Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Serious Case of 40

So it's been an interesting last couple of weeks. Let's see, where to start. I had a fantastic week in the UK with my lovely friend Bo and her daughter Polly where we channelled our inner vegan lesbian Kayleigh-dance-loving selves. I turned 40 this week and received a fantastic bunch of birthday swag (big shout-out to my darling husband for his beautiful gift), as well as the news that my cancer has progressed somewhat, and my pharmacist mistakenly thinks I have a serious case of genital herpes. (For the record: I DON'T but do read on). So with that kind of introduction who knows where this blog posting will lead us.

But first let's get right into the serious business. A Kayleigh my friends is a traditional Irish communal dance, not dissimilar to that Barn Dance that you learned in the school gym all those years ago. However the modern version that I attended was short on men and pretty long on every type of lesbian you can name.....dykes, butches, femmes, lipstick and probably everything in-between. Now before this turns into an Entertainment Tonight interview with Mario Lopez where I out myself, I just want to clarify, that yes I do have cancer, but no I am not a lesbian. But Bo is. So that's how I found myself too-ing and fro-ing around an old school hall with a bunch of awesome lesbians and might I add, thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the significant lack of men and anything resembling a dairy or meat food product.

Now whilst in the UK I noticed what appeared to be a couple of mosquito bites on my upper thigh. Didn't think much more about it until the flight home where my leg started to itch like crazy. On closer inspection in the bathroom I noticed that two mosquito bites had suddenly turned into twenty and my leg felt like it was on fire. Now I was thinking that I might have something medically interesting.

Upon getting home and waking up the next morning my leg looked like the aftermath of a serious mosquito rave so I decided to call my doctor's office whereupon I encountered my old friend Nurse Ratched. "Well describe the rash". So I did. NR: "Well you definitely don't have shingles". Me: "Well I think I better come in anyhow and get Dr Genius to look at it". NR: "Hmmmpphh well if you must". Later in the day, after dropping my drawers for Dr Genius to get a good gander....DrG "You definitely have shingles". Great.

So Dr G phones in a prescription for me at my local pharmacy and I duly arrive to pick up said prescription. Pharmacist calls me over and in a very hushed and secretive tone, she asks me whether Dr G wants me on the 7-day or 21-day treatment. I say I don't know, she gives me a knowingly mysterious smile and goes off to fill the prescription. Now I don't think too much of this, until I get home and note that the label on my bottle says "Valtrex". Yes folks, that's right Valtrex. More commonly advertised as a treatment for genital herpes (but also used for shingles) !!!!!!!!! Talk about wearing a metaphorical scarlet letter. Now every time I go into the pharmacy the pharmacist dons a white sterile suit and rubber gloves and a voice comes over the PA and says "Attention shoppers, avoid the dirty whore in Aisle 5, as she has genital herpes !!!!" OK that might be a slight exaggeration, but sometimes I wish they'd write the diagnosis on the actual prescription to avoid this kind of, what I like to call, medical profiling incident.

And I turned 40 this week. Not much to say about that except I celebrated with lots of family and good friends and was reminded how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful peeps. Thank you to all of you. Love you !

Oh yea, and my cancer has reared it's ugly head again so I've had to change chemo drugs. Apparently "I" failed my old drugs (not that the drug company failed me of course!) so now I have to do a new drug which is delivered via IV once a week. Which leads me to my next topic du jour. After spending 4-hours in the communal chemotherapy room, sitting next to a little old Sicilian woman who was there with her daughter, and who spent the entire 4 hours praying for her and for me (so she told me), I have come up with a list of my Top 5 things NOT to do when you accompany someone to chemo.

As always if you have any other suggestions for this list, please do email or comment to me.

Top 5 Chemotherapy Room No-No's

1. Don't channel the dead and deliver messages to your cancer patient

2. Don't arrive hungover, and then throw up over your cancer patient especially if you ate curry and drank "Raging Bitch" beer all night.

3. Don't ask your cancer patient for a light.

4. Don't take out a hairdryer, curling iron, or any other hair styling apparatus and then ask your cancer patient for their opinion as to whether your hair looks okay.

5. Don't take out your ghetto blaster expecting to lead the cancer patients in rousing renditions of "We Are Family", "I Will Survive" or "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar".


  1. Wait a mean this whole time you had genital herpes?? WTF! I have noticed that you've been riding your bike and swinging on the hammock a lot in the last couple of years. Now I know why...

  2. Let me just clarify again.......I don't have genital herpes although you wouldn't know it to look at my medicine cabinet, I do have shingles, I am not a lesbian, I am a wannabe vegan and I do have cancer. Are we clear people ?


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