Monday, May 15, 2006

5.15.06, Check the Warranty, We're Going to Restage

[new & improved daily post]
They say it’ll be hot today, but my apartment feels cold inside. I have a meeting with my chair after lunch, things to do in that neighborhood, post office, haircut, check on a cancer book, from this perspective, early morning still, bed seems good. Bed, good. I need extra rest right…….. OK, whatever. Temp up above the 70, 84 they said? That would be the hottest day of the year, and then me, I’m still fumbling for where a blanket is, part in sleep fog, part in Ambien haze. For about five more days, longer perhaps, I can keep on without taking any chemo drugs. Thank you jesus! (I think y’all know me well enough, but in case you don’t, this carpenter reference is a highly figurative allusion [one reader out there knows its origin], and a mildly disrespectful joke. I just want to make sure nobody’s Higher Powers get brought into this.) Still, food is tedious. Hunt, kill, skin, cook, eat--that's about how it feels. Motivation for many tasks distant. Don’t you ever think that, what is there to be motivated about at this point? The “short-term” in short-term projects having been completely redefined. And sillier irony still, cosmic irony I think it is: my job is now locked for the next four years. I can’t be fired, I’m “moving along nicely,” all is secure in M244. Hurray [Monty Python style, e.g., "And they were forced to eat his minstrels"]. Now what? Or, so what? Once again a single good shake of perspective and what I lost sleep over three months ago barely registers on my radar now.

Something noticed last week: No, Warranties are not “boring,” Princess. When I went to buy my new coffee grinder recently, I was comparing two grinders, different brands, similar prices, and I wanted to see the warrantee information, right? This is the logical next step, it’s smart shopping, it’s informed consumption. Style is somewhat important, function-wise they are all about the same, color's rather limited, but the consumer-report-ish side of things, that’s what guides this smart shopper. Until I realize--and have to chuckle--I no longer have to bother myself about warranties because any product warrantee I find is going to last longer than I do. Shit. If a salesperson starts to explain service protection plans, Apple Care, x-years and just-so-many miles to go, I no longer pay any attention. Back in the grocery store, I shake my head at this, and then grab the grinder in the color I like best and get the hell out.

Restaging: in two days a red letter day is coming. It gives me stress--in fact, a lot of stress--I’ll be honest with you. On Wednesday I could learn that the primary tumor has grown (I say “primary” because once the cancer was found to have spread I was blessed with about five more than what I started with, these in my liver); or, it’s possible that it has shrunk or is shrinking; or, it could be the same as it was last time, say, 6 weeks ago. This latter possibility, though better than the first, unnerves me too—what if there is nothing conclusive to learn on the 17th? It could mean hurry up and wait--the negatively capable come back to haunt me. The CA 19-9 numbers from last were good, that’s clear, the doctor even said as much; but there are further measurements to take, including another CA 19-9 check, I believe, two days from now. If anyone wonders, what exactly is the restaging? The medical types will do a series of radiographic tests, CT scans (a four-pass CT scan of lungs, abdomen, pelvis, very expensive), with the intent to re-measure the big tumor, the smaller tumors, etc. and determine how everything looks compared to six weeks ago when the radiography was done last. Why do this? It’s a progress report; to see whether the chemotherapy is working or not. I’ve been doing my best Protonix Man, now with cape and all, attacking my body with toxins and killing all rapidly multiplying cells in it for about two months, so there better be a damn good reason. The question underlying the whole restaging is precisely what freaks me out--there is a good chance I’ll “be given” an adjusted prognosis. What’ll it be? A few more months, the happy news. “Happy” news. Or, it’s not working, start smoking again, enjoy yourself, whatever you want.

There were a few paragraphs more here but I’m editing (for today at least), in part for length, in part because I’m ambivalent about how candid to be. Take the Saturday post, for example, not dark to my mind, just looking at the whole scene from a different vantage point: some tell me on the sly how they appreciate it, some send me emails of concern, one or two phone up, some just plain worry more. Each reaction and mood, the pensive, the defiant, the distracted. It’s all real, regardless of how we respond. And there’s nothing wrong with stopping now and then to look it in the face. Not in my book. So. Till next time.

[first distracted a.m. scribbles]
Supposed to be "hot" in Seattle today, craziness. My pro-forma Annual Review takes place at work. Two days left until "the cancer" is restaged--until we find out where the hell I am and how long I'm likely to stay around. (Can you believe the insane nature of this game? In some cases people have a test done and wait to hear whether it's lactose intolerance or wheat germ allergy, day after tomorrow is supposed to give some indication of whether I should clean out my office now or wait a while longer. --Not to be morbid intentionally, there's just no avoiding the bizarre extremity of it all......)

So moving forward on the lightness of the day, I feel pretty good, another day with no chemo drugs is so welcome. I'll say 7/8 on the FScale, though the day is young. Yesterday I learned, re-learned, a worthwhile lesson by not making myself eat until around 5 or so p.m.--very silly thing to do. After eating, hydrating, etc. by about 8ish I was back to some degree, but my body cannot act so tough as to just ignore the caloric intake altogether these days. Shit. Frankly, food is basically tedious, thinking it, finding, preparing it / buying it, then sticking it in my mouth--sometimes it's easier to "forget." Like I said, though, I realized again it's not smart. That would put yesterday at an "8" ideally, then a "6" practically after the body energy debacle.

Later today I'll post something more substantial, about good and evil, the concept of product warranty, and some details on the next big medical move in my future--restaging the cancer on the 17th, two days. It's gonna be great, don't miss it.


Anonymous said...

i know you're not a movie freak like me, but did you ever see "Rainman"? while reading about the anticipation of possible results on wednesday, the big day, the phrase, "bet one for bad, two for good" came to mind. i dare say that everyone is "betting two" and hoping for great news. hang in there, and don't forget to eat!!! very important as you know...ever consider ordering meals on wheels to tempt yourself into eating something perhaps appealing and avoiding the noise? i know you don't have much of an appetite, but they'll deliver almost anything to your door; no skinning, hunting, prepping clean up either!!!

Quid Pro Quo said...

Mr. Jones
I believe those nasty meteorologists got us again. I believe it's a huge conspiracy supplanted by the Templars - sneaky bastards. I actually wore capri pants... yikes! And kitten heels... Although I will keep my kitten heels in the closet in hopes they'll grow up to be cats, or whatever appropriate mixed metaphor goes here...
Plenty of folks ready to hunt, kill, skin, prepared and serve whatever that moves for you. I for one would be happy to tackle the pizza guy for a GASP. (figuratively, of course - although literally it could be funny - I have been hitting the gym pretty hard lately.)
I, for one, hope that you get to keep all those books in your gigantic office for a really long time!
For what it's worth, I give you all my courage and strength. I'm sending it now, on the psychic plain, letting it ride along the barely existant Seattle heat wave.
You have the couer de lyon my friend.
Whatever you need -

david said...

Here, there.
Here's thinking of you there.
Reading what you wrote, thinking of you.

dzd said...

thank you jesus, yes indeedy. good old Cheebus, I mean Jesus. here I am, reading away. miss you. would like to talk soon. you will be in my heart and mind on the 17th.

tossing salads said...

brother dear, you know that my whole being is sending you all the good thoughts that i have for the 17th. and now that my whole being is bigger, much to much enjoyment with susan to care about the gym, for the moment. but will get back to it.

i love your humor and candidness (is that a word???) it truly suck ass big time. i dont like those thoughts. this brings back very un happy thoughts about dan. so young, so not fucking fair. to many 'good' people. the hospital, at times, brings such peace then such pain, while talking with patients who find out why my brother is my hero. they then, say my thoughts are with you and me. they care, they get it, they appreciate what it is your are doing to have your warranty extended.

love you fiercely and gently

(1 cheebus to go, please!)