Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Pill Makes You Larger...

Well, here I am again after a fun filled week in Rio. I would like to thank Andy for completely lying about my computer being down. I just wanted to keep up the lame story that I was sick and lost my hair and had to feed through a tube. I just knew it would be so much more interesting to write about a serious illness than to write about my real life which is traveling around the world with Brad and Angeline and buying shoes in Italy and going to fashion shows in Paris and....................

Oh please. Who am I kidding. Last week when my computer was down was just one big sucky week. Andy was telling the truth because he cannot tell a lie. Sort of a George Washington type. In fact, Andy should be president. Anyone, actually except............Okay, no politics right now. Sort of makes me even sicker than I am already. So here's what happened. Saturday might I was feeling really good and I was strutting across the living room, tra le tra la and my feeding tube which comes out from my intestine (hope you're not eating dinner) caught on a chair and CAME OUT! So I had a nice bloody hole in my stomach and luckily Michael was here and we rushed to the ER where the doctor took one look at it and said, "I have no idea what to do." So he thought and he thought and finally decided he would put in a temporary. He went to look for something, anything, and came back with a tube all right. But it was a slightly thicker tube than the one that had been in there since March. Put in, by the way, by a surgeon. Dr. Kuchenbecker, remember him? Anyway, WITHOUT ANESTHETIC, he pushed and pushed this thicker tube into my stomach until he thought it was in the right place then sent me for X-Rays to make sure it was okay. Then he sent me home. It seemed to work but boy was it sore.
Then Monday morning I was talking to my friend Carol in Carpinteria and I looked down and saw that the temporary tube HAD FALLEN OUT. So, with Karen driving it was back to the ER where I stayed all day, with no food mind you, and finally at around six a Dr. Deutch put in an almost permanant tube. A really permanant tube would have to be put in by surgery but this one seems to work just fine. But I got weighed this morning and I lost two pounds and I thought HOW COME I COULDN'T LOSE WEIGHT THAT FAST WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL! If I wanted to get into a pair of jeans that were a little tight I would have to start months before to lose just one pound. Maybe it was thousand island dressing, I don't know. But just one day in the ER without food and I was two pounds down.
So that's what I was doing while my computer was down and out. And I was taking my clinical trial pills and yelling at my tumor to get the hell out of my body so maybe between the two of us we can shrink this thing down to nothingness.
Ah, what a life. Can't really say that it isn't interesting and it certainly is not what I expected but it is what it is. Tubes, pills. And the best part...Friends.

Here's one thing I'm looking forward to...Obama debating himself. Ms. Palin had a preacher rid her of witchcraft. I kid you not. It's on video. Maybe that's what we need to heal the economy and end the war. A little witchcraft. I think it might be smarter to have a dialogue but what do I know. I'm just a pill popping sick person trying to get better.

Go Ask Alice. I Think She'll Know.....................................

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's nice to see Andy's back .... especially after seeing his front...

Hi, Soodik-fans. Andy Parks here again. Don't Panic! Trish is okay ... but either her computer or her ISP ("internet service provider" for the anagrammatically challenged) isn't working as it should, making it impossible for her to blog. So she's asked me to post a message letting everyone know that she'll be right back after this brief interruption. In the meantime....
Many years ago Trish was working on a crossword puzzle, and she was absolutely stumped by a word... phonetically, the word was "thoosly".... "Thoosly", she thought, "What the hell is 'thoosly'?". The word, of course, was "thusly".... but her brain had given the "u" the long vowel sound... as in "confusion". She found this very amusing (there's that long "u" again), and later was to name a dog (from a litter provided by the Parks' family's Louise) Thusly... spelled with a line over the "u" to indicate the long vowel sound. Thusly was a fine dog, with a broken tail, who once caught a fish... unassisted by rod or reel.
That's all for now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Year of the Pig

All right. I have done it. Thanks to the driving expertise of Karen and Gretchen, I have been to UCLA twice today and I have taken...DRUMROLL PLEASE...The Experimental Pills! And that is pills with an S because I have to take four a day. I threw up after I swallowed them this morning because I believe I ingested them too quickly. But I did it. And just like that, I felt good, really good and just like that the cancer was gone and I ran to the great UCLA pool and I swam a mile and when I got out of the pool my hair was down to my shoulders and it was this groovy stripey kind of color with blondes and browns all mixed together and out of nowhere this very intelligent and sweet looking man walked over to me with an oversized towel and dried me off and led me to the locker room where I changed into just the cutest sized 4 dress with a really darling sweater to match and we walked over to the Village for lunch because I was starving and he told me that he had just been made leader of the Rangers in Yosemite where he was going to work during the summers and the rest of the year he would live in New York City where he worked with needy children and he wanted to know If I would like to live half the year in the mountains and the other half in New York where I could write my novel or my play or whatever and if I'd like I could help out with the kids and it took me two tenths of a second to say yes so we ran over to Dr. Wainberg's office where he gave me a quick scan and said yes, the cancer was all gone and he wished me luck and we hopped into Abe's darling hybird (that's his name, Abe. Abraham, really.) and we drove back to my house where a moving van was gathering up all the stuff I wanted to keep and sending the rest to a storage unit owned by someone I used to know and we drove to Carpinteria where I jumped into the ocean and ran on the sand while Abe drew the sunset in pen and ink and we went back to my house and Abe grilled us some dinner and I ate every bite and then we decided to drive straight to Yosemite so we could stare at the stars. And that we did. And the air was crisp and clean and I slept like a baby and when I woke up near dawn I called Will and told him the good news and he was thrilled and we hung up and Abe brought me some tea and I watched the sunrise and thought of the year I had been through and how lucky I was to be just where I was at that moment and how funny life is where you can be down one moment and up the next...If you're one of the lucky ones.

And I am breathing now. Deep breaths. And it feels good. And Abe is here. Somewhere. And I am so excited to drive around for the next eight weeks because I'm not sure where I'm going but I have no fear and Abe is with me and sometimes you ARE in the right place at the right time. Like when I gave birth. Perfect place. Perfect time. I think I'm in the right place again. It feels good. Maybe tomorrow I'll make a big sandwich. Maybe these pills are magic pills. Maybe I'm not a guinea pig after all. Or if I am, maybe I'm the Queen of the guinea pigs. Look, the sun is coming up while the moon is going down. My kind of day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comfortable Chairs

Ah, the land of the sick. I am sitting in one of those barcaloungers they seem to provide for you in every room where they have IVs. I'm at UCLA (this was written yesterday) and they are drawing blood (yuck, my least favorite procedure) and they are going to give me an injection that's supposed to make my heart beat very fast and then one hour later they draw more blood.

Sound like fun to you? Isn't this how you'd really like to spend your Monday afternoon?

I brought a book. Philip Roth. Everyman. It's about mortality. Sounds appropriate, don't you think?

And speaking of mortality...

Trying to put that positive spin on this completely unbelievable situation, I decided to come up with reasons why it might not be so bad to leave the planet a little earlier than planned. Hey, I'm just trying to come up with some comforting thoughts that might help me through all of this...just in case. So here goes...

Traffic - I would never have to be stuck on the 405 again. (Oh my gosh, is that really the first reason I can come up with that makes death worth while? That is pathetic. Traffic is no reason to die. Please don't mention that to anyone or they might just shoot me for being a pointless, useless human being.)

People. Yes, I love most people but there are some whom I would have to classify as annoying. Go through my blog and you'll notice a few of them. Or there are the kind who look at you like you're dead already or are going to be any minute now. I hate that. Or they talk to you on the phone like you're deaf because they figure that you're sick so that means all of your bodily functions are falling apart and that must include your hearing.

Waiting Rooms. In the last year I have sat in way too many waiting rooms with way too many old people. Rarely is there someone younger than I am. And thank goodness for that, on one level. But that makes me feel like I am definitely in the wrong room because a/ I'm not old yet and b/ I cannot be sick like these people. I'm a healthy gal. Everyone always used to comment on how healthy I was because I ate pounds of broccoli and no red meat and no crap at all and I exercised and are you kidding me I end up in rooms full of very sick old people? This cannot be. And I want out of these rooms because sometimes these rooms just bum me out. Especially after all this time. Remember, I thought 2008 was going to be a banner year? Well, what the hell happened? I seem to be back to where I started from only more so. About to start an experimental drug. You realize that an experiment means they have run out of tested drugs that worked on thousands of people but obviously not on me so I became a little guinea pig running around the little (really gigantic) UCLA cage while they take my blood over and over and do other odd things to me that make me feel woozy and a whole bunch of faceless doctors and drug companies are looking down into my little cage to see if I'm going to fall over after I take their experimental pills or if I'm going to run around and put another ball into a hole so I can get another piece of cheese. For this I should go on living?

Yes. Yes, I suppose I should. I'm lucky I live in an age when they have clinical trials. And I guess if you are thinking about people's lives and how they turn out and if they're interesting, there is something interesting about becoming a guinea pig in your middle years. Now how many people can say that is what they decided to do after their career dried up due to ageism. They didn't go live in Europe, they didn't travel to exotic countries, they didn't teach, they decided to become...A GUINEA PIG. Interesting choice. Probably a really stupid choice. Come on, I'd much rather be in an exotic country. Guinea pig...Exotic country...Exotic country...Guinea pig...Who knows, maybe I'll still end up in Japan. A guinea pig in an exotic country. Not a bad way to end up.

Well, I guess my list of reasons to leave the earth leaves something to be desired. Traffic and annoying people. Not enough. So I'm screwed. There really are no good reasons to leave. Except you have to. You have no choice. Oh wait, there is the election. If it goes a certain way that may be the perfect time to get out of here. Some people talk about moving to Canada. Why not go where no man has gone before? After this election, if it goes the way of the beauty queen, that might not be such a bad idea.

But I am certainly hanging around long enough to vote. And then we shall see. Hey, maybe this experiment will work. Now wouldn't that be totally fab. That's where my mind is going. Yes, I am going to get that piece of cheese. Why not? I'm due for some good news.

Thursday I take my first pill. Should be interesting...........................................

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jealously, Envy and Wrinkles

"Hi. How are you? Yeah, I know. I miss you, too. Oh please, you don't want to hear about me. Too boring. Tell me about you. What's going on in your life? How are the boys?"

I listen. I listen. I can tell that my face is turning red.

"You're kidding? He loves college, has a great roommate, great classes, the perfect girlfriend and he's just...Completely great. How fantastic!! And what about the other one?"

I listen. I listen. But I have curled my toes so tightly in my sneakers that they are cramping up and I can't seem to straighten them out. AND THEY HURT.

But I keep listening.

"He's never been happier? Oh, that's wonderful. Loves his new job. Working with terrific people over seas. He just loves everything about it. He made exactly the right choice. Isn't that a relief for you? And how's your teaching? I know how hard that can be."

I listen. I listen. I feel like I'm going to throw up so I pull over one of those pink buckets I have lying all around me. But I don't really have to throw up. I WANT to throw up. For the first time I actually want to because maybe that will make sense to me.

"Aha. So teaching is fabulous this year. All and all it's just one hell of a great year. Cool. That is very cool. You deserve it."

I look over at the pink bucket before I ask my next question. I just know vomiting would make everything clearer to me. But it's not happening.

"So tell me about your husband. PERFECT. He's having a perfect year! Oh that is so fantastic. Me? Oh, I'm fine. Really fine. But, oh look, it's getting late. I'd better go. Bye."

I'd better go because otherwise I'm going to beat myself over the head with my pink bucket. No vomit. No throwing up. Just me sitting here with my bucket realizing that I am now defining myself by my sickness and if everything feels even slightly normal than suddenly am I not only NOT a sick person at the moment, I am a nothing person because what have I been doing for the past year except being sick? I can't do my work which is teaching and running this great tutoring program but I can write but what I'm writing essentially is my diary, my blog. Not a play. Not a novel. Not a short story. I'm scribbling. I'm writing nonsense. And people around me are having lives and enjoying them and going to the movies and finishing great works of art and beginning great works of art and I have just been BEING SICK which is boring and nothingness. Not even BEING and nothingness. A lump. I have turned into a lump on a couch. A lump on a couch who is so full of envy for anyone who is having a happy productive life I could scream.

I'm not even going to write about the wrinkles printed out in the title. They are forming as I write this so you can imagine...

But I've got to get over this. It's a waste of time and time is truly of the essense here. My first thought for getting rid of this envy and jealousy is to stop talking or writing to everyone I know. That I way I will never hear good news because good news seems to set off this undesireable emotion. I could move to some city where nobody knows me and I wouldn't know them and I would never ask them about themselves so I'd be safe from envy. Maybe some city where nobody really does anything except go to the 7-11 or the laundremat. Hmmm, this is beginning to sound very comforting.

But wait. Come on. Who am I kidding? I'm bigger than that. I have not lived this long to turn out petty and pathetic and worried that other people's happiness has anything to do with mine. COME ON. I have had plenty of happiness in my life.

Did I say HAD? Had happpiness? That's not good. That assumes that from now on there will be no more happiness. That I have had it already. Why should I assume that? Where is it written?

Now I have to throw up. Excuse me........................................

Ahhhhh. I feel better already. Yes. That is who I am right now. That is what I'm doing. And a damn good job I do in this vomiting business, if I do say so myself. To hell with the O Henry prize for short fiction. Look at what I am doing and how quickly I recover and watch the long brisk walks I take even when my eyes are all blurry and...

Dammitt! How come your life is going well and mine isn't? Huh? Huh? Anyone have an answer to that one? Oh I know. BECAUSE IT JUST IS.

And that is just about the best answer I'm going to get because bad luck and good luck cannot be explained. It just is. But the other answer is JUST DO. A lump is not the way to go. A lump is not who I am. Whatever it is I'm complaining about I can deal with. JUST DO. Do it. What am I waiting for?

Okay, here goes. No more lollygagging around. I'm going to DO it...Yes I am............................ Just as soon as I can uncurl my toes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Mother Thanks You, My Father Thanks You and I...

Those, by the way, are the words of George M. Cohan or James Cagney, however you want to imagine it. But I would like thank all you kind people out there who took time to search around for some sort of Japanese connection in case my only choice was the clinical trial in Japan. I have my fingers crossed and any other good luck motion I can think of that the UCLA trial works, even just a teeny weeny bit and I won't have to use all the Japanese information you have sent me but I know it's there if I need it and that is comforting and also so cool that you would do that for me. Thank you.

I think the actual taking of the pill starts in two weeks. There are a bunch of possible side effects, most of which do not happen. But the two that seem to occur over and over are high blood pressure and serious fatigue. Why can't side effects ever be good? Or fun. Like you have bursts of energy and you can jog for miles and you're ecstatically happy all day and incredibly creative. They can't come up with a pill that does that? Why does the pill always have to ruin your liver or blur your vision? Or make your blood pressure go up so you have to take ANOTHER pill to bring it down. I am a living pharmacy here with all the pills I have in my bathroom. And all I used to take were vitamins to help me live forever. Oh, the irony of it all.

I was thinking about the term, "fighting for your life". I think that's what I'm supposed to be doing. But I don't feel like I'm fighting enough. In fact, I don't feel like I'm fighting at all. I guess you could say that just getting up in the morning is a little fight since most mornings I feel so gloomy and slightly afraid to face the day but then I do it...I get out of bed and I get dressed and get my exercise and I carry on as if...As if all is well and is going to be well. But I don't know. I don't know what is going to happen. And there are those of you that are thinking that no one knows what's going to happen, you could have been in the twin towers in 2001 and you certainly would not have seen that coming. I think the problem with my situation is that I am face to face with a fifty/fifty situation and it is impossible to ignore that one half of the outcome is REALLY HORRIBLE. I mean, we all know what's coming at the end of this life but it's somehow different when you're just going along. Like you go along naturally and you get older and then you're sixty and then seventy and you keep going and you know it won't last forever but somewhere in your mind you sort of feel maybe it WILL last forever because you feel good and your doctor checkups are all positive so why shouldn't you just go on like this ad infinitum? (Did I just say what I meant to say? Sounds good anyway.) So I have decided that I have to actually FIGHT for my life and I'm not sure what that entails but I'm going to figure it out and put on my gloves and my thinking cap and do everything I can think of to keep the enemy at bay.

But what if I get fatigued? See, that's where they've got you. They can get you tired so you can't fight. That's one of their clever weapons. Except maybe with your mind. Yeah. Who says we're talking about actually throwing punches. Maybe it IS just mind over matter. I have been told by many that that works. Hey, at this point I am open to everything. Dream it away, that's what I'll do. Or just dream happy and not let it's nasty little negativity penetrate my soul. Like it does now...Sometimes.

Okay, it's a battle between me and him. (Can't possibly be a her. Of course watching the Republican nominee for vice president maybe a her is not so far fetched. And I apologize to all my Republican friends but I've got to tell you that your gun toting hockey mom vice president is pretty darn scary.)

So I'm going to rest now and I'm going to fight. It's a Ghandi sort of thing. Passive resistence. A moment of silence for the enemy.

And just watch him disappear...................................

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Trial of the Century

Well, actually I'm exaggerting. This is not the trial of the century. It is certainly not the OJ trial. It's my little clinical trial that I have just signed on to. Yes, I signed the papers even before I read them because he said I could change my mind after I read them so I might as well sign while I'm there in the office. That's what Dr. Wainberg suggested and being just an airhead follower...I signed. Then I came home and read what was about to happen. Eeegad. Is there no way out of here that's pretty? Does it always have to have words in it like rash or kidney damage or difficulty performing tasks? And then to add insult to you know what it adds that it cannot be guaranteed that any of these symtoms will go away...Ever.

HOWEVER...something good might happen like the tumor might respond to the untested drug and shrink a bit or not grow anymore so there you have your choice. A choice between bad things might happen or something good might happen and also the ever popular NOTHING will happen.

Hey, I'm excited about this trial, what do you think? I do thing that doing something is better than doing nothing. Which is always an option. But here is one of the scary things that was in the papers he gave me...I am doing this trial and am a good candidate for it because all of the other treatments I have done were unsuccessful. How's that for a reason to be accepted? And here's something interesting...There are only about eight people doing this at UCLA. There are other people around the country but only about eight are here. Maybe we could be friends. Trial friends. Like twelve not angry friends locked in a room together trying to decide the outcome of our lives. "I'm going to live. No, I'm going to live. Yes, you're going to live." And on and on.

And here's the thing...I am going to live. I'm going to fight this thing to the bitter yet calm and peaceful end. Dr. Wainberg had a nice smile. He didn't look like he was running the Last Stop Saloon. Made me feel comfortable. He's a young man. Already a good bedside manner even though I wasn't lying on a bed I was sitting in a chair. A good chair side manner. Positive. That's what I've got to be. Positive. It is, as far as I can tell, the only way to get through this. But it is not easy when you know there are really only two options.

I'm opting for the first one. Maybe you could opt with me...................................

Must run out now. But I've got more to say.................Believe me............................