Thursday, January 26, 2006

My lessons from chemo

I started this awhile ago, and never posted it, so here it is...

So recently a couple of friends and family of my friends have been diagnosed with cancer. I'd like to look back and say a few things, based on my expierence, as dos and don'ts.

(I'm using the terribly un-grammatically correct gender neutral 3rd person singular "they")

Do:
Learn to make Poo Tea
Hug them
Do their laundry
Scoop the cat box
Let them sleep (with satin pillowcases, they are nice to the head)
Watch movies you don't want to just because they do
Be there for the long haul (when distance is not a factor) - the beggining is rough, but 3, 4, or 6 months later, they are still going through chemo, don't forget they might still need laundry and cat box changing.
Tell them they are beautful and you love them just the way they are
Even if they are crazy (like me) and drive themselves to and from chemo, show up sometime just to say hi. The nurses can only entertain you for so long.
Kiss their beautiful bald head
Talk about things other than cancer and their treatment

Don't:
Ask how they are feeling with every conversation
Say "its only hair" or "it will grown back." They know that. Telling them trivializes their feelings and partonizes them.
Let them push you away too much
Always believe them if they say they are still "fine" 2/3 of the way through. The stress takes a toll, and mentally they might not be so good.

See how far I have come

I forgot to update you all on the latest CT scans. The appointment was about 2 weeks ago. All is fine.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Busy weekend

Poor Redskins. :(

We just got back from seeing Eddie from Ohio at the Birchmere. Great show! You may recall I mentioned back in September that Julie was diagnosed with brest cancer. Well, the band is back, and they were great! I only wish I could have looked as good as Julie does bald. Julie looked awsome! Melissa Etheridge looked awsome! I was all bloated from steriods and it just didn't work for me. LOL Anyway, the show was great! Mike has shaved his head on solidarity. Robbie, well, he has always been bald. The odd thing, at least odd compared to the other 9-ish times - there was a lot more religon. Two full out gospel tunes. I've heard them sound gosel before - acapella w/ gospel-like harmonies - but I can't recall ever having so much religion in the show. 'Twas different, and kind of unexpected. They have always been feel good rocking folky, but... well... I've been seeing them since they were a bar band. And I guess they have grown up out of the bar band. They all have kids, 3 of the 4 are married, and perhaps Julie's cancer played into it. Not that it matters, it was just different, the show still kicked ass!

Oh, and we are off to Vegas tommorow. YAY!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Musings

2005 brought us lots of good things: wedding, good health, and financial goodness. The kind of things that make you sit back and evaluate where you came from, where you are, and where you want to be. The answer to the last question* has both some simple answers and some that are far more complex. On the one hand, conventional wisdom gives us some pretty clear answers: take our savings, invest it - probably the stock market, sell our townhouse and move to a larger place, get a dog, and so on. But, despite the civil service job, the two sensible automobiles, the buisiness casual wardrobe - I don't see us as conventioal. Or at least I don't want to be conventional. Despite doing pretty well in the late-90s stock market, I can't bring myself to invest more in it than I would spend on vacation. Despite the fact our townhome has appriciated quite well, we can't cash out, upgrade, and move closer to our jobs.** And besides, I'm a cat person.

So whats holding me back? Frankly, I'm a pessimist when it comes to this life we, as a country and world, are living. I don't think this way of life can be sustained. I don't like that we are so dependant on energy that we go to war for it. I don't like that we (Kyle and I) drive about 150-200 miles a day. I don't like that everything we buy comes from China and is shipped thousands of miles to be sold at cheap prices by people who can't afford to feed their children. I don't like that all the signs of global warming are coming to life. But I'm stymied as to what I can do about it. Other than protect what I have. Because, when it comes down to it, human beings, as a whole, are selfish. We can be charitable, and practice random acts of kindness and selfless at time. But, we act to protect ourselves and our family. I, like most people, can't give up everything I have to go live in a cabin in the mountains, hunting for my food and chopping logs for heat. There are a finite few who can, but about 99.9% of Americans can't. And I'm one of the majority. So I troll along, living my middle-class life, wondering how long it will continue before the whole fantasy comes crashing down and oil prices go so high most can't afford to get to work and the polar ice caps melt and put my current home unerwater.

My plans for 2006, include frivilous things like take a trip to Las Vegas (a homage to crass consumerism and excess of everything) and granola things like run a car off biodiesel or veggie oil. I like to expierment with solar panals, but my HOA would have fit. So I will leave that to the hypothetical next house.

And maybe I'll stick my money in green mutual funds, biodiesel and solar panel stocks.

* I realize I didn't phrase it as a question. Bear with me, I'm an engineer.

** It doesn't help that we work 180 degrees apart along the circle that is the Beltway.