My Abnormal Juice

A great news report has received little media attention, and I’d like to change that. There is a cancer vaccine trial underway in the UK. Imagine the lives that will be saved if the experiment is successful. Those taking part in the study are patients both at early and late stages of the disease. A link to the story is at the end of this post.

Over-sharing time because everything is about me:

Thank God it’s Tuesday. I have spent the last two weeks dreading yesterday, Monday. This is a tri-annual occurrence. Once, every four months I go see “my” hematologist oncologist at an infusion center, where individuals with cancer are treated. There are tables with donated scarves and wigs (for people who have lost their hair) to take. I am afraid of that place.

A sample of my daughter, Zoe’s art.
(acrylic on canvas)
I think this one is me.

Why do I go there? My juice (autocorrect keeps trying to change the word “blood” to “juice,” so f*ck it.) tests keep coming back abnormal, that’s why. I’ve talked about this before. The whole thing started… 🤔 well, before my back surgery. After the juice doctor advised cutting out all supplements I had been taking to compensate for my vegan diet, my results were better, but still off. There was an upside, and that was the two markers that needed to be normal for me to have my back surgery were within range, so I went under the knife, and now I am titanium, like the song. The result was not a total success, but then, neither am I.

About two weeks before each of these visits, I prepare, as I imagine professional athletes do, except I don’t lift weights, run, or participate in sports. I ride my stationary recumbent every day. That’s the bike with a seat like a recliner. 🙄 I feel you judging me. I know you never see stationary recumbent bikes compete in the tour de France. It’s lazy man cardio, but it’s what I can do. I sweat out excess sodium, then I hydrate (drink water.) I knock back antioxidant juice and protein shakes. Then my physical therapy exercises are put to use.

I eat clean. A variety of dark green leafy vegetables, root vegetables like sweet potatoes, nuts, fruits, legumes comprises my diet. I only dine on healthy fare. My relationship with food is complex. I don’t like manufactured “vegan foods.”

I could be in the next terminator movie, if they lowered their standards a bit. My body is a temple (qualifier: for two weeks before I see this doctor,) because I’m afraid.

I’ve even stopped coloring my hair and have a few short platinum (gray🙄) stripes now, nature’s highlights. To recap: no chemicals, no sugar, no empty calories sweat it out.

This is how the visit transpired. First a nurse stole my plasma. Then my doctor considered the quick results, comparing the new to old. A lengthier list of more specific blood markers wouldn’t be available until sometime last night. He read the notes written by my other doctors, one for each body part. Meanwhile, there I squatted, gawking at him as he pondered his screen. Click, scroll, click, scroll.

I tried to relieve my tension with humor, which he did not acknowledge. Maybe he didn’t understand it. I think the lack of a propensity to laugh is a sign of neurological impairment, but what do I know? He doesn’t even offer a courtesy smirk. I felt like a standup comedian performing in an empty room. I am a riot, an improvisational savant.

The nurse who took my juice pretended to snicker when she was looking for a “good vein” and I said, “check my legs.” Haha… that was somewhat amusing… the first time said it. I say it every time. I imagine the nurses roll their eyes and whisper, here comes the lady who thinks leg veins are funny.

Suddenly, I was up on the exam table, clad in my street clothes: Stylish high-waisted dusty bootleg jeans, paired with a black shirt, cap-sleeved for easy vein access, matching felt clogs stitched on top with swirls reminiscent of a colorless version of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” A plaid scarf of black, gray beige, and pink, tied the ensemble together. He pretended to give me a physical exam, no paper dress offered, barely touching my neck and armpits, searching for a mute button? Or perhaps enlarged lymph nodes. He lightly taped my abdomen, and asked if it hurt. (If what hurt?) It reminded me of my kids trying to agitate each other: “I’m not touching you.” Then he told me I could return to the chair.

On each occasion, including this one, the doctor said: “No blood marrow test for you this time; see you in four months,” Then he chuckled, (like that’s funny,) and added “unless the results that come in later show a reason to have you return sooner.”

🎶 I am titanium.

As he pushed me out of the examination room, he asked, “Any questions?” Gee, what questions could I possibly have? I don’t ask the obvious–WHY AM I HERE? I scowled at him as he left me at the reception desk to schedule my next appointment. Did I mention very few of the other patients have hair?

They have NOT diagnosed me with the big C, but this oncologist insists on my returning every four months. Maybe he has a crush on me. Alas, my heart lays elsewhere. They denied me the sexy specialist last year, and now I’m stuck with the brainy nerd. I can’t very well ask for a second opinion, reject him because he’s not sexy. It doesn’t matter anyway, because Doctor Sexyman is still not taking new patients. I assume it’s because he gives them a reason to keep coming back. Would he have laughed at my jokes? What the Hell is wrong with my mind?

Anyway, that was my Monday. On my way home, I stopped to buy a styling brush blow-dryer; in celebration of my hair. I’m fine, again.

Regardless, I hope the BioNTech trial leads to something.

BioNTech says it will start cancer vaccine trials in the UK from September.

BioNTech says it will start cancer vaccine trials in the UK from September

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