Archive for December, 2005

No news is good news

Sorry folks.

Last chemo cycle went real well. So well that I haven’t really worried about that.

I should be worrying about finals and grading. I still have a final to finish for the morning.

But things went a little too well with the health psychiatrist at a routine meeting last Thursday morning, a meeting with a life coach during Cancer Wellfit last Thursday night, and a psychotherapist during Wellfit last night. I just can’t get stressed about grading. I’m finally able to do some. It’s coming along. I should be able to finish it Thursday. I sure hope so. But the normal hysteria, well…I have other things to be hysterical about.

I’m putting a lot of faith in Thursday. After my final Wednesday morning, I’ll be driven down to Gainesville. (Charlie didn’t want me to have to worry about the drive, so he’s hired a driver for me…all together now: “Ahhhhhh.” Yeah, it is sweet.) I’ll be corporate wife and attend a couple of InfoTech Christmas parties. I know lots of people there so it should be fun. (Of course, hiding the Santa hat from Charlie will be a challenge, but I think I can sneak it into the big party Friday.)

But I’ll be in a hotel room all day Thursday while Charlie’s at work, so plan to finish grading then. I hope to get all my finals graded on the ride down.

But to do that, I guess I need to finish writing them.

(No, nothing about Ike and the Christmas tree because I’m afraid to put up the tree. A friend’s cat broke a leg in a battle with a tree. But I anticipate I’ll run out of common sense this weekend!)


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Well, this is a first for me. One title for three entries.

Let’s start with the least controversial. I have just about no ability to concentrate after chemotherapy. Go figure. So I have to find special things to read. My mother used to love “Where’s Waldo” books when it got really bad. Fortunately, I’m a little bit better than that.

Well, maybe.

I read Entertainment Weekly. But that’s only when things are at their worst. I also read The Week Magazine, a very pleasant newsmagazine where no story is over 2 pages and almost all are a page or less. It’s particularly nice now, when I’m not paying as much attention to things in the world, to have it all predigested for me.

And I also am catching up on lots of columnists. I love Laurie Notaro, and not just for the way she spells her first name. I mean, how can I not identify with “True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive” or “Autobiography of a Fat Bride?”

And I like lots of the contributors to This American Life. I’ve done all of David Sedaris’s and am reading David Rakoff’s book Fraud now. The articles are still longer than my attention span, but it is a fine book. How, in this very merry season, can you resist the tale of Christmas Freud?

Which brings me to fraud number 2. I feel like such a fake, a poser, a poseur, a fraud so much of the time. Cancer is a big deal and life threatening and I’m just sailing through it. I didn’t take my Compozine out once for nausea this last treatment cycle. I ate almost reasonably without worries. (We learned a lot about what I can and can’t eat and I actually had the sense to go with what I learned.) The tumor is getting smaller and smaller. Everyone is so worried about me, but everything is going so right. What the hell did I do to deserve this?

Yeah, I did sleep 20 hours Saturday, but was that because of chemo or because I’m just lazy? I’m horridly behind in grading. Maybe it’s the chemo and not being able to concentrate and such, but from time to time I’ve decided I’m just a fake.

Okay, when I’m reasonable, I may be able to convince myself that’s not completely true, but lots of you know me fairly well, so you know I’m not always the most reasonable person around. So I’m spending lots of time beating myself up for being so far behind. It can’t really all be the fault of the cancer.

It doesn’t help me that Charlie tells me nothing is really all that new and I do this during every finals period. He actually expects me to believe I’ll get through this and have some perspective. Sheesh!

It’s interesting. Charlie works with someone who, while working in state government, had to investigate a worker who claimed to have cancer. The guy got lots of his coworkers to contribute leave time to him so he could be treated. Yeah, turned out he was faking it all.

No, I’m not thinning my hair intentionally. I really do have cancer. It’s just I don’t know why it’s not worse than this.

But I’m still incredibly thankful it’s not worse than this!

And now, for part 3. Not every medical professional in Macon is completely stellar, I learned the hard way today. I figured I’d talk to a nutritionist about ways to deal with getting adequate nutrition while avoiding nausea and food smells and those fun things that happen the week after chemo. Sure, I know I can handle turkey sandwiches and yoghurt, but maybe there’s something I’m missing.

Like grits. Are grits the same as oatmeal? The protein in corn is a whole bunch more complicated than that in oats, so will it affect my digestion?

But I was too much of a temptation to the nutritionist. She really, really wanted to deal with my weight problem. Yeah, I have a weight problem, but that’s not number one on my list now. And when I’m asking for ideas of things to eat after chemo, don’t tell me that I need to throw out all my lovely frozen foods and cook from scratch and it’s easy. Nothing is easy the week after chemo.

I’ve dealt with people like her before. The only tool they have is a hammer, so every problem is a nail. This nutritionist may have a lovely weight loss program, but that’s not what my problem is now. And when she told me that it would require major lifestyle modification on my part, well, sorry. Doing that already. Dealing with cancer you see.

And gotta to get off to Cancer Wellfit. Yoga tonight.

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Administrative Note

This is Charlie here. I’ve moved Laurie’s blog to a new server (because of things I have to do with other sites on the servers here at home). It shouldn’t look any different to you. Except, when you post comments, you’ll no longer get security warnings about my homemade SSL certificate.

If you see any problems, please leave a comment about them.

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Pictures from a hairier time

So, I’ve finally gotten around to downloading some of the more recent pictures from my camera. It struck me that some of you may never have seen what I look like and might be curious and others haven’t seen me lately. Here’s what the haircut looks like dry (not that it looks that way any more, but right now my balding head scares small children).


And here’s a shot from the chemotherapy treatment room (first treatment, so no hat!). There’s plenty of room for my crocheting and Charlie and his computer (and even an open WAP, so he doesn’t have to phone into the Internet). The nurses are amazing and don’t complain, no matter how much we spread out.


So far, I’m recovering incredibly well from the second chemo session. Of course, I just realized finals start this week, so there’s lots I really have to get done and very little energy to do it, but “All will be well.”

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Chemo redux

Okay, this is a blog, not a suspense novel, so let’s get to the point. I had my second chemotherapy session. It went amazing well.

Now, the details. (And they’re not in a “click for more” section because Dad’s computer doesn’t always show the more and I want him to get all these details. Yeah, of course I called him already, but still.)

So, the day started great. I had breakfast with the ladies of the church. They are so kind and supportive. Not to mention fun! Breakfast was quite white–biscuits and gravy.

I got to go to my Scientific Inquiry class. My students are also pretty durn special (in all classes, not just SCI). It was good to spend time with them, even if we were talking about hypothesis testing.

The time at the doctor’s started slowly. My port didn’t give blood, so they had to flush it. While they were waiting for it to clear, I went to see the doctor. We played the “Find the Tumor” game. He couldn’t find it while I was sitting up and thinks that all he could find while I was laying down were the gel markers that were put in a few weeks ago.

So, it wasn’t just wishful prodding on the parts of Charlie and me. When your doctor loses at “Find the Tumor,” you’re the winner. Dr. Burns is even talking about the possibility of surgery after three treatments instead of six. (I’d still have the last three after surgery, but still, it’d be nice to cut out the cancer.)

When I got back to the chemo room, my port had cleared and the nurse was able to take blood. It took a while to get it tested, but it was good enough for treatment, so we started with three nausea drugs, then went through the three chemo drugs. It was pleasantly uneventful. I got a couple of hats crocheted. And I showed that I have a much better ability to learn than IkeGetDownFrom there. For lunch, instead of a 12 inch Spicy Italian sub, I had a respectable, bland, white, turkey sandwich.

At this point, a romance novel would say something like “Things looked to be going so well for Laurie and Charlie, but then…” But this isn’t a romance novel either, so then we came home. The worst thing I can say is I spent over 5 1/2 hours at the oncologist’s. And compared to all that could have been “the worst,” that is just not that bad.

So, we got home, walked the dog, and went out to Cancer Wellfit. I figured I’d take it easy, so walked a half mile less than usual, but went through the rest of the evening. After walking and working on the weight machines, we had an hour of Yogafit. We were a motley crew…one person had chemo two days ago and another was coming down with the flu. Martha took it very easy on us, but just being able to do simple things sure helped my mood and maybe even my body.

So, we got home, had another reasonable turkey sandwich, and are currently serving as obstacles in the war of the animals. It’s different in a good way from my first day of chemo (which really wasn’t that bad). I wasn’t nearly as afraid and had some idea what would happen. I took better care of myself and the Wellfit program is just incredible. It was good to have somewhere to go instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself and nice to have people who would be able to understand when I slacked off on some of the stretching (my port area is a bit sore, but I had a needle in it for over 5 hours, so I’m not really surprised).

And I had pears in pink jello for dessert, so there was even some non-white food in the day.

So, it may get worse in the next few days, but this second chemotherapy cycle is sure starting out well. Thanks for all your support–along with my crocheting, I brought the cards as I’ve received to remind me of all the wonderful people out there praying for me and wishing me well. As Julian of Norwich said “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Thanks y’all.

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