Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Of Bidets and (Bull)Shit

Looks like we're back to square one on this blog, huh? No-holds-barred Cancer talk. I didn't necessarily want to be back here, but if this is my life right now, this is what you get.

Xeloda—oral chemo that I started on Saturday. Six pills a day—three in a.m., three in p.m., with food. Major side-effect dia-ree-ree.

"Oh, that's fine," I told Schwartz. "Frankly, I could do with a little help in that department." Oh, real smart Stephanie—the woman who believes in even the tiniest of jinxy statements.

So I didn't re-up my stash of Miralax and began the Xeloda.

Now—Jesus, I can't believe I'm talking about my BMs for the world to read, but fuck it—it's AWARENESS month, right? So, I'll make you aware of the fact that this germaphobe hasn't taken a dump in a public restroom in more than a decade. Yep. And if I've absolutely had to, well, thankfully I've got killer quads. Moreover, I've not sat on a public toilet seat even with covers in probably fifteen years. Therefore, I get my squats in each day.

But now, I'm going to have to become the George Costanza of Miami Beach. Remember this Seinfeld exchange?

"JERRY: Anywhere in the city?

GEORGE: Anywhere in the city - I'll tell you the best public toilet.

JERRY: Okay.. Fifty-fourth and Sixth?

GEORGE: Sperry Rand Building. 14th floor, Morgan Apparel. Mention my name - she'll give you the key.

JERRY: Alright.. Sixty-fifth and Tenth.

GEORGE: (Scoffs) ARe you kidding? Lincoln Center. Alice Tully Hall, the Met. Magnificent facilities."

So far, I've avoided the use of public facilities. I've kept my days close to home—gym, Whole Foods etc. However, there's the bidet issue. Most luxury apts in Miami have bidets. Including mine. Which stores magazines.

You see, I have some deep-rooted psychological issues with bidets. Roxy, mom's long-deceased, good-for-nothing-but-jewelry-and-fashion mother, had a bidet in her bathroom. Brother and I simply didn't get it. (She died when I was only 17 and Bro was 13.)

We dubbed it "the tushy cleaner," and were loathe to imagine our Roxy, with her flaming read hair, stillettos, diamonds and stiff Upper East Side demeanor, on the tushy cleaner. So when I moved into my first apartment in Miami and noticed the bidet, I most likely had a visceral, subconscious reaction along the lines of: "Oh, a tushy cleaner. Okay." Roxy! And promptly put my bathroom reading materials in the bowl.

Same thing in this apartment, but not necessarily something I gave a shit (no pun) about. I have a hand-held shower head in the shower and the Whirlpool, and I'm not a baby, so I think I have that hole covered. Then, one of the first times Mr. and Mrs. X came over, they reacted towards the bidet as I react when I go into Bergdorf's.

"Oh my God, you have a bidet! Oh, Mr. X, I miss our bidet." I think they were drooling over my bidet for a good five minutes.

"Ugh, the tushy cleaner? Take it. Fucking gross."

Cut to yesterday. I was on the crapper more than usual.

Texted Mrs. X: "Looks like I may have to start using the tushy cleaner."

"You will love."


So I turned it on for the first time, and, for the first time realized that it's just a normal faucet.

"I don't get it," I texted the tushy cleaner expert, "Roxy's had a spout that just shot up from the bowl." Which, kind of is what you want it to do, no?

Here are the instructions I receive: "Push your booty back; It will go in the right direction."

I ran into the bathroom and piled the Vanity Fairs and Vogues back into that motherfucker. (PS, check out Oribe's 'do on Penelope Cruz on this month's VF cover. I have the same bangs as my girl crush!)

I'm waiting on the Tykerb, which has to be shipped directly from a "specialty pharmacy" called Caremark. Was on the phone with the insurance gal at the onco's office for an hour-plus yesterday trying to secure this drug, which the FDA is apparently regulating strictly. Only 15 "specialty pharms" in the U.S. can sell this shit.

What's the only thing up my ass right now? The fact that Humana is only covering 25 percent of the oral meds—my out of pocket cost will be $1,800 a month. Yep. Two months and I could've nearly bought a Birkin. Chemo—100 percent covered in hospital. Twenty-five percent out of hospital. I'm sick over these numbers. Sick. That's more than my (foreclosure-reduced) rent per month.

You can put a price on life these days when you're sick. And if you can't pay the costs for your own life—guess what? You lose it. You die.

Someone, tell me how the Obama Care plan will help these costs, for people like me and other less fortunate people. Yes, I can pay the fucking money okay? Regardless, that doesn't make it right. I swear, if this fucking Cancer doesn't go away, I'm going to cause the 'rents to be knocked down to a lower tax bracket. That, I will not accept. Chemo but no Bergdorf's for mom? Unacceptable. Cancer-free but traveling in steerage? I don't fucking think so.

Which brings me to this: My readership is approaching 100,000 people. I mean, if this were a book that sold 100,000 copies, that's a fairly respectable number, no?

And the more I think about it, the more inclined I am to just pitch my memoir as is—a compilation of my blog over the past couple of years, with less narrative woven in than I would've hoped. Because now if I ever make some real money via writing, it's going straight back into mom and dads' pockets.

Oh, but I'm a legitimately published author this month, via Heeb mag's Sex, Drugs and Gefilte Fish. Member? That's the one I got paid $50 for. Yeah.

That's all for now. I've got to straighten out the meds and I haven't showered since Sunday. I'm one hot Cancer patient right now. And I'm seriously, seriously upset about the cost of these meds. They *may* save my life, but they *will* make my quality of life suffer.

Yes, this is Cancer from the perspective of one of the lucky ones—I get it. I can only offer you my own experiences. I don't pretend to know anything about how less-fortunate people can deal with Cancer. I welcome comments and stories. I mourn the people who've died because money comes before health in this country. But don't think that just because you're blessed with financial resources that Cancer costs don't effect you. No matter how much money you have, $1,800/mo for two meds is a lot of fucking money.

This post has depressed me. I can't believe I'm back here. I can't believe that with an eight percent chance of recurrence, I fell into that eight-fucking-percent less than six months after stopping Herceptin. If happiness could be bought even for a day, I'd take that $1,800 and buy it. Cause I'm not happy. Not happy at all. In fact right now instead of working on two assignments I have due, going to the pharmacy, the gym, acupuncture etc., I want to lay in bed with Wally and cry. And let me tell you, PMS on top of Chemo side-effects? Not a walk in the park.