Burp. Where’s the Lipitor?

Dinner at La Folie in San Francisco, $—-.  Carbonated water on the way home, priceless.  Nothing like the Hubby’s “holiday party” to start the new year off.

I think I’ve just eaten ten thousand calories of every fattening thing known to man, from duck tongue to bone marrow to foie gras to snails drenched in butter…I’m not full, I’m just…dizzy from the richness.  The champagne and wine were equally amazing.  That dinner would’ve fed a family in a third-world country for three months.  I would feel worse if it wasn’t a business write-off for the company.  Still, I feel slightly sick and guilty.

It was also the worst day of the year to venture the steep streets of San Francisco.  Really rainy, dark, windy, sleety.  But not like the horrific blizzard pommeling the East Coast.  So I sound like a big baby, crying about a few drops of rain on a 40 degree hill incline.

I was in a very ill mood earlier, irritated that the holidays were spent at home when all I ever want for Christmas is to be away, and to not have guests.  But, the husband loves guests, ergo a NYE “get together”.  This usually means I clean and host, but I don’t know any of the people (all my friends live far away).  I spent the holidays fretting (deaths, illness)/cooking/cleaning.

Tomorrow is my brain MRI, followed by a PET scan on Jan. 4th.  I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to decide about Medicare before Dec. 31, even if I’m not eligible until March 1.  Am I supposed to get Medigap insurance or go with one of those “Advantage” plans (aka Part C)?  Shit!  Someone help me!  I need advice.  I need a plan that will allow me to go other places for treatment and/or clinical trials.  I’m currently with Kaiser.  Do I need to stay with Kaiser, or did Obama’s health reform fix that?  HELP!

Anyway, in spite of the elegance of tonight’s dishes, it didn’t call out to me in my dreams.  I was expecting my brain to explode, but it didn’t.  I’ve had other meals where I savored every bite–practically smelled it before I ate it.  Am I just jaded? I was impressed by the presentation and the creativity, but there wasn’t anything that I crave.  (Certainly that was a hefty piece of foie gras and the aroma of shaved white truffle on my lobster was blowing the Hubby out of the water.)  Hubby’s stomach rebelled all night.  He was very unhappy with his tempura egg on sweetbread pancake.  He, hater of soft-boiled eggs.  Anyway, it was a blast.  Conversation was lively, the service and ambiance were perfect and unobtrusive.

Getting dressed up was a pain at first, but once we got there and relaxed, it was divine.  (Maybe because we didn’t pay for it)  I’m thinking:  we need to go out to dinner at a nice place once in a while.  And I don’t mean high-end pub food or pizza.  There’s something satisfying about discovering that I cook pretty well ;-).  Will I try to make venison with juniper berries or smoked duck tongue?  Sure…

So this post turned into a cheerful one about food, instead of a depressing one about the possibility of having brain mets.  Cross your fingers for me!



Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

It’s been a trying winter.  I’ll just say, “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!”

Cheers, and I hope you all feel loved today.

The right movie makes all the difference

If clichés are what help us get through things, then this is working for me.

Dead Like Me was a short-lived comedy on Showtime which spawned a follow-up feature-length film released in 2009.  Oddly enough, after watching a couple of very interesting documentaries, I happened upon the movie and was completely intrigued.  I was impressed with the great humor and writing, and the terrific handling of such delicate topics.

Hubby and I stayed up to the wee hours two nights in a row to get through the first season.  We made it through the pilot and 9 episodes so far.  This is a philosophical, funny, well-acted, well-directed series.  I think it was ahead of its time and compels me to check out Six Feet Under, which was more mainstream but apparently somewhat similar.

I find it very peculiar that chance turned the channel right to Dead Like Me: Life After Death at a time when I so needed relief.  Certainly makes one think :-0

So I’m feeling better about Naomi’s passing, but events are getting much worse in other areas…family relations.  More on that later.  Or not.  It’s so serious I don’t know if I can write about it…

At least we got the tree up today.  A 7-foot-tall beauty.  The house smells like the woods, which is lovely.

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons

Well, that’s a love song, but it works okay in the context of a friendship.  Why so much sadness?  I believe there’s quite a bit of projection going on — but loss, like love, is a mysterious thing.

Naomi and I became close in a short period of time, and had we ventured beyond our formal, stoic selves or lived closer in proximity, we might have become even closer.  We were kindred spirits, a rare thing to find.

There were unfinished stories between us, and the gorge of sorrow opens when I think of the disappointment—she loved life and lived it fully, but there were so many things she wanted, some I have had the privilege of, and for that I am sorry.  I mourn not having the chance as much as losing what I love.  This is a universal loss, and I may be wrong, but if you’ve lived to a ripe old age, sometimes it’s easier to say, “I’ve had my chances, lived a long time,  I’m at peace” , and let go.  I’ve had fun, but I still have dreams.

As for that mantle of strength, sometimes it’s just tiresome.  I hurt all over, worry about how things will go when I can’t cook or clean, worry about my family, worry that I’m going down.  I don’t always feel so brave.  The way I fight my battle may differ from Naomi’s fight, but it’s the same war and I know what I’m up against.  Did I mention I hurt all over?

So yeah, I’m grieving.  For my friend, whose laughter I’ll miss, and who symbolizes the life we enjoyed, the fears and hardship yet to come, and the disappointment of leaving.

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

—John Donne

On that note, I just bumped my oncology appointment up to next week.  My doctor’s out, so I’m seeing a young oncologist who did his fellowship at UC Davis and who I believe gave me a second opinion four and a half years ago.  His specialty is lung cancer, and as I recall, he was a chipper guy.  So perhaps he’ll be of help in seeking targeted therapy, and not too biased towards clinical trials at his alma mater.
Read more:http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johndonne101197.html#ixzz17etuuyqT

Snow’s too deep to gather walnuts

That’s about how I’m feeling these days.  Time to stop standing around in the shower, crying, and venture out of the dark world of the past month.  On the other hand, I’m finally grieving openly (the husband is traveling so I have time to!).

A bit of holiday decoration for the house, preparating for a real Christmas tree.  It’s been eight years since our last one.  It’s now 20 feet tall, growing in my sister’s front yard.  Cancer pretty much drained us of the whole materialistic, celebratory drive that the holidays have become.  Mostly we snuggled with tea and cookies in a minimally decorated house and watched the ruthless shopping days tick by, or traveled somewhere.  This year there’s a new rug for the living room, lights…I even bought a holiday tablecloth!  So I’m trying.  But it’s been pretty tough.

My brother was hospitalized over Thanksgiving, and I fear it marks the beginning of chronic pulmonary problems.  This adds to the stress and burden my parents are already bearing at their old age (a very sad, sensitive situation).

My friend Naomi, whom I met on Vox, passed away on December 2nd.  If I could honor her memory by having one iota of the character and composure she displayed throughout her cruel battle with lung cancer, I might do justice to this fight.  I say this as the fear of progression and metastasis grows within me, bourne of nagging pains I didn’t have a month ago.  I’ve actually taken a Vicodin to sleep, and am thinking about it again!  Her Mom has graciously offered to help me, which is an incredible blessing, as I don’t really have an advocate and she has far more combat experience.

Finally, my sister-in-law called this morning with news that an X-ray for carpal tunnel in my brother-in-law’s right arm led to a CT scan which showed a mass in one of his lungs.  The primary doctor was certain enough of the findings to obtain an oncology appointment for him.  Diagnosis is not confirmed, but they’re gearing up for the worst.

It’s said that the mind shuts down in times of duress in order to protect one from pain.  The day of Naomi’s passing was surreal.  Her Mom called as I wandered aimlessly around Target, looking at curtains and what not.  My mind went blank the moment I saw the call come in.  I literally couldn’t say or ask anything—I knew.  I had known for weeks that this call would come.  In spite of my relief that Naomi no longer suffered, I was overcome with loss and a deep, deep sadness.  I suddenly felt so alone on the ice floe that cancer had relegated us to.  The frozen waters were taking my companions one by one, and I was out there, in the darkness, without her hand to hold or the bit of light she cast.

As I crawled in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I couldn’t for the life of me recall  whether I had loaded the groceries into the car or where I had disposed of the cart.  I tried to visualize myself placing bags in the car, but, nothing.  I was amazed to find my purchases in the trunk.  That was scary.

I need to shake off this funk and do something constructive.  I need to get my affairs in order…sigh.  I keep saying that.   I suppose I really just need to work through all of this so I can move on.  I’m very tired and I wish I could sleep for a hundred years.

On a lighter note, I had dinner with friends/ex-coworkers the other night.  It was wonderful, full of lively conversation and laughter.  It brought me into the world for a bit and really helped my psyche.  I miss those friendships and the social life of work.

Today is the three-year anniversary of Bruno’s death.   I’m sure he was fully realized in his last life and hope he is someone or something distinguished in his new life.