Friday, October 24, 2008

And here's how it ends

Well folks, I think it's official. I am going to close down this blog. But I will leave you with two pieces of the legacy of cancer. The first is a membership card for an organization that you must be 55 or over to join.

Really? You just put me on a senior citizen mailing list because I got cancer?

The second is an invitation to pre-pay for my own cremation in order to help my family in these dark times.

Apparently to direct-mail companies a cancer diagnosis is still the same thing as a death sentence. Somebody should let them know that's sooooo 1950's.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the only thing I know for sure at this point about cancer is that it puts you on the world's weirdest mailing list.

I hope this blog has served it's purpose. I started it as both a way to express all my convoluted cancer ramblings as well as a way to reach people in the same boat and hopefully let them know they have a shipmate.

Aye, Aye, mateys!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hello, my name STILL is...


Got the results of the latest CT scan and there is No Evidence of Disease.


Take that you stupid-ass cancer! (Or should that be stupid, ass cancer?)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'll get it in my cereal

I know I've been absent from my own blog. But the truth is, I'm really sick of all things cancer. I'd be happy if I never had to hear that frickin' word again. I know I have to get my CT cans, my colonoscopies, and all that, but I really just want to leave it all behind. While I fully support all those folks who, post-cancer, go to work for cancer organizations or become chemo nurses or support fellow cancer-citizens in some way, I'm not that person. I'm so sick of being a "patient" that I've made a vow not to have any diseases that require a daily pill. I'd even stopped taking my daily multivitamin for while - I'll get all the crap I need in my ultrafibersuperomegamiltivitiminous breakfast cereal.

So where does that leave this bog? I dunno. Maybe I'll start a new one. Maybe I'll record my deepest thoughts in some other way. Skywriting? Tantric archetypes? Cave paintings?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Really? That long?

Has it really been that long since I posted?


Well, the truth of the matter is that the school year still has 2 weeks left and I'm all overwhelmed and stuff with students.

Could be worse.

One year anniversary of end of chemo is in 4 days. Well, ain't that somethin'?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Don't ever give up.

While doing laundry this morning I walked by the bags of weeds that we collected about six months ago. (Yes, they've been sitting out there for that long. Embarrassing, but true.) Out of the side of one of the bags, through the plastic, this little yellow flower had sprouted.

If a flower can sprout out of a dark, soil-free plastic bag then we can all grow in seemingly dark, dismal times.

Rock on, little yellow flower. Don't ever give up.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Do you see something, like way off in the distance? Is that cancer?

I'm finally starting to get to a place where I don't feel like Megan, "cancer patient". The cancer tragedy is starting to fade into the distance. There are still daily reminders of what I've been going through (I have to wear socks all the time for my nerve-damaged toesies, I get periodic bouts with adhesion pain in my colon, etc) but for the most part I don't feel like Cancer Megan. Just Megan. I thinks it's settling in at an unconscious level, too. All during my treatment and recovery I was having the most f*&ked up nightmares. Things that made Japanese horror films seem downright pleasant. Those have ended too.

So what does this all mean? Instead of feeling like a phoenix rising, I feel more like I've just clawed my way out of quicksand and am just now lying on solid ground, catching my breath. But it's progress and that's good. It's all a process. And that's good; it gives it time to sink in.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I think this line is mostly filler.

Attention World: Scout is the most awesome human being. Like, ever.

Last weekend Scout spirited me away to a secret event at an undisclosed location. It was all secrety and surprisey. He had bought tickets months ago and I had agreed not to snoop on the internet to find out what the big secret could have been.

And what was it? Tell! What? Where? Who?

Turns out there was a reunion of (most) of the cast and production team of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer complete with a screening of "Once More, With Feeling". Woo Hoo! We got to see the musical episode on a big movie screen and then hear Joss, Sarah, James, Nicholas, Seth, Charisma, etc talk all about all things Buffy. It was super cool.

And I *still* get all teary at the look on Willow's face when Buffy reveals that she had been in heaven.

Note: for those of you that are not Buffy fans, this will probably make no sense to you. You should remedy that, as soon as possible.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's the gift return policy on this thing?

I have an admission to make. I feel like a bit of a traitor in saying this, but here goes:

Cancer was not a gift.

I don't get it. Maybe I missed the enlightenment gravy train. Maybe I'd already realized that corporate jobs suck the life out of you and that love and friendship are more important than money and that you should try to laugh at least once a day. I knew all that long before cancer. I also knew that there is a beautiful balance in life between joy and pain, grief and laughter. That all things have their place in this complex and stunning universe. So what am I missing? I don't see cancer as a gift because I've known all these things for years. Am I missing a key ingredient? Do I need a teaspoon of existential baking powder to make it all come together?

It makes me feel like some sort of curmudgeon. Like I'm too pessimistic to see the rightful glory of cancer. But perhaps it's just that I'd already learned the life lessons that others often get from cancer.

Still, I'd like *some* sort of gift from cancer. It could've at least sent a fruit cake.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I've figured out the best tax secret! Ever!

I just finished doing my taxes and I wanted to let you in on a little secret.

Shhh. Come close.




If your medical expenses are greater than your income, you don't have to pay any taxes!

Who knew? All these years I've been trying to be a productive member of society when I should have been developing an annual medical catastrophe! Whew! It's so nice to be free of those capitalist shackles.

I'm gonna go on permavacation!

Does anyone know where I can find the nearest leper colony? Is Molokai still a colony? Seems like a nice place to visit this time of year.

(p.s. I mean no offense to my leper audience. Without lepers, we would never have had Che Guevara. And without Che, my dad wouldn't have had a flag to put in his study.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Movin' on up

We are now the proud owners of an SUV. I think that makes us d.i.n.k.s. Except that we're middle class. Can you be a d.i.n.k. if your double income is less than one average corporate salary?

Also - I fixed my cat's chronic poopin' and barfin' with some voodoo magic I've learned. But more on that later...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hello, my name is....

Ned. As in N.E.D. As in, my scans and blood were all healthy and good to go.

Take that, cancer!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife

Tomorrow I see my onco to find out the results from my latest rounds of scans and blood tests.

One hour later and five blocks away is a free screening of Sicko. (I never did get make it to this when it was in the theaters. I thought in the midst of trying to wrangle with my own medical drama, it might send me over the edge.)

This irony is not lost on me. The big question is... if the cancer is back, does that mean I should or should not go sit through Sicko? What is the universe trying to tell me?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When Worlds Collide

I wheeled my cart to the register, placed a rubber baby buggy bumper between my crap and the crap of the lady in front of me. I caught her just as she was getting her change, two customers in front of me was my gastroenterologist.

She looked frazzled and tired. My first instinct was to call out her name and say hello. Tell her thanks again for saving my butt.

But I didn't. At first I told myself that it was because she looked so tired and I didn't want to bug her. Now I think it's because in order to make sense of this all, I can't have my cancer world and my food shopping world collide. The mundane task of buying milk, limes and great northern beans wouldn't play nicely with the world of laxatives and ass-cameras.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gone Daddy Gone

That's it! I couldn't take it anymore.

I've cut my hair. All of the frazzled, dry, thinned out craptastic chemo hair is gone. My full, luscious, ringlet-curls have returned.

I look a little like a 20's flapper. But with an extra 40 lbs of chemo-steroid weight on my cute kewpie doll figure. (Sigh. That's my next project.)

In any event, it feels good to leave one more vestige of cancer behind.

I have my 9 month post-chemo CT scan tomorrow. Let's all say it together, "Fuck Cancer."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Treat your butt right!

For those of you out there who have had a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, you know that your poor butt goes through a lot. Scans, colonoscopies, irregularity, obstructions... none of it is easy on your poor butt.

So I suggest you treat your butt right! Give it a little something special, something to let your butt know you still care.

And there is nothing that a deserving colon likes more than precious metals.

Go on. Click. And make your butt the happiest butt on the block.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Greetings, friend! You look like you may have cancer!

Yesterday Scout and I were waiting in line at the PetCo in North Beach (50-90% off! Store Closing! This location only!) and there was a woman in line ahead of us with the tell-tale bald head a homemade knit cap sticking out of her jacket pocket. I wanted to go up to her and say something supportive. Something to let her know that she was a kick-ass cancer fighting hero. But what opening line could I use? "Excuse me, I notice you are bald and have a knit cap that someone clearly made with love. You look like you may have cancer. May I offer a supportive hip-hip-hooray?"

Um, no.

So what's the appropriate way to do this? Perhaps there isn't one. Perhaps just because I've been through cancer it doesn't make it any of my business.

Maybe we should have a secret handshake. Or a gang sign -- maybe a hand in the shape of a "C" over your metaport scar. Yo.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Did The Wizard of Oz scare the crap out of you, too?

Twice in the last week I've used the following metaphor to describe my cancer experience:

"It's like I'm a tree that's been picked up, spun around and plopped back into the ground. Now I have to grow roots again."

I think it's good to be spun around every now and again. I have to figure out where to put these new roots, how to stand up again. It makes me live a bit more consciously, go forward with more thought and care.

All this spinning makes me think of tornadoes and tornadoes make me think of Dorothy. She was picked up, spun around and plopped down. And what happened to her? Well, it was both good and bad. She got awesome shoes, made some good friends and eventually came to realize how good she had it at home, after all. But she also had witches and flying monkeys and opium addiction and power hungry wizards to deal with. And she had to murder someone. An evil someone, yes, but murder still has to weigh pretty heavily on your mind, right?

When I first saw Wizard of Oz I was enchanted but I also remember it scared the crap out of me. Cancer also scared the crap out of me. But I did buy these boots the other day, so maybe it'll all work out, just like it did for Dorothy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Reaching a goal, only 14 short years later.

Many years ago when I finished college and finally had my first real job I decided to go into therapy. During our first session my therapist asked me what I wanted to get out of our time together.

"I want to be centered. I want to be calm and centered and happy."

Those years of therapy didn't quite get me there, although they did point me in the right direction. But today I realized that I have finally achieved that goal. I won't go into details, there are others involved who probably don't want to be blogged about, but I was calm and centered and happy in the midst of a storm that would have capsized me those many years ago. What great comfort and such a relief.

Ah, progress. Sweet, sweet progress.

You can swim, ride horseback and even play tennis!

It's sort of like after a break-up when "your song" seems to be played everywhere. A small incision that re-opens the wound. You cringe, feel a moment of deep sadness and then move on.

For me, it's tampons.

Yet again a woman leaned over to me today and whispered in a girls-only conspiratorial tone, "Do you have a tampon?"

No, I don't have a tampon. Because I don't have a uterus. Cancer took care of that. No uterus, no period, no tampon.

I feel a tightening in the back of my throat. I want to cry.

"Sorry, I don't."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nitty Gritty

I haven't been posting very much lately. I know. There is an explanation, although it's not a very pretty one.

I'm confused. And depressed. And mopey.

And I've been hesitant to blog because I don't really want to write some long dirge about me and my sad self. But I suppose this blog is meant to both help myself and others in similar situations. And if I'm feeling blah, there's probably others out there feeling blah as well. So, I will write both for personal catharsis and hopefully to act as company for others in misery.

I'm confused. Not about anything in particular, just general existential angst. What do I do now that I'm done with this horrible process? I don't feel like the same person as before I was diagnosed. I'm changed by this -- physically, mentally, spiritually -- but I don't feel like I've had enough time yet to get to know the new me. So I feel adrift. Like I've been teleported into a new existence and although I may look the same and talk the same something has shifted profoundly. It's like invasion of the body snatchers, cancer-style.

And depressed, which I think stems from feeling somehow alone in trying to negotiate this new me. I know that when am really intertwined with others (people, animals, nature) I am always filled with serene delight. (Okay, that sounds really granola, but hopefully you know the feeling I'm talking about.) This depression is the opposite of that. My thesaurus just told me the opposite of "serene delight" is "turbulent discontent" which pretty much sums it up.

And mopey. I just seem to be sighing a lot and wanting to watch lots of TV. Embarrassingly bad TV. And, no, I won't tell you which programs. You'll just have to use your imagination.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My year is New. How about yours?

As a tutor, I get a long winter break. Ahhh, relaxxxxing... I love that part. But then, soon after New Year's, I get that familiar back-to-school depression that we've all felt.

"But, I don't waaaaannnnna go back! You can't make me! I *do* want to watch TV all day for the rest of my life and no, I would *never* get bored. I promise."

But, alas, there are bills to pay and impulse items to buy. And I like my job way more than most people I know. So, I'm back. Helping with college admissions essays, reading Aristotle's views on dramatic tragedy, and discussing the Manifest Destiny. Not bad for a day's work.