Sunday, May 25, 2008

This Little Piggy . . .

Should bring a smile to your face.

My Open Mouth, Insert Fork blog remodel is complete, thanks to Blogs by Danielle.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Six Month Sensation

I've heard that it takes the body from six months to a year to rid itself of toxic chemo infusions. I hit my six-month mark last week and I gotta' tell ya': I've never felt better in my life. I can honestly say that I feel none of the residue of the chemo in November or the lung damage that struck in January.

I've been posting more on my food blog, Open Mouth, Insert Fork. Check out my latest reminisces about sweet tea. I'm still working on that "redesign" that I promised several months ago.

I'm also contributing to the Pasadena YWCA's blog. Check out my latest post, "What Color is Fraud?"

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Parasite in Sight?

I went in for my monthly visit to City of Hope today and received some strange results on my blood test. We usually just concentrate on my blood counts (which are still normal or just below the normal range), but this time Dr. Forman drew my attention to the Eosinophil (EOS) granulocytes. The normal range is between 0 and 2%, but my counts were more than 20%. A high percentage usually indicates blood parasites.

Could this be why I continued eating like a longshoreman but only gained a half pound in the last month? I'm not exhibiting any other signs of blood parasites, so we're just going to wait and see what happens next month.

I also dropped in for a two-hour cognitive test. I'm participating in a three-year study to determine if there's a connection between high-dose chemo and diminished cognitive functioning (aka chemo brain). Not to brag, but my brain seems to be operating swifter and better than ever. The test administrator, who's not supposed to give feedback, told me that I performed faster and more accurately than any patient she's ever tested in several areas. I even made a clean sweep in the area that's usually my weakest - spatial/visual perception problems. (When I took the same test before my stem cell transplant, I hit a wall on the last two problems.)

I strutted out of there thinking, "Watch out world. I am one smart cookie!" But the euphoria didn't last long. On my way down to my clinical appointment, I realized that I'd forgotten my yellow patient folder. I went back to get it and got lost. I wandered around aimlessly for several minutes and never found my folder or the testing area.

Is that the way the smart cookie crumbles?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What's Your Excuse?

Have you registered with the National Bone Marrow Program?

If you're using any of these excuses, think again:

  • I can't stand the sight of blood: Testing no longer requires blood. Just give a few cells from your cheek.
  • I'm too busy: It only takes a few seconds to swab your cheek. You don't have to leave the comfort of your home.
  • I'm a big baby. If I'm a match, I'm afraid of the procedure: Donating your stem cells is now as simple as donating platelets and takes just one day out of your life.
  • I'm too poor to afford the $50 for a kit: Until May 19, the Donor Garden is providing FREE kits. The National Bone Marrow Program is also offering free kits to the first 10,000 people who register online before May 19.
If you are Asian, African American or mixed race (like me), then it is especially important that you register:
  • A Caucasian has a 70% chance of finding a match on the National Registry.
  • Minorities have a 10% chance.
  • Mixed-race patients have a 2% chance.

The more people who register, then the greater the chance of finding a match.

Wouldn't you love to be a life-saving match? PLEASE register today.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: I checked in to Hotel Hope for round three of Hyper CVAD.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

What's the Difference?

The YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley has launched a new blog called "What's the Difference?"

Black or brown? Yellow or white? Male or female? "What's the Difference?" will explore the assumptions we make based on race and gender and other attributes that make us different from one another. Will we learn that we're not so different after all?

You can view my contribution, "What are you?" here.

I hope you'll take a look and leave a comment.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cancer Makes You Brave in Many Ways

I just got back from a long weekend in San Francisco and found out that I have a slot to read/perform at Max 10, a performance laboratory at the Electric Lodge in Venice. Max 10 features 10 artists performing for a maximum of ten minutes on the first Monday of the month (ten times a year).

I attended in March and loved the eclectic blend of performances - everything from readings and impromptu dance to dramatic readings that incorporate impromptu dance.

What: Max 10

Where: The Electric Lodge

1416 Electric Ave.

Venice, CA

When: Monday, May 5

7:30 pm

Cost: $8.00

My work in progress is called "Hide and Reveal."

Eight things to know about max10

1. max10 Performance Laboratory is a place to do brave work, experiment, and risk failure.

2. max10 is an uncurated performance event the first Monday of every month.

3. max10 is a place where new artists can show early work, and more established artists can work outside their genre.

4. The event is called max10 because each piece can be no longer than 10 minutes, and there will be no more than ten performers a night.

5. After ten minutes of performance a bell will sound and the lights will go off - we mean it, really.

6. While we would love you (or someone else) to write about max10 - we respectfully ask you not to review individual pieces. We don't want the artists to censor their ideas because they are worried about a "bad" review. We want this to be a true performance laboratory.

7. After the performance you are invited to a reception (cheap beer, wine, and chips are included in the price of admission) where you can talk to the artists about the work you've just seen. Pick three artists to talk to, tell them what let you into their work and what kept you out.

8. All genres of work are welcome - dance, performance art, music, visual arts, installations, film, slideshows, spokenword, martial arts demonstrations, performative papers, whatever…

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Susan's Eggsellent Adventure

Five months after my auto stem cell transplant, can I still use "chemo brain" as an excuse.

Check out the latest post on Open Mouth, Insert Fork and decide for yourself.