It’s been another rough week. Last night, Judy and I spent 9 PM - 4 AM in the Marin General ER because I’ve been spiking mini-fevers above 100.5, which is apparently some kind of threshold. They took blood for cultures to find the cause of the infection, pumped me full of IV antibiotics, and sent me home with oral antibiotics. My white and red blood cells are scary low because the chemo worked, killing off fast-growing cells anywhere in my body. Which means I’m temporarily immunosuppressed. I’ll wear a mask tomorrow and refrain from shaking hands. The medication regime has become complicated. I need to take pain meds every three hours and antibiotics every eight hours, and the anti-diahrreal meds when I just can’t stand the run, scream, squirt routine any more. I can’t eat dairy too soon before or after taking the antibiotics. I take my temperature and chart it. Cancer has become something of a full-time job. I plan to retire from the Cancer biz soon.
Every day, I have a small amount of energy and mental clarity. I’ve been trying to keep up with and comment on student blog posts. Tomorrow is the last meeting of the Stanford Digital Journalism Class, and the students will be presenting their projects in McClatchy Hall’s very nice Mendenhall Library. The students will appreciate the refreshments that the ever-supportive Communication Department will provide. I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that I can make it. I’ve burned my boats. Once a year, we get a rooter service to clean out the pipe that runs from our toilets to the street sewer line. Judy arranged for the rooters to come out tomorrow. Believe me, even without diahhrea, a broken shitpipe is a mini-apocalypse. We can’t use any toilet or sink for six hours. Which means I’m either heading for Stanford or camping out at Starbucks. (The weird but charming little quasi-community of Tam Valley, where I live, has a number of communions. In the summer, there’s music and BBQ at the community clubhouse off Coyote Creek. And when a storm cuts off broadband access, everybody heads for Starbucks at Tam Junction. You can tell if their Wi-Fi is functioning because half the population of Tam Valley is sitting on the floor with their laptops.)
Today was Graduation Day! The radiologist always DJs for me: Grateful Dead, Django Reinhardt, Willie Nelson play from the speakers while the radiology crew retreats to their control room and makes sure that the particle accelerator is zapping the cells we want it to zap. Today he played Pomp and Circumstance. And I got a little diploma, signed with a personal message from every caregiver I’ve interacted with at the Marin Cancer Institute.
I’ll be back in a month for my first checkup. I’ll bring more books for gifts when i return April. Apparently the husband of my wonderful radiology nurse had previously known about my work and sequestered the copies of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs that I had left for them. I also passed around a few copies of They Have a Word For It.
When my first crop of plums start plopping down onto the lawn in May, I’ll bring them a bushel.
I’m told that the painful side effects will dissipate and my energies will begin to flow normally, starting in about a week, and continuing for weeks after that. Considering that the weeks after that coincide with the sweet infancy of Spring, I’ll be able to lie down on the spot where I wrote most of my books and retrieve some of the energies I must have stored there.
As I feel better, I’ll let y’all know. The presence and generosity of the community who have assembled around this little blog are every bit as important as the particle accelerator in the healing process.
My first check-up is scheduled for mid-April. I’ll keep this blog open until I can post the news.
I love you madly.