Monday, July 5, 2010

Dichotomy

I was reading a book awhile back (granted MANY people have read this book as of late, as I do believe it's being made into a movie currently. still...this was bout 3 years ago). A part of the book the characters were discussing that everything: every being, every entity, every object, every city, every genre, culture, and individual has A Word. One word that in an overall average or medium...most accurately embodies that thing.

I'd say, for instance, Chicago, as a city...it's word could be "VARIETY" OR "PLENTITUDE". If you want something, chances are good you'll have ALOT of options for that thing in Chicago. I think it must almost be a subliminal bit of pride in some of us born Chicagoans knowing that we have so many choices.

But my word?? I'm sure at any given point in my life, my "word" could and has changed. We're transient beings, after all, right? And who more to be transient than my airy gemini as I am? (not that I could claim to really know so much about astrology. But i digress...)

So. My word? I think, at this very moment in my life, I am going with "DICHOTOMY"
A Dichotomy is any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts.
I have such a capacity for love, peace and serenity in me. A massive capacity for it, actually. It's difficult to reach that place, but it exists within me.

And at the very same rate, I have an immense capacity for spite, rage and seething anger. It's easier to reach, of course, as it always goes.

The path towards both of these places, within me, are vastly different. Obviously. But each require much the same amount of effort, regardless of how different the path is.
I can't say it's more fun to pursue peace, love and all that fuzzy warmness, anymore than it is to drift chaotically into hate, rage and blazing iciness.

Each path leads me to places that have different names. Different physical locations within myself, and different atmospheres surrounding them. Except with the common theme of ultimately just being a place in which I am alone. Utterly alone with myself.


Ssssoooo...your word is?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Priorities

I need to get my priorities straight.
Here I am. midnight.
chemo begins in T minus nine hours. and counting.
and here I am. whining.
complaining.
cracking snarky jokes about fallin' off the wagon,
but they're trying to save my life.
Have I gotten SO adapted to having cancer that it's become an annoyance??
I've gotten so good at being a patient that I have forgotten I am actually under attack?
All day long, every minute of every day my cells are at war. They are fighting for their (or rather, MY) life, and here I am complaining.
How can I remind myself that I have a terminal disease which can (and chances are will) kill me, when I'm feeling so good?
Its been a nice couple months. I've been off chemo since february. And although I've been plenty busy with many many trips to hospitals, it was such a change of pace...the whole cyberknife thing...that I guess I just got too comfortable.
I got to accustomed to having my skin back to what I remember. To having my hair actually have a shine to it again, instead of the dull look from all the various chemicals coursing through me. I got way to comfortable not having any taste issues, and being able to eat and drink ANYthing at ANYtime I wanted. I was too spoiled to actually have fridays OFF.
Trivialities really.
Really.
Because in the grand scheme of things, why should I be so concerned with these trivial things when my actual existance is at stake?
I could die. very easily. very quickly. and with no notice. specifically FROM this cancer. any given moment or instance, this tumor growing inside me (or ones they don't see currently) can wrap around some key artery, or impede an organ's function, or anything. and next thing you know, no more Becca. I'm not exaggerating over overreacting.
But because I feeeeeeel good and healthy at this very moment in time, I seem to feel it appropriate to bitch and moan about the inconvenience of chemo.
Really.
Its an inconvenience. It gets in the way. It cramps my style. I have too much living to do to be bothered with sitting in an infusion room.
GAH I just want to SCREAAAAAM. Fuckin' chemo. I thought I was done with you! How did I ever manage to convince myself of that?
And so Here I am.
Here I sit.
at my desk. at midnight. trying to get my head right. And trying to organize my priorities.
It seems somethings never change.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Nothing Like Barium in the morning!



(on a sidenote, I am not sure why the frame of the videos i'm embedding from youtube are being cut off on here...you're not missing much with the other inch of screen in the frame really, but i suppose if you wanted you could click the video screen and it'll just take you the that video on youtube's site. If anyone wants to help me out on this one, i'm much obliged)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thwarted.

It's been a lazy day for me. Not really because I wanted it to be. I actually had quite a few things I intended to get done today. It's friday, my one actual day off (don't take that to mean that I'm some sort of workaholic or anything, its not that I work hard...I just seem to be at work at least every day of the week, for at least some hours. Helps when you love the place you work though).
I digress, SO, it's my day off, and it just so happened to be an absolute GORGEOUS day, reaching near 80 degrees. Knowing that the end of April in Chicago could mean things as crazy as blizzards, I wanted to take full advantage of a full day off in good weather. I wanted to clean out my car, finish the hat I'm crocheting for a friend, bake a loaf of bread (heh....yea, i know. random. don't judge me) wanted to pick up yarn for a new baby blanket I will start, book tickets to new york for the OMG Cancer Summit at the end of May.
You get the idea, I had plans.
I had so many plans I almost forgot I had a doctor appointment today. You know why I almost forgot I had the appointment? Because I haven't had to see my Oncologist for (well, for me anyway) a stretch of time. What with being off of chemo, and my counts being good, I didn't have to see him while I was having my cyberknife stuff going on. Cyberknife is a completely different hospital, doctor, and staff, all in a completely different suburb than my Onc. Luckily, yesterday, the doc's office called to remind me.
No problem, I thought, I'll just scoot on over to see the Doc, and continue on about my day. I supposed I figure it was just a "Hey Doc, cyberknife is over now. For the moment I wait a month to get re-scanned and see how it worked. I'm feeling good, no real side effects to note" kinda visit.
My doc....has other plans.
I don't hold him at fault or anything, he is very dutifully doing exactly what I need him to do, which is worry about my numbers, my lack of treatment, and my potential cancer growing. He was nervous because my CEA counts were seen to be rising, and I hadn't been on treatment since maybe end of january or very beginning of Feb. I hadn't had a petscan since late december. The LOCAL reoccurance was hopefully being treated by the cyberknife, but he was concerned about two small spots on the ct scan seen on my liver. That could, of course, just be blips from the hiccup I had back in august with chemo-toxicity...oorrr....well, duh, we all know what the 'or' could be.
So he felt I should have my CEA drawn again, and have a scan tomorrow (saturday) and then come in to start chemo again a week from today.
YEEOOOWWZA's.
Should I be surprised? Nah. I mean, rightfully, noone ever told me I was never going to have chemo again. I was only really given a break to recoup from my skin reaction and to figure out exactly what to do next.
Should I be upset? Nah. It's happened time and time again that I come in to the office completely oblivious that I very well could be plopped in a chair right then and there, an IV plunged into my port and put on treatment right while sitting in the exam room. It's not like I'm new to this.
Should I be sad? Nah. The scan and blood test results aren't back yet, and I still am hoping for relatively good news from the cyberknife people. So theoretically, we're just trying to keep on top of things, rather than playing catch up later.

But either way, despite any of my rational thoughts, I walked out of the doctors office with all the steam let out of me. I felt defeated and punched in the gut once more. How many times have I felt that very same feeling? That feeling of "What. The. Fuck." Of "Why am I keeping on with all this? Everything that they do to me? It hasn't ended since it all began four years ago. No rest for the weary. Why do I keep at it?"

So instead of finished ANY of my aforementioned tasks...I attempted some retail therapy. (Being poor, retail therapy for me consists of Forever21 and/or a thrift store. cuz...well...I'm poor). That didn't really help as I mostly just wandered around the store and thought about how pointless it is to wear nice stylish, cute outfits...in the chemo room. But, a new pair of gladiator sandles, $2 pair of earrings, and 2 $3.50 tank tops later I walked back out to that previously mentioned GORGEOUS day to drive home. I felt maybe instead of retail therapy, maybe I could fool myself with a tasty indulgent icey coffee drink. Dunkin' Donuts called my name, but didn't fulfill any void.
After those attempts at distraction, I just came home. Avoiding all the various texts and calls. I came home, put my bread out to rise, and sat on my front porch to finish crocheting that hat. I still had that defeated feeling. That feeling of unmotivated listlessness. I tried to let myself cry. Maybe a pity party would help. I was angry and pissy and tired and worried and disappointed and...and...and...but tears didn't feel like coming. I think I was just too defeated to even make that effort.
Instead I just sat there. Watching the sky grow a bit gloomier, feeling the wind kick up, listening to my neighbors chatter away in spanish, smelling the sewage-y aroma of the canal a few blocks away waft over me.
It's going to rain. In fact, I believe its going to storm....badly. How appropriate for my mood, I thought....

Well, the entire day has passed, its a little after 10pm. I guess there's not much for me to say. or do. So, logically, the next step for my day of thwarted tasks is off to a Gypsy Dance Party. Naturally.

G'night.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Aw Video-Schmideo



(oh, and in case anyone is interested, the music in background is some awesome ukulele playing by Jake Shimabukuru)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Elusive Hope

Sweet curls of smoke slid past her lips lazily trailing to the ground.
she leans back and lifts her chin, staring off into neon curves.
Amidst shadows and voices, she's all at once present and absorbed in her own distance.
The bassline paces her breath and her thoughts.
Clutching tightly to who she's known for years she begins a process of seperating and sorting.
In the company of chaos her ideas can be hers and hers alone.
Opinions, joys, beliefs, and fears all spin together in a hazy stream
Filtering through her carefully constructed defense she can only believe this is some form of that elusive feeling she assumed to been rid of for so very long.
The elusive Hope
Humbled to be given a glimpse of it again, she'd almost forgotten it existed.
Savory traces of it teased every pore, flirting with a fabric so fragile that every fold verged on collapse.
She quickly inhaled those curls of smoke attempting to capture what she felt
before slipping quietly off into an abyss of ambivalence once more
curiously eyeing the bodies around her, caught up in a world that has felt skittish since she lost her place in it
Could she still belong here? Would a fight be warranted? Is the taste on her tongue that of something previously unattainable?
Closing her eyes and succumbing to a delicious weight where seconds, hours, days, weeks ago there was only emptiness.
maybe its time to face the same question she's had many times before.
And search for answers within perfumed pillows of silken smoke.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Girl with the Golden Cervix


"We're just going to implant a couple seeds, Fiducial Markers actually, around the tumor. They will serve as a radiological landmark to define the target legions position with millimeter precision, allowing the Cyberknife to treat the area with greater accuracy."
Seemed simple enough, no? Last week I went in to the Cyberknife surgery center to begin this process. Fun times, guys. Fuuuunnn times. I found that for as much as I've gone through. And for as much as I tolerate, they never cease to amaze me by the crazy sci-fi things they think up. Inserting a 12 inch needle into my butt cheek all the way to the front near the cervix and then just dropping off a little golden seed using the assistance of a ct scanner to see the needle inserting in real-time?? NUTS i tell ya!
Now, I realize that I've learned to go with the flow so much that I must've assumed this little process was gonna be a breeze. As people in the waiting room outside the CT Scanner can probably attest now...I assumed wrong.
I can't, for the life of me understand why, when choosing to do this to a person, do they not automatically just knock them out? I'm sure there must be some blatant obvious reason that I'm overlooking purely because it was ME having a needle shoved in my ass. But truly, looking at it now the entire process seems so barbaric given the highly advanced and futuristic thing that I will be having done to me with this CyberKnife.
Its times like these, that I do allow myself to look at who I am from a distance and give an approving nod. I actually am one pretty intensely tough chic. Normally, I cringe if I hear someone talk AT or TO me about how "strong and stoic" I am. HA! I'd neeeevver say that about my person. But then something like needle through the ass happens and I get to take the time to look objectively and go "Hot Damn I am kind of a badass."
So, what the hell are they doing to me with this Cyberknife? The best I can explain is they will be using this highly focused pin-pointed extremely precise radiation machine to blast that damned tumor into oblivion as best they can. And in order to do that, the Cyberknife uses those gold markers to track. Now that I've had the markers placed, and the follow up CT Scan done, I have been given the go-ahead and the physicists or whoever are hopefully busily plotting out my treatment plan. Its anywhere from 1-5 treatments total. Each treatment being around 1 hour. I hope to know this week what my schedule will be for the treatments.

That's pretty much the cut and dry basics. And all I have time to write up at this moment. Next blog I want to divulge my back and forth relationship with a thing called "Hope" and how this cyberknife has been injecting it back in my daily life, despite all my reluctance.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Addendum to the shrunken skin...

To better illustrate my skin woes...(though, really, this video and photos do nothing to show how much puss and gunk accumulates out of all that redness. which is even more fun fun fun to deal with.
Yaaay Chemo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I think I must have put my skin in the dryer and shrunk it



In my grievances for this week (well...been more than a week really), has been my poor battered skin. I do believe the Erbitux is the cause, but whichever of the various drugs is causing it...it's a bit too much for me to handle.
I have just holed myself up in my room, calling off work eventually, because being out among people is just a pain in my butt. Its not just that my skin isn't pretty. Really...who cares. But add on to it that it feels a couple sizes too small for me, its itchy, and raw, and stinging...all around miserable.
Chicago winters definitely don't help my situation. I can't even open my mouth all the way without stretching down my eyelids so much the bottom lid pulls away from my eyeball. THAT tight. And there's a lovely little patch of super raw rashy skin just under my chin that is so super tender to EVERYthing. It stings just raising my head to look up. So, I'm uncomfortable, to say the least.
I debated taking the photos, seeing as just walking past the bathroom mirror distresses me. But, since I told myself long ago that I want to document whatever I can, the ugly of it all..why not bare my raw chapped face to the world wide webs.
I have nothing more to say about it. I want my skin back. Amazing how seemingly little things could cause so much grief. Gah.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Reminder.


I realize this is not exactly the timeliest of posts. But, I figured, looking back over alot of what I've written...sometimes...I may seem a bit...depressed.
Now, mind you, that is not to say that I do not have a large portion of my being consumed by ill-feelings of some sort at any given time. HOWEVER, I don't think that it speaks to the truth of who I fully am.
I don't think I'd ever be described as "perky", but alot of the time, I'm pretty goofy. I like to laugh. Yea, I know, everyone says that. But I do. I love nothing more than getting swept up by a wave of laughter so hard and at something so ridiculous that I am rendered unable to speak or breath for several minutes. (alot of you who know me in person have witnessed these laughing fits, which often end in me doubled over clenching my gut with tears streaming down my face).
This is January. of 20-flippin-10! and I am still here!! I am here, and I am able to laugh. Not at everything. Not all the time. But I am still capable of laughing. Smiling. Cracking dumb jokes. Talking smack. Living.
The living isn't easy. Its hard going most of the time. But I spend all my efforts on trying to make it as easy as it can be, at least for me. I try with all my might to seem as carefree, and as giddy as you please. So maybe I'm not. Not all the time. But as the saying goes, you fake it til you make it, right?
I feel bitter at the world around me and my circumstances quite often. My inner dialogue often falls into rants about how unfair things are, and how jealous I am of everyone else around me. Right or wrong, I fall prey to that.
But I can still laugh. I savor that laughter like it was a fine wine. In my place in life, at this point in time, laughter holds more value than any material thing. This isn't prophetic earth-shattering information or observation. I hear it all the time, how much people supposedly value laughing (and good friends, sharing moments, etc etc). Rather, this is just a reminder.
No New Years Resolutions, more so, these are my New Years Reminders.
I'm alive. I'm fairly functional. I have amazing family. I have incredible friends. I have support in my corner. I am still not an asshole, and I am not normal, no. But I can laugh my ass off sometimes and that can be all I need.