Saturday, April 29, 2006

Righty tighty, lefty loosey

I've been working on a little bit of baby-proofing this afternoon. Jay and WCB went out to Babies R Us and brought back a load of marvelous products designed to protect WCB from any household calamity. The packaging is cracking me up. The package for the "Double-Touch Plug 'N Outlet Covers" proclaims "No screwdriver needed!"

Step two of the instructions: "Remove center screw from face plate."

With, um, my teeth?

And this comes from the box for the power strip cover: "CAUTION: This product is only a deterrent. It is not a substitute for proper adult supervision. Discontinue use when child becomes old enough to defeat it."

I have a vision of WCB as Luke Skywalker, and the power strip cover is her Death Star. When she succeeds in blowing it up, the other babies will give her a medal.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Dare to be stupid

It's been raining all day, and when I went out to get the mail, the air had that dead-worm smell. I suddenly remembered a song parody that used to play on a radio station in Omaha in the mid-'80s, around the time that "We are the World" was really popular:

We are the worms
Out on the pavement
When we hear a squish we turn around to see where Cousin Dave went

I love stupid song parodies. I went to see Weird Al live in concert, maybe 10 years ago. It was awesome. It was me, my friend DeAnna, and a whole bunch of 12-year-old boys and their moms.

DeAnna and I used to have a radio show in college called "The Happy Chick Show." We would only play songs that were happy and/or performed by chicks. Our playlist was 99 percent Weird Al, Broadway show tunes, and The Indigo Girls. We had approximately two listeners. We kept it up, for, oh, maybe three semesters. It was great.

Where is this blog entry going? I have no idea. At least it is not about stupid cancer test results! Refreshing!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's all right, dawg

The rest of my test results are here, and the nurse was right: Everything is fine. If you didn't see the protein results, you'd think I was one of the healthiest people on earth. Of course, that doesn't stop me from going over each and every number again and again and having minor heart attacks every time I see that something is up or down a tenth of a point since January.

I know I shouldn't sweat a tenth of a point. It's not like this is Olympic figure skating.

I probably should have just listened to the nurse when she said I was "fine" rather than obsessing over these numbers. It would probably be better for me to get my results in a more general, non-committal, non-numbers format. Maybe the doctor could have Randy Jackson call me: "Yo, dawg. You have a few pitch problems with your protein, but other than that, it was all right for me, dude."

Anyway.

Now the testing is officially over, and I should just try to have a normal few months before we head back to Mayo in July. I have a first birthday party to plan, which should prove to be the social event of the season, as long as the guest of honor doesn't cry or fall asleep.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back in black

My friend Lisa gave me a bag of all black jellybeans today. Mmmm ... all black jellybeans.

I got my test results in the mail. Sort of. The nurse only sent the results of my protein test. I had a minor afternoon freakout while I started worrying that Dr. GPO didn't even order all of the tests he was supposed to. (Didn't he check my iron level? My calcium level? My white blood cells? My kidney function?) Left another message at the Cancer Center. Heard back right away: Yes, he did order all of those tests. Did I want those results, too? Um. Yeah. So the other results are on their way.

My protein test shows that my M-spike (that's the measurement of the "bad" protein in my blood) is up to 3.8. In January, it was 3.7. In December it was 3.6. That's not a huge leap, it's obviously not enough to get Dr. GPO all riled up, and it could be a result of using different labs and whatnot, but now I worry that Godcella is sloooooowly crawling out of the ocean. Back, Godcella! Back! Bad lizard!

But everything will be all right. The black jellybeans are here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Schoooool's out for summah!

Right after I left my third message at the Cancer Center, a nurse called and said, "Dr. GPO has your test results, and everything looks just fine." What this means, specifically, I'm not sure. I'm guessing it means that my protein has not gone up and my other numbers are normal. I asked her to mail me a copy of the results so I could look at all of the numbers. When I get it, I will let all of you know exactly what's going on in that crazy blood of mine.

Now I have another three-month break from doctor appointments. (Actually, it's more like two and a half months because they took so long to get back to me, but I quibble) It's the same feeling I used to get on the last day of school, when I'd have three relatively carefree months stretching ahead of me. Three months without gym class, long division, and cafeteria hot dogs. As Bart Simpson's bus driver, Otto, once said, "Aw right! Three months of Spaghettios and daytime TV!"

Bring on the Spaghettios. Life is good.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I can't wait to get a hover car

Now, this is just getting silly.

Part of me is curious to see how long this can go on. Maybe someday I'll end up as one of those "News of the Weird" blurbs: "Cancer Patient Waits 24 Years for Test Results."

"I left 6,240 messages at the Cancer Center," said the 55-year-old woman. "Finally I decided to fly down there in my hover car to see what the holdup was. I discovered that my doctor was long dead, and they'd bulldozed the office and built one of those Gaps with the talking billboards that identify you by your eyeballs, like in Minority Report. I bought a pair of capri pants."

I'm going to try to forget about this for the weekend and then get back on my quest for test results come Monday. Maybe I need to go down there, baby on hip, and have WCB point a rubber duckie at them in a threatening manner. Nobody messes with WCB.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wish you were here

OK, apparently Frank and Vivian rushed off to their Niagara Falls honeymoon and completely forgot about me, because I still don't have my test results. I called the Cancer Center, was put on hold, and then was told to leave a voice-mail message for a nurse. Left the message. The nurse didn't call. Perhaps in a couple of weeks I will get a postcard:

Dear Poor, Sweet Kid:
Having a wonderful time. The falls are beautiful. Tomorrow we hope to go on one of those boat rides with the raincoats.
Love,
Dr. Frank
P.S. You are dying.

Those crazy kids! I hope they get a heart-shaped bathtub like Clark and Lois got when they went on their fake undercover Niagara Falls honeymoon for the Daily Planet.

To make matters worse, we are out of jellybeans -- even the sickly yellow ones that taste like Lemon Pledge.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Presenting "Passion Among the Plasma Cells"

Still no word from Dr. GPO. Whenever a doctor takes a while to get back to me with test results, I begin to imagine that the news is so horrible that he just can't bring himself to tell me. After a while, it becomes a dramatic scene from a black-and-white 1940s movie starring Jimmy Stewart as my doctor and Maureen O'Hara as his beautiful but tough-as-nails nurse.

DOCTOR: I can't bring myself to tell that poor sweet kid that she is dying! I just can't do it, I tell you! I can't! I can't! (Begins angrily smashing test tubes)
NURSE: But Frank, you have to tell her. If you don't, then you're ... you're just not the man I thought you were ... (dramatic pause) ... and I could never marry you.
DOCTOR: What are you saying, Vivian?
NURSE: I've always loved you, Frank.
DOCTOR: I've always loved you, Vivian!
(The music swells. They kiss. THE END)

Wow, I am so happy that they finally got together, but this doesn't get my test results back any faster. And my doctor isn't even named Frank.

At least we still have jellybeans left. They're mostly green ones, though.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

On a jellybean high

I just love jellybeans. I'm a freak of nature, because the black ones are my favorites. Unfortunately, you only tend to get about four or five black ones in an entire bag. On the plus side, everyone else thinks they're disgusting, so I get to eat all of them. My sister once found a bag of all black jellybeans at a Russell Stover outlet store. It was the best gift ever.

Anyway, I've been eating jellybeans -- of all colors -- for about three days straight now. I think I'm a hummingbird again.

World's Cutest Baby had such a nice Easter. Jay's mom and sisters were here, and we took WCB to the Kansas City Easter Parade, all dressed up in her Easter dress and hat. The outing was a big hit, but the grown man in the Easter Bunny suit was a little disturbing for her. She also started saying "duck" and "quack, quack, quack!" yesterday! I have witnesses to back me up, so I know it's not just a jellybean-induced hallucination.

We had big storms and tornado warnings last night. Jay and his family went to the Easter vigil at church while I stayed home to put WCB to bed. Everyone at church had to evacuate to the basement right before communion. I was on the verge of plucking WCB out of her crib and running down there myself when the sirens stopped and the weather guy said everything was headed off to the east. Of all of the things I should have been concerned with (Will the hail stones smash through the roof? Will we end up in Oz?), I kept thinking of how messy our basement is and how we really need to clean up the Christmas-decoration-storage area and get a couch or something down there. Big worries.

Will the doctor call tomorrow and say my blood is still hanging loose? We'll see. Right now, it's time for more jellybeans.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Oh, stewardess, I speak jive

In case you don't go on to read the comments that people post, I got one today that had me crying from laughing so hard. It's from DavidE, in response to the comparison I made between my doctor and Leslie Nielsen in Airplane!:

"Jus' hang loose, blood. She gonna catch ya up on da' rebound on da' med side"

AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA! But David, my momma didn't raise no dummies! I dug her rap!

Oh, I'm still crying over that. Maybe that should be my new motto: Just hang loose, blood.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dr. Great and Powerful Oz


I'm a little obsessed with that South Park web site. Here is my doctor. Again, the resemblance is a little scary.

Things were really hopping down at the Cancer Center today. People had better stop getting cancer; it's getting really crowded in the waiting room.

First, the bad news. The big orange jug is back. Yeah. Eeew.

The good news: The rest of the appointment was spent getting a big pep talk from Dr. Great and Powerful Oz, who thinks I'm going to be one of those people who smolders for 10 to 15 years and then goes on to conquer the disease and live forever. Call me skeptical, but I kept thinking of that scene in Airplane! where Leslie Nielsen is trying to reassure the passengers, and he says something like, "Now it's true that one of the crew members is ill ... slightly ill ... but the rest of them have everything under control, and are free to pursue a life of religious fulfillment." Meanwhile, his nose is growing and the stewardess is dragging a lifeless body down the aisle.

After the pep talk, a nurse came in and took a couple of vials of blood and sent me home with the infamous jug. I return it tomorrow. Once again, I will be driving the streets of Kansas City with a jug of my own pee.

Dr. GPO said he'll call me with the results early next week, so for now, we play the waiting game. As Homer Simpson once said, "Aw, the waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry, Hungry Hippos."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

South Park Me


I found a web site that will let you create a South Park character of yourself. (I found out about the link from Teresa's myeloma blog, which everyone should check out. Thanks, Teresa!)

Anyway, here's me. I think the resemblance is a little scary.

Hi-YA!

My kung-fu fighting immune system outsmarted the Godcellas and went all Jackie Chan on my cold. I'm feeling much better. I still cough a little bit, but I'm done with the stuffy, sleepless misery, and I no longer sound like Marge Simpson when I wake up in the mornings. ("Mmmm ... Homer ... You are not going to perform that operation yourself!")

I'm off to see the Wizard tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I have a cough due to cold

Of course, it was bound to happen: World's Cutest Baby gave me her cold. I almost never get sick (well, except with incurable cancer), and this is the first time I've had a cold since I was diagnosed, so I got a little nervous. Colds, flu, etc., can often be bad news in myeloma, because all of those Godcellas crowded into your bone marrow can prevent your immune system from getting out there and kung-fu fighting the invaders. Why I didn't worry about this back when I was on 24-hour snot patrol with WCB, I don't know. I guess I've dealt with several baby colds over the past several months and have never caught one, so I got cocky. Time for my comeuppance.

I called the oncologist's office and talked to a nurse, who told me that as long as I didn't have a fever, chills, or night sweats, and as long as I wasn't coughing up anything scary, I should be just fine. (No, no, no, and no. Whew.) She's going to call back on Monday, though, to make sure I'm OK.

I'd been up for three nights straight taking care of WCB and her cold, and then spent all of Thursday night awake with my own. (WCB, bless her, decided to sleep for 12 hours straight). It felt like I didn't sleep at all, but I must have, because I have a vague recollection of a dream involving a bunch of people from church and Jodie Foster. By Friday, I was so sleep-deprived I thought I was a hummingbird. Fortunately, my sainted husband came home from work early, took over WCB duty, and went out and got me a cheese pizza from Minsky's. I slept for, like, 14 hours. I'm still hacking and sniffling, but I think I am on the mend. Everybody is kung-fu fighting.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

Yep. It's the big three-one.

Age 30 was simply too eventful for me: the final month of a pregnancy, labor and delivery, a brand new baby, and -- just when things were settling down -- a cancer diagnosis. Whee!

Now, I realize that most of that stuff on my list was good -- except for the whole cancer thing -- but I'm just not into a lot of activity and drama. I like things quiet and boring. I'm a vanilla person. Therefore, I proclaim that age 31 will be the Most Boring Year Ever. No major life changes. No scary test results. No dramatic, last-minute trips through a snowstorm to the Mayo Clinic. No major medical procedures.

I'm going to be the most boring mom in all of suburbia. This blog is going to be nothing but casserole recipes, hilarious tales of my kid's bodily functions, and my reactions to the previous night's American Idol. (Mandisa got voted off last night? Are you freaking kidding me, people?)

Blandness. It just feels right.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

One week

In one week, I go see my local oncologist, who I've been calling Dr. Great and Powerful Oz. This is because it's hard to get in to see him, not because he has a giant green head or anything.

It would be cool if he did, though.

Godcella had better not be awake and messing around in there. Back in the Olden Days, when my sister and I would be messing around upstairs at bedtime, our dad would stand at the bottom of the stairs and call out, "Now, kiiiiiiiids. It is ten o'clock (dramatic pause) AT. NIGHT." I imagine myself using the same tone of voice:

"Now cellllllllls. You'd better not be multiplying in there. Stop jumping up and down on my bone marrow and GO. TO. BED."

Nothing to fear. Nothing to fear.

Bye, bye, Thalidomide pie

Last night I had a dream I was hanging out with a bunch of people who worked on my college newspaper staff. We ordered takeout food. I opened my Styrofoam container and said, "Oh, good, it's my Thalidomide pie!"

Thalidomide is one of the main drugs used to treat multiple myeloma. Yeah, it's the same drug that caused horrible birth defects back in the '60s.

In my dream, the Thalidomide pie looked like a big pile of salmon-colored yogurt. It also came with a baked potato on the side.

"Why did you order that?" someone asked.

"Oh, you know," I said, laughing hysterically, "I have a fatal disease!" In my dream, this was the Funniest. Thing. Ever.

Hmm. Yeah. Disturbing. I hope I don't need to order Thalidomide pie for a while.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

You might think it's funny, but it's snot

World's Cutest Baby, the poor sweetheart, has a miserable runny-nose cold. I am now constantly poised with a Kleenex, on 24-hour snot patrol. It's not nearly as glamorous as it sounds.

The time change has also completely screwed up her sleeping patterns, it's making her mad, and she's not hesitant to express her displeasure with me. I spent most of the past 24 hours listening to her complain. Loudly. Angrily. Nap-less-ly.

What a miserable day. I'm telling myself tomorrow has to be better. And right now American Idol is on and -- hey! -- it's Kenny Rogers night. Eases the pain.

Monday, April 03, 2006

'80s hits: They're in the dairy section

I never do full-blown grocery shopping at the Super Wal-Mart, mostly because it is so incredibly crowded, and the average Wal-Mart patron would think nothing of stepping on your neck to get to a Ziploc baggie display. This weekend, however, I decided to try it out. It wasn't that bad.

Here was the best part: When I opened the dairy case to get a gallon of milk, an unseen milk re-stocker was singing along -- sincere-but-terrible-American-Idol-audition style -- with the piped-in store music. It was '80s lite rock: "And... I'll ... be ... your ... friend ... (dadada) And ... I'll ... be ... your ... luv-ah ..."

You just don't get that at Hy-Vee.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tattoo your baby

One of the organizers of a moms' group that I'm in sent out the following e-mail this morning. It was in the same format as the usual event announcements that we regularly get:

Announcing a new event for The Northland Kansas City Stay At Home Moms Meetup Group!

What: Illustrated Man Tattoo Studio

When: Saturday, April 1, 11:00 PM

Event fee: $41.60 per person

Event Description: OK all you wild childs and hot mamas, here's your chance to make a memory that will last! We are receiving a group discount for a tattoo of your choice, up to 3", with up to four colors. Do you have a favorite cartoon character? How about a favorite bug or flower? Are you worried about losing your baby at the mall? Here's your chance to permanently place identifying information on your baby. This is a fantastic deal at $41.06 per tattoo adult, and $20.06 per child under age 3. Please register your child when you sign up, and let us know the design you plan on using so there won't be any duplicates!

Contact info: Ima Kiddinga or April Phools 555-PHUN

Now if World's Cutest Baby could get a tattoo, what would it be? A yellow rubber duckie? A heart that says "Mom"? Any suggestions?

I'm adding on to this post, because I've gotten some irate e-mails from people who didn't read down to the part that revealed this was, um, an April Fools' Day joke. So if you're about to fire off an irate e-mail wondering how a baby would get a tattoo, re-read it until the end. OK. Much better now. Heh.