09 May 2009

cyborg no longer

Did you hear? The era of the cyborg is gone, baby, gone!

On March 22, while I was heavily medicated but fully awake and aware, Dr M dug the two-headed dog out of my chest. The area was completely numbed, but I could still feel him pulling and clipping and sewing. And then it was over, and I was CYBORG NO LONGER!

Click here for some pics

And now that I'm human again, I have discovered my inner poet. Enjoy...

[Mini] Ode to a Neuropath

By standing firm in cancer's swath
      While she's seeming e'er hot
She has become a neuropath
      Her tootsies now are feeling naught
At nighttime when her feet are bare
      Sensing socks no longer worn
           Until the peaceful sleep does come
Op'ning eyes to sunlight's glare
      Waking to a brand new morn
           She finds out that her hands are numb

Roll over, Walt Whitman - make way for Bonez the Bard!

Besides writing poetry, I am also an ardent fundraiser. Next month, I'm taking part in the MMRF Race for Research - proudly representing the Pop's Posse team. This is my fourth year racing, fifth year fundraising (the first year, I cyber-participated).

The MMRF raises research money for help find treatments, and ultimately a cure, for multiple myeloma. Although I personally don't have MM, it has deeply affected my life. My uncle Paul has been fighting it since 2004, and last month my best friend's mom lost her 7+ year battle. Multiple myeloma is a vicious cancer, and more research is desperately needed.

If you want to learn more about this foundation click here or here or here. But the point of it all is that I'm asking you to go to my fundraising page and donate. Or if you prefer, you can mail me a check made out to the MMRF with Pop's Posse on the memo line. (contact me for the address)

But PLEASE donate something! Anything! Do it now, before you forget! You know you want to...

26 April 2009

you know i have cancer, right?

So those of you who have been following me for a while will remember that every year at this time, I go up to Connecticut to participate in a charity race. I walk in the MMRF Race for Research as a member of the Pop's Posse team. Pops is my uncle Paul. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma five years ago - a plasma cancer that develops in the bone marrow and interferes with bone health, prevents normal blood clotting, and leads to overworked and failing kidneys.

Ironically, one month after I came home from last year's race, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. But now, less than a year later, I have been declared free of active cancers. Less than one year. And barring any unforeseen complications, my oncologists are confident that I will remain cancer free for a good long while. Maybe even the rest of my life.

But multiple myeloma is different. There is no cure. Remissions happen, but don't last. There are a limited number of therapies, and the more types of treatments a patient uses, the fewer options they have. And the treatments can often have devastating side effects.

Pops isn't the only person I know that has been affected by this cancer. My lifelong best friend Kimberly's mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2002. Earlier this month, she lost her battle. This year, I will be racing in her memory.

Please support my efforts by visiting http://321cure.themmrf.org/goto/bonez and making a donation. Any donation. Big. Small. Whatever. Just something. Because if enough people give enough somethings, SOMEDAY someone might be able to say "last year I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, but now I'm OK."

Thank you for supporting my efforts :)

10 April 2009

that's right, mom. if i had been a boy, i never would have gotten cervical canzer

The results are in.
Quote: no evidence of active cancer.
Alterna-quote: let the wild rumpus start!

In related news, Renowned Hoo-Ha Doctor Wins Nobel Prize For Medical Advancements Down There (click to be redirected to the article) (thanks to Todd for pointing it out)

And soon, my three-headed dog will be taken from me. Will I miss him?
I. Think. Not.

Stay tuned...

12 March 2009

vampirez don't get canzer

It has been so long since I've had to actually deal with cancer that I almost forgot I had it...

...but not really.

I've probably told more people "I have cancer" in the past 30 days than I did that first month after diagnosis, thanks to the magical reconnective powers of Facebook. Oh hi, so and so. Wow, it's been forever since I've seen/spoken to/heard from you. What's new with me? Well, I have cancer. What's new with you? An awkward exchange, I admit. But as I said to one long-lost-now-found friend, it is foremost in my mind, so best to get it out on the table from the get-go.

But even though I've been coming out to people, and saying the words I have cancer, and rattling off the 60-second synopsis of my treatment and current state, I haven't really had to deal with it. It has been an abstract, something floating out in the ether, a thing that isn't really a part of me, even though it is the only part of me. The thing that matters so much that it eclipses everything else about me. I remember feeling this way about my father's death - that people who knew me needed to know that about me or else they didn't really know me: now it is my cancer they need to know.

The point is, emotionally and psychologically, cancer is an everyday part of life; but physically, not so much. For so many months, my physical space was bombarded with treatments; getting stuck and radiated and sedated and poisoned. But for over three months now, my bubble has not been invaded. I've had no doctor prodding me in private places, no nurse bracing me for the burn of a needle, no sickening side effects. No worrying about what I eat or who I touch or what I breathe near.

Until Monday. And then all the panic, all the anxiety came flooding back. Monday was my first official port flush. People are surprised to hear that I still have my port: it seems that it was almost universally assumed that once the chemo ended, the port would be gone. But no, I assure you it's still there. To say it is the bane of my existence would be a touch melodramatic, but it is something I never forget about and always loathe. I am most aware of it when I'm in the shower, and not once has my soapy hand passed over it without me cringing in response. I don't like how it looks; how it feels is much, much worse.

Despite all that, the port flush was surprisingly non-traumatic. I don't know if it was the Vitamin X that lingered from the previous night, or if it was the shock that they were only flushing and not taking any blood, but it was delightfully over before I could get too shook up about it.

Then, I could really start to panic. My first follow up exam was Wednesday, and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the anticipation of finding out whether or not the hell of treatment did its job. As I explained to Nurse T, for the most part I keep it together. I can talk on and on (and on and on and on...) about my cancer and my treatment and my prognosis without getting upset. It had been a good three months since I'd shed a cancer tear. But with the expectancy of possibly hearing that I'd have to start it all over again, I was a bit unglued. And the tears, they did fall.

But it was good news! Both Dr M and Dr F examined me, and agreed that everything looked good and I was progressing just as they'd hoped I would. **SIGH** Yes, there are test results to wait for, and as the time draws closer to getting those results, I'm sure I'll revert back to being a wreck. But for now, I'm so very relieved to have been told - finally - that something was just as expected. Another **SIGH**

And to add to the joy, Dr M finally said out loud that yes, we can remove this god-awful port! Hallelujah!!! Of course, there are the aforementioned tests to pass, but if all goes well, six weeks from now, I will be an ex-cyborg. Ah, what a joyous day that will be!

And so, again, I thank each of you for your continued words of encouragement and support. It sounds cliche, but it really makes a difference to know that I'm not alone in this fight. We are strong, and we will win!

I'll have test results in two or three weeks.

Until then...