Thursday, December 28, 2006

I hate Chemo

That's it. simple as that.
no clever titles. no cute innuendo's.
I just hate it.
It's the little things, y'know? It's not so much that I'm strapped to a pump for two days. It's not so much that I've got some heavy heavy drugs pumping into my system. It's the ever so slight on-the-verge of nausea feeling that I have.
Almost like it was indecisive. It can't quite figure out if it wants to make me nauseous or not.
And the fact that I have to put mittens on in order to get things out of the refrigerator.
Or that I have to warm up water in the microwave in order to drink it.
Or the fact that drinking nothing but warm/hot beverages never ever quenches your thirst. I'm just always thirsty.
Or maybe how if I go outside now, my eyes will start twitching out of control.
Or how when I'm typing this now, my fingers slowly take on a life of their own and begin to cramp up on me.
Or how when I blow my nose there's ever so slight traces of blood.
It's all those itty bitty things that just add up. I want it to be done with. I want this part to be over.
and really all I want to do is whine. I wanna bitch and moan and maybe...just maybe that'll make me feel better.
Two more rounds to go after this, and I hope, i just hope that I can put up with these itty bitty details for that much longer.
Here's to a grand 2007 ya'll!

Monday, December 18, 2006


I don't think too many people have the opportunity to let their minds wander like I do these days. And I get the oddest instances in which to let it wander.
I've always been fascinated by people in general. Human Nature and such. Back when I was "normal" (for whatever that's worth) I'd sit on the train and watch people come on and off, and if they were in a group of people, I'd imagine backstories for all of them. Come up with little plot lines. Where they were coming from, or where they were going, what the relationship between them all is.
Having cancer doesn't change this little habit of mine. But it just makes it happen on a much more grand level. For instance, not many people get to walk the halls of their oncologists office or infusion center and ponder about all the people waiting in the exam rooms.
Sometimes I'll walk by on the way to the bathroom or back to my IV and see a couple sitting in the chairs, and I think, what kind of devastating news are you getting today. OR maybe good news, maybe a remission?
Because, unfortunately, given the simple nature of WHERE you are (cancer doctor) you know these people aren't there for the flu. It's not like you're at the podiatrist. You know each and every person stepping through that door has, in some way, had a brush with the big C.
I walked past an exam room one day and saw a middle aged black man sitting in a gown on the exam table. I saw a woman around my age sitting in the chair near the door. I thought as I passed by, Is this just a scare? Is he there to get test results? Has he already gone through a course of treatment and is just checking in? Is it a reoccurance? What form did it take? Is it liver? Lung? Bone? Prostate?
I walked past the larger infusion room to glance at the handful of patients in there receiving their treatments. I noticed they were mostly elderly. I thought, what do they think of me when I walk past? I'm young, I look even younger than I really am. I look very healthy. No one would ever peg me for a cancer patient (ahem...excuse me...cancer survivor. yyessssssss). I walk past them with my ipod in hand, big baggy hoodie and huge pants (mostly huge b/c I've lost alot of weight, but it appears to the outside world to be my attempt at the 'urban' look. or the 'hip hop' look. and yes, those are both said with "air quotes" b/c this is how I'm envisioning these older people speaking. Hey. Gimmie a break, I have to spend alot of time there)
I wonder if they feel sorry for me. Or pity me. Or do I give them some hope? Or do they not even see me. Are they just oblivious to life around them?
After doing this at each treatment I suddenly realized what this place felt like to me. The entire oncology unit. The waiting rooms to the exam rooms to the infusion rooms. It's Limbo. We're all in Limbo.
We've all put our lives on hold. We're all on pause while we take on the job of "getting well". Sure, most of the time people are encouraged to live their lives as normally as possible while on treatment. If you can, you're encouraged to work, enjoy whatever leisure activities you did before, socialize, celebrate, eat, drink, and be merry (pffff). And many people do just that. Hell, I like to think I do that. But ultimately, it always comes down to "three more chemo treatments left....two more chemo treatments left...." and scheduling around ct scans and doctor appointments. Yes in between I go to concerts, or hang out with friends, see movies, go out to eat, complain about going to work, wrestle with my dog. But I'm still just waiting. Waiting for the day I am not a regular at Dr. Kaplan's.
Waiting Waiting Waiting
Waiting for the next test results to come back. Waiting for WBC counts to go up. Waiting for side effects to wear off. Waiting for anxiety to go away. Waiting for the all clear. Waiting for the green light that says you can go back to your real life. And even then, you don't. You never just forget about that little stint you did back in the day for cancer.
It's always with you, but at the moment you're in the most literal form of Limbo I can think of.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

MY cancer's better than YOUR cancer!

Okay, call me a snot (and many do) but am I the only one getting kinda tired of hearing about breast cancer??
Now...don't get me wrong, it's a horrible thing to get. But as a colon cancer patient I feel like the red-headed stepchild of cancers. Noone wants to talk about colon cancer...b/c well, that'd mean talking about butts and poop (to put it mildly). But BREASTS! breasts are glorious....we must do everything in our power to save the breasts! The great american breast! So you have both men and women fighting to save the breasts. Sooooo much money and research goes into it. I feel smothered by pink ribbons. EVERYthing you buy donates money to breast cancer research. I bought a latte at my local coffee shop and the little stopper they put in the lid to keep it warm was a little breast cancer stopper!! You buy a mattress and proceeds go to breast cancer, you buy a power drill and proceeds go to breast cancer...SHEESH.
I feel like every celebrity who comes out that they have cancer...has breast cancer. Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, know, a bunch of others. But who comes out as having colon cancer...uum....(drawing blank here). Oh yea, Sharon Osbourne. (actually, there are several other minor celebrity, or maybe some 'elder' celebrities, who's celebrity really doesn't count anymore).
Farrah Fawcett now has ANAL cancer *Which I have NEVER heard of referred to as anal cancer. Isn't it supposed to be Rectal Cancer...ah well, semantics.
But how much do you hear from her? Do you think she'll stand up and become a staunch spokesperson for getting checked early? I predict No. Why? She probably wants it to fade into the background when she's all said and done. After all, who wants to be known for having butt cancer?
Not me!
but oh wait...I did.

Now, thats not to say that I think breast cancer should not be researched. But I almost feel like it's drawing money away from other cancer research. Is that just my crazy chemo-brain at work? Maybe.
I just don't understand why some cancers get priority over others. Isn't ALL cancer bad? Shouldn't we be concerned with figuring out this Cancer Beast as a whole?
So my kinda cancer isn't as have to talk about things like rectums and anus's and anal fissures, fistulas, sphincter muscles, stool (or "output" i like that...thats cute), and things that most people don't ever want to have to speak of in public. But it's an easily cured cancer when caught early. And it can be hush hush if you caught it early, treated it, and go on about your life.
But what is catching it early? Getting a colonoscopy at age 50? Well. I guess. Although if I did it at 50, well...lets say I wouldn't have gotten to do it at 50 if that was the case. I wouldn't have made it to see 50.
Who, at age 25, gets up one morning with no symptoms at all and thinks "Gee, it's a good day for
getting a camera shoved up my butt."
Shouldn't the fact that it CAN and DOES happen to people much much MUCH younger than 50 be publicized? If it is, in fact, so easy to cure early on? My cancer progressed to stage III before my 26th birthday. How long must it have been growing in me then?
Eh, I guess I'm a bit bitter today. But only b/c I see nothing but report after report on the news about Breast cancer. I feel overlooked. Without a voice. I suppose that is what finally spurred me to get my lazy (nonfunctioning) butt up and start blogging.

more to come.