Thursday, January 29, 2009

Elvis on my Pelvis

Last day of radiation is tomorrow, thankfully. I am tired of my outside blistering and my inside turning to mush. Five more chemos left. To say I've been depressed lately would be a gross understatement- bursts of tears will be triggered by something as trivial as guilt over my mom buying me socks. I feel like a burden. Everything seems too delicate and temporary. I look out and see paper houses and paper trees, origami lives being smooshed to bits every now and then for no particular reason. My current situation is seeped in self-induced loneliness and death and anxiety over how short my life might be. I really wish I could say troop morale was better, but, war is always grim.

I want you all to know that the King is alive and well somewhere south of my bellybutton.

Maybe when I'm better I'll get him tattooed over the burn?

things to be happy about tonight:
++clean sheets in a cold room
++learning to play piano
++20 plus pages written
++the privilege of extra time that treatment has given me
++always possibilities

Sunday, January 25, 2009

camera obscura

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Today I found the stack of photobooth pictures that used to adorn my fridge. I stared at them for a good 10 minutes, unable to recognize the constant in all of them. That hair, those good times. Whose are they? Certainly not mine. I feel like I'm staring at a dead girl. The people in these photos have gone on to do all sorts of things- some have moved away, some are having babies, some are in love now. Some are out of love. Some I see more, most I see less. I am the same. I died in September, and now I'm just waiting to be born again.
I don't recognize myself when I look in the mirror, either. Here, I am totally alien. Bald like a baby, except for blond downy hair that seems to be sprouting up everywhere. I wonder if I will be blond now. eep. I don't want to be a whole new person just yet.

For posterity's sake, here was my radiation burn last week:
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It's so strange having a burn eat up your skin seemingly out of nowhere. Lamest super power ever.

Another effect of radiation? Laziness. My dreams are becoming too easily decipherable. Last night I dreamt I had a boxing match with death. He was eight feet tall and shrouded and absolutely terrifying. He then turned into a man that suspiciously resembled Ryan Seacrest. I couldn't touch him, lest I die, so I boxed with red knitted mittens on my hands. Thanks subconcious. I already knew that I like boxing and knitting and that I am still a little scared of death and definitely very scared of Ryan Seacrest.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

the thermostat is broken.

Fact: when I am all done up in makeup and a wig, the technicians prick me harder while they draw blood, as opposed to when I look like a chemo patient. Note to self: look sick all of the time and reap subsequent sympathy benefits.

I've noticed a pattern with many health care professionals I've dealt with. They view their specialty as their business, instead of people. When I was having a phone consultation with an oncology surgeon, he told me that hip surgery was his business, it was how he made his money, so he wouldn't tell me his assessment as to whether radiation was the best choice. In my opinion, helping people make the right decision is part of this job responsibility. Helping people. not just processing blood or taking temperatures or preforming a routine surgery. Caring for people. There are feelings and nerves and souls underneath all of those bodies. I guarantee I will remember the onc nurses who put care and compassion into their work until the day I die.

Radiation is finally starting to rear its ugly head in the form of a massive purple-and-slightly-itchy bruise on the left side of my hip. This thing BETTER heal. I suppose it's less obtrusive than the scar I'd have if I had opted for surgery.

I have had fevers all week but haven't gone to the ER quite yet. I've decided to wait until my temperature hits 102, as hospital stays are not always conducive to wellness. I love how sensuous a fever can be. Hedonistic, even. Heightened body temperature, drenched in sweat, your heart beating faster. You can almost feel the blood pulsing through your veins. Your body aches all over, but a tolerable ache, so that it's not so much pain as a total awareness of the body. Vision becomes blurry. You melt into yourself. I almost enjoy it.

hello from iceman.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

two things

I am sorry for not returning calls and emails. Deep down I want to shield all of my friends from this experience. I don't want myself to be a reminder of their own mortality. I'd rather just disappear for the time being and come back healthy.

Sometimes your life just exhibits this weird continuity... I am convinced that time has already happened and we are just chugging along on one track of consciousness when there is this whole network of railways, unknown to us. Enough deepness, though. This post should be about two things only:

eyebrows and bad t.v.

#1.) My eyebrows have fallen out, now four months into chemo. I am mourning. Despite all of the effects, from the baldness to the constant nausea, eyebrows and eyelashes were the things that kept me looking (and feeling) human. Plus, they were really nice eyebrows. beautiful arches of glory. RIP.

#2.) Cancer makes you a t.v. addict. Not just any t.v. addict, mind you, but the long, sprawling teen melodrama kind. I did not watch t.v. for three years, so many of these pop-culture references are only just coming to realization. For instance:

I saw this circa 2005.

This guy went to a Halloween party as Sandy Cohen's eyebrow. I had no idea who Sandy Cohen was, but the idea of dressing yourself up as one giant eyebrow left a lasting impression.

I started watching The O.C. today. Yes, from the beginning. It's an embarrassing reality of cancer-patient life, even worse than the vomiting. So, I was watching... and saw a sight so horrifying:

I KNOW that eyebrow!! and yes, immediately deduced that this was indeed Sandy Cohen. (proof that it was a REALLY good costume).

That's about it. I have lost my eyebrows and regressed to watching The OC. I will leave you with this witty little piece of banter:

"god dad those eyebrows are out of control."

"it's a sign of power, you know..."

"well then, you must be the most powerful man in the world."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

can't sleep because I'm too busy barfing

I have been consistently wretching and vomiting for the past 7 days straight, which I'm sure not many of you can claim unless you are equally afflicted with the cancer bug, or perhaps also malaria.

You adapt. It goes a little something like this:

"Hey, did you catch the GAME last Sunday?" (Because I watch games.)

"Whaa.. nooBLAAARGGGuhhgh. No, I didn't."

"Oh man, sorry. You need a towel or something?"

"Naw it happens all the... theBLEGHHAARGRGohholymotherofwhooa time. I'm totally cool. Maybe a napkin though."

See, I have it under control. come over and we'll have us a chat!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I was lying in bed this morning, thinking about mortality and what a load of shit cryogenic freezing is, and I wonder if Walt Disney really did freeze himself, and isn't that a funny thing, how we must always concoct a darker side to make a person more human, when I decided I'd like to write a novel someday.

I know, you're thinking, "HAHAHHAHA yeah right".
But I am right.

I have always written prose and poetry, but I believe I have enough life experience under my belt, finally, to start something truly monumental. Plus, now I've got the time and energy to devote to writing, as it is just about the only creative outlet I can still indulge in. Thank you, cancer.

All of this novel nonsense comes with a sense of added urgency. I am afraid I will die with my millions of genius thoughts before I express them- imagine, everything gone in an instant. I figure, if worst comes to absolute worst and my health starts deteriorating, I'll still have maybe a year or so before cancer kills me. I can write a novel in a year. I can write, write, write. It's just about the only thing I have left.

My initial plot and character outlines are in no way related to cancer. I've found a rather clever way to use my experience with illness, both mental and physical, without the story becoming too autobiographical. So far I've been obsessed with fleshing out the details. Everything is coming together with more ease than anything I've ever written.

there is a perfect moment for everything, I suppose.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

the biggest loser

I had a wonderfully understated new years eve, nothing compared to the booze-soaked disappointments of yesteryear. I went to a house party where I found an old high school acquaintance, and from there we decided to watch the ball drop in downtown Sacramento. I had to tell him eventually that I had cancer. As we walked back to the car amongst the meandering crowd he asked, "Are you winning the fight?"

Am I? No one's asked this before. Am I winning? It feels like I'm losing more than anything else. I'm losing my ego, losing weight, losing the tumor, losing my bones. Losing my old unhealthy habits, losing my mind. Losing (not using) my misguided illusions about life. I am the biggest loser I know.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure my answer was simply, "yeah."

I received a package in the mail last week from Ann Marie of Archaic Mementos and was elated to find all of these wonderful jewels awaiting me. As a designer, I appreciate the power of word-of-mouth, so I will show you the goods:

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This pendant is a clock hand! It feels wonderful wearing something handmade; even the clasps have detail that put my store-bought jewelry to shame. My favorite thing:

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Also, here is another site I've found with amazing jewelry such as anatomical organs, moustaches, and strange animals. If a lover or friend gave me anything like this I think I'd pee my pants with old-fashioned glee.

Radiation tomorrow. Ah, another day.

happy new year

08 not so great

09 hella fine