Thursday, October 20, 2011

My inbox runneth over

For two weeks I've been receiving, enjoying, and saving your "levity" photos. (Please see previous post entitled, "A Little Levity, Please" for the backstory). Thanks for sending them! Holy Toledo! (And I ought to know. Born and raised.)

I will compile them shortly, and I'll update this post as they come in.

ps- Bonus points for exotic locations, interesting photo narrative/visual storytelling. But all submissions welcome, of course. (And if you send in a really boring one, that's ok, I'll MAKE UP a story for it.)


Got my scan results at today's chemo appointment. The tumors are all going down, some by 50%. He said the results are "fabulous". I've got a bunch more chemo to go, but we're once again headed in the right direction.

Looks like you're all stuck with me for a while longer.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Still no news...

...and I probably won't get any scan news over the weekend, so there you have it for now. I'm glad, in a way, because now I don't have to have a heart attack every time the phone rings. I have over-thought this a bit by now. Half of me thinks, if it were good news, he would have called by now. He wants to wait to give me the rotten news in person. The other half thinks, "Are you nuts, Shelly? It can only be improved news since last time. You've done 4 chemos!"

So. What can you do. Just keep on living in spite of it all.

In other news, I now am the proud wearer of a short, inverted bob. It was supercute on day #1 and looks like a crazy nest today---completely user error, not the cut. I will work on my skills.

My cousin and my mom arrive in town this weekend. Yay!

PS- I continue to receive photos from people every day (see the "Levity" post for more info on that), and they are getting cooler all the time, so I am going to re-open the submissions soon. Get fired up, people, this is like Christmas in October.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A smattering of thoughts now.

1- Neil and I have sold our house. We must move out by Oct 31. We haven't yet found a new house we love, so in the meantime, we will be staying with friends in Issaquah. This Saturday, our moving truck will pick up our big items. Then for two weeks, our house will be like a shell, with a few mattresses and chairs scattered about. It'll be like camping! Perhaps rather than blogging, I should get packin'.

2- All my life, I've had heaps of hair. Hair to spare. Grandma Yark used to say, repeatedly and rather famously, "YOU'VE GOT ENOUGH HAIR FOR THREE PEOPLE." For evidence (wince), view any photo of me from the 80s-90s. And now, this damned chemo has seriously thinned it out. I lose glops of hair every time I shower. I'm not balding, but I think I am going to require a new hairstyle. Shelly with limp hair: The apocolypse is near. But! Vanity is alive and well. I'm now accepting photo suggestions for a cute new 'do.

3- Steve Jobs. What to say that hasn't been said. Yet another aspect of this strikes me, too. It's utterly amazing how long he lived, YEARS, with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He shattered his grim life expectancy odds considerably. So I keep thinking of him, wondering what makes a person strong like that. What sparked him. What spurred him on. Where he found inspiration. I need to figure out what he had inside him and channel some of that. Not because I aspire to change the way the world communicates, but simply because I want to be here for the long haul. I've felt a bit discouraged lately, and I am sick of it.

4-I have a PET scan this Thursday morning to see how this chemo is working. My doc says I might even have the results by Thursday night. I'm nervous.

So there you have it. All the news that's fit to print on this rainy Tuesday night.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A little levity, please

The other day I was texting a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless, I won't even tell you her gender) while she was sitting in an examation room, waiting for her doctor. To be more specific, she was waiting to start her annual gynecological exam. As if I needed proof, she then texted me a photo of her view of the bottom half of the exam table, covered in that sterile white paper roll, with the fuzzy pink feet holders extended. A scene every woman could easily interpret. No comments were needed, it was just a simple capturing of her life at that moment in time.

I thought, this is kind of a fun way to keep up with what is happening in my friends' lives. We're all running these parallel lives, immersed in various activities at once. And Lord knows we love our technology. Since I'm sitting around my house the next few days, please feel free to send me a quick snap of a scene from your everyday that needs no explanation, but which encapsulates whatever is happening for you at that time. Like an email, without words. It can be self-explanatory or cryptic. Dull or silly. Whatever you send, it will make me smile. And feel connected.

If I get enough interesting ones, maybe I'll post them.

I'll let you know if I get any entries. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Second opinion

Today, Neil and I are headed over to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to meet with an esteemed doctor who is going to give my case a second look. See what he says. See if they have any alternative ideas for clinical trials, treatments, etc. Not that we have any doubts about my current doctor or my care, but, as a physician friend of mine said, it never hurts to have as many smartypants doctors looking at your case as possible. It's like doing your homework. And--I'm lucky to live in a great town for having this disease. Seattle has some terrific doctors and programs to investigate.

(HA! Add THAT to your roster of nicknames, Seattle! "The Emerald City". "The Jet City". "The Queen City". "CancerTown USA".

I got the SCCA's impressive introduction packet a few weeks ago, but didn't look at it until last night. Looking through this stuff is a DRAG. On top of chemo and everything else, the last thing I feel like doing is reading cancer marketing materials, no matter how empathetically written. You know, hopeful sentences like, "Many cancers are highly curable if they're detected in the early stages." (Great! Wait. I'm stage 4.) (P.S.: There is no Stage 5.) (So! You just let that roll off your back, Shelldogg. Remember: you're your own case study! No one has ever had your exact cancer before! The future is not written yet! Screw the stats!) Let the pep talks roll! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

After the appointment, I think I may roll on down to my sister's restaurant (LITTLE WATER CANTINA in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood! Check it out.) and drink a stiff margarita or two. Nothing has changed with my health, and in fact now that I've completed three rounds of chemo, I should soon find out that my cancer is again receding-- but just talking about it in depth, play-by-play since Nov '09, can take the wind out of your sails.

All that being said, I feel strong this week, and I'm ready to hear what they tell me. I'm wearing my rhino-skin jacket.