Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Boiled chicken

Today I boiled a whole chicken for the first time EVER. Bought a nice organic one at PCC, threw it in the pot with celery, carrots, onions, garlic and a lot of water. It's almost done right now. We're having enchiladas tonight. I'm going to make up the recipe as I go.

Significance, you ask?

(Gosh, imagine if there WAS no significance to the above snoozer of an update. When that starts to happen with my posts, somebody make me yank this blog off the web, stat.)

The point is, I actually had the time and energy to plan ahead, make an effort, and do something new. To me, that steamy carcass represents life, post-chemo. (Wait! Not in the sense of me being akin to soggy bird remains.) Rather, in the sense that I am recapturing my life. Getting back in the driver seat. Grabbing motherhood by the proverbial cojones. Cooking for my family. Having the gumption to try different things. Embracing the fundamentals, even getting excited about them, and not wallowing in the drudgery of life's more mundane moments.

That steamy bird is practically clucking to the world on my behalf, "I'M BA-ACK."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


We here at "Team Shelly" are a bunch of ACHIEVERS!

The 5-person "Team Shelly" of Seattle recently completed a swim race (see my previous post titled "Swim Across America"). Over 150 people competed, and Team Shelly members finished FIRST AND SECOND. And the other members also represented impressively.

Not to be outdone, our midwestern friends on the Columbus, Ohio -based "Team Shelly" just completed a 5k run. And guess who finished first place in that? A TEAM SHELLY RUNNER, THAT'S WHO.

The lesson here is: Be on our team! We are winners!

(Cue the theme song to "Against All Odds") (Actually, that song has nothing to do with beating the odds, but the title of the film does.) (For the record, I've never seen that film. Nor do I wish to.)

p.s.: A huge thank you to anyone who contributed to either of the aforementioned races. Both raised money for cancer research, which we here at Team Shelly feel is a pretty freaking terrific cause. I'm proud to say that the Seattle Team Shelly raised over $6500! BULLY FOR US.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Last chemo

Hi all,

I'm happy to report that as I write, i am enduring the last of my chemotherapy sessions. NINE MONTHS down. I don't feel all that chatty, as this one's felt particularly ... oh what's the word.... toxic? full of malaise? annoying? uncomfortable?

It's hard to find the right words to describe pain. You either know it or you don't. Experience is really required to "get it". We all know what a headache feels like. Then there's heartburn. Then there's that panicky sick feeling you get just before food poisoning. There's that dry, crunchy feeling of strep throat. Or the sharp pierce of an ear infection. Or the achiness of the flu.

Well, this is something still different. How do you describe this pain? to me, it's like drinking a bottle of Windex. Feeling chemical-ly. Feeling a sense of malaise and disinterest in things. Nausea. Fatigue. Annoyance.

I want to embrace all the great encouraging comments I've been getting "last one, shell!" and they do help, but i also kind of feel like i'm at mile 8 of a marathon and i know i still have 18 to go. Gotta hang in there. Then I'll be ok.

My doc tells me it takes 6 weeks for the chemo to leave my body. At that time, I suspect I'll once again feel like drinking a big toast to myself. I'll slowly get all that great energy back and I'll once again be the fireball you knew me to be. I can't wait for that time. Just a few more days.

Then, I really like to think and hope, this will all be over. FOR GOOD. It won't come back in a year, or two. Or five. That it will really be OVER.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bye-bye, piss and vinegar

Hello, sugar and daffodils.

In other words, I have a new attitude. My chin is up, my nose is to the grindstone, and I'm going to finish out this chemo with a bang. I've come to realize that complaining about it aint going to do me a stitch of good. I've got a TON to be happy about, and I'm sure a lot of people would kill to be in my size 11 1/2s.

(Before I go further, I want to go back and say, it's hard to know how to change that expression "piss and vingear" into a positive one. if you keep the bodily fluids theme going in exchange for "piss", you are left with things like "bile", "blood", "mucus", "hemoglobin", and other less palatable things. None of which scream "happiness" outright. Then "vinegar"... "corn syrup"? "oil"? "soy sauce"? It just doesn't work.)

So I found out yesterday at chemo that I have JUST ONE CHEMO LEFT! TWO THURSDAYS FROM NOW IS MY LAST ONE! RIP CHEMOTHERAPY. NICE KNOWIN' YA. Then after that, I have bi-weekly injections of Avastan, a tumor-fighting drug, but it's not chemo. It won't drain my energy or make me feel like crap for several days. It won't take up my entire Thursday, either, or ruin my weekends-- the whole process takes a half hour or so.

So even though today I sit here with tubes coming out of me and a large vial of poisonous medicine hanging from my port (our joke is that someday I should go into an airport like this, open my trenchcoat and announce, "I'VE GOT A BOMB!"), I'm feeling rather content. I see the light at the end of the tunnel at long last.

And talk about aggressive therapy... I went into remission in JUNE. It's now September and I'm still on chemo. If any cells of cancer remain in me after this atomic bomb of poison we've thrown on them, well... they are some strain of supercancer and I should give my body to medicine to be studied.

ps- big props to my friend Libby for watching my kids plus hers all day yesterday.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

More chemo

well. i just found out i have "a few more rounds" of chemo. not exactly sure why, as I am "all clear". i know i should be happy about the bigger picture, but quite honestly, this news has really thrown me into a funk. so that's all i have to say right now.

More A+ news

I got great results today on my latest scan. They used not one but three scopes to see if they could find anything, but despite all their searching--nada. No problem areas. Nothing unusual. Not even anything to biospy. All clear!

This is terrific news for me, and I'd write something more interesting if I weren't still so drugged (I slept through the entire day after the test. If you see my friend Julie Lund, or my mother-in-law, Bea, give them some serious high fives for all their availability and childcare this week.)

Now, the next question is: will they FINALLY let me stop chemo at tomorrow's appointment? Will we get to have a NORMAL Labor Day weekend? I'll let you know. My fingers are crossed. And my colon is completely empty. (For the SECOND TIME in A WEEK. But that's a neat story for another time.)