Monday, August 24, 2015

Curses! Foiled Again!

There is a public pool in Staunton.  It's in Gypsy Hill Park and it's very nice.  Lots of little kids, but they stay in the shallow end near the slide or sit on the edges of the pool.  Long story short, the deep end is never crowded.

I got to this pool late in the season because someone told me it wasn't nice.  That's my own fault for not checking it out myself.

The official end of summer is upon us as Labor Day approaches, but that doesn't have a lot to do with the weather.  But those are the rules and the pool will close for the season on Tuesday the 8th.  So of course I want to take advantage of all the opportunities left, right?  So I rush through the things I have to do today, which of course means they all took longer than usual, right?  The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.

But I make it there by 4 and it closes at 6.
Yeah, not today.  And not tomorrow.  Because even though I read the signs and checked the website.....there is apparently a super secret rule.  Once school starts, the pool is closed during the week.

It's ok, I leave for Boston Wednesday.  We don't close the ocean.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Read This With Pepto Bismol Handy

So you know I was already super aware of "The Weather Underground" and shitty Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.  I don't get how more people aren't outraged about the crap they pulled and how they smugly walked away from it.  I am constantly agog when people buy the Ayers/Dohrn malarkey that dismisses any talk of their actual & attempted violence and rewrites their past through rose-colored, we-were-trying-to-save-the-world lenses.

And I am well versed in 60s, 70s & 80s history.  I lived through it, I watched Huntley & Brinkley, I read various newspapers.  Later, I was interested in history, so my reading tended toward that area.

But somehow I missed a bigger picture.  Maybe I wasn't ready to see it as a whole.  I knew, as I said, about Weather Underground.  And I knew about the Black Liberation Army, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the FALN; I could tell you who Party Hearst, Joanne Chesimard, Eldridge Cleaver and Malcolm X were.

But here in this book, Burroughs lays out all of these groups and people and their actions chronologically and in depth.  And like someone vividly bringing back the circumstances of a terrible wound that is scabbed over, Burroughs made me feel outrage.

I highly recommend this book.  It's interesting.  It's well written.  And it remembers people who should be remembered, the victims of these terrorists.  The groups weren't protesting, they were destroying & murdering. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Yeah, I Know.....

I never thought these words would come out of my mouth either.

"Too much."

These "Brownie Batter Oreos" are just too much!  It's not like licking the spoon, it's like eating the bowl and then feeling queasy.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Guy Who Lives Above Tom Just Stepped On My Last Nerve

It's official, I hate the clown who lives above Tom.  When my son moved in eight months ago, the first thing we both noticed was that the people upstairs wore heeled shoes day and night. Sooooo ignorant & thoughtless.  I tried to get a conversation started about it (nicely, because Tom would kill me otherwise) but the guy would always go off on a tangent.  And I only understood every other word accent, missing teeth, idioms.  And I found out stuff I didn't want to know - like how unreasonable the landlord was to beef about him stacking cardboard boxes on top of his heater.  Or that he didn't use the heater because he used electric space heaters he found at the dump.

He also has a junk heap on the porch.  This includes a broken cooler left behind by the previous tenant (He hoped to sell it for $5.00) He smokes beside his front door, which renders our window unusable. And of course, it's just gross at that end of the porch.  He also appropriated the welcome rug left by the previous tenant and put it at the edge of the porch.  So it's just rotting the wood since it gets soaked everytime it rains.

After a talk with the very, very nice guy downstairs, I realize this was a problem for the previous tenant as well.  Plus, as is obvious to me, this conversation confirms the three upstairs (husband, wife & daughter) are special.  Great.

So one day I'm on the porch and he comes out to smoke.  I say in a very nice, mild tone "Hey, has anyone ever talked to you about wearing outdoor shoes upstairs?"  He looks away, no answer.  I wait.  Then I say "Did you hear me or have I upset you?"  He got up and went inside.  Since then I have completely ignored him.  He tried to make nice, offered to help me carry something.  Is that a game?  Ignore me and then play good neighbor?  No.

Then today there is a water problem.  It takes me a while to figure it out.  There is some kind of blockage just below me.  It caused my washer not to drain.  I did all the checking, but slowly cause it's day 2 of Pomalyst. Constant mopping.
Ok, it wasn't this bad.

Then I am standing in front of the tub, everything cleaned when the washer upstairs begins to drain.  The tub fills.  The toilet bowl fills and overflows. The U shape pipe behind the washer gushes.  I throw down towels and run out to the upstairs neighbors door.  Knocking.  Knocking.  Banging.  Finally, he answers.  I tell him to shut off his washer.  That it's flooding my everything.  I tell him I am calling the building's maintenance guy.

I go back in to Tom's apartment to make the call and mop up this new mess.  I can tell this stupid ass didn't shut his washer off.  He let it finish the cycle.

Now this guy couldn't know what was happening.  I'm not unreasonable.  But he does laundry all damn day, every day.  From 9:30am this morning (it woke me up) and it was still going at 5pm.  How?  There are only 3 of them?  Are they taking in laundry to supplement their income?

Was any of this which has me crazed?  Close but no.

The cardinal sin was this - when he finally opened the door and I told him to shut off the washer, he looked behind me.  What.  The.  Fuck?  Do NOT be afraid of who might be backing me up.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Best Steroid Day Ever!

With Pomalyst, as with Revlimid, there is an accompanying low dose dexamethasone. A steroid.  Not the "up your batting average" steroid, but a muscle wasting, insanity-inducing steroid.  I have had bad steroid days where I was weak and homicidal.  I have had days where I get a burst of manic energy, they aren't good, but they are productive.  I have had headache like someone is squeezing my head in a vice and combing my hair hurts. But I've never had a good one.

Now I have read that sugar exacerbates these symptoms.  And there have been several times where I have successfully given up sugar for periods of time.  But never during chemo.  I don't really drink.  I haven't done an illegal drug in over three decades and even those were nothing to speak of.  I don't smoke.

No, sugar is my drug.  Chocolate, but any candy will do except circus peanuts - that's Muriel's thing.  Cake, pie, cookies, brownies, pastry, fruit....name a source, I'm an addict.  As a matter of fact, in the most stressful times in my life, I pour Plain M&M's into a glass of regular Coca Cola and stir.  It's like maintaining sugar.

So while I am long past panic about Multiple Myeloma, no one can be serene about chemo.  No one can listen to the precautions and warnings and side effects and the be blase about popping a pill in your mouth that comes out of wrappings that say "Caution -Poison".

Therefore, preparation for my chemo days (7 or 10 or 14 or 21) always includes sugar.  Sometimes I give it a half hearted effort and it's fruit and vanilla wafers or loaded salads - natural sugars.  But a sugar is a sugar.

And I am the queen of "next month" or "Monday is a good day to start".  Actually that one cracks me up.  I no longer work, sometimes I don't ever know it's Monday!

And this month didn't start out special.  July 1st; toast with eggs, big salad with onions, carrots, tomatoes & dressing; cheeseburger with ketchup on a bun and red licorice whips.  Two hours after the last thing I ate, my first Pomalyst.  July 2nd was the first steroid.  They are taken on the second and eighth day in the morning (or what passes for it in my world) with food. It was a non-descript day, I laid around, no energy burst, but no rage either.

Then for some reason the next day, I just decided to do Atkins.  I have an on & off relationship with Atkins.  In 2003, I lost 92 pounds.  I kept the bulk of that off for years. But like the IgA numbers, that number has been creeping up.  I haven't really cared.

Anyway it's been surprisingly easy.  I don't see anything that tempts me, Tom & I don't have the same taste in snacks.  There isn't as much time to think about it, Pomalyst makes it hard to get to sleep, but once I get there.....I'm down for a minimum of ten hours.  Now that I watch almost everything on the DVR or the Amazon Fire Stick - no commercials to make me pine for something.  I have no go-to-dinner friends here as opposed to Boston, where it's a never ending cycle of restaurants and take-out.

So last night was the 7th Pomalyst.  Dead center of the cycle.  Making this morning the 2nd steroid.  And the 7th day on Atkins.  For non-Atkins people seven days doesn't sound like much, but it means you are in the zone; peeing purple, past the sugar withdrawal.  Now it's just a matter of not forgetting and eating something without tthinking.

I went to the Town pool in Gypsy Hill Park.  I packed frozen water & chopped up steak.  I have a new Jack Reacher book from the library.  The pool is much nicer than I had been told.  The shallow end was crowded, but the other end is fairly empty and 13 feet deep.  No one really swims.  They sit on the edge & dangle their feet.  They jump in and cling to the edge.  So it was basically all for me.

I swam.  I read.  I ate & drank.  I sunned myself and relaxed.

Only one, steroid symptom - a tightness in my throat when I walked fast or uphill.  That's it.  No fatigue.  No rage.  No weakness.  No vice like headache. Just relaxation and enjoyment.

If it's the sugar, I've got a lot of thinking to do.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Good News....Bad News..

So the good news is actually very good.  It overwhelms the bad news.

As of May 28, 2015, after 6 months of Pomalyst, my number has slipped just into the normal range.  A normal, healthy person has 50/60 to 350/400 parts per deciliter of IgA.  Serum levels of IgM, IgG, and IgA vary with age (most everyone's levels rise with age), gender (higher in men than in women) and race (higher in African Americans the white).  The Ig stands for immunoglobulin.  And here's a useless factoid, in a map of prevalence, the two countries with the highest rates?  Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Go figure.

My number diagnosis in July, 2008 was 5850.  We've been up and down and over and out.....to quote Old Blue Eyes.  But on May 28, 2015, it was 349.

Bad news?  Dr. Miller says I can't stop taking Pomalyst.  I'm pretty bummed.  It's a quality of life issue.  Down for the count for 14 days, outright homicidal for at least 2 of those.  Recovering for 7 or so with recovery being harder with each month.  Then "living" for 7 to 9. Does that seem whiny and selfish?

How 'bout this?  It's making my hair fall out.  Dr. Miller seemed surprised.  He asked if I was sure.  Lol.  Yeah, I'm sure.  I remembered that it fell out with Cytoxan, but as it turns out, I also had hair loss with Revlimid in 2010.  I looked it up in this very blog earlier today.

So tomorrow night I start Pomalyst again.  It will be the 8th month.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

As Frankie Reminded Me......

...it's good luck.  Yeah if you and Mama Kelley say so.

While out for a short walk around the hotel's immediate area, I noticed a drug store.  I'd been paying $2.25 a pop for bottled water & figured grabbing some in the store would save a few bucks.  So I grab a 6 pack for $3.45 and I'm happy.  As I leave and walk through the covered parking lot,

I feel something on my head.

 I pray it's condensation.

 I walk back to the hotel like a beauty queen hoping nothing slides.  I get to my room and tip my head to the sink.  My sunglasses fall into the sink.

Not condensation.

So I got back in the shower, two hours after the first shower and wash my hair 27 times.

I was texting Frank a little later and shared my story in hope of garnering some sympathy.

"It's good luck." Was all I got.