Monday, November 25, 2013

Why, I'll murdelize ya!

After some slowed-down cricket music, some crying, and sleep, I awoke with a hypothesis: I think there's just too much goddamn estrogen in my body. The X was able to work best just after I'd received those couple ovary-punishing Zoladex implants, but once then, my ovaries were able to rebound and begin delivering the goods to the cancer cells once again, sort of kicking X's ass. In my mind, it plays out like a Three Stooges episode. Curly is my ovaries, getting knocked down and then getting up, slapping his own face a bunch of times, pulling his trousers up over his belly and getting back in the ring for some more slapstick hijinks. Just have to get Moe up in here and knock a bitch out... 

I'll miss my estrogen. It's been a lovely visit since I stopped Taxol but its time to say bye-bye.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I am having some doubts about whether this Xeloda is working after all. Initially, I know it must have been working because the pain and palpable lesions definitely subsided. Over the past two weeks, however, I have had pain in a very specific area in my back, just right of my spine. When Casey rubs the knotty muscle there, it feels so incredibly horrible that it feels good. Odd, I know. Cue John Cougar. It's really hard to articulate the sensation.

I've also noticed that I can only sleep on my left side. I get that suffocating sensation if I don't like something is kinking my vena cava. It's the same feeling we women get when we are pregnant. Good sleep is gold to me and it is pretty distressing to wake up to that sensation in the night.

Over the past several days, I've noticed a very uncomfortable fullness in my thoracic area after eating, like being pregnant again and my uterus is compressing my lungs. My shirts get crazy tight around my ribs, too. I also get some bad reflux. I just lay back on a pillow to try and open my ribcage to have room to breathe. Yeah... Thanksgiving is gonna be great.

Phaneromania and hand-foot syndrome make for a bad match. My fingers are peeling off and I can't not help that along.  I have learned that the BEST lotion ever is Trader Joe's Midsummer Night's Cream. It's unscented and actually feels like it soaks into my rawhide hands.

I am glad that I am seeing my doctor on Tuesday. I have no scans scheduled but I think I'm supposed to be scanned after one more cycle of X.  We'll see what they say... I don't like to wait. If I feel something, I want to get going IMMEDIATELY. I fucking hate this. I fear there is bald winter in my immediate future.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Retirement: Giving a Ripped up Middle Finger to Making a U-Turn If Possible

At the beginning of this month, I announced my intent to retire. It's been a gradual but inevitable detour off the road I've been traveling for 20 years and I've hit the point where my internal GPS has not started the refrain of "Recalculating... Recalculating..." but at this point, I am past the rumble strips and would definitely sustain some damage if I jumped the median back on to the highway. Now begins my slow, circumvalent exit, the main road still visible as I curve around and under it to get to my new main drag -- being a stay-at-home parent with cancer -- on which I will "scoop the loop".

This last week was really all about the grisly underpass where the hitch hikers take a piss: putting together what is needed for my most veteran instructors to run two back-to-back competitions. I spent the week marveling at the new technology we use to get the actual data needed for the competitions (the team names, routine entries, invoices, and payments made) but the week culminated in the frantic manipulation of the low-tech. Yes, girls. Going to The Kinks. This is the old State Director name for Kinkos Copy Places, now FedEx-Kinkos, but maiden names die hard, right? Funktionslust and the buzz I get from having everything in its right place, clipped and stapled and arranged in plastic file boxes for the user to open and smile, gave way to begging for more, more, more colored paper and rolling around on the floor in a most undignified manner, licking fingers that touched the floor to count and recount scoresheets. The hand-and-foot syndrome that I was able to avoid up until then started with the skin of my right middle finger peeling off, followed by the corner of my left thumb. Then it's driving around town to pick up my two bundles of joy from school and drop off my other two bundles of joy (each event's file box) with an awesome Utah transplant just leaving the dance studio near me. Relieved and shot, I returned home to open a card from a dance team (whom I'd all but abandoned ever having as a customer up until two years ago) with a sweet note from each dancer and a picture of the team inside. I just collapsed in Casey's arms in tears, spent. Yep, this is right choice and, yep, it still hurts like hell to make it.

Here, my phone is propped up by a richly deserved glass of wine on Friday night.

This week is more business as usual. I close out the return paperwork and send it back, but I'll also send my supplies along with it for everyone in the office to pick through, take what they want and send the rest on to whoever needs it. I liken it to a retiree's version of a Tibetan Sky Burial. If you don't know what that is, read about it but don't watch a video about it.  It's much more poetic in theory than in practice.

I'm struggling to finish this cycle of X. I'm sick to my stomach with a big sore in my throat and I slept all day, but Friday starts a ten-day break during which I'll get my oophorectomy. I definitely don't think my ovaries are going without a fight; there's still a faint diffusion of lust directed at random males in my path that tells me I'm in the weakest of heat. Don't even take it personally -- it's just chemicals, y'all. My husband gets to take it personally (ba-dum-bump CRASH!)

Monday, November 04, 2013

Frexles and My Liver Goes to the Aesthetician

Hey, all! So I'm going on Cycle 3 of X. I finally figured out that nadir on Xeloda is a thing. The Thursday night I take my last dose, I am so grossed out about it. Not only does taking the medicine make me gag but the thought of food makes me shudder. Wut? This, coming from the lady who gained 50 pounds during her first pregnancy? I have always loved food so much, but at the end of two weeks of Xeloda, I'm ready to just pound some tasteless Soylent space-shake and sleep. Maybe I'll drop some of this weight I gained from the steroids I took on chemo. That'd be a perk.

At this nadir, just driving a fucking car for five hours sends me into the 13-hour sleep bender. The kind that makes you have the most insane and vivid dreams (as confirmed by Louis CK here in a most NSFW manner -- 

I keep having a dream where I am in a lovely spa setting and my liver has been disembodied yet I'm aware, most relaxed, and feeling what is going on. It sits on a white towel, and it is a large, smooth, semi-opaque maroon cutlet with small protuberances of varying sizes, like boiled fingerling potatoes or cuts of string cheese, throughout. Some are visibly sticking out. Others create an uneven surface underneath.  A pair of small, lovely ladies' hands, covered in massage oil, begin with effleurage strokes, gently stroking my liver and applying subtly increasing pressure to *pop* loosen the largest tumors closest to the surface, leaving holes. After a short time, the surface of my liver looks like a slab of black cherry jello salad that used to have grapes in it, and now there are perfectly shaped craters instead. Then, the hands replenish their aromatherapeutic oils and begin deeper massage, loosening smaller masses that find their way through the larger holes. Each time, the hands wipe these aside and retrieve another squirt of lavender-scented oil. Lastly, the hands press deepest to extract a slurry of gravel-like tumors that emerge from the holes to be hygienically wiped away, leaving me with a liver that is clean and translucent through pathways where the light shines through. I know this sounds hella creepy but it truly is very relaxing and pleasant. What do you expect from a phaneromaniac? I feel such a sense of calm and release of anxiety and tension during this imagery.

On the topic of aesthetics, I have noticed an increase of dark freckles on my face. Fortunately, these aren't like the dirty looking melasma we women get from being pregnant or using hormonal birth control. I was dreading the return of the Dust Mustache! Nope, these are just scatterings of tiny dark spots across my nose, chin, and even on my lips. Hopefully I can keep it under control by being even more vigilant with the SPF.

I go back to the gyn-onc tomorrow to sheepishly apologize for the last minute cancellation of my oophorectomy and discuss rescheduling.