Monday, December 21, 2009

Braised Uteri

It’s always interesting to me when there’s a crisis or problem in my life, how few people I consider close to me will actually check on me. I don’t mean stopping by my house with flowers and baked goods. I mean, simply, when they see me, ask me how I’m doing.

You don’t just start taking a medication that scares the bejesus out of you, one related to others that killed a loved one, without major trepidation. And I could tell by the looks on the faces of my friends when I told them about starting this that they knew how serious and frightening this therapy was to me. They were nearly as frightened as I was. So, when, five weeks later, hardly a one of them has even asked in passing how I’m doing, and no one even peeps when I’m in the bathroom every half-hour at work dealing with one gastro-intestinal problem or another, it kinda makes me wonder.

Have they forgotten? Have they been wrapped up in their own little world and don’t notice that I’m spiking a fever everyday, have dime-sized bruises all over my body, am popping pills, constantly eating to fight the nausea, and walking funny because the diarrhea is making my guts ache and leach blood? Are they afraid to ask because they don’t actually want to know?

It’s not like I’m depressed about it. It’s not like they have to worry I’m going to start bawling on their shoulder and tell them I’m afraid of dying. The worst that’s going to happen is I’ll say, “I feel shitty. I’m nauseated a lot, spend a lot of time in the bathroom, feel tired, feel weak, and evidently my hormones are going to get all fucked-up because it blocks estrogen production, or something like that, and I do not play nicely with progesterone, so things are going to be ugly for one week of the month, but overall, it could be worse.” There. Was that so bad?

But a few people have asked me how things are going. And those people are privy to my usual technique of trying to find the humor in the humorless. Like Leelu, bless her soul, will IM me nearly everyday and ask how it’s going. She’s such a gem.

Me: Ooooh, guess what?!
Me: My chemo med, methotrexate, is an abortion pill. I'm giving myself an abortion once a week.

Leelu: Hah!

Me: You know, all these abortions and no sex is just cruel.

Leelu: Does that mean it'll no longer be legal under the health care plan that's going through?

Me: Ugh, well, my diagnosis isn't pregnancy so thankfully the med is approved for other things.
Me: (thankfully?)
Me: (as if I'm happy to be taking it)

Leelu: I'm sure that people who genuinely need chemo are happy about it.
Leelu: You...I'm not so sure about. Your medical problems are a huge mess.

Me: Uh huh. And with a little more reading I found out that it's going to totally disrupt my menstrual cycle, which it did because this last one was enough to make me want to rip out my uterus and eat it raw.
Me: And the type of cancer my med treats is usually leukemia.
Me: Don't know how that makes me feel, but at least I won't be getting leukemia now.

Leelu: ...You'd better not. Or I'll have to do something drastic.

Me: What? Eat my uterus or get leukemia?
Me: Uterus might be good.
Me: You don't know.

Leelu: But raw?

Me: How many uteri have you had?
Me: I would imagine cooking would make it tough.

Leelu: Very few things are not improved by cooking. I would suggest braising for uteri, though.
Leelu: It's very fibrous to begin with, so you'll need a long, slow, moisture-rich cooking to bring out the best.
Leelu: Even if you do it tartare, you'd still want to dice it fine and season.

Me: See? What on earth would I do without you?

Leelu: Eat raw uterus, apparently.

Me: I go see doctors and they tell me, "You'll be fine, you won't have side effects, just take all these supplements so you don't die while on the meds and see me in 4 weeks so we can make sure your liver didn't die, but you'll be just fine." Pharmacist says, "Just take some imodium and an antacid regularly and it will be okay." This is no good to me. I need to know what to do when they're all wrong, because they always are, and how to properly prepare uterus!

Leelu: Is it any wonder that we hate the medical profession?

Me: Not for me it isn't.

Leelu: Not a decent cook in the lot of them.

Me: Right! I know. You know why? Because none of them have actually taken the meds they prescribe, so they have no idea that methotrexate + Triphasil = angry enough to eat uterus.
Me: And if you don't know that you can get to that point, how would you know the proper cooking techniques to satisfy this new chemically induced urge?

Leelu: It's a sad state of affairs. *shakes head*

Me: Yep.

Chickenshits who aren’t asking how I’m doing are missing out on delightful braised uteri conversations, I think.


Anonymous said...

Ah, shit--I'm so sorry you're enduring this. Your blog gives me so much joy but I've sensed over the last few months that stuff has not been going well with you not so much as about what you are writing but what you are not writing. I can send 'good' thoughts, ask for intercession through Gianna Beretta, though she's not the best fit but something, and what if you're not Catholic, would she listen? Since I'm a fallen away Catholic, would an appeal to Gianna just piss her and God off at me? In Catholic school I was taught to go straight to Baby Jesus since babies love everyone--which I will do. If I hear on the news that a star has appeared over a public library, I'll know it worked and you are doing better.

GeekChic said...

Blech methotrexate. Hated that stuff when I was on it. I see it hasn't improved any over the years. :P

I must say though... the braised uteri is a truly interesting vision. Hope you feel better.

megan said...

I hope you're doing OK. That really stinks.

Is it possible that they are afraid, and don't know how to bring it up - especially if you are the first in your friends to get this kind of medication?

How do you react when your friends have crises in their own lives? I had a friend who would get upset when people stopped asking her about her dad (she was his caregiver; he had cancer). I pointed out that it was because she never asked them about their own lives.

I am not saying you do this - it's just food for thought. (And if you're the kind of friend who calls to check on them, maybe brings them a homecooked meal, etc., then I think you might want to consider getting new friends...)

Leelu said...

I'm so glad you keep a record of our conversations. I was trying to explain how, without me, you'd be eating raw uterus to Lummox, and he just backed away slowly. Pretty hypocritical of a man who will engage me in random kicklines. ;)

Cielle said...

As someone who hates to be reminded of her limitations and bristles whenever others show concern (even genuine concern)for how I'm doing when I'm not well, I'm always very cautious of asking about someone's health. Chances are, your friends know you're trying to be strong and don't want to a)tick you off, or b)give you a reason to think about your misery. We all care, though we may show it in different ways. We always wish you good health and happiness.

Happy Villain said...

Thanks. I very much appreciate your kind words.

Yeah, it's yicky. It was this or Imuran, which I refused to take a year ago because of the possibility that random benign tumors would grow out of my face. Didn't sound fun. Then there's Plaquenil, which made me sicker than methotrexate, so I guess I'll stick with this one for a bit longer. :( Thanks for the well wishes.

I think my tongue-in-cheek post was missed. I wasn't complaining about the lack of questions about my health as much as I was pointing out how interesting people are that they seem to prefer to avoid it. It's curious to me. I always pry and ask how people are doing, figuring I'm not one of many with the balls to ask, so they should have the balls to answer. :)

Oh, I quit trying to share with other people the conversations I've had with you. No one gets it. And that's...OKAY. :) I don't usually keep track of them, but this one cracked me up so I sent myself a copy of it. Probably should've asked your permission -- sorry.

Oh, I know everyone cares, but thanks for saying so. Sincerely, I've learned the hard way that people can't read my mind, don't know when to ask, and if I want to share something, I need to just spit it out. My post really, truly was just an observation that I find interesting. Most people in my life shy away from the tough subjects. It's fascinating to me because I choose people like this for a reason, and it makes me wax philosophical and introspective. :) It's not a bad thing. But then they miss out on conversations like braised uteri, and that's too bad for them.

Stephanie said...

Don't they have cookbooks or recipes on how to cook placenta? Maybe it would work for uterus...

Sorry your health is so shitty - hope you get better soon!