I have no clue what to put here.
Perhaps some sort of rotating quote.

But those guys to the right...they're snorkeling off of Rum Point,
on Grand Cayman. You owe it to yourself to check that place out.


I'm LITERALLY Tired of 2020!

Literally. I had plans to ride my bike 15-20 miles. Indoors, since DH went and gave himself a new injury (first he seriously sliced his right thumb. Then 2 days ago gave himself blood blisters on both heels from ill-fitting shoes).

Skechers...for realz!
But I don't want to ride indoors. And it's too hot/humid outside. And I don't like riding solo, anymore. And I jacked-up my left hip running too fast in brand new shoes. I felt good while running, but by the next AM I was limping. I rode an easy 13 miles in the basement, yesterday, but it's still tender.

I also didn't sleep for shit (and haven't 90% of the time since quarantine began). In part due to a new pillow that was incredible...for all of 1 night. It's really too flat and too soft. I'm a side sleeper and my 3-4 year pillow has become too soft. This new one is also too soft and flat, in spite of being marketed as a firmish side-sleeper pillow. Getting old blows. My neck and shoulders have been sore for months. Pillow issues, for sure, but Covid-anxiety is almost certainly a contributing factor. Thank Jeebuz for my bite splint, since I know I'm gnashing my teeth all night long, too. And I never sleep well after any alcohol, so the tasty pre-bed margarita made for 0 minutes of deep sleep. And it's been warm at night and our big beast cat thinks I'm playing every time I kick a foot out on top of the covers for climate control. And it's Monday (not that Monday has any significance in the 'rona world)....

Lately it feels like I have more days than not where I have to drag myself into starting a workout. I know a lot of people are struggling with lack of motivation and excessive exhaustion from *gestures around* all of this. I have a hard time not fearing that cancer's making a return engagement, especially in light of recent sketchy blood work.

Clifton 5
The rugrat got new shoes, too. He's only ever liked Sauconys, in his relatively short running career from 8th grade to age 19. But in my motherly running wisdom, I thought he might prefer some beefy Hoka One Ones over his HEAVY clod-hopper Sauconys designed for flat-footed supinators to wear with orthotics (both of his feet rotate out to the right. It's a sight to behold while running behind him. My PT friend is fascinated and puzzled by his biomechanics).

1 run in and he's over-the-moon enamored. So much so that he begged for a 2nd pair for work, so I found him a similar pair of Hokas in black and ordered them. He needed new work shoes, anyhow, and does a fair amount of standing.

I hope this means that he might run more and walk less. A 19 year old male should be able to easily outpace/outdistance his 11+ min/mile 47 year old minus-a-lung-lobe cancer-surviving mom.

Fxck Cancer!


I'm still standing!

Still NED!

That's not to say that my 6 month scan/labs didn't include some drama. There's always some drama. My new oncologist (who seems very cool and knowledgeable and friendly -- I think I'll keep her, unless that should change) is concerned by the trajectory of my ANC/neutrophils #s. They have been low in the past, but are on a slow descent, years after my last chemo. This ups my risk of contracting bacterial or fungal infections, which would be extra bad if I were to catch Covid and develop pneumonia. 

It's also possible that it could be a sign of secondary cancer as the result of chemo damage, like blood/marrow, though she reassured me that that would not be terribly likely when all of my other blood counts (other white cells, red cells) look good. Low ANC was problematic for me during chemo and required $$$ Neulasta injections for my last 6/8 FOLFOX chemo cycles.

So, in 7ish weeks I'll be back to the cancer center for my next infusion port flush. I'll have another blood draw to see where I am, then. Hopefully back up...or at least not down further. If levels continue to trend downward, then I may be looking at a bone marrow biopsy. Meh. I really want to avoid hospitals for a long damned time. Because of Covid, but also because I have had my fucking fill of them in the past 3.5 years.

Fxck Cancer!


Schrödinger's Cancer

I think my DH coined this phrase. It's what we've taken to calling the seemingly endless period of unknown between a CT scan and meeting with my oncologist to discuss results. While some people receive results the same day, my oncologist has split his time between 2 cancer centers and I've always had a 7-12 day wait to find out if I'm able to continue looking ahead to the 5 year "cured" goal or if I'm facing more surgeries and/or chemo. Am I still NED (no evidence of disease) or am I living with some degree of malignancy.

Yesterday I had a CT scan and have another 5 days to wait until my results. I would have had another 11 days, but my beloved oncologist, Dr. C, will no longer be dividing his time between 2 centers. So, I get faster results, but my new doc won't be literally the smartest person I know, any longer. I don't think she's a colorectal cancer specialist, either. I'll give her a chance, but I may choose to follow Dr. C. It wouldn't involve a massive hassle, since he'll be 45ish minutes away, rather than 25. And as long as I'm only doing scans every 6 months, that's no biggie. I could probably continue to have scans, blood work, and port flushes closer to home and just make the trip to Grand Rapids for in-person appointments. Were I still in active treatment, there is no question that I'd follow him. An MD friend of mine is also a patient of his and she thinks the world of him, too. She's very much encouraging me to stick with him. I still have 6 months to make up my mind....

I have seen my blood work. My CEA (tumor marker) is largely unchanged...but it was never even close to above normal, even when I had a massive tumor in my ass. What's frustrating is that my white blood cell count is still low. And this time even lower than 6 months ago. I'm >2 years out from chemo, so it should have rebounded. My ANC is also low, now. But I think I figured-out why.

I've been working on losing weight on-and-off since late last Fall. When I haven't actively been cutting calories, I've been eating too many carbs and not enough protein. When I've cut calories, I've focused on eating plenty of veggies, berries, and salads...but not so much protein. Especially as I avoid a lot of red meat and I'm so tired of chicken. Most days I'm probably getting half the protein I should be ingesting, from the look of my diet log (Lose It!). *light bulb moment* Insufficient protein can cause low white blood count, brain fog, sluggishness, poor/slow exercise recovery, dry skin, hair loss -- all things I have been struggling with.

So, I'm going to make a better point of paying attention to my protein intake, even if it means drinking more smoothies. Muscle Milk's cake batter flavor is pretty good. It's a good excuse to make more batches of chili, too. That's one of the few ways that I don't mind eating chicken, since the beans and sauce and tomatoes add so much flavor to otherwise bland meat. I could eat a lot of chicken salad, too, and an occasional pouch of flavored tuna.

Cutting back on alcohol would be helpful, too, though I'm not really indulging more than 1-2 nights/week, in large part because I end up exceeding my calorie goals fast with more than maybe 2 servings. Booze can cause low white cells and it ups my cancer recurrence risk.

Buuuut...martinis are so fun. We made our first traditional vodka martinis in the past week, as well as DH's first lemon drop. I cleaned-out a mostly junk cabinet to move all of our adult beverage glassware, shaker, bar accessories, and sad assortment of liquor bottles. Even with only a few bottles, it's hard to see what's available. So DH wants a woodworking project.

This is cheap RTA unit on Amazon, but would be really nice in something like real walnut or teak. He could source the glass doors through his work.

This is only 30" wide...we'd likely go closer to 36". Maybe attach the stemware holders to one side. Perhaps some sort of LED strips for interior illumination.

Our deck needs to be redone (the cheap wood was still oozing sap for probably 5+ years, so the stain didn't stick), but we have too many mosquitos to make that a priority. A classy midcentury modern piece of heirloom quality furniture seems like a far more satisfying project.

Fxck Cancer!


"Ugly Americans" On Display

Last evening Trump authorized tear gas canisters shot at peaceful protestors outside of the White House. All to clear a path so that he could have a brief photo op with a Bible prop in front of a church across the street (apparently Barr's idea). He also authorized military presence in every city of every state -- upon 0 requests for such action from any states. We've become the authoritarian nation that we've declared war upon countless times in my 47 years. White nationalists/"Boogaloos" are chomping at the bit for civil war.

Earlier today, Joe Biden spoke in response to the nation. The often whispered, gentle, measured, reassuring, and compassionate words that follow are such a stark contrast from what we've been subjected to over the past 3.5 years.
Biden wasn't my first choice in the primary. He wasn't even my 3rd choice. But I will gladly vote for him on November 3. He will bring with him the sort of cabinet that Obama employed. And he is already acting presidential, nearly 8 months out from inauguration. We just need to get him there. The coming 5 months until election will be long and painful. Protests and riots nationwide (and worldwide) have overshadowed the still very terrifying reality of Covid-19. Trump is still doing everything in his power to position roadblocks between voters and their polls.

Fxck Cancer!