Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Alter Egos

The mutant radiation-chemo combo has given me the power of the Alter Ego. Observe:

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Hey guys, I feel great. I am single-handedly making cancer my bitch and I've also got this great Linsdsey Lohan hairdo. I will be back before you know it!

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oh, hey, an eskeemo only a mother could love. Right after chemo; I've just puked. I'm really scared of dying right now. My eyebrows are falling off. I'm hopefully half way done but I cry at the thought of enduring this for another 3 1/2 months. I cry A LOT. I feel I've lost all of my friends and I miss them dearly.

Unfortunately the latter has become the norm.

Lately I have succumbed to numbness- perhaps I've just become used to my situation. When the pain becomes too much to bear, my mind just pops right off from my body like a balloon. I feel separated from everything, just floating and unfeeling. I span time like this. Nothing else matters. Great coping mechanism, huh?

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Friday, December 19, 2008


A friend has died.

Even though I 've only known him a short while, he has provided me more comfort during this ordeal than people I've known for years. He was never afraid to tell me to smile; he had been there before.

It's surprising how much I am mourning- I was praying, errr, sending good energy out into the ether in hopes that he'd make it to christmas.

fucking bone cancer. eat my ass.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

onco arts & crafts

I received this amazing thing in the mail today from Carissa:

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It is fitting, as I found out this morning that my tumor is almost completely gone. The Radiologist can barely see it. There's still cancer in the bone, but we're working on that...

To pass the days, I've been obsessively coloring in Gray's Anatomy with my Prismacolors. It took me awhile to realize the significance of this- adding bright colors to otherwise mundane medical imagery as a way to cope. It also brings back a certain childhood nostalgia. I think when I'm done with the whole book I'll cut everything out and make some sort of collage.

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Thank you to everyone who has sent me mail. It is SO encouraging getting those little treasures during treatment- I could be having a crap day and it will completely turn around due to a letter. I'm slowly getting around to mailing things back...

Monday, December 15, 2008

road blocks

My counts were too low for chemo today. I will have a blood transfusion tomorrow and hopefully start chemo next week. This is quite disappointing- although I always dread the "red" cycles, this would have been my halfway mark. HALF WAY. This marker, for some reason, spells relief. Now it'll have to wait.

I've also begun radiation, which has made me incredibly tired- I go home and pass out every day. The actual procedure only lasts a minute or so. It's freaky, like something out of a Kubrick film- they play piano lounge music, the lights dim. You pull down your pants. Lasers come at you from all angles. A huge machine rotates around you, buzzing and clicking. It's like a crazy space disco party. But way less fun.

Saturday night I went to a local bar with good friends. I saw people from my past- kids I remember from elementary school, jocks from highschool. They all look the same, same haircut, same clothes, just fatter. I wondered where their lives have taken them (I doubt very far). And then, for a split second, I felt lucky that I have cancer. I was grateful for the experience, the chance to grow eons above these guys in highschool who used to make fun of me. Even though I am a skinny, weak, hairless mess, I feel as though I could lift a ton above my head. In a way, I am more confident in my own strength than I have ever been. So, here's to personal growth.

vicki and kaylin in younger times

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cold Reader

I've been staring out of a picture window in the living room every day, watching the season cool, safe behind the glass. I feel as if I myself am pinned and under glass. Every day the same monotony, the same delicate routine. Chemo-brain has caused my writing to be a mess- I can't edit anymore, it seems. Things just fail to... come together...

winter woman, you are a
pale shade of red
watching, still in bed
the crocuses offering upwards
like innumerable paper cups
little indignities

how did you get in the business
of not being born?

how did you inherit
this endless passing time
the count of broken lines
on the folds of your palm

you are a cold reader, you are
under the knife
the slivers of a past life
submerged under skin
tiny sunken ships are
just beneath the surface
i remember them still.

winter woman, a humble and
healthy shade of dead
watching, from your bed
the cruelty of a sunrise
the amputation of your holidays through
a picture window
shiny sunken bulbs are
just beneath the surface
waiting to bloom
i remember them still.

A friend recently introduced me to the band Deerhunter, and I am in love. A good deal of the lyrics refer to the hopelessness of chemo and radiation treatment, isolation, etcetera. Here is an except from their blog:

"When I was sixteen I was hospitalized for extensive surgeries on my chest ribs and back because of marfan's. That entire summer was like completely erased. I was in a coma for a couple of weeks. I got to really understand what its like to not be well. I've always sort of understood, growing up with marfan's, but this was hardcore shit ... Anyways, I was trying to transpose the concepts of illness (in this case I was writing from the perspective of someone going in and out of consciousness during chemotherapy, and how they would miss their friends, their past experiences, and anything that reminded them of normalcy, or a time before misery. Nostalgia as anesthetic."


1.) took a bunch of pills

2.) watched Tootsie

3.) talked for like 8 hours on the internet

4.) searched "gorilla fights" on the youtubes, which is absolutely just as entertaining as watching UFC. here, look!

5.) ate m&m's.

that's IT.

you WISH you had a terminal illness!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

slash and burn

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got my radiation tattoos yesterday.

I am hanging in there... day by day.

Had a dream that I was floating down a river made of gold. Almost falling down, as if through a chute. It was incredibly intricate. I was washed up on the bank when a friend appeared and swam to me. I saw a rabbit run off and wanted to point it out, but felt a deep sadness for the moment being gone before I could do anything.

so it goes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

tough times

This month will be the hardest month of my life.

I start 30 rounds of radiation on the 15th, concurrently with chemo.

I don't even know what to expect.

I've just finished my 6th cycle, 5 days of chemo (today is my first day off) and I feel barely alive. I am a shell of the person I once was. I can't even do those things so vital to living- eating, sleeping, etc. all deny me their pleasures.

oh well. another day.