE). I've tried uninstalling some of the sidebar widgets I've added over the last few days, but nothing seems to help. I also took a quick look at the code but am not really sure what to be looking for....any help from the peanut gallery would be welcome, assuming you can break through the haze to leave a comment.
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 6:19 AM
How has your beautiful daughter reacted to mommy being sick? Does she know you're sick? Does she sense your bad days vs. your good?First off, you didn't have to butter me up, but I should make it known that flattery (either of me or my family) will get you everywhere. ;)
Violet is 10.5 months old (was about 4.5mos when I was diagnosed), so she's both way too young to really know what's going on and sadly hasn't really known anything different.
I think she's on the cusp of being able to figure out that when my face is screwed up with tears, I'm not smiling, so I really need to watch it with the emotional breakdowns around her.
As for her knowing good vs. bad days, I think babies are pretty self-focused (and will remain so until they're about 28 years old, if I'm any indication), so I don't think she has a clue in that regard, other than the fact that she gets a lot more Elmo on my bad days. TGFT (thank god for TiVo)!
Years from now, when you are well, fully recovered, and cancer is nowhere to be found, thankyouverymuch, what will you say/how will you explain to her what you went though/what it means?I've given a lot of thought about when/how to tell Violet about This Whole Thing. There's really no point in burdening her with it until she's older...I'm thinking that she'll get The Talk when she's about 15 or so in order to give her a heads up on what to look for and things to mention to her doctor once she starts going into the exam on her own.
My one fear about that is that there will come a day (or more likely, night) where teen Violet is being all snarky and back-talky and ungrateful and bitchy and in a fit of exhaustion and desire for the upper hand, I'll swipe the "I was pregnant with YOU when I got CANCER" card and the regret it for the next dozen or so years.
Hopefully recognizing that I have the capacity for such meanness will help me avoid that confrontation.
Ultimately, I will try to empower Violet with as much knowledge and insight about her body and its potential failings to help her be as diligent about her health as possible.
The standard protocol for my situation is for first degree relatives to start getting screened 10 years before the original cancer was diagnosed, meaning that Violet will have to get a colonoscopy at an age where I was more concerned with chasing boys and getting hammered than drinking a gallon of foul-tasting laxative in order to have a camera shoved up my ass, so getting the message through of the importance of early detection will have to start early.
So...did I answer your question? I know I do have a tendency to go on and on... ;)
Remarked Sugarmouth O'Riordan at 10:47 AM