Monday, August 10, 2009

I started writing an update on Saturday in which I rambled on about all of the cool things about having cancer and all of the other blessings in my life and then maybe some other things that kind of annoyed me about having cancer. Well, I've scrapped that update. Now you get this one. And let me just start out by saying, this isn't going to be one of those "ha ha! Cancer is the best" updates or even one of those "look at that crazy thing cancer did to me" updates. Instead, this is going to be a bitchy, cranky, salty (I drop the F bomb a lot, consider the cancer card pulled) update about how I'm over this whole having cancer thing. Put your reading glasses on now, because it's going to be a doozy.

I'll start by telling you something awesome about my dad. In addition to being a former beer columnist and a longtime soccer player, my dad has played bass guitar in some band or other since long before I was born. Occasionally, he gets the band he played with in college, Waterfall, back together. They play pretty much the same set list they played at William and Mary in the 60s (read: lots of classic rock), and it's as rockin' and fantastic and tie-dyed as you're imagining.

Well, Waterfall played yesterday at the Watermelon Festival in Richmond, and I was supposed to go with Cassie to see them. But, when I woke up on Saturday morning, I felt like I might be getting a little sick. Did I actually feel sick? No. I just felt like I might potentially get sick. And that was enough to make me not go and risk my favorite daughter status (which I must say is a result of my current health condition). Before cancer, if I got sick in Richmond, I slept a little more and maybe took some Sudafed, and got over it. Now, if I get sick, I have to go to the hospital to get IV drugs, and while I'm sure the hospital in Richmond has the same trashy TV shows as the hospitals here, I'd rather be hospitalized near home. So, F.U. cancer #1: Fuck you cancer, for making my immune system so shitty that I skipped my dad's awesome band gig, because I thought there was a slight chance I'd get sick. Note: I never actually got sick.

Cassie, however, tried to worm her way into the favorite daughter position (nice try, Cass) by going to Richmond alone with the intent of returning Monday evening. Don, bacon supplier that he is, had to drive to Fort Belvoir for work Monday morning. That would have left me alone for a total of 8ish hours. No sweat, right? I'm an independent adult. Surely, I can handle 8 hours of me time. But, since this is the "go blow yourself, cancer" update, you know that is not what happened. Instead, 3 minutes before Don was supposed to leave, blood started shooting out of my nose as if I was an extra in Tarantino flick. I honestly think that if I hadn't been trying to staunch the flow, the blood would have arced out of my nose. The force was that great. I continued to bleed, albeit less dramatically, for the next 3 hours, necessitating a trip to get blood work to make sure I wouldn't need a platelet infusion. Since I can't shift gears, steer, and hold a tissue up to my nose at the same time, Don had to delay his work trip to drive my sorry ass to the doctor's office. So, F. U. cancer # 2: Fuck you cancer, for making a little nosebleed potentially life threatening, and while we're at it, F. U. cancer #3: Fuck you cancer, for making Don late to his work thing. Note: The blood work came back fine.

As a result of this snafu, Don, Cassie, and I decided that I am not allowed to be left alone anymore, not even for 8 hours. So, F. U. cancer # 4: Fuck you cancer, for making me feel like a freaking 2 year old who needs a baby sitter.

To add just a touch more drama to the nosebleed story, I'll supply some extra background about my life. Before this whole cancer drama started, I was supposed to be helping my beloved lab mate, Katie, run the monkey lab. Running the lab consists of running research trials (all behavioral, enriching, non-invasive trials, of course) and monkey husbandry. The research trials are flexible in terms of when we run them, as is some of the monkey husbandry. Some of the husbandry, such as weighing the monkeys, however, should happen every day, but missing a day isn't the end of the world. And then some husbandry, such as medicating any sick monkeys, is inflexible.

Since I seem to spend quite a bit of my time going to doctor's appointments, sleeping off chemo, or percoceting the bone pain away (monkeys + narcotics = a great idea for a movie, but a bad idea for real life), poor Katie has been running the lab singlehandedly while also trying to write and propose her masters. So, when she wanted to take some much needed and deserved vacation time during one of my Week 3s, and asked if I could fill in for her, I said, "Don't worry your pretty little head about it. Everything will be fine." But, everything was not fine. Even though my nosebleed finally stopped after 3 hours, if a drop of blood passes these nostrils for the rest of the day, my oncologist advised me to Stop! Do Not Pass Go! and head to the E.R. asap. Things that tend to make nosebleeds start up: bending over and lifting things. Things that happen as a routine part of monkey care: bending over and lifting things. Biohazards that should never be part of an animal care routine: bleeding on the animals. So, F.U. cancer #5: Fuck you cancer, for making me completely unreliable. And, F.U. cancer #6: Fuck you cancer, for interfering with my monkey care. And finally, F.U. cancer #7: Fuck you cancer, for making Katie feel like she doesn't have backup when she needs it. Note: the monkey got medication but no one got weighed.

Also F. U. cancer for making my nose hurt from the nosebleeds, for making pizza and grapes and Taco Bell and soda taste gross, for making my parents worry about me all of the time, for making me look like a vampire every time I floss my teeth, and for making me stupid in the brain. As far as I'm concerned, Cancer, you and I are fucking done professionally (please tell me someone gets this reference).


  1. I think you are allowed to go all Christian Bale on cancer! That all sounds like a clusterf**k of unfairness.

  2. Cancer and the f-bomb go well together.

    I must say I'm a bit shy using the f-word but I'm secretly excited to see someone else using it so freely ... when talking about cancer.