Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Mom had Clinic today.

Her Oncologist likes to keep a close eye on his patients' blood and counts even when they're between treatments, so every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, we get up early to beat the traffic and find a parking place in downtown Birmingham.

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the attached Kirklin Clinic are mazes that we have pretty much conquered at this point, but I remember how overwhelming it felt on the first day we arrived. 

When we go to Clinic, I drop Mom off at the front door while I drive around in circles in the parking garage.  Arriving after 7:30 a.m. pretty much guarantees you'll get to ride all the way to the top and park on the roof.

By the time I park and walk over to the Clinic, Mom has checked in, received her paperwork, and is waiting in a room full of other cancer patients.
Some are there for blood checks...some are there for chemo.  
The back room is full of seats...chair by chair for the patients to sit for the hours it takes for their chemo meds to run.  

There are so many kinds of cancers...and so many kinds of patients.  When we're at Clinic, we're mixed in with all of them.   Some are like pretty good shape, bouncing back, preparing for their next rounds.  Some have smiles on their faces and greet each other as they walk in the door.  
Others don't.  
Others have masks on, their eyes closed, curled up in blankets, or in wheelchairs.

The room is always full though. 

Mom has a sacred spot she likes over on one corner of the room.  She's there reading her Guideposts magazines when I arrive.

My Clinic read is this: 

Yes, I said yesterday I'm in a reading slump like I've never been.  But, my attention doesn't wain when I'm reading this.  
I underline, annotate, circle, and have to fight my desire to Google everything right there in the waiting room (which would be impossible anyway bc the Internet is ridiculously non-existent in this part of the building).
Obviously I have a stake in Mukherjee's bio of cancer.  But, what would seem to be a dry, boring read is absolutely not.  Mukherjee's weaves history within narratives (his own and patients) to explain the stops, stalls, and starts of CANCER (intentional all caps).

I'm stunned by the recent dates...cancer researchers have made a lot of major discoveries just in the last 25-30 years.
But, there is so much we still do not know.
There are so many people sitting and waiting...willing to accept the treatment that literally poisons them in order to cure them...or at least to try and slow the cancer down. 

My mom's Leukemia is still in remission.  Her chemo is to keep the Leukemia from re-occurring.  Cancer hides and builds itself back up, stronger than ever sometimes.

In order to cure, the body has to first be taken to its breaking point.  
Can it survive?  Can it build itself back up?  
There are no easy answers...there is no schedule to follow.  
My brother, the accountant, thinks there should be.  
I'm getting used to the schedule that isn't.  Why make a schedule if you can't stick to it?

Keep on keepin' on.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Who am I?

I'm struggling a little.
Well, maybe a lot.

I knew I was in trouble the first time I walked into a bookstore and didn't feel even the smallest need to buy something. 

While we all go through reader's blocks from time to time, I've NEVER been here.

Mom and I went to Books A Million the other day and just looked around.
Right before she goes back in for the next treatment she feels the best and can actually start getting out and about.

I picked up several books...trying to force the issue.  

I felt a little twinkle that day...particularly when I spotted these: 

I loved Hamilton's early stuff but literally wanted to throw one of her last books against the wall...seriously.  This one is a whopper...not sure I'm ready to make that commitment...I said the last time that I was done.  Am I done? 

I can read Evanovich in about 2 hours, and she's usually good for some brainless laughs...I will probably at least download this one.  Not today. But maybe soon.

...a book from a new series by an author I enjoyed before all the tv hype:

I loved Sookie Stackhouse before True Blood took over...then things just got weird.  This is a new series by I dare?

...a book related to the tv show Orange is the New Black...which I'm very disappointed in this season...

I read the book first...and thought it was cool...then the tv show came along and really blew things out of the water...especially this season.  They're so far out there that they're losing me...wonder if another real character could hold my interest?

...and a new book in a series that I've wanted to read for a long time...

There are 17 books in this series...that's a big commitment.  And, what if I don't like them.  I tried the audio versions of the first 3 but kept getting lost...or falling asleep.  No offense to the book, just my fleeting attention span, which let's be honest, has never been lengthy.

and then, this happy little book...about a homeless donkey...short, the donkey has a flower in his mouth...a little bit of inspiration added in...not too much though.

Guess which one I bought?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Keepin' it Real

We've made it through the first Consolidation treatment without too much trouble. 
Mom did develop an infection when her counts bottomed out and had to spend 5 extra days in the hospital.  I was at home with a stomach virus so that was extra exciting.
But, we just keep on truckin'.

Mom and I were talking today about how our attention spans seem to be short.  Books and magazines can't hold my attention right now.  Hers either. 
I am reading The Emperor of All Maladies in spurts.  I remember when the book first came out that I wondered why the heck anyone would write a "biography" of cancer...and even more, who might want to read it.  Whelp, that's me.

Season 1 of Breaking Bad held my attention last week and so did Episode 1 of Orange is the New Black last night...thank goodness for Netflix!

Mom likes Blue Bloods too and has gotten me hooked on it now as well. 

I just saw a commercial for James Patterson's Zoo...I got aggravated with Patterson at some point in the Women's Murder Club mysteries and haven't read much of his stuff since.  Zoo seems like one of those stories that will do nothing to improve the general attitude towards animals these days.  That's all the people in South MS need is more encouragement to think of animals as...well animals.  Potentially dangerous creatures who want to eat them.
Another goody.

Have you met my little friend Pearl?

my beautiful girl Lalana?

or my new friend Luca?

These gorgeous souls keep it real for me. 

When I'm home, besides being with my family, I spend time with them. They are the good.
They save me. 
And I try to save them.