Archive for June, 2007

college friends

Friday was a day off for me, so two of my best friends from college came for a visit. It was a less than 24 hours kind of thing, but it was fun.

Su arrived first around 2PM. I got the requisite “I’m lost” phone call so google mapped her over as best I could. “Google maps is the BEST.” “True dat.” “DOUBLE TRUE!”

We had some lunch at Diesel and hung out waiting for Jan, who had been the main instigator of this trip. Go figure, right? But she’s a very busy, very pregnant woman, so, to be honest, that she could fit this excursion into her crazy schedule was a boon. I wanted to see her before she pops, (hopefully on my birthday!!:)) in August.

jan and su at my kitchen table

There they are at my kitchen table. I’m sitting where Jan is sitting in the picture right now.

We had a great time catching up and chilling. Made a trip to Chinatown to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Brezhnev’s. Clearly this isn’t the real name, I think it may be King Fung Garden or something, but who can remember that? Another friend from college named it Brezhnev’s because the cook at the time bore an uncanny resemblance to Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party.

It’s a tiny place with only four booths, two tables and the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten. And I don’t really care for Chinese, so this is saying something. The Shanghai Noodles are to die for. We totally over-ordered yet still ate everything because we continued to chat and pick. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the table full of food, that would have made a great shot. dang!

jan and su at breshnevs ru and su at breshnevs

Post feeding frenzy required more than the short walk back to South Station. Since neither Jan nor Su had been in Boston much recently, we walked through the Commons all the way to the newly renovated Charles Street stop. A much needed constitutional. I haven’t been that full in years and man, my belly was pushing at my jeans. It was actually painful and I had to undo the top button. augh! I have a tendency to eat small meals throughout the day instead of the usual 3 squares. My friend Kim does the same and she calls it “grazing.” Grazing works for me, but this, this felt like I’d competed in an eating contest.

YET, we got to Davis and JP Licks called to us. I got some frozen yogurt (the oatmeal cookie is outstanding and next time I’m getting it with chocolate chips so it’ll taste more like the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which is insanely deelish) and they got small ice creams. Su got the mud pie and Jan got some peanut butter thing that was amazing.

Can you tell I like food? It’s nice to be able to enjoy it again.

We stayed up pretty late talking even though we knew we had to get up early if we wanted to have a nice breakfast before Jan left at 10:30AM. We went to Rosebud, which was fine, nothing amazing, then Su and I rode with Jan to JFK Street so as to direct her more clearly to the Mass Pike. And this would help Su when she left a little later.

Su and I walked around Harvard Square a bit then back to my place. I ripped about 6 of her CDs while we chatted and snacked on fresh cherries. She had to go around 1:30PM and once she left, I was suddenly not sure what to do with myself. I felt depressed and bereft. Huhn. Odd. So after phoning Todd (who purchased an iPhone on Friday!!! I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.) I took a nap and was still out of it afterwards. Huhn.

I debated napping more after doing some reading and decided to go to the gym instead. You know what? It worked like a charm. I got on the elliptical and about 20 minutes into my workout the endorphins kicked in and I kept going a full hour. It was great. And as I disembarked from the machine Su called to let me know she’d arrived safely and I told her how great it was to have her and Jan here.

Then I went home after stopping at Shaw’s and the video store for 3 discs of Freaks and Geeks. I knew that’d be a big help in keeping my mood up and I was right. That show ruled. I can’t believe none of Judd Apatow’s TV series’ made it beyond a season. I own MSCL (My So Called Life) and also really dug Undeclared. Oh well. Thank goodness for DVD. And good friends.

F1 Summer Outing

Friday was my law firm’s Summer Outing and we had it at F1 Boston this year. I hadn’t intended to participate because for some reason I felt like my weakened body might not be able to take it. I even subconsciously attempted to sabotage any possibility of driving by wearing sandals, which are forbidden on the racetrack. Once I was inside, saw the racetrack, and watched the techs testing the racing karts I realized I wanted to try it. I filled out the liability form and sat through orientation only to waver once again thinking the rules sounded so complicated. Nerves set in, too, because it’s possible to go almost 45mph on the track.

My friend and co-worker Leslie was really pushing me to do it saying I’d regret it if I didn’t. She even offered to let me borrow her sneakers. Then one of the F1 employees let me know they had shoes I could wear and reminded me that if I got out there and didn’t like it, I could simply pull off and get out.

Liss and Roo

My friend and co-worker Melissa (pictured w/me above) was crazy excited to get on the track, and she and Leslie managed to sway me.

So I did it. I wore the one pair of sneakers they had in the locker room (which were probably a men’s size 11, which were like clown shoes on my little naked, sockless feet - I know, GROSS, but WTF? Suddenly I absolutely had to race and a pair of oversized, overused, possibly skanky tennis shoes was not going to stop me!). Then I put on the red one-piece jumper, neckbrace, headsock and helmet and got out there.

And you know what? It was awesome. I love rollercoasters and speed, so how could I think I wouldn’t like this? I guess because with rollercoasters you’re a passive rider and with F1 you have to control your own kart. Utterly fantastic - who knew?

We each got to race in three races of ten laps each, with 12 karts on the course at a time (which was pretty tight, if you ask me). By my second race I’d gotten the hang of the course and came in 3rd place. The picture below was taken right after that race.

Roo wins 3rd place

I was elated. Tearing around that racecourse on that lawn mower motor powered kart was the biggest rush. I couldn’t even see all that well through the scratched up clear plastic face protector on the helmet, but it didn’t matter.

Oddly, as I sat in queue for my third race I started crying a little bit. I think because I was so happy to be exactly where I was, happy to be alive and to feel so alive. Silly I know, but it really is the little things that make all the difference.

And speaking of little things, I don’t know if anyone from my firm actually saw this sign, but stickler that I am, I saw it and took a photo. I suppose the shocking part is that they spelled the firm’s name correctly.

GU Summing Outing

I just love Summing, don’t you? Math is guhd….

the dark side

I’ve always had morbid curiosity. Always been interested in the dark side of things, with medical oddities and, well, death. This could have something to do with my love of Edward Gorey (since about the age of 5), but maybe it’s the other way ’round. And I understood the concept of death, realized we all die eventually, when I was four. I remember exactly where I was and what I was looking at when I had that epiphany.

This fascination of mine plays a significant roll in who I am, I think. Which could be considered odd. As my friend Sebastian put it best in an email to me recently (but before I started the blog):

“Yes, you always manage to see the bright side of everything, which is funny considering you were one of the first “gothy” people I ever befriended. Your demeanor was the antithesis of your appearance.”

These days I’m FAR from goth, yet I still maintain the fairly constant smile and outward appearance of loving life. Yet deep down (ok, maybe not that far down) I’m fascinated by the folly of humans, psychologically, and about the amazing human body. We know so little, really. My last visit with Melissa in Philly (who shares my fascination) was based around us going to Body Worlds (6 months before it came to Boston - there was no plan for it to come here yet…) and the time before that we, of course, went to the Mutter Museum. I own and love books with titles like The Grim Reaper’s Book of Days, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers and Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die and am constantly seeking books of this nature.

One night in high school a friend and I were at a coffee shop and not sure what to do that evening. Out of nowhere she says, “Do you wanna see a dead body?!” Evidently a friend of hers worked the night shift at a morgue. We drove over and her friend let us see in the “freezer.”

Even as I sit here typing the memory of it makes my arms and chest go numb. I’d never seen a dead body in person and here were eight, four on each side of the room on slabs. The eeriest thing, besides the silence, was how much they appeared to be sleeping. There were probably a couple bodies with wounds that would’ve made it obvious they weren’t asleep, but I only got a good look at the one closest to me and the only clear indication of his not being alive was the pooling of the blood along his back.

I only got to look for a minute when my friend got freaked out and the girl who worked at the morgue realized she’d be fired if we were found out, so the door was shut and we were ushered quickly out.

Clearly I don’t have a weak stomach. So I wanted and got a copy of the pathology report on my tumor, but could get it only after mailing the hospital a request they asked be worded like so: “I, Ruth Peterson, hereby authorize the release of my medical records to myself.” No shit. Doesn’t that seem odd and redundant? Then I got the pathology report and had more laughs.

I’m sure most pathology reports aren’t construed as funny, but as I’ve mentioned if there’s funny to be found I’ll find it, dangit. In the report there are descriptions of the tumor and the infected areas. I’m going to copy some of what it says here. It can sound really nasty, so if you don’t want to know you should skip this paragraph.

“The bowel has been opened revealing in this area 8cm. of mucosal ulceration with shaggy green-black surface. [This made me laugh and go EEEEWWWWW!!] The wall is indurated [hardened]. The distal segment is 4 cm. and the mucosa appears pink, smooth and glistening over the mucosa on the opposite side…. Gross photographs are taken.” [I knew what they meant, of course, but you bet the photographs were gross!]

Again, I don’t have a weak stomach and am morbidly curious, therefore I set about trying to obtain these “gross photographs.” First I called my Sue, my Clinical Nurse at BIDMC. She’s a very nice, cool girl (I’m sure she’s a woman and it’s likely it’s un-PC of me to call her a girl, but I refer to myself as a girl, so….) who when I asked if other people sought their tumor photos she responded with a note lilting, “No!” that indicated it was a very bizarre request indeed. However, she did let me know I’d need to call Mt. Auburn to get it since they did the surgery.

I made a some phone calls and was passed around to various departments. People on the other line thought I meant I wanted slides. I said, no, I was referring to the photographs mentioned in my pathology report, I don’t need any slides. I finally reached the right department and it finally got through that what I wanted were my “gross” tumor photographs. The nurse I spoke with let me know she could only send this to another doctor and would need a letter worded similarly to the one I had to send to get my pathology report. The letter wasn’t a problem, but I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just send it to me, I mean this tumor came out of my body. I grew the damn thing in my garden, they plucked it out and now I’m not allowed to see it?! No fair!

Sue kindly agreed to be the nominal recipient of this photograph and I faxed in my request letter. Someone from Mt. Auburn emailed me about ten minutes later to let me know the only photograph they had was digital - did I have an email for the doctor or would I prefer they just send it to me. Obviously I let them know they could just send it to me.

Stunning. All those phone calls, all that annoyance and supposed protocol and some kind person just emails me the high resolution gross photograph. This photo is of part of the section of colon they removed that contains part of the green-black tumor. I’m posting a link to it here.

If you have a weak stomach, don’t click the link. If you do not want to see this, don’t click the link. My guess (and hope) is that you know yourself well enough to know what you can handle and what you can’t. Take the red pill or take the blue pill? I leave it up to you.

CLICK THIS LINK AT YOUR OWN RISK!!

ah’IGHT?!

I’m SERIOUS!!

angry tumor

How was it? Are you disgusted? I expected to see a big, black-green misshapen ball, as though they’d removed it and then removed the section in which it had invaded. Evidently not. To me, this is all fascinating. I promised warts and all and with that in mind I posted the photo. I figure I can’t be the only person with this obsessive need to see it all.

seventh chemo: a new reaction

Everything started normally. They were running a little late in the treatment room, nothing new. I don’t even get annoyed anymore because I know it’s not Jackie’s fault; sometimes it just takes a while for the drugs to get ordered. I just sat there with my laptop emailing and writing the blog.

And speaking of blogs, if you haven’t checked out my friend Nate’s blog, tellhimfred, you should. Not only is he funny and insightful, he is one of the most laid back and yet up-for-anything dudes I’ve ever met. He’s introduced me to many new things/or things new to me, like the incomparable Bill Hicks. He is also philosophical and likes to make you think. This weekend on his blog he gave the sweetest introduction to my blog (which I’d never have gotten up and running without him, btw). Made me cry, it did. I’m all chuffed and would like to return the favor by asking you to check his site out. Of course, he’s listed on my homepage blogroll, but this is my endorsement.

Back to the chemo. Things were going smoothly, or I thought they were. I came back from a bathroom trip, sat down and realized I was itchy. My palms and fingers were itchy. My ears were itchy, inside and out. My back was in tons of pain. My face was red. And I realized I caught sight of some bumps on my chest in the bathroom mirror. I told Todd and said “I’m sure it’ll pass.” He said,”Right. I’m getting someone now.” Another nurse came over and stopped the IV, then Jackie came back from lunch and asked what’s up. I told her about my ills and she went to fetch Dr. Jain.

Seems like every time there’s a problem it’s on the day I see the doctor beforehand and in that meeting we just talk about how hunky dory everything’s been going. Bizarre.

Dr. Jain and Jackie discussed me in front of me and then told me they’d be stopping the Oxaliplatin infusion for the day. They’d like to give me a bag of Benadryl to make the itching and pain cease and then continue the Leucovorin. Once that was done they’d get back on track and give me the 5FU push before attaching the drug bag. They told me this kind of thing is not uncommon and can happen with drugs like Oxaliplatin which are platinum based. Yes, the metal platinum. It can build up in your system and eventually you can get allergic reactions.

The Benadryl did the trick, but it also wiped me out. I’ve taken Benadryl before and I know how it can double as a sleep aid, but I’d never had it in IV form. That is some potent medicine, I tell ya. It took me about 15 minutes, but once it kicked in I was useless. Slept for pretty much the rest of my day there (which lasted till 4PM) except for the two times I had to get up to pee and wobbled unsteadily to the bathroom. WOW, I definitely felt like I was on drugs.

Dr. Jain returned to check on me once more after the symptoms had dissipated and I was just a wretched lump on the chemo chair. He told me they wouldn’t reintroduce Oxali till a month from now at which point they’d start me with a preventative bag of Benadryl. I think I’ll be bringing a pillow with me from now on.

And to think I’d told Todd he didn’t have to take these Mondays off to come with me. It’s not that I don’t want him there, I’m just [fiercely] independent and thought I could easily take public transportation. If he hadn’t been there I might have ignored my clear signs of allergic reaction, things could have gotten worse, and once they gave me the Benadryl I would have had to call on a friend or call a cab to get home. I was in NO shape to take the T.

Todd is very good to me - I think I’ll let him keep coming along, if that’s what he wants. :)

another great visit

K8’s train on Friday arrived on time (wow, a first!!) and we found each other across South Station’s giant concourse. For our first evening we ate at one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood, Out of the Blue. It didn’t disappoint - the caesar salad was one of the best I’ve ever had and K8 had my favorite, the chicken marsala. They do it with such a light, garlicky marsala reduction and the mushrooms are divine. YUM.

And no supper is complete without ice cream or frozen yogurt, so we stopped by JP Licks, despite how cold it was outside. We stayed up till almost 2AM talking which was a huge stretch for preggy K8T who lately is in bed before 10PM. I felt privileged and we just couldn’t stop talking. So many subjects kept popping up and so many tangents we wanted to close off.

The weather graced us with sun, a breeze and a lovely temperature, so Saturday we walked from Park Street through the parks and down Newbury. Did a little father’s day shopping, Kiehls for her husband Peter, the new daddy. As we walked down Newbury she got a call from her friend Maria who was due to give birth that day. It’s fairly rare for someone to actually go into labor on their due date, but there she was calling to let K8T know she was dilated and going to start pushing in an hour. Very exciting! Congratulations, Maria, on your new baby boy, William Alexander.

Suddenly we decided it was time to get something to eat and I got a call from Tony. He works nearby so we met at Rebecca’s and he joined us to chat and discuss law school w/K8. Tony’s doing very well at Suffolk and K8 was an attorney for four years in NYC. She’s now a freelance journalist. It was great to see him and for them to catch up before our brunch the next day w/Todd and with Tony’s husband Sean, who K8 hadn’t met.

Saturday night Todd and I finally got to take K8 to our favorite restaurant, Dali. Fortunately, she loved it too. How could anyone not, I wonder? And I love the way the staff sing when a customer has a birthday. They always move down a key when it’s time to sing this, at the bolded section, “Happy Birthday dear [insert name here]…” which is exactly where you need to go up an octave. Happens every-single-time. I am a bit of a stickler, but it is truly hilarious.

We were exhausted after dinner and our day of walking and it was only 8PM. Sadly our favorite show, What Not To Wear was pre-empted by some kind of effed up wedding special, so instead we had more interesting conversations, ate more ice cream and then watched some stuff on HGtv. Always something good on there. Made it to bed around 1AM.

Sunday we met Tony and Sean at Johnny D’s for brunch and K8 very kindly treated. Great food, but alarmingly bad service. Oh well.

This trip I managed to get some photos to document the event.

tony roo k8 & sean

Anthony, Roo (w/tall shoes), K8, and Sean in front of my apartment.

baby belly

That’s her baby girl in there!!! I love it! They’ve got two names they’re deciding between and I already know which one I hope wins. I don’t know if they’d want me to write the names here, so I’ll only post it once she gives birth. She’s due on Labor Day, isn’t that a riot! As K8 said, “Oh, the irony!”

Well, that was about it for the visit. Todd and I drove her to South Station and we arrived with just enough time for her to get a water and hear them announce last call. Short but sweet.

swing of things

I suppose things have been going smoothly this NCW (Non-Chemo Week) so I haven’t written in a bit. That and the fact that I’m still adjusting having a lot less time to do things I want to do. Work work work. How do we ever get things done? Turn off the TV, right? I’m the worse time manager. ~sigh~

Last weekend we played “Ice Cream” at Jen and Sarah’s wedding. I was worried I might cry in the middle, I usually cry at weddings, but I made it through fine and my voice didn’t even crack. The whole evening was a big success; Jen and Sarah each looked stunning, there was lots of embarrassing dancing going on, delicious hors d’ouvres and the coolest wedding cake I’ve ever seen. It was mostly orange and red (my two favorite colors) decorated with many candy gerber daisies (another favorite) and looked like a cross between the Leaning Tower of Pisa and a sombrero, with a few layers at a tilt. Phenomenal! The cake inside was amazing as well, half lemon with raspberry and half chocolate with … I don’t remember, maybe chocolate. To die for.

The wedding was at the Worcester Art Museum, a great venue. Sadly, the plan was to do it all outside, but the New England weather decided to be true to form and it got cold and overcast. Too bad because the rehearsal went so well and it was outside. Go figure Sunday was a gorgeous sunny day. Todd and I went to Harvard Square and played some frisbee and got a little workout. You see, we don’t just toss the frisbee back and forth, we stand very far apart and make a game of having to run after it (ok, sometimes that’s due to a bad throw), but anyhow, my heart rate managed to get higher and I felt good.

The rest of this week has been pretty normal. Went to spin on Monday afternoon and again on Wednesday morning. Almost didn’t make it to that 6AM class, but not because I didn’t wake up. In fact, it’s a strange phenomenon, but I’ve been consistently waking up 10-15 minutes before my alarm every day despite the fact that it’s been set to go off at different times each day. Hmmmm… No, I almost didn’t make it because I suddenly had sharp stomach pains. I went so far as to get back in bed and reset the alarm for later. But at 5:40AM the pain disappeared as quickly as it arrived. So I hurried and ran part of the way to Porter and got there only 5 minutes late. HUGE sigh of relief because I knew I wouldn’t get another spin class in this week. Why? Because of exciting news!

My best friend Kate is arriving today by Amtrak (hopefully, that is - she has a rail curse, wethinks, and one never knows what will happen). Last time I saw K8 was February 28th, the day I had to go back to the hospital, so it’ll be nice to have a new memory to replace that one. Of course, we had a good time before I started feeling sick, so… But anyway, she was only just starting to show then and now she’s 7 months pregnant. I haven’t seen any recent pictures of her and I cannot wait to see her all big with baby. She and Melissa are my two very best friends and I’ve known K8 for 20 years (Melissa for even longer…). Remarkable. I’m hoping we’ll make it another 20.

I almost forgot, I’m sick

Yesterday I was all excited because I got disconnected. I mean that literally, of course, because my nurse came to visit me at work, we went into a spare office and she unhooked me from my drug bag. Sweet freedom, it hasn’t lost its luster. I thought about going to the gym that evening, but I needed to find a dress for the wedding I’m in this weekend. Todd and I will be playing “Ice Cream” by Sarah McLachlan while our friends Jen and Sarah walk down the aisle. (Side note: the more I look at the word aisle the more foreign and wrong it looks…English is so weird.)

So instead of climbing the elliptical machine I trawled Macy’s. I tried on about 12 dresses, some skirts and a couple tops. I didn’t find a dress, but I found a couple pieces that might work. The problem was that my shopping trip took forever and I didn’t bring any water with me. I’m having a hard time balancing the water drinking with making sure a restroom will be convenient. This wasn’t such a problem when I wasn’t working and having to take the T every day.

By the time I got home I was pretty dehydrated. I drank as much water as I could, but swallowing was still a little painful and a lot annoying (another reason I keep getting dehydrated). I made myself a pb&j, but as I finished it I could tell an unpleasant bathroom trip was imminent. My bathroom is my new best friend, sad but true.

Today my alarm went off, I got up to use the bathroom and upon standing knew I was going to need a lot more rest. I was exhausted, light-headed and weak. Called work and told them I’d be in by 10AM and went back to sleep. I made it in to work by 10, but soooo easily could have slept until noon. It was rough and quite the wake up call. Oh yeah, that’s right, I almost forgot, I’m sick. Surprising how well denial works. Suppose it’s not quite denial, more a determination to overcome this terrible, unpredictable body terrorist. And it may also be my refusal to dwell on my illness. But days like this remind me that no matter how healthy I look, I’m not.

There was a lot to do when I got to work. I tried to get everything done while making sure to hydrate, but I didn’t start feeling like myself again until 2:30PM. People were concerned because I was quiet and withdrawn, an unusual state for me and a clear indication something is wrong. I knew this, could sense it, but could do nothing about it. Such a relief when I could bandy banter back and forth again with David, Kurt and Susan.

My handbag contained signs of my everlasting optimism - my gym clothes. I hoped I’d feel well enough to do my 6PM spin class, but as much as I preach exercise, I am recognizing the need to listen to your body. Decided my best bet this evening was to take the T to Harvard and walk from there. It took me 45 minutes (a little longer than usual) and my route takes me past the spin studio (such a tease), but it was my kind of weather out: a little overcast, a slight breeze, but not very humid and around 68 degrees. Even at the pace I’d set my belly gave me small signs of distress. I could tell anything more taxing might have sent me over the edge - and into the bathroom again. Much as I missed spin, and getting to see my friends in class, I made the right choice.

sixth chemo: “isn’t she perfect?!”

First of all, this was my horoscope from astrology.com today:

One of your best qualities (out of many) is that you can take the most minimal ingredients and make the maximum amount of fun. Others want to know how you do it, but you can’t say. It’s a gift, really.

I can even make chemotherapy fun!! yeah… right.

My nurse, Jackie, said “Isn’t she perfect?!” to the assistant who had just checked my vitals. I thought it was funny because I couldn’t be further from perfect. But I guess my vital signs are right on target.

Now here’s something I can’t believe: I got home from chemo today to find a letter from my Long-Term Disability Insurance provider saying I’d been approved. Hello….TIMING?! I mean, I just went back to work!! “Based on the information received, it appears that you have met the group policy’s definition of Total Disability.” Holy crap. I never thought that’d be the case, but there it is in black and white, taunting me on my kitchen table.

I know I don’t need to tell you I’m not totally disabled. But I won’t lie, it’d be fantastic not to have to work until the end of August. So in a way, I wish I’d put off going back until, oh, I don’t know, after I got this letter…. but here we are. I’m a fine, upstanding person, and I called the insurance company and let them know I went back to work.

Then I made some dinner and was ok for a bit. Then I started feeling really nauseaus and I hadn’t felt that gross in a long time. It figured I’d start feeling crapo once I found out I didn’t have to go back to work. So perhaps a little psychosomatic and definitely a little actual chemo reaction.

Yes, I still get chemo reactions. They’re pretty mild compared to other people whose chemo stories I’ve heard. Last week in spin class I talked to some gym girlfriends I hadn’t seen in a while and one or two knew about my cancer. One said I was like the poster girl for good chemo which I thought was nice. Maybe I’m in some kind of denial and that accounts for my good attitude…. hmm… food for thought.

But sometimes it’s the little side-effects that really get to me. The cold drink thing is absurdly annoying and the first night is always the worst. The drink barely has to be above room temp and it feels like chunks of Lego are going down my throat with every swallow. This is especially bad because I’m supposed to stay hydrated, but I dread drinking. Oy vey.

But the biggest side-effect I’ve not experienced is hair loss. This is something that changes people’s perception, including my own. I don’t look sick. I just don’t. Today Sam, one of the cancer survivor volunteers asked me “Why haven’t you lost your hair?” How am I supposed to answer that? He described how he lost his hair during his treatment, how he was shampooing and suddenly his hand was wrapped around a big hunk of hair. Do I know why I’ve still got my hair? No, no I don’t. And to be frank, neither do my doctors. They don’t know why I’m handling the chemo so well, they’re just glad. And so am I.

I was talking to Mel last night and we were thinking maybe my answer to the “why do you still have your hair?” question should be “super glue. It’s really quite super!”

back to life (…”back to reality”)

Wednesday I set my alarm for 5AM so I could make it to my old favorite, 6AM hour ride. After hitting snooze a couple of times I got up to go to the bathroom then blearily stumbled back into my bed. Laid there for 5 minutes and realized I’d be upset with myself later if I didn’t go, so I scrambled to put on my gym clothes and hurried to the gym hoping to get a ticket and a good bike.

I made it and I was glad I went. Can’t remember ever making it to class and being unhappy about it, though. Before I got on the T Jon, my instructor, showed me his new Jeep, “Blue.” He’s been talking about getting a vehicle forever and he was so excited. It’s very cool and suits him perfectly - I’m very happy for him. Made it to work on time and had another normal feeling day.

After work I met Tony and Sean in the Copley rotunda. We walked up to Arlington then down Newbury to Tapeo for dinner al fresco. Yes, I’m mixing my Spanish with my Italian, both of which are in limited supply. Got some candy for dessert (sadly, Teuscher had closed 15 minutes earlier - dang!!) and walked through the Gardens and the Common to Park Street and home again, home again. Did some reading and some writing and crashed. That was a long, tiring day.

Thursday and Friday were rather uneventful and definitely felt like I was back to my routine. Work and then a spin class at the gym afterwards, coupled with some weight lifting. Got groceries on the way home and watched a Netflix movie.

Friday I took the commuter rail up to Haverhill and chilled with Todd. I came thisclose to missing the train because I didn’t anticipate the throngs of humanity crowding the green line for the Red Sox/Yankees game that evening. I figured I was going the opposite direction than everyone heading for Fenway, but evidently that made no difference. I was at Park Street waiting for a North Station train with 10 minutes to get on the 4:25 train. I made it by running as fast as I could once we arrived at North Station. Right.

I’m realizing that even on chemo I’m getting more exercise than a lot of people who are otherwise healthy. Let me tell you, I used to be so anti-exercise. I was a stupid teenager who thought it was far cooler to just hang out and smoke and eat fries and drink cherry cokes at Agner’s or sit in front of Mosko’s and do nothing, really, with people on the scene. Don’t get me wrong, I look back on those days fondly, but when I think of all that I could have been doing…. Oh, who am I kidding, if I’d wanted exercise I’d have had to join a team (which I’d never have done - so uncool….) because the aerobics and gym culture was only just burgeoning when I was in high school. Feh.

I can’t go back and change things, I can’t make my teenage self see sense, but I am a very different person now. I recommend getting off your butt whenever possible. No way I’d have come through my 6 hour surgery as well as I did if I weren’t so fit. I don’t mean to proselytize, but you never know what will happen to you and in any case, exercise can make you feel better inside and out.