Found my favorite piece of writing music. It's a track called "Stars" from Brian Eno's "Atmospheres & Soundtracks." I like to find the extended versions, the longer the better, on line, hit the play button and drift into my writing mode somewhere up there among the stars. The point is it provides me a space to stretch out the old brain and think.
Of all the negative side effects of chemo, my least favorite is the so-called "chemo-brain" syndrome. There are some days when regardless of any efforts to the contrary on my part, the brain refuses to go to work. Thoughts are fuzzy, fleeting, incoherent, incomplete and wholly unreliable. I often like to describe the chain of events as sitting on a corn flake waiting for a magical mystery van that may or may not reach the station. Good news is a complimentary Scooby Snack is included in the price of admission.
This past week has been my "off chemo" week. Currently my treatments include seven infusions of liquid wasabi given every two weeks. I also receive a take-out fanny pack of the juice to go insuring I get a slow drip of my favorite poison for the next 48 hours. For those of you other than me who are counting, that's one down, six to go.
For reasons still not clear, I tend to find myself equating my chemo treatments as a breakfast level event. "Bye Mom! I'm going to school." "Did you take your chemo treatment? You can't go to school without it." "Yes Mom." "Did you remember to wash your hands?" "Shut up, Mom." At least that is how it was when I grew up. At least when my Dad wasn’t home for if he was there would have been a very different ending to that morning. Suffice to say that in my family, children being “seen” did not exactly translate to better than “heard”, just a different type of annoyance. I’ll just leave it at that for now.
How many of you have tried Maypo? Oatmeal infused with artificial tasting maple flavoring that probably had no actual syrup in it at all? I did. Loved it. Today, I wonder if Maypo and similar artificial foods cause cancer. If so, do I have the curative for you. All you must do is get your oatmeal and heat it up, add a spoonful of industrial strength drain cleaner along with a dash or two of battery acid, and maybe, a pinch of Lysol, just in case I might have the Covid-19 virus, and voila! Breakfast is served. I want my Chemo!
I have received quite a few questions regarding what is in my chemo treatments. The answer is it is a unique blend of mostly unpronounceable so they must be very serious sounding chemical compounds most of which I would not take voluntarily, even on a double dog dare.
Suffice to say my cocktail of choice is a mixture of two different cancer treatment drugs. Irinotecan (eye rye no TEE kan) and Bevacizumab (be vuh SIZ un mab). More commonly known by their Brand names, Onivyde and Avastin. The potential warnings and side effects for each drug goes on for several pages.
Most of the familiar ones are there. Aches, pains, fevers, can’t be on it if I’m trying to start a family (yes, that’s real). High blood pressure, bad headaches, dizziness, passing out, changes in eyesight, weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, changes in balance, blurred eyesight, confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hunger, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing or breath that smells like fruit (yes, that’s real). Mood changes, abnormal heartbeat, seizures, upset stomach, throwing up, shortness of breath, a big weight gain, very hard stools (constipation), skin wounds that will not heal. Mouth irritations, sweating a lot, a burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal, anxiety, redness or irritation of the palms of hands or soles of feet. A very bad skin problem known as necrotizing fasciititis which can, you guessed it, become fatal.
The next section of the fact sheet/instructions reads What are some other side effects of this drug? I’ll leave that to your imagination while keeping in mind I haven’t even gotten to drug #2. Welcome to the world of cancer. Have a seat, but don’t get too comfy, if you know what I mean, and I’m sure you do.
Extra time around the house usually translates to extra time watching cable news on TV. Although, I do admit every so often I do watch my beloved ID Channel mini-mysteries or my all-time favorite true crime show, Snapped. I find it funny, but not amusing, that we live in an era where it is hard to tell the psychopathic serial killers from the sociopathic at best politicians both of whom seem to have adopted the singular goal of killing as many of us, without even a shred of remorse, as they can.
This week was troubling to say the least. Very troubling. Beginning with the testimonial madness and wholly undeserved and misplaced sense of arrogance from Prince Limp Willy Barr of the Mole People in front of Congress to the barely coherent lump of brainless clay we still call Trump trying to postpone or cancel the November 3rd election, as he knows he can’t win a fair election with or without mail-in ballots, it almost sent me back to the pharmacy to beg for additional medications designed to stop the pain, the unbearable pain generated by this unbearable orange idiot. Or mushrooms. I suppose they could work as well. In the interest of disclosure, I’ve never taken any magic Psilocybin infused mushrooms or otherwise. Are they good on pizza? Inquiring, open minds want to know.
But let me ask you in all sincerity, is it just me, or is the mood of the nation changing? Could it be Trump has finally crossed his Rubicon with the American people? Will his callous, uninformed and misplaced, smarmy and self-interested assurances that it is “safe” for our children to go back to school a bridge too far? As the number of infected persons and death toll continue to rise, and with no real plan to implement and therefore no plausible end in sight (at least not this year), unless your idea of good governance includes the wholesale attempt and slaughter of innocent school aged children, well, if you are voting Republican, I imagine you might want to put the topic up for discussion at your next local political gathering, BYOC: Bring Your Own Cauldron.
The good news is the November 3rd Elections, all of them both state and federal are going to happen as scheduled. All ballots, mailed in or otherwise, will be collected and counted. Importantly, Nancy Pelosi will almost assuredly win her congressional race and remain Speaker of the House. The 20th Amendment tells us if there is no official, certified decision as to the identity of our next president, on July 1st, 2021, Trump and Pence must both step down and through the normal channels of constitutional succession, Nancy Pelosi will be appointed as our next interim Present of the United States. And yes, the Secret Service will drag grumpy Mr. No Longer President Soggy Bottoms out of the Oval Office by his feet if necessary.
In closing, let me just mention the Founding Fathers were and continue to be far smarter than many people today who still do not put their faith in the genius of the Constitution and its inherent anti-tyrant, anti-corruption construction.
Election Day is almost upon us and on 11/3/2020 the world will see that from July 4, 1776, the did Founders anticipate your kind of unqualified and of such little (if any) moral character, unfit to serve in what is the highest office in the land, may through a series of lies, cheating, stealing, demagoguery, deceit, deception and outright fraud might manage to usurp the throne for a moment in time.
But as with many things where the wanting is better than the having, if you are listening, George, Thomas, James, Ben, to name a few, we’ve always known you’ve had the stupid, conceited and blind as a turnip pretender to a throne that in fact doesn’t even exist, his as large as it is butt in a banana republic daiquiri sling since day one.
I still don’t know how to thank you guys for that. I really don’t. But thanks, and maybe next time we’ll all try to do a bit better. Yes, we can and yes, we will.
Anyone for a Re-Phil?