Friday, May 28, 2010

Hello, from Shelliqua

Perhaps I should invent an alter-ego or nom de plume to use when writing a post while deep in the throes of chemotherapy drugs. Because Lord knows Shelly Baker Butler doesn't want credit for these posts. Writing under the influence of drugs, for some, was the very point of it: (Coleridge, Burroughs, Poe, Kerouac, etc....), but for me, I want to feel normal again. Ah well, just gotta wait a few days.

What would a good pen-name be?

Not Shelly--

Sheila Butter?
Shirley Bacon?
Shelly Seacrest?
Admiral Von Schellgenstein?

I'm accepting suggestions.

Anyway, moving on-
I spent the day getting loaded up with chemo. Today was chemo #11. Some people ask me how it feels to be on chemo, and I can't answer for all types of chemo because they all have different side effects. But I think I'm getting close to it when I say that it feels like I just drank two bottles of Windex. Or, it's what you'd get if you took a nasty flu and a major hangover, and you forced them to have a baby: that could be chemo.

My first appt was at 8:20 a.m., and I got home around 5. i'm tired. I have looong chemo sessions. longer than most people. Some people are in and out in 30 minutes. Apparently it depends on the type of cancer you have, and the stage. I asked my doc today if the treatment they were giving me was on the heavier side of what is available, and he chortled and said, "HOO-OOH YES." So, I'm getting the hard stuff, apparently. If i can handle this, i can handle anything. Plus, it's working.

Now, though, I'm home, and for two days I'm still mainlining a pack of the drug flourouracil, commonly called "5 F-U", which has to be the best chemo drug name ever (Think of it: not just one 'F-U', but FIVE!). My nurse calls this drug the "2-day kill', because it keeps on releasing poison over time, which will continue to hit the cancer in every stage of its pathetic lifecycle. (eating, cell division, resting, and whatever else cancer cells do in their spare time.)

(Now wouldn't THAT be a fun book to write, written from the point of view of a cancer cell in his "spare time" between mitosis and feeding. wonder what he thinks about. wonder if he has any friends in there. Doubt it. )

So here I am. Nestled in our new bed (well, it's a new mattress... I found that after my brutal surgery in December I was able to make all kinds of demands on Neil, including a super-soft new mattress. Normally Neil is not a "let's get more new stuff!" guy, he doesn't like to buy lots of new things because the act of having lots of STUFF just doesn't make him any happier. Simplify, simplify. Which explains his 6-teeshirt wardrobe. Love that guy.) (*That being said, THIS GIRL _does_ need some new clothes, and soon.*)

Our bedroom looks out over the lake. It's a slightly overcast day here in Seattle (out-of-towners, insert your clever weather joke here), and the lake is pretty glassy. Neil is downstairs wrangling the kids so i can have some time to relax.

I guess this is all my way of saying, "If this is as bad as it gets, me loaded to the gills with medicines marked all over with huge 'BIOHAZARD' symbols, laying here, feeling a little barfy, but not too bad, if this is as bad as it gets, and I'm getting better, I'LL TAKE IT ANY DAY."

Let me brag a little now.

My nurse today looked at my blood counts. She said they were excellent. Then she looked at how many rounds of chemo i'd gone through, and she actually gasped when she saw this was #11. She said, "but these counts are so must be getting (forget the name) shots to help increase your white blood count every week, right?" And I said, "No, i've never gotten one of those. " And she just looked at me and said, "Well. All I can say is you are ONE VERY HEALTHY PERSON."

And that made me smile harder than anything all day.

-Shirley Bacon, out


  1. How about Shelrox? Because you do :)

  2. i am about to link LIFROX TO MY BLOG!! =) KEEP KILLIN EM SHELLY!

  3. Like that post Shel. Hits home on a number of levels.

  4. shel, there you go, impressing people again (and BRAGGING about it, if i do say so myself). it IS remarkable, isn't it, how robust (so fun to insert that word) you are in the midst of this baby-making between mr. flu and ms. hangover (she kept her name, but they're married, so don't sweat it). and, you make us all more WELL, too, just by your darn wonderful posts. keep 'em comin'. and I agree, cancer cells = NO FRIENDS. at some point they'll be eliminated from the landscape, they'll be so lonely. in fact, maybe that's happening right now (just think!) jules

  5. Hi Shelly!
    If they've got one called "5-FU," they should make another one called "Swift kick in the nuts." Aggh. The image of drinking Windex or having the flu and a hangover have a baby - horrible. Hope #11 will be "chemo, the last" and I think Shelliqua is a lovely name.