No Spring Chicken #23

What we don't remember usually hurts a lot. That is why we forget it. Otherwise, no woman would ever have a second baby!

The thing I forgot is the basis behind chemo. Cancer, you should know, is a mass of fast growing cells. That is one reason it is so dangerous - they are spreading so rapidly. So, chemo treatments target fast growth cells. One thing that grows fast is hair, which is why a lot of people getting chemo lose their hair. Another fast growing cell group is skin. So chemo patients get very sore and thin skin for a while. What else in the body grows fast? Stomach and intestine linings. So the chemo attacks them, too, causing a lot of sloughing. But I'm told the fastest growing organ in the body is the tongue. Yup. All those taste buds are targeted by the chemo, too. So nothing tastes right at this point.

Now, understand that I drink a lot. Much of it water, lots of beer, and, recently, my intake of hard alcohol is up. When I say water, though, I'm close to a gallon a day, and over that on singing practice days and well over that on singing performance days. It isn't unusual for me to drink a gallon during a 3 hour chorus rehearsal on a hot summer evening, nor to drink two gallons on a convention/contest day. I think 3.4 gallons is my record for one convention day, though. I had a cold on top of the singing in quartet and chorus. So I do drink a lot of water. But, water doesn't even taste good right now. Sigh. "Where are the simple joys of..." as one of the songs from Camelot asked. Just about the only one of my usual comfort foods that tastes even OK right now is chocolate. But I'm lactose intolerant, so I have to take more medicine to eat chocolate if it isn't lactose free. Even the chocolate isn't as good as usual, though. But at least I've found a milk-free dark chocolate that isn't more than the same weight of gold would cost.

The painful part of the entire chemo treatment mess is that I forgot about what happens if you don't take all the correct counter-meds at the right time, and I forgot to take a couple of pills yesterday. So while I felt great out coaching the crew team last night, I didn't sleep well, didn't digest well (remember those lining sloughing problems?) and just felt rotten today. Then, we had planned to do some shopping in Silverdale and Janet isn't driving that far these days, so I drove and wore myself out on the first store. I forgot just how fast you exhaust yourself when you get behind on sleep and food. Sigh. We'll see what I feel like after coaching tomorrow morning. Fortunately, that is all sit-down-work.

One of the additional medicines I've been given this time is lacusa. It is a shot that may have numerous side effects. The most obscure is a the possibility of ruptured spleen. The more probable are aching joints. Well, that one cropped up this morning while we were out on the water rowing. OK, I was coaching from the launch, but the four oarspersons on the water were rowing, the cox was commanding and controlling the shell, and the spare oar was filming the practice for me. But when the aches kicked in it was difficult to keep up with the coaching. So we did a few more things and shortened the practice. Then I took off while they were still cleaning up the boat, instead of sticking around to show them the videos and analyze them. I barely made the drive home, which tells me that I ought not to be going anywhere that involves a longer drive than 20 minutes.

It has been a bit of time, but a few things have gone on. I had a long day of driving around last week. I went to Tacoma to the Game Matrix to pick up some figures I had ordered from Essex Miniatures in England. Then I went to Renton to drop some of them off with a fellow who is going to paint them for me. Then a trip to north Seattle to pick up some troops from another fellow I know. Then to Edmonds to see an old family friend and update on family and things. Then to Lynnwood to pick up some more troops from another friend. Then, finally, back home. After an 11 hour trip we return home to find a dog who has managed to spend the entire day indoors without incident (despite being in her old age). Exhausting, but quite satisfying in all we got done. In telling my crew team about this one of the ladies says, "You're a wargamer?" Well, I admitted I was. Turns out her husband is, too. But he is exclusively Napoleonic in period. I'm more ecclectic. I'll fight almost any period. But some are more enjoyable, depending on the rules.

I had to slow down twice on the way home this week for unexpected reasons. OK the slow driver wasn't totally unexpected. Someone driving 10-15 under the speed limit is not unusual on Highway 305 from BI to Poulsbo. The second slow down was better. I had to slow down for a doe (female deer) on the road near our house. When we went by we saw the other one just off the road, too. There is a reason I live in the woods. Nature is here, and nature is good. My doctor posted a neat picture/saying on facebook that sitting in the woods for a while is therapeutic and relaxing. Gee, do you guess I knew that? I just need to sit outside more often. But last night the woods and the weather ganged up on us. Well, the whole day was topsy-turvy, as it were. I showed up for rowing a little before 8am and the weather was good. Pretty calm, cloudy, but not looking like rain. Then as people gathered there was an increase in the wind. We had five rowers signed up, but were waiting for the early rowers to come back. Eventually they did, and we remembered that Alec, one of our usual rowers, was coxing for them. So we asked and he was up for rowing. Alex just graduated MIT, where he rowed for four years on the crew team. He, like many of us, is addicted to rowing and usually won't pass up a chance to row. So we had six and a cox (because Tony showed up, faithful coxswain that he is). Then Ik, the glutton for more, who had rowed with the early guys, asked if he could row with us, and I said yes. So our five (four and one in the launch) was now a seven. So, we go out on the water and begin our warmups to the head of the bay (within a few yards of the auto dealership and restaurant, and spin the boat to go for a longer row. I gave them a couple of things to concentrate on, then set them off at a given pace (fairly high rate and force). As we went I jumped the stroke rate once, then asked for a power delta (just a small one), and there was a crab that stopped them. So I set the pace a bit lower, then, as I looked away, I saw a couple of white caps and sent them on back in. It was a bit of a struggle to get through the waves, but we made it eventually, and got back to the dock. Fortunately, I was in my full rain gear, because I expected the rain. Blown off the water by too much wind! Whoopie! I've got an RC sailing regatta next, so we'll have plenty of wind. After our usual unwind and review at Hot Shots (the local coffee house), I set off for Port Ludlow and sailing. When I got there it was nicely breezy on the pond and I was looking forward to the races. After tuning the boat a bit I put her into the water and sailed a bit. People began to show up and it looked like we'd have good racing, even though the breeze had dropped since I got there. Well, we got in three races in 2 hours, due to lack of wind we called it at that. Dan Darrow finished first (having two firsts and a third), while I finished second with two seconds (to his two firsts) and a fifth (of the nine of us there that day). So it wasn't too bad a day. Then, when I got home the wind was blowing again. Harder and harder. In fact, we heard several limbs hit the roof over a couple of hours, then we slept with the door closed (usually we sleep with it open) because Janet didn't want to listen to the wind all night. She worries about such things. This morning when we woke up I noticed that the trees were not moving as badly, although they were still moving a lot. So it was down today. But yesterday was just plain contrary to what I needed. Hmph! Bagdash, the god of perverse luck (in an obscure pantheon) is the only one who knows that I exist! So perverse luck is all I get. Hey, what does the country-western song say? "If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all!"

Today we had an ancient naval game. I run these as part of an ancient campaign I started for the total purpose of generating battles. We have three sea battles this move, and I hoped we'd have two or three of them today. They generally last 60-90 minutes, so I hoped to get in three of them today. The first battle we moved twice to close, then we had four rams the third move. Two of Gary's ships rammed one native ship and two of Gary's ships rammed two of the natives, all four at the same time. Well, by the end of the next turn the one of the natives that was rammed by two had captured one of Gary's, and both of the natives that were rammed one-on-one had surrendered. Three surrenders in one turn. The odds were 30% for any one of them to surrender, so my rules obviously have a problem that I've got a couple of mods for already. Did I mention these are my rules? Modified severely from a set from England in the '60s, I've been refining them over a decade now. But there are always loopholes you find. Anyway, the one battle took two hours and was such a tough load that we decided one was enough. So we've still got two more to do. They will have to wait until a while after my treatment. I'm not planning on doing anything next weekend except the coaching on Saturday morning. That will probably be all I can handle.

I'm planning to offer both Saturday and Sunday rowing for the rest of the winter, subject to my health after treatments. We won't get any more evening rowing after this week, due to loss of Daylight Savings Time. So if we want to row more than once each week we need to row both weekend days. We'll see how many take us up on it.

I'm not looking forward to another treatment, but it is like a root canal. You won't like it, but you know you have to do it. So, this week is #2 of this series.