Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten riddles

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10. What has four legs and an arm?
A happy pit bull.

9. What are the three most terrifying words a woman can say?
“Notice anything different?”

8. How do you find Will Smith in the snow?
You look for fresh prints.

7. Why did the chicken commit suicide?
To get to the other side.

6. What does a man with two right feet wear to the beach?
Flop-flops.

5. Why can’t you hear a psychiatrist using the bathroom?
Because the ‘p’ is silent.

4. How does a pessimist count his blessings?
“Ten…Nine…Eight…Seven…Six…”

3. What is ET short for?
Because he’s got them tiny little legs.

2. What do the films Titanic and The Sixth Sense have in common?
“Icy dead people.”

1. Why does Donald Trump sleep with a tub of hummus?
Because there’s nothing he LOVES MORE than when he has a chickpea in his bed.
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

ends & oddhealth & medical

There has to be a better way

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Catching up. I’ve fallen behind on my information dissemination. I don’t like to post that I have questions but not answers. I don’t like to call friends and say that I have taken tests without being able to give them results. I’m trying to keep up, though, and there are still some missing results.

When I had that infection and the doctor freaked out and biopsied my lymph node, I literally had three thoughts about it at once. My first thought was that my lymph nodes have felt electric (best way I can describe) for quite a while, so the cancer was probably there already. My second thought was that the node was just swollen because of the infection and this was just an overreaction biopsy that would prove everything is fine. My third thought was that the infection had somehow shoved the cancer up in that node like a bulldozer, but maybe it would ease back down when the infection was gone. All these opposing views are just constantly bouncing around in my head about everything that is going on with me. If you imagined that I overthought things before, well, old me’s got nothin’ on cancer me.

I went on with my life, as I do. I took my antibiotics, started feeling better, met with the plastic surgeon at Moffitt, left feeling confident that he could build me a bionic boob with my (just so tiny) leftover baby belly fat (for the record, he called me skinny), and went home to wait for the scheduler to call. That was on Wednesday the 15th. On Thursday the 16th I felt well for the first time in a week, like truly up an at ’em well. I felt like I had the first part of a plan and it was kind of coming together. (The missing piece was/is still finding a more integrative oncologist who will work with me on alternative or natural therapies in place of or in conjunction with the most targeting chemo for my type of cancer.) I’m not a “let’s throw all the poisons into my system and hope for the best” kind of girl. On Friday the 17th I started to feel like I had caught the house cold (care of daughter and husband), and that night I got a call from the doc that my lymph node came back positive for cancer. He said his team would call me on Monday to schedule a PET scan, and we would go from there. He mentioned starting chemo and postponing surgery. On Monday I called Moffitt and the nurse also said this would postpone surgery. She scheduled me an appointment with their oncologist on March 7th. The freaking wheels at Moffitt turn ever so slooooowly.

Well, the PET scan machine at the radiology lab broke down. I have been so sick this last week and a half. It was like I had the cold that froze time, because I can’t seem to get things going. I have now been scheduled for a scan with that radiologist every day for a week. Every day they call and reschedule for the next day. Yesterday was the last time they did that. Today the folks at CTCA said that when they called to inquire about the results of my PET scan, this broken down place actually told them that I canceled my appointment there myself. I’ve given up on them entirely. Moving on.

As I write this now I am in a lobby called the Peach Outpatient Center at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. It’s in Newnan, Ga. (Big sign in town reads: “Newnan, Ga, City of Homes.” No homes anywhere else, ya’ll! We’ve got all the homes!) I’m about forty-five minutes SW of Atlanta for a third opinion and to see what the oncologists here are like.  I thought it was closer to Atlanta, so that’s a bummer. You have probably seen the commercials for this place. It is definitely a for profit company, but they sell themselves as the more integrative and natural place to cure your cancer. I will be judging them on that, for sure. It’s the whole reason that I came all this way.

First impression is that everyone here is going out of their way to prove to me that they are nice. They keep telling me that I have made the right choice by coming here. People at Moffitt are nice too. My first doctor in St. Pete was also super nice. It’s not like I’m shopping around for the nicest people to treat me. If you are a total bitch with with least invasive, most effective, not so poisonous cancer treatment, one that you know will work on my cancer because you have done the genome test, then you’re my bitch. It is a little sad here, as it is at Moffitt. Big buildings full of sick people are sad, it doesn’t matter how good the buildings smell, or how nice the garden is. Luckily, a very good friend is getting on a plane right now to hang out with me here for three days. Leave it to us to figure out how to turn this into a slumber party. Love that woman.

I know that people are wondering why I haven’t started any surgery yet, or started some kind of chemo yet. I’m not doing nothing. I’m getting healthy in every other possible way. I’m studying my butt off (wishing I’d had an interest in this before, because I’ve learned so much). I’m approaching this in the most thoughtful and measured way possible. I want to live. I mean really live, like get past this and be healthier than before. It might feel to others like I’m dragging my feet or not moving fast enough, but I’m getting it done, I swear.

 

 

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmovies

Top ten things overheard at last night’s Academy Awards

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10. “I understand that the Oscar was actually named after a guy named ‘Oscar’.”

9. “The montage of dead actors at the Golden Globes is a good indication of who’ll still be dead tonight.”

8. “I hear new U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is hoping that Ruth Negga wins for Loving just so he can say, ‘Well, mercy me! I do declare, a Negga just won Best Actress!’ and not get in trouble for it.”

7. “I’d like to thank the Academy. And for those of you who think it’s an honor just to be nominated: What a bunch of losers!!”

6. “I was considered ‘ineligible for a 2016 Academy Award,’ I think probably because I didn’t actually do anything this year.”

5. “I love that new ‘anatomically correct’ Oscar; it’s so much easier to carry!.”

4. “I’m so glad the Academy has finally recognized O.J. Simpson. They totally overlooked him for those Naked Gun movies.”

3. “I only hope I live long enough to be included in that In Memoriam segment.”

2. “I thought La La Land was about a Magical Kingdom ruled over by that yellow Teletubby with the curly antenna!”

1. “When I was backstage, I accidentally knocked over a couple of envelopes, but I can’t see how that can be a problem. I mean, they’ve only got one award left to present.”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

They don’t need us anymore

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Julianne and I took a trip to Bogotá, Colombia last week. I attended WRAB IV, an international writing research conference, and we stayed at the remarkable Bogotá Bed and Breakfast while being introduced to the wonderful city of Bogotá. In planning this journey, there was a little catch: What we do with our three kids – more specifically, what to do with three teenagers, since, when we returned, all three would be teenagers? [Read more →]

animalsBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Now that they’re making a wine for cats, top ten brand names

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10. Catbernet Sauvignon

9. Wine Lives

8. Yellow (Cat)tail

7. Furgandy

6. Clawvignon Blanc

5. Cat Nips

4. Pinot Meow

3. Mos-cat-o

2. A-purry-tif

1. FeWine
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

ends & oddhealth & medical

So that happened

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Last Wednesday was super stressful. Thursday was terrible and weird. Friday was worse than both. Today is almost normal, so I’ll write about it now. We’re all fortunate I was in too much pain to type on Friday.

I’ve been reading a lot about the mind body connection with breast cancer. I’m a believer. When I find myself getting anxious or stressed out I can feel the blood flowing to the tumor. I’m trying really hard to be mindful of what I am doing to myself physically when I go down my emotional rabbit hole(s). On Wednesday morning I was feeling great, then early in the afternoon I started to stress about something. It was a small thing, but then I picked up kids and they were both at their most intense. This got me really started up. By the time I was trying to handle the stress that showed up in the evening, well, let’s say all my coping strategies were used up. I felt blood rushing to my chest like a tidal wave. Then I started to feel pain. I tried to breathe my way out of it, but felt totally stuck.

Thursday morning I had a (previously scheduled) acupuncture appointment first thing. I thought for sure this would fix me. It did help, but by this time the pain was pretty intense. It was a chilly morning, so I didn’t notice that I just couldn’t get warm. I went home and took a nap. When I woke up, James was home for lunch and I had a fever of 101. Plus pain that felt like the worst mastitis ever possible (if you have not breast fed or have no boobs just take my word for it, this freaking hurts). I texted my go to TCM practitioner at TYM because I had just seen her for the acupuncture. She said she thought that, given the fever, it was an infection (why didn’t that occur to me?) and that if I didn’t want antibiotics she could treat me with herbs, but maybe I should call my boob doctor. I did call, and they put me on the books for 8:30 the next morning.

Friday morning at the doctor was not as I expected it would be. After the idea of infection was been brought up I had thought, “duh.” I figured I’d see the doc, get antibiotics for the week, and go back to my TCM for some probiotics next week (I would also like to say here that I avoid antibiotics like the plague and only use them for true infections. Because I would like them to be of some use to my children. You know, in future land.)

The doc and I chatted, I made boob jokes and she laughed. Then she took a look at the problem. Her whole demeanor changed. She started the ultrasound machine up. She took out her little tape measure. She used the word necrosis. She said she felt that the tumor was spreading (she may have said infiltrating, the oncologist uses this term), that one of my lymph nodes had also blown up, that she was going to do a biopsy right now. She said that I needed to stop thinking about what my plastic surgery options were because this was an emergency. She said I needed to start chemo immediately and have surgery sooner than planned and no reconstruction because there would be lots of radiation. I shook uncontrollably the entire time that she did the biopsy of my lymph node. I cried my eyes out.

In my car, after it was over, I called my husband and my mom. I told them both that I potentially had a very different diagnosis now, and also an appointment on Monday with an Oncologist. Obviously, I spread my worry all around and freaked everyone out. Of course, they want to know, but still.

I texted my TCM and she called me back. We talked about what the doc had said about necrosis. I couldn’t remember if the doc was saying it was necrosis or could be necrosis. Also, there was the fact that I never had time to ask if I should take antibiotics, just to rule out infection. I promised I would call the doctor with my follow up questions. To her credit, the doc responded by calling in the prescription for me. To my TCM’s credit, she sent me a message that she felt sure this was an infection, and told me to send daily updates. That made a huge difference for me, mentally.

By Monday morning my fever was finally gone. The oncologist examined me and agreed that it looked like an infection (at this point it was much less red, painful, and swollen), then he cancelled the order for my chemo. He also went over test results for my concern over rib pain. Everything came back normal. I even convinced him to order a mammaprint for me from my initial biopsy sample. It should tell me with a good bit of accuracy what my chances are for recurrence, and whether chemo will be a good move for me at all, like ever.

When the appointment was over I went to the beach and sat in the sun for 40 minutes, just breathing. Obviously, I need more of this type of thing in my life. Probably some better coping mechanisms as well, while I’m at it.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingliving poetry

Top ten favorite lines for a Valentine’s Day poem

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10. A Valentine that finds us far apart.

9. Though distance can’t dilute your brilliant Light.

8. I Love you very much, with all my heart.

7. And soon we two will finally reunite.

6. And nevermore will I be far from you.

5. And pleasing you will be my only aim.

4. Then nevermore shall we be rent in two,

3. United in the all-consuming flame!

2. Our path was fated since before Creation:

1. A Love forged in a Twin Flame Conflagration!
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingliving poetry

Top one reason today’s Top Ten will be delayed 24 hours

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1. Because it’s called “Top ten favorite lines for a Valentine’s Day poem” and tomorrow, somehow, just seems more appropriate.
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten Executive Orders Donald Trump plans to sign into law

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10. The Fat Ugly Face Law: Which bans Rosie O’Donnell from showing her fat ugly face, or any of her other fat ugly parts, in public.

9. The Long Wall Law: Which mandates the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, up the East Coast, along the U.S.-Canadian border, and down the West Coast, to be built by whichever construction company covertly contributes the most money to Trump’s re-election campaign.

8. The P.G. Law: Which gives the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief carte blanche.

7. The Don’t Ask Law: Which bans gays and lesbians from serving in the military, except maybe for the occasional USO show.

6. The Trickle-Down Law: Which reduces the taxes of corporations and one-percenters to zero, because we know they’re going to spend that extra money like crazy so everybody can get rich.

5. The No-Immigration Law: Which bans all further immigration, because isn’t the country already full enough?

4. The Peekaboo Law: Which will require a government-vetted male to stand outside every men’s room and a government-vetted female to stand outside every ladies’ room to check the genitalia of anyone wishing to use the facilities, with all unisex bathrooms banned outright.

3. Trumpcare: Obamacare’s replacement, which will save millions in federal dollars, and provide each family a DIY health kit containing, for example, a DVD interview with Russian surgeon Leonid Rogozov who, in 1961 Antarctica, was forced to remove his own appendix.

2. The Alternative Facts Law: Which mandates that every atlas and history book publisher must print a second version of each of their books, containing such alternative facts as the thrilling story of how the fearless Donald J. Trump single-handedly took out bin Laden.

1. The Wretched Movie Law: Which bans the showing, airing, or sale of the films A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, The Flintstones, Exit to Eden, Pitch Perfect 2, or any other movie featuring Rosie O’Donnell.
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Diversity [icon of American flag?]

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Many of you have no doubt heard about Drexel professor George Ciccariello-Maher‘s December tweet, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” Since then, I myself have received some hateful, threatening email, I guess because my address ends with drexel.edu. Groups sending such emails aren’t too selective. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten protest signs from the Women’s March

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10. “TWEET WOMEN WITH RESPECT”

9. “A GIRL’S PLACE IS IN THE RESISTANCE”

8. “KEEP YOUR ROSARIES OFF MY OVARIES”

7. “THERE’S A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL FOR KELLYANNE”

6. “ANTI-CLIMATE, ANTI-WOMEN, ANTI-IMMIGRANT, ANTI-WORKER, ANTI-HEALTH CARE, ANTI-EDUCATION, ANTI-CHOICE, ANTI-CIVIL JUSTICE, ANTI-TRUTH. SAD!”

5. “WHAT DO WE WANT? EVIDENCE-BASED SCIENCE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? AFTER PEER REVIEW!”

4. “KEEP YOUR TINY HANDS OFF MY RIGHTS”

3. “HONESTLY, THERE ARE TOO MANY PROBLEMS WITH THIS ADMINISTRATION TO ADEQUATELY SUMMARIZE IN ONE SIGN”

2. “THE TRUTH IS GOLDEN. SHOWER HIM IN IT!”

1. “OUR FIRST BLACKMAILED PRESIDENT”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

ends & oddhealth & medical

Some days

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On Thursday last week I got a second opinion. It was actually an identical opinion to the first one, so the only thing second about it was the order. I still have cancer (I wasn’t actually thinking that part would change). The tumor that is the nastiest is still oddly shaped, so taking even just that would mean losing the bottom 1/3, at least, of my right breast. The DCIS toward the center still makes surgeons want to take the whole breast. The tiny benign lumps toward the top still bring no one much joy or solace. Here we are.

I will say that I like this doctor very much. She strikes me as someone who has lived a life knowing that she is always the smartest person in the room. That’s my kind of doctor. Still, perhaps because she’s a woman, she did not dismiss any of my personal efforts at trying to get my health in order. She was not dismissive in any way. She answered all of my questions as though I was at least maybe the second or third smartest person in the room. I left feeling like she should be my surgeon person, which meant, of course, that there would be a wait to have her treat me. Dr. Smartest will not be free tomorrow.

I still felt okay. Actually, I felt a little lighter for the rest of the day. Maybe coming to terms with the very real likelihood that I will be under the knife soon, like it or not, settled something in my mind. I abandoned google and the Facebook cancer groups for two whole days. I spent a day playing activist with my daughter. I’d say, other than thinking about what to eat and drink and take, I barely thought of cancer for those two days.

Then Sunday I was trying to figure out how to get CBD oil (cannabis) and an MM card in Florida (I still don’t know), when I read a post by a woman dealing with bone mets in her ribs. She described the feeling in her ribs as an ache like a deep bruise. Ive been having intermittent pain in my ribs on the right, under the tumor site. At first, I thought I pulled something, but it didn’t really feel like a pull. I feel it more when I reach up high, it aches but doesn’t really pull like a muscle. On Thursday I didn’t bring it up with Dr. Smartest because I hadn’t felt it in days, makes sense that it would return on Saturday. So, now I have to call docs and see if anyone will do a CT scan or something for me.

Back to google we go. Back to the phone. I hate the phone.

Some days I’m just not laughing. I’m just not funny. I can’t go on and do the dishes and the laundry and make my smoothie and think about something else. Some days I’m just sad. Even though I’ve been told that my attitude is important here in Cancerville, some days are too hard. I can’t help but think about the worst possible outcomes. I can’t help but think every word I say to my kids this year should be carefully chosen. I can’t help but think I’m somehow wasting precious, precious time. It’s unreal and it’s painfully real at once. I don’t really know what to do with that today.

 

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten things overheard at Friday’s Inauguration

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10. “The head of Trump’s inaugural committee says the Inauguration is going to feature a ‘soft sensuality’. Does that mean that, when Trump fucks the country, he’s going to be gentle about it?”

9. “After the Rockettes perform, I hear Trump is going to greet each one personally – in his special way.”

8. “I just hope Trump tweets about this Inauguration with all the dignity it deserves.”

7. “If you’re wondering what that low rumbling noise is, that’s every dead President rolling over in his grave.”

6. “Trump is being sworn in with the lowest approval rating ever! Thirty-two percent! – I mean, that three points lower than Zika!

5. “After the B Street Band, which is the Bruce Springsteen cover band, decided to withdraw from entertaining at Trump’s Inauguration, I heard that the C Street Band, which is the B Street Band cover band, decided to pull out, too. And, as of today, they’re up to the letter ‘L’.”

4. “I hope they wind up with the P Street Band – make that the P Sheet Band.”

3. “With what Trump’s said about delegating responsibility, shouldn’t they be swearing in Mike Pence?”

2. “So, in just a few minutes, George W. Bush will no longer officially be ‘America’s Worst President Ever’.”

1. “I can’t wait until he puts his hand on the Bible and it bursts into flames!”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

diatribespolitics & government

Appraising the Moment: A Cowardly New World

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Since the night of November 8th, when a friend who was watching the returns with me started vomiting and had to go home, I’ve tried to understand (not just explain) what prompted 46% of America’s shrunken electorate to vote for Donald Trump. I’ve failed. What I do know is, we are about to reap the whirlwind – and politically speaking, they will own it. [Read more →]

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The myth of the college athletic scholarship

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Someday I’ll break the NFL addiction, but it won’t be 2017. I’m nestled in watching playoff football lately, which means I’m also watching a repeated cycle of commercials. Toyota has one in which a hard-working young lad and his parents go through a path filled with bumps and bruises that ends up with a smiling college football coach offering him a full scholarship. That’s some good theater: Everyone’s all teary-eyed that the lad made it! [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten Donald Trump jokes the week before his Inauguration

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10. “They’re having a 20/20 special on Trump’s inauguration that’s forced ABC to push back its premiers of Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder – to make room for the special about Trump called Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder.” – Jimmy Fallon, January 11

9. “Penthouse is offering a million dollars to anyone who has compromising videos of Donald Trump. When he heard about the offer, Trump provided the videos himself. ‘I know a good deal when I see one.’” – Jimmy Fallon, January 12

8. “Donald Trump reportedly paid aides and staffers to cheer and clap for him at his press conference yesterday. Eh, it’s not the worst thing he could pay people to do for him.” – Seth Meyers, January 12

7. “The big story right now is that Russia has enough embarrassing material on Donald Trump to blackmail him. On the other hand, so does anyone who follows Trump on Twitter. ” – Jimmy Fallon, January 11

6. “There’s a story going around causing a lot of strong feelings on both sides. Here’s the deal: there are these troubling allegations that Russia has compromising information on Donald Trump, and for reasons I can’t explain, some are calling it ‘Goldengate’.” – Stephen Colbert, January 12

5. “Donald Trump seemingly dismissed unverified reports that he hired prostitutes to perform golden showers in Russia, saying that he was very much of a germaphobe. I guess that’s why, when he meets beautiful women, he doesn’t grab them by the hand.” – Seth Meyers, January 11

4. “The graphic images in the report are, in fact, shocking. But, you know, anyone who has been in Trump’s apartments already knows that he loves gold: golden chairs, golden bathtubs, golden toilets. Panel, anything else in a bathroom that could be, you know, golden? Three living former Presidents are going to be in attendance at Trump’s Inauguration — George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton — while most other former Presidents wrote back to say they can’t make it because they’ll be busy rolling over in their graves.” – Tom Hanks, January 14

3. “As for this claim that, during a trip to Moscow, Trump paid prostitutes to urinate on the bed, that’s bullshit! Like we’re supposed to believe Trump has started paying people who do work for him?” – Samantha Bee, January 11

2. “The British MI6 agent who put together this information, Christopher Steele, is now on the run. According to The Daily Mail, he was seen fleeing his home yesterday, and asked a neighbor to take care of his cat. Oh, you’ve got to protect the cat, because Trump is known for grabbing the pussy.” – Stephen Colbert, January 12

1. “Everyone admits this report is unverified, and the man is about to be President of the United States, so I’m not going to validate that report by sharing the most salacious details from it. Even the detail everyone’s talking about; you might call it the Number One detail. I think this is just an unfortunate leak that’s making a huge mess. And I know I’m being a wet blanket, but reporting on this is the worst kind of yellow journalism. And even though jokes about this are a golden opportunity, I won’t do it. Not to stay the story didn’t make a huge splash; it did. It flooded Twitter. We’ll keep you up to date as facts trickle in. We have our best researcher working on it; she’s a real whiz. One thing is for sure: the President Elect is a Goldwater Republican who truly believes in trickle down. So I’m not going to make any jokes, not even a wee one. So I’m cutting it off now; I’m finished. Wait, a little more is coming out. But after eight years of listening to Trump make unsubstantiated claims about Obama’s birth certificate, I don’t think it matters if this is true or not, because the fact is, it’s out there, and that means, Mr. Trump, you’re in trouble.” – Stephen Colbert, January 11
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

ends & oddhealth & medical

Everyone on TV is dying of cancer

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Seriously, every time I watch a show or listen to a podcast, someone is either dealing with the impending death themselves or had a parent who died of cancer when they were young. At some point I might have to just give up and do a media blackout. What I really need is a cancer rating website. The show/podcast/movie gets a C if it contains cancer death, an NC if there is no cancer reference, and a FY (fuck, yeah) if the storyline contains a person who beat cancer and then died of old age. That should be a thing.
While I’m at it, I would also like a restaurant that serves all the food that fights cancer, prepared deliciously. Everything will be organic. There will be no plastics in the room anywhere, not even in the seat under your bottom. No dairy, no meat, no sugar, no gluten. There will be wild caught salmon on Fridays only (moderation, people!) And maybe, on late Saturday nights, when there is a band (with no cancer songs- EVER) they will serve baked potatoes. This place will know how to make broccoli and brussels sprouts taste amazing (without a grill in site. Because carcinogens.Duh.) It will make the most wonderful dishes out of berries and also mushrooms, not together obvs. There will also be more than one organic tea option, maybe more than 20. The real kick, though, what will sell the place to all the cancer peeps and their friends, is the incredible fact that flax oil and turmeric is added to everything, BUT YOU WILL NEVER TASTE IT! I have to stop, I’m getting excited, and this place will not exist.
I need that restaurant. Feeding myself is a part time job. Trying to eat all organic and fresh takes time. So much chopping. So much shopping. Lucky for me I’m also doing intermittent fasting. That cuts out a meal in the middle, though crafting a healthy snack can sometimes be just as laborious. Can someone invent a self cleaning juicer? I’m asking for a lot today. Better start playing my cancer card.
My other part time job is studying cancer. Today I was trying to figure out the results of some follow up blood work (while I listened to a guy on Fresh Air talk about losing his mom to cancer). No more accepting the CBC form with the results and then throwing it away because I have no idea what it means. Now, I actually need to know what it means. Today it meant that my Vitamin D level is just barely in the normal range, so keep up the supplements. My iron indicators have gone up a bit, but not enough. Still anemic, wah wah. My B12 and folate are good, though, so it’s definitely the iron thing. What I don’t understand is why my platelet count went down to normal. Still looking into that. Hey- maybe the cancer is gone?! WEEEEEEE! No more blogs. The End.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingenvironment & nature

Top ten answers to the question, “How cold is it?”

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10. “It’s so cold, your car won’t start running and your nose won’t stop.”

9. “It’s so cold, my aunt accidentally tripped and keyed someone’s car with her nipple.”

8. “It’s so cold, you leave your freezer door open to help warm up the house.”

7. “It’s so cold, throwing a snowball is legally classified as ‘assault with a deadly weapon’.”

6. “It’s so cold, you have trouble jump-starting your penguin.”

5. “It’s so cold, my snowman got frostbite.”

4. “It’s so cold, I chipped a tooth on my soup.”

3. “It’s so cold, a big-rig driver from Alabama froze off his truck nuts.”

2. “It’s so cold, someone stole your aquarium’s four glass sides…and no one has noticed yet.”

1. “It’s so cold, Hell actually froze over — which helps explain Trump becoming President.”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

ends & oddhealth & medical

First update

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So, it turns out that as far as cancer is concerned, I am not a mutant. No genes that make me necessarily predisposed to get this again. Though I will say that the genetic counselor made sure to let me know it is entirely possible that I am a cancer mutant, and that my particular mutation is as yet undiscovered. That’s a buzzkill, counselor! Apparently, if she were me, she would get a double mastectomy and have her ovaries removed as well. I will cling to as many of my lady bits as I can keep until they truly must go! That’s just how I intend to handle this.

In case you are wondering, I have drastically altered my diet and have begun taking supplements- some recommended by my probable soon to be surgeon, and some recommended by the lovely and talented TCM physician at Thank You Mama (to be fair, the surgeon is also lovely). I am also anemic and have to get that figured out and taken care of.

This morning’s appointment with the doctor was all about lumpectomy vs. mastectomy. No final final decision but I have to make it soon. Next up is to make an appointment to get blood work done- must check my iron again and look at my vitamin D levels with my GP. Then a consultation appointment must be made with a plastic surgeon. That is a sentence that I never thought I’d write! Then appointments for a second opinion, even though I do really like my probable lovely surgeon. I think it’s the right thing to do. This Friday I’ll be at Thank You Mama with my full test results to work up a complete game plan for the things that I can control (like what goes into my big ‘ol piehole).

I’m tired, but I’m trying to stay funny. Every once in a while I think about something that I need to teach the husband to do for the kids, just in case. You know, the mom things that I do. The stuff that just gets done and no one will notice until there is no one there to do it. And then I think: “Fuck it, just let him figure it out!” Ha! Just kidding. Then I push it out of my brain and try to go back to focusing on killing cancer, instead of focusing on the chance that it will kill me.

ends & oddhealth & medical

Now, I guess, it’s real

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I’m the type of person who works things out in writing. I make notes of my thoughts. I make lists. Facebook is the best, I swear status updates are like a combination of therapy and a vehicle for my need to feel like I’m entertaining people. If I didn’t write it down, or put it into font, did it happen? Maybe not.

Recently, though, I’ve been struggling with something that I haven’t shared online, for which I’ve taken no notes, for which I’ve just today started my first list of things to do. It’s been going on since September, really, and I’m just making my first list. Pretty easy to look back at the last few months and realize that I didn’t want it to be happening, but it turns out that I totally have cancer.

I did tell just a few people, family and some friends. My mother I told in person, because, you know, she’s my mom. My husband made some phone calls. I did send a few text messages. In regular life, I don’t do phone calls unless it’s an emergency. Texting is my favorite, but this time I would have rather not been communicating at all. I only told these people because I felt the need to explain why I’ve been avoiding everything and everyone.

The thing is, if you ask me how I’m doing, I will cry. If you ask me if my kids know (they don’t), I will cry. If you tell me that you care about me and will help out with whatever I need (I don’t know what I need), I will cry. I don’t want to cry in public.

I can talk about kids, the crummy school system, our new kitten, this hot and dry winter, the new Netflix series (or The Walking Dead, or GOT), TED talks, and podcasts, but not politics (not this year), and not cancer.

Initially, when we told a few people, it was a relief to not have to pretend anymore that everything is swell and that my new business isn’t quite taking off because I’m just moving slowly (I am moving slowly but I’m not taking my time, it’s totally cancer’s fault and apparently I’m also super anemic). Then I started to have to field phone calls and explain things that I don’t yet understand. I started to have to talk about treatments that I haven’t decided on, and listen to people cry as they tried to deal with things themselves. Opinions are beginning to arrive as well. I imagine that will only increase, and dramatically.

So, maybe this is as good a way as any, or even the best way for me, to share this with people. Hopefully they won’t call me crying, or ask me what I need (seriously, I don’t know. I could use a stiff drink but I read that it’s a no-no.) Hopefully they will still invite me out for stuff, and maybe won’t give me “the face” too much (the one that says: “I’m totally thinking sad thoughts about your cancer right now, I wish you would tell me how I can help.”) If you need to make the face, maybe make it toward my back as I walk to the bathroom.

If you want to know how I’m doing, physically, I have invasive ductal carcinoma in my right breast. It is stage 2 at 2.1 centimeters, though the cut off for stage 1 is 2 centimeters and my doctor initially was referring to it as “stage one, but kind of stage 2.” There is apparently no stage 1.5. The cancer is estrogen and progesterone positive, but HER2 negative. I hear that you really want to be HER2 negative, but when I met with an oncologist and made a joke about having “the good breast cancer” he did not laugh. I guess it’s not that good.

If you want to continue to know how I’m doing, physically or otherwise, you can check back here. I’ll need to keep working out my thoughts, and if you feel like you need to cry about it, you can get it over with before we hang out. Ha! (I do want to hang out, it turns out that people who close themselves off socially when they discover they have cancer tend to have a greater risk of death. My kids need me to live, so text me when you have time for tea. Hey! Maybe that’s what I need.)