Communique 10-14-2020 "Aloha & Live Update From The Chemo Lounge"
By Philip Drucker
I don’t exactly know why but I keep looking for the seat belt on my Chemo Lounge La-Z-Cancer-Boy feels like real leather recliner. I also keep thinking I should have a 1960s style somewhat campy, but free-standing lamp of some sort to complete “the look” whatever that image may be. I would not say the world is ready for my personal line of cancer chic and appropriately loose fitting clothing to hit the nearest Target bargain rack near you, but I would consider myself remiss if I did not at least explore the economic possibilities inherent in shared misery, mystery, plasma and miasma. Or, I could stop thinking. Not going to happen. Onward.
Lately, I’ve been waxing and waning almost philosophically on some of the smaller changes that I have started noticing as my chemo treatments continue. One I believe to be of some note is my newfound fondness for slightly brighter clothing with a somewhat festive bend towards happy patterns. Hawaiian shirts come to mind as do my beloved 1950’s Bing Crosby chapeau and my I saw a cat wearing them in a video aviator sunglasses I imagine Hunter S. Thompson might have worn.
I realized I’ve been trying to portray an “I don’t have a care in the world, neither should you and please, don’t worry about me persona/façade. Toward this end, I have been shaving more regularly than usual then pulling my hair into a tight ponytail and gasp! using product to keep my greying temple hairs in place and thereby creating the illusion the professor still has all his ducks in a row, row, row your boat and remember to vote as Roe is on the line, and, yes, whatever you do please don’t worry yourself over me. I’m fine. OK? I don’t know about you, but the answer to sadness is not more sadness. So, no sadness, and of course no regrets.
No, really, I’m fine most of the time. Except those times I am not, but we can talk about those times later, or perhaps not at all. For now, all you need to know is I’m wearing a red and yellow wicker-wacky tiki patterned vintage (yes, it’s authentic) shirt that screams Aloha! Hopefully conjuring up dreams of strange, exotic, rum drinks with little umbrellas, a pineapple chunk, a cherry and the most beautiful beach sunset you have yet to see.
Here’s a fun fact of recent topical interest. I am on Dexamethasone, the same steroids given to Trump. Problem is I’m on a very low dose while the Pulled Orange Pork with a side of Typhoid Bloody Mary is on let’s call it an aggressive program of treatment. As a practical matter, that means he’s nuts and I’m not. It also means I can’t blame it on the ‘roids if I start dancing the YMCA at a rally, the Macarena, or break out in song in as an homage to Randy Rainbow’s latest video. He’s pretty funny, isn’t he?
Lots of little memories. I just saw the Doctor who taught me how to do my once a month chest exam of breast cancer in the shower. No, we weren’t in the shower silly and yes, the meds are starting to kick in. That means it’s almost time to see my Oncologist. And, indeed here is my escort to examination Room 20. How do I know this? It’s always Room 20. Memories I tell you.
UPDATE: Short version? I’m stable (he said it not me) and everything except my lymphocytes (immune system) which are slightly down, is going in the right direction. My liver is normal, my kidneys are looking good, I have clarity of urine if not thought, and now for the big reveal, my cancer marker is down to 8.8. This is down from when I started three months ago high of 47.0. The goal is to get down to 3.0. At 3.0, it will be time for a PET scan, and if all is confirmed, my chemo treatments will end.
In an odd turn of a phrase, my Oncologist guru said our goal is to chase the cancer all the way down to the bottom or a rabbit hole. He asked if I was on board, meaning, continuing treatment, and I told him although I was suspicious of most rabbit holes, this was definitely one time I would be a willing participant and dig myself into as deep a hole as necessary, and then some.
Estimated time for this blessed rabbit to die event is Mid-November, right before the Thanksgiving Holiday break. Wouldn’t that be something? Yet another small memory in the making? I was “home” by Thanksgiving or something equally Norman Rockwellian in the works? Gobble, gobble we’ll all just have to wait and see. But I can’t say I’m not a happy pilgrim, if there is such a thing, right about now. If fact, behind my mask, I am indeed smiling and that feels good, to smile. I will endeavor to try it more often.
Did you know you can’t drink coffee through a COVID19 mask? Found that out today. Not that I didn’t try mind you. Several times. I am taking that as a sign I need to sign off for now. Notwithstanding my quickly drooping eyes and feeling the onset of chemo brain, today is a good day. All the nurses are wearing Halloween ears made of bats, spiders webs and one that looks to me to be modeled after the Covid19 virus, well maybe not the virus, although it would have been cool. Maybe for sale at Trump’s death cult 45 rallies? Definitely time to go. Covita! On that sour note, aloha from the Chemo Lounge.