Note the date:

A very apropos bookend to my cancer deployment.

With a hopeful emphasis on END.


Like a Mothertrucking Drum

I am BEAT.

Violet continues to throw my words ("my baby sleeps like a CHAMP") in my face. I apparently had forgotten the don't-talk-about-the-boy-you-like and don't-say-you-did-well-on-the-test jinxes of yore.

I am an idiot. An exhausted, frazzled idiot in desperate need of a professional cut and color (not to mention a vacation and big night out with good friends that isn't followed up with the two day brick-to-the-brainpan sort of hangover that seems unavoidable after 30).

More as it happens.


Shoulda Kept My Yap Good 'n Shut

Remember all that blabbing I did about what a good sleeper Violet is?

Yeah, the wheels are kinda falling off in that department. I don't know if it's her fever or the fact that she's transitioning from two naps to one or both or what, but--as a result--hers is not the only sleep that's jammed up.

:::frowny face:::


Apology, Excuse

Sorry for the lack of postings of late...the brother was out last weekend (and we had an EXCELLENT time despite the weather not totally cooperating and my not being the world's greatest hostess), Jody is taking this week off (a "staycation" if you will, and he will), and Violet popped a fever on Sunday that topped out/freaked me out at 104.3° yesterday.

Unless the fever breaks something quick, Violet will be out of the running for day care today, meaning all those errands and periods of relaxation I had counted on will have to wait. But time is running short as this is her last week of day care and I go under the knife a week from Friday...

Me-wise, I've been feeling kinda ok--neuropathy really ramped up over the weekend until I realized that I should maybe stay away from tighter-fitting sneakers and stick to The Fug that are Crocs (yes, I've been assimilated--resistance is futile).

I'm also getting a tough lesson in aging and that no matter your best of intentions (and/or Rx on hand), sleep does not comes as easily as it once did and holding on to it once you have it can be even harder.

Ok, gotta run and try to get the hot 'n wee one to actually eat something...

ETA: Over the course of the weekend, I flipped the odometer on the ol' ('99) Passat to 100K. This is what qualifies for excitement these days... ;)


Don't Mess with Texas Wisconsin Librarians

Don't let the mousy stereotype fool you: [Wisconsin] woman cuffed, booked for not paying library fines.

It's not known if the woman was arrested by Bookman, the library detective.

I'll Be Back Up to Fighting Weight in No Time

My first re-shoutout to my girls in the Bend who sent me a GC for a bunch of ice cream from Graeter's.

I thought it would be a good idea to have the it delivered while my brother was in town (to share the caloric wealth somewhat) and the cold sensitivity is nearly a non-issue these days, so now we have six pints of small batch French pot goodness sitting in our freezer.

I have all but called dibs on the whole pint of Toffee Chip. Mmm...

Thanks again, girls!



The long period of anemia wasn't due to my being a vegetarian.
The weight loss wasn't due to my riding my bike to and from campus every day.
The bleeding wasn't due to my epic pregnancy hemorrhoids.
The achy pelvic pain wasn't due to my powering through natural childbirth.

It was all too easy to explain away.

Because seriously, who would have thought?


Reader Links!

Here's a couple of links that have been sent to me by YOU, my beloved readers:

[(1) via HH, who needs to start a new blog for the new town, (b) via Karen, or more accurately, Karen's thoughtful mom.]



Not much to say other than I'm starting to slowly recover from this last--THE last--treatment.

Oh--my brother comes to town Thursday! I haven't seen him in AGES and he will meet Violet for the first time evs! So that is awesome. :)


Something About Speaking too Soon...

While I'm feeling tons better than I was at this point in the last cycle, I'm still not 100% as Shit Monday/Tuesday appears to still be in effect. Arrgh.


Big Day in the Sugarmouth Household!!

Within minutes of my takin off my pack for the LAST TIME, Violet started walking around the TV/playroom--SANS walker toy--like she owned the place, doing turns, squatting to pick up her popbead necklace and put it on, the whole works!

No big celebration planned other than popping open the bottle of NA bubbly that I got along with my angel pin and completion of chemo certificate the other day. We also have plans to hit up TJ's--which I haven't been to in forEVER--where I plan to get lots of chocolatey goodness.


Chemo RULZ!

"WTF?" you may be asking yourself? "Has Sugarmouth/brigita finally, officially lost the last of her marbles?"

Au contraire, my darling readers! I am just super fired up to report that I am feeling Tony the Tiger grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! No GI issues to report, peripheral neuropathy is managable, appetite is good, and attitude even better.

Miss Vi is in drop-in day care today--I figured I should have some child care coverage considering the horrorshow that was treatment #7--so I've been spending the morning yard saling to my heart's delight and am planning on attending yet another matinée here shortly--lower brow theater to match the lower brow fare.

What can I say--I heart the Bateman!


Sayonara, Chemo Sabes!

Looks like my white cells pulled it out for the last round of FOLFOX--nice job, bone marrow! No word on how my neutrophils fared since those results didn't print on my lab report...must be good enough to get poisoned, I suppose.

On the drugs front, I'm happy to report that--due to continued issues with peripheral neuropathy--my onc reduced my Oxaliplatin volume by 23.6% and my 5-FU dose by 1/6th (eliminating the 5-minute bolus I get prior to putting on the 46h 5-FU infusion pack). Which is gonna be totally schweet.

In other random chemo news:

  • I have a nurse I've neither had nor seen before. I don't much care for her, yet I think this is for the best. I don't know that I'd want to leave this place smiling goodbyes to the good nurses. I'd rather be glad to get the fudge out.
  • Since my first infusion way back in April, I've been meaning but keep forgetting to tell you guys about the weirdness that is seeing a guard-chaperoned prisoner in shackles go through the chemo motions.
  • It is a beautiful fucking day and I am ready to get the fuck out into it.
...where I will undoubtedly burst into huge, heaving tears of joy and terror of finally, finally, reaching the finish line.


Um...Yes, Please?!

Ok, so now my surgeon-who had originally given me a takedown date of 10/1 or so, then moved it all the way up to 9/12, which was great--wants to move the date further up to 9/5?!

My right brain is all "WAHOOOOOOOOO!" but my left brain is all "Um, is the chemo going to be sufficiently out of my system in order to have the best odds for a successful and speedy recovery?"

Note: My right brain can shout louder.

"Why So...Serious?"

Yesterday, I'd decided to indulge myself with a matinée of The Dark Knight at our local fancy pants art house cinema (does it still qualify as "art house" even if it's in a strip mall? Very nice, dressed up and glorified, but a strip mall nonetheless).

To make it the perfect movie-going experience, I even searched high and low--literally stopping at four different retailers--before finding Hot Tamales to go with my buttered popcorn. It's as close to caramel corn as you'll find without actually making it yourself.

After breezing through the ticket-taking area (no usher on duty?! My younger self would have staked this place out for the purpose of catching the occasional freebie), I settled into an uber-comfy seat and settled in for what would reveal itself to be two and a half hours of unsettling film.

  • I've always loved the dark, brooding Batman, and Christian Bale takes another fantastic turn in the rubber suit.
  • Aaron Echkart's chin of justice juts dramatically as Harvey Dent takes the path of righteousness...and then gets thrown off the cliff.
  • Maggie Gyllenhaaaaaaalllaalalal is a more satisfying love interest/female place holder than Mrs. Tom Cruise was, but not by much.
But as everyone has said before me and better, this movie belonged to Heath Ledger's Joker. Costume and makeup aside, his voice and mannerisms took you out of the "this guy did Brokeback Mountain/Knight's Tale/10 Things I Hate About You" (all three movies which I enjoyed for various reasons) mindset, making you completely forget about the actor as you were so engrossed with the character (much like Charlize Theron's role in Monster), sucking you into the story entirely.

The Joker in this film is crazy like a fox--a psychopathic, homicidal, nihilistic fox. He's not driven by greed or lust or fame, just a pure, focused desire to watch the world eat itself. While he appears completely unhinged, he more than manages to be at least two steps ahead of the good guys, manipulating them again and again into increasingly deranged situations and "social experiments."

And that was what I took away from the movie, a feeling of total exhaustion, for the one word I came up with to describe the film is relentless. It just. Doesn't. Stop. And while action scene after action scene might leave a completely engaged viewer somewhat breathless, it was the aggressively sinister underpinning of each episode that just ground me down somewhat.

We are used to seeing the bad guys getting blown up by the good guys and innocents threatened but ultimately saved in most mainstream movies, but in this one, the bad guys are forced to turn on each other while the innocents are literally dangled over the precipice or shorn sheep dressed in wolves's clothing, as the wolves themselves walk invisibly among the flock.

Now, I love me a dark movie. Twisted and warped and morbid are all good qualities in my book. But there has to be some respite, some moment where the viewer can take a breath and regroup. There wasn't a whole lot of that in The Dark Knight. I guess I should have known--it's pretty much all right there in the title.

So, the obvious question is, would I see it again? Most definitely.

I mean, have you seen Christian Bale? The man is not ugly.


On Getting Woken Up By the Cops at 2am

I wasn't sleeping very well last night for no known reason, but I still nearly pissed my pants when someone started pounding fast and loud on the door in the wee hours last night. The first thought that went through my head was that the house was on fire. Terrified.

Our room is at the back of the house, so I ran to one of the front rooms, where a bright spotlight was blazing through the open window. Both freaked and dazed, I yelled down to the two figures below, "Hello?"

The good news is that the house was not on fire and that the two individuals were members of Madison's Finest. I stumbled downstairs, getting tangled up in the dog in the way down, to find a number of people milling around on the sidewalk.

Turns out the next door neighbors had heard breaking glass, and when they looked outside, they saw the interior light of my car on and some people poking around inside.

The policemen had me look in my car and see if anything was missing...unfortunately, my car is a *bit* cluttered so it would have been hard to tell, but I could see that Violet's car seat and my Sigg bottle were still there, which--as replacement costs go--were the only things I was really concerned about.

One of the cops took my info, basically said that I probably wouldn't be hearing from them (well, yeah...), and apologized for waking us up.

Lying in bed, I kept thinking about the door that I'd left unlocked after sweeping the deck and that there was no phone upstairs and what Jody and I would do in the event of a home invasion and throughout it all I was thinking about Violet.

I don't know if I ever fell back to sleep.

The police seemed to think that it was just a bunch of young punks looking for trouble than actual thieves, which I guess is comforting, but it makes me crazy that a bunch of thoughtless teens can set off such a chain reaction of insecurity and fear.

I guess we'll be leaving our exterior light on from now on.


Supporter Shoutouts, Happy Birthday to Me Edition

Yes, it's my birthday, although I wish I could postpone it a bit since I'm not feeling up to much of anything (even though I've already gone to the farmer's market, put in a load of laundry, posted two book sales, and installed an under cabinet paper towel holder with my brand new birthday drill from Jody...a girl wants what she wants!)...

All of that said, many thanks go out to the following:

  • Jenny, Tom & daughter Molly for sending me a delicate and lovely necklace that compliments my motherhood necklace beautifully. Thanks you guys!
  • J9, for being quick on the draw with an e-card first thing this morning and a sweet little bouquet of fleurs shortly following. They are prominently displayed on our dining room table (where I spend more time feeding the wee one than actually eating ourselves!).
  • Everyone else who has called, emailed, sent cards and well-wishes. Love you guys!
Now I'm off to burn up more fossil fuels than necessary in search of something called Chocolate Eruption. Eat it, ozone layer!


In Xanadu Did Kubla Khan/A Stately Pleasure-Dome Decree...

After talking with the onc on-call last night about my continued inability to keep fluids in me, I was advised to report to the hospital today for two more liters of saline and a scrip for tincture of opium, aka laudanum.

Yes, you read that right, the shit that old-timey literary types used to get their inspiration from. I guess when the OTCs and run-of-the-mill Rxs don't work, the next level of treatment are the drugs that the bad kids did in school (opium to induce constipation, marinol for nausea).

If this stuff doesn't do the trick, I'm worried that eye of newt might be next on the menu...

Oh and yeah, my plans for an early birthday dinner are pretty much kaput. Blast.


Back from the Brink*

One panicked call to a babysitter, two liters of saline, and three visits from my onc's Number 2 guy, I am home and feeling quite a bit better. While I'm far from 100% (ah, that elusive 100%...), I am no longer feeling nauseous, desperate and pathetic...well, at least not as much of an ineffectual failure as I was earlier.

Seriously--What is the most basic, biological need we as animals have? Water**. People can go weeks without eating but deprive them of access to clean water and they're dead in a matter of days. The thirst drive has to be incredibly strong, because without it, we're a goner.

And then there was me. My body's homeostatic mechanisms were so out of whack, they couldn't even get me to do the simplest yet most important thing in the world: drink a damn glass of water.

So, after exchanging several emails with my onc of me running my litany of side effects, I got a call from a nurse at the clinic today, asking how I was doing, which I responded to by bursting into tears.

I am not a person to ask for help. To a San Andreas fault. In my long-held, personal opinion, not being able to keep all your shit in one sock is a weakness and I am nothing if not a smart, independent, take care of business, take no prisoners/bullshit kinda lady***.

But even if you've got intestinal fortitude coming out the wazoo, when your wazoo gets all wazon't and your fortitude gets eroded with every sickening intestinal roll, there comes a time when you have to stop defining yourself by some over-blown bullshit pride of having iron-clad ovaries and accept help.

This is going to be a long, long process of undoing decades of stubborn self reliance and practicing taking people up on their offers of assistance. I am just so grateful that I have offers to accept and that so many of my neighbors are genuinely invested in my health and my family's well-being.

I will say that it is a lot easier to accept help than ask for it, and so this is where I run the risk of both repeating myself and doling out the universally disliked dish of unsolicited advice:

If you have a friend, family member or neighbor who is having a rough go of things, the more specific you can be in your offers of help, the easier it is for the person to plan for and accept the help.

It is not enough to say "O hai, let me kno if u need NEthing, kthxbi!" That puts the ball in the other persons court, where it will more than likely stay.

A better approach is to say something along the lines of "I would like to make you dinner sometime this week, would that be ok?" or "I don't leave for work until 10am and would like to come over and do a little cleaning, what is too early for you?"

Then, when you get there, make sure that your friend/family/ neighbor is settled. Come in with a totally relaxed but take-charge attitude, and get a quick run-down of what needs to be done (if you can't immediately see it), only asking questions of where to find things or how s/he likes things done if you're absolutely flummoxed.

If the helpee frequently pops up to check in on you, gently shoo them away with a calm and capable "I got it taken care of--you go back to what you were doing" (which takes the pressure of the command of "Go get some REST!" off of them).

This is what my microwave guy did, and I don't know what it was about what he said or how he said it, but I felt like the situation was handled and I totally relaxed.

So, I am making a commitment to Jody, my parents, my neighbors and all of you dear, concerned readers, to be better about accepting help and working on asking for it before I need it. At least before my planet spins right out of orbit.

The corner is...well, right around the corner.

* And I'm not talking about the bar on the other side of town.
** Ok, so I'm pretty sure that shelter outranks water.
*** Yes, even ladies can say "bullshit."

Grocery Shopping is Hard...

...when it hurts to reach into the freezer case and even walk through the refrigerated section.
...when nothing--NO-THING--looks appetizing.

Aren't I supposed to be over the side-effects by now?

I'm actually starting to get pretty freaked out by how long this is lasting, particularly the fact that I can't seem to keep any fluids in me.

Oh yeah, and my hair is a fright and I look like a ghoul because I can't muster the interest to eat anything. It's like the appetite part of my brain has completely switched off. That, and I have major heartburn and minor abdominal pain to go with.

I'm ready to feel normal again.

ETA: My oncologist is having me come in for IV fluids. Probably a good idea.


Little by Little

Gradually starting to feel better these days...gah, I still can't get over how hard this last treatment was. I think if I had the choice, I would seriously consider going through labor & delivery again instead of another round like that...at least L&D only lasted 16 hours!

While waiting for my shot in the oncology waiting room yesterday, I ran into one of my onc's nurses, who asked about my last round.

When I told her about how bad it was, she said she'd relay the info to my onc (whom I'd already emailed with the not so veiled hope of getting out of the last treatment) and that they could probably lower the dose for the last infusion. Which would be GREAT.

Like I said, I'm feeling a bit better--not 100%, but I'll take what I can get. And I think right now that means me getting a Dr. Pepper.


Cedar Point's Got Nothin' on Cancer

Holy fucking roller coaster, people--I just got an email from my surgeon saying that he's conferred with my other docs and he feels comfortable going ahead with my reversal as early as 9/12!

I definitely needed that high after the chemo lows of this past weekend...holy SHIT that's been a rough ride.


Scenes from Alpha Squad Chemo #7

Today: Beyond awful. And it started at 2am last night/this morning. I spent the whole day on the couch.

Husband: Incredibly awesome. He took the day off from work and has officially earned his Daddy Officer of the Deck ribbon.