I’m a Bad Ass. The end.

I’m a Bad Ass. The end.

Note to self: Always use the Heart and Vascular Institue hospital entrance. No noses in sight, and personal space abounds.

Yesterday’s MRI experience wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had, but it also wasn’t the best. I skated by a couple swarms of visitors on the elevators, and it was such a relief.

Because radiology is in the basement, everyone saw the elevator was going down and waited to catch the next one. There was a properly masked woman in scrubs who got confused when I boarded.

“What floor do you need?” she was ready to push a button for me.

When I told her I was going to the basement, she seemed less concerned. “Oh! Well that’s where we’re going!”

Then she led me to the MRI check-in and even pushed the wheelchair button so I could shuffle on through with my rollator.

After checking in, the MRI tech tried to start an IV for the contrast. When techs hear I’m on chemo, they always ask so hopefully if I have a port.

“It’s oral chemo,” I reply watching the light fade from their eyes. We both know chemo veins are rat bastards—and to make things just a little more difficult, a larger-gauge needle is required so they can get the contrast in quickly. “I’m pretty easy going about this,” I say encouragingly.

It took three sticks altogether. After a little digging on my right arm, he said, “I’m not a proud man. Let me get a second set of eyes.” A nurse came in and got one going on my left arm, but there was some discussion about veins and I remember her repeatedly telling me to keep breathing.

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath, to be honest.

Oh yeah, that’s why I feel lightheaded.

I’m not squeamish when it comes to needles, but my brain can’t do two things at once. Like, say, breathe AND wish the MRI was over.

Inside the tube, they played some piano music. Instrumental, but I recognized a hymn from my church-going childhood, and I immediately pictured my dad standing in the church foyer.

Now, for those of you who’ve never had an MRI, you have to be really still in the machine or you can blur the images and they have to start over, making an unpleasant experience drag out even longer.

So naturally, being exhausted, I felt some breakthrough grief welling up. I was on the verge of sobbing from my shoulders, the way kids who fall off their bikes do, but somehow I managed to stifle it.

I think I was able to suck it up by reminding myself how long my head would be strapped into the brace even if everything went perfectly.

An hour and a half is a very long time to be perfectly still. A solo piano version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” played next. That song desperately needs to be sung. I mean, it’s an amazing song. But it’s overdone now. And then for the melody to just be plinking keys without feeling or dynamic range? Gah! It was awful.

I’m 95% sure it was an electronic keyboard actually. It was emotionally flat, so either synthesized sound or the pianist was a psychopath.

Anyway….

It was a long 90 minutes folks. When “All I Ask of You” started playing I remember feeling curled up and twisted from head to toe. I reminded myself it was physically impossible to be in the position my brain was trying to tell me I was in and still be on the MRI table.

But the song wrapped up at almost exactly the same time the screeching ended. I was pretty dizzy, so I asked to be wheeled to the main waiting area. The MRI tech took me on a staff elevator, where everyone was properly masked.

Dan picked me up. I ate ice cream. I am a bad ass. The end.

Construction Update!

In my most recent GoFundMe update, I mentioned that the plumbing passed inspection. Here’s photographic evidence. Look at that sexy shower drain!

Nothing Compares 2U

Nothing Compares 2U

For the past week I’ve been saying it’s time to shave my head again. I’ve also been waking up every morning with the song “Nothing Compares 2U” by Sinéad O’Connor stuck in my nugget.

Coincidence?

I’ll let you decide.

Oh, and fun fact: the internet tells me that song was written by Prince. A lot of times I read a fact like that and will be like, my entire life is a lie. This time, though, I absolutely hear it.

This morning Dan and I went to McDonald’s (curbside) to get my favorite chemo breakfast. I’m not overly proud of eating fast food this frequently. But on chemo, you do what you gotta do.

Plus, I put the restaurant app on my phone and they’ve been doing double points during breakfast hours. I’ve earned a free, large frappe. It’s caffeinated dessert at 9 am. Scratch that. It’s a LARGE caffeinated dessert at 9 am. And all I had to do to get it was eat there like four times this month.

And I can hear my haters now, “But Emily, you’re on a fixed income. You need to raise money again. Is eating out wise?”

To which I respond. “Clearly you know nothing about being poor or having cancer or being disabled or having a caregiver go a whole year without proper meds because insurance. But if you’re concerned, feel free to send me a gift card.

Besides, if my food stays down, so do the really pricey meds. My frappe is tasty AND frugal, baby! Tuck that away for when *you* get cancer. You’re welcome.”

Welp. It’s Thursday, and I have a lot to get to today: run Chad, shave my head, shower, fold a basket of laundry, update my Amazon list, and maybe play some Animal Crossing. 

Reminder: don’t say that “must be nice” or whatever unless you would also like to do all of that with brain cancer.

My Favorite Chemo Breakfast Revealed

My Favorite Chemo Breakfast Revealed

All I’m saying is that I have never been done wrong by a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with a small caramel frappe. They never taste weird, and they never make a second appearance. If you know what I mean. That’s it. That’s my favorite chemo breakfast.

Yesterday we took Boomer to the vet to have bloodwork done and see if his meds were helping. They are! His elevated liver enzymes are slowly improving. Plus, he is on three different medications, and none of them appear to be causing any negative side effects.

In other news, it was freaking hot here yesterday. I genuinely think I got heat stroke while walking from the car to the vet — so, like 90 seconds, tops — from the closest accessible parking spot. It was 93 °F yesterday, and it’s supposed to be 99 °F today. 

(Friendly reminder to never, ever say something shitty or leave a passive-agressive windshield note to ANYONE using an accessible spot. You don’t know what you don’t know.)

My body doesn’t do temperature regulation anymore. I don’t know if it’s the tumor or the chemo (maybe a little of column A, a little of column B) but there’s a range of like 3 degrees where I am able to live. 

We have AC, but aggressively check on people who don’t. Just because your Great Aunt Ethel survived the summer of ’77 doesn’t mean she’ll be fine.

I got a phone call from radiology yesterday saying they needed to reschedule my MRI, because I had been scheduled on a regular magnet but I need a more powerful one. 

Which reminds me…

I also learned during the related screening question last week that I do have a clip where my gallbladder used to be.

I answered no to the question, and the nurse said jovially, “You lied to me! You *do* have a clip.” Then he read the surgeon’s medical notes back to me.

“No one ever told me! I was under anesthetic! All I know is there was an ‘ectomy’ and I was glad to see that effer go.”

(I didn’t say ‘effer’ or the actual expletive. I just threw that in for flavor. But it was true to the sentiment of the exchange, which I cannot remember verbatim.)

Then he asked if I had both of my kidneys, and I was like, “As far as I know. But who knows what happened during that gallbladder surgery?”

“True. I hear they fetch a good price if you know a guy.”

If anyone ‘knows a guy’ it’s a surgeon. Am I right?

And lastly, all this talk of price fetching reminds me that we have received 12.8% of our fundraising goal for the renovation.

It’s Not the Cancer, It’s the Chemo

It’s Not the Cancer, It’s the Chemo

I’m having a day. I was on the fence about writing about it, because the part of me that is severely chemo depressed right now is like, why expend the energy trying to be understood? This is unexplainable. You will waste time and precious energy and still no one will understand.

Maybe I just need the thoughts out of my head and into The Void.

It’s Friday, so it’s sheet washing day. I got the fitted sheet on the bed. Then I rested and put the top sheet on the bed. I’ve still got pillow cases and the quilt to go.

But I had to stop and take a break and stare at the spinning walls for 30 minutes while wallowing in self-pity about how difficult everything is. Yes, Dan will help me if I ask.

But holy shit, I am tired of having to ask for help with ev-uh-ree-thing. And sometimes I have to prove to myself that,  yes, I do actually need the help. Been a gaslighting recipient one too many times I guess.

While my pulse was racing, it occurred to me that this is maybe something I can use when talking to my doctors and nurses.

“Does your pulse usually run high?” (Every visit starts with vitals.)

Yes! Fucking yes! Every time I’m in here you ask me that. It’s always like this!

But it occurs to me that I should be spelling it out for them. “I walked ten feet with a mobility aid, and my pulse is as high as if Healthy Me had completed 30 minutes of jogging. Now do you fucking get it? This is what fatigue level 7 looks like. Stop pretending those god damn numbers from 1-10 mean anything to you!”

But I am not actually mad at the medical staff. They are caring. I am just mad at life. At how unfair literally everything is.

I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m fatigued. But no one has any idea what those words mean. Because they’ll say them right before they binge watch a TV series while SITTING UP and maybe even walking to the kitchen for a snack.

I know this is just how I feel some days. I don’t need a pep talk. Thanks anyway.

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