Friday, February 22, 2013

medical report and pope fashions

I had blood work done yesterday then saw the oncologist. He said my counts (hemoglobin and white cells) are sliding slowly downward but it is not unexpected and not enough yet to postpone treatment a week. My potassium was also low. His advice: eat potassium rich foods, take naps, and cross my fingers on the white count. Time will fix that.

I mentioned my general malaise and my brain problems to Judy. She was very reassuring on both fronts. She said there is research that shows cognitive changes occur between diagnosis and the onset of treatment, meaning that the memory and concentration issues are probably as much from dealing with the life-changing diagnosis as anything. She said cancer always brings thoughts of mortality and time and death...no matter what the prognosis...and that is stirring beneath the surface of my brain even if I am not aware of it. That's a sobering thought right there.

The general malaise is also to be expected. The cumulative effect of weekly chemotherapy will cause increasing fatigue. I have two more months of chemo, then six weeks of radiation which will also make me tired. I figure I should be comatose by the 4th of July. I better lay claim to a wagon so someone can pull me to the parade.

I reclined in my big chemo chair all morning while next door to me, the town's loudest family got caught up on the neighborhood gossip. I could tell you who causes trouble on their street, what they had for lunch, if their kids are flunking math, and how many cars park in each driveway. It was like Jerry Springer live.

We had a lovely snowfall last night. I'm planning some snow angels today and I'll have Regis snap some pictures. We needed snow for the moisture and for covering up the dregs of winter...dirty ice and slop. It should be a beautiful morning.

Speaking of parades, the St. Patty's Day parade is coming up next month. Last year, it was almost 90 degrees which was gross. I love parades but this one was unpleasant. Here's what I wrote about it last year:

Here is my list of grievances regarding the parade. Please remember that this is not a scientific study and most of this information is presented as exaggeration for effect.
  1. First of all, it was very windy and humid. This is a problem for several reasons one of which is my costume. I have green and white striped tights and green and white arm warmers, a red wig, and a felt derby. It was too hot for most of that and a partial costume is just...a partial costume.
  2. The heat and the wind made for little gusts of sand blowing down the street. You might expect this if you are at a parade in Saudi Arabia but generally not here and not in March. It was weird.
  3. The weather (must mean lack of snow) meant that there were record crowds. Third Street is not made for record crowds so it was nuts to butts making the next few items even more annoying.
  4. Of the estimated ten thousand people lining the four block stretch of Third Street, eight thousand were either drunk or had a dog or a bicycle or both. Do dogs really enjoy parades? Really, all they get to see are the butt cracks of the people sitting in front of them and they don't get the marching bands. In my world, the rule is that the dog stays home unless the dog is in the parade.
  5. Same with bicycles. If you are riding a bicycle to the parade, chain it to a tree a block away and walk over. Do not attempt to ride a bicycle through a street crowded with drunks, small children, and dogs.
  6. Unruly and over-sized children. I'm not sure the age of these children...they were more like teens and pre-teens but they were excited about the smashed tootsie rolls and left-over from the last parade candy being strewn in the street. Ella and Elliot figured out pretty fast that there was a code of conduct: stay in your area, don't get too far out into the street, share with the kids smaller than you. Not these big oafs. They had a grocery bag full and were still cruising the small kids area like land sharks.
  7. People who try to drive and park a car as close to the parade route as possible and then try to leave when the streets are still full of dogs, bicycles, drunks, and small children. I'll be amazed if nobody got run over.
  8. Drunk college kids who play football on crowded streets. I love dodging a football as I try to make my way home with two small children. (No bicycle or dog.)
  9. Gigantic tractors. Somebody drove a tractor the size of our house to town and down a crowded street. It had giant wheels that went practically from curb to curb and were as high as an adult person. Really? You have to drive something this big to a parade?
If it sounds like I would like everyone to walk in an orderly fashion to Third Street then stand in an orderly fashion to watch the parade, you're right. So Norwegian of me, right?

Now that I know I'm normal (well, in terms of general malaise and cognitive functioning), I think I will try to have a more positive attitude.


Ending with a couple of pope fashion photos for your Friday morning pleasure.

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