Mar 252005

round and gold

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going to order some of these Livestrong bracelets.
(And a few people mentioned that they would like one, so if you wanted one and you haven’t heard from me yet, feel free to drop me a line and I will hook you up with one.)

I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but I just stumbled across this site and this site both of which sell a variety of plastic bracelets at inflated prices.
That kind of sickens me.
I understand that retailers need to make a profit. But lots of retailers have little tins for various charities and people donate money when they are at the till.
I don’t know why some folks are deciding to sell these bracelets for a profit.
To me, it goes against the spirit of the thing and it’s kind of gross.

And, imagine my surprise when I saw just how very many bracelets there are available now.
That snappy Lance Armstrong, cutting the trail for plastic fashion *and* winning the Tour de France a million times.
He’s my guy.

Anyway, if you are in my little world and you after one of the Livestrong bracelets, give me a shout and I will set you up.
For way less than it would cost on e-bay.

Be the first in your class!!

 Posted by at 1:03 am
Mar 242005

I had this idea that I wanted some folks to join me for the , Relay for Life put on by the Canadian Cancer Society, but it kind of collapsed, my grand, not terribly selfless gesture.
It went ka-put.


It croaked.

I really wanted to try to give something back to the big old world, cuz I have been taking more than my share lately, and I would like to balance the scales some. And I would like to do something to lighten the burden on other people who end up in the same boat as me.
Because, sadly, there will continue to be people in the same boat as me.

After a bunch of discussion about the timing of the relay and the current events in my life, and the fact that I haven’t worked in almost a year and I need to get going on that score, it was decided that we would postpone that sort of involvement until next year.
So, it is my rather enormous hope that next year I can make this happen and round up my own little relay team and stay up all night making the mainstream folks nervous and raising money for a pretty important cause.

I’m not doing it this year, but some woman I have never met is doing the Revlon Run Walk for Women’s Cancers in NYC at the end of April.
I just read her blog post (because all the cool peeps with ovarian cancer keep a blog and update it frequently) and she made me all misty-eyed with her post about doing the walk, and what it meant to her last year and what it means to her this year, and survivors’ laps and she mentioned absolutely nothing about run-on sentences but perhaps she should have or perhaps that is only my problem.

Anyway, I think you should read what she wrote.
She said what I felt better than I could have said my own self.

Her stuff can be found here

Go now. You’ll be a better person for it.
I promise.

 Posted by at 11:48 pm
Mar 232005

danger, danger Will Robinson

I had dinner with a friend tonight and I was trying to explain the strange zone I am in right now.
I’m not sick, but I am not well.
I already had a major grumble about that earlier today (see below).
It’s just weird right now.
In some ways, having finished the chemo means I now have the time, and some of the energy, to look back on what happened to me, and to Elaine, in 2004.
And let me just say, it’s actually a freakier thing to look at in retrospect than it is to just dig in and do it on a daily level.
And I think that’s because when you are actively in it there is so much stuff that you just push aside or stuff and you put one foot in front of the other and you go.
You go for bloodwork and you go for chemo and you go for doctor’s appointments and you go get your prescriptions filled and you go lay down and you get up again in about a week.
And now, it’s been four months since I finished my chemo and now I am trying to make sense of it.
It’s sort of like having spent seven months inside a blender and then getting tossed on to solid ground. It takes a while for the world to stop spinning and to get your bearings.
I feel like that’s the stuff I have to do now.
Trouble is, it’s a bit overwhelming and I am not sure I know where to start.
If I try to take on too much, I get tired and then I get grumpy because I am reminded that I am not able to do everything I used to do.

So, I am kind of confused right now.
See, it’s like this…
On one hand, I have all the gruelling moments of the last year that I need to just work through and deal with, one way or the other.
And, on the other hand, I have the daunting future looming before me.
Cuz, in case you didn’t know, just because I lived through chemo does not, not, not mean I am cured.
It means I am doing really well right now. And we will keep checking back for the next 7 years to make sure nothing is changing too much in all that.
It’s really a so far, so good sort of thing.
And I am totally delighted with where I am at, all things considered.
But it’s a bit like the old devil and the deep blue sea, if you know what I mean.
Sometimes I do literally feel squished by the enormity of the recent past and unknown freakiness of the future.
So sometimes all that pisses me off and makes me grumpy.
I try to remember how pissed off I will be if I do have a recurrence and I didn’t make the most of this time right now.
And still, sometimes I get crabby.
Sorry about that, comrades.
Bear with me, it’s all getting better, bit by bit.

 Posted by at 12:50 am
Mar 232005

Dear potheads,

How about this?
When you are having a hoot while driving in rush hour traffic, how about you roll up those windows so I don’t have to get all in a panic and wonder who is getting blasted in the next lane?
How about that?
See, I realize here in New Hamsterdam, you have to work pretty hard to get arrested for simple possession, I’d really appreciate it if you’d wait till you got home before you spark one up.
Oh, sure, it’s not addictive and it’s good for you and it’s low in carbs, it comes in a variety of flavours, and you can collect the whole set.
Still, how’z aboot we treat it like drinking beer.
It ain’t illegal to have a beer after work, but if you crack open your High-test in rush hour traffic, and you get caught, you’ll get quite a spanking.
I feel the same way about your pot smoking.

And if you can’t wait till you get home, how about you roll up them windows?
If you are gonna be fucked up, I don’t want to know about it in advance.

 Posted by at 12:19 am
Mar 222005

My girlfriend says, quite frequently, that I don’t like change.
I disagree, and I tell her so.
I just don’t like change that I don’t like.
It’s that simple.
See, if I won the lottery and I was suddenly no longer dogged by money troubles, that would
a) be a change
b) be something I like.

So, as often happens when we disagree, I am right and she is wrong.
And that’s okay by me.

But back to the nasty issue of change…
It’s true, I tend to be a bit stubborn when things are pretty good and then some stupid thing or person happens along and shit-kicks the whole balance of things.
And it happens all the time.
Maybe we, as humans, are all just Weebles and we spend our lifetimes wobbling, and hopefully not falling down. Too often.

The other day, Elaine and I were looking at some pictures and some wee movies.
They were taken before any cancer diagnosis had happened.
I found myself looking at them with an eerie fascination.
“Wow, look at us then, playing with the kittens, going to work and planning holidays and thinking about life like we thought we were regular people, wow.”
That’s what I thought. But I didn’t say anything.
So, when Elaine said, “You know what’s weird about looking at these?”, I didn’t think she would echo what I had been thinking.
See, I am the Eeyore in this house and if anyone is going to see the dark side of something, it will probably be me (except for the times when I am much more of an optimist than Elaine… it’s freaky but it really does happen. But I digress…).

It’s weird to look back on life before the diagnosis.
It’s weird to look ahead and try to figure out what the future holds and where I fit in it all now.
It’s weird to figure out what I can and can’t do and to have to articulate that to everyone.
And on that, there is no one good social rule for people to follow.
If people want me to do more than I can, I will squawk.
If people underestimate what I can do, I will get bored or grumpy or insulted.
Nice set of options, no?

I am in a strange zone right now.
Kind of halfway between everything. Not unlike some small Prairie town.
I don’t think I “look sick” anymore. I can tell because people slam into me in crowds and stuff and I no longer qualify as a helpless little invalid.
There are a set of social behaviours that we reserve for when we are in the presence of the very ill and our grandparents and for the general population for the week leading up to Christmas.
I no longer qualify as the recipient of that behaviour, except in mid-December.
People will butt in front of me in a line-up, will screw me for a parking spot, pass me on the right and cut me off in traffic.
I am back as a card carrying member of the general population.

But the trouble is, I don’t *feel* 100% yet.
I mean, sometimes I do, but sometimes I don’t.
And I find I have to always calculate how I am doing and whether I am up for dinner with Mary and Marvin on Saturday night, and are they going to do up an organic meal or will I be invited over for another meal that I can’t eat?
(Cuz you know, I never planned on becoming so high bloody maintenance, but that’s where it’s at right now, and I can’t actually tell you how spectacularly boring it is for me to always have to always say, “oh… no thanks, I can’t eat that… not organic.”
Damn… I just hate it.
“Oh, no, really, water is fine… thanks.”)

And I think about going back to work.
Work would be good in some ways.
More contact with the world would be good.
Feeling like I was contributing would be good.
Bringing home a pay cheque would be more than swell.
But then I get struck by the fear…
What if I can’t?
I don’t even know what it is I think I might not be able to do.
Maybe I “can’t”.
Can’t what, I don’t know.

I was talking to a counsellor at the cancer agency. She said some people don’t go back to work for a year after their treatments end.
Lots of people find they have to go back to completely different jobs.
I don’t know about that.
I think I need to feel more productive soon.
I liked my job and I liked (most of) my co-workers and I liked what we did.

But still, it’s weird to not be working.
And I know most people drag their asses out of bed each day and hobble off to work and scheme about all the things they would rather be doing.
I bet laying in bed for a year may even be on some people’s lists.
My suggestion: Be more specific about the how’s and the why’s of the laying in bed for a year.
Just a tip.

Anyway, our lives changed a whole bunch.
I remember driving back into town last year, after our vacation and before my surgery.
I remember staring out the window as we drove along the highway.
I remember thinking I was about to have a surgery and who knew what might happen after that.
And I remember thinking I was being a melodramatic wanker as soon as I thought that.
It sucks to be right.

So, it’s all changed and it ain’t done changing yet.
And, really, things are just going to keep changing and I will keep trying to accept those changes.
Some are just a whole lot easier than others.

 Posted by at 11:53 am
Mar 122005

Milk link to ovarian cancer risk

And for those of you who would rather scroll than click, the article appears below:

Milk link to ovarian cancer risk
Consuming large amounts of milk may increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer, research suggests.

A study of more than 60,000 women found drinking more than two glasses of milk a day significantly upped the risk of the most serious form of the disease.

Dairy products have previously been linked to cancers, including those of the breast and prostate.

The research, by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers followed 61,084 women aged 38 to 76 for around 13 years.

During this time a total of 266 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, of whom 125 had serous ovarian cancer.

The researchers found women who consumed more than four servings of dairy products a day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who had fewer than two.

They found that milk had the strongest link with ovarian cancer – those women who drank two or more glasses a day were at double the risk of those who did not consume it at all, or only in small amounts.

The reason why milk may increase the risk of ovarian cancer is unclear, but one theory is that lactose, a type of sugar found in milk, may overstimulate production of hormones which encourage tumour growth.

Diet element unclear

Dr Kate Law, of Cancer Research UK, said it was not yet clear how nutrients, or the amount and distribution of body fat affected the risk of developing cancer.

She said: “Previous research has also suggested that a diet rich in whole milk, yogurt and cheese may put women at higher risk of ovarian cancer.

“But the picture is far from clear, as other evidence suggests that women who drink skimmed or low-fat milk might have a lower risk of ovarian cancer.”

Dr Law a major study, involving 500,000 people, was currently underway to try to assess the impact on diet on cancer.

“Until more is known about the specific components of diet that influence cancer risk, the best advice is to emphasize a balanced diet which includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.”

Around 6,700 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/11/29 10:55:03 GMT

 Posted by at 1:22 am
Mar 122005

okay. I am gonna fill you in on a secret.

While I can’t speak for anyone else in the carcinoma club, when I was in the middle of being sick and doing chemo, I think I became a nicer human being.
By which I mean, other people didn’t piss me off nearly as much as they usually do. I could lay in my bed and think my lofty and generous thoughts about the world and I was a much more well-rounded person.
Now, I wasn’t actually physically capable of leaving my house or doing very much so I didn’t actually have much contact with the world. But in my sheltered state, I liked people quite a bit more than I did before.
I kinda thought that new Shirley Temple way of looking at the world would stick.
That I would come through the other side of the cancer game and I would maintain that Berkley way of seeing the world.
And the truth of it is… I might be a little bit nicer than I was before, but that probably gets off-set by the fact that I am in a fair amount of achey pain a lot of the time which makes me a wee bit crabby.
So at the end of the day, I am pretty much right back where I started.
In case you were thinking you might want to ring me up and bask in the great Elizabeth-Kubler-Ross-ness of it all.
And anyway, for all I know I was only getting all fluffy because of all the drugs they were giving me.
Why do you think they call it dope?

On other fronts, I realized yesterday that I feel like I am going flat out, as fast as I can, just to try to keep up with regular people.
And I feel a little overwhelmed by the whole “putting the pieces of my life back together” project that is before me.
I’m still figuring that part.
I guess it’s time to figure out a plan for how to get back on my feet.
It’s all kind of weird. The last year has been kind of intense, in lots of ways, and a whole lot of it involved just closing my eyes and gritting my teeth and doing it.
And now is the time where I have to sort through all that shite and take stock of the emotional processes involved in all that.
As well as build up my physical strength.
And return to work and start contributing to the overall financial well-being of my home.
And return to interacting with the humans here in the human world.
It’s all a lot.
I kicked and screamed when it was taken away from me, and now I feel uncertain how one returns to it all.
Weird, eh?

 Posted by at 12:46 am
Mar 042005

For those who wanna see the gallery where Spike and friends use razors and clippers to remove the fuzz atop their heads, you now have to log in. Approximately a zillion excited gay men found the site and began fetishing it and we just can’t keep up with the bandwidth. It’s not *very* hidden, though. Anyone who can read this post can get in.

login link is at upper right on this page:

Username… friend
password… friend

How low-security can you get?

 Posted by at 7:56 pm