miércoles, junio 28, 2006

The sprouts didn't get us!

I know I’m behind on the blog. Two days ago I was thinking “I should take a picture so everyone can see how big the sprouts have grown.” Yesterday the sprouts escaped their container and started crawling across the kitchen counter. Today we wrestled them into to two containers and put them in animated suspension in the fridge.

Monday we decided to take just take care of ourselves.

We went to Dimond park and walked up the Sausal Creek trail. A little bit of wilderness just a few yards from the hustle of Fruitvale. We walked through several tides of children along the way. then we hung out at “Rock Mound with Manhole Cover” (this is how it’s described in the trail guide “Sausal Creek Quest,” written by Oakland High tenth grade biology students). L* listened to the creek, the water falling from on high. I was listening to the trees. One of my daily meditations a while back said to sit next to a young tree and hear what it has to say; notice how your thoughts change. Then sit next to an old tree, and hear what it has to say. The “young trees” were the kids downstream who were having an absolute ball. Reminds that kids are like birds in a birdbath!.

Looking at the trees which arched over the creek, some more on the horizontal than the vertical, I was thinking how none of the trees worries about being ugly. We don’t say “I like that three, but not that one: it’s ugly.” They’re all trees. They each have their own beauty, whether they’re growing on the x-axis or the y.

Home again, we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner that L* dreamed up: sopes stuffed with roasted eggplant salsa. An easy meal, given the Mexican Market on the corner and the new Farmer Joe’s that opened this weekend in Dimond.


Tuesday L* had a private yoga lesson at the Bikram studio in Albany. She’s used to going to yoga three times a week, which is good for her stress, her body, and which makes her very happy. She hasn’t been since her surgery. She was able to do all twenty-six poses, once, and her teacher gave her some modifications to get more out of her practice.

We finally got the news on the HER2nu test (the FISH test) and it came back negative. Glory Hallelujah! L* was not looking forward to a regimen of 4 rounds of chemo followed by a year of Herceptin.

So now they’re doing the Oncotype DX assay. This will give us a better idea of L*s risk of recurrence, based on gene markers of women who did and did not have recurrence. The test will give her a score which will be indicative of low, intermediate, or high risk of recurrence. (The test is only done on women who were node-negative and whose tumors were ER+).

If L* starts chemo, it may be as soon as the second week of July. A lot of our friends have reservations about chemo. I mean, it is totally toxic. On the other hand lots of women choose chemo and live. I honestly didn’t have any idea what L*s feelings were about chemo: I was afraid that the side effects (nausea and mouth sores in particular) would seem so scary that she wouldn’t consider it.

L* is considering it, because she reaIly wants to survive this thing. I think of this as the Malcolm X approach to cancer: “By any means necessary.”

...you know we’re always thinking about language in relation to all of this. Like a lot of times the medical folks use the language of war (arsenal, weapons) and the overall metaphor can be kind of fascist (suppressing invasion, destroying the nonconformists) and totally not work for us queer border subjects. So I’m always looking for language of resistance that we can identify with.

Sidebar: L* talked to the oncologist about Dana and The L-Word because that has been looming large in our imaginations. For those of you who don’t know (and none of the oncologists or surgeons or therapists we’ve talked to in the past six weeks have admitted to watching The L-Word), this character Dana finds a lump in her breast (actually her girlfriend finds it), then immediately enters into the Cancer Inc. machine. Surgery. Chemotherapy. She survives the cancer but dies from the chemotherapy: she gets an infection and since the chemo has totally destroyed her immune system she has no defense and dies. Yes, world, this is the image these very well-educated women have of lesbians and breast cancer. Would anyone care to join us in a rousing chorus of WE HATE THE L-WORD?

And Dr. Susan Love, whom we otherwise really like, put on her website “but Dana didnt die of the cancer! she died from an infection nobody could have foreseen!” This was beginning to sound like the Bush administration talking about the negative outcome of the invasion of Iraq. (Dr. Susan Love actually appeared on the L-word, telling Dana that she was doing all the right things--not knowing that the producers had already predetermined Dana’s prognosis not on reality but on maximum dramatic value).

But apparently this is not the most likely scenario. Rarely ever happens. “Never in the five years I’ve been here!” and MUMC treats a lot of women with breast cancer per year.

2 comentarios:

Bint Alshamsa dijo...

I totally stopped watching The L Word after I found out what they did to Dana. It's real crap. In all of my years of being a cancer patient and being around others with it, I have NEVER heard of anyone dying like that either. I went through chemo and continued working as a pharmacy technician where I was around sick people all day long. On top of that, I'm always immune-suppressed from my lupus but even I didn't get one single infection the whole time. Yeah, there was nausea and my hair did fall out some but it wasn't unbearable.

Maybe L* might want to consider joining a cancer support group so that she can talk to more folks who have been on the receiving end of the treatments she's considering. It would really give y'all a lot more information to work with, I think.

rabfish dijo...

lots and lots of love and good wishes. sounds like you're working really hard on coping and putting good things into your life. i'm sending you positive vibes :)