Your Haltime Report

Friday, July 2, 2004 – 12:50 pm

So here we are on Day 87, officially at the halfway mark in our little fun-fest of chemotherapy. And where do we stand? Well, the good guys are winning for now, and I have some confidence that will continue to happen. 75% down, 25% to go, and all it’s cost me is my hair, my work, my social life, and my ability to watch medical dramas.

Here’s your Halftime Report. The Halftime Show will be up next and will involve me sitting my ass on the couch doing nothing. Hardly Janet Jackson’s right breast, but a touch less scandalous.

Mood: Halfwit.

Running on Empty

Tuesday, July 6, 2004 – 10:08 pm

I’m honestly too tired to even post right now. I had no idea that fatigue was going to get so bad that being awake for more than 4 hours at a time seemed like a long time. I sleep from about 10pm until 10am at least, if not Noon. Then I’m up only long enough to do a few simple house chores or read a book and then I have to take a nap. Cooking dinner requires much more energy than you’d think, which is followed by a nap, or sometimes I try to tough it out until 10pm like tonight.

It’s hard to do anything, or get anything done. I can’t commit to doing anything even as simple as playing a video game, because I don’t have the attention span or the energy to see it through.

We’ve really truly entered the “Dark Ages” now of this treatment. I’m so relieved that I’m not working, but at the same time I wish I had something to focus my mind on something that wasn’t sickness-related. Right now I’m too tired to even keep writing. So off to bed and we’ll try this again tomorrow!

Mood: Sweepy.


Friday, July 9, 2004 – 11:30 pm

Seriously. How bad am I at this “Off” thing? I can’t even update this damn website!

I seem to be really good at sleeping, though. Sleeping and feeling like a bag of CRAP. Next week will be different. I’m going to start feeling a little better, and maybe I won’t sleep 14 hours a day. I’m like a 12-month old – I feed and nap every 2 hours. At least my character in Final Fantasy is getting a lot of attention. If it’s one thing I am able to devote to, it’s hours a day on videogames, dammit! I even have PANTS now!

Which brings me to my particular topic of conversation. The idea has crossed my mind to join a support group for cancer patients. I decided a while ago – while I was still working – that this wasn’t necessary, as I had all the support I could ask for at home and work. Now that I’m off it’s just kinda…me…and family and friends. So all I’ve really lost is that daily affirmation of normalcy that is getting on a bus. Is that worth giving up the second Wednesday of every month?

But perhaps these “peers” (I really never wanted to be grouped with them, and I’m sure they didn’t want to be grouped with me) know something the many friends, family and coworkers don’t know. Some kind of secret coping mechanism to get through the second half of my treatment. Perhaps it involves chocolate.

Mood: Moo!

Getting Groceries

Monday, July 12, 2004 – 9:45 pm

It’s such a simple thing: We need milk, so I’ll go buy milk. Something I’m sure most people take for granted. Today I learned to appreciate the ability to purchase lactose products from the local grocery store.

As I grabbed the five bags from the end of the checkout counter and I realised that I had seriously overburdened myself, again. This was going to be a long walk home. The sun was completely uncovered and doing its job of heating the earth a little too well today. Now it was too late to reconsider that case of Pepsi – that was the clincher – the one item that was going to make the next 15 minutes hell.

Getting to the corner of Somerset and Kent I feel envigorated, like I had just walked a mile and wasn’t even tired. In actual fact I had walked only one block, and had at least ten to go. Dispair overtakes me as I start dividing the walk into manageable sections – Kent to the Beer Store, the Beer Store to the Funeral Home…

There’s no switching the bags around, either. I’ve balanced the items perfectly into each hand so that neither arm feels more strain than the other. Walking along I start to come up with possible alternatives to walking; taxi? bus? A taxi pulls alongside me, as if sensing my pain, but by then I’m walking past the Beer Store – at least halfway to Bronson now.

I stop and put my bags on a bench and rest for a minute while I calculate the distance home. The sun is bearing down on me now – unsympathetic to my cause. It’s as if God knows what I’m going through and wants me to regret every instinct that made me leave the house to get food in the first place. I pick up the bags and continue at a slower pace towards my destination.

Finally…Bronson. But wait…there’s still four blocks north to go. I’m starting to feel weak in this heat, and the sweat is pouring from every angle off my head and down my back. There’s a pain in my chest from breathing the humidity for so long. Or is it the cancer? Or is it my lack of red blood cells? The reasons for pain are endless now when once it would simply have been brushed off as nothing. Now everything has a reason. Every twitch, every hiccup, every cough has a cause.

I come up to the doorway and I can feel my hat holding back the volume of sweat is too great for the tiny elastic band. Sweat is now literally pouring into my eyes as I fumble with the front door key. The bags seem to weigh six times what they did back at the store and I promise myself that if any of the produce gets wasted I will seriously punish myself for doing all this for nothing. The elevator takes pride in taking extra long to carry me up to my apartment, edging along the floors while I almost collapse on its floor.

Door open, keys away, hat off, sweat everywhere. The milk, meat, and yogurt goes immediately into the fridge, bags and all. Non-perishables be dammed, I need to cool off somehow. I peel my clothes off and climb into the shower and turn the cold water on full. Finally, some relief.

But wait. I’ve been here before. This exact location, situation, and feeling. I’m exhausted, sweaty, and hating myself for forcing myself to get groceries on such a hot day. It had nothing to do with cancer, even though the entire event was planned around the fact that I had it. I’ve always hated walking home from the grocery store on hot days with too many bags of groceries. So what else is new?

My perspective has changed, but my condition remains the same. So please, don’t worry. I’ll get the milk myself from now on, thank you.

Mood: Prose!

100 Days of FUN FUN FUN

Thursday, July 15, 2004 – 11:31 pm

So here I am at the 100 day mark. I guess here we all are, aren’t we? Since April 6th I’ve lost the majority of my hair, been nauseous 90% of the time, and haven’t really had a good night’s sleep even though I feel as if I could sleep for years. There are still at LEAST 80 more days to go until I’m done chemotherapy, and probably at least another 20 until I’m officially done this “round”.

I’m going to be honest here, because at Chubbywookie we’re all about being honest, but even with all the people gathered around me (and there are A LOT of you), I feel somewhat alone. It’s not because I don’t FEEL supported, or like I don’t feel there is a lot of support for me – there certainly is. But no one around me is actually going through this, and it makes me feel isolated. Not just isolated – I am growing a distaste towards any public appearance. I’m getting less and less motivated to get out and do things and turning down more and more offers to be social even though the cabin fever is driving me insane. So why wouldn’t the friend/family support be working?

Well, I think maybe that no matter how much everyone cares, it doesn’t make me feel any better, physically. Eventually the physical starts taking over the mental state, as much as I might try to fight the depression, paranoia and frustration.

So what do I do? Giving up is not an option, there’d be too many pissed off people. Distractions don’t work, as much as I’d like them to. I’ve tried every distraction possible ranging from video games to creative exercises to alcohol and strippers (sorry, Mom), but nothing gives me back my normalcy. Nothing can.

I should really be more positive at this point. I’m winning. I’m half-way there. I’m supported more than I ever could have expected. So why do I feel like I’m alone?

Sorry if this post offended anybody. It’s not that I don’t appreciate or want support, I do. I just feel alone sometimes. It’s not you, it’s me!

Mood: Support-Group Bound!

I Demand a Recount!

Sunday, July 18, 2004 – 11:18 pm

My post earlier was admittedly written when I was in a particularly bad mood, and perhaps my math was a little hasty. I’m actually well over half-way, and moving into the last quarter rather quickly. See, if you think about it, it’s not 180 days – even though this whole thing was supposed to take “6 months”. If you calculate the time to receive (I honestly cannot spell that word…or weird) and recouperate from each treatment – 21 days – and multiply that by 8 treatments, the actual number of days for this “round” is 168, twelve less than originally calculated.

Now 12 days may not sound like a lot – and it’s really not – but to me it’s two weeks closer to the end of this long dark tunnel I’m in (whine whine, bitch bitch). That means by September 25th, I should start coming around, provided they don’t delay any of my treatments (Go Blood Cell counts!).

That’s still two months away, isn’t it? Oh well. Treatment this week, then just two more to go!

Mood: 103 down, 55 to go!

Aaaannnd we’re back

Saturday, July 24, 2004 – 9:28 pm

Now that the page is back on the server where it belongs, I can update the site properly. Sorry for the delay. I even did artwork!:

Nothing much to update anyway. I haven’t left my house in a week and a half – mostly out of choice – except to go to doctor’s appointments and receive the always fun Chemotherapy treatment. This was #6 and has to be the worst one yet. No matter how many different anti-nausea drugs they gave me, I still kept tossing my cookies. They kept telling me that it’s “normal” but I found the whole thing rather demeaning. Out of the 20 other people there, I was the only one making a complete ass out of himself.

Thankfully no throwing up outside the hospital, which leads me to believe that it’s the building rather than the chemotherapy that leads to my digestive pyrotechnics. It’s an amazing thing: mind over body. You’re not actually sick but your mind tells you that you are. I need some sort of defence mechanism against it, but I haven’t thought of anything yet.

Well, two more treatments to go. I know the next one is going to be Hell. No matter how many times I’m told “Just one more after this” it’s not going to help me as I throw up into a garbage can. The last one, no matter how bad, will be bearable. I’m not promising that I won’t have an anxiety attack or anything, but at least I can walk out of there and never have to walk back. I hope.

Let’s just hope this is it. Two more. No more after that. I don’t think I could take it any more than that.

Mood: Worn Out.

Less Thinking is More Better

Thursday, July 29, 2004 – 7:58 pm

I keep looking at the daily scoreboard and wondering “How the Hell did I make it through the first 80 days that easily?”

There are, of course, a hundred reasons including but not limited to the fact that the chemo didn’t hit quite as hard back then. The other obvious reason is that I was working back then, which was a daily distraction that got me through 8 hours of the day (10 if you include transit time) and brought home a rather comforting paycheck. Now I’m without work and pay and the absence of both seems to have done nothing but add little needed stress into my life.

Now I find it hard to occupy my days. I can’t seem to concentrate on anything long enough to get anything productive done, but I also can’t find anything to occupy my brain. Video games only take you so far out of reality, and they are expensive. I want to be productive and get something done, but when I sit down to actually perform some kind of meaningful task, I get distracted or frustrated too easily.

I can’t even quite explain it. But it’s like you have to write a really important test with your non-writing hand. You know the words (at least you think you do) and you’re pretty sure you know what you have to do, but no matter how hard you try you just can’t get it done the way you want it to. Try it some time. See how it works for you.

I’m also thinking of beginning my “Healing Journey” using some self-help tapes by the same name. I don’t think it’s going to really have any positive effect on my attitude towards this. I’m WAY too cynical to listen to Dr. Babblalot and his 10 messages of self-healing. But at this point I don’t have a whole lot else to do but sit here anyway. The more distractions I can do between now and when I’m better (which I’m told won’t be until at least November by my social worker – Yes, I have a social worker)) will help pass the time. If anybody has any suggestions of non-productive, time-wasteful things I can do, bring ‘em on. I’m all out of ideas…and I think that’s the source of the problem.

Mood: Huh?