Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ma, Meatloaf!

Dinner arrived at the stroke of 5; I usually eat around 7. I lifted the edge of the plate cover and glimpsed the rectanglur brown matter within: meatloaf, the ubiquitous institutional fare, floating on a sea of viscuous taupe. Having just completed my first serving of ara-c, I couldn't face the mystery lump coagulating on the plate. I replaced the cover and ate the roll. The lemon square was tasty.

If she's complaining about the food, the experience can't be so bad.

We arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am to have my PICC line inserted. That's where they'll infuse the poison that will kill leukemic cells. First they tried my left arm. No go. They settled for my right, and I was soon escorted to my single room on the 6th floor. My room is light and airy, with the bed facing the large window that peers out over houses, trees and a sluggish stream surrounded by ominous industrial contraptions. Love canal?

Marty stayed all day, and Mark spent about 4 or 5 hours visiting. I snoozed on and off as the ara-c dripped into my veins. If only I could remain unconscious throughout the next few months. I would have no awareness of the constant stream of meatloaf passing through my room.

It's 6:30, and the sun is sliding out of view. Day one can be checked off. It'll be interesting to see if there will be sleep here, in between the meds and blood draws and the constant beeping of machines.

Tomorrow I get a menu so I can avoid the tyranny of the meat wad sauced over in mud.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Been There, Done That

The first time I faced leukemia I was so dumb I didn't even know what questions to ask. I was frightened, but it wasn't until after my treatments ended that I suffered post traumatic stress syndrome. I could see those cowardly panic attacks sneaking up on me out of the corner of my eye.

At my first relapse, I knew too much about the disease, and what I knew set off an internal flash fire, reducing me to a pile of ashes. I was going to go with the Lot's wife metaphor, but I hold with those who think the world will end in fire.

Three years of accumulated leukemia knowledge have made me realize how little I know about leukemia, or much else. I am strangely calm, and although I smell the fire, I'm not afraid of it. It's like a natural disaster that suddenly turns your world upside down. What can you do? If you're lucky, pick up the mess and go on.

I am clear-eyed and clear-headed. You might say, how brave. It's not courage though; it's training. I know the drill.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at 2:30 pm to have a port put in my arm. I will then be admitted into the hospital, and soon thereafter, the chemical weapon will be deployed. I'll use a portion of your love and support to wring leukemia's neck. The rest I will slowly sip like an ice-cold martini, infusing its power against the assault, storing it in my brain and heart for future strength.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Back to Pole Dancing

I'll just give it to you straight. I've relapsed and will have to start all over again. I enter the hospital later this week to get the poison, which will hang from little bags strung from a pole I'll take with me everywhere I go. Not that I'll go far.

Ironically, I feel healthy and strong. This will not last, nor will my hair, which I'm going to shear off in a pre-emptive strike. I'm trying my best to be philosophical, and except for a few middle-of-the-night crying jags, I've maintained my dignity and sense of humor.

Looks like the Plog will be going prime time once again. Watch for continued updates. Who knows what the scriptwriters have up their sleeves.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Drinking Coffee Somewhere

Tick tick tick. God I hate time. It's predictably regular and annoyingly inexorable. Time does not take a coffee break. And if you happen to take one, well, you've been left behind and will have to leap into the future to get back on track. That lump of Time you jumped over will never be yours. It's gone, and all you can do is shrug and get back on the line.

Why is she writing this nonsense?

Reader, you will know in due time. That word again.

It's a bright Sunday morning; everyone's asleep. So calm and peaceful. I took my anti-bone crumbling pill an hour ago and then busied myself until I could have my first cup of coffee. I disinfected the sink, which seemed like a noble if mindless thing to do. I read my email, only to find that a friend from another lifetime died on March 13. Sharon also liked to drink coffee, and often brewed me a cup or two. Sharon is off the timeline now, permanently exited and no longer subject to its rules.

Would you have me weep at this news instead of dispassionately reporting it? I cannot do so many things at once. After all, I'm drinking coffee and worried about where those seconds and minutes are going. If only I could scoop them up and put them in the pocket of my wool robe to nestle with the moist crumpled tissues, safely stored and ready to be used as needed at some future date.

Don't worry, I'm not going to get all carpe diem on you, although if that's how you wish to interpret my words, be my guest. I'm still drinking coffee and thinking about Sharon, how she was smart and an excellent cook, and possessed a bullshit-blasting wit.

I will now re-enter the mortal coil, which in spite of its three-dimensional circular aspect, cannot shake Time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Boston Marrowthon

My friend Ann forwarded a message to me about a bone marrow drive being held in Brookline, Massachusetts this Sunday, April 19 and Monday, April 20. A little girl named Eve needs a donor, and it could be you.

If you live in the Boston area, I urge you to attend The Boston Marrowthon.

Thanks in advance from someone who is writing these words today due to the generosity and selflessness of strangers.