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Sunday, August 12, 2018

DAY 035 -- "Pulverized Bacon!"

Here we are at the edge of tomorrow. My last radiation treatment is late afternoon, Monday, August 13th.

Let’s see: if I were our fearful leader, I’d order a celebratory parade of saluting oncologists riding atop rose-covered linear accelerators being pulled along by pairs of yoked nurses in glowing scrubs. Ba-da-bonkers.

This all started a couple of months ago simply enough, with the discovery of a “primary malignant neoplasm of the right upper lobe of the lung.” Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it might help you in your next game of Scrabble.

When I heard it, I so wanted my body to be the flesh & bone equivalent of a brave new world argonaut, but what flashed before me was Don Quixote on a dead planet.

In one of my first diagnostic tests, “an expression immunohistochemical assay was performed on paraffin-embedded tissue sections fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin for 6 to 72 hours.” Yikes.

I was across the room talking this out loud to myself when my dear wife Diane overheard me, and her biochemist background surfaced:

“Oh, sweetie, that just means that they’re identifying the markers on the surface of your tumor cells that can be attacked by immune medications.”

“Of course it does. Silly me.”

She forgets herself sometimes, and sometimes I forget how smart she is.  There was a bit of little boy in me, however, that wanted to hear “Oh, that’s the test they do on the cool goop so they’ll know what to zip and zap you with.”

I’ve said before in this ledger, that “knowledge is power,” and I’ve long subscribed to that as a caregiver.

Along my path of peril, however, I’ve had my moments when I didn’t want anything resembling a crystal ball around me. No seers, no fortune tellers, no heads ups. No forewarnings, no preps, no getting up for the games. Just give it to me as we go, and with cool goop lingo and black raspberry applications. It’s summer, after all.

As I’m nearing the end of it, I am looking back on this descension  of cancer, this course of treatment and what it’s meant and how it’s changed me and Diane, fleeting and far-reaching.


I’m reduced to eating what Diane describes as “slippery cooking,” although I’ve come to see it as a delicious/nutritious augmentation. And, she’s done it so well. Soft, oily, smooth, wet and savory fare that will slide past this choking sore throat. It only hurts when I swallow, Doc, and no I’m not finishing that joke.

The plus side? An EXCELLENT food intake, like her cauliflower kale soup (to die for, but I hope not).

And, funny I should mention it, but she’s just come around the corner in her Bubba Gumpers cooking apron and announced: “Damn, the zucchini soup is so boring! Now… how to spice it up!” Zucchini from our garden, homemade with loving hands, delivered with a full heart. Boring? Silly girl.

Puddings and pops, flavored ices, smoothies, frozen yogurts, protein shakes, scrambled eggs, slurpy sides, slithery cereal, and I’ve even come to know and love the delight of a barbequed pureed hamburger. Again, it’s summer, and concessions must be made. I can’t give up yummy as a standalone.

Two other primary functions: bathroom privileges are now considered Constitutional Amendments, and any degree of manual labor needs to be recalculated beforehand using a slide rule, a sun stick, a child’s garden of verses, and dog years.

Re-enter Diane: “I’ve got it! I’ll add pulverized bacon!”

Far as savory goes, that may save the day … and the week … and the prognosis.

And, tomorrow? Graduation Day?

Watermelon soup!

It's summertime summertime, sum sum summertime....

More as we go, El






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