Happy People with Cancer

IMCD_150x150Badge-1My last post was picked up by the “Is My Cancer Different?” web site and it was promoted and tweeted like crazy.  I had a huge spike in readers that day, and even more comments on the IMCD Facebook page.  I got lots and lots of “LIKES” which was no surprise in my mind.  After all, what’s not to like about me or any of the words of wisdom I have to share, right?  And the comments were like little feathers in a cap that needed to grow over my rapidly swelling head.  But of course the comment that had the most impact was the ONE negative one.  Why do we have to be like that?  OK, why do I have to be like that?  Why do I focus on the minuscule dark cloud in a bright blue sky of marshmallowy billows?  I think the simple answer is because I’m human!  And the funniest part of all is that as I’m obsessing over the negative, I’m being nailed for being too happy…or positive.  So which came first, the happy chicken or the unhappy egg? 

The following quote is the ONE negative comment that was a response to my blog post.  I just copied and pasted it, so mentally add your own punctuation:  

I GUESS I’M SICK OF ALL THE HAPPY PEOPLE WITH CANCER AREN’T THERE ANY THAT ARE DIEING? I AM I AM NOT HAPPY. MOST PEOPLE GET IT BACK SO ENJOY YOU FUN NOW

I’m not going to try to shrink this person, although the armchair psychiatrist in me is chomping at the bit!  I’m not even going to use my amazing psychic abilities to determine if this person is the patient or the caregiver.  I’m just going to take this comment at face value, and try to dissect it to figure out why it’s got my panties in a wad!

Dali Lama-jpeg

I GUESS I’M SICK OF ALL THE HAPPY PEOPLE – I’m with you there.  When I’m in a mood, be it depressed, irate or any variation thereof, I’m sick of all the happy people too.  I get that way sometimes…hell, I’m like that now because of one little comment.  So  who doesn’t?  Maybe the Dali Lama…I’ve never seen a photo of him where he isn’t smiling.  But I have to tell you, even though he is revered as a holy man, that continual smile makes me wonder if he’s got a press corps formulating all his wisdom, and he’s really just a freakin’ happy idiot in an orange dress!  And if that’s the case, he’s probably not wearing underpants.  So revere that!

I’ve picked up some good lessons during this party we know as life.  And one of them is that if you don’t choose to be happy MORE than unhappy, your life…no matter what it’s like or how long it is, is going to suck the big one!  If you’ve ever cried at a wedding (happy time) or laughed at a funeral (sad time) then you know that it’s all about feelings.  And we can control our feelings.  That’s how we stop crying over a broken heart, refrain from shooting during road rage and refuse to stay in a dark room with the covers over our head when we get bad news.  Bottom line…at times I’ve had a sucky life and at times I’ve had a happy life.  Happy is better.  Hint-hint:  It’s all the same life, so how did it get happy?  Choice.  Right now, I’m choosing to write about being unhappy so I can flush it out of my system and be happy again.  My blog is Ex-Lax for my soul.  We all need to find our mood softener!

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PEOPLE WITH CANCER AREN’T THERE ANY THAT ARE DIEING? I’m sure this will seem obvious but we’re ALL dying.  That’s the nature of living.  At any time, anyone can bite the dust.  You don’t have to have a disease, or bad genes, or bad driving skills, or bad judgement.  Hell, space crap is starting to fall from the sky.  Sinkholes are appearing after rainstorms in places other than Florida.  You could walk into a 7-11 at any time for a gallon of milk and get shot in the head.  So we’re all possibly staring down the barrell of death every day…most of us just don’t know it.  And yeah, people with cancer are dying, but so are overly fat people, AIDS patients, stupid people who try to jump off  hotel balconies into the pool and athletic, rich, explorers who can afford Sherpas and whose hobbies include scaling Mt. Everest. You just can’t protect yourself from everything that COULD happen!

If we all worried about dying, then we wouldn’t do half of the things that humans do…and there would be no Yahoo! News.  So try not to worry so much about dying.  This might be hard to take, but I’m going to tell you something important.  If you’re always focused on dying, people don’t want to be around you.  You’re a buzz kill.  Personally, I’d rather die than be a buzz kill!  I have a friend who is 82 years old.  She’s been focused on her bad health, specifically on dying, since she was 60.  She’s still here, and she’s a royal pain in the ass.  I try to spend time with her, but it’s so depressing that I have to rush home for a cocktail afterwards.  She’s lonely, she’s miserable, she’s pushed away all her friends.  And yes, she’s dying…but she ain’t dead yet, so what a waste of 22 years! 

I AM NOT HAPPY  Yeah, we got that.  I’ve got three words for you…Choice…buzz…kill.  Re-read above.

MOST PEOPLE GET IT BACK  Here we are.  This was the one that kept me up for the last few nights.  Little story. 

STEVEN & DR. DUFF SPRAWLS - OUR HERO

STEVEN & DR. DUFF SPRAWLS – OUR HERO

The first time Steven went through chemo and radiation in 2004, he spent almost the entire year being sick, sick, sick.  When he finally started getting his strength back, getting a few pounds back and getting his hair back, we had the best doctor’s visit ever.  Dr. Sprawls said, “Your tests and scans are all back.  You’re good.  There’s no cancer in your body.  Go home and enjoy your life.”  I was elated.  Steven was ecstatic.  We were both floating on air.  WE MADE IT!  Steven went back to the chemo room to share the good news with the nurses who had taken such good care of him.  I went up to the check-out desk to get our 6 month check-up appointment.  The woman there, who I had grown to like after seeing her weekly for almost a year, stared at me when I told her the news.  And she replied, “It always comes back.”  My euphoria had lasted less than 2 minutes and someone was pissing on my dream.  I never told Steven that story until just recently.  He didn’t need to hear it.  I didn’t need to hear it.  You never need to say it.  It’s a given.  Everybody knows.  Don’t say it again.  EVER.  And by the way, I forgive you.  You’re not happy.  You sound mad.  You’re allowed to feel all those things.  Just don’t ever say those words again.  Seriously…I’ll hunt you down…

STEVEN & THE FAD DU JOUR - PLANKING

STEVEN & THE FAD DU JOUR – PLANKING

SO ENJOY YOU FUN NOW 
I’m with you here.  Life is unknown.  It’s a jam-packed crap shoot.  We all need to enjoy our fun now.  Here’s a question to ponder:  If you die tomorrow, and everybody remembers today as your last day, do you want them to remember you as a buzz killing pain in the ass?  I’d rather be the idiot jumping off the balcony into the pool!  It’s a dumb ass way to go, but at least all the hung over people would be laughing at the funeral!

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Is My Cancer Different?

IMG_0270Steven and I still do lots of research on cancer.  The jury is still out on whether or not that is a normal, or even healthy, life choice.  Nevertheless, it’s become a natural part of our internetting.  A few times a day, I check my e-mail, look at Yahoo news to see who is going to prison, which star “wore it best” and what city is in the top ten for whatever (whatever meaning crime, best place to buy homes, most healthy residents, worst delinquent children or highest murders per square mile) 

And then the cancer links.  We both have various sites we like to frequent.  His have a lot of drug info and numbers, charts and graphs.  (FYI – My husband absolutely loves pie, whether it’s on a plate or in a graph!)  And he also loves multi-syllabic drug names and treatments that I can’t pronounce.  I think that stems from my teasing him about his southern accent when saying ‘regular’ words like “her-kin” (translation – hurricane), “ba” (Bye) “Naw-Lins” (New Orleans) and any time he tries, unsuccessfully, to mimic a Nu-Yak (New York) accent.  I cringe whenever he butchers, “How-er-yew-dewing”  Remember Joey’s big pick up line from Friends? “How you doin?”.  Well it’s not the same when it’s mimicked by Hank Williams!  But back to the topic…

I prefer the sites that focus on nutrition, spiritual and holistic additions to the Rx treatments.  I like to have something to fall back on when fatigue, side effects and general negativity rear their ugly heads.  I’ve found that there are quite a few “woo-woo” practices that can provide relief.  At the very least, my recipes will do no harm.  For instance, I lit aroma therapy candles in the house when Steven went through chemo, to help him relax and remain calm.  He liked the scent, it gave the darkened bedroom a warm glow, and even if it didn’t work, it covered the smell when he had to yak.  Remember when I convinced Steven to put chunks of aloe plant between his butt cheeks to soothe some nasty hemorrhoids? (See post dated June 1, 2011) The only harm done was to me – chest pains from trying not to laugh out loud and the woozy feeling of shock that he actually DID it!  So I do my thing, he does his and I think we have the best of both worlds covered.

IMCD_150x150Badge-1Today I feel that it’s my duty to pass on a great site that I just stumbled upon, called “Is My Cancer Different?” I love the name because it really hits the nail on the head.  This is why:  If you strip away all the medical, social and physical realites of each kind of cancer, there is one supreme outstanding factor that reigns supreme.  Our cancer is WAY different from any other cancer because it’s OURS! The bottom line is that humans are very self centered.  You may have cancer, but yours is not nearly as serious as mine, simply becuase yours isn’t mine!  As much as I can feel for my fellow man, I am absolutely overwhelmed by feelings for ME!  

Now we can pretend to be philanthropists, charitable humans and open-hearted, compassionate members of society.  But when push comes to shove, my ow-ie is worse than yours, my headache hurts more than yours, my ingrown toenail is nastier than yours, my pain in the uterus is sharper than yours and my pee burns hotter than yours.  In other words, whatever it is, mine is always different because it’s mine.  And it needs special attention.  And even if you can just kiss it and make it better, I still need a different and extra special kind of kiss to make me feel good again. 

So I encourage you to check out this link, because it will shed some valuable light on the dark place into which you have stumbled.  There are a zillion sites that will give you so much information that your head will spin and you will be even more confused than you are right now.  So before you turn your brain into a kaleidoscope of conflicting information, click on this link and listen to the simple, calm, reassuring videos that offer some sensible and informational suggestions on what to do next.   

From what I can tell, this is a new venture, so I’m sure lots of in-depth info is yet to come.  But for starters, this is a worthwhile use of 15 minutes that might just calm you without an aroma therapy candle… unless you’re feeling the need to yak! 

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I’D LOVE IT IF YOU SIGNED UP FOR MY E-MAILING LIST!  IT’S JUST YOU AND ME, BABY!  I DON’T SHARE MY TOP SECRET SUBSCRIBER LIST WITH ANYONE, SO YOU WON’T GET JUNK OR SPAM OR FOUND IF YOU’RE IN WITNESS PROTECTION!  I JUST WANT TO LET YOU KNOW WHEN I POST A NEW ENTRY.  SUBSCRIBE HERE 

How Do You Make a Hormone?

hormones fist jpegHow do you make a hormone?  Why are you asking me?  But since you brought it up, let’s talk hormones,because I’m finding that I learn something new every day.  And recently I’ve been reminded that everyone needs to be up to speed on hormones, whether you realize it or not.  We all have ‘em…and we all act like ass wipes when they’re out of kilter.  Think about any woman with PMS or menopausal symptoms, any seventh grade class…or anyone celebrating Spring Break in Daytona Beach!  Ass wipes, one and all!

So let’s start easy.  Here’s one most people have heard of:  The Thyroid Gland.  If it doesn’t secrete enough thyroid hormone, then you’ve got a problem.  Your hair starts falling out, you have no energy, you gain weight and suffer a myriad of other symptoms which slowly appear.  So you go to your doctor and he prescribes Synthroid.  (“Syn” as in synonym..meaning “just like” and “throid” as in thyroid but missing a letter…I think they did that because users are missing some hormone.)  Synthroid, you take it and the problem is solved.  Easy-peasey, Right?

The reason I mention the thyroid thing is twofold.  First, lots of people have thyroid problems so almost everyone has heard of it.  And, since you just have to pop a pill to fix it, it’s way easy to understand.  Secondly, and I knew this would get your attention, it uses the “roid” suffix, which just shouts “Uh-oh!! This could be serious!”  So now that I’ve got you reading, let’s get a little more advanced.

aur8371500004Everyone who has to do time in the Cancer Community is familiar with the hormone known as serotonin. Most commonly we learn that cancer screws it up, no matter what side of the hospital gown you’re in.  If you are on the inside of the windy jammies, meaning you have been the patient, the after effects of chemo, radiation, the cancer itself, or the stress of the whole damn mess, has knocked your seratonin levels WAAAAY out of whack.  If you’re the care giver…well, ditto only you didn’t actually have to wear the butt bearing gown or experience all those things.  Your seratonin is out of whack from dealing, worrying and paying for all those cancer related things.  Now this is just my opinion but I think EVERYONE who has been personally touched by the big bad cancer wolf should seek counsel from a mental health professional.  And, not the yenta down the street.  A trained person, who can help you get over the war you’ve been fighting.  

Moving on, seratonin regulates a mass of things in the body, but for most of us, it’s the happy hormone.  And when it’s out of whack, you’re apt to find yourself curled up on the floor of your closet, in the dark, with a box of Kleenex and a bag of Oreos, crying and sputtering black and white crumbs into your shoes…or maybe that’s just me.  Whatever, when your seratonin is screwed up, so are you.  Enter:  The Shrink.  He, like the endocrinologist (thyroid doctor) prescribes a pill.  You take the correct dosage and with luck, you’re back to normal…or the “new” normal as the docs like to call the aftermath.

Since I’m not a medical person…legally (Sidebar – I did mouth the words of the Chiropractic Oath under my breath when my sister graduated from Chiropractic School, so I like to think I’m an undercover Chiropractor) I like to break things down to the lowest common denominator.  And I think I’ve done pretty well with Synthroid and seratonin.  However, being kind of a doctor, I should have been hip to everything about another hormone, melatonin.  Unless I use the excuse that my seratonin must have been fluctuating and I couldn’t remember all I needed to know.  Because I just didn’t get that melatonin is a hormone…which is really kick in the ass for someone who is a wordsmith.  For crying out loud, they have “a-tonin” in common.  That’s like not figuring out that bitch and witch are the same kind  of gal.  Hell, the words have the “itch” right there to see and hear!

 THE GIRLS ARE ALWAYS UP FOR A NAP - NO MELATONIN NEEDED!

THE GIRLS ARE ALWAYS UP FOR A NAP – NO MELATONIN NEEDED!

But I digress, and we need to talk about melatonin, because it’s a Godsend!  It makes you sleep…and sleep makes you heal, and healing makes you better, which makes you relax…which makes you sleep.  Get it?  When you’re levels of melatonin are off, you can’t sleep, which makes EVERYTHING worse.  The good thing is that melatonin is cheap and easy to get.  Health food stores, supermarkets, Walmart.  Just look in the herbal supplements aisle and you’ll find it. 

But before you open the bottle and swallow a handful, I have one thing to remind you.  “A-TONIN”!!!  It’s a HORMONE.  Now go back to the first paragraph and re-read it so you don’t start acting like an ass wipe.  Because too much melatonin means you’re adding too much of a hormone into your bedtime ritual.  Trust me, you don’t want to do that!  I’m speaking from experience when I say your dreams will SUCK!  The characters in your dreams will be 7th graders with PMS performing Menopause, The Musical.  And not in a good way!   

I’ve been taking melatonin.  One of Steven’s doctors prescribed it so he could stop taking the coma producing sleeping pills he was on. Melatonin works like a charm for him.  The doc told him to take 10 mg.  So I started taking 10 mg.  Because it just comes from a health food store, right?   Yeah, it does.  It’s just a supplement here in the USA.  It’s OK for everyone, right?  Did you know that in other countries you need a prescription for it?  I didn’t, either!  But in retrospect…DUH!

captain crunch with a beerWell 10 mg. might be right for my big strapping husband, but for me, not so much.  I came to this revelationat 4 AM when I woke up sweating because I was dreaming that I was having a fist fight with a bouncer who was trying to throw me out of the topless bar, where I was having drink with my cocker spaniel Zack, who was wearing a dog in a sweaterturtleneck and drinking a beer out of a glass with our next door neighbor, Captain Crunch.  And even though the dream didn’t seem that weird at the time, the thing that made me cognizant of the situation being problematic was that I got up to pee and thought, “I wonder why my pee smells like nail polish remover?”  

And in a flash, Dr. Alexandra realized that it just might be the ‘A-TONIN’.  So I grabbed my laptop and started doing research and realized that a fake chiropractor probably shouldn’t be determining dosages of hormones.  And, before I take anything from the health food store, I have to remember to do a little research.  After all, I still sniff the milk before I drink it.  And I’ve only bought sour milk ONCE in my whole life.

Last night I had 1.5 mg and slept like a baby, dreaming of…well, nothing.  Melatonin is great.  And if you do research on it, it could possibly be a great help to cancer patients and survivors in many ways.  Of course, since it is an OTC thing, nobody wants to make any promises,  but I will tell you that none of our doctors are adverse to it.  But mind your dosages if you don’t want to be groggy the following day, if you take blood pressure meds or if you get freaked out by strange dreams.

So in answer to the original question, “How do you make a hormone?”  Don’t pay her!

Thank-you.  Good night.  Here all week.. Try the Veal……..

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Ode On The Job Search

I sit here like a big fat blob,
Oh, how I wish I had a job.
So many people just like me
Feel like they’ve lost their dignity.

Without a place to go each day
It seems like I have lost my way.
So in my jammies, now I sit
Like a worthless sack of shit!

To be “laid off” means getting dissed
Which then turns into being pissed.
Does that excuse my need to curse?
It does. In fact it WILL get worse!

To all the bosses who have lied
When they once said, “I’m on your side.”
Don’t worry friend, I’ve got your back
I’ll let you know when you should pack.

Now that’s a big fat load of crap.
I know that now, ’cause I’m a sap.
So try this out. You’ll have a ball –
Make “Boss” into a voo-doo doll!

Then yank him first, from left to right
Then give him to the dog to bite.
And hope those choppers make a pass
Across that weasel’s big fat ass!

Remember each and every time
He squeezed blood out of every dime
By saying, “No” to your next raise
And working you on weekend days?

Well, take that doll and give a squeeze
Around the neck, but careful, please.
Don’t kill the likeness of this putz,
Instead just whack him in the nuts.

It’s childish… but still feels good!
Give it a try, I think you should,
So what if it seems immature?
If your frustration, it does cure.

Now just move on; Get back on track,
The job hunt takes a special knack.
Though things have changed as I have said,
The search for work can be from bed.

I check the want ads every day
Oh look…a job at Chik-Filet!
And more online, from which to pick,
That range from,”Oh my God” to “ICK”

The protocol does really suck
And all tradition, it does buck.
No live contact? Thats’s for the birds!
You get hired on good “tag words”

Don’t call or come or mail your stuff,
Just point and click while on your duff.
Attach your resume right now…
Then send…and auto-reply goes, “POW”

We got your e-mail, thank you much,
Now please don’t try to stay in touch.
But I have faith, I need to say,
I’ll have some place to work some day.

We all will find the the perfect place
For us to use our charm and grace
And artsy-fartsy talented flair
For spreading bullshit everywhere!

I’D LOVE IT IF YOU SIGNED UP FOR MY E-MAILING LIST!  IT’S JUST YOU AND ME, BABY!  I DON’T SHARE MY TOP SECRET SUBSCRIBER LIST WITH ANYONE, SO YOU WON’T GET JUNK OR SPAM OR FOUND IF YOU’RE IN WITNESS PROTECTION!  I JUST WANT TO LET YOU KNOW WHEN I POST A NEW ENTRY.  SUBSCRIBE HERE