Thursday, May 22, 2008

What Do I Know?

First of all, let me thank, from the bottom of my strong, extremely functional, and well-performing heart, all of you who are taking time out from your busy days to read my blog, and send me your love and good wishes, either over the internet or energetically. I am truly amazed, gratified and humbled by your care. I cannot say enough how thankful I am. And, actually, how right I was about cancer. It’s all about love—here at home, at the SCCA, with my various other people, and today at the UW ER. Really, at the risk of going overboard (and I am feeling a bit tipsy from one of my drugs), I will say that I didn’t understand there was so much love in the world. Thank you.

So today I spent about 9 hours in the ER. For several of those hours, there was a good chance I was just going to be admitted to the hospital and watched, by a team of Radiation Oncologists and Neurosurgeons. But ultimately they decided surgery tomorrow wasn’t such a good idea, and let me go back home, with strict orders to TAKE MY DECADRON. Yes, Sirs, and one Ma’am.

My scan showed a total of 11 lesions in my brain, so I am loopier than normal. I knew I couldn’t tell. Of the 11 lesions, one is in the cerebellum, on the right tonsil, which hangs down at the base of the brain over the neck. This is the dangerous one. My brain is not hydrocephalic, so that’s good, but there is no room to move for this one lesion. Too much swelling, which I guess lesions are wont to do (plus they grow) and the brain stem is blocked off and that’s life threatening.

The discussions today were about the timing off the neurosurgery to remove the mass. It was originally going to be as early as tomorrow, because I’ll have to wait two or more weeks for the head to heal before I start radiation, which could take up to two weeks. And I have to finish radiation on the brain before I can start chemotherapy to clear up my lungs, because even at half capacity, my lungs are less of a threat to my life than my brain. We’re listening to a book on tape about a boy climbing Everest—from the Tibet side—and every time they talk about thin air and gasping and people dying and being really, really stupid from lack of oxygen even if you do make the summit, I feel myself going all incredulous and shocked. People do this for fun?!?

There are a lot of possible side effects associated with surgery and radiation and whatnot, but I think I won’t enumerate them here—I think I’ll just do a whole separate side effects posting. Western cancer treatment just has a lot of side effects, and a lot of drugs to treat those side effects, and a lot of drugs to treat the side effects of those side effects. When they were talking about admitting me today, I was given a list of something like 20 different things that I could ask for to go with my decadron throughout the night. Fortunately I’m home, where I only have about 5, and none of them are really elective right now.

I don't know if it's the decadron, or the lesion or what, but I was actually laughing today, mostly because this has gotten almost ridiculous. I mean, everyone who calls or talks to me puts on their serious "I have some grave news to share with you," voice, and says things like "your lungs are working at half-capacity," or "your bones have numerous spots of radioactive uptake," or "if you were 20 years older you'd be dead by now" or "your brain MRI worries me a lot and I need you to go to the ER today and have an expert look at it." I will say, everyone was duly impressed that I'm still alive, and that I have virtually no symptoms. I guess this is yet another reminder that I Don't Know Much. I've been irritated with my body for puking in the mornings, but actually it's been keeping me alive through something like Stage 100 cancer. I love my body. It's awesome.

Several years ago, I had a very bad morning (screaming at customer service, trouble with housework, late to my volunteer job), which culminated in the parking lot behind the Wallingford Tully's, with a bird shitting on my hand and purse. I burst out laughing--I mean, it was really too much--and the day improved immensely.

I don't know that my treatment or prognosis for the next several months will improve immensely just because I thought it was funny that I have a life-threatening brain tumor, but I really do feel okay. This is all part of the process, all part of the game. Thank you for joining me on the ride.


Sassy Glasses Girl said...

I'm just posting to say that I'm here (virtually). :) Reading. Psychically sitting at your feet, smiling and watching you with awe.

Stacey said...

Love, love, LOVE.

Caringthinkingperson said...

I love you my dear, so yes, I am one of the many loving you with energy - in this case from across the water, and tonight with several other singers. Guess WHO? I was the one playing piano and acting stupid. I guess that is enough info. Anyway this is the blogging name I use for all of my political writing, so I thought I'd be bloggingly consistant. Although I've been told the caring and thinking isn't nearly as caring and thinking as I think it is sometimes. Haven't had anyone acuse me of not being a person, yet! Hope Erik gave you my hug!

Phyllis said...

Good Sunday morning Calin,Iam a friend of your dear mother Liz; i live in salem, and wanted you to know you are on my mind,and in my prayers. I too have experienced that silly decadron high you described so well. However it may just be courage and wit, and the love of the funny things in life;and not a drug reaction at all. In which case, you are your mother's daughter! Bravo to you Calin! Keep on keepin on.