No Spring Chicken #28

"Know Thyself!" That is how one wag put it. The much more flowery William Shakespear said something like, "To thine own self be true, and it follows as the night the day, that thou canst be false to no man!" It is a good thing I know myself pretty well. Or at least that I've caught on to the vagaries of CAT-Scans and the chemicals they give you. You have to understand what the CAT-Scan is. CT scans (Computed Tomography - the real name) use a barium milkshake in combo with an intraveinous injection to provide a contrast. They always label the barium as a smoothie, and I've had orange, mocha and berry flavored ones. Today was berry. So, you might say, I had a bari berry smoothie. It would only be worse if I sang baritone and it was a bari's bari berry smoothie. OK, you probably wouldn't say any of that, but I not only would but did! Anyway after downing the two 1.5L smoothies I had to wait for 30 minutes for the stuff to distribute, then they took me out to the trailer (where the local machine resides) and shortly after going in I got dizzy. This was unusual for me, but once they found me a chair and I sat down I was much better. Then they had to give me the IV injection, which makes you feel warm, and like you have just soiled yourself (both ways). Not the most pleasant of feelings. Then they put you in the machine and spend some minutes scanning you once to see where they want to set the limits of travel based on your body size, then they actually take the scan (which takes less time than the calculating and setting the limits in the previous step). Then you are done.

That is when knowing yourself is important. You see, I know what happens to me when the barium milkshakes hit bottom, and it is not pretty. Doesn't smell very good, either. It requires easy and quick access to a bathroom for the rest of the day. So that is why I missed the final practice for the chorus show tonight. I'll be at tech rehearsal on Friday, and at the shows on Saturday. But I wasn't about to leave the comfort of my home and access to bathrooms with one seat for everyone in the house.

Now, in a feat of rapid response, the CAT-Scan has been read by the radiologist and reported to my oncologist, who has sent it on to my GP and me. The good news is "Near complete resolution of diffuse adenopathy status post treatment of recurrent lymphoma in the neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis." Well, you say that is pretty good news. And it is. But I was hoping for complete resolution. Last time around the scan we took the morning of the thrid treatment had it all gone. This is two weeks after the third treatment. So, I guess I'm in for six more weeks of winter (since they saw the shadows), or three more treatments instead of two. This means it will last into the new year instead of being done with the 30-31 December treatments. Sigh.

My brother Jeff is coming up tomorrow to distract me before the next treatment. Second time he has done this this year, and I'm grateful. We can discuss rules, game, goof off, he'll get to see the chorus show this weekend and I'll be thinking about almost anything except the next treatment. That is good. To mis-quote the old song, "Anticipation is making me hate!"

I've got a lipoma on my head. Sheese! I thought those things only occurred on old pets. Dogs get lots of them when they get older, and so do some cats. I'd never heard that people could get them, though. So, I guess you'll never see me shave my head. That funny looking bump would show up if I did. Good thing I'm not losing my hair with the chemo!

So I went to my GP yesterday for the lump, along with another problem dealing with age and men, and we talked a good bit about many things. I've got to keep drinking lots to flush my system out. It seems that when you shrink all those lymph nodes that are swollen (hence, lymphoma), the detritus needs to be carried out of your system somehow, and the kidneys are the how. They are doing a double duty of carrying out all the chemo drugs, as well as the node residue. Getting me to drink lots isn't a problem. Getting me to keep the percentage of it that is alcohol down to a reasonable number may be more problematic. Some days I do fine. Others I seem to devour a good deal of liquid with alcohol in it. Something to do with my attitude, I guess. Which, by the way, she says these letters are good for. Seems all this cathartic exposition about how the cancer and treatment affects life (which is still going on) is a very good attitude. Puting things into perspective of "I am me with cancer." But not "I am cancer." So, just sit back and enjoy and realize that you, my loyal audience, are helping me deal with these trials.

Janet is finally getting close to wrapping up the Christmas Bazaar at her church. Oh, the bazaar was last month, before Thanksgiving by a couple weeks. But the counting of money and bookkeeping and all the myriad details that go along with all that are almost done. They also have to finally put the left over materials away. Oh, and the "Thank You" notes to all the helpers went into the mail today, too.

Speaking of Janet, she has been going through cookie baking withdrawl, since I've been taking the fall off from chorus. Normally she bakes cookies for the chorus each week, and I get 1/2 - 1 dozen leftovers from that. But with no chorus, no cookies, no baking (well, not as much). Since her hobby is baking she was suffering from this. So Ric stopped by on his way to chorus to pick up the cookies she baked for them tonight. I think it is a win-win-win situation. She gets to bake. I get a few cookies to satisfy my cookie tooth, and the chorus gets cookies (home made) each week.

Together (mostly Janet) we whipped up a pretty scrumptious Thanksgiving repast last week. Just the two of us, as I didn't want to travel, but we had a very nice meal of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and apple tart for desert. Yum. My dad always wrote about meals in his retirement letters as though each one of them was the best meal he had ever eaten. I think I can understand that better now. Each meal is one more portion of a day alive, which is a precious gift in and of itself. Thus the meal is much sweeter for that fact alone.

So, with leftovers hanging over us on Friday night Janet gets out of her chair and heads for the kitchen. "I'm getting myself a piece of pie. Do you want one? Or a piece of tart? Or nothing?" she asked. "I'll take one of each." I replied. So when she comes back she hands me a plate with a piece of pie on one side, a slice of tart on the other and a gap between them. "That gap is the nothing, since you wanted one of each." she said. Ah, a good sense of humor. She needs that to put up with me. Is it any wonder I love this woman?!?