our weekend was fairly uneventful. if it were a book, chapter titles might include:
- feeling glamorous while showering in glad press-n-seal
- circa 1987: sending your husband to the corner drugstore to purchase maxi-pads because everything else is too toxic for his wife
- remembering how to use maxi-pads, especially those with instructions in spanish
- how to walk normally when you feel like you’re wearing an adult diaper (i didn’t say this blog is for the squeamish, did i?)
- relearning how to clean up after/cook for/survive without your amazing parents doing everything for you
- teaching your cat how to fetch (seriously, he loves to fetch a blue dildo-like toy) (i didn’t say this blog is for children either, did i?)
- what’s this weird rash on my stomach?
- and how to enjoy nice surprise [fill in blank] [for example, flowers, ice cream, visit] from friends.
not necessarily a NYT best seller, but we’ll take it. right now, my side effects have been pretty manageable. i’m tired and feel like i’m in a fog. mike patiently recites what we did each day to help me remember. so if i forget something we talked about, please forgive me (e.g., my entire last post…no recollection of even typing the thing). there really isn’t a pill to help manage that side effect, but exercise might help, so my walking partners start tonight.
my skin has been reacting with blisters and overall irritation to the post-surgery port dressing, so the doctor had me come in friday to get new dressings that were hypo-allergenic. my same port surgeon changed my dressing, and when he walked into the exam room, he said, “hey, cat massage!” so, it turns out that not only was he actually paying attention to my babble during surgery but he was also kind enough to make fun of me about it a full 24 hours later. i got my dressings changed again today at the infusion center, and hopefully in a few more days, my skin will return to normal when these dressings come off fully as planned.
as for the rest of the day, we just can’t get enough of the cancer center on divisadero. i had my lymph nodes biopsied to determine staging and whether the nodes will be removed during surgery. as has been par for the course, a procedure that should have taken an hour or less and one shot, took almost three hours and five shots. and four doctors. i was calm enough to comment that with four doctors in the room, there had to be a good joke in there somewhere. the most charming doctor of the bunch said, “don’t worry – we’ve already changed the lightbulbs.” everybody’s a comedian. they were having trouble getting enough and the right tissue cells from my lymph node, using a hollow needle and guided ultrasound. once they extracted the cells, they immediately looked at them under a microscope to make sure they had what they needed.
we’ll know more in a few days, and i’ll likely get my formal pre-treatment staging. something i’m both looking forward to knowing but also dreading. i have absolutely no control over it, but it slots me into a category of success, or years likely cancer free after treatment, or rates of reoccurrence. sometimes you just don’t want to know those numbers if they are not good ones.
i will admit…everything that i’m experiencing is exceptionally bad in the moment, but that moment passes (time has a funny way of always moving forward, good or bad, right?) and i can focus on other things. like reading your letters, posts and emails. i love these things, hearing about what is going on in your life and with your children, grandchildren, pets, neighbors, school, work, trips…anything really. this cancer business can feel terribly me me me. because it is. i’m literally fighting for my life. but that gets boring fast. i want to hear about you–the good and the bad.
i also need to let you know that no matter if i say i’m fine, i’m not always fine. this–accepting that i’m not always fine and not always being fine–is really hard. each day brings a new challenge. when i try and brush off your support or offerings, please don’t let me get away with it. i need you all now more than ever. and in general, you’re delivering big time. i just wanted to remind you…and myself too.
stay well, and big hugs –