Every ten years. I thought I had broken this cycle. Maya’s 20, Stella’s 10, and I’m going out in the rain to buy diapers. Seriously, I really thought when Stella was done with them that the next person I’d be buying diapers for was a grandchild… but enough of that, hey, here’s a cute cat photo:
I tried again to skype with Pippa and she is pretending to not recognize me. Clearly she doesn’t miss me at all. Apparently now that someone else is feeding her I am unimportant. I feel used and heartbroken. How can I miss this dumb cat so much? (Dumb? Yes. She took a spin in that dishwasher and no, she doesn’t avoid it now). Actually, I am just including this because research indicates that including a picture of a cute kitten increases the enjoyment of a blog post by 7,340%*. That and it sure beats reading about my bowels.
I will be home to her soon! Just seven more treatments to go, this is totally doable. Other than the bowel damage (which I really hope is short term), my only significant issue is skin damage. I am managing the fatigue and the nausea is declining, but the burn on my back has begun to blister and peel, which is incredibly uncomfortable. Coupled with the increasing nerve pain, sleep was becoming impossible. However, I remembered that I had eased off of oxycodone because it is constipating and I wanted empty bowels for radiation, so now that I don’t need to worry about that I can take oxy like candy to dull the pain and sleep like a baby; a baby on narcotics, but a sleeping baby.
I have been exploring options for skin care as this is going to get worse and will likely last for another month. I have received many suggestions, ranging from aloe to emu oil to vagisil (I am NOT going through the check out at Target today with diapers, vagisil, oxycodone and over the counter reading glasses, just not going to do it. I have no dignity left but still a little pride.). However, I’m going to trust my doctor and stick with the hospital issued Radia Geltm and Aquaphortm. Both are petroleum based and completely unnatural products, my small part in reversing the oil price decline (you’re welcome, Alberta readers). I am not sure why I have become so trusting of doctors as I was so skeptical of them before (rightly so, I am pretty sure that the doctor I saw for many years, and who sewed the end of my finger on upside down, was actually a bookie. Other than me, his waiting room consisted entirely of middle age men with newspapers under their arms who all had five minute appointments. And he bought his glasses over the counter at Woolco, not good for someone who needs to stitch people together. Oh wait, I shouldn’t judge, I’m picking a pair of those up with my diapers and vagisil this afternoon). However, my experience with doctors over the past seven years has been outstanding, despite Dr Tseng’s preposterous assertion that I am aging.
I know that I have burned up massive health care resources, and continue to do so, but I also know that our system works, and that I am the luckiest person around. I have a rare cancer, but the right resources to treat it. I am not completely out of the woods, chordoma is poorly understood and there is a high likelihood that it will come back in some form, but I am certain that my oncological team are doing their best to ensure that I survive it long enough to die of something else.
In addition to the medical advice and treatment, I am accepting every other support that is offered, positive thoughts, prayers, cartoons, well wishes, and healing rocks (before I left Kelowna my good friend Lyne gave me two rocks, a smoky quartz and an amethyst, which are said to have healing powers). Stella gave me an amulet which is with me at all times and I share the camaraderie of fellow patients in the waiting rooms, who are so positive and supportive. For the most part, they are cheery and helpful, not in a “we can beat this” way but more in a “let’s make the best of this” way. (We aren’t all going to “beat” cancer and not because of how hard we fight, but because of the nature of this disease, but we can still make the best of the journey. I am thinking a lot about the metaphor of struggling with cancer as a battle or war and I am increasingly uncomfortable with it.)
I have all the expert care I need, all the help I can get, lots of cheerleading support, and I will be done shortly. I can do this. Olivia and Stella are coming down soon, we will enjoy the Christmas season in Seattle and then go home together early in January, to enjoy this cat:
Enjoy the holidays and take care of those you love. Thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and help.
*This research may be flawed, or I might be missing a decimal point, or it may have been conducted by a cat.
** Research funded in part by feline interests.