Tuesday, January 31, 2006

archives and "poetry"

thank you jules ,for pointing out that the archives are now inaccessible
all my blind butchering of html blog code has divorced me of my history
sort of
if anyone knows how to undo that voodoo i didn't do so well, do tell

also, i think it's time i cleared up something about the toothpaste...
i wasn't actually asking for anyone's sincere opinion on what to do w/it. i had already decided that once it was christened, it was over. kinda like a bottle of fine champagne on a ship. i was being snotty about the whole thing. sorry if anyone wasted time on that one.

and now a word from our sponsor...GasX
no, scratch that
an ode to GasX

GasX
oh
your extra strength
spans the length
of my digestive tract
in fact
of your mighty power
few know
thru the chemo
you have been primo
oh little pink chews
i love
yous guys
GasX, you DEFLATE me!
ps
please say
i can take more than 4 a day
(ask your doctor)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

like a phoenix

am considering resurrecting the defunct attnshoppers blog (www.attnshoppers.blogspot.com) but as it was originally intended -
as a five and dime of my mind
my favorite things... eclectic, important, ridiculous, useless, detritus and ephemera and mainstays of our lives.
a boo radley treasure trove
ok, well, don't hold your breath cuz u know how i procrastinate

speaking of which, happy new year (i'm on time for the lunar new year tho, so happy year of the dog)

Friday, January 27, 2006

only 1 vote

only 1 vote cast in my survey...
i was being sarcastic anyway
i threw the toothpaste out
but if anyone cares to comment pls see the preceding entry!
you might enjoy it - or better yet, you might be completely repulsed

met Karen D for a very uptown lunch yesterday at Sarabeth's, checked out Phoebe Cate's store Blue Tree (she was there and i had a major flashback to 8th grade - standing in the paper shop in Brightwaters buying my first issue of Seventeen magazine w/Phoebe in full metal braces on the cover!), then saw the Sarah Bernhardt show at the Jewish Museum.

2 things about the show
- didn't realize she was a decent sculptor too and made this very cool knife w/an organic seaweed and barnacle kind of handle

- her motto was QUAND MEME which they interpreted as "no matter what" but we thought of as WHATEVER.
can any francophiles help w/this translation?
i bought a pillbox w/this inscription - another artifact of life during BC.

it's freezing today but i'm going to the apple store for a mac/ipod class - all you youngsters can laugh.

i'm also busy researching how to get the kids' school to switch to organic milk (even tho my kids don't drink milk) instead of bovine growth hormone milk. my onco is appalled that they serve that. here's an article about how rgbh etc. is particularly bad for breast and colon cancers.
insulin is a growth factor for breast cancer (which is why i am also supposed to go easy on the sugar these days)

i'm also helping my BC penpal Deb with some naming, etc., for her new gourmet shop opening in Lexington, KY, this spring.

i am proud to say that i've organized and am submitting our flex plan claims FINALLY!
i would rather do CHEMO than do insurance stuff as most of you know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

i swear...

swore i'd do the daily blogging thing - just to get in some more "writing" time, but i jes don't feel like it sometimes.

like friday, after going to see brokeback mountain. the movie that is sad sad sad every single minute it is flickering on the screen. squandered youth, missed opportunities, lost love, deceipt, bitterness, humiliation, all lassoed into a neat like pack that's dragged uphill by a mule. in a hailstorm.
do i have a future in movie review?

anyway, that was supposed to be a wild and crazy girls day off for me and rie - she was in between jobs for a day and i am on my chemo vacation as you all know. time is running out for me to play reality hooky, so i needed to get a daytime movie in. 11 am. i was so depressed the rest of the day. luckily the girls came home or i would have stuck my head in the oven or something. i can't even say if these actors/directors/etc did splendid work - i suppose they did but i don't see enough movies to be objective. i am just happy to be in a darkened room with no one talking [did anyone read that nyt book review about why movies move us so much? i didn't find it very enlightening]. and i've cried listening to the hokey AMerican Girl soundtrack cd. so i don't trust myself as a true critic. but then i saw a photo of a smiling sort of goodlooking guy and it was Heath Ledger who looked very little like Ennis which must mean something.

i'm almost over it now but i've just received The Hours from Netflix so GOOD TIMES HERE I COME!

today donna - my phys therapist- told me i'm doing so well that she doesn't need to see me for a while.
another sad day! i love donna! i love her queens accent and the stories she tells about her niece and her boyfriend and her brother who had a small role on the Sopranos (she treated Paulie Walnuts a few times and said he is exactly like his character - w/a mesh wifebeater tank on and a badaboom girlfriend)

gotta pick up jo...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

taxol TWO

had second taxol on tuesday.
benadryl had the strange effect of ALMOST making me fall asleep, yet at the same time my legs were aching to be stretched. couldn't tell if this was just a psychosomatic reaction to the damn IV in my arm for 3 hours or the uncomfortable chair. also got a darvon shot for low red blood cells. left a big bruise on my arm.
wednesday i had the neulasta shot which means that achiness starts setting in today. big headache. my osso bucco (femurs) are barking too.
i really hate failed nap attempts. so unproductive. i tried for almost 2 hrs yesterday - all i got were teaser dreams - mini-trailers for what could be a dream if i could just fall asleep! oh god, this is so boring.
(tuck was out last nite and i knew i'd be on bedtime duty until nearly 10 - jo has taken to 2 ankle massages and a back rub after i brush and braid her hair. trying to talk her into doing locks of love)
anyway, i'm sure you'd love to hear MUCH MORE about how i have such a hard time sleeping during the day while you're all at work or changing diapers or climbing ice waterfalls - actually STAYING AWAKE and DOING SOMETHING. however, it's time for bed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

make sure you read the comments

at the bottom of each post is a tiny # of comments - click on it to leave or read yr feedback PLEASE

and thanks to b for the tip on this artsy mcsweeney's humor:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2006/1/10mccoy.html

TMI ALERT!

Do not read the following if you are at all squeamish...it's taken from a site talking about breast reconstruction.
I know I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself but I was curious...

Nipple and areola (the dark circle around the nipple) reconstruction is completely optional. Some women want only the shape of the breast to fill a bra, and decide they don¹t need a nipple. Another option is to apply removable nipples that stick on with adhesive [AS IF!]. These rubbery tips are shaped like a semi-erect nipple and the color and texture are quite lifelike.

How is Nipple Reconstruction Done?

If you choose to surgically reconstruct the nipple, there are several options. One common option is to use the skin of your reconstructed breast. The surgeon can take a small flap of skin from the breast, and "cone" it into a new nipple. Because the nerves aren¹t connected in the reconstructed breast, most women do not feel much pain with this surgery.

Options to reconstruct the areola involve taking skin from a different part of the body and sewing it to the new nipple on the reconstructed breast. The surgeon can take an oval of skin from the outer edge of your mastectomy scar or from the edge of the TRAM donor scar on your abdomen (if you have this kind of breast reconstruction). The advantage of using this skin is that you won¹t have any new scars. The surgeon can also take skin from the inside of your thigh or from just below your hip bone. You may be sore for up to two weeks at the place from which the skin was taken. However, most women have very little discomfort at the site of the reconstructed nipple. Another option is to reconstruct the nipple as described above and have the skin around it tattooed to a darker color to make an areola.

In all procedures, you will not have much or any feeling in the new nipple when it is touched [SO REMIND ME AGAIN WHY I WOULD BOTHER DOING ANY OF THIS?]. These surgeries can be done on an outpatient basis in under two hours, with local or general anesthesia. Most doctors will ask you to wait a week after the surgery before driving or working.

After you have healed, you can have the new nipple and areola tattooed to match the color of your other nipple. Often it takes two or three sessions to color the whole area evenly. Tattooing takes about an hour and can be done in the doctor¹s office. You can usually go back to work the same day. Most women can hardly feel the tattooing being done. However, your doctor may use a local anesthetic just in case.

Monday, January 16, 2006

i miss spam

now that i disabled the spambots, i miss them.
they made lively conversation.
sure, they talked about highway construction equipment a little too much, but at least they WROTE!
let's see if they write me back tonite since i mentioned the you-know-what...
pathetic, i know.
anything to avoid going thru my %&*$&%(()Q insurance.
can you believe that i actually got a letter from United Healthcare saying they'd made a mistake and want me to send them BACK the money they gave me?!!!!
of course, i thought it was generous of them to pay for my psychopharmacologist bill, but as i haven't submitted one in a long time, i just took the money to the bank and didn't look back.
now i HAVE to write the bastards a check because i'm still hoping to collect a couple Gs for other stuff.
i have to call them tomorrow anyway re: a claim denial - the reason? ILLEGIBLE. akldfidfelkanrel.

taxol tuesdays

forecasting an achey wk due to taxol tomorrow. will try to remember the info my dr. gives me this time so i don't make her sound like a total quack.

i'm having a hard time blogging since i read fellow blogger and former bc patient's story of how she's going ice climbing at Ouray - just a few wks after finishing chemo. i don't think my post chemo life will include events as exciting as that, folks. maybe that i cleaned out my closet (i'm not promising anything here, mind you), maybe that i finished filing all the flex plan paperwork, but climbing frozen waterfalls in colorado? nope.


probably the last real excitement i had was crashing that wedding last year. unfortunately, i was found out - that cheap, ill-fitting disco dress was probably the tip-off. here's a foto of me being "escorted" off the dance floor by the bride's brother. sometimes not even ted muehling jewelry and sigerson morrison shoes can save you...

Friday, January 13, 2006

pilates, needles, tea, books, hamsters, numbers

yesterday i exercised for the first time in weeks - pilates w/karrie at her new studio 'centered' on 14th st.
ck out www.thecentered.com. she just started so most classes are practically private sessions! tell your friends.

i also had acupuncture which made me so relaxed i was loopy - my friend sarah - also on 14th st. (no website yet)

then i went to thé adoré to meet maira (kalman- please buy your kids all her books and buy yourselfher genius illustrated version of Strunk and White's THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE - make sure you watch the video preview of the book!).
anyway, i was early so i ordered a tea to go and sat outside. when she arrived we went in and they told me i couldn't take the tea to a table - even tho i'd just bought it there. so they dumped it and gave me my money back and i ordered another tea from the waitress upstairs. only in a japanese cafe.kooky!!!
as an auction donation, maira offered to do a portrait of someone's pet. Ladies and gentlemen, i give you....Nigel.



i had my laptop w/me during tea so i showed maira my friend suzi's insanely amazing obsessively compulsively beautiful number collages. her work will be at the LA ART FAIR w/the Morgan Lehman Gallery Jan 26-29 booth #25

Thursday, January 12, 2006

time warp

now that i'm more than half way thru chemo, here's a shot of my first dose - Chirley (not a typo) the nicest nurse and I were shocked by the raucous daytime TV.




and here's a happy hanukah nite



and here is my new action figure - collect them all!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

about that wine-o

the other day i started explaining what the nutrionist/grad student at msk told me.
i DIDN'T get to the part where my onco disagreed w/her about the wine! she said a glass or 2 a nite is ok (my problem was that 2 glasses was just to whet my whistle in the old swingin days before cancer, but anyhow...) and that alcohol is not really linked to BC.
interesting as it is mentioned in most books i read too.

she did say that sugar is not good for cancer - in fact, i read something about cancer having more glucose receptors - anyway, the sugar problem has something to do w/forcing yr body to work hard to make insulin,etc. but that is as far as i can remember. my brain just shuts down sometimes when it does not want to hear things (like, you may not eat a big bowl of ice cream every nite and candy bars whenever you feel like it without worrying ever again)

another theory she has that i barely remember is that many operations can bring on cancer. it's kind of like the "we all have cancer in us, it just hasn't surfaced yet theory". that the cancer cell is dormant, white blood cells or whatever other antibodies she talked about are keeping it in check. then you have an operation, you need to heal, your white blood cells, etc. are needed elsewhere, they let down their guard of the cancer cell, and it's able to start recruiting other cells to make a nice little cozy tumor home for itself.
she drew this all out on the back of my chart so i wasn't able to study it later.
i doubt my chemo-addled brain would understand it now anyway. i went out the other nite w/kim and ted for dinner and was amazed at how i could barely speak or explain anything or keep my train of thought on track.
man, i thought motherhood made you dopey but this is ridiculous.

time for bed. no more 4 hour naps like today! i thought i'd close my eyes before going to pilates class at my friend's place, but when i woke up it was 3 and time to see the kids. for someone who has never enjoyed napping - who usually needs earplugs, an eyemask, pillows on my head and white noise in order tonod off - i'd say that was quite a productive day.

my boss is my body. my boss told me to sleep. i complied, exceeding the boss's expectations. a job well done.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

back it up...

so a refresher...
first, all the stuff i said about not calling or bugging me back in the beginning...i'm past that stage. that was mostly to protect the kids and myself from info overload. i'm ok at the mo w/questions...makes me feel like i am still the special cancer poster girl.
second, and this is a very minor point, if i am lucky enough to receive a warm and wonderful hug from one of you, please go gentle on me. most people are righties, which means they squeeze hard or pat my back on the left side - which is my bad side. that saline valve is still sticking out about an inch from my left ribcage...anyway, you get the idea. air kisses hollywood style are always welcome (especially if you have strep throat or something).

so to recap...
on tuesday, i went in for new chemo - taxol/paclitaxel. the infusion takes 3 hrs. they start off w/a bag of decadron (isn't that a geomtric shape w/10 sides? anyway, the name is close to that) - a steroid that makes me feel like going kickboxing. No, really, it's to avoid an allergic reaction to the real chemicals. Next comes a bag of Benadryl - once that goes in, you just TRY to stay awake.
then the looong taxol drip. no wonder most people are asleep when i look in the chemo cubicles. i had rebecka j w/m which was great - lots of time to catch up.

the day of chemo i was fine, next day has phys therapy which i LOVE - get to shoot the breeze w/Donna Della Rosa about her little niece in queens, then the neupogen shot...by the next afternoon, i was fading fast. That night and the next 2 days were extremely achey/breaky. it helped to punch my legs or layy on the floor and kick my legs so that my feet pounded my butt like a meat tenderizer. sleeping was hard - didn't take enough tranquilizers. last nite it had subsided enough for me to go sit thru a kids dance performance at DTW. today was much better.

ok, enough about me. how's by you?

to quote bugs bunny...

Hare today, gone tomorrow...
I tried to shave the uneven topography that is my skull yesterday - no matter how i buzz it, there are entirely blank patches -like some aerial map of an arid country. no trace of a hair folicle at all. i suppose this is no news to some of my friends.
Eyebrows still intact, eyelashes appear to be thinning but I hear from Ms. Freedman that there is one place in NYC that gives you a 3 mth eyelash dose.
one one hand, sign me up - on the other, whatever
like i said, hair today...

the aches seem to have subsided. if it's only a few days w/each treatment, i can deal with that. like B said, think of it as the flu.
which reminds me that one of the reasons i think i am NOT the best patient is that i have been too healthy thus far (if there is such a thing). i can't remember the last time i had the flu, i've rarely dealt with hospitals or doctors, so every little mouth sore and ache seems pretty monumental.
but then i think about this girl i saw in Dee & Dee on 14th St before xmas. i'd gone out to buy some more wrapping paper and the store was busy w/people who are scrounging just to buy gifts at this crappy store that smells like roach spray. i saw a teenage girl who had the most disfiguring skin disease. like leprosy - her features were barely recognizable amid a mass of bumps and lumps. so whenever i start feeling self-conscious about my appearance i think of that girl trying to go out and lead a normal life in NYC. but then as i write this i realize i sound like "think of all those starving children in africa and eat your dinner." there is always someone worse off than you. which translates to, everyone is entitled to complain - you just have to know your audience.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

blaaahhhg

i’m breaking the cardinal rule of blogging - thou must commit to daily entries
i just keep waiting for the right time, the right frame of mind
also, now that i’ve been told that people actually read this, there’s a little pressure...

so my doctor has switched to tuesdays - it appears that Larry Norton - the head of MSK breast cancer ctr - couldn’t handle all his patients so he asked Dr Bromberg to work on tuesdays too.
anyway, it was a surprisingly leisurely visit. i had time to ask lots of questions - the answers to which i promptly forgot...
let’s see:
i double cked the nutrition info w/her that the grad school student nutritionist there had told me
1. limit soy products (they contain estrogen which my cancer needs to avoid). When I asked if my girls should avoid tofu and edamame also, she said that eating soy early in life seems act preventatively.
2. have organic dairy products - no recombinant bovine growth hormones (which upon cursory googling, seems to be an ingenious invention of Monsanto - the folks who brought us AGENT ORANGE).
3 limit alcohol SEVERELY - we’re talkin one glass every blue moon. this, of course, was very alarming news and reminded me that i may have to ck out AA meetings as well as breast cancer support groups (actually, i’ve had very little wine during chemo - no taste for it or support groups - and i figure i’ve got enough poison goin on). maybe later i’ll start that “mothers who drink” column i've thought about (see salon.com for reference).

much more catching up to do but too tired/achey now from the Taxol (paclitaxel) and the neupagen/neulasta shot that i got Wed. (although these white blood cell booster shots hadn't bothered me much in the past). I just read that this achiness is supposed to go away w/in a few days. It is distracting me enough at the mo, that i think I'll stop for now...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

whew!

bye bye 2005. don't let the door hit you on the way out.
dunno about you, but i like to start my new year off with a fresh dose of chemo.
so tomorrow is TAXOL day - the bold new cocktail of 2006. new year, new flavor.
this one boasts neuropathy and loss of eyebrows and eyelashes as exciting side effects. and you thought being bald was sassy enough! [this wk's New Yorker features an article on baldness cures]

thanks to Jamer and Judith for another lovely New Year's Eve - great to see the Philly gang.
perhaps others would like to share our new tradition of counting down at 10 pm instead of 12? we like to pretend we're doing it for the kids'.

i'm going to try to avoid reading more about chemo now, and just go to bed - but i am nervous about the new drug/reactions to it. have heard of some instances of not just "tingling" or "numbness" but severe pain. maybe i'll stay lucky...