Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jessie gets angry

I was just internet-ing and came across this website:

I find it OFFENSIVE when people shave their heads to make cancer patients feel better. It’s stupid. It’s so fucking stupid. How can you equate you shaving your fucking head with the fact that I am taking toxic poisons that are making my hair fall out (and my stomach cells die and my mouth break out in sores and oxygen harder to circulate) ? You don’t have cancer. You don’t want cancer. What are you doing fucking shaving your head? And why didn’t you pluck out your eye lashes and shave your eyebrows while you were at it? Because you’re fucking vain and you look stupid without eyebrows and eyelashes? No shit! But that’s what happens when you have cancer, you self-serving ass hole! It’s so fucking trite. It trivializes the whole experience. Having cancer is so much more than losing your hair. Wow, I am really heated about this. I actually didn’t tell one of my friends that I have cancer because I know her to be a head shaver. She would shave her head, say it was in solidarity with a cancer patient and then everyone would tell her how cute she looked. Oh my god, I’m getting so angry just thinking about it.

So anyway, a few of my female friends did (in infinite sweetness) offer to shave their heads and I let them off the hook. If I’m sad about losing my hair, why would I want that for anyone else? I don’t. And I kind of earn the right for people to feel sorry for me in my baldness because I actually have cancer. People who shave their heads who don’t have cancer do not deserve the same level of pity-driven respect that I get when I tell people my hair loss is due to cancer! It’s one of the 2 perks! The other perk is that I’ve lost 15lbs. Of course I have to pretend to be sad about that too. And everyone has to pretend that it’s bad that I’ve lost weight and that I should gain it back. Only my bitchy roommate was honest enough to say, “God, I’m jealous you’ve lost so much weight.” Of course I look better! America is obese--most people look better down 15lbs. Even people who are a normal weight. Skinny is hot. But it’s OK, I know why you can’t tell me I look great and why I can’t tell you that I’m happy about getting skinnier.

**Note: when I shaved my head, so did my friend Richard. And I really appreciated that I got to wield the clippers and someone else was shaving their head, but Richard is a man with short hair who looked very attractive with a shaved head. So I definitely appreciated the company, but no one ever tried to equate our experiences.

Anger is the word of the week. I’m pissed. I’m pissed about having cancer. I’m pissed about other awesome people having cancer. I'm pissed my counts were too low to start chemo tonight so I have to wait, WAIT another fucking week to get this over with.

When Kelly was here we talked about how this is really just kind of a shit time. That even folks without cancer were having a pretty hard time making decisions. It’s this damn awkward mid-20s. I actually was discussing this with my shrink as well. I was doing some questioning, soul-searching, self-absorbed mulling BEFORE I got cancer. Then I got sick and it was like I kind of got a little break from making stressful, grown up decisions. I know, I’m lucky, right?

Speaking of Kelly, she and Jade were here this weekend and it was awesome. We just hung out, Tripod-style. We went and saw Mama Mia which is a good girlfriend movie. A really good one. The one thing the three of us lack is a cheer. So Kelly is working on that.

Also awesome: The Departed, my friend Sara Gribs, yoga, high school students, and both the potential roommates we interviewed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Miss me?

Two weeks? Sorry I’ve been absent. I know you need your JessieO-updates… Things here are, well, they’ve been better.

A couple weeks ago when I was talking to Dr. K about all the sleeping and anxiety and general badness I’d been experiencing he was like, “Jessie, I think maybe you’re depressed.” The thing is, depression doesn’t fit into my idea of myself as a superhuman. Was Wolverine ever depressed? I doubt it. I mean, sure he was moody and dark a lot, but he never wussed out and started taking Prozac and crying in a shink’s office. Sorry. I’m taking Prozac and crying now, so I can make those jokes.

Oh, where to go from here? I don’t know what to tell you. AC pointed out the other day that I’m not very good at saying how I feel right now, but would rather tell you how I felt yesterday/last week and how I’ve processed those feelings in the mean time.

What I’m working on right now is being sad. I know that I obviously whine a bunch about things that aren’t going well and have general feelings of blah-ness, but it’s been hard for me to be sad about anything. Every time I try to explore feeling sad, or mourning things that have been lost in this process I try to cheer myself up/not tempt fate by reminding myself of all the things that are going well. I’m serious. It’s really hard for me to get any good woe going on because I always have to remember how damn lucky I am.

I’m not sure how I feel about the Prozac. I was really not interested anti depressants initially because I felt like this whole depression thing was situational and not really an issue of chemical imbalance. But my therapist was like, “why feel so bad for the rest of this situation when you could feel better?” and I was like, “hmm…” not letting on to my “What Would Wolverine Do?” mentality. Anyway, it turns out that admitting that I am depressed has helped a lot. It means that I have identified a problem to solve. Sweet. I’ve been talking to someone about being sad and going to yoga and walking to work and FORCING myself to be awake and socially engaged and it’s working pretty well. And it also turns out that the Prozac is making me dizzy so I’m going to talk to Dr. K about what would happen if I stopped taking it. I’d really rather not play around with brain chemicals and I’m feeling better.

Not much else has been going on with me. I’m going through the motions and some day things will be better. I see Dr. K on Wednesday to see if I’m ready for the next round of chemo. We’re looking for another roommate so that’s kind of exciting.

Kelly and Jade are coming to see me this weekend! They’ll be here tonight and are staying through Sunday. We will probably just have an eating and lying around weekend, but as Jenny and I were discussing, those are like the most important people to have: the people you can do nothing with.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Not the best week ever

Things have been a little rocky around here lately. To summarize the last week, I have felt totally shitty and spent the majority of my waking hours in bed watching TV on the internet. Mostly it’s my stomach, but I’ve also just been really, really tired. On Monday I went into Dr. K who was like, “call me when you feel this bad!” and gave me some good anti-nausea stuff. I know I need to do a better job asking for things like drugs, but the thing is, I hate the idea of taking lots of pills. We’ve been down this road before, internet, remember? Anyway, my stomach is better, but I’m still pretty freakin beat.

How anyone could spend four days in a row not getting out of bed? How would she occupy herself; keep from going bat shit crazy? In an effort to reorient myself with pop culture, I watched the first three seasons of Weeds, and then started in on Heroes. You might wonder why I didn’t watch the fourth season of Weeds… it’s because Weeds sucks. I know, I watched 40 episodes in 3 days. I despise all the characters and the fact that they just make life insanely difficult for themselves. Heroes is a little better, but I think I just hate TV. Speaking of TV, I re-hooked up ours to the bunny ears so we get 5 stations again and tonight I watched about 10 minutes of Girlalicious. It was disgusting, but very soothing. Actually, it’s fairly remarkable that I watch as little TV (Weeds binge aside) as I do being so lame and bed ridden for the last 6 months…

I’ve felt so… scared this last week. Feeling crummy again brings up all sort of unpleasant memories and anxieties. If I feel this bad now, how am I going to react to “Re-Intensification” in a couple weeks? You know I have to go back to the hospital right? I am just now realizing how completely terrifying I find this prospect. I have serious stress about it. I actually have a list of things I’m pretty worried about regarding my next cycle of drugs, but making a list now before anything happens doesn’t seem like it would be that productive. It’s just the unknown, you know?

Tomorrow I’m taking overnight trip to the North Cascades for work. I’m just hoping I find some crazy energy surge to help me make it through… Oh, and did I mention I gave up coffee because it was irritating my stomach? Boo!

But as I like to say, every day I just get richer and thinner. So that’s good.