Friday, December 30, 2011

Can't Buy Me Love

There's nothing like cancer for when you're feeling low about yourself. Your body is trying to put you in a shitty mood daily. It's only natural that at some point, you look at your life and say "Well shit, I am almost thirty, totally broke and unsuccessful. And I somehow managed to get cancer. Like I sat on the wrong toilet seat, or smoked the wrong cigarette, or stood too close to the wrong microwave, or drank out of the wrong water bottle, or who even knows what the fuck."

But the odd thing is cancer has made something very clear to me that was not before. I have not completely fucked up my life. If I had, I would be like "Shit, I have cancer" and literally no one would care. Instead, all kinds of people are trying to help me and letting me know they give a damn. In terms of investment and return, it sort of seems like I've been making some good choices.

Like, metaphorically.

Obviously not with real money.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

D. B. Sweeney

So when they tell you your hair is going to thin, what they mean is that you are lucky: rather than have all your hair fall out at once, you are just going to shed like a husky in the springtime. If you are blessed with locks as thick and luscious as mine, you can keep up the appearance of health for a while, maybe even for the entirety of your treatment. Watching my hair fall out a little every day: another piece of cancer good news. Fortunately my friends understand actual good news, so I have some. With my awesome new iPad I can read Buffy comics or play games or do crosswords, not to mention chat and update my blog, all from the waiting room! On one device. I would absolutely shave my head for nice things so I call it a win. Merry Christmas, however: my washing machine just broke. My awesome new iPad doesn't wash underpants! There is no app for that. My life is a circus of strange luck lately.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Burying the Lead

Like clockwork I got really bad muscle pains a week after my infusion in the arm where the chemo was injected -- THE FIRST TIME. Obviously not the last time, they used the port! Half the reason for getting that thing was so I wouldn't have arm pains but apparently my arm remembers and is STILL MAD.

My oncologist's proposed solution: an Oxycodone prescription. Yeeeaaap. Now I do hard drugs.

The strips are off my port surgery incisions and that area of my chest is looking mighty manly. Not in terms of muscles, obv, but like I went through some tough shit. The stories scars tell excludes the part where they give you nice happy sleepy drugs the entire time real shit is going down. All they say is "Where are your chest scars, pussy?"

I had a beer and I did not explode. The weird alcohol pain is gone, so drinking is on. Phew, now I'm interesting enough to be a character from Mad Men.

Though I can't drink often and never a whole lot. So thankfully I baked some brownies that are MAGIC! Get it? With the cancer?

Pop culture tells me that me and my cancer are much more interesting if I'm drinking and doing drugs.

The brownies' secret ingredient is TLC. Yes, first I steeped and simmered both tender love and care into some butter until all the TLC was extracted. Then I used that butter to make the brownies.

You really feel the love working on you, and the care. But it takes like an hour.

It's a mellow, subtle feeling that's not too crazy. To quote Raymond Carver, these are brownies you can reason with.

Oh, it would be nice to get a little of that Chinese Food Effect: food that makes you want more food.

In other news, my hair is starting to fall out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Hey, I got the results of my sperm test back!

Only problems are that 1, I don't know what any of these numbers mean and I currently have no doctor to explain them to me, and 2, thanks to the medical community's innovating use of fax technologies, there is a key spec on this report that might or might not be a decimal point.

My concentration (commonly referred to incorrectly as the "sperm count") is either 7.3 million per cubic centimeter (which is equal to a milliliter, turns out) or 73 million. Average is apparently somewhere between 20-40 million.

It's a small spec. I might have A LOT OF SPERMS.

Average motility is 60%. Mine is 59%, but estimated at closer to 35% after unfreezing.

Dr. Wikipedia helped me make sense of these results, so the fact that I have lots of super sperm is now confirmed with absolutely no doubt.

At least, I think the long and short of it is that if I need some sperm at some point, I got some. Also if you need some, let me know.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In-Between Days

I spent the last night of my In-Between Days (yep, there it is, title of my cancer memoir, nailed it!) taking second place with my awesome pub trivia team. Tied for first then lost the tie-breaker, but hey, at least dinner (Last Supper) was free.

Cheeseburgers, see you in a week. Although this smoothy I made is phenomenal. Sorry cancer advisers! I am eating foods that taste good. I know that's against the rules.

The in-between days sort of made me forget how much it sucks to feel full and a little nauseated and tired and like lights are really bright. Now I'm back in it, chemo round 2, what is there to say? Nothing.

So I will just post some pictures of the journey thus far. Many were snapped hastily in hospitals with cheap cell phone cameras, so as photojournalism goes, probably not going to blow your socks off.

Ultrasound of the neck lump, back when no one knew what was wrong with me. Correction: back when no one knew what was wrong with me except all my doctors, who were like "shit, this kid totally has cancer but I can't actually tell him that until we get decent biopsy results."

Biopsy #2 when it was still stripped and purple from the surgeon's pen. Now it's a neat scar, I like to tell people I got into a knife fight. With cancer.

Two days after the port placement surgery. Suture stripped and still plenty of bruising -- see how the blood followed the line of the bandage that was on it? Science! You can see the port poking out like a third, evil nipple.

Chemo round 2, through the port. That bib matches the intense butcher's apron thing the oncology nurse wears, in case of any unlikely spill. Chemo drugs are super toxic! Wouldn't want to get them on your shirt or skin or you know COURSING THROUGH YOUR BODY.

That second-to-last shot has Facebook profile pic written all over it.