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Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Taste of Disability - Spit it out! Spit it OUT!

Since my last post, I have purchased and have been using forearm crutches to get around.

I love them.

I love them because:

1 - They keep me mobile.
2 - By keeping me mobile, they keep me physically active.
3 - There is considerably less pain walking with them.
4 - Because I hurt less I don't have to take strong pain meds that make me woozy and make me vomit, which is a problem when you spend a good portion of your day on public transportation. No one wants to sit next to Sister Pukes-a-lot.

Some people have told me that they find it sad to see me getting around on my crutches. This always puzzles me because if it wasn't for my crutches, I would not be getting around. I'm sure they see it as evidence of increased disability. In actuality, my crutches keep me from being disabled.

So yesterday, I went for my usual MRI. MRI techs get very unnerved about crutches because they're fairly large and made of metal. I've been told that in the MRI room, they would be, "quite the weapon."

So to be safe, those of us on crutches or metal canes, must use a special wheelchair that must be made out of some sort of metal that isn't affected by magnets.

Now, there's something about a wheelchair that changes how people behave toward you. Here's my example: I'm sitting in this wheelchair in the waiting room, watching Wheel of Fortune (because you're not allowed to change the channel of the TV in the waiting room) and the MRI tech walks up to me. She bends slightly at the waist, looks at me with big, puppy-dog eyes, cocks her head and says very loudly and very slowly, "MS  ASH-TON?  HAVE  YOU  BEEN  ABLE  TO  USE  THE  BATH  ROOM,  YET?"

I was taken aback. I looked at her with a look that my husband and children would certainly recognize as my "WTF!" look. To my horror and without knowing it, I had apparently been given a  wheelchair that  not only makes the occupant lose their hearing, but also drops their IQ at least 50 points.

In response, I sat up tall in the squatty chair and assured her that I was fine and ready to be scanned. The, what I considered, baby talk continued until I moved from wheelchair to MRI table without assistance. Only then did she talk to me like I was an adult person. The question is, was it my ability to move without the wheelchair, or that I was out of the wheelchair that made the difference? I'll never know. What is it about age and infirmity that makes other people act like moronic bone heads?

This experience lends a certain dread to any future day that I might be in a wheelchair on a more permanent basis. I imagine that regularly being treated with condescension could be very, very wearing - and turn you into one bad-ass, snarky bitch.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

RIP, Patrick

The cancer blogging community lost another member this week.

Side note: 2013 has sucked the big one in this regard.

Each death is an occasion to mourn the loss of the person and be angry at their cancer.

It is also an occasion to mourn my own loss and be angry at my cancer.

Hate you, Cancer.

RIP, Patrick.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Most human beings walk (alive or dead if you’re friends with the show The Walking Dead  pictured above) – from about the time we’re a year old until about the time we cash it in. You take it for granted, walking. Being able to get from point A to point B only thinking about having proper directions. I took walking for granted.

Over the last month or so, I have been experiencing increasing amount of pain while walking. Hip pain, leg pain, knee pain, back pain – sometimes one or two areas at a time. Sometimes all at once.

The doctor prescribed drugs which left me loopy and vomiting, so I trashed them. I spent a week on crutches and driving to work, hoping to give things a rest and ultimately hoping that once again I would be able to take walking for granted. And things did get better and I was hopeful.

But as soon as I went from crutches to cane, and from driving to public transit, back the pain came.

Yesterday, I spoke with Dr. J. about the whole thing. She believes that this is / will be a chronic condition for me. What she didn’t say, but what I know, is that I will most likely experience increasing amounts of decrepitude. It’s how bone metastases work.

So, I had an MRI and I’m set up to see Dr. P., my orthopedic oncologist on Monday, and maybe a different Dr. P., a spinal surgeon, too. I’m not sure why. I think Dr. J. wants to see if they have any ideas on how to keep me up and moving, or if maybe back/spinal surgery is in order at this point. I have my doubts. A recent MRI (July) showed nothing much new in that area and certainly nothing warranting surgery.

In order to sell me on back surgery at this point they’re going to have to make a very, very convincing argument. Show me pictures of my spine crumbling or tumors pressing on nerves – something solid. No hemming or hawing about it because I’m okay walking in the fashion of The Walking Dead for while until I experience that increasing amount of decrepitude and really NEED to have surgery.