Wednesday, March 30, 2011

environmental chchanges

The radioactive iodine 131 being found in rainwater from Japan is the same kind I had to ingest for thyroid cancer. Interesting. Does this mean I can go singing in the rain, holding my tongue out? Is this what my healthcare will come to?

Isn't it fascinating how we combat disease by prescribing what causes it? Radiation for cancer, inoculations and vaccinations for infectious diseases. We cheat death with his own devices.

The port removal was a great success. It hurt, but only in the moment, which is more than I can say for chronic pain. My surgeon was a professorial old black gentleman with massive white sideburns and a striped bowtie. He told the nurse all about the Prince concert he'd just attended. David Bowie's "changes" played on the radio in the background, which I am inclined to take as a good omen despite its ubiquitousness.

Here it is, looking rather like a purple heart:

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The view today:

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just so I don't forget it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

bad weather

I've just taken a bath. It's a ritual I am practicing more and more, a kind of cleansing of the self, a time for unhindered introspection, a warm moment. My baptism to the bed.

As I lie in the bathtub looking at the body below me I was struck by how similar it was to all other women, in shape, tone and size, my hipbone disfigurement barely noticeable now, just a lopsided permanent tan and some atrophied muscle. I feel increasingly alienated from my body, as though it's something entirely separate from my mind. It doesn't accurately express the disfigurement within, all that scar tissue and all of that pain. It's normal, it's not mine. It is the archetypal woman, it's not mine. If I expressed outwardly what was inside, I'd look like the elephant man.

I foundLucy Grealy today through a friend- she lost half her jaw from Ewing's Sarcoma as a child and wrote a book entitled Autobiography of a Face. She died of an opiate overdose in 2002.

Out of bath. Into warm bed. I am grateful that my body remains intact. Port comes out tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2011


It is Monday, and my port is scheduled to come out this Friday. I'm going alone, as no one seems to be available to escort me. I'm hoping it will be much, much muuuuch less painful than the operation to have it put in, see this post from 2008.

For the insertion of the port-a-cath they only gave me localized anesthesia. I was AWAKE for everything, from threading the catheter into my jugular vein (terribly weird sensation) to the stretching of my skin for port placement (which was so painful I was tearing up, whimpering, telling the nurses I could feel it all... to no avail).

It goes without saying that I'm slightly nervous, but I've been assured that the removal will be easy. For those of you who have never had a port, or were lucky enough to be under and have no memory of the procedure... there are tons of videos on Youtube that allow you to experience it vicariously!!

Skip to 4:00 to see the painful part I still have nightmares from... no wonder the surgeon dubbed it over with dracula music. ah ah ahhhh.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


My fellow cancerites, bloggers, readers:

How do you stay strong enough to keep going?