Monday, January 24, 2011

Rowing the Life Boat Ashore (Hallelujah)

The week got better. Thanks in part to the many of you who related good experiences with chemotherapy, and in part to Lyn talking to her oncology “team” members and hearing that the side effects were unlikely to be anywhere near as bad as the warning pamphlet made them sound, we had the life boat back on an even keel and got to rowing.

I think those warning leaflets need a warning label on them: “Caution – Reading This Information Could Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health. Read only under a doctor’s supervision.” I wonder how many people read the drug warning stuff and decide cyanide might be quicker and less painful. First you go meet with all the professionals who are very reassuring and going out of their way to make sure you are optimistic and expecting a good outcome, and then at home you read the warning label on the medication and that undoes hours and hours of counseling. I think the warning label trend may have gone too far.

Warning: Getting out of bed is hazardous. Staying in bed is more hazardous. Deal with it. (Do not remove this tag under penalty of some other hazard). And by the way, this mattress is either highly flammable and hazardous, or has been treated with fire retardant chemicals that could be hazardous. So much for getting any sleep. Maybe that justifies why we actually sleep on a waterbed: less flammable. Sleeping is hazardous. Not sleeping is worse. The news had a report last week that sleeping with pets is hazardous. Probably not nearly as hazardous as sleeping with people. I suspect the bigger hazard from the pet is tripping over the stupid cat on the way to the bathroom.

So, she took the first batch of chemotherapy pills this morning at breakfast. I kept waiting for her to break out in hives, her hands and feet to swell up and for her to run desperately for the bathroom, but nothing happened. The scariest thing that happened at breakfast was reading the Times. No guarantees that there won’t be side effects later on, but, as the guy falling from the skyscraper kept saying on the way down: “OK so far.” (Sorry. I’m trying to stay upbeat here, but my natural inclination to irony has to get out somehow).

She gets irradiated this afternoon. Funny that radiation is both a major cause of cancer and also a major way of curing it. Sounds kind of homeopathic (and ironic). Like, they don’t want her to take vitamins during the treatment because vitamins are too healthful: The anti-oxidents might counteract the effect of the chemotherapy, which is intended to kill unwanted parts of her body. For the next 9 months or so, the doctor is prescribing junk food (well, sort of). The diet that was supposed to prevent the cancer is not at all the diet that is supposed to help treat it. And they don’t want her to lose any weight. How often does a doctor tell you that? Eat white bread, potatoes, white rice and ice cream, skip the fruits and veggies and don’t lose any weight. Now that’s my kind of doctor!


  1. That is my kind of diet! I may have to participate in some sympathy eating. I just happen to have bought some Pumpkin cookies and Peanut Butter M&M's, today, so I can definitely do this. What do they say about jumping? It's not the fall that kills you - it's the sudden stop at the end.

  2. Glad Lyn is off to a good start... and coping with the whole thing. Praying for both of you.

  3. Sometimes the doing is a lot less hard that the worrying (I think you told me that....right?). The hard part in being the spouse is that there is not a lot can do, except the worrying part. But, I bet you could help her with the eating thing. Ice cream before bed!