Archive | April, 2011

How to fuck cancer in 34 steps

19 Apr

1. make a guest list — invite EVERYONE

2. make sure it’s ok with your landlord

3. get a tent (that comes with a tent guy)

4. get a keg

5. lose your mind overbuying food/wine

6. decide the week before everyone arrives to paint the house, hang curtains and frame art

7. party like it’s college the night before

8. in the morning, fix the boiler…because it’s broken…and there’s no heat

9. wear a party dress and decide to go bare-headed

10. find the grill…and a propane tank…

11. hug every one of the 50+ people that comes

12. cry when your brother, who can’t come, SO thoughtfully sends you a beautiful orchid that arrives that day

13. feel so full of love at the sight of so many people you love that have come from near and far

14. admire your boyfriend’s grilling skills

15. eat and drink

16. dance with your mom

17. over-emote

18. prevent septic system from giving out

19. do not let dogs poop inside

20. dance again

21. spend a lot of time standing in the puddles under your tent which is holding up nicely against the gale force wind

22. return to dancing

23. teach me how to dougie

24. be courteous to the police officer when he arrives…he has a niece with cancer

25. hula hoop

26. dance

27. smoke inside

28. do some shouting in the kitchen

29. when you can no longer dance, go to bed, leaving your sister & co. to raid the banana cream pie leftovers

30. wake up to the tent guy

31. bagels, eggs, cream cheese, coffee

32. be so thankful for your amazing, party-elf, friends and family who really did all the work

33. appreciate your oh-so-blessed life

34. lay on the sofa

I almost certainly left some stuff out…please add/amend below.


Impromptu ER Trip

10 Apr

Did I mention I ended up in the ER a couple of weeks ago?


My bad.

I blame yoga.  I’ve recently upped my game with the yoga practice and have been trying to push my edge a little bit more each time I practice.  As we’ve discussed, I’m not in the shape I used to be and SURPRISE!  I ended up with some abdominal pain.  Nothing horrible.  Just a little twingey, stitchy feeling in my side that I noticed when I moved a certain way.

Now, normal people say, “Huh.  I have some random muscle pain. I must have overdone it with the yoga. Better rest up and back off.”

People who have just finished chemotherapy for ovarian cancer say, “Oh shit, my cancer is totally back.”

Ok, maybe not ALL people who just finished chemo.  Just crazy ones like me.

This is definitely the dark side of remission.  Every twinge, every headache, every sore spot could be cancer.  It could be the cancer you didn’t even know you had in the first place creeping back!  There’s really no point to this hyper-vigilance and I don’t always feel so paranoid.  In fact, most of the time I feel very optimistic and enjoy my life.  But sometimes, there’s nothing I can do to stop this black blob of fatal certainty from glomming on to my brain.  The fear has it’s own powerful logic and it’s hard to shake.  But, as William Kennedy says “fear is a cheap emotion, however full of wisdom.  And I’ve always thought of myself as a [wo]man of expensive taste.”

I did my best to reason with myself, but I ended up fretting for about 24 hours, constantly poking myself in the side…checking that yes, it still hurts and probably exacerbating the upset muscle even more.  Eventually I convince myself that I feel a lump.  Clearly my cancer has come back.  So that’s it.  It’s decided.  Nothing left to do but have some wine and lay on the sofa.

Chris suggested I call my doctor’s office.

I resisted…what are they going to do for me anyhow?  If it’s back, it’s back.  Why call?  I’ll see them in a couple of weeks anyhow.

Chris again suggested that I just call my doctor’s office.

So, the next morning, I left a long, convoluted message for my doctor.  One of the nurse practitioners called me back and I gave her a long, convoluted explanation of why I called.  This NP was one of the clinicians I’ve never seen.  Had she known me better, known my paranoid and persistent ways, the outcome might have been different.  As it was, she strongly advised me to go to the ER because who knows?  It could be cancer, it could be something to do with my potential, phantom fistula, but I’d better get it checked out.  Oh and don’t just go to any ER, drive 1.5 hours to the ER at the hospital because they have all my scans and records already.

Oh, goody.

Chris gallantly left work to come with me and off we went.  Luckily, there’s never much of a wait at the ER at my hospital and we got in quickly.  I chatted with the nurse – who decided that my pain is from all the “fist pumping you’ve been doing while partying since you stopped chemo, right?”  Turns out, she’s really not that far off.  The very nice doctor came in and ruled out urinary/kidney stuff, didn’t think it was a GI thing, didn’t feel a lump, didn’t think it was my fistula being all weird.  Basically she told me, yeah, I think you’re fine.  Little muscle/nerve pain.  Go on home.  Relax.

My abdominal area has literally not bothered me since.

Oh, and my CA-125 is down to 4.  Yeah, that’s right, FOUR.

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