Monday, January 14, 2013

T is for...

I belong to an online Cervical Cancer support group, that is closed to the general public, even these women's husbands and other family members cannot see what they post. It is refreshing to be able to ask as well as answer questions without fear of judgement and embarrassment. Because, let's face it, having cancer in the never-nether regions is not always the easiest thing to talk about. Unless, you are me and are finding it easier and easier every day. There are even many women that have such a limited support group in their actual daily lives, that this has become a main ballast holding them up throughout treatment.

I don't visit the group every day, and I feel guilty about that. I find I lack the emotional stamina, nor the treasure trove of wit it would take to make it a daily venture. Some women are five, ten years into this disease and are on the page simply to offer advice and comfort. I do my best, but some days like today are more difficult. See, women die. Women that have been fighting for years, still don't make it and their friend that is also going through the same ordeal, alerts the rest of us. The rest of us making doctor's appointments, taking showers, hugging grandchildren, taking down Christmas decorations and checking the page for friends we've made, to see how their day was.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and many of the women in this group have changed their profile pictures to something teal, which is the color chosen to represent cervical cancer. I typically don't truck with such movements, not even for my own bandwagons, but I did today. I find that it is not only telling you my story, it is telling you theirs. Maybe, if you hear me, you will do what is necessary for your own health, before you find you are having to join a group like this yourself.

Friday, January 11, 2013

And yet

One year ago today I had my last chemo treatment. I hugged all of my nurses, gave them private cards and cried knowing tears with each one. Two days ago I had a follow up appointment with my surgeon, the first time I have ever been to Huntsman on a visit by myself. It was strange going in without my Mom. Jen went to one Radiation/Gyn appointment with me too. Todd came for a radiation day and Chris came to visit while I had my transfusion. My Dad came on one chemo day but he had no idea what he was getting into, the poor man. But Wednesday, I went to see Dr. Soisson on my lonesome, and it was something else. I had just had a pelvic and pap done in November so having that again would just be too many cooks in the kitchen, too may fingers in the pie and there for sure aint nobody pulling out no plum. (Wait, didn't we do that already?) Setting aside me getting in the stirrups, we start talking general health, side effects of radiation and where I am going with my Gastroenterologist up here in Ogden. Soisson is pleased with my Doc's choices and truly believes my cure rate is high. Then, the conversation flips to a place that could only happen with ME in the room.

Soisson: "What are you up to lately? Working?"
Me: "No, just hanging out with my bunnies."
S: "You have bunnies? Maybe you can help me catch the one in my yard that is pooping everywhere? My dog keeps eating it and then it pukes."
Me: "I'M NOT HELPING YOU TRAP A BUNNY!" I slap him on the arm and his nurse's face is red from laughing.
S: "I won't hurt it, I swear. I just want to relocate it, to Never Come Back Land."
Me: "Yeah... relocate it into a million tiny pieces! What have you been using? Carrots?"
S: "Well, yeah. It worked for Bugs Bunny."
Me: "Oh my word, this isn't Elmer Fuddville. Is that what you're doing, using all you learned from cartoons?" By this time the whole office is laughing, the nurse has one hand on her stomach and the other on the counter to keep herself from falling over.
S: "So really, what can I do? I'll just trap it and release it. Promise, promise." This guy is so nice and kind, he isn't lying.
Me: "You have to get good lettuce, like my bunnies like, romaine, green leaf, none of that iceberg crap. Or apples."
S: "So, not carrots."
Me: "NO!"
S: "Really? Apples?" He is partly just being a turd and surprised.
Me: "Yeah. They like really expensive ones too. Honey Crisp." Howls. Howls from all three of them. The nurse, Soisson and the Resident.

We ended with a scheduled pelvic and pap for July and we joked that he would try to get the Fireman from the calendars in the office for my appointment. Then I went over to the infusion room, where I used to have my chemo treatments and thankfully it wasn't very busy. I looked around for one of my nurses and was greeted very warmly by a new nurse that knew exactly what I was doing. She touched my arm, and looked me straight in the eyes, letting me know how welcome I was. That was when I saw her. My main companion on chemo day. Deann, the one they called specially for me cuz I was the shitty stick. We locked eyes, she recognized my face but I have lost so much weight it took her just a second. She kept on commenting on how good I look and how bad I looked during chemo. (I must have looked REALLY bad cuz a lot of people keep saying that.) I think we hugged at least five times. She cried. I cried. One year. One life, and yet...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bullshit left the building

Today, I was sitting in the office of my gastroenterologist when a patient and her daughter started to argue about the date. The patient said it was the seventh and her daughter insisted it was the eighth. It was settled by a woman checking in that said she knew it was the eighth since it was Elvis' birthday, the same birthday as her father that would be 99 and also 3 days after her eldest child was born. The conversation quickly turned to Memphis, banana and peanut-butter sandwiches with the bulk resting on Graceland. It took a dark and nasty turn when all of a sudden the patient spat out how "The King" must have been turning over in his grave when his "princess" married "that" Michael Jackson. I sat bolt upright. She sighed with such exasperation "at least they didn't have children." So children she has had with anyone else is just fine but at least NOT with MICHAEL? I don't dare assume her position on Michael and his children but there was this blatant disgust of him. It could have been the big race thing OR the generation gap, and unfortunately the big big did he or didn't he.

I didn't hear this bunch once mention how The King carried on a sexual relationship with a fourteen year old girl. Or, since her father basically blackmailed Elvis into marrying Priscilla, and when he ultimately did, that made him somehow all the more decent. His affairs the entire time they were engaged and married, the drugs and booze, all this is seen as acceptable behavior for a REAL man, a star. How can anyone expect a child of such dysfunction to choose anything but more dysfunction? She saw someone like her father: talented, isolated, strange, lonely and confused in more ways than any of us in the public could ever know.

So, today at the gastroenterologist's, I got an earful of bullshit.

When I got in my car, what CD was I playing? Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall."

Friday, January 4, 2013

In Contrast

Murder of Crows, strung out across the naked trees;
A raucous strand of lights.
Or more like the plump black olives on my
cousin's fingers at every family party.
A lick of wind, sends me hints
of why they gathered.
Plotting mischief,
and with their inky pitch,
make the whiteness brighter.

The Bun

The Bun
If you don't like rabbits, you can suck it, shove it and then go soak your head.