Tuesday, January 30, 2007

NY Times article

Too Young for This: Facing Cancer Under 40
New York Times, January 30, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

blogger frogger

Raise your hand if Fox News makes you want to throw up.
It’s more nauseating than chemotherapy. There’s this big hubbub about them attempting to reveal that Senator Barack Obama (Oxy alumnus) was trained as an America-hating Islamic radical when he lived as a child in Indonesia. Gag. Finally, we have a presidential hopeful who has actually traveled abroad and they want to defame his experiences by playing upon the flyover’s fears. Jamie, I know we’re both reading Dreams From My Father. Can you believe the fear-mongering, speculating, fact-checkless excuse for journalism of everyone’s favorite conservative network? If I knew anyone who thought Fox News wasn’t completely scripted by their moneyed interests, I’d be more afraid than angry. Now here’s the twisty twist: apparently Clinton’s camp supplied this bogus story to Fox News. Yikes! The democratic primaries are gonna be bloody, I fear. But, I can’t really remember when we’ve gotten to choose from a palette of exceptional candidates for national office instead of settling for the lesser of evil knievels. (What about New Mexico’s Bill Richardson (Fletcher alumnus)? Then there’s Kucinich, Nader, Gore, Edwards. All yummy. My political fantasy… Clinton/Richardson in 08, Obama/Pelosi in 16. Dude, did I just day dream about the year 2016? Does that count as hopeful projection or science fiction?)

So, what did ya’ll think of the State of the Union tonight? I liked Bush’s sober tone and his attention to energy issues. I didn’t like his usual affiliation of Al Qaida with Iraq (where does he get this shit?) nor the statistics skewed to make No Child Left Behind look like good policy. Jim Webb did a fantastic job with the democratic response (I think). As Moore pointed out in Fahrenheit 911, it’s all too rare seeing the top echelons of our society with children on the military front lines. I look forward to my commute tomorrow to hear npr’s commentaries on the speeches.

On the home front. My doctor is full of infinitives (is that the right term?). He says that he has

• Never seen anyone present with such a high white blood cell count. Boo.
• Never seen anyone have such an emotionally rough time during the 30 weeks of Intensification. Boo II.
• Never seen anyone do so well physically during the 30 weeks of Intensification. Yay!
• Never seen anyone doing so well entering the Maintenance phase. Yay II!

Cool. So I should get at least four awards for being a freak.
Here’s the rub. I am trying to decide what to do with my newly incarnate desire for movin’ and shakin’. (And I don’t mean dancing, although Jaci’s discovery of Regina Spektor’s tunes have me hopping around our condo practicing body rolls.) In other words, time is taking on an entirely new dimension for me and sitting around is, well, now a bit boring. I guess it’s always been boring, but I used to not have any choice. How did a year go by without working? Now, I would like to take three courses and get some kind of part-time work/internship. My family and med staff urge me to chill out, remind me that I am still in chemotherapy and that I need time to heal. They think that two courses is plenty. Ugh…
I don’t think that a healthy response to a near-death experience is to remain holed up, freaking out over every possible sign of recurrent illness. I have energy, so I wanna use it. My brain- praise Vishnu!- works again (more or less), so I want to use it. It’s almost an act of gratitude to be actively engaged in the world if you can, don’t you think? Also, not that life is a race- FAR from it- but I really do not want to be in grad school forever. School is great, but I really like the professional life: sans homework, academic impracticality, and poverty. And, finally, I am tired of depending on the gracious generosity of others; cancer-smansher, i need to start helping out financially. Anyway, we’ll see how goes this battle...

Lastly, (juxtaposed with the bikini-clad pictures below) Boston is BEAUTIFUL with her dusting of white powder. Everything looks different and bright under this vanilla frosting. Perhaps because it’s novel, perhaps because it’s not that cold or inconvenient yet, we’re loving it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mexico Pics

Pictures from Playa del Carmen on the Mayan Riviera. Cave diving, morning yoga, breakfasts in the jungle, headed out for salsa dancing. James, can you see the five o'clock shadow?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

back to life. back to reality.

Right now, I'm in the Fletcher library having attending my first class this morning and waiting to meet Katie, Evelyn, and Abdul for lunch. Aahh, it feels GOOD to be here. It feels GOOD to think. It feels GOOD to drive, to have responsibilities, to feel a sense of place. There are so many new faces swirling around campus, but most of them sport smiles and I hope to meet lots of people over the next few weeks. I'm still nervous about this semester (the reading, the commute, tuition cost), but know that if it weren't challenging, there would be no sense of satisfaction or accomplishment.

Oh yeah- we got back from Mexico yesterday. Our luggage, however, has not.
We had a wonderful time in Playa del Carmen: sunning, eating, shopping, splunking through caves, snorkeling with turtles, getting spa treatments and just being together. I will put up some pictures when I get home. I really hope that such vacations- groups of friends gathering from various corners of the world- are a hallmark of our lives. Thank you guys so much for coming!!

Alright, I need to go sell my medications for tuition money now. Anyone like Oxycontin? medicinal mary jane? My prices are good; let's make a deal.

[yikes! I'm just KIDDING, dr. S!!]

Friday, January 05, 2007

The holidays were sweet and calm, marked by integral family members (mom was here for a few days) and some new family members... It seemed like gifts were especially thoughtful; maybe with less moola and more time, we were able to get that really special gift or make something from scratch that means more.

New year's eve was a little too sedate. Jaci couldn't make it past 11:15, so i rang in the new one solo. We had decided that the trip to Mexico would be the true celebration, but 11:15?? honestly?? oh well, it WAS damn cold outside and First Night seemed to require way too much organization.

M E X I C O. My brain is consumed by this upcoming vacation. I can't believe seven of us are able to meet down on the yucatan in less than a week: Leslie, Jonathan, Anita, Jamie, Anna, Jaci, and me. Bess is trying to work it still and Josh (Anita's husband) is a last minute possibility too. We're staying in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun. We hear stunning reports on the locale and were lucky enough to find a beautiful condo that we can all share for a pittance. Ahhhh, why doesn't time tick by faster!


Yesterday, I went to Fletcher to talk with the registrar, dean, and financial aid director about me returning to grad school in a couple weeks. Everyone was extremely flexible and kind and it looks like I'll be taking two courses beginning on January 17! I'm nervous for failure and feel guilty for getting my family in San Francisco excited about me moving back this spring, but I know that this is the right thing for me to do. With most of the "fog" lifted from my chemo brain, I need some serious stimulation and sense of productivity. Also, if it weren't for the fact that I still have to be at the hospital once a week, I might be more inclined to travel or do something less stressful, like move to SF, until I'm really don't with chemo. As it is though, I figure I might as well get to work on this degree and learn about subject matter that I love- international relations, politics, economics, development, history, blah blah blah- since I'm pretty tied to the US 'till March 08. (Except for the 5-6 day jaunts to Mexico, Cali, Oregon, British Columbia, Nashville or wherever else ya'll want to go!)

I also visited the Tufts Medical Center to bring them a gift for, well there's no way to be less dramatic, saving my life a year ago. Amazingly, the staff remembered me and were so touched by me coming by. With a black 5-o'clock shadow on my head, sprouting eyebrows and eyelashes, and a few more pounds on my frame, they were also so ecstatic to see a rather healthy me (since some of them actually have been following this blog!). I also ran into several friends around campus and continue to be amazed at what an amazing community Fletcher is and to be grateful at everyone's kindness and the fact that people still remember me.


Two weeks ago, because I am what the nurses call an 'enigma', I was feeling great but my blood counts looked terrible and I was released sans treatment. So, having undergone Week One this week, I am all high on my last dose of full-intensity steroids, having difficulty sleeping- a stark change from the 14-hour nights I was imprisoned by the month before. I'm a little nervous for the expected 'coming down off the steroids' aches and pains when we're in Playa del Carmen, but am eager, at the end of this cycle to officially say that I am through with Intensification and am beginning MAINTENANCE!

Sorry such a boring blog. But that's the latest from Beantown.