Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oh Waffles thou art with me, thy butter and thy syrup, they comfort me

Okay, let's just get right down to it. Have you seen Carrot Top lately? When Carrot Top is roided up like this, it makes me think it's time for me to do something about this weight gain.
TodayI made three waffles, one for the dog, one for me, and one for my new set of hips; I ate right before the old Interferon, which I've started taking earlier in the day (4:20) in order to sleep through side effects. Plus, it's helped with appetite, which, I'm not sure, but may be a good thing. However, we're officially building on to the apartment for my a## now.
Went to the Y today, and tried to work out because I figured I just couldn't take this look any longer. I've got more chins than China. Janet Jackson has nothing on me. (Isn't chemo supposed to make you lose weight?) So, this is the second time I've worked out in the last year, and both times didn't exactly work out too well. The first time was 7 months ago, and I was in bed for 3 days straight afterward. Since then, I just figured the muscle pain and joint pain was too much, so I've just been walking a little, and I mean very little.
So, the Y. I got an email from a fellow chemo-er suggesting I try riding a bike instead of running, because it's lower impact. And I felt better than I have in a long time (maybe it was the 2 Vicodin) but I thought maybe an elliptical runner would be a good idea. Two minutes in, I was having chest pains, and about 30 seconds later the machine shut down, saying "Your heart rate is too high." I switched machines, thinking I could outsmart the little sucker, and again the machines shut me down every 30 seconds after that. I eventually got 15 minutes of running in by moving to a machine without a HR monitor on it. Yeah, probably not the smartest thing I've ever done, by far. Again, we'll blame the Vitamin V on that, as inaccurate as it is. And, get this, I barely made one mile in 15 minutes. A year ago, I could've run a mile in 15 minutes with just one leg. I could've hopscotched a mile in 15 minutes. I could've done it with Carrot Top on my back (old Carrot Top, not roidy Carrot Top).
Oh well, I guess it's just another motivator to get this chemo over with and get back into old habits. I'm looking forward to it. Today the rash is a little worse than usual, and I've got some pretty serious lymphadema. It hurts more than it usually does, but I'm guessing it's just from more swelling than typical. I'm eating ice like a freakin eskimo- my guess is that I'm probably anemic, because ice always tastes so good when my numbers are low. I don't feel bad, though, and I guess the workout was at least worth a try. Soon I'll be back in the old saddle, feeling fit as a fiddle. And hey, double chins aren't THAT bad. It could be worse. :) Right?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ninja, Please

Well, it's a new week, and the good news is that it seems like the site is getting a little more play, and more play is better for just about anybody, I say. Those of you helping to keep my site numbers up are highly appreciated, and it seems to be paying off. Here's props to my peeps.
Word to your mamas.
On the health front, unpredictable stuff again and that means another chance to piss and moan. I'm trying, now that I only have 2 months left (I know, WTF, right?), to start a new habit of journaling when I'm feeling like this. It's been a rough day today, odd following a pretty good week: a lot of nausea, a little
fever, chestpains, shakiness, general malaise. Not so bad I can't get out of bed, so that's good. Not so bad I have to take a pain pill, so that's good, too.
Weird thing is, I was in the car today, letting my thoughts race, and I kept thinking about how, even after a year of this, it still seems so unreal. I still, to
this day, sometimes question if I'm really sick. Do I really have cancer? Is it as bad and as serious as they say? Will I have to take chemo? Maybe it's the low numbers, but I've been on chemo for 10 months now. 10 months and sometimes I just wonder if I'm faking it. Am I sick? If it weren't for the chemo, I don't even think I'd feel sick. So unreal. And yet, this is the strangeness of cancer. The strangeness of being young and feeling so bizarre being ill. I guess in some circles it could be called denial. I guess, but it's way too in my face to be that anymore. Seems so weird that after all this time I still can't control so much. Anyway.

Geez, I bet y'all get tired of hearing me whine. Speaking of wine...

So, I got an email a few days ago from a guy named Peter with his own blog
called the Interferon experience at I want to encourage all of you to check it out, support a fellow survivor and blogger, as I think he could use some cheery words these days. Interferon can be quite a nasty old lady, and a few kind sentiments never hurt anybody.
On the upside, Bob Marley sang to me today, I got free pancakes, Bear's back home, and my family is healthy and well, so I can't really ask for too much more. Things could be alot worse, and I'm just gonna keep that in mind. Hope all of you are well, too.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

999- Evil when Doing Handstands

Well, kids, things are looking good. If you haven't checked in on the regular site lately, you really should, because it's new and improved and looking great. There's more to come, of course, but the revamping in the works is a big move on our part to target the 20 t0 30 crowd who may be looking for survivors going down a similar path, and we're glad to be just that.

The new meds seem to be good, too. The steroid appears to be helping the rash a little, even though it makes me eat everything that isn't nailed down. The double dose of Lexapro has definately started to keep the feelings of depression at bay(it's amazing and awesome how well- and how fast- a new dose helps), and the pain killer is really helping with the side effects of the Interferon. Overally, I'm actually really happy I threw the fit that I did at the doctor's office, even though at the time I felt like a total idiot. And, let's face it, I probably was. The good news is- I'll say it again- that I'm lucky to have been connected with great doctors. Dr. Daya was really awesome this week, and made me feel so much better. He's right- two months is not that long in comparison to what I've done already. Plus, it's totally worth it in comparison to having this cancer come back. I'm starting to feel more like myself already, and it's only been a week or so since the change in drugs, but I'm so glad that it helps. Bobby even said today that it's good to hear me laughing again, and it's good to be back. I missed you guys.
It just goes to show that when you feel like something's not right, it pays to follow up on it and insist on something to help. I don't think if I would've just asked for new stuff that I would've gotten anything. I guess the squeaky wheel gets the grease in these cases.
Anyway, enough of that.
Tomorrow I'm going out of town to present a scholarship given in memory of my dad. I'm a little nervous, and not sure what I'm gonna say, but it's such an honor to do and such a great way to remember him. Seems like 10 years ago that he passed away, and yet I guess it wasn't even 2 years yet.
I remember the first time we talked about him having cancer, and I think now how different my attitude is about living with it and how it's not the death sentence so many of us associate with it. I'm lucky that things have changed, that advancements have been made, that this was the year I had melanoma and not 2 years ago, when Interferon wasn't even around. Lucky that there's mice out there giving up recombinant DNA for suckas like me, those crafty little fools in their tiny white lab coats putting together proteins. Isn't technology wonderful? I think so, too.
Just 2 months left, and everything is going to change for me once again. It's been a crazy year, and even though it's not over yet, I'm encouraged that the end is near.
I know I'll walk away from this forever changed, but that doesn't mean it has to be a bad thing. I just know I'm excited about this new chapter in my life and looking forward to the changes.
Can't wait!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I rant, therefore I am

Okay, truth?
The truth is I went to two separate doctors this week and told them both, "I'm not doing this Interferon anymore." The side effects have gotten worse, and it's starting to cause depression, and I just thought to myself, It's not even worth this. I've got two months left, and they'll let me off of this so I can go back to work and have a normal life again.
With Dr. Daya, the results were significantly better than with my new oncologist at Parkland, but let's face it- neither let me off the hook. I did get better meds, though, so I guess I can't complain.
I knew going into this situation that I'd probably get the whole, This-is-a-serious-disease speech, which I did (twice). And, you know, nobody wants to hear that, even when it's the truth. Nobody wants to hear that if or when this cancer comes back, that it will have attacked the organs in a matter of 3 months and life will essentially be over. You hear that, and you just think, What are you talking about? I'm 30. There's no way I'll be dead in 5 years. I mean, my parrot won't even be dead in 5 years, and he lives on crackers and water.
And then the whole thing starts all over again, with me thinking how this isn't worth it if I'm only going to be alive 5 more years, how the last 10 years have just flown by, and how stupid this stupid disease is. It's not like liver cancer, where you get it just because it's in your genetics somewhere and there's not really anything you can do about it. This disease is, many times, preventable, and more people get diagnosed with it than any other cancer in America. How much sense does that make? Then I just get mad, just get overwhelmed thinking about the fact that in the 1930s, the chance for a person living in the U.S. to develop melanoma was 1 in 1,500 and now it's 1 in 74. How does this happen? I bet Al Gore could tell me. Still, it seems to make no sense.
What I wish for is one of those American Beauty moments, when the beauty of the world just fills me up and blah blah blah blah blah, but the reality is, I haven't had one of those moments in a while. What I've been thinking lately is about the 60% chance that within the next few years, I'll be going through all this shit all over again, and it makes me sick to think of it. I'm down, chemo sucks, and even though I'm taking measures to make all of this better, it's still so overwhelming sometimes. I'm sure you can imagine. And even though it sucks, (have I mentioned how bad this sucks?), I know that things could be so much worse, and I guess I'm just happy for this moment right now.
I'm taking the chemo again like a champ, I'm dealing with what I can, and I'm doing my best to just believe I'm the exception to the statistic. And if all of that works out, I know I'll be just fine.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Free chemo in the parking lot

Here's a great little list just for fun I jacked from


I'll check back in soon.


Top 10 Ways to Disrupt the Waiting Room

Ask everyone around you to do things "stat".
Offer free prostate exams.
Ask everyone nervously whether they have a "spare catheter."
Pop a tape in the VCR of you in an avocado-eating contest.
Supplement bland waiting room periodicals with nurse-fetish pornography.
Give your best rendition of that dance-floor classic: The Naked Raptor.
Hold up sign that reads, "Free chemo in the parking lot."
Initiate a spelling bee. Be unflinchingly cruel with errors.
Leaf through every magazine in the room, shake hands with everyone else and then say loudly, "Jesus, this flesh-eating scabies itches like a mother."
Repeatedly refer to the doctor you're waiting to see as "The Trembling Butcher."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Spirits are High, Numbers are Low

Here's my advice to you: don't get cancer. Although, I guess the reality is, the cancer doesn't actually hurt, it's the chemo that sucks. So, really, I'm recommending that you don't inject interferon into your body. That being said, if your doctor says take it, s/he does have a little more medical expertise than me, so you may want to listen to them. But whatever. You make the call.
I'd first like to say that I know you may not want to hear all this, because, you know, it's gross and kinda depressing, but if this is what's necessary to get you to wear sunscreen, then by God, I'm bearing my soul. Wear sunscreen dammit!
The chemo's been a little rough the last couple of days, and I guess my numbers are low, because my gums have been bleeding for the last 24 hours (which doesn't hurt, but also doesn't do much for my breath, as you can imagine), and I have an eye infection in both eyes, thrush in my mouth, and what appears to be impetigo in my nose. The body aches aren't much fun, either, and the muscles in my legs cramp when I stand, which explains why the Boob had to kinda pull me out of bed this morning. Food somehow helps, and I'm not sure how that works, but it does, so I've been trying to eat regularly and healthy stuff. Ugghh. Anyway, those chief complaints along with the joint pain in my shoulders, neck, hands, elbows, hips, knees and ankles has been pretty bad- so bad that I'm taking Vicodin to relieve the pain. But the Vicodin does help, and, what can I say, life is pretty good when I'm on it. Who loves it?
It sucks. Have I mentioned that? Yeah, I guess I did. And, as usual, I wonder if I should tell y'all this stuff. But I feel like poopie on a stick, and, as Bobby says, "everything's not always rosie. People need to know that." Maybe he's right. Maybe this will motivate people to be more aware of cancer risks. Maybe Armageddon has subliminal pictures of naked women sliced into the film. Maybe Condeleeza Rice is really a man. We just don't know, people. All I know is what's going on right here and now with me, and I'm taking another Vicodin.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

We put the RAD in ERADICATE

If you love literature, John Donne, academia, scholars, or just people who like to talk to themselves, "Wit" is a movie I'd like to recommend to you. In it, Emma Thompson, a long-time English professor, finds that she has metastatic ovarian cancer, and is convinced by her doctor to partake in an 8 month chemo regimen, in which, she is told, she will have to be "very tough." Later, she finds out she is the only patient to ever survive the full 8 months at the maximum dose, and that she is indeed very tough. Her resilience was inspiring, to say the least, and I loved the hard-headed nature of the character, who threw in a lot of comedy about medical staff that was also concise and accurate. Eventually, the chemo is essentially and sadly her demise, but (of course) there is that moment in between when she begins to realize what the lesson in all of this was, and it's one we could all take note of. Not a movie you'll necessary cry all the way through, but not a happy ending, either, Wit is the best portrayal of a 45 day stay in the hospital that I've ever seen ("How can the moments last so long and at the same time slip so quickly by?"), and it struck me several times that the writer must've gone through chemo at some point, because you can only write a chemo fever like that if you've experienced it yourself. I also loved the message of what a huge difference a good nurse makes in the midst of treatment. Anyway, this movie comes highly recommended from not only me, but Planet, and offers a truthful, satisfying ending you probably won't see in the Queen Latifah edition of this film. Just remember, it's not for the faint of heart or the hopeless cheesy romantic, and that the "storybook" ending isn't alltogether a happy one, but the realization of the importance of the simple pleasures in life is. Hope you enjoy!

-Miss M

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Miss Melanoma Loves El Jefe

If I may be so cheesy, I'd like to open the blog today with a quote I read.

"I'm learning little by little that we are the one who decide what our lives will be. Things happen to us. We cannont stop that. But our reaction to these things is the thing that really matters. " -unknown

On that note, ok, I admit it, I suck. It's been like 2 weeks with no blog, and I've been slacking on the pick-up. All I can say is, the chemo has been pretty wild getting used to again- that rash I had in the beginning came back in full force, and the only thing that really helped was Benadryl. So, after taking about 6 a day for a week, I"m finally pretty okay again, and by pretty okay, I mean than my speech isn't too slurred, I can keep my eyes open, and I have stopped drooling on myself.

Anyway, enough of that. All else on the cancer front is good. And, in case you all don't know, May is Melanoma Awareness month. Yeah! Now you're aware. And in your awareness, I encourage you to pass on this site information to anyone you think could use it (or even if you think they can't) and be sure and keep that epidermis covered out there.

On this front, I'm working on some activism, and getting as much publicity out there about melanoma as I can. Only 3 months of chemo left (as of today) and since after that I'll be going back to work, I want to use this time very wisely. I'm hoping that means some difference in the way people view skin cancer (at the very least) and cancer patients just in general. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them to me. Sarcasm and synicism also welcome.

On the same note, if you know me, or even if you don't, I'd like to inform you about an upcoming social event in honor of diminishing cancer forever. It's the "No More F%#@ing Chemo Party" we'll be holding in August in Dallas, and it should be a good time for all. My favorite drinks will be served, along with some fine entertainment and a beer pong table.
I think that's it for now, folks. The plan is to tape my chemo injection tonight, but the camcorder has been on the fritz, so we'll see how it goes. Otherwise, don't forget to mark your calendars, and keep your eye on the prize.
See ya soon.



I'm Too Young For This!