Friday, September 11, 2009

Livering it up

I walked in the the oncologist office today feeling plump, healthy, and happy. The miniature Asian nurse (who takes my vitals, including weight) and I talk about my fat. "Do you exercise?" she asks. "Yes, almost every day." "Do you eat ice cream late at night?" she asks. "Rarely; almost never" (Bob finishes it off before I can get to it). "I do sneak a Bit o' Honey or two" (probably why I have no teeth). "Do you eat pasta?" she asks. Guilty. I'm a carb freak.

"Well, it gets harder as we get older," she proclaims. So within five minutes of my visit, she has called me fat and old. But I forgive her because she's adorable.

The doctor, also miniature, comes in. He's an old grouch, but I think he likes me so he smiles occasionally in my presence. "How do you feel?" he asks. "Terrific!" I answer truthfully. "Except that your nurse just called me fat and old."

He ignores this. As he does most things I say. Pity too because I try so hard.

Then I ask him if a lot of his patients die. "Some do. Some don't," he says. (That ole rascal, such an encourager.)

"But you're doing good," he says. I dismiss the compliment. Really, I'm not doing anything. Just staying alive.

Then I ask him some question about cancer returning, etc., etc. The fear all cancer patients live with, at least in the backs of their minds. I feel so good right now, though, the question was really just a flippant, "How 'bout those Sox?"-type question. Nothing serious.

Then he lays it on me. "Well, you've only got two and a half more years before you're clear. Most cancers return by four and a half, five years." I know this, of course, but still, I was thinking I was already in the clear. Not really, but sort of. And I can't help but remember Leroy Sievers who died recently. He had colon cancer, was fine four years, then got brain cancer.

But my doc says, colon cancer, if it comes back, most likely shows up in the liver, which is, I think, the organ that removes all toxins. And wine, I believe, is a toxin.

Or is it? Could it be, a preservative? I should probably find out before the weekend starts.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dear Nora Ephron

I finally read your book about women and aging, I Feel Bad About My Neck. It's really about you and aging, but that's OK, you have the best perspective. Truth be told, I listened to it. Because I commute to work in the stressful city of Chicago about an hour each day. And I go to the gym. So I have time to listen to books while I'm doing other things.
I laughed out loud a few times; it's been a week or more, so I can't remember exactly what made me laugh. Since then, I've re-"read" the first in the series Barchester Chronicles by Anthony Trollope. And started on Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White. And that, by the way, is thanks to you. I frantically scribbled down some of your favorite books when you talked in your book about how you can lose yourself in books. I was actually surprised that Wilkie Collins was a real person. That doesn't speak well of me I guess, but I thought he was fictional. I finished "reading" a long, long book by Dan Simmons called Drood (I picked that up after "reading" Charles Dickens unfinished book The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Wilkie Collins was the narrator. But I thought, since Drood is a new book, he was fictional. Wilkie even talked about his book, Woman in White, all through Drood. But for some reason, it didn't hit me that it was a real book and he was a real person.
When you said you loved it, I decided to find it on audio book. It wasn't easy, as it is not available at my local library and I do not want to actually buy audio books. But I found it on Librivox, which offers free audio books in the public domain. I figured if I found you funny, then I would like the books you suggested. The other books you liked which I plan to look into are The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, the collected works of Raymond Chandler, John le Carre's Smiley's People (maybe, I'm not big on spy books) and the one you adored The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.
So, I want to thank you for giving me ideas about books to read. I'm always in search.
But I do have a bone to pick with you. You are in your mid 60s and say you weigh 126 pounds. How is that possible? Are you short? Say, 4'6" or thereabouts. Don't you know that women get fat in menopause? I have finally come to accept that I'm not going to lose weight unless I eat about 1,000 calories a day, and I do not want to do that. Chicago may be the most stressful city in America, but it also has the best food.
My question to you is, Did you get liposuction? You must have. God knows, you have the money. But the whole point of your book, I thought, was to live with the cards aging hands you. You claim (I'm pretty sure) that you didn't want to have a face lift because you didn't want to look like stretched leather. You would have liked a neck lift, but you would have had to get a face lift to get a neck lift and you didn't want that. Liposuction seems unhealthy or at least risky. But if you weigh 126, you got it.
You feel bad about your neck?? I feel really bad about my stomach.