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CANCER: An Uncensored Journey

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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:16 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
How the prospect of another 3-day session of chemo puts me in a mood... Twisted Evil As Jimmy Buffet sang, "Come Monday it will be all right".

Or not. As I mentioned to someone yesterday, medical treatment is alot like sailing...hours of complete boredom interspersed with moments of stark terror (or moments of "Shit, that hurts.!") What books to bring? What veins will they find for the IV? Would they mind if I went downstairs and cooked my own meals?

Well, while the OncDoc says it is all about the quality of life, it is, in fact, only about the quality of the fight.

Bring it.
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:53 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
It is, most assuredly, nice to be home.
Three days lying around in a warm, semi-comfortable bed with a view of canines romping in Lafayette Park is not exactly hard-time in Attica (apart from the mandated two-puke reaction to FOLFIRI)but home is where the cat curls, so to speak.

This episode went relatively well, all in all. Got in on time, got out on time (and thanks to the nursing staff: Steve who set a great IV that did NOT need to be moved/changed in the three days; Maryann and Felister; Lydia, who once again got me out on time, bless you. Ate a bit more than last time, puked twice, got some zofran and got out of Dodge. Many thanks to the logistics/pick-up team of Patricia and Shirl. Smile Very Happy Exclamation

I must admit that, typically, I do not truly enjoy having roomates in hospital - honestly, I try not to barf, etc. in public. Think of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in "The Bucket List". Not that there haven't been episodes of, shall we say, "public purging" over my years, but one does try not to make a spectacle out of oneself.

However, I must admit to having two delightful roomates over the three days. The first, only there for a few hours before his release, was Joe, a 94-year-old gentleman. Just a sweetheart of a guy - lives in a senior apartment complex down on Market and McCallister, been all around the world including years of teaching English in Mexico at the university, a New York Sicilian with blue-collar roots all down to hell - worked at Bethlehem Steel, among other places, was in the army all of World War II, and a stickler for the proper use of the English language. He doesn't walk much but gets around his apartment with a walker and outside with a powered chair. Still likes his chow, loved to cook when he could, hates Meals on Wheels" as having no flavor or texture and liked the hospital food (which says a thing about Meals on Wheels).
I've got to say, Joe reminded me a ton of my Dad (also from New York)...we had a great time.

My second roomate got in TuesdayPM after surgery to place a feeding tube into his stomach - he has throat cancer and could not swallow; hence, weight loss, etc. He and his wife (and their tall 15-month-old grandson) were just a lot of fun. Talked a ton...politics, history, all the fun stuff. He, too, liked the hospital food for which I can forgive him - the poor guy had not been able to eat in several days. Hell, after that, Scott's work boots would taste good...raw. Wink

Time for a nap.. Exclamation
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:19 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
- The Conundrums of Cancer -

Doubtlessly, I will add to these as I proceed down this road and as my chemo-addled brain permits:

(1) Poison is medicine. Poison cures.

This, on the face of it is worthy of Orwell, Newt Gingrich, most Republicans and virtually the entire "Tea Party".

But it is true in the same way that the Irish say that if you drink enough whiskey [trans: "water of life"] you will live forever.
The problem is defining "enough".


(2) "Sleep alot, eat alot"

How does one do both at the same time ? How does one do this while keeping one's benefits Question

More to come...
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:01 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
Coming down from Christmas week at the store...just my luck to have the baking aisle as part of my normal work assignment. Sad Work load has tripled if not more as in the week prior to Thanksgiving... Tired going in, tired coming out.

On the bright side my sister made two (2) Irish whiskey cakes for my consumption (Yes, Siggy, I will share but you've gotta get down here), so it ain't all bad. Thanks, Patricia Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation

Santa has had my back pretty much all year...and I am considerably thankful for that. All things considered, the year has gone well - and uncharted and all you folks have played a pre-eminent role in that.

My thanks to you all with best wishes for Christmas. I hope Santa is good to you, too. Very Happy
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SharynS
Post Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:56 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3624
Location: the 'puter
Quote:
Yes, Siggy, I will share but you've gotta get down here
I'm thinking there's not a huge window of opportunity here? Lucky for you it's the thought that counts.

Thanks for reminding me how much I don't miss christmas in retail. For those who think management couldn't get any dumber less efficient, then I say just roll out a holiday season and see what happens then.

Hoping Santa brings you a night or two off WJ.

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Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:46 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
Now, now, Siggy...I can say with complete authority (after two pieces of one of the whiskey cakes) that the fumes alone would cut the cost of a flight down here by a hefty percentage.
That there be some powerful stuff. Shocked
Bad news: it would never get past Customs.
Great cake.. Exclamation Exclamation

and a very Merry Christmas to all of UNCHARTED
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SharynS
Post Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:01 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3624
Location: the 'puter
Sounds like the cake won't make it past customs or boxing day.

Happy happy season WJ or am I too late with the happy thing. Mr. Green

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Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:47 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
"Happy" is never, never, never too late, dear.

"Happy" is cat stretched along a lap.
"Happy" is cat warming tummy in the December sunshine.

"Happy" is also moi with a pocketful of treats and four canines to share them with (thank you, Chuck and Nora..!!.....big armsful of canines, I might add.)

"Happy" is a superb Christmas dinner with friends (and other cats.!)...and finding that the beets I grew in my garden look like ornaments. Smile

"Happy" is keeping the truck windows closed so that the fumes from the irish whiskey cake do not attract the California Highway Patrol. Wink

"Happy" is never too late.

So, Merry Christmas and all holidays including New Year's to all of y'all.
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:48 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
And a very happy lunar new year to you all.
It is also my personal year, the year of the dragon, with all that this entails.

So the dragon took on the chemo monster and whupped its ass again.
The good news: got out of there earliest, beating my best time and home to see Rachel Maddow; and my CEA is down to 9.7 after hitting 10.3 the last couple of tests. I will be doing PET/CT scans shortly to see how things stand metastatically (if not metaphysically).
The bad news: I totally wrecked my lower back while retching/puking, so I was less than comfortable even with norco and flexerol. Plans to go back to work Sat. night are way off the table; I'll takes a week's vacation [from 2011] instead.

All in a day's work.
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:06 am

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
Good things DO happen to not-necesssarily-so-good people, i.e. my own self.

The crew at the store has noticed and been concerned re my recent weight loss and, as well, about the effects of last week's chemo adventure. People on night crews tend to solve problems they encounter, one way or another (once we get our knuckles off the deck, in any event).

So, at noon Sunday, Colleen drove to my house to deliver a whupping big keg of chicken-abalone soup that her mother-in-law had made (didn't last very long, either.. Wink ).
This morning I came downstairs to find an entire grocery bad filled with meals from MaryAnn (pork with stewed pumpkin; salmon; soups; and more) that Shirley delivered after work. Let me note for the record that MaryAnn and I have been swapping food for some time; she makes her own char siu, great indian food, and absolutely killer kim chee...frankly, I thinks that she is a better cook than I am, but that's just between us. This was on top of the ginger/scallion fish and fish jook she made the week before I went in for chemo.
I just called to say thanks and happy new year and mentioned that I probably should move into her daughter's room until Easter-break from UC/San Diego. Cool

It's stuff like this that gets you through the merde, just like in the real world.

Idea
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Scott Schroeder
Post Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:45 pm

Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 1253
Location: Some where on the mountain
Bill Sable wrote:
Good things DO happen to not-necesssarily-so-good people, i.e. my own self.


Listen you old knuckle dragging night crew grunt the above quote is BS!

You of all people deserve this kind of kindness from people!

Without getting into great detail I'm here to tell everyone that Bill Sable is one of the most giving and helpful human beings that myself and my wife have ever known. This man truly knows the meaning of giving and solidarity! Recently Bill spent much time helping us in a situation that occurred in our life. It's our belief that if it wasn't for Bill's help the situation may not have turned out as good as it did for us.

Bill what ever kind treatment that is coming your way you deserve it 100 times over!

Bill you are our brother and our friend forever and if you ever need us you know where we're at.

_________________
People oppressed will eventually rise!
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:41 am

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
Too much praise, Brother Scott, way too much.

Any help I was able to render to you guys was one hell of a lot less than you deserved. Fingers crossed...I hope it all works out in positive fashion.

Having said that, Scott, this morning's delivery from the crew, from Eileen to be precise, was a Chinese tamale with a couple of containers of jook made with aged black chicken eggs. Tasty...black chicken is highly regarded for its exceptional flavor.

Now, I must admit that even I do not deserve 100 times that delivery (thanks, Mama E!!! and Shirley..!!) but, having said that, Scott, I will preserve in the freezer one of the two containers of aged black chicken egg jook for you to enjoy (unless Siggy gets down here first, beh oui.!)

It IS that good, Brother. Unlike me. Twisted Evil
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:46 am

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
One of my friends (grazie mille, fratello!!) emailed me with a good and intelligent question: why am I continuing to work as opposed to going onto permanent disability.

Fair question. To put it more broadly, why not retire (collecting my pension, etc.) and go on permanent disability (collecting whatever that entails), early Social Security, etc.
One reason is that I simply have not yet researched the matter, i.e. how my pension dovetails into Social Security viz. income. Likewise, I have no idea how all the above works into medical coverage (we do not know the outcome of retiree healthcare with the NorCal grocery contract that is being negotiated.
What I do know is that the level of healthcare I require and will require for an undetermined period of time far exceeds such assets as I possess.

So, the economics of work versus retirement/permanent disability are crucial. Without medical coverage, even in its current diminshed state under our contract, thereis no real option. Terminal cancer patients are unlikely to find affordable medical insurance if they can find any at all.

More importantly, I simply refuse to take that step, to surrender to cancer and all that cancer brings with it. Realistically, it will happen but I simply refuse to "succumb", to become a "victim" or any of the other happy horseshit. I like what I do, the work I do, I like the people I do it with, and I've been doing it all my life, pretty much. Why let some chickeshit disease stop me?
You sail the wind you got, as best as you are able,for as long as you are able. Then, you take a tack. Cool
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SharynS
Post Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:28 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3624
Location: the 'puter
Alright, we'll agree you can stay working so long as you agree to advantage yourself of every benefit your benefits afford you.

_________________
Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:17 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
You betcha, Sharyn. Honestly, I cannot say enough about how the crew has responded - after all, it has been three years now since the diagnosis.

There's "benefits", which are important, to say the least, and then there are the benefits of working with really great people who are willing to go out of their way to help, succor, to pick up the slack.

It is truly unfortunate that these corporations neither know nor care about the quality of people they employ, even (or espcially) on the night crew. It is a pity and their loss.
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