Sunday, October 14, 2012

Random thoughts of the weekend.....

I am three days out from chemo. Yes it preoccupies some of my thoughts, but not as much I would have thought. I have some anticipation, but I am not as scared as I thought I would be. I thought I would be having melt-downs.

I did have one yesterday randomly when Kyle asked if I was okay? He meant about getting up to get himself a drink and he wanted to know if I wanted one. I, for some reason, started crying and told him "no". I am not sure what came over me. It was sudden - and then a very snotty minute later, I was fine. He is so wonderful and supportive. He asked me what I needed - what I really need is to get this out of me -- so back to the fighting mode I go.

I am writing the mid-term for my class. I was reading back through my sides (so as to not ask questions of material that I did not cover in class) and there is no difference in my teaching pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis. Well - duh I know... but it started me thinking.

I guess previous to this diagnosis I would have thought that a diagnosis of cancer would be life changing. That all life would stop and focus on the "fight" of cancer. While it has been a "bump in the road" it is not as life changing as I thought it would be. Should it be? We are carrying on with life, living as usual and just having to work our life around the treatments and the side effects and the doctors visits. Speaking of - do I need a primary care? hmmm....

So this leads me to the philosophical questions that are part of my Keogh DNA. What is life?
I guess life is a very difficult word to define. So the first thing I do is go to the trusty Websters. Do you know I still have my dictionary that I won as being an Idaho Top Schoar? I have toted that round the country with me - not really sure why - but it sure came in handy at this point. Well sort of... I guess difining lifeis so difficult, the dictionary has over thirty definitions. it's a word that has essentially transcended language, and is only defined through our own experiences. So what does this mean for me... I am taking this to mean that because I am not letting cancer be my life - it is not. Or is this really just denial?

Our unique definition of life is the most honest reflection of how we live. One thing I've learned while looking at the chemo treatment room (not actually processing that I have cancer) is that life is not an amount of time, and we are powerless in determining how long we live. While it's a scary feeling to be out of control, I've learned to focus on the one thing we can control...the way we live.

So everyone can breathe a sigh of relief - I am not really going crazy. I am not going to mope around and feel sorry for myself. I really don't think of myself as a cancer patient. I am not. I am only someone who has to fight an awful disease. I am relating this to just a really bad anti-biotic. It has only a few times crossed my mind that people have died from this. And then my reality kicks me saying -- you have so much to do in life - that will not be you!! So I stay away from those blogs, I stay away from those thoughts. It makes writing my midterm seem appealing - well to me, maybe not for the students.
I read somewhere that:
cancer can take years from cannot take life from years, unless you let it.
One more random thought...
So the purpose of chemo is to kill the cancer, right? But what does it really do?

Did you know that chemo was originally synthesized from mustard gas. After this form of chemical warfare was declared illegal, a large amount of it remained in storage. Since it was too toxic for normal disposal methods, our government provided grants to research groups for pharmaceutical studies. In the early 1940’s, mustard gas was stabilized by combining it with nitrogen to make it into a water and alcohol-soluble liquid. When it was discovered that it depressed bone marrow function, it was tested on a mouse with lymphoma. The tumor showed regression and the rest is history.

It kills cells that are rapidly dividing. So those would be cells like cancer (yeah)!! But those would also be cells like hair follicles (boo). But Kyle asks me the other day, what about your stomach lining? I am not too sure about this... more research is needed. Is this why you get the

Also one woman suggested shaving my pubic hair because those "fall out all over the house". Really... wear some pants.... anyway - on that note.... on to finish writing the midterm.


  1. Is it quiet in your home since i came back to Pittsburgh? Missing you with Taylor Swift's songs. You deserve a good life and please remember the children trading.

  2. You mean you don't have to shave your legs all winter and you still get smooth legs???

    That is awesome that it came from Mustard Gas and government laziness. Where would we be without that???

    Disease never defines you, it's something to be dealt with and the rest of life is still there to live! You will rock this!

    Sending you love and Kaitlyn sends baby drool (that stuff is fantastically prolific).