Is it kosher to get excited about a pancreas?
We’re not frying it up in a pan or planning to serve it for Thanksgiving or anything, but we are pretty jazzed about Hook’s pancreas right now. (Those are jazz hands on that tumor by the way.) And just so you know how excited, this morning’s grocery list looked like this:
- body lotion
Bananas are our breakfast of choice, the body lotion is for Hook because of the radiation, and the tequila is for momma. 🙂
Last week, Hook and I met with the oncologist and learned that the mass on his pancreas has shrunk and that “everything looks great, better than we expected.” Then yesterday, Hook and I met with the surgeon to hear whether he and his pancreatic posse believed Hook’s pancreas was good enough to be operated on. The answer was “Yes,” and surgery has been tentatively set for Thursday, December 6th. We’ll know more after meeting with the oncologist after Thanksgiving.
When we showed up for the appointment with the surgeon, he looked at us both and asked, “So how are things going?”
I answered truthfully, “Well, there’s been some nausea, increasing hair loss, and not much sleep.”
The surgeon replied, “I hadn’t realized he had those side effects.”
“No, no, no,” I said, “Hook hasn’t had any side effects. I was talking about me.”
Between tossing and turning and waking up regularly at 3:14am in a panic, I would expect to have little to no appetite. Instead, I keep eating and eating and eating. It’s the overeating that’s making me nauseated I think. And my hair, oh sweet Jesus, my hair strands are falling out in such great numbers that one might wonder if I’m the one going through chemo instead of Hook. It’s the known unknown that’s weighing on me. I have known something was going to happen (recovery, surgery, decline) but not when or what it would be. It’s been that looming question mark hanging over our lives that has kept me on edge. For the first time in my life, I wish I were a woman prone to tears, something, anything to release the stress out of my mind instead of pulling it into my body.
The survival rate for pancreatic candy is something low and not good. I actually don’t know. I don’t want to know. I don’t think I can stand knowing too much. It’s an odd place to find myself, openly choosing to be ignorant, fearing the unknown. That’s why I’m counting on you …
Whatever You’ve Been Doing, Keep Doing It!!!
“How is Hook?” people ask. If I keep telling you he’s great, you’re going to stop praying for him, thinking about him, wishing him well and I so need you to keep doing what you’re doing. Keep sending blessings his way, good vibes, all your positive thoughts. IT’S WORKING!!!!!
Writing that just made me want to cry.
Hook has had little to no side effects. To look at him, you would never guess his body has been ravaged by chemo and radiation for the past five months. He’s gained 10 pounds, his head looks like it might actually have grown hair, and his energy level has stayed more or less the same. The only exception to this was toward the last month of treatments when a full work day was capable of tapping him out.
A colleague of Hook’s said he was like a cat with nine lives. I like the idea of Hook as an alley cat, the kind who never seems to be starving but instead looks like he’s growing stronger, that cat who keeps showing up day after day and you know somehow they’ve figured out how to survive. That’s my husband.
It helps that Hook takes care of himself. He has swum five days a week for the last 25 years, and unless we have outside dinner plans, he sits down to a meal of a salad, a meat entrée, and a starch every evening at 6 o’clock. It used to drive me crazy how programmed he was since I eat half my meals while staring at a laptop or while standing up. Now, I’m thankful for his lifelong discipline, but I’m most thankful that he chose to bulk up on nutritional supplements especially since the doctors weren’t all that keen on him taking these in the first place. I find it odd that western doctors are so unwilling to discuss nutrition when it’s so critical to the body’s ability to withstand the infusion of poison and laser beams. But, Hook has been taking a basketful of supplements every single day for the past five months and I firmly believe that this is what will save his life. That and your good thoughts.
Toward the end of our visit with the surgeon, the doctor took a long look at Hook and with amazement in his voice said, “Everyone here is bragging about you. They’re counting on you to survive and look at you, you look great.”
Please, keep doing what you’re doing. We’re counting on you. I’m counting on you. Hook is, too, even if he never says so.
Halloweenie in Australia
What? I’m only 8 days late. So I learned something about Australians and Halloween and how there’s been this terrible rumor going on for years and years in Oz that Halloween is a U.S. holiday and that the Aussies are sick and tired of Americans pushing their holidays off on them and yadayadayada. The yadayada being that some not-so-nice-things were said by Australians about Americans. To address this, I figured a formal letter was in order:
Dear Australians who detest Halloween,
Some of your fellow Aussies have told a bold-faced lie. Halloween is not an American holiday. U.S. employers are not giving their employees a paid day off to go trick or treating. Halloween didn’t even originate in the U.S. Someone said it had Celtic origins with the name derivation coming from something pagan, Hallow’s Eve I think, with All Saints for the Christians and dancing nuns or maybe it was dancing witches with autistic feet or autumn’s fest, yes, something to do with harvest and vegetables.
Look, the reason Americans celebrate Halloween is because we like to have fun, and we understand, truly we do, that our idea of fun may not be your idea of fun. For Americans, it’s fun to pass out candy that we know will give kids cavities that we don’t have to pay for. It’s fun to watch heterosexual men put on make-up and panty hose and pretend it’s a costume. And it’s fun to say hello to our neighbors with children whose existence we otherwise ignore.
But gosh Oz, are you really that annoyed at carving pumpkins, hanging spiders, and baking skeleton cookies? If we had known …
Look, if you don’t want to celebrate a made up, commercialized evening of goughlish fun then don’t. It’s not a law to party and drink, not like how Cinco de Mayo is. But to say Halloween is an American holiday just hurts. We only made up the idea so we could have an excuse to buy more useless stuff and to overindulge. How can something that feels so right be so wrong? We always make stuff up. We thought you knew this about us. We thought you LIKED that about us.
Oz, we never meant for you to feel pressured into snorting Halloween with us, and believe it or not, there are some Americans who don’t even like Halloween. Or, at least that’s what we’ve heard, but no one’s ever actually met these people so maybe that’s just a mean rumor, too.
Don’t Make Me Send Hook’s Pancreas Down There
p.s. We heard about how you put a balloon out to let trick-or-treaters know whether you’re a house that’s handing out “lollies.” See? Make it up as you go along, just like we did.
p.s.s. Can I get a Hallelujah for Hook?