Am I The Only Cancer Patient In A Hurry?

January 31, 2011 at 1:57 PM (Energy, Funny, Karma, Real Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

WARNING: The following blog post contains a fair amount of selfish kvetching.

Last Friday morning, I had a CT scan scheduled for 12:00, which meant I needed to arrive for my delicious contrast (don’t forget to ask for Gastrografin in Crystal Light instead of the thick banana shake!) at 11:00. Now, as frequent readers will surely recognize, this runs into my inviolate naptime of 12:00, which allows me to get up at 2:35, get a parking place in the pickup line, and get my kids when they’re sprung at 3:00.

In the spirit of taking the bull by the horns, I left home at 9:45, which would normally get me to The Cancer Factory by 10:30 – nice and early, in hopes of pushing the whole process forward a little and getting me home for some vestige of my dear, sweet slumber. (It didn’t help that the cat was snoring peacefully under her paw and the furry nap blanket when I left.) Unfortunately, the universe had other plans.

Traffic was a nightmare. Pursuant to our drubbing of snow in the recent weeks, there is nowhere to put it, any of it. Thus people pulling off the interstate were unable to find parking places, meaning surface streets were jammed. As a result, the interstate was jammed, too. FOR EIGHTEEN MILES. So my quick little jaunt in town got me to the radiology department promptly five minutes late for my 11:00 appt. Thus I started my contrast drink at 11:15, and didn’t get my scan until 12:30.

While I sat and sat and sat and sat waiting for my scan, I couldn’t help but notice that not only did everyone else in the waiting room have a friend with them, but they were all placid and peaceful and walking slowly. I, on the other hand, was tapping my foot, looking impatiently down the hall, and checking the time repeatedly (why? So someone would notice and move me up the list? Bitch).

I was starving (and fuming about how I wouldn’t get home until 1:30) by the time I left, but as they’ve recently opened the new treatment building here at TCF, the cafeteria had moved there and it was too far to go for food; I’d have to wait until I got home.

And the people in front of me as I was leaving the building were walking too slowly. And the nice attendant who showed me how to use the new parking pay-station was helpful but clearly not going anywhere. Neither were the parking attendants who made me park FIVE floors underground, even though there were plenty of empty spaces above that. Neither were all the twits who were obviously out for a lunchtime scenic drive as I was trying to get back to the highway.

I know that most cancer patients tend to be older people, often retired, and that they have nothing to do that day but their appointments and possibly some liver ‘n’ onions at the Early Bird Special. I know that cancer patients, whatever their age, are worn-down and tired beyond comprehension. I know it’s uncommon to be a five-year cancer warrior who has to pick up her elementary school kids but sneak home for a nap first. I know that I’ve had a bit of a speed-demon issue (stop laughing) since I first learned how to drive. But seriously, I don’t have time to waste in traffic anymore! I can’t shuffle slowly into the elevator and whistle cheerfully while it hits every. floor. on. the. way. down. My life is SHORT, people, and I think I oughta get a special sticker or a dome light or something, at least a special parking place, to indicate that while I am a cancer patient, I’m also BUSY, and way too cute to be stuck in this hospital any longer.

At least I had a good excuse all lined up for the statie who never pulled me over: CT contrast creates a vigorous urge to be near your home plumbing. NOW.


Oh, the scan results? STABLE DISEASE. A little fluid around my left lung, but only 10% tumor growth since 12/15. I’ll see a thoracic surgeon in the next 10 days Thursday to see about tapping the fluid, but it appears that the drug is doing SOMETHING. I’ll take it.

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April 5, 2010 at 11:56 AM (Energy, Mood) (, , , , , , , , )

The weather has an inordinately strong effect on my mood. For as long as I can remember, it seems that a sunny, warm day brings out my doingest, most optimistic and energetic self; grey and cold, especially rainy and cold, drive me underground with a furrowed brow and a short temper. According to my therapist, this is giving too much power over my life to the vagaries of Mother Nature, especially here in New England – you know, “if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.” I should be much stronger than giving up a potentially good day in the face of crappy weather. Not to mention that this puts me in a pretty foul mood from, say, January through April.

Nonsense, I say. Ask Louis Armstrong: when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you. Why shouldn’t the weather affect us the same way? I understand that I should be able to keep a civil and patient (I’m thinking specifically of my reactions to the short people in my house) tongue in my head on a truly gale-ful day in February, but I think it’s okay to grouse about it, too.

Potentially this has more to do with my dog-walking habits than any other reason: he and I have established a (lucky dog!) schedule wherein we spend 45 minutes to an hour every day in the local state park, a hundred-acre wooded and fielded dog’s paradise that could possibly give Mt. Washington a run for its money as the windiest place on earth. We’ve been there on hot days in the summer when you couldn’t stand to go outside after 10 AM, and on blustery days in winter with eighteen inches of snow and howling northwest winds, when I wore nearly every piece of clothing I own. But once in the woods, even on the snowy days, we find so much peace and quiet and kumbaya-good-for-you-hug-a-tree-nature that despite my hothouse-flower disposition I keep coming back.

Good excuses for my weather focus abound: neuropathy makes my hands and feet ACHE unbearably in the cold weather. I’ve gotten so temperature-sensitive that long underwear are de rigueur on any day below 40 degrees. But the less time I can spend at the park, the rammier and more annoying the dog acts for the rest of the day. So we go.

I imagine that, before our climate-independent lifestyles developed, before we slipped from warm house to warm garage to warm store and back to warm car, when you had to leave the house to do just about everything, most people felt better on days when they didn’t have to rub the ice off the seat in the outhouse. When being really cold was a bit more life-threatening than just needing an extra four ounces of latte on the next Starbucks run. So call me a throw-back, but I’m going to stick to being temperature-sensitive. I’ll try to maintain a civil tongue in my head, even when it’s freezing out.

My family, it must be said, are very excited that we’re having a warm and early spring.

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White Out

December 20, 2009 at 9:51 PM (Energy, mommy guilt, Recovery) (, , , , , , , , )

It snowed here overnight and most of the morning. While I hate being cold, I love snow. Hey, if it’s gotta be freezing, it might as well be pretty. (See, there I go, form over function again.) It felt cathartic, restorative, like wiping last week’s (uuuuugly) slate clean. No more self-recrimination, just quiet and softness.

Spent the morning going to Boston for brunch with my three favorite guys. (Culinary luxury is always a good mood-booster.) Watched the snow blowing up Boylston Street and stuffed myself with eggs benedict and too many carbs. But no guilt. Got the kids set up with some wholesome on-line activities and retired to My Office for a nap while Mr. Wonderful wrapped up the Christmas shopping. Coasted through dinner and took the dog for a walk in the winter wonderland.

Yes, the house still needs vacuuming. Yes, I still need to finish the Christmas cards (cranked out about thirty yesterday) and get more stamps. Yes, I still need to wrap everything. But NO, the self-flagellation for my supposed shortcomings has not continued. I thank the snow.

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