C is for Cancer

Generally speaking. Or it could be for coffee.

If you’re reading this over coffee, Wednesday morning, I’m jealous. I’m probably slacking off – lying on a gurney like a dead fish, enjoying a dreamless sleep, wherein that place where two children were conceived, formed, and brought forth into the world is finally retired and laid to rest. I will have not eaten solid foods in nearly two days, and will probably try to bribe you or assault you for that coffee if you bring it anywhere near my nostrils. Given my age and history of breast cancer, the surgeon will be cautious and perform additional testing for any sign of cancer before waking me up and forcing me to do hard work like walking to the bathroom on my own and trying not to make embarrassing typos under the influence of Vicodin. No one expects to discover that I have regained the “poster child advantage” when it comes to raising funds for Relay for Life, but the fact that they’re doing additional testing is a sobering reminder that things can change in the blink of an eye.

A Few Questions to Ponder

I’ll be looking for your answers in the comments just as soon as I’ve exchanged a womb for a room, so ponder and posit while I’m out:

  • Why is it easier to say “breasts” and “boobs” in public than to say “uterus” or “cervix”? Or, “penis” or “anus,” for that matter. It’s times like this that I feel doubly sorry for Farah Fawcett. Not that there’s ever really a good way to go, but some are unnecessarily hard to talk about.
  • Ladies: Have you had your pap smears and mammograms? If not, call now – make an appointment. Slamming your boobs in the refrigerator door doesn’t count.
    Guys: No snickering – you are so not off the hook. We women can’t get prostate cancer, but did you know that men can get breast cancer?
    And everyone over the age of 50 should have a colonoscopy – I lost a dear friend to colon cancer a few years ago, about two months after she was diagnosed.
  • Are we taking bets on how long it’ll be before I’m back online? I’ve already checked; the hospital has wireless in all the patient rooms. In most of the impatient ones, too, they assure me.
  • Will you donate to my Relay for Life fundraising campaign, pretty please? I’d love to wake up, log on, and see a whole slew of emails in my inbox with the subject line: “A donation was made toward your goal”!
    Yes, it’s an ambitious goal. Don’t let me down – you know how weirdly competitive I am. Do you know how embarrassing it is to come in third to golf and bowling?
  • Why is hospital food almost universally awful, and will this be any different? I don’t know – this will be my first visit to this particular hospital. (Hey, they’re next door to P.F. Chang’s – I wonder if I could get someone to bring me chicken noodle soup for lunch? Okay, maybe dinner, but still…don’t hospitals know that “bland, flavorless, and has the consistency of soggy cardboard” saps a person’s will to live?)
  • D is for…? Help me out, here, guys – I have a post to write for tomorrow.  This is your brain on Vicodin: ask;fdj8yu8pu45r@#$RRGH!!!

Seriously, comment, please! It’s your turn to entertain me. 😉 See you online later – tonight, with any luck! And I’m dead serious about P.F. Chang’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Hover over that link for the password, if you’re brave enough to read the post.

37 thoughts on “C is for Cancer”

  1. D is for Doubt. “I Doubt that Holly can go more than 4 hours without posting something funny on Facebook.”

    E is for Elmer and his glue. Where would we be without Elmer?

    F is, of course, Frack. “Frack cancer.”

    1. Probably wasn’t all that funny, but I’m pretty sure you nailed it! And now, I am SO ready to go home! Really. They won’t let me until I pee three times…

      Time to take up drinking!

  2. Have you seen this, below, Holly?
    It is NOT entertaining… But it is another woman’s journey, and it may encourage or inspire you. I hope.


    If you go see, leave an encouraging comment. You can mention me. Say you have a common acquaintance.

    Hang in there, kiddo. I have lost so many people to “c” — You gotta win! (My friend Mikael refuses to use anything but a small “c”. A big “c” would compliment it and give it power, he says. So un-capitalize it! But he lost a dew people, too. )

    I remember when my friend Boomer (Lionel) was in the hospital for something having to do with blood vessels. They served him….

    Nobody knows what it was, the CSI report is still outstanding,years later. I went to Tim Hortons and got him a sandwich and soup. It went down fast. To good thing about hospital food, you see, is that if you are on a diet… It works. No one has evvvver gained weight on hospital food. It is planned that way. They are going to keep you healthy, even if they gotta starve you.

    We uses to have a real dietician, and real cooks, and real food up, here. Now it is all TV dinners. They did it to save money. Well somebody has to pay for the luxury cars and free parking for the administrators.

    Can’t help much, except for giving you encouragement. Which beats the hospital food. But then, a Big Mac….

    As for the Vicodin, I think they make it available as an IV drip. They should also make a Nasal Inhaler. But don’t get hooked on it. I’m surprised, though that there are no TV commercials telling you to ask your doctor, nurse, dentist, therapist, accountant (esp at tax time), lawyer, or newspaper carrier for it. The problem is in the name. Just call it Vitamin V. It would be more popular then. And if the disclaimers were done as cartoons, why, people might even read them.

    I love this thing, where I have to click a comment box to show I am not a spammer or a a web-bot, or something. Up here we have this stuff called “Click” and “Kam”. Spam is too expensive. So… I am not a spammer. I do admit to being a clicker, though.

    Take care.

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately, I really do not have a “D” queued up yet, and I still have to figure out “B” (I’m not going to cheat or skip days! Not if I can help it!)

      Right now, it may be “D is for Drinking” (see my reply to Cairn) so that I can convince them to let me go HOME. 🙂

  3. Holly – I am glad it appears everything went as planned? It would see our conversation was part of your inspiration for this post (Or more than likely it was already on your mind I just was able to receive a taste first?)

    Either way:

    D is for Dangerous – which is you writing on Vicadin
    E is for Empathy – even though I’m a dood I can still empathize
    G is for Good Cause – which your donations will go to – so DONATE
    H is for Hungry for PF Chang? (Lack of sleep is killing my creativity apparently)
    I is for Intelligence which you still retain 😉
    J is for Jason – forever grateful
    K is for Kilimanjaro – There is no mountain you can’t climb.
    L is for Living – which you do spectacularly.
    M is for Mom – from our talk it sounds like you are a great one.
    N is for ‘Neener, neener, neener’ – I’ll think of you as I eat at P.F. Chang tonight 🙂
    O is for Onomonopia – I just like the sound of that word 😉
    P is for Perpetual Motion – no matter what you just gotta keep moving forward.
    R is for rhetorical – for questions asked that we already know the answer to.
    S is for Silliness – because being serious sucks.
    T is for Tickles – which you won’t want… for a long time. My wife can vouch for that one.
    U is for Uterus! Uterus! Uterus! Still sounds more scary then Boobies. I think of Uterus and think of some crazy Roman Emporer.
    V is for VICTORY! (Of course!)
    W is for Wobbly – which the drugs will make you feel.
    X is for X-rays – hopefully no more needed.
    Y is for Yodeling? Your going to go climb Kilimanjaro after all 🙂
    Z is for Zzzz which you should get plenty of.

    I know.. probably not the most entertaining. So get well soon and tell your hubby to run next door already!

  4. Y YOU kick ass!
    O as ONLY you can!
    U in so many UNDENIABLE ways.

    So glad you got exceptional news
    Your husband such special views

    Take the time you need
    ’till you can stand up again to poop and pee 🙂


    1. LOL, Laura Lee! You’re a poet! And you wrote a poem in MY HONOR!! You’re the best. Thank you.

      Too funny, too. I’m sitting up, but they won’t let me walk anywhere, yet. And my husband’s here now (he’s watching a movie on his Surface RT, and I’m reading blog comments and Facebook – it’s just like being home!) – he’d be the perfect walking companion, and I’m pretty sure he could catch me if I went down like a tree (no such faith in the nurses, who all seem to be about 2/3s my height and weight).

  5. Assistant Librarian Holly Jahangiri woke after surgery with the heavenly aroma of pratty soup flavored with tarragon filling the air. She was dressed in a hospital-issue sari, but her trademark purple feather boa decorated the edge of her bed. “She’s awake,” said a soft voice next to her, and she turned her head to see a kindly white-haired woman sitting in a chair beside her, smiling and knitting. A plain young woman in a simple, ankle-length gown hurried over and laid a cool hand on Holly’s brow. Holly scanned the room and named the women around her: “The Way To Cook”, “The Complete Miss Marple,” “Jayne Eyre”. She sighed happily. One should never go into the hospital, she congratulated herself, without taking a few good books along.

    1. Truer words were never spoken, Marian! Though nowadays, they shoo you out of the hospital so quick that you barely have time to read (and I’m sad to say that reading makes me a bit nauseated when I’m on strong pain meds – must get off all that quick as I can!) Thank you, dear Author, for the little taste of a tale! 🙂

  6. Hey Holly, this is my first visit to your blog. You have raised very logical points dear. Talking about the illness really makes a lot of difference, ESP when people stop shying away and inspire each other to get tested in time.
    Hospital food, seriously it is really bad wherever I have been too. I think someone should run a contest to award hospitals who have food that makes patients happy!

    And I can really understand the power of side effects of medicines. I am struggling with fibromyalgia and I wonder if my symptoms are more or the side effects! Please take care of yourself. See you around the A-Z challenge.

    1. Hi, Anuradha – welcome! Glad you enjoyed your first visit to my blog! I’ll be by to visit yours (this goes for all of you who have been good enough to entertain ME with comments to distract me while I come off morphine and deal with the achy, crampy, bloaty “aftermath” of surgery (such a perfect word, in this case – in its fully ironic sense of “expected discomfort that we all know won’t last forever”).

      This is maybe the first time I can remember having surgery where the pain meds were worse than the pain. I wonder if someone in anesthesia got tired of me saying how they never made me sick, and put something in the line that would get vomiting – but NOT until I’d had morphine and food, and they could prove me wrong that I have NEVER barfed after surgery. Because darnit, they blew my PERFECT track record. But not by much. Can’t keep a stubborn woman down long!

      I went 15 hours without another dose – and only took a low-dose Vicodin this morning before venturing out for a hike around the nurses’ station. I now feel like I’ve gone a round or two in the ring – still standing, and I’m pretty sure the other guy looks worse.

      I’m also pretty sure no one ever has to worry about me being an opiate addict. Blargh.

  7. Pingback: little c : The Light Stealers Song
    1. And this is a wonderful post – y’all should go read it. And read Cairn’s books. The Last Prospector currently lists for $200+ a copy on Amazon.com. (Not that it’s not worth that, but I’ll bet with a little patience, you could get a bargain when she rereleases her debut novel.)

  8. Late to the party as usual, but just wanted to wish you all the best for your recovery and to thank you for your spirited and amusing writing about it.

    If it makes you feel better, I pass on the advice my cardiologist gave me after my heart attack which was that women recover from surgery and can resume housework and cooking far quicker than men do or can, from heart attacks!

  9. Only you would post from your hospital bed, Holly. Or, maybe not. I got one of my newspaper gigs while I was in the hospital years ago. The editor called me – at the hospital – and asked if I wanted to do a weekly column, starting like now. I took the job, but had to wait until I got home to my typewriter. This was before computers and the Internet. LOL

    Hang in there.

  10. I love Jason’s and Laura’s imaginative comments! I like the others too, but if i mention everyone, my comment will read like a phone book…
    Take care Holly!
    I am glad you made it back home ok from the tests and all.
    Remember, all us crazy people out there on the net need you!
    So concentrate on V – for Victory!

    Still eat Click and Kam still trying to avoid Spam!

    1. 🙂 I know – and they worked so much harder on my blog in one day than I have been for the past week! But I’ve been trying to behave. I am NOT a patient patient or a good one, so I’m going to have to get back to work tomorrow (yes, the doctor has given me a note to prove I’m good to go, and I have already talked with a colleague about programming me “a button” should I need to lift anything! That’s a joke, and there’s a story behind it, which would probably make a GREAT entry for “B,” come to think of it!)

    2. Oh, yes, by the way – the final path reports all came back clean and clear, no sign at all of cancer. 😉 I also have an amazingly beautiful, exceedingly healthy liver – I got to see glossy color photos! Didn’t think to take cell phone photos and the hospital won’t let the doctor give me copies, supposedly. 🙁 But anyway, cancer knows better than to mess with me, Pete. Seriously. My aunt kicked its can for 32+ years and made it to age 80. I gave it “The Look” and I don’t think it’s gonna dare show its face to me.

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