Postcards From Cancerland

Like the fantastic Borderlands series, created by Terri Windling, where neither magic nor technology work as advertised and are unpredictable when combined, so is it with Cancerland. Worlds run parallel to our own, casting long shadows that cross with ours. We may not be affected by them directly, but we all know someone who has. I received my first postcard from Cancerland several years ago, with a short but direct message:

Designated Driver

We spent the better part of this week in Toronto — an impromptu trip after receiving a call with some concerning medical news on Sunday night. So, for the first half of the week we’ve explored the inner workings of the Toronto hospital system. As someone who more or less grew up inside hospitals, I’ve made some observations: Whoever is running the parking system is making a killing. We spent as much on parking as we did on food for two.

Wither the sickness

Life with chronic health conditions and no health insurance is interesting. Celiac disease is pretty much a condition of maintenance. There’s no cure and the only preventative measure is avoiding eating or drinking gluten (wheat, barley, rye, and oats). Gluten is everywhere. Beer and bread are bad but I’ve found it in foods I would never have suspected, like tomato soup, sausage and lunch meats, and many, many sauces. Flour is a cheap filler and thickener so it’s commonly used, which makes the life of a celiac a royal bitch.

A follow-up to Spoon! (not the musical)

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year and a half since my Spoon! blog post, where a group of friends conspired to sent me their spoons to counteract the loss of my own thanks to newly acquired but chronic illness during a time of great life upheaval. I carried this box of carefully wrapped spoons with me everywhere. I received it in Illinois, where I was living with my Mom pre-Clarion.

Cognitive Dissidence

Guess what? I feel better. Better than I have in five years or so. What changed? Interesting, that… A couple weeks ago, I decided to do a reboot of the diet. My reading on Fibromyalgia led me to discussions of Celiac disease and how much of an overlap there is between the two. I figured that going back to a basic diet of protein, vegetable, and fruit for a week or two would be a good reset.

This and that

This was a good news/bad news kind of week on the medical front. I wish I had more energy to talk about it, but I am running low on spoons and need to conserve them. Good news: Kidneys and Thyroid are normal. It’s not Multiple Sclerosis. It’s probably not Lupus. The bad news: There is still a chance it could be Lupus, so I had more blood drawn to confirm/deny.

Lemon Lyme

I had hopefully one of the last post-divorce court dates this morning. Nothing terribly surprising came out of it. Judge says I need to pay my ex’s lawyer fees since I didn’t meet the original terms of the agreement (to which my attorney still argues was an impossibility). That’s a hard lesson chalked up to experience. Never be afraid to question your lawyer, or fire them, if you don’t think they have your best interest at heart.

It’s never Lupus.

Earlier this month I mentioned that I was heading in for some long overdue checkup with the doctor. Many of you have been following my progress on Twitter. I’m a firm believer in paying it forward and that includes being open and honest about sensitive topics. Forewarned is forearmed.

The State of Adam

I used to think I was a superhero. A rotund, pasty, privileged superhero, but superhero none the less. I’ve held jobs more or less consistently since the time I was twelve. How much I work became a running joke among my friends. I abused my body with unhealthy amounts of caffeine to squeeze more work hours out of each day, and I did this for years without much of a break.

Not dead yet.

My mom had reconstructive ankle surgery to correct some of long-term damage caused by polio so I spent the last few weeks with her, doing laundry and cooking and whatnot. I also took the opportunity to wear down my annual deductible and get a few lingering medical issues looked at. And while in Illinois, I picked up a rather nasty flu that has wiped me out completely. Most of the effects of the flu are gone, knock on wood.