Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Bitchfest

Even though the song is about a woman, Tom Petty pretty much nailed life with one line: "The waiting is the hardest part." In my case waiting till Nov. 5th to get the results on whether the chemo is working or I'm dying.

I'm going to go from bad to good right now, in an effort to cheer myself up, so to speak. If I were "cheery," I'd send myself straight to Bellevue. I've been oversleeping—which to me means like 12 p.m. and after—that's what I do when I'm depressed. So much so that I fucking slept through my phoner with Dr. Laura on Friday; that extra hour of sleep cost me $210. (And that's a grandfathered rate.)

The Xeloda side effects—bone and joint pain and stiffness—subsided about 30 percent this week. In yesterday's Ashtanga class, my instructor said my 'flow' looked a lot better. Chad and I figured that the reason the pain was centralized in the sternum, neck, back and shoulders is that the oral chemo (Xeloda) finds the Cancerous areas and goes right there. For, my sternum area and neck and clavicle are really swollen. Like, I can barely see my clavicle bone and I'm a size two (finally, again), who's clavicle is usually jutting out.

Went to Chad Friday who said that the node—fuck you node!—felt about the same. Which to alarmist me translates to: Omigod it's not working, oh shit what if it's not working how am I going to get through Nov. 5th. Fuck I can't believe this isn't working, then again why should it work the last regiment didn't fucking work.

Then what's left of my rational side—aided by Klonopin, natch—thinks: Calm down you motherfucker. You're making this psychosomatically worse and given what Chad told you about the Oriental medicinal philosophy about disease recurrence, you need to check yourself on these thoughts.

So the 'rational' side of my brain is trying to tell the other part to recognize that the fact that the node hasn't grown is perhaps an indication that it is working. I need to get away; I'm looking into going to Naples for the weekend. Haven't been there in years, hear the Ritz is nice and it's a short drive. It's either that or Restylane, which I'm in desperate need of at the moment. My skin seems to be really hating the chemo. Which ever works out to be cheaper—two nights at the Ritz or Restylane.

I have my second nipple tattooing tomorrow, but don't expect any photos as I'm going alone.

Okay here's the bad stuff, in no particular order:

• The Cancer has made New York living seem like an impossibility in 2009, which means moving back home. To Jacksonville. With the parents. At 34. With nary a thing to do in the town. Nothing to do and too much time on my hands is always a bad thing for me.

• I am scared to make plans. Because just when I decided to leave this fucking place, the Cancer decided to put the kaibosh on that plan. This fact—that my only plan is once again giving up and moving in with my parents—makes me want to rip my eyeballs out when people (who mean no harm) ask me, 'So what about New York?' What about it? I don't fucking know. These non New-Yorkers don't realize that moving to New York is not exactly simple. When New York? I don't fucking fuckity fuck know, okay? At this point, it's looking like New York, New York only if I magically get a job or a book deal or something really un-bloody-likely like that. I'm going up in December for a visit and another Jap straightening session.

• I'm having extreme difficulty being around outwardly shiny happy people right now. I've begun to realize that when people call Los Angelenos and South Beach people 'fake,' what they really mean is fake-happy. Like smiling all the time happy. When I go out with my NYC girls, we have a blast, but we bitch. There's always something fucked-up happening to one or more of us; that's life. And it's interesting and keeps you on your toes and is infused with a sense of urgency and greatness because you're in the center of the universe together. Not here. Bad shit happens here but somehow people still smile because, why? The ocean? The drugs?

• I'm going to get a lot of flack for this, and to my wonderfully supportive friends whom I'm speaking of I mean absolutely no harm. I envy your happiness and am pleased that your lives are sunshine and roses. Well, mine's not. And you readers know better than anyone that faking it is pretty hard for me. So jesus, is it hard for me to be around shiny happies now. At dinner the other night with like eight or so of us, I found the girls literally going around the table and updating everyone on their lives. Like, normal people stuff. Babies and boyfriends and sex and all that stuff that makes life fun. And then they arrived at me. The Cancer patient. I can imagine them thinking, 'Oh, whoopsie, maybe going around the table announcing how great our lives are is not the best thing to do when you have a Cancer friend sitting at the end of the table.'

So what was my update? I had to wrack my brain for something decent. "Well, my first book came out. So I guess that's kind of cool."

Oohs and ahhs all around like the great supportive friends they are, however it was all I could do not to run out of that dinner, take a cab home, and bawl to the point of needing sedation. (Serious sedation—Seroquel. Google it. It's an anti-psychotic. I'm no James Frey. I'm the real fucking thing. Goody.)

This feat is very "eh" to me. The Heeb magazine storytelling collection Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish (Hachette, I believe, I'm too lazy to get up and check) is now available. I'd been directing people to the Amazon Canada site since it seems to have launched there already when it officially releases in the States tomorrow. I've got one essay in the book. And the book looks good—though it's in paperback—but having it in my hands cheers me little. Mom bought several copies and mailed me one—paying for my own book? Don't think so. I admired the cover, magically opened straight to a page of my essay by sheer coincidence. Read my bio at the back and then stashed it with all my other coffee-table books. Let me ask you other authors and writers—should I be over-the-moon about this? Or is being in a book such as this just as lukewarm a career move as it feels? I'm sure it's a great book. It's just not my book. My friends in the industry tell me this will be a good resume-builder, but I don't exactly know how to work "Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish" into a proposal about a Cancer memoir.

Now I can't really think of any good things happening—except for Laura Zigman and Mackenzie and the Wiccan goddess, all of whom really rocked it out for me these past couple of weeks and gave me some stuff to look forward to. Love you guys. And simply cannot wait for my Wiccan candle, with magic spell and mantra attached to arrive. More on that later.

Buy the book, don't buy the book. What does it matter? Otherwise, you can read my essay for free here. It's pretty much word for word. Save the money and buy yourself a good bagel and schmear. Actually, buy Laura's books—I've actually read and highly recommend those. Chances are I'm not even going to read the book I'm in.

God, I'm really hitting a self-loathing Zenith. Another milestone!

Thank god for Curb.