Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Getting Cancer Disintegrating Boogie Blues

Time out of this diary for a note-worthy flashback:

I wanted to musically (and raucously) make an audio interpretation of what happened inside my head when I was told I had cancer this year.

There I was, boogie-bluesing along nicely in life, la-dee-do-dah, when ... POW! I have WHAT?
(Not to worry, I'm mostly back in my groove now, but my internal tunes did go off the rails for a while, and there just might be something to knowing how to play it right before you can play it wrong. I don't think Picasso could've gotten away with sticking an elbow out of an ear unless he'd first expertly placed it in the middle of an arm.)

This is also dedicated to dahlin' aerial-dancin' daughter Erin Lovett Sherman. When she was little, she thought I was Jerry Lee Lewis. Ah, the innocence and purity of youth. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

DAY 053 -- "No Floating Pea"

I watched the Doc sift through the slices of my innards imagery, reviewing the results of the PET scan. When he nudged the trackball, dimensions of my organs and all their connective circuity flowed in and out like beach waves.

He gave me an analogy of a pea floating in soup, and because my attention span warps when it’s stressed and in the grip of my overactive imagination, I heard it in pieces. What did register and take hold in my head was that it’s better to have no floating pea.

My original tumor (soup) appeared to be pea-less. Good news, but the appearance of this new pesky lymph node seen in my recent comparative CT scan, remains the bugaboo.

Is it scarring? An anomaly appearing now as collateral damage from my course of Rad/Chemo? Is it a threat? Malignant? My Doc, in consult with his fellow oncologists, wants to get the biopsy as scheduled “to know what we’re dealing with.”

The image was ominous, a skyscape of jutting and sloping contrasts, rows of little devils moving through weeds of thick--- oh … wait ….

That’s a picture of my inside windshield when I was going through the car wash today. Sorry.

Even cancer sometimes needs a comic gotcha headbutt when you're looking the other way.
Meanwhile, back at the rest of my other whole body, he was pleased that I’ve dropped a couple of pounds, that I’m using the new elliptical, eating better, not quite as fatigued, and not picking at the sporadic and migrating skin eruptions. The latter is difficult, because when I was a kid, I kept a scab collection in a jar. It was fun looking at scraps of me flitting around in there when I shook it.

Later in boyhood, I added some dead moths for balance.

I had the same feeling today watching him scroll through my sub-layers, though he presented them with a bit more diagnostic sophistication.  

We did review my list of side effects (from Day Fifty-One) and he attributed them to the illness, the treatments, aging, a thousand or so other possible causes, and the maladaptations that can come with healing. We tweaked my uses of lotions and potions to ameliorate, perhaps even eliminate some of these sideshows as we continue this grand experiment.

Today, I’m feeling like what happens when Frankenstein teams up with Monty Hall in the funhouse mirror.

Somewhere in here, I'm behind one of those doors.

More as we go, El

Sunday, December 9, 2018

DAY 052 -- "The Usual Posted Warnings"

 I don't know which is harder: trying to read between the shifting lines of body language or the scathing sounds of spoken language.

Today, at my Imfinzi infusion session, I also met with my oncologist to review the results of my recent chest CT scan.
His body language told me: “I’m concerned.”

Trouble is, so did his spoken language: “I’m concerned.”

So, I pressed him, knowing that he’d get as specific as he could, which is considerable, given his expertise. I also knew that he’d stop short of using a crystal ball. I threw mine away this past year, and this young Doc already has the wisdom to leave seering to the seers.

He deals in facts. Numbers. Ratios. Equivalents. Values. Imagery. Diagnostics. Degrees. Like this one, a before and after comparison (minus the phony Photoshopped brush-ups). This is my interior, courtesy of the art-science of tomography. 

Yes, there is a virtual slice of my chest: most recent on the left, three months ago on the right.

I’ll leave you to find “it,” like one of those picture puzzles with subtle differences in the same drawings. Ah, this one has a mustache; this one doesn’t. Find the missing shoe. One of these things is not like the other (done in your best sing-songy Sesame Street off-key).

Get the pictures? Get the errant lymph node.

Yes, good Doc will sometimes venture into prognostication, but not without first applying the caveats of possibilities and probabilities. With predictions, there must be a way out. That’s why crystal balls in my life are now junk novelties.

Not the best news today, so next up? Another PET scan and EBUS/Biopsy to dammit see which new pronouns and adverbs will be coming into play. Good thing I love the language: wordy or worn.

 Another dark door to go through, with the usual posted warnings.

More as we go, El

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