Tuesday, February 3, 2009

From Inside my Cancer Bubble

A few folks have mentioned that I'm a bit "wordy" with my postings. So I'll try to keep this one short (well, short for me, since I'm prone to those parenthetical meandering tangents. Is that redundant? Can a tangent still be a tangent if it doesn't meander? Discuss amongst yourselves.)

This morning my assistant Michelle had to email me at home and gently remind me that she (who is 8 1/2 months pregnant) had a doctor's appointment and that I was supposed to get in early (before 10) so someone was in the office. This came as a surprise to me, despite the fact that it's on my calendar and well, yeah, you can kinda tell she's pregnant (because she normally weighs 6 1/2 lbs and currently she's pushing the limits of eight, maybe nine pounds). But still, other people have doctor's appointments? Wait...the world keeps going while I have CANCER? Apparently so.

And then there's this whole self-indulgent blog thing. I write it pretty much nightly, as cheap therapy. But it never really occurs to me that other people read it (so I'm convinced that 3 people are coming to the Friday the 13th Boobie Bash...and that's all the wine I'm getting, until I have reason to think otherwise). Today two different people quoted parts of my blog postings back to me and I reacted as though they'd read my secret thoughts. (How did they know this?) Or secret thoughts of some really disturbed person that I might have one time known. And then I got an email from a friend whom I had just recently thought "hey, she doesn't even know if I survived the surgery or what the heck is going on. She doesn't call, she doesn't write..." And her email said "I'm so glad to hear things are going well. How great to see a picture of Corby." I had to think, "where did she see a picture of Corby??" (Sunday posting...just a few down.) So I guess she does know that I survived. But how do I know that she knows? And how does she know that I know that she knows? I don't! I live in a cancer bubble!!

Inside my cancer bubble I know things like this: I've received three different calls from Dr. Good Karma telling me that the lymph nodes were all clear. Today was the "official official" word. Several tests are done, it seems, so now we're all clear on this. And also: the tumor was "officially" 1.7 cm. Not the 1.5 we thought from the ultrasound, nor the 2.0 we thought from the MRI. 1.7. I guess the little bastards can be tricky and you have to cut them out and pin them to slide to really get them to give up the information. And finally, "my" cancer (although, I believe I have relinquished it to the UCLA Medical Center at this point) was at Stage Ic. And did you know they add letters after the numbers? I'd always heard Stage I, II, III, IV. I suppose now that "they" know there are so many different kinds of cancer and different risks they had to come up with more scoring techniques. It's sort of like what they did to gymastiques in the Olympics last year (no, not the part where 8 year old girls pretended to be teenagers; just the scoring part). So now I'm in deep discussions with Dr. Karam over whether it's properly stated as 1c, 1C, Ic, IC or, my personal favorite I(c). (Note strong resemblance to the surgery...)

And finally, in my cancer bubble, I think things like "it all sounds so serious: CANCER. But really, I'm far more likely to die in a car crash and wouldn't that be ironic?" I usually think this as I make left hand turns without consciously checking for oncoming traffic. I'm not fond of driving and I've been in two roll-over car accidents--both on freeways, or well, off a freeway in one case. I was only the driver in one of those and a contributorily negligent front-seat passenger in the other (Hi Gary!!). But still, it's a legitimate thought.

I wonder if this bubble I'm living in can be dangerous? When I get out, I'm going to ask someone. But here's the thing--at her doctor's appointment, Michelle was told she had herpes. Because they were holding someone else's chart!! Some other pregnant lady who actually does have herpes (not Michelle. Let's be clear on that). That doesn't happen to me inside the cancer bubble!!


  1. So, I'm reading about your horrific car experiences thinking, "oh my God, how terrible!"...then I read what I that was a totally brave announcement about your pregnant friend and about fell over!!!!! You can count me as one of those people that does NOT feel your blog entries are wordy. I thoroughly enjoy them. Glad you are cancer free and your friend is herpes free. Jeez, someone in THAT doctors office needs to pay a little attention to detail, don;t ya think?

  2. Who said your "wordy", so what. That's why blogs exist, so that people can BE WORDY.

  3. The off freeway accident was 25+ years ago!

    Your blog is wordy...but that is just you...and has been for years!

  4. Thelma-
    I think your words are just "pinky" (like peachy, only cancer-cuter). Anyway, I'd reply more but every time I do, it ends up differently than I hoped/tried. Damn blog thing. I am coming to the boobie-party but do prefer a filthy, dirty grey goose martini so no need to stock up on more wine. In fact, I could bring some (grey goose that is)-cleverly disguised as pink bubbly if you wish. Now get back to work and I'll see you on the 13th.

  5. So what if the off freeway accident was 25 years ago? What's the statute of limitations on "you tried to kill me!!!" Besides, the South Dakota broken arm story is 35+ years old and you don't see me letting go of that one. Don't cross me people. I'm Irish. I remember everything!!


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