Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Going viral.....

Well folks it's high time we took this thing viral. The blog that is, and not me for a change.

If you are currently receiving this posting via email, please click on the website link www.cancerculturenow.blogspot.com. At the top right-hand corner of the page you'll see a "Subscribe to Posts" button. Please click it and add it to your reading list. This way you'll be informed automatically when there is a new post. And I will receive fame and glory for the number of subscribers I manage to accumulate. Some day. It also means I can get rid of the dumb system that I currently have to keep people updated.

Also if you are reading directly from the website and you like what you see, you can share the post via all your Social Networks by simply clicking on the relevant icon e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc.

In the meantime I'm going to be working on some other projects related to this blog and will keep you updated as new features are added. I have a lot to say about this weird cancer culture that I inhabit and I know you can't wait to read more. I mean who wouldn't ? Cancer. It's so hot right now.

Toxic Vengeance

At a recent appointment with my other oncologist, Dr WonderWoman aka "DrWW", she asked me in a routine doctorly kind of way whether I shaved my butt cheeks.

Now I only needed a nanosecond to come up with an emphatic answer of "No!", but I did need a little more time to pick myself up off the floor after nearly dying of laughter. After dealing with the issue of whether I shave my "back and crack" as she so eloquently put it (apparently to aid in the concise medical diagnosis of my persistently poxy thigh), DrWW followed up with some very useful advice. "Stay away from pregnant women and small children". At that point, I did need another second to ruminate on the fact that it is becoming rapidly apparent that I must be the victim of a very sick (and at times quite hilarious) joke played on me by the Great Spirit From Above.

Let's just sum up the comedy so far. Not only do I have cancer at the ripe old age of forty, but now also a nasty affliction only treatable by a medication which is widely advertised to the general public, who don't know any better, as a treatment for genital herpes !!!!!!! And I don't have genital herpes !!!!!

Needless to say I left her office feeling downright medieval with my poxy leg and wondering if Typhoid Mary were alive today, whether she would agree to be my friend.

So it's no wonder my local pharmacist has decided to ensconce herself in a plastic bubble only penetrable by people wearing orange bio-hazard suits. With all the nasty bugs that have taken up residence in my body this year, why I could rent myself out to a hostile nation as a toxic biological weapon of mass destruction. And if we could just hurry up and harness the power of human cloning, who knows what havoc I could wreak. (Note to Self: Good idea for low grade horror/porn/action/animated B-movie script in 3-D entitled "Vengeance of the Toxic Tits: The Anna Rachnel Story").

Anyway, as you can imagine, I'm starting to get a little bored of this whole cancer thing. If it's not one thing it's another. Sometimes it's really hard to remember what life was like before all this cancer b.s. but rather than dwelling on what might have been, I choose to take each day for what it is. Mostly a rollicking good laugh with a bit of b.s. in between.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Serious Case of 40

So it's been an interesting last couple of weeks. Let's see, where to start. I had a fantastic week in the UK with my lovely friend Bo and her daughter Polly where we channelled our inner vegan lesbian Kayleigh-dance-loving selves. I turned 40 this week and received a fantastic bunch of birthday swag (big shout-out to my darling husband for his beautiful gift), as well as the news that my cancer has progressed somewhat, and my pharmacist mistakenly thinks I have a serious case of genital herpes. (For the record: I DON'T but do read on). So with that kind of introduction who knows where this blog posting will lead us.

But first let's get right into the serious business. A Kayleigh my friends is a traditional Irish communal dance, not dissimilar to that Barn Dance that you learned in the school gym all those years ago. However the modern version that I attended was short on men and pretty long on every type of lesbian you can name.....dykes, butches, femmes, lipstick and probably everything in-between. Now before this turns into an Entertainment Tonight interview with Mario Lopez where I out myself, I just want to clarify, that yes I do have cancer, but no I am not a lesbian. But Bo is. So that's how I found myself too-ing and fro-ing around an old school hall with a bunch of awesome lesbians and might I add, thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the significant lack of men and anything resembling a dairy or meat food product.

Now whilst in the UK I noticed what appeared to be a couple of mosquito bites on my upper thigh. Didn't think much more about it until the flight home where my leg started to itch like crazy. On closer inspection in the bathroom I noticed that two mosquito bites had suddenly turned into twenty and my leg felt like it was on fire. Now I was thinking that I might have something medically interesting.

Upon getting home and waking up the next morning my leg looked like the aftermath of a serious mosquito rave so I decided to call my doctor's office whereupon I encountered my old friend Nurse Ratched. "Well describe the rash". So I did. NR: "Well you definitely don't have shingles". Me: "Well I think I better come in anyhow and get Dr Genius to look at it". NR: "Hmmmpphh well if you must". Later in the day, after dropping my drawers for Dr Genius to get a good gander....DrG "You definitely have shingles". Great.

So Dr G phones in a prescription for me at my local pharmacy and I duly arrive to pick up said prescription. Pharmacist calls me over and in a very hushed and secretive tone, she asks me whether Dr G wants me on the 7-day or 21-day treatment. I say I don't know, she gives me a knowingly mysterious smile and goes off to fill the prescription. Now I don't think too much of this, until I get home and note that the label on my bottle says "Valtrex". Yes folks, that's right Valtrex. More commonly advertised as a treatment for genital herpes (but also used for shingles) !!!!!!!!! Talk about wearing a metaphorical scarlet letter. Now every time I go into the pharmacy the pharmacist dons a white sterile suit and rubber gloves and a voice comes over the PA and says "Attention shoppers, avoid the dirty whore in Aisle 5, as she has genital herpes !!!!" OK that might be a slight exaggeration, but sometimes I wish they'd write the diagnosis on the actual prescription to avoid this kind of, what I like to call, medical profiling incident.

And I turned 40 this week. Not much to say about that except I celebrated with lots of family and good friends and was reminded how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful peeps. Thank you to all of you. Love you !

Oh yea, and my cancer has reared it's ugly head again so I've had to change chemo drugs. Apparently "I" failed my old drugs (not that the drug company failed me of course!) so now I have to do a new drug which is delivered via IV once a week. Which leads me to my next topic du jour. After spending 4-hours in the communal chemotherapy room, sitting next to a little old Sicilian woman who was there with her daughter, and who spent the entire 4 hours praying for her and for me (so she told me), I have come up with a list of my Top 5 things NOT to do when you accompany someone to chemo.

As always if you have any other suggestions for this list, please do email or comment to me.

Top 5 Chemotherapy Room No-No's

1. Don't channel the dead and deliver messages to your cancer patient

2. Don't arrive hungover, and then throw up over your cancer patient especially if you ate curry and drank "Raging Bitch" beer all night.

3. Don't ask your cancer patient for a light.

4. Don't take out a hairdryer, curling iron, or any other hair styling apparatus and then ask your cancer patient for their opinion as to whether your hair looks okay.

5. Don't take out your ghetto blaster expecting to lead the cancer patients in rousing renditions of "We Are Family", "I Will Survive" or "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar".