Yesterday’s trek to the clinic resulted in no chemo treatment, due to the news of another low white blood cell count. No biggie. No sense in worrying about it, either. I am assured that this is fairly routine, and aside from limiting my contact with people outside my house in order to reduce the likelihood of contracting an infection, or a cold, or the flu, or a fever-producing something that would further delay my treatment, there is nothing to do but wait.
I am scheduled for another trip to the clinic on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Nic and San are doing everything they can to make my “home confinement” interesting. San makes sure I go with her on Max’s morning walk, which at least gets me outside for twenty or thirty minutes before our neighbors are up and about.
With Netflix and Apple TV there is always something to watch. Yesterday Nic and I went through three episodes of “Sons of Anarchy” and after dinner everyone enjoyed the last episode of the BBC production of Sherlock Holmes. My inner political junkie gets a daily dose of the Daily Show, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell, with a little Chris Matthews thrown in when he’s not on a tiresome rant. I have books to read and blogs to write, emails and messages to respond to. San has been cooking my favorite foods, Alyssa brings me carrot cake, and Max provides a constant source of doggie entertainment; so all in all, it’s not so bad to be confined to our home.
But the idea of being confined, of knowing I am confined, is something else entirely.
I’m sure you know what I mean. Yada, yada, yada. And yes, this is Bud being a whiney bitch, but there it is. It’s my cancer and I’ll whine if I want to.
But I won’t whine long.
Yesterday I completed another long day in the chemo chair, emerged from it tired but happy (you are always happy when a session is over and there are congratulatory hugs shared all around). Slept well but dreamt – for some reason – of next season’s “Sons of Anarchy” episodes. It will be interesting to see if my dream pans out. If it does, then one un-anticipated side effects of chemo is prescience and maybe I can channel that skill into a lottery win. J
In my continuing work here, trying to write about my/our journey through Cancerland, I feel a need to “go deeper” into my experiences (San is keeping her own journal), at least deeper than the opening paragraph, which, without the bit about SOA and a lottery win, is the kind of illness gloss that is true but isn’t very helpful in showing you “what it is like to” live with cancer. So in the spirit of doing that, what follows is a chronicle of yesterday’s chemo treatment and today’s reflection on it. It is a longer piece but I hope you find it helpful.
I’ve allowed a longer time than usual to pass between blog posts but I have a good reason for it. Put simply, I’ve been enjoying myself. My old college roomie, Stew Auyash, flew in from Ithaca, New York for a long weekend. Along with San, Stew and I did what we have always done together – talked, laughed, cooked, ate, saw a couple of movies, and took a road trip (this time down to Tucson to see Nic, et al.).
No time for blogging during his visit. Then yesterday San and I dropped Stew off at the airport and returned home for some much-needed rest. Today, before I began writing here, I had revisions to do for Chapter 2 in the forthcoming 7th edition of Eisenberg, Goodall, & Trethewey’s Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint(St. Martins). So I guess you could say that I’ve been busy having fun.
Not a bad thing for this particular Chemosabe. But of course that is only part of my story. This is Cancerland after all.
Since I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer and entered an aggressive chemo treatment in early June, there have been clues given to me about how this initial part of our journey through Cancerland – this new mystery in our lives – might turn out. But as is the case in many detectives engaging those mysteries, connecting the dots is much easier to accomplish in hindsight.
One of those clues is that when patients reach the end of their treatments they are entitled to “The Happy Dance.” Each dance involves members of the oncology team and San and I have witnessed a few of them. But we have also observed that each dance is a little different, tailored to the patient. What is in store for me? For us? No matter how hard we tried to get details prior to the dance, the team members only gave us back big smiles, laughter, and obvious deflections. So that is how it was to be. It was, for this detective, “A Case of Strategic Dance Ambiguity.”
Last year at this most merry of holiday (holy-day) seasons, we were back in Alabama visiting our relatives and enjoying the hospitality of San’s folks, Martha and Clarence Bray. I was in high political mode, having just published a book Counter-Narrative to great reviews by progressives and predictably panned by right-wingers.
So, because one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, I then wrote a series of political blogs that brought Scrooge into the 21stcentury as what in this year’s fashion we would call one of the 1%. My version begins:
Ebenezer Scrooge, Teapublican from Down There, tallied his books for 2010 with a self-satisfied smile. It had been a good year, a very good year. His disinformation business, funded by the Brothers Koch and popularized by his old pal Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda outlets had succeeded in convincing an increasingly docile electorate of many false things. That the world was not warming and those who said it was were dreaded socialists; that health care for all was really a liberal government takeover that would lead to—he licked his oversized lips—“death panels”; that increased regulation of the oil and food industries was further evidence of the government’s unwarranted intrusion into their lives and profits; and that lowering taxes for the rich—including himself, of course—was as important to the maintenance of democracy as slop was to the maintenance of pigs. Oink! He smiled. Yes, this had been a very good year!